Beat Kevin Payne
Congratulations to the 12 players who accomplished the impossible and beat my score last Friday in the “Beat Kevin Payne” contest. In case you missed it, only 54 people signed up for the tournament essentially cutting out half of the contestants and improving everyone’s odds to cash. I would have done better had I realized Josh Johnson has forgotten how to pitch. Johnson, who finished with -2.34 points, looked like a logical choice to me considering he was pitching against a weak Padre lineup in the best pitcher’s park in baseball. Keep an eye on this column as well as RotoSynthesis.com for future contests RotoWire and FanDuel will team up to run.
There have been some crazy individual performances so far this season but probably none as big as Josh Hamilton’s four home runs Tuesday night. Hamilton finished with a whopping 30 points, the highest score by a batter all season. A note about Hamilton: avoid him going forward. Considering what he’s done that’s not great advice, right? Hear me out. First, his price is going to be adjusted accordingly and he should easily end up as the highest priced batter surpassing even Matt Kemp. Secondly, I’d only avoid him in tournament formats. The fact is everyone will be taking him after his monster performance and therefore the “pot odds” play is to go with a different player and hope for a 0-for-4 performance from Hamilton. Using the money saved by passing on Hamilton allows owners address other positions your opponents won’t have the luxury of spending money on.
Andy Dirks, DET, OF, $2900 – Dirks seems to have taken over the second spot in the Tigers lineup after a slow start by teammate Brennan Boesch. Dirks might end up being platooned but should find himself in the lineup most nights as a left-handed hitter. Dirks entered Wednesday on an 8-for-17 tear which included three doubles, a home run and five RBI. It should go without saying that hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder is one of the better spots in all of baseball.
Jordany Valdespin, SS, NYM, $2500 – Valdespin should see some playing time after starter Ruben Tejada went on the 15-day DL with a quad injury. Valdespin made a splash Monday night with a pinch-hit, game-winning home run against the Phillies. He’s a decent prospect after hitting 17 home runs and stealing 37 bases between Double and Triple-A last season, albeit as a 23-year-old.
Kyle Seager, 3B, SEA, $3000 – Over the last week, Seager has been tearing the cover off the ball, going 9-for-25 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He’s hitting in the heart of the Seattle order and the Mariners aren’t nearly as bad offensively as they were last season. Not surprisingly, Seager has some different splits between home (.628 OPS) and away (.933), which is something to consider when deciding whether or not to use him.
Will Middlebrooks, 3B, BOS, $3000 – Middlebrooks’ big numbers shouldn’t be a total shock considering he had nine home runs in 93 at-bats at Triple-A Pawtucket before his call-up. The Red Sox are already trying to figure out how to fit him in the lineup after Kevin Youkilis returns, possibly moving Middlebrooks into the outfield. Middlebrooks did leave Tuesday night’s game with a leg injury, so he may be out of the lineup for a few days. Like Hamilton, at his cheap price he’s another “pot odds” play to avoid in tournaments after his two-homer game Monday night.
Lefty On The Mound?
Here’s a look at some sneaky players who don’t play on a regular basis but rake against left-handed pitching:
Scott Hairston, OF, NYM, $2800 – Hairston has two home runs in 35 at-bats vs. lefties for an .894 OPS.
Andruw Jones, OF, NYY, $2600 – Jones is off to a slow start against lefties this season and has hit righties better in a small sample. Last season, though, Jones had eight home runs in 126 at-bats and a .924 OPS against left-handed pitching.
Matt Diaz, OF, ATL, $2700 – Diaz already has two home runs in 20 at-bats and a .350 batting average against southpaws.
Brandon Snyder, OF, TEX, $2900 – Snyder had quite the night Monday going 3-for-5 with a home run off Brian Matusz. Snyder raised his early numbers to 5-for-10 against lefties with two home runs. He should continue to be part of a platoon in the Texas outfield, which could mean nice numbers, especially in the middle of summer in Arlington.
Tip Of The Week
Play A Late Game Early
I realize there’s the possibility that some might think this is somewhat unethical depending on how serious you take your fantasy sports. The sooner you commit to a game that is set to start, the greater the opportunity is that your opponents won’t have as strong of a lineup. For example, if you sign up for a 50/50 or heads up game early in the morning for a contest that starts at 7 PM EST, that increases your chances of your opponent not having an optimal lineup. This is all predicated on your ability to check your lineup between 6:30 and game time to make sure that: 1. the game isn’t rained out; and 2. all of your players are in the starting lineup. It’s not a certainty that all of your opponents will have the same opportunity to do the same. As a result, they will end up with a dead spot if the player they’ve put in earlier that day isn’t in the lineup. For example, Rafael Furcal entered Tuesday night riding a 12-for-28 streak over the last week with two home runs. However, he was given the night of Wednesday but still found himself in a lot of lineups with the assumption he’d play.
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