This Week in Draftster: New Developments and Fresh Picks
One of the great benefits of getting in on the ground floor of new daily games sites like Draftster is that we get to take advantage of their promotional efforts to attract new players. An example of this is the daily $500 freeroll Draftster has been running. This tournament holds a maximum of 500 players and pays the top three spots $50, $25, and $15 respectively, with 82 other players receiving $5.
The good news here is that because the player pool is relatively small at the moment, the probability of taking home money in this contest is very high. On Saturday, for example, there were only 87 players in the entire field! That makes this tournament a fantastic way to pad your bankroll while focusing on money events. Players need to act quickly, however, as the tournament will only run until Sunday, June 15, so be sure not to miss out on the opportunity.
Draftster has also begun introducing guaranteed buy-in tournaments that will run regardless of how many entrants have signed up. The implementation of these tournaments is a good move by Draftster, as it will help reduce the issue of tournaments being cancelled due to lack of volume in this early stage.
A Note About Last Week
The Rockies disrupted our plans somewhat by sending Franklin Morales to the bullpen and calling up top prospect Eddie Butler to make his major league debut Friday. If you still selected Dodgers that night, you likely did well, as the 23-year-old got hammered to the tune of six runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings. Butler, who was a first-round pick by the Rockies in 2012, kept a tidy ERA of 2.49 at Double-A Tulsa this season, but really saw his strikeout numbers take a hit, as he punched out just 40 batters in 68.2 frames. That, combined with the fact that he will be pitching at Coors field, makes me think we should at least give Butler another start or two before he is considered worthy for daily (or any) fantasy play beyond the deepest of leagues.
On to the picks!
Henderson Alvarez (P) ($5400)
Alvarez does so many things well that a slight bump in his strikeout rate could turn him into a pitcher with an elite skillset. He faces the Cubs on Sunday, who rank close to the bottom in most relevant metrics that measure success against right-handed pitching this season. Alvarez can be had at a relatively cheap price, even after his 88-pitch complete game Tuesday. This makes him a very nice play, even away from the cavernous dimensions of Marlins Park.
I began writing with the intention of advising to simply pick on Joe Saunders in Texas once again, but Draftster pricing presents some problems for that plan, as the switch-hitters for the Indians are expensive Sunday, and they haven't performed well against left-handed pitching this season.
Carlos Santana (3B) ($8,400)
I'm not formally recommending you spend the five-figures required to take shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera ($11,100), but I wouldn't fault anyone who did. Why am I keen on this play? Saunders has given up too many homers to righties throughout the course of his career, a trend that has continued in 2014. It's no secret that Globe Life Park is friendly to righties, and with temperatures expected to exceed 90 degrees in Arlington on Sunday, I expect to see balls leaving the park. This strikes me as the most exploitable matchup of the day, so I doubt you can actually go wrong by choosing any righty here, depending on how you allocate, of course.
Now that we got that out of the way…
Homer Bailey continues to look broken in 2014. I can almost go on either side of the platoon due to the 28-year-old's ubiquitous struggles, but I'm going to stay with the advantage, as Bailey has stronger peripherals against righties.
Chase Utley (2B) ($4,000)
Jimmy Rollins (SS) ($4100)
Ryan Howard (1B) ($6,000)
Chase Anderson has tallied the most extreme reverse split I think I've ever seen this season, allowing a .702 slugging percentage against the 49 right-handed hitters he's faced. Sure, the sample is pretty small, but the numbers are so stark that I think we'd be foolish to ignore this one, especially when the Braves have some right-handed mashers in a favorable park in Arizona.
Justin Upton (OF) ($3,000)
B.J. Upton (OF) ($5700)
Evan Gattis (C) ($7400)
I realize I have a lot of potential strikeouts in this group, but Anderson has only punched out seven righty batters this season, so I think the risk is a manageable one when compared to the potential damage that can be done. Still, the (understandably) squeamish can fill at least some of these holes with more of the right-handed crew from the Indians game, such as Yan Gomes ($3,000) at catcher.
Jayson Werth (OF) ($5700)
I generally like to recommend hitters who are playing in more hitter-friendly environments, but I simply couldn't resist the urge to target Eric Stults for at least one play, as he gave up two homers to right-handed batters in his last start against the White Sox, and Werth has notched an OPS of .924 against southpaws this season.
The Week At a Glance
Make a beeline for right-handed Dodgers against another one of my favorite targets, Tony Cingrani, at Great American Ballpark On Monday. Cingrani will likely be moved out of the rotation when Mat Latos returns from the disabled list, so pick against him while you can.
Also on Monday, Ricky Nolasco will try to fade the lefty bats of the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. He hasn't been dealing with lefties well in general all season, so make sure you're able to capitalize.
As we discussed previously, U.S. Cellular Field caters to righty power. John Danks will take on a righty-laden lineup when he faces the Tigers there Tuesday.
Brandon McCarthy has been the king of the middle-inning blow-ups of late, which is good, because that will keep him cheap enough to take against the Astros on Wednesday. I am still a believer in McCarthy based on his excellent walk and strikeout numbers, and I think maybe facing a team that is below average against righties can help him get it together the second time through the order.
Roenis Elias dominated the Yankees when he faced them in the Bronx earlier this year. He gets them in the friendly confines of Safeco Field Thursday, and they still have a below-average offense against lefties.
As we covered above, the lineup for the Cubs doesn't usually lend itself to a recommendation, but they face Roberto Hernandez in Philadelphia on Friday, which could be a nice spot to patch in some cheap lefties. Or go for the big guy, if you feel up to it.
Erasmo Ramirez is scheduled to start Saturday against the Rangers at Safeco, but that will likely only happen if Taijuan Walker isn't ready to return after his rehab start Monday. Let's just hope he needs one more tune up so we can stack it up like there's no tomorrow.