Elvis Andrus – Chicks may dig the long ball, but fantasy baseball owners dig production, something the Rangers leadoff hitter is a good bet to do against James Shields. Andrus has 11 hits in 19 career at bats (.579 batting average) against Big Game and has even hit for some power, as is evident by his .895 slugging percentage. The Rangers shortstop has never struck out against Shields, and with the deep lineup of Texas, that makes him a good bet to drive in runs and get on base. On top of past success, Andrus has been his best against righties (batting 46 points higher than against lefties) on the road (batting a surprising 15 points higher than at home). Almost 20% of the Rangers hits have been home runs against Shields, and while Andrus isn’t likely to add to that number, he is a good bet to be on base for the festivities.
New York Mets not named David Wright – Bare with me here. On most days, David Wright is the only member of the Mets you want ot start, but against Tommy Hanson, the numbers suggest a role reversal. The all star third basemen is batting .160 against Hanson, striking out 2.5 times per hit recorded. But if you over look the teams best player, you’ll find a team that is batting .328 with an OBP nearing .400 and a slugging percentage well over .500. Josh Thole (.458 batting average) and Daniel Murphy (.429) have lead the way with hits, while Ike Davis (4 of his 5 hits have gone for extra bases) and Justin Turner (2 homers in 4 at bats) have supplied the power. Hanson has given up more home runs on the road than at home this season, yet another reason to take a flier on the low risk/high reward Mets.
Players to avoid:
Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton – This duo is as feared as any in the MLB, but James Shields has been less than impressed with their hitting prowess. They have combined for a measly .207 batting average against the righty, striking out a remarkable 43.1% of the time. Their 27:2 strikeout to walk ratio is evidence that they simply cannot pick up the ball against Shields, and there is no evidence to suggest that that is going to change. Daily fantasy baseball owners have certainly benefited from outstanding games from the core of the Rangers lineup, but this is a one game season, and the Rangers tandem is likely to struggle.
St. Louis Cardinals – Shaun Marcum has what it takes to dampen the Cardinals playoff plans, as he has dominated the current Redbirds. As a team, St. Louis holds a .193 batting average against the righty with a mere .241 slugging percentage. The typically contact oriented Cardinals have struck out 3 times for every walk drawn, making run production that much harder. The middle of this lineup (Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman) has a .056 batting average against Marcum, yet another sign that hits are going to be difficult to string together. I’ve made it well known that I think the Cardinals offense is among the best in the majors, but tonight isn’t the time to roster any of their players in daily fantasy baseball games.
Hunter Pence – Big time pitchers love the spotlight, and Clayton Kershaw has a chance to put his team on his back tonight against the Giants. The lineup is only batting .202 against the Cy Young candidate, with their “best” hitter struggling the most. Pence has managed one base hit in 21 career at bats (.048 batting average) against Kershaw, and has yet to draw a walk. This series could go a long way toward determining the playoff fate of the Dodgers, and there is no one else they’d rather have on the bump. The only reason to pay attention to Pence tonight is to see if he can go for the “golden sombrero”, an accomplishment that isn’t going to help his fantasy owners.