Fantasy Baseball 2014: Daily Dose; April 16th

Masahiro Tanaka

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

 

Yeah, I think I like it better when it isn’t raining out.

Tuesday was one of those nights where if you set a lineup and went out for a while, you more than likely came home infuriated. There were a handful of postponed contests due to rain yesterday, forcing fantasy players to search for value more than usual. With more games on tap for Wednesday, there are more plays to like.

Let’s get into them.

Projected Starters

Francisco Liriano (PIT) Johnny Cueto (CIN)
David Price (TB) Chris Tillman (BAL)
Jason Hammel (CHC) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) *
Travis Wood (CHC) Michael Pineda (NYY)
Joe Kelly (STL) Wily Peralta (MIL)
Dillon Gee (NYM) Brandon McCarthy (ARI)
Julio Teheran (ATL) AJ Burnett (PHI)
Zach McAllister (CLE) Anibal Sanchez (DET)
Tanner Roark (WAS) Jose Fernandez (MIA)
Felix Hernandez (SEA) Yu Darvish (TEX)
Clay Buchholz (BOS) John Danks (CWS)
Jeremy Guthrie (KC) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)
R.A. Dickey (TOR) Mike Pelfrey (MIN)
Tommy Milone (OAK) Tyler Skaggs (LAA)
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) Andrew Cashner (SD)
Paul Maholm (LAD) Ryan Vogelsong (SF)

 

Catcher

Salvador Perez @ HOU - Sal Perez is my choice at catcher to hit a home run on Wednesday. The numbers don’t completely support it, but he has some overlooked pop, hitting nine home runs during the final 46 games of the 2013 campaign. And while he has yet to hit one out of the park yet, Perez is hitting the ball extremely well, batting .325 to start the season. Opposing pitcher, Dallas Keuchel is an inexperienced, below-average arm that can certainly be picked on, but more importantly, he has had his troubles keeping the ball in the yard. He’s allowed a home run in each of his first tow starts this year, surrendering 16 fly balls during that span. And for his career, he is allowing 1.30 homers per nine innings, which isn’t to great. Don’t be surprised if Sal gets a hold of one.

First Base

Albert Pujols vs OAK - First base is always a deep position, so if you don’t want to spend for one of the Tier A guys, Pujols makes for a fine play against a team and pitcher he has owned as of late. Over the last three seasons, Pujols is batting an impressive .307 with five home runs in 127 at-bats against the A’s, while batting an improved .287 with 62 home runs against right-handed pitching during that span, compared to .272/22 against lefties. Tommy Milone, meanwhile, pitches with his right arm and in 14 career meetings at the plate with Milone, Pujols has posted seven hits, six of which went for doubles.

Second Base

Jedd Gyorko vs COL - Gyorko was just rewarded with a heft pay raise, and I think he follows it with a nice game against the Rockies. Starting pitcher, Jorge De La Rosa is absolutely struggling to start the season, going 0-2 while sporting an ERA over nine. He’s getting rocked, and getting rocked early, going just 4.1 innings in both of his first two starts. And though it’s a small sample size, Gyorko has gone 6-for-7 in his career against De La Rosa, a pitcher who has coughed up 93 career home runs to right-handed batting, while righties are averaging over 40 batting points higher than lefties. Gyorko has some nice power for a second baseman, and De La Rosa has already surrendered three home runs this year.

Third Base

Pablo Sandoval vs LAD - Kung Fu isn’t hitting the ball all that well early on, batting below the Mendoza line. But I expect him to bounce (more like cannonball) back in a big way in a divisional game against the Dodgers. Sandoval has had plenty of success against the Dodgers over the past three seasons, batting .308, the sixth-highest against any team. And to start this season off, he only has two hits in 11 plate appearances, but don’t let that scare you. On the mound of LA will be Paul Maholm, a pitcher that Sandoval has already homered off of this season. He now has two dingers, five RBI and is batting .375 against him for his career. It seems that for whatever reason, Sandoval has Maholm out, who certainly doesn’t have any overpowering stuff in his arsenal.

Shortstop

Jhonny Peralta @ MIL - Peralta vs. Peralta. Jhonny is coming off back-to-back nice games, hitting homers in consecutive outings. Both of which came in Milwaukee, a hitter-friendly park, and now he’ll face Wily Peralta, a guy who has allowed a home run in each of his first two starts, and is a guy who is sporting a HR/FB ratio of over 11 percent for his young career. If you want to save at the middle infield position, which is often advised, Peralta may be your safest bet for a home run.

Outfield

Carlos Beltran vs CHC - Does this guy ever get old? Okay, literally, yes, he does. But the 36-year old is coming off AL Player of the Week honors and is raking to start the year, batting .311 with three home runs and eight RBI. Heck, the guy is even playing some first base now. Anyway, Beltran will play an afternoon and an evening game on Wednesday, the first of which against Jason Hammel, a pitcher that puts the ball in the air quite a bit, which doesn’t bode well in the home run friendly venue that is Yankee Stadium. As a switch hitter, Beltran hits well off both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Hammel has posted double-digit HR/FB rates, while Yankee Stadium is a premiere power venue for lefties.

Other OF options: Matt Kemp, Mike Trout, Jason Heyward.

Pitcher

Masahiro Tanaka vs CHC - One of the top pitchers of the day, Tanaka offers serious upside against a favorable Cubs lineup that is sometimes boom, but mainly bust. Tanaka has surrendered three runs in each of his first two starts, which isn’t great, but obviously not horrible, especially for a guy in his first season in the majors. And if you watch him, you know he has some serious stuff. A moving 92-mph fastball that is often faster than it looks, followed by a filthy breaking ball, it’s no wonder the guy has 18 strikeouts in just two starts. I personally tend to target high-strikeout guys for fantasy, and Tanaka is just that. Meanwhile, the Cubs whiff quite a bit, ranking 7th in the league with 116 strikeouts already. Tanaka should have a good time with this lineup, especially with Brian McCann catching pitches, one of the better pitch-framers, as Derek Carty points out.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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