Leagues with daily lineup changes can be a blessing or a curse. If you play in a league like a couple of mine — ones filled with old friends from college who cling to fantasy baseball as a tie to their more carefree days — you probably hear a lot of “Daily lineups? Ain’t nobody got time for that!” But to the right group of guys, daily leagues can be bliss, spurring constant motion within a team’s roster and keeping every engaged on an almost an hourly level. Total immersion. Leagues allowing daily moves also have another side benefit that many fantasy owners ignore. While it may take another five minutes of research per day, there are gains to be had by platooning certain hitters, just like their major league teams do. “Gluing” a few $4 players together and alternating them when they are against their dominant split could return as much as a “set it and forget it!” guy who went for $25. Here are a few options sitting around on benches or wires that could prove useful in the next few days.
Joyce owns a career .201/.288/.325 line against his fellow southpaws (sometimes I wonder if Jamie Moyer could fan 20 in a game of only Matt Joyces) but he rips righties to the tune of .265/.355/.496. This is not a recent development — the Rays have been on this for a while now. In 2012, Joyce had 308 plate appearances when a right-hander was on the hill, but had only 91 against lefties. That’s a ratio of 3.4-to-1 versus lefty/righty but the actual ratio for all of baseball was only 2.3-to-1 last year. So Joyce is clearly riding the pine when a tough left-hander takes the mound (and the Rays have a better option). But that .496 slugging percentage? If he could qualify and just hit against RHP’s all day, he’d be in the top 50 MLB hitters. Why not use it? Get Juan Pierre or Starling Marte or (insert OF4/5 here) out of the lineup and start Joyce tomorrow versus Miguel Gonzalez and Friday against Zach McAllister. Just don’t be surprised when he sits against Scott Kazmir on Saturday. Then again, you probably wouldn’t want to take the hit anyways.
In our Fangraphs+ writeups, David Wiers pointed out that “believe it or not, Jonny Gomes had a higher wRC+ than Josh Hamilton in 2012.” Yup, no lies. OK, there are few guys that would argue Gomes is even in the same stratosphere as Hamilton as an all-around hitter, but the Athletics did an effective job letting him mash lefties in 2012 (196 PA versus LHP compared to only 137 versus RHP). He didn’t let them down, putting up a nasty .299/.413/.561 triple slash against southpaws. The Red Sox signed Gomes with the intention of platooning him with guys like Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish, although David Ortiz‘s and the Kalish’s injuries have temporarily shelved the “platoon” part of those plans. Needless to say, just because Gomes is getting more at bats against righties than he should that doesn’t mean you need to take the hit, too. Stick him on the bench tonight with Hiroki Kuroda on the bump and Red Sox savior Jackie Bradley suddenly entrenched in the lineup, but he should be in a position to beat up on Andy Pettitte tomorrow and he’s easily a quality option against J.A. Happ on Saturday afternoon. He’s easily a sneaky OF2/OF3 in those matchups.
Another favorite of mine, Lowrie has immense upside as a platoon option at shortstop or a middle infield slot. Isolating only his career .848 OPS against lefties would make him one of the top 2-3 hitting shortstops in baseball. Of course, that’s not the case because A.) he’s hurt 97.1% of the time and B.) he only has a .229/.309/.383 career line when he switches to the other batter’s box. Here’s a situation where you roster another guy at short who may offer weaker splits and (perhaps) speed and runs to mix and match with right-handed Lowrie. Playing the matchups right and you can very easily “merge” the two players into a 15 homer, 25 steal, 85 run kind of guy. Ben Zobrist-lite for the cost of an extra roster spot (since you have two shortstops) and a couple waiver wire claims. You’ll want Mr. Glass starting against Joe Saunders tonight, but feel free to go snag a Jean Segura type and relegate Lowrie to the bench against righties Brandon Maurer tomorrow and Blake Beavan on Friday.
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