I’m going back to the well and once again providing a chart showing how today’s probable starters have performed against hitters of each handedness this season. After the jump we’ll use the chart to pick a few hitters and a starter or two.
The Daily Five
Ben Zobrist, $6,494 – As you can see from the chart, Jason Hammel has really struggled against lefties with a 5.38 ERA, 10.6% BB% and 1.83 HR/9 against them. And Zobrist has been much, much better as a lefty this year. He has a 135 wRC+ from the left side compared to a 77 wRC+ from the right side.
Hunter Pence, $9,882 – If you look at the top ten outfielders on ESPN’s player rater, you’ll see a few surprising names. But Pence and Alfonso Soriano are the biggest surprises. Pence was going as about the 30th outfielder this preseason and seemed to be in the decline phase of his career.
In 2011, his steal total fell into the single digits. In 2012, the steals declined a little more and his average fell. The average fell as a result of an increase in strikeouts, and his BABIP was also about 30 points lower than his career average. Pence is a high percentage groundball hitter, so it seemed reasonable to assume that the BABIP was declining because of the loss of speed that his declining steals totals indicated. But Pence has fixed the speed and strikeout problems. He either never lost a step or just got it back as he has a carer high 21 steals this year. And his K% is almost as low as it has ever been at 16.1% thanks to his Contact% jumping back up to his career average.
I know it’s not a great idea to play hot streaks in daily contests, but it’s tough to ignore how hot Pence has been lately. Over the last 15 days (54 at-bats) Pence is hitting .389 with eight bombs. And he’ll face C.C. Sabathia who has unfortunately become a pretty decent matchup to play against. C.C. has an ERA over 5.00 against righties and a 1.34 HR/9.
Bartolo Colon, $13,795 – I’m not going to pretend to understand how Colon is doing what he’s doing, but I will accept that it’s happening. And I fully expect it to continue against the Twins who have the sixth worst wRC+ against right-handed pitching and the second worst K%. And the price is fairly reasonable.
Cole Hamels, $17,325 – The Mets offense is struggling. Not that it hasn’t been below average all year long, but it’s been particularly bad over the last 30 days as they have the fourth worst wRC+ and fifth worst K% in that time frame.
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