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Draftster MLB: The Return of Weekly Picks

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Now that all the festivities have come and gone, itís time to restart the (daily fantasy) season. Weíve posted this weekís article early in order to get you right back in the swing of things after the break, so enjoy, study well, and continue winning!

We begin with a discussion of Cliff Lee, who will come off the disabled list Monday to face the Giants. There isnít much doubt that Lee is one of the best pitchers in the National League when heís on his game, but Draftster does not adjust pricing for stints on the DL. This means that it will cost you $9,000 to select a man who was shelled to the tune of eight runs (three earned) in 4.2 innings in a rehab outing for High-A Clearwater on Monday. Itís only one outing, but Lee will have been on the shelf for more than two months before his activation Monday, and Iím just not sure what we are going to get from a pitcher who has had so much downtime.

Here Come the PicksÖ

Pitcher

Clay Buchholz ($3,000)

Buchholz has begun to show improvement since re-entering the rotation following a hyperextended left knee he suffered at the end of May, as he has allowed just nine earned runs in his last 29.2 innings (four starts), including a complete-game shutout against the Astros on Sunday, where he struck out 12 batters. It is interesting to note that this dominant outing came on the heels of an adjustment for Buchholz, who said that he changed the grip on his changeup midway through his previous start against the White Sox, which resulted in more swings and misses on the pitch. While I am generally not so quick to believe that a minor adjustment can have such a large impact, the fact that he will face the Royals on Friday (92 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season), combined with his rock-bottom price, makes him a strong selection from a potential value standpoint.

Offense

Fresh off his trouncing at the hands of the Braves, Edwin Jackson will face the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Friday. The 30-year-old has performed fairly well against right-handed pitching this season, but loses his strikeout pitch against lefties, which has resulted in a 4.64 xFIP in 46 innings. Unfortunately, the Snakes donít have many quality lefties to stack, but with the temperature expected to make its way into triple digits in Phoenix, it might not be a bad idea to go for some of the cheaper left-handed plays as well.

Miguel Montero (C) ($3,600)
David Peralta (OF) ($6,800)

Trevor Cahill will take the ball on the other side of the matchup after being recalled from the minor leagues Monday. Cahill pitched to a 5.66 ERA in 19 games (four starts) for the D-backs earlier this season, and didnít fare much better in six starts with Triple-A Reno, as he walked 20 batters in 28.1 innings, allowing four home runs over that span. As with our previous target team, the Cubs donít have that many effective left-handed bats, but with Cahillís seemingly ubiquitous control problems, this might not be a bad spot to throw in a few names against the platoon in addition to the southpaws recommended here in anticipation of a blowup.

Anthony Rizzo (1B) ($9,500)
Luis Valbuena (3B) ($3,000)

Mike Leake has performed well in sum this season, but sports a .374 wOBA against left-handed hitting. The Yankees have plenty of lefties we can select to take advantage of the short porch in left field.

Brett Gardner (OF) ($3,000)

Lance Lynn has done well against both sides of the platoon so far this season, but a 4.68 xFIP against lefties may suggest that some regression is coming. We can look to exploit this when he faces the Dodgers.

Dee Gordon (2B) ($3,000)

Assuming you have heeded my advice in a few areas, you are likely to have saved some money for my last recommendation, who will be facing Francisco Liriano on Friday. Liriano currently owns a 5.23 BB/9 against right-handed hitting this season, which does not bode well for future success.

Troy Tulowitzki (SS) ($8,200)

The Week at a Glance

Lefty Travis Wood will take his 4.97 xFIP against right-handed batters to the mound against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Saturday. This could lead to a stacking opportunity with some cheap (and not so cheap) Arizona hitters.

Henderson Alvarez is a very good pitcher who comes up a bit short on strikeouts, but he may have a chance to tally a few when he faces the struggling Giants at home Saturday, as they carry a 21.2 percent whiff rate against right hurlers.

Zack Wheeler is fortunate enough to draw the Padres on Sunday, who are still the worst team in the league from both sides of the platoon.

Unfortunately, Jayson Werthís colossal power surge in the weeks leading up to the All-Star break has vaulted his price into the stratosphere, but we can find some less expensive righties to select against Franklin Morales in Colorado on Monday, who has allowed 14 home runs in 61.2 innings against his opposite hand this season.

Also on Monday, Vidal Nuno takes on the Tigers at home. Nuno threw the ball well in his first start as a member of the Diamondbacks against the Marlins, but allowed four earned runs in five innings against the Giants on Sunday. I would say itís safe to stock up on right-handed Tigers for the upcoming outing.

Iíve always liked Scott Baker, but he has really been struggling this season, allowing seven home runs in 25.2 innings against lefties. This might present a problem when he travels to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

Ian Kennedyís strikeout rate continues to sore while his walk rate persists in getting smaller. He has also shrunk his home run rate down to 0.72/9, the best such mark of his career. These are all things that should pique your interest, as he faces the Cubs on Wednesday, who are one of the worst teams in the league against right-handed pitching.

Kevin Correia has become a pitcher who can be comfortably stacked against on both sides of the platoon. His anemic 3.39 K/9 against lefties could make Adam Dunn an attractive play Thursday.

Nick Tepesch has struggled against right-handed hitters this season. He will see quite a few righties when he takes on the Aís at home next Friday.

Jacob DeGromís price has stayed reasonable despite the fact that he has only allowed six earned runs in his last five starts. He will take on the Brewers next Saturday, who have struggled against right-handed pitching this season.