Hanley Ramirez – I love what I have seen from Ramirez since he was traded, and I love every part of his matchup against Wandy Rodriguez tonight. The SS/3B holds a .409 batting average and a .773 slugging percentage against the newest Bucco with 44.4% of his hits going for extra base hits. Rodriguez has only recorded 1 win in the last 2 months and has surrendered at least 3 runs in each of his last 6 starts. The Dodgers offense is a deep one, and I expect Rodriguez to struggle when he faces the lineup a second or third time. Look for the Dodgers to score some runs with Ramirez in the center of the action.
Alex Rios – He may not be the “biggest” name on the South side of Chicago, but he is having the best season. The Blue Jays have struggled when Ricky Romero takes the bump (they have lost 8 of his last 9 starts) and Rios has thrived against the inconsistent lefty. Rios is batting .357 against Romero for his career with 0 strikeouts. The White Sox outfielder has a higher OBP and more stolen bases on the road this season, giving him the potential of a great all around night at the ballpark. With two high powered offenses, runs will not be at a premium, making the White Sox best hitter a hot commodity.
Players to avoid:
Washington Nationals – It would be easy to load up on Nats today as they are a hot bunch and face Tim Lincecum who has been anything but dominate this season. But with Ian Desmond still on the shelf, there are no Nationals that hit the Giants righty well. In fact, their team batting average is just above the Mendoza line (.208) with 27 hits and 33 strikeouts. The Freak has been especially hard on hitters like Adam LaRoche (.160 batting average) and Mark DeRosa (.154) which allows him to be careful around the potent middle of the Washington lineup. Lincecum’s ERA at home is half of what it is on the road and he has surrendered only 21% of his homers in San Fransisco this season. Daily fantasy baseball owners need to turn a blind eye to the upstart Nats for today and look elsewhere for considerable fantasy baseball production.
Justin Upton – If you’re still holding out hope that this 24 year old can salvage his season with a hot month, I encourage you to wait at least one more day. He faces Adam Wainwright tonight, a pitcher whom he has 0 hits against in 7 career at bats. Is that a big sample size? No. But for a hitter that has regressed in every major statistical area this season, it is enough of a red flag for me. Upton has hit for more power at home this season and with Wainwright going 2-0 with a 14:3 strikeout to walk ratio and 0 HR’s allowed in his last 2 home starts, there is very little upside for the Diamondbacks OF in daily fantasy baseball games.
B.J. Upton – I have nothing against the Upton family, in fact, I like both these players next season as much as anyone. But if you’re looking to compete in a daily fantasy league, you need a roster that is Upton-free. Even if you ignore the down season that the Rays OF is having, there is nothing encouraging about his upside when facing King Felix Hernandez. Upton has 3 hits in 28 career at bats (.107) against the elite righty with 10 strikeouts. The odds are stacked against him to record even a single hit, and they are even more remote for that hit to do any damage. The Rays as a team are batting a mere .172 against the Cy Young candidate, a number that drops to .149 if Hernandez decides to walk Evan Longoria. There are plenty of outfield options tonight, don’t chase the Upton’s under any circumstance.