MLB Daily Punts: Friday, September 27th
The last Friday of the MLB season is upon us, and I can’t say I’m happy about it at all. Playoff baseball is great to watch, but it doesn’t really translate well to DFS; there aren’t enough players, and 2-day baseball tournaments are kind of annoying. This shall be the last version of Daily Punts for 2013 (I think), but it was great bringing this to you guys every day. I suppose a wild-card playoff round version could be a possibility, but who knows. Anyway, we have a full schedule of games ahead so let’s dive into the picks…
Alex Avila – The Tigers travel to Miami to face the Marlins tonight, and I don’t think Tom Koehler is happy about it. Koehler hasn’t been giving up a ton of runs, but he is still a pitcher that the Tigers hitters should feast on. Avila typically hits near the bottom of the lineup, but in a lineup like this any spot is a good one. While he is terrible against lefties, Avila actually hits right-handers pretty well, with a .768 OPS and 10 HR’s on the year. Don’t be afraid to play any of the Tigers tonight.
Also receiving consideration: J.P. Arencibia, Russell Martin, Nick Hundley
James Loney – He’s been hitting 3rd for Tampa Bay lately and has clearly enjoyed his time there; he is 6 for his last 7 with three doubles during his past two games. The Rays still have something to play for and they walk into a nice matchup with R.A. Dickey in the Rogers Centre. That knuckler just doesn’t seem to knuckle as much in the dome, and I think the Rays jump on him tonight for at least a few runs. Loney has a .296 average and .792 OPS against right-handed pitching, and for his price he is a very nice play at first base tonight.
Also receiving consideration: Brandon Belt, Justin Smoak, Mark Reynolds
Kelly Johnson – Johnson is definitely a boom or bust candidate, but the conditions seem right tonight. He is facing R.A. Dickey, who struggles in Rogers Centre (a great hitter’s park), off whom he has 3 XBH’s in 12 at-bats, including a HR. I would imagine Joe Maddon will get him in the lineup tonight, and I think he could turn out to be a really nice GPP play, especially if he were to bat somewhere in the top half of the lineup.
Also receiving consideration: Cesar Hernandez, Jose Altuve
Matt Dominguez – Dominguez was one of my favorite plays when the Astros started scoring runs earlier in the month, but they are right back to being the worst team in baseball, currently riding a twelve game losing streak. That streak might keep on rollin’ into next season, but I think the Astros should put up a few runs tonight against righty spot-starter Adam Warren (who is listed as the starter on the Yankees website as well as ESPN, but still a chance they go with someone else). His numbers don’t look too bad, but Warren has allowed more hits than he has innings pitched, and that’s not even taking into account a high number of walks. Dominguez has been hitting third and provides pretty nice power for his price, not to mention 17 of his 21 home runs have come against right-handed pitching.
Also receiving consideration: David Freese, Jeff Baker (OF eligible on Fanduel), Cody Asche
J.J. Hardy – This might seem like a strange play with Buchholz on the mound, but for his price I think it could be a risk worth taking. Buchholz has been very good when healthy this year, and he looks to be that way now, but the Red Sox have wrapped up a playoff berth and I don’t see him going very deep in the game. Hardy actually has a decent history against Buchholz, going 6 for 16 with two HR’s. If he is cheap on your site (he is very cheap on Draftstreet), he is worth a look. See what the Baltimore lineup looks like closer to game-time, as they aren’t playing for anything at this point. I actually would like Mike Aviles much more if he is in the CLE lineup, but his presence can’t be counted on; check the lineups page around 5:30 EST.
Also receiving consideration: Mike Aviles, Yunel Escobar, Alexei Ramirez
Daniel Nava – I always like Nava against right-handed pitching but he is usually not cheap enough to mention in this column. Tonight is my last chance and I think it’s a good spot for him to produce, with Feldman and the Orioles just playing out the season at this point. He’s been hitting fifth against RHP behind perhaps the most potent 1-4 in the game when Ellsbury is healthy, so he should have several chances to produce with runners on base tonight. Nava is hitting .318 against RHP with an impressive .882 OPS on the season.
Justin Ruggiano – Rick Porcello has been scratched from his start tonight, and lefty Jose Alvarez will take his place. Since Ruggiano is much better against lefties, the pitching change makes his price look a lot more enticing. He’s recorded 18 HR’s and 15 SB’s this year so the upside is there, and more than half of Ruggiano’s hits against lefties have gone for extra bases. In a GPP, I think he makes a really nice sneaky play tonight.
Also receiving consideration: J.B. Shuck, Michael Saunders, Moises Sierra