Brian McCann and Chipper Jones – Cole Hamels has been battling a stomach virus, and a trip to Atlanta isn’t going to make the 28 year old stud feel a whole lot better. The power packed middle of the Braves order owns a .299 career average against Hamels with 59% of their hits going for extra bases. Both McCann and Jones have a slugging percentage over .540 with 22 RBI on 29 hits, providing me with confidence that they can produce in fantasy baseball leagues. The Braves 3-4 hitters have hit half of Atlanta’s homers against Hamels, and with a proven batting eye (14 walks compared to 17 strikeouts) their ceiling is a high one.
Kelly Shoppach – The Mets catcher is actually have a solid season (batting 33 points higher than his career average) and has had great career numbers against Mark Buehrle. Shoppach is batting .444 against the crafty lefty, with an other worldly 1.222 slugging percentage. Half of his hits have left the ballpark, a big reason why he has more RBI (10) than hits (8). Catcher is a tough position to get consistent production, so I’ll take a player who has dominated the projected starter as my backstop tonight.
Paul Goldschmidt – I love Goldschmidt’s power for the long term, and his abbreviated history against Chris Capuano gives him a good chance to produce right now as well. He has 8 hits in 10 at bats with a 1.700 slugging percentage, numbers that are impossible to ignore. Combine that with the fact that all of Goldschmidt’s ratios are much better on the road, and you’ve got yourself a top 7 first basemen today.
Players to avoid:
Tampa Bay Rays – There are bold predictions, and then there is leaving your success in daily fantasy baseball games up to fate …. and statistics. The last time Ricky Romero won a game (June 22nd) his Blue Jays were 4 games better than the Oakland Athletics, a team they currently trail by a whopping 14 games. The current Rays are batting only .180 against the underachieving southpaw, having struck out 55% more often than times in which they record a hit. No player with more than 5 career at bats is hitting better than .286 (Ben Zobrist), and with a team slugging percentage south of .330, there is very little upside with the suddenly cold Rays. Whether you believe it is simply time for Romero to succeed, or you trust the years of statistics suggesting a rough night on the Tampa Bay hitters, tonight is a good night to avoid any and all Rays in daily fantasy baseball.
Adam Dunn – It is rare that I don’t like Dunn in a power pitcher vs power hitter matchup, but Justin Verlander is the exception. The Cy Young candidate has struck out Dunn 10 times in 20 career at bats while only surrendering 3 hits (.150 batting average). Dunn struggled his way through August (.176 batting average) and the begining of September doesn’t look to promising. It is tempting to roster a player who plays on Sunday Night Baseball, but I suggest you avoid the temptation and leave this slugger on the sidelines.