Young and sexy names are NOT the way to go tonight. Potential helps in season long games, but if you’re only worried about tonight’s production, stick with the guys who have a proven 2012 track record against their opponent.
Alex Rios – Rios is having by far his best season as a member of the White Sox, providing me with confidence in him when Chicago needs him the most. David Price takes the bump tonight, a pitcher whom very few batters have had any success against, but Rios has dominated him. How good has he been? How does a .500 batting average and 1.214 slugging percentage sound? Add the fact that he is sandwiched between two hitters in Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis that have combined for a .385 batting average against the Rays ace. Give me the offense that needs a game over a pitcher who has nothing left to prove this season, especially when the past has been this encouraging.
Edwin Encarnacion – The surprise slugger of 2012 has increased him home run total in 3 of 4 months thus far, and on the final day of the month, is one long ball short of making it 4 of 5. He’s got a good chance to make it happen as he opposes Phil Hughes, a pitcher who the Blue Jays infielder has a .360 career batting average and a .640 slugging percentage against. Hughes has given up a HR in 8 of his last 10 starts, a concerning stat for Yankee fans considering the Blue Jays hit for power, and lots of it. Odd stat to watch: Hughes has recorded a decision in 13 straight contests, giving up 14 home runs in the process.
Players to avoid:
Giancarlo Stanton – He is making a late season return and is believed to be healthy, but that isn’t going to matter against Cole Hamels. The Phillies lefty has allowed Stanton to bat .276, a number that isn’t driving me away from Mr. Light Tower Power on its own. The fact that 71.4% of Stanton’s outs against Hamels have come by way of K. The Marlins offense simply isn’t very good, and with Stanton’s tendency to strikeout, too many things have to go right for me to suggest rostering the Marlins slugger in daily fantasy baseball games tonight.
Jay Bruce – The youngster is slowly becoming an elite power hitter, but he simply doesn’t have what it takes to have success against Wandy Rodriguez. The Pirates pitcher has quietly posted a 3.79 ERA, a respectable number considering the miserable second half the Bucco’s have had. Judging by Bruce’s career .063 batting average against Rodriguez, it is safe to assume that Bruce simply cannot consistently pick up his pitches. Even when he gets a knock, it has been a harmless single. He strikes out every other plate appearance and has never recorded a walk against the lefty. This is as bad a matchup as you will see a all star level batter have: don’t tempt fate and leave Bruce on the bench in your daily fantasy baseball league.
Texas Rangers – The Angels need this game more than the Rangers, one reason to like Zack Greinke against Texas tonight. That, and the fact that the current Rangers are batting only .215 against the smoking hot righty. Greinke has not been beaten since August 19th, striking out 47 batters in 50 innings over that stretch. One of those games was against these very same Rangers, with Greinke striking out 8 and walking none over eight innings of five hit ball. Josh Hamilton has been the victim most often against the Halos righty being retired on all 16 at bats in his career. The Rangers are still an elite offense, but in fantasy baseball terms, they aren’t worth your while tonight.