Memorial Day’s afternoon baseball makes way for a traditional Tuesday night schedule. Every team will play, but FantasyDraft’s slate voids a 6:10 p.m. ET clash between the White Sox and Indians. While that eliminates Mike Clevinger and Cleveland’s streaking offense, plenty of intriguing cost-efficient pitchers and batters remain on the docket.
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I was expecting a much steeper price tag on Tyson Ross, who has returned to vintage form with a 3.16 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 60.2 innings. He has logged seven quality starts in 10 turns, and only one merely met the minimal (6 IP, 3 R) requirements. The holdovers occurred at Houston, at Colorado, and at home against the Nationals. On Tuesday he faces a far friendlier foe in the Marlins, MLB’s worst offense in terms on runs, home runs, and wOBA. To put a cherry on top, Ross has recorded a career 3.33 ERA at Petco Park. He’s a no-brainer at this price, which clears the runway for Coors Field exposure.
I’ll keep endorsing Luis Castillo as long as a rocky start deflates his price. Following a strong start (6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 KK) against the Pirates, the 25-year-old righty has registered a 2.83 ERA, 31 strikeouts, and nine walks in five May outings. He brandishes a 47.7 % ground-ball rate and 14.8 % swinging-strike rate heading into Tuesday’s turn at Arizona. It’s too early to accurately assess the humidor’s impact, but the Diamondbacks have scored 100 runs in 27 home games. That includes Monday’s 12-run outburst against Homer Bailey and a suspect Cincinnati bullpen. Castillo is far better than Bailey, so don’t shy away from a strong matchup at a generous cost.
Nothing against CC Sabathia, but Houston’s right-handed studs facing a hittable southpaw at Yankee Stadium should raise some eyebrows. Jose Altuve is the only player who can disappoint fantasy gamers while batting .329. Season-long drafters who took him second overall expected more than four home runs and six steals by late May, but the reigning MVP is rewarding their patience. Over four sizzling starts, he’s hitting 11-for-24 with two homers and steals apiece. His days of drawing a four-figure salary are numbered.
Aside from not wanting to pay a vesting option, there’s a reason Boston designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment. Mitch Moreland has resoundingly outplayed the more expensive first baseman, batting .317/.385/.642 over 135 plate appearances. He has the same wOBA (.430) and wRC+ (172) as J.D. Martinez. That’s pretty good company for a $8,000 player receiving a platoon advantage against Marco Estrada, who has already relinquished a dozen homers. Moreland has reached base in 15 of his last 16 starts, and there’s no reason he won’t grace Boston’s lineup card for Tuesday’s advantageous matchup against a righty with a 5.40 ERA.
OK, I’m going to cheat and turn this section into another stack. Perhaps “It’s Coors Field” isn’t enough justification to play hitters against Kyle Freeland, who has continued to master the venue by allowing three runs in as many home starts. He now boasts a 3.30 ERA in 106.1 career frames at Coors. Counterpoint: It’s Coors Field. And more to the point, the Giants are suspiciously cheap for a lineup swinging at Colorado. Evan Longoria is having a fairly mundane season, but he’s raking (21-for-68 with four doubles, five homers) versus lefties, against whom he wields a .369 career wOBA. After opening his Colorado trip with three hits, he’s well worth a $7,400 investment. While I’m here, Andrew McCutchen–who possesses a career .408 wOBA against lefties–is $200 cheaper than Longoria. The red-hot Gorkys Hernandez matches that cost fresh off Monday’s fifth-straight multi-hit game, and Mac Williamson ($7,300) meets them in the middle. Oh yeah, Buster Posey for $8,4oo isn’t bad either. By using Ross and Castillo, you can stack San Francisco and Colorado.
Who in the world won’t want exposure to a lineup facing Jeff Samardzija at Coors Field? The struggling righty has a 6.23 ERA, 1.2 K-BB %, and .379 xwOBA in seven starts with six homers allowed. Lefties have leveled him to a .405 wOBA, so it’s virtually impossible to fade Charlie Blackmon despite his $11,000 entry point. Garnering a .388 wOBA against righties, David Dahl is also a strong play for $8,200. Even though he has already hit two doubles, a triple, and four home runs (all against righties) at his safe haven, Carlos Gonzalez costs $7,600 two days removed from a four-hit outburst. If he’s in the lineup, there’s no chance I’m fading Ryan McMahon for a $5,400 pittance. BvP stats aren’t my cup of tea, but Nolan Arenado (13-for-32, four doubles and a triple), Gerardo Parra (13-for-33, two homers), and Ian Desmond (10-for-26, three doubles and two homers) have all fared well against Shark in semi-meaningful sample sizes. Blackmon and Arenado ($10,800) are the only ones properly priced for the special occasion, so use multiple Rockies in cash contests.
Honorable Mention: Giants at Rockies (Freeland)