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Daily Fantasy Baseball: Mr. Fantasy’s Daily Diamonds for July 11
By Dave Del Grande
TIP OF THE DAY
Beware of pitchers returning from injuries.
Before you say, “Well, duh,” on this one, hear me out.
Yes, it’s obvious that you shouldn’t expect a pitcher making his first start after a stint on the disabled list to be in midseason form.
But my caution here is more about the hitters he’ll be facing.
The Rays’ Jake Odorizzi (hamstring), Reds’ Raisel Iglesias (oblique) and Dodgers’ Brandon Beachy (elbow) come off the DL to make starts Saturday.
Instinct tells us to load up on Astros, Marlins and Brewers against these right-handers.
The problem is: It’s hard to predict how far these starters are going to go. Iglesias, for example, never threw more than 68 pitches in any of his minor-league rehab starts, and Beachy has had two Tommy John surgeries since he last pitched in a major league game two years ago.
The last thing you want is to play guys like Marlins first baseman Justin Bour (.879 OPS vs. righties, .347 vs. lefties) and/or Brewers first baseman Adam Lind (.950 OPS vs. righties, .648 vs. lefties), only to see them faced left-handed relievers, against whom they struggle, in their final two or three at-bats after the starters get pulled early.
It’s a risk you take in any matchup. You never know how much a starter is going to pitch.
But in these situations, early pitching changes are predictable. And that’s a variable you can do without.
Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles (FantasyAces $4,800).
Let me start off by saying Davis is hot (21 hits in his last 19 games) and has a nice — albeit brief — history against Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (3-for-6 with a home run).
But this is more about Zimmermann and his frame of mind.
The right-hander has spent the better part of the last week awaiting the birth of his second child. When it appeared imminent Friday, he was placed on baseball’s new paternity list and was on hand for the birth of a girl.
Zimmermann’s wife wasn’t even out of the hospital when he got a call asking if he could rush back and pitch Saturday.
So there he’ll be Saturday night, down the road in Baltimore, facing a collection of Orioles who own a .306 lifetime average against him even when he’s properly focused.
I recommend Davis retrieve his home run ball and sign it to Ava Kristeen.
All Padres vs. Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis.
It used to be that Colby Lewis pitching at the hitters’ paradise of Glove Life Park in Arlington was a fantasy feast.
Still is, at times. Just not Saturday.
Somehow in his less-than-mediocre career, Lewis has proven unhittable to the Padres. Current San Diego players have come to bat 31 times against him; only two have gotten hits.
That’s a .065 average and .218 OPS.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should pitch Lewis on Saturday. Every measurable 2015 stat still labels him as a less-than-average pitcher.
And it’s not like the Texas wind has started blowing in.
Before sneaking a sleeper like first baseman/designated hitter Brett Wallace (FantasyAces $3,000) in there against this fantasy gold mine, remember this: Sometimes rust looks a lot like gold.
Cardinals first baseman Mark Reynolds (FantasyAces $4,300) vs. Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett.
The Cardinals benched Reynolds in favor of Dan Johnson on Friday night, and with good reason. The guy is 15-for-29 in the month of July.
Fifteen strikeouts, that is.
But Reynolds has to be back in the lineup Saturday, and that’s because of his history against Burnett.
Reynolds is 5-for-13 in his career against Burnett. All five of the hits — two doubles and three home runs — have gone for extra bases.
That’s a 1.659 OPS that’s hard to overlook, even for a guy who’s hitting .138 this month.
The price is a little high for my liking. But here’s the good news: If you play Reynolds on Saturday, I’m pretty sure you’re going to be the only one.
TODAY’S STACK PACK
Giants vs. Phillies right-hander David Buchanan.
Few teams are as streaky as the defending champs.
Before Friday, they’d scored 10 or more runs in a game five times this season. On those occasions, they came back the next day and averaged 7.8.
Well, the Giants did the double-figure thing again Phillies, and they did it to their best pitcher, Cole Hamels.
Saturday they’ll take their cracks at Buchanan, who has experience in high-scoring games. Opponents averaged 5.8 in the five games he started before the Phillies jettisoned him to Triple-A two months ago.
He’s just resurfacing now, complete with his 2.07 road WHIP, .826 OPS against left-handed hitters and .982 against righties.
It’s the wrong place, wrong time for a comeback.
Second baseman Joe Panik (FantasyAces $4,750), shortstop Matt Duffy (FantasyAces $4,700) and outfielder Hunter Pence (FantasyAces $5,300) are must-starts.
Jonny Gomes, Braves outfielder (FantasyAces $3,500).
In a day game at Coors Field pairing a pitcher who has struggled on the road (Atlanta’s Matt Wisler, 1.76 WHIP) against a guy who has had more than his fair share of problems at home (Colorado’s Jorge de la Rosa, 1.83 WHIP), you know your rivals are going to load up on Braves and Rockies.
I suggest you do the same, but with a twist.
Gomes hasn’t done anything spectacular of late, but he quietly does have hits in each of his last three starts.
No doubt, he remains under the radar.
That could change Saturday. He’s matched up with de la Rosa, who he’s faced four times in his career. The result? A single, double and home run — a .750 average and whopping 2.350 OPS.
After a pair of virtual pitchers’ duels — two 5-3 Rockies wins — to open the series, you know a fireworks display looms Saturday.
It will be no surprise if Gomes helps ignite it.
Few guys need a break more than Giants catcher Buster Posey (FantasyAces $5,600), who sat out games Tuesday and Wednesday with what is being called minor hamstring soreness.
Sure enough, the All-Star was back in the San Francisco lineup for Friday’s 15-2 shellacking of the Philadelphia Phillies, and contributed two hits to it.
But it was his first at-bat that was most telling. And troublesome.
Posey came to the plate with the bases loaded and grounded weakly to third base. It hardly qualified as a double play ball, but Posey ran no more than half-speed to first base and got doubled up, costing him (and his daily fantasy owners) an RBI.
The Giants certainly don’t need Posey to play Saturday against the aforementioned David Buchanan of the Phillies. It’s possible he will get a “catcher’s day off” — a chance to play first base.
Or maybe even another day off, which would be his third in the last four games.
Either way, he’s not going to be in my Stack Pack (see above). I recommend you likewise pass on him and hope your rivals pay the steep price for damaged goods.
Want to play more than one first baseman in your lineup? FantasyAces allows you to use more than one player per position! Check out the Scoring tab located on the Gameplay Basics page for more information about our DFS MLB rosters & scoring.
About Mr. Fantasy
Dave Del Grande didn’t invent fantasy sports–it only seems that way. Dave was the first to have a weekly column devoted entirely to fantasy sports published in a daily newspaper, The Oakland Tribune, the birthplace of fantasy football. He also was the first to have a fantasy-sports column syndicated nationally by Universal Press. He authored the original “Ask Mr. Fantasy” column for ESPN.com and also helped launch the highly successful fantasy endeavors of USA Today Sports Weekly and NFL.com. In the meantime, Dave was an award-winning NBA basketball reporter, covering the Golden State Warriors, and continues to cover the Warriors and San Francisco Giants for The Sports Xchange.
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