Daily fantasy leagues have become all the rage, so I wanted to do a trial run for a new column (one that could be expanded if there is a favorable response). If you are someone who enjoys daily fantasy leagues, like the ones offered at Draft Street, please let me know if you find this as a useful tool and if it is something that you would like to see continued.
With that said, let’s take a look at the matchups around the league today: (All historical numbers come courtesy of mlb.com and are for the past 5 years for hitters and the past 10 years for pitchers)
Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) vs. Detroit Tigers (Drew Smyly)
- Through Thursay’s games the Rangers lead the league with a .378 average against lefties, as well as being tied for the league lead with 6 HR. In other words, Drew Smyly is a player to avoid.
San Francisco Giants (Tim Lincecum) vs. New York Mets (Dillon Gee)
- Tim Lincecum is struggling (0-2, 10.54 ERA in first three starts), but no Met has homered off Lincecum. David Wright, who has the most AB (17) is hitting just .118 with 0 HR and 1 RBI. Would it surprise anyone if this was the start where Lincecum got healthy? Regardless, it’s hard to trust using Wright for today’s game.
Miami Marlins (Josh Johnson) vs. Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez)
- The Miami Marlins are among the 10 worst teams against lefties (through Thursday), hitting .222. Off to a good start in the National League, Gio Gonzalez is looking like a good play.
St. Louis Cardinals (Kyle Lohse) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Erik Bedard)
- Many Pirate players have seen a good amount of Kyle Lohse, and a lot of them have hit him well including Garrett Jones (.300, 1 HR, 3 RBI in 20 AB), Andrew McCutchen (.364, 1 HR, 4 RBI in 22 AB) and Jose Tabata (.467, 1 HR, 4 RBI in 15 AB). The most surprising may be Pedro Alvarez, who is hitting .308 with 1 HR and 4 RBI in 13 AB. Looking for a deep sleeper? He could be worth rolling the dice on. As for Lohse, I wouldn’t touch him.
Minnesota Twins (Francisco Liriano) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Jeff Niemann)
- Francisco Liriano has opened the season with an 11.91 ERA in 11.1 innings of work. If that wasn’t enough, in 40.2 career innings against the Rays he is just 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA. Don’t even bother considering him as a viable option today.
Los Angeles Dodgers (Chad Billingsley) vs. Houston Astros (Wandy Rodriguez)
- Andre Ethier is off to a huge start this season, but he has never hit Wandy Rodriguez well throughout his career. In 17 AB he has hit just .176 with 0 HR and 0 RBI. You would probably be best served to spend your money elsewhere.
Colorado Rockies (Jeremy Guthrie) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Yovani Gallardo)
- No one is going to argue that Yovani Gallardo is one of the better pitchers in the league, but he has never fared well against the Colorado Rockies. In 36.1 innings he’s 0-4 with a 6.69 ERA. In this type of matchup you generally wouldn’t look to use players like Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, but you will definitely want to consider it.
Cincinnati Reds (Johnny Cueto) vs. Chicago Cubs (Ryan Dempster)
- Does anyone trust Alfonso Soriano? Despite his strong start, it’s just tough to believe in him producing on any given day. However, he has fared well against Johnny Cueto (who is pitching well with a 1.89 in his first three starts), hitting .313 with 3 HR and 4 RBI in 32 AB. If there’s a Cub to roll the dice on today he’s your choice.
- On the other side of the matchup, the majority of the Reds’ hitters have struggled against Ryan Dempster, including Joey Votto (.222, 2 HR, 6 RBI in 27 AB), Jay Bruce (.238, 0 HR, 1 RBI in 21 AB) and Brandon Phillips (.188, 2 HR, 2 RBI in 32 AB). The lone exception is Ryan Ludwick, who is hitting .300 with 1 HR and 4 RBI in 30 AB. However, word is that Dempster may miss this start, so prepare accordingly.
Baltimore Orioles (Wei-Yin Chen) vs. Los Angeles Angels (Dan Haren)
- Nick Marakis is the only Orioles player to have more than 10 AB against Dan Haren, though he has struggled. In 17 AB he’s hitting .118 with 1 HR and 1 RBI. Haren may have gotten off to a slow start (4.76 ERA over 17.0 innings), but this isn’t a matchup you would like to target.
Chicago White Sox (John Danks) vs. Seattle Mariners (Kevin Millwood)
- John Danks always seems to pitch well against the Mariners, going 6-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 76.0 innings. The two players who have faced him the most are Chone Figgins (.160 in 25 AB) and Ichiro Suzuki (.234 in 37 AB). While Seattle hitters are never really the best buys, today would definitely be a day to avoid them.
- Adam Dunn has only faced Kevin Millwood for 5 AB, but he has delivered 2 HR. Of course, he’s not the only White Sox player who has excelled against Millwood, as Alex Rios has hit .286 with 1 HR in 14 AB. Both are worth considering.
New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) vs. Boston Red Sox (Daniel Bard)
- As if Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s slow start wouldn’t have been enough to send him to the bench, Kelly Shoppach is hitting .286 with 2 HR in 28 AB against CC Sabathia. Don’t plan on using Saltalamacchia as a sleeper option today.
- While Mark Teixeira is starting to show signs of turning things around, Daniel Bard may be the best pitcher for him to get healthy against. In 15 AB he is hitting .333 with 4 HR. I would plan on using him today as long as you can slide him into your budget.
Other projected starting pitchers:
- Cleveland Indians (Justin Masterson) vs. Oakland Athletics (Tyson Ross)
- Philadelphia Phillies (Joe Blanton) vs. San Diego Padres (Anthony Bass)
- Atlanta Braves (Randall Delgado) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Ian Kennedy)
- Toronto Blue Jays (Ricky Romero) vs. Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy)