Billy Butler – The Royals may not be in the playoff race, but that shouldn’t slow down Butler, who has crushed Matt Harrison over his career. He has recorded a hit in two thirds of his at bats, with one quarter of them going for extra base hits. The DH’s 1.000 slugging percentage has me on board, as does the fact that he hits 23 points higher in Kansas City. Harrison had been on a role before being lit up by the Rays (12 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 homers in 5.1 innings pitched) last week, a frightening fact when you consider that his poor starts have come in bunches. A power hitter with a .300+ average against a pitcher he has dominated should be rostered in every daily fantasy baseball game, as the past is due to repeat itself tonight in KC.
LA Dodgers – They face off against a pitcher in Eric Stults who went unbeaten (4-0 with a 2.02 ERA) in August, but has yet ot face a lineup as potent as the Dodgers. I like the depth of the Dodgers to wear down Stults, who has not struck out more than 5 batters in any start this year. Without the ability to K his way through jams and without the aid of his spacious home park, Stults’ hot streak could very well to an end tonight in LA. Hanley Ramirez, the only current Dodger to have more than 1 hit against Stults, should be the leader of the charge, but acquisitions Adrian Gonzalez and Shane Victoriano should also produce in a big way. Throw Matt Kemp and a very underrated Andre Ethier, and you’ve got yourself the making of a long night for the Padres.
Players to avoid:
Carlos Pena – The Rays need the middle of their lineup to hit for power in this huge series against the Yankees, but that seems unlikely from Pena against Freddy Garcia. The inconsistent righty has retired Pena on 37 of 42 occasions (.119 batting average), with 4 of those hits being harmless singles. The Tampa Bay slugger has fanned 12 times against Garcia, 39% of the total strikeouts for the team. The team as a whole has had very little success (.217 batting average) against Garcia, giving daily fantasy baseball players no reason to expect a big night from any of the Rays. Garcia is not an ace, but on this night, he should be treated as such as he has a great history against the Rays hitters, especially Pena.
Delmon Young - He has lived up to his potential at times this year, but if Justin Masteron pitches around Detroit’s big bats and focuses on the 26 year old DH, it could be a night to forget for Young. Masterson has held Young to a .150 batting average by pounding the strikeout zone (0 walks) and taking advantage of Young’s aggressive nature. I like the Tigers as a team tonight in fantasy baseball, but the stars align for a multi strikeout night for Young, with runners left in scoring position being a common theme.
New York Yankees – They can’t really be falling apart, can they? With the O’s and Rays on their heels, the Yanks have been nothing more than ordinary since the All Star Break, and Alex Cobb has shut down one of the games most expensive lineups. As a team, New York owns a .184 career batting average against the youngster, with no player exceeding a .333 batting average (despite a small sample size). They have as many strikeouts as hits, and the following studs have a batting average hovering around or below the Mendoza line: Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Ichiro Suzuki, and Curtis Granderson. This could be a coming of age start for Cobb, who has impressed as much as any starter in the Rays loaded rotation.