Jay Bruce – The Reds outfielder has been better of late as he has averaged about 1 hit per game since the Joey Votto injury, providing me with optimism moving forward. He has hit Randy Wolf well (.409 career batting average with a .500 OBP) and should find himself in run producing spots tonight as the Reds are batting .298 as a team against the veteran lefty. Nearly half of Bruce’s hits have gone for extra bases and Wolf has been victimized by the long ball at home (12 homers surrendered in 73.2 innings pitched). Look for Bruce to pace not only the Reds offense, but also successful teams in daily fantasy baseball games tonight.
Miguel Cabrera – Owning Miggy comes at a steep price, but he figures to be worth every penny tonight against the Yankees CC Sabathia. Cabrera holds a .435 career batting average against the New York ace with more RBI than hits. He has been in the zone over the last 45 days, as he hit .344 in July and has been even better thus far in August. Last but not least, Cabrera’s batting average is 39 points higher at home and his home run rate (1 HR every 12.69 at bats at home versus 1 HR every 19.08 at bats on the road) goes from good to elite when playing in the comforts of Detroit. Don’t let the big name pitcher scare you away from rostering one of the best hitters in the game today.
Ryan Howard – There is no doubting this mans power when healthy, so when he bats for a high average against a pitcher, you should waste no time in rostering him in all formats of fantasy baseball. He owns Tim Hudson to the tune of a .328 batting average and a .690 slugging percentage. An amazing 31.6% of his hits have gone for HR’s, a big reason why he has amassed a 1.110 OPS in 58 career at bats. The Phillies probably won’t score a ton of runs tonight, but you can be sure that Howard will be involved in the runs they do manage against Hudson.
Players to avoid:
Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre – Josh Beckett has been far from an ace this season for the disappointing Red Sox, but over his career, he has navigated his way through the middle of the power packed Rangers lineup. Cruz and Beltre are batting .133 against Beckett with 2.5 times as many strikeouts as hits. The Red Sox righty has given up only 3 homers in 60 innings pitched at home this season, meaning the Rangers duo is unlikely to provide value in daily fantasy baseball leagues with one swing of the bat.
Carlos Gonzalez – Typically, past success is a good thing and hints at future production. However, in the case of CarGo, his past dominance of Chad Billingsley is the reason I am avoiding him today. He has 10 hits in 18 career at bats (.556 batting average) against the righty with an amazing .889 slugging percentage. So why am I not spending big bucks on the all star outfielder? He has amassed those numbers with the elite protection of Troy Tulowitzki (.297 batting average with 3 HR’s against Billingsley) and Todd Helton (.414 batting average with 2 HR’s against Billingssley), both of whom are currently on the shelf. The teams next best hitter, Michael Cuddyer, is also on the DL, making the Rockies lineup far less intimidating. I’m expecting the Dodgers righty to pitch around CarGo all night long, making the ceiling on fantasy production a low one. I think you’re looking at a final stat line something like 1/2 with a couple of walks and maybe a run or two, not a good night for a player that will command a high percentage of your budget.