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The Daily Duel: Desert Gold Mine

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

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Tip of the Week - Know a hitter’s splits vs. LHP and RHP

Typically baseball has trended that left-handed batters fare better against right-handed pitchers while right-handed batters fare better against left-handed pitchers. This isn’t always the rule but, again, it typically is. For example, look at what Paul Goldschmidt has did last season:

VS. LHP – 172 ABs, 10 home runs, 34 RBI, 1.068 OPS
VS. RHP – 342 ABs, 10 home runs, 48 RBI, .739 OPS

Goldschmidt is the obvious choice here since everyone knows he mashes left-handed pitching. Going into Monday night’s tilt with the Dodgers, he was a must-play with Chris Capuano on the mound (although Anthony Rizzo did have a better fantasy night in the FanDuel format). Given that Goldy went into the contest with a 9-for-12 (.750) track record against the left-handed Capuano, Goldschimdt was a prime choice to plug into your first base spot. He paid off by going 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. The more you can have working in your favor – matchup vs. pitcher, split stats, home ballpark, etc. – the better your chances for success. The players who do well with the lefty/righty matchups are typically the players who don’t play everyday (Scott Hairston, for example), so check those cheap players and take a close look at their splits.

Value Players Looking To Rebound

Here are some players who have seen their value drop significantly due to poor production in the season thus far. You might be surprised at some of the names and how much their stock has fallen. That being said, most of these players have a track record of success or enough pedigree that they should be able to turn their season around sooner rather than later and have good value in the near future as a result.

Albert Pujols, 1B, LAA, $3500 – Obviously, the biggest concern with Pujols right now is his ailing foot, which he continues to receive treatment on. With the Angels having a day off Monday, Pujols sat out Sunday’s game to get some extra rest. The silver lining is that despite hitting only .237, Pujols has five home runs and 19 RBI already. If Pujols gets himself right, he’ll be a nice value considering Prince Fielder and David Ortiz are both $5000.

Martin Prado, 3B, ARI, $3200 – One of the key pieces in the Justin Upton deal, Prado appears to be turning the corner with 10 hits in his last seven games. Prado is too good of a player to keep hitting .234 and has shown some decent power with four home runs. He stole 17 stolen bases while hitting .301 last season and has a better hitter’s park as well as a more run-happy manager.

Jay Bruce, OF, CIN, $3200 – One of the streakier power hitters in the game, Bruce should find the pop in his bat soon. While his one home run is disappointing, he has nine doubles, which puts him on pace for a career high. With the weather warming up and Bruce making adjustments at the plate, look for him to heat up soon.

Melky Cabrera, OF, TOR, $2700 – There aren’t too many better places to hit in a lineup than where Melky slots in for Toronto. Hitting in front of power hitters like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion is an ideal spot for a hitter of Cabrera’s talents. It remains to be seen if Melky’s slow start after raking the last two seasons has anything to do with the PED suspension he had last year. Cabrera might be coming around after hitting his first home run Sunday and going 6-for-13 over his last three games.

On Fire

These players have been some of the hottest hitters in the league recently. They are worth considering putting into the lineup regardless of the price they cost. Hot streaks don’t always last, but one of my rules is if a player’s smoking the ball, there’s no reason to sit him down.

Allen Craig, 1B, STL, $3700 – This price won’t stay this low much longer, take that to the bank. One of the league leaders in RBI hitting in the cleanup spot for the potent Cardinals lineup, Craig has finally found his power stroke. Over his last four games he has gone 8-for-18 (.444) with two home runs, four runs and six RBI. There’s no reason to think he’s going to slow down; just remember he’s never played more than 130 games in a season.

Jedd Gyorko, 2B, SD, $2900 – The hyped rookie struggled out of the gate, hitting only .210 on April 21. Since then he’s raised his OPS by 190 points and has hit three home runs over his last seven games while going 10-for-27 (.370) with six RBI. The San Diego offense has been better as of late and Gyorko was moved up to fifth in the lineup behind Yonder Alonso and Chase Headley; not a bad place to be.

Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE, $4100 – Kipnis was hitting under the Mendoza line until April 30 but appears to be making up for the slow start. He has seven runs, three home runs, two triples and two stolen bases over his last seven games. He continues to hit near the top of the lineup and has a speed/power combo that few have at second base. Look for him to continue to develop in his second full season as a starter.

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