MLB Daily Punts: Wednesday, September 25th
We have a nice mix of day and night games on the last Wednesday of the MLB regular season, so get your baseball action in while you still have a chance. There is still money to be made but make sure to keep an eye on the lineups page later in the day, because at this point in the season you never know what managers might do. As always, no player priced over 5.5 on Draftstreet or 2.6 on Fanduel will be considered a “punt.” Soak up the last few days of regular season baseball!
A.J. Ellis – He has the pleasure of facing Barry Zito tonight, who is stepping in for Madison Bumgarner in what while likely be his last start in a Giants uniform. I’m sure Giants fans are celebrating, and the Dodgers offense probably is too. Ellis has hit Zito well in the past (1.172 OPS in 17 plate appearances), and he has homered in two of his past three games. There really is no telling what the Dodgers lineup might look like tonight, but if Ellis is penciled in he should have no problem paying off his modest price tag.
Also receiving consideration: J.P. Arencibia, Devin Mesoraco or Ryan Hanigan, Russell Martin
Justin Smoak – If you are looking for a boom or bust option at first base, Smoak could be your guy. There is no question he is better hitting from the left side of the plate, and he will get to do that tonight against Ervin Santana. Smoak has hit 17 of his 18 home runs against RHP, and owns a pretty impressive .837 OPS against righties. In 19 AB’s against Santana, Smoak has seven hits including a HR, good for a 1.090 OPS. He should be hitting in the middle of the order for Seattle and Santana did not look good at all in his last start against the Mariners (3.1 IP/4 ER).
Also receiving consideration: James Loney, Mark Reynolds
D.J. LeMahieu – Anytime the Rockies are playing in Coors, you know you will have to at least think about targeting a few of their bats. Jake Peavy is not necessarily an ideal target when picking hitters, but Coors Field can bring out the worst in almost any pitcher. Peavy has struggled on the road with a 5.09 season ERA, so we should see the Rockies put at least a couple runs up against him. LeMahieu is hitting righties at a .284 clip and has a .314 average at home, so he should be able to pay off his modest salary out of the two hole tonight.
Also receiving consideration: Charlie Culberson, Howie Kendrick, Jerry Hairston Jr. or Mark Ellis
Matt Dominguez – The Astros are trying to spoil the Rangers playoff hopes, and if they have any chance at doing so they will need a good performance out of Dominguez. He has been hitting in the heart of the order against left-handers lately, and is always a threat to go yard. Martin Perez has been good this season but is by no means dominant, so I would not be all that surprised to see the Astros put up a few runs tonight, as they are not all that bad against lefties. Dominguez has a few speedsters ahead of him in the order so he could see a few opportunities to drive in runs tonight.
Also receiving consideration: Conor Gillaspie, Kyle Seager, Will Middlebrooks, Michael Young
Zack Cozart – The Reds have not been living up to the offensive hype over the last few days, but Daisuke Matsuzaka coming to town will surely lead a lot of people to play them today. Matsuzaka has not been impressive this season, and I expect the Reds to pose a tough matchup for him this afternoon. If you’re playing in the early action, plugging a few Reds into your lineup is definitely not a bad idea.
Also receiving consideration: Dee Gordon, Yunel Escobar
Matt Joyce – Joyce homered in last night’s game and should find himself in the lineup again tonight against Phil Hughes, who is absolutely awful. Hughes has a 6.13 ERA at home this season and I do not expect that to go down tonight. He is also allowing lefties to hit .292 against him with a .849 OPS. Joyce is 6-14 against Hughes with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI’s, which makes him a really nice flier for his price. I fully expect the Rays to light up Hughes tonight.
Ryan Ludwick – He continues to let me down but Cincinnati keeps hitting him either 4th or 5th, and I keep biting. Against Matsuzaka, he is once again very enticing and should at least see a few RBI opportunities this afternoon. Ludwick has been a much better hitter at home, and is actually hitting righties much better than lefties this season. As I said with Cozart, the Reds look like a solid offense to target in the early action.
Also receiving consideration: Andy Dirks, Nick Markakis, Brandon Barnes