With the season heading into hair-pulling territory, especially for us head-to-headers in the middle of a playoff battle, nothing matters as much as the next matchup. So let’s look at this weekend’s best matchups in each statistical category, focusing on outfielders because they’re the easiest to find and the easiest to plug in. Good luck!
We’ll do these first because the method is easy, and (if you’ve been following the Pittsburgh box scores you know) the return can be immediate. Using this leaderboard on our site, you can easily see that the Pirates are the worst team in baseball against the run. The Pirates head into Chicago, leaving Darwin Barney as probably your best unowned regular with a chance to steal a bag or two. Brett Jackson just can’t make contact, and though he’s tried to steal twice, he’s been unsuccessful so far in the bigs and probably won’t get the green light a ton.
The Indians are pretty terrible at stopping the run, and they’re hosting Detroit for the weekend. It’s too bad Quintin Berry isn’t playing much these days. Andy Dirks has a little speed, though. Maybe Omar Infante will be available to you — he’s got the added bonus of being able to play at multiple positions in your typical ‘plug and play’ situation. Washington, Texas and Minnesota are also pretty terrible, meaning Jose Constanza, Andrelton Simmons, Kyle Seager, Brendan Ryan, Dustin Ackley, Franklin Gutierrez, Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez and DeWayne Wise all get a boost of some sort in the stolen base category.
This one is trickier, especially with Colorado on the road… in San Diego of all places. But our Guts! page still has the Yankees, Rangers and Blue Jays playing at home in a park that gives a 5% boost in this category. The Yankees are well-combed over and have the Rays and their staff in town, though — maybe Andruw Jones can run into a home run off of lefty David Price on Friday, or maybe you can track down the lineups in time to see Eric Chavez penciled in before you have to set your team. Tampa offers Matt Joyce as a waiver wire pickup in some leagues, and Luke Scott, as a lefty, is particularly suited for work in that park (116 PF for LHB HR). If homers are all you need, you can consider Carlos Pena here too, who has a near-.300 ISO in the Bronx.
Texas is another mostly-owned team, but David Murphy is available in some leagues and has a .050 higher slugging percentage at home. Mitch Moreland has the same type of splits. Those in shallower leagues should platoon these hitters, though. If neither is available? Pick Mike Olt and hope he starts against Jason Vargas? Or pick through the Mariners for power instead — Eric Thames and Jesus Montero all have shallow-league stream-worthy power, while deep leaguers might have to just pick up Michael Saunders, (gah) Miguel Olivo or (gasp) Justin Smoak. The Blue Jays offer shallow leaguers Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus and Kelly Johnson at home — deep leaguers could try Moises Sierra, who has good but not great power and isn’t playing every day. Visiting Boston has shallow-league-worthy Cody Ross (especially against lefties), and either of the catchers behind the plate, while deeper league managers would have to settle for hoping Ryan Kalish plays (and makes contact), or that the Mauro Gomez magic doesn’t run out just yet.
Thursday bonus: Let’s assume Mitch Moreland (versus Zach McAllister at home) is gone. And while the Chicago White Sox position players would be more interesting at home, they’re up against Justin Verlander and have Chris Sale going. Ditto Seattle in Toronto (Felix Hernandez against ground-ball wizard Henderson Alvarez). That leaves Tampa in Baltimore, and that park loves righties. With the Orioles throwing a lefty, follow the platoon matchup and the stadium matchup to Desmond Jennings in shallow leagues, and Ryan Roberts in deep leagues. (Ben Francisco, Elliot Johnson and Jeff Keppinger all bat righty, for those of you in the deepest of deep leagues.)
[My deepest sympathies to anyone that commemorates a personal tragedy on this date. Hopefully a little fantasy baseball can serve as a distraction.]
Print This Post