Asdrubal Cabrera – The Indians offense isn’t one to fear, but Zack Greinke has had no solution for the pesky 26 year old shortstop in Cleveland. Cabrera is batting .484 against the righty with a 5:1 walk to strikeout ratio and nearly 27% of his hits going for extra bases. The Angels have an explosive offense, but have yet to win a game Greinke has started, making this a potential shootout. The Indians are batting .290 as a team against the newest Angel, making scoring and knocking in a runs a good bet for Cabrera tonight.
Ryan Howard – In what could be, pound for pound, the biggest matchup of the night, I like the power potential and limited downside of the Phillies sluggers tonight. He faces off against Josh Johnson, a pitcher whom he holds a .303 batting average and .636 slugging percentage against. Half of Howard’s hits have gone for extra bases, and with Juan Pierre and Jimmy Rollins each batting over .330 against Johnson, an extra base hit would likely lead to RBI. Sure, he is a potential strikeout victim (nearly one third of his outs have come by way of K) but the upside (has 8 RBI on only 10 hits) outweighs the risk.
Players to avoid:
Albert Pujols – It has been anything but a standard season for “The Machine”, full of ups and downs. He is in the midst of a serve slump, as he had only 1 hit in 23 at bats last week (.043 batting average). He started the season with a struggle, then we saw flashes of the old Pujols, mashing the ball to all fields. Due to that slump to start the season, I’m waiting for Pujols to explode before I am spending top dollar on him in a daily fantasy baseball league. He owns a respectable .294 career batting average against Ubaldo Jimenez, but only 1 of his hits have gone for extra bases. Another concerning fact is that 25% of his outs have been recorded via K, a very high ratio for one of the better contact hitters in the league. Displaying patience with Pujols is key this season, and there is no point in rostering him mid slump. Wait until he has another explosive game or two before rostering him on a regular basis.
San Francisco Giants – The Giants offense has been paced by Buster Posey for the last 3 weeks, but the figure to struggle against what could be the best rotation in the majors these days. The Nationals send Jordan Zimmerman to the hill tonight, a pitcher who has held the Giants to a .220 team batting average. The healthy Giants have struck out just as many times as they have beaten Zimmerman for a hit, with players like Angel Pagan (.176 batting average) and Ryan Theriot (.100 batting average) struggling to ignite the offense. Posey’s current hot streak is nice for fantasy baseball owners, but if there is no one on base ahead of him, expect Zimmerman to be very careful around the catcher, thus capping his potential in daily fantasy baseball games.
Joe Mauer – I’m sure you’ve heard the mantra “Don’t pay for saves”, well I’m not paying for catchers either. On a day to day basis, I’d rather play the numbers game than roster an “elite” option and simply hope for the best. Mauer is having his average season, but the fact that he is in the center of one of the leagues worst offenses has stopped me from singing his praise this season. The Tigers Doug Fister has dominated Mauer over his career, holding him to a mere 2 hits in 16 at bats (.125 batting average). Mauer is a great talent, but he is not Head and Shoulders above the competition at catcher, and I’d much rather take my chances on a cheaper option with a better matchup.