Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, $8,800 – Any starting pitcher allowing 3.57 HRs per nine innings is eyebrow raising in daily fantasy baseball regardless of how small the sample size in. For those who attempted to stack Indians against him last time out, forget that game ever happened at this point. Sunday afternoon should be a completely different outcome than Young’s 4.1 IP, two ER performance on Jun. 14. As a whole, Detroit rank sixth in wOBA against RHP, compared to Cleveland at 12th. The man leading the Tigers, of course, is none other than Miguel Cabrera; he leads the team in wOBA (.434), ISO (.284), AVG (.351), OBP (.401) and SLG (.634) against RHP. Although Young has excelled in the strikeout department this season (9.13 K/9), Cabrera is a tough cookie to strike out (15.1-percent K rate). Therefore, any contact he makes is almost guaranteed to be hard contact, so I expect a big day and possibly a bomb from the 10-time All-Star.
Justin Turner, Dodgers, $7,600 – In just 56 June ABs, Justin Turner has already hit five HRs with 11 RBIs with a .589 SLG. Over the span of 166 games between April and May, Turner only managed three HRs and 16 RBIs, and he didn’t produce a SLG over .360 in either month. Last year, Turner easily led the team in wOBA against RHP, as he topped second place Adrian Gonzalez by 30 percentage points. His numbers do not look anywhere near as nice to this point in 2016 but his numbers are trending upwards and he clearly possesses the talent. Turner and company will square off against Matt Garza in just his second game off the disabled list. In his first start, he didn’t look sharp yet he only allowed one ER in 4.0 IP. Still, he allowed eight hits and walk and should have a difficult time with a red hot Turner. The good news with Garza is he owns a career WHIP of 1.30 so should be a healthy amount of opportunities to reach base against him. Even if Turner doesn’t continue his recent power streak, the floor should be high enough in this matchup that he’s worth deploying in cash games without thinking twice.
Mike Trout, Angels, $9,300 – Mike Trout versus Eric Surkamp is a mismatch. plain and simple. Surkamp has fared as a gas can to both sides of the plate this season; both righties and lefties have managed a wOBA of at least .405 against him. Even with that being said, RHHs have hit him the hardest; they have produced a .340/.436/.615 slash line against him with a .434 wOBA. On the other hand, Trout ranks second on the team in career wOBA against LHPs (to Albert Pujols) with a .393 tally and he ranks first in ISO. In this matchup, the argument could be made for Trout to be priced as the most expensive player on the plate, yet he comes at the bargain price of only $9,300. It’s hard to imagine finding more bang for your buck than arguably the game’s best player against arguably one of the game’s worst pitchers for $1,500 cheaper than the maximum price for a hitter.
Matt Kemp, Padres, $7,600 – Sporting a sub-4.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, Gio Gonzalez isn’t the prototypical starting pitcher to target opposing hitters against, especially in spacious Petco Park. This combination of perceivably unfavorable factors should lead to a diminished ownership for Matt Kemp in an unwarranted spot. Despite the park and pitcher, Kemp has still clubbed six HRs at home this season and continues to produce excellent numbers against left-handers. For his career, Kemp owns a .400 wOBA and .328/.386/.559 slash line against the handedness and he has somehow managed to top those numbers to this point in 2016; his wOBA sits at .457 with a .369/.358/.754 slash line. To top it all off, Kemp is 3-8 (.375) in a limited sample size against Gonzalez with a HR and four RBIs. After posting a 1.42 ERA in April, Gonzalez has followed with a 5.23 ERA in May and 5.12 ERA so far in June. In other words, he isn’t untouchable. Do not fret when Kemp is less than 10-percent owned because he still possesses plenty of upside against an under-the-radar struggling pitcher. While he’s best suited for cash games due to the affordable price, Kemp’s career numbers against left-handers (and his BvP stats) suggest he’s a prime candidate for a moon shot as well.
Jacob deGrom, Mets, $22,000 – Having watched the Braves a whole lot recently, I will admit they are full of pesky hitters. Now that Mallex Smith has moved into the leadoff spot, the top three in their order are all LHHs who should not be overlooked. With that being said, the Braves have only moved up to fourth worst in wOBA against RHP and still rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO and hard hit percentage over the entirety of the season. Take those numbers with a grain of salt because their current lineup construction is clearly the best it’s been but this still isn’t the 1927 Yankees we’re talking about. Therefore, Jacob deGrom still faces a beatable matchup at home…a place where he’s been nearly unhittable since the beginning of 2015. After posting a 1.99 ERA at Citi Field last season, deGrom’s home ERA sits at 2.19 through 37.0 IP at home so far this season (compared to 3.60 on the road). The most amazing statistical split of his is the .286 AVG allowed on the road compared to just .202 at home. Some pitchers just feel more comfortable in a certain atmosphere and deGrom certainly appears to fit that bill. While pitching in his comfort zone against a bad offense on paper, deGrom easily ranks as the top starting pitcher for cash game formats, and he still possesses the necessary upside for GPPs as well.
Carlos Carrasco, Indians, $16,800 – Looking at Carlos Carrasco’s game log, his recent struggles are actually a bit deceiving. Since being activated from the disabled list on Jun. 2, Carrasco has faced the Royals twice and the Mariners once. Both of these opponents rank in the bottom 11 of K rate versus RHPs this season and therefore limit his top asset: the ability to miss bats. The two teams put the ball in play which has led to 24 hits and nine ERs over his last 17.2 IP. If looking solely at those numbers, it appears like we’re looking at a struggling pitcher, but he still managed to strike out six and eight batters in his last two games respectively. On Sunday, he’ll finally face a team that strikes out at about the league average rate (20.7-percent) and more importantly ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP, hard hit percentage and line drive rate versus RHP. Even though Carrasco is priced as a mid-tier pitcher, he’s an ace and I expect an ace-like performance.
Jameson Taillon, Pirates, $14,000 – Most will probably overlook young stud Jameson Taillon against an explosive Cubs offense but there are aspects to like about this matchup. Sure the Cubs’ 5.38 runs per game rank first in the National League and second in all of baseball but they can struggle on occasion against pitchers who miss bats and keep the ball on the ground. While Taillon has only struck out 5.14 batters per nine innings in 14.0 IP at the big league level, he has forced opposing hitters into a 62.2-percent GB rate. Furthermore, Taillon’s Minor League numbers suggest the Ks will be coming in full force in the near future. Taillon doesn’t issue free passes (1.93 BB/9) and sports a 1.93 ERA in a small sample size so this is going to be a battle of a power pitcher versus a powerful offense. At a price tag only slightly more expensive than Jake Peavy and Tom Koehler, Taillon certainly possesses a significantly higher ceiling. He’s a GPP option only due to the potential volatility against a potent offense, but if things break his way, he quite possibly could finish with one of the highest fantasy point totals of any starter on the slate.
*Stats are accurate as of Saturday, June 18