Fantasy Baseball 2014: Daily Dose; April 4th
During my debut DFS baseball column, I actually helped people. And while I hate to pat myself on the back- who am I kidding? Bravo, me. Bravo.
All joking aside, I had to have gotten lucky, as recommendations like Jason Heyward went yard, as well as teammate Freddie Freeman (twice). So, let’s try it again, shall we? Friday is an insane day with 15 baseball games, not to mention another 14 basketball, But alas. That is for an entirely different column.
|Hale (ATL)||Zimmermann (WAS)|
|Gonzalez (BAL)||Sanchez (DET)|
|Estrada (MIL)||Peavy (BOS)|
|Hernandez (PHI)||Wood (CHC)|
|Delgado (ARI)||Nicasio (COL)|
|Johnson (CWS)||Guthrie (KC)|
|Vogelsong (SF)||Ryu (LAD)|
|Miller (STL)||Cole (PIT)|
|Tanaka (NYY)||McGowan (TOR)|
|Leake (CIN)||Mejia (NYM)|
|Stults (SD)||Koehler (MIA)|
|Saunders (TEX)||Odorizzi (TB)|
|Richards (LAA)||Harrell (HOU)|
|Young (SEA)||Straily (OAK)|
Jason Castro vs LAA - Castro could be a nice sneaky value play at the catcher position. He faces Garrett Richards, a pitcher who immensely struggled against left-handed batters last year, allowing a whopping 15 home runs to such batters. Meanwhile, Castro was a much better hitter against right-handed pitching than lefties a season ago. The Astros are looking good right now, while the Angels are not, so this game could be relatively high scoring.
Paul Goldschmidt @ COL - Goldschmidt, one of the safest and most dominant hitters in baseball, gets a matchup in Colorado at Coors Field. Need I say more? Oh, I do? Okay, well how about the fact that Colorado’s home venue saw an average of 1.169 home runs per game last season (8th-most), and has ranked inside the top-three in home runs per game from 2010-12? Goldschmidt, a 30-home run guy, has more than enough power to exploit this terrific matchup. Also, in nine at-bats against Nicasio, Goldy is batting .333 with three RBI. He’s on another great start, posting double-digit hits in all but one game to start the year, and he should have himself a very nice outing on Friday night. If you are paying up for first base, there isn’t anyone I’d rather have than Goldschmidt on any night, but especially at Coors.
Jason Kipnis vs MIN - I’m a Kipnis tonight. If you do plan on paying up for one of the middle infield positions, I’d recommend Kipnis, who has destroyed the Twins as of late. Over the last three seasons, Kipnis has seen 168 plate appearances against Minnesota, sporting a batting average of .310 with five home runs, five triples, 37 RBI and nine steals. To make things better, he faces Mike Pelfrey, a righty, while Kipnis, a lefty, is batting a much better .275 against right-handed pitching during that same span. Meanwhile, Pelfrey has been known for starting off slow. For his career, he is sporting an ERA of 5.06 during the months of March/April, the highest out of any month. Also, keep an eye on if Joe Mauer is behind the plate. If he’s at first, Kipnis’ stolen base potential improves.
Nolan Arenado vs ARI - Until he comes into his own more, Arenado is really only in play when he’s at home. That time has come. Arenado has some untapped power potential, which can come to fruition in home run friendly Coors (remember above?). For his career, Arenado is batting .298 at home, compared to an ugly .230 on the road. Randall Delgado doesn’t scare me at all, and Arenado’s price is great. The guy has serious upside when at home, and now is the time to roll him out there, hoping for a homer.
Chris Owings @ COL - Shortstop isn’t very good tonight, and while I wouldn’t be opposed to paying up for a guy like Hanley Ramirez, I think this is the prime opportunity to take a shot on Owings, who is swinging the bat well right now, in the best ballpark for power. Owings isn’t necessarily known for his power, but he is very capable of 15 home runs, and has already asserted himself on the basepaths, swiping two bags.
Alejandro De Aza @ KC - Many people like playing the star outfielders, and I get it. They have the most power/speed combination and present the most upside. But don’t sleep on De Aza, who is absolutely raking right now. The dude is batting .364 with three homers already and has really looked good at the plate. Meanwhile, his splits against Jeremy Guthrie are very pleasing, batting .304 with seven hits in 23 at-bats against him throughout his career. Also, 27 of his 32 career home runs have come off right-handed pitching. Guthrie is a righty, folks. He also relies heavily on his fastball, which is the type of pitch De Aza could certainly drive out of the park. I would not be at all surprised if he launched his fourth home run of the season… or perhaps fifth, too.
Other OF options: Carlos Gonzalez, Shin-Soo Choo, Marlon Byrd.
Danny Salazar vs MIN - Salazar is one of my favorite pitching options for Friday. He faces a Minnesota offense that scares no one, and last season, he averaged a healthy 26 fantasy points against them. It’s obviously inflated because the sample size is small, but during his rookie season in 2013, Salazar averaged a K/9 over 11. And even if that is inflated, this is still a strikeout guy, which is always something fantasy players should gravitate towards. And combined that with the fact that the Twins finished second in the majors as a team in total strikeouts with a whopping 1,430, I like his chances of whiffing a handful in this contest.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.