Pittsburgh Pirates – They still consider themselves alive in the race for the final playoff spot in the NL, and a date with Yovani Gallardo should improve their chances. If you subtract 4 reserves and Pedro Alvarez, the current Bucco’s are batting .403 against the Brewers ace, having drawn a walk just as often as they have been struck out. Gallardo relies on the K to wriggle his way out of trouble, but the Pirates have not chased pitches in the past, a trend that should continue. Andrew McCutchen is the big name to roster in daily fantasy baseball games, but Gaby Sanchez (.625 slugging percentage) and Garrett Jones (.565 OBP) have also had their fair share of success against the righty.
Elvis Andrus – The power hitters in Texas get most of the attention, but the crafty SS is quietly having himself a very nice season. He has shown up in a big way against Angel ace Jered Weaver, batting .407 and slugging .630 (which leads all Ranger starters). Oddly enough, Andrus has 2 home runs in 54 at bats against Weaver and 3 home runs in 568 at bats this season. It would be irresponsible of me to suggest Andrus is going to homer tonight, but the odds are in his favor to register a multi hit performance, with plenty of RBI and run scoring potential. He will come at a much more reasonable price than the his Ranger teammates, but should provide the most value from a fantasy perspective.
Bryan LaHair – The Cubs all star has struggled since representing his team in the mid summer classic (1 home run in 90 at bats) but he has hit Homer Bailey well in the past. With a team leading .625 batting average and 1.125 slugging percentage, LaHair is an interesting low priced player with a strong power upside. Bailey has surrendered 24 long balls this season and at least one in nearly 60% of his starts. It is very rare that a Cub makes this list, and if you’re searching from cheap power, LaHair is as good an option as any one.
Players to avoid:
Curtis Granderson – You’ve probably done pretty well over the last 3 months if you have simply started every player on the team opposing Ricky Romero, but Granderson should be the exception to that rule for daily fantasy baseball games today. The Grandy Man has twice as many K’s as hits (.190 batting average) and despite vast improvements versus lefties, his batting average is still 30 points lower against southpaws. If Romero struggles to find the strikezone, Granderson could still struggle, as he has only drawn one walk against the Blue Jays pitcher. The Yankees could hang a crooked number on Toronto last night, but the odds of Granderson doing damage against Romero are poor.
Nelson Cruz – The Angels need to get hot, and there is no pitcher they trust more than Jered Weaver. Their ace has pitched well in September (12.1 innings pitched, 2 earned runs, 12 strikeouts) and has dominated Cruz over the course of his career. The Rangers outfielder holds a lifetime .214 batting average against the righty, striking out 3 times for every 2 hits. September has been Cruz’s worst month of the season (batting under .215) and a showdown with Weaver is going to doom his loyal fantasy baseball owners.