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Draftster MLB: Promising Prospects and Weekly Picks

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson covers the Angels for RotoWire and writes the weekly Draftster MLB and Dominate Your Duel daily games articles for RotoWire.

Rymer Liriano earned his call to the major leagues earlier this month after dominating the competition in 16 games at Triple-A El-Paso, notching a .452/.521/.661 batting line with three steals. While those numbers are impressive, it's important to note that Liriano has tallied an OPS of just .783 in over 2,000 at-bats in his minor league career. It may turn out that being a right-handed hitter in Petco Park will limit his power going forward, but he did hit 14 home runs in Double-A San Antonio over 371 at-bats before his promotion, and he has shown strong peripherals in his limited time with the Padres, striking out eight times while tallying six walks in 32 at-bats. What does this mean for the 23-year-old going forward? While we are unlikely to have a powerhouse on our hands, Liriano could be a nice option in the final weeks of the season for owners looking for a player who has a chance to put up a few multi-point outings.

Pitcher

Hisashi Iwakuma ($10,300)

It's not often I reach for the chalk when recommending a starting pitcher, but we have so many viable targets for offense Sunday that building a cost-effective lineup shouldn't be a problem. I'm going with Iwakuma because he has an xFIP under 3.00 from both sides of the platoon and is facing the Red Sox, a team that has struggled against right-handed pitching all season.

Batters

Scott Baker will make his first start for the Rangers since mid-July Sunday against the Royals at home. The right-hander has allowed seven home runs to lefties in just 30 innings pitched, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that he is prepared to throw around 75 pitches in the outing, which likely means this has the potential to turn into a bullpen game for Texas in a hurry.

Alex Gordon (OF) ($9,700)
Mike Moustakas (3B) ($4,100)

There were those who believed a move to the National League would help Justin Masterson recover from his rocky first-half of the season, but aside from throwing seven scoreless innings against the Marlins on Aug. 13, the 29-year-old has basically been the same disappointing pitcher, having allowed at least four runs in each of his other three starts with the Cardinals. Masterson will travel to a hitter-friendly park when he faces the Phillies, which may not bode well for his 4.57 xFIP against lefties this season.

Ryan Howard (1B) ($5,000)
Jimmy Rollins (SS) ($5,300)

I expect Brad Hand to struggle in his start against the Rockies, as soft-tossers don't strike me as the best candidates to leave Coors Field unscathed. Left-handers have a particularly hard time dealing with our spotlighted player, who is slugging a healthy .618 against them this season.

Wilin Rosario (C) ($3,500)

Kevin Correia is another struggling pitcher who has switched leagues, going from the Twins to the Dodgers in early August. While he could also potentially benefit from facing weaker lineups, he still carries a bloated 4.99 xFIP against southpaws this season, which may not make his start against the Mets on Monday very comfortable.

Matt den Dekker (Of) ($3,000)
Daniel Murphy (2B) ($3,000)

Drew Hutchison's home run problems against lefties this season have resulted in particularly nasty outcomes of late, as he's allowed 13 runs in his last 12.2 innings pitched. He will face the Rays on Sunday, who feature at least one southpaw worth taking a look at.

Matt Joyce (OF) ($5,900)

The Week at a Glance

Miles Mikolas and his 5.07 xFIP against southpaws will face one of the most lefty-heavy lineups in baseball Monday when he takes on the Seattle Mariners. The fact that he is pitching in Safeco Field may allow him to limit the damage, but the target is still strong. It will be even stronger the following night when the Rangers trot out Nick Martinez, for similar reasons.

Alex Wood has arguably emerged as the ace of the Braves' staff after spending some time n the minor leagues before Gavin Floyd went down for the season in June. He will face the Mets on Tuesday, who are one of the worst teams in the league against left-handed pitching this season.

The advanced metrics don't paint a pretty picture of Kyle Kendrick on either side of the platoon going forward. Don't be afraid to splash around when he faces the Nationals at home Wednesday.

It may be a good idea to give Collin McHugh a look against the Rangers on Thursday, as McHugh brings a 25.8 percent strikeout rate, and Texas has amassed an 82 wRC+ against right-handers, which is tied for second-worst in the league.

Trevor May has been brutalized in four outings (three starts) since his call up earlier this month, posting an 8.79 ERA in 14.1 innings. The sample size is obviously small, but it may be wise to consider the possibility that he is not ready to be a major league pitcher. He'll face the Orioles on Friday.

Jake Odorizzi could be a candidate to pick up some strikeouts against a weak offense Saturday, as he will face the Red Sox at home, who have fanned 20.8 percent of the time against righties in 2014.

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