Coming into mid-September, we’re not only seeing late season call-ups but we’re also experiencing players getting shut down for the year not to mention some veterans getting extra rest. This makes it even more difficult to manage your squad in what is hopefully your final charge to the title. The fact is, you probably need an additional position player or two in daily transaction leagues just to help fill out your roster – and you’re going to have to get creative.
Similar to Dan Wade’s post yesterday about microtrends, what I’m looking for is two things in typical Roto league formats and points league formats: I want to maximize my games played and I want to utilize any advantage I can in the match-ups.
This late into the season, most of the scraps have been pretty well picked over, but what I’m suggesting are one or two day pickups to stop the bleeding while players rest, nurse injury, or if you’ve simply got a hole to fill. One of the easiest ways to try and maximize the utility of a spot start on offense is to simply play the platoons. There are probably some names on your waiver wire that could be useful if you’re in such a pinch:
Owned very (very) little in standard leagues, Ellis is hitting .339/.402/.496 versus left handed pitchers with four of his five home runs coming against southpaws over 115 at bats. Four home runs isn’t the kind of stuff that has you jumping on Oprah’s couch, but Ellis has been hitting leadoff lately and since the beginning of August, he’s scored 20 runs in 30 games. Should you be suffering through a Kelly Johnson epic slump or a Neil Walker I-hurt-all-over, Mark Ellis versus a non-elite lefty might be a decent idea for a game or two. Heck, if you need runs scored, you just might want to plug him in as your starter.
Chris Denorfia and his seven home runs probably aren’t all that exciting, but there are a few things I like about him as a spot-starter. Versus left handed pitchers, Denorfia has hit .346/.402/.512 in 2012. Over his career, in 467 at bats versus lefties, Denorfia owns a .319/.385/.454 triple slash, so his abilities versus lefties isn’t all small sample size-able. Denorfia typically hits at the top of the order for an offense that has actually been increasingly productive – so he ought to bring you a fair amount of runs, not to mention that he steals an occasional base. But there probably aren’t a whole lot of folks that know how smoking he’s been lately. Over his last 20 games, Denorfia has hit .387/.420/.677 with four HR’s, 14 runs scored, and 14 RBI. Some of that is held up by BABIP which may mellow over the coming weeks — but look for a good lefty match-up and run him out there with confidence.
Ike Davis might not be widely available in your leagues — his ownership hovers around 50% in ESPN and Yahoo — but he’s a pretty great idea if you’re needing help in the home run and RBI categories should he be facing a right handed pitcher. Davis has been just awful versus lefties, hitting .170/.211/.327 off of them, which essentially makes him a three at bat kind of fantasy player because he’s almost always LOOGY’d at the end of the game. But versus right handed pitchers, he’s hit .253/.346/.507 with 19 of his 26 home runs. Heck, he even walks against righties to the tune of 12.4%.
One caveat you are likely already aware of is he seems to really dislike hitting at home. In his career, he has a .168 ISO at home and .232 on the road. In 2012, that has gone to .121 and .304, respectively. If right handed pitchers didn’t exist, Ike Davis wouldn’t have a job. But use him much in the same way Carlos Pena used to be handy in years past – if a mediocre righty is starting, he’s not a bad plan. If they’re on the road, even better.
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