I’m not here to talk you into the big-name aces, I’m here to help find the undervalued assets that help you shape your roster. You know the drill, make sure you double-check lineup and weather before you commit. Let’s get to it.
Players to Buy
Yangervis Solarte, 3B, at Colorado (Lyles), $2700: This will probably be a heavily-owned play, but sometimes the value is too great to look past. Solarte is on a 10-for-25 binge with two homers against right-handed pitching this year (1.204 OPS), he homered Wednesday, he's hitting cleanup for the series finale, and he’s against an ordinary pitcher (and in the best possible hitting park). If you want to go even cheaper with a San Diego bat, Cory Spangenberg is getting a rare start at second base, batting second, priced at $2200. Have some Friar fun with the midday slate.
Jonny Gomes, OF, at New York (Colon), $2700: He’s a hack-first, ask-questions-later type of bat, and maybe that’s the approach to take against strike-pouring Bartolo Colon. Gomes owns this head-to-head matchup, 8-for-21 with three homers.
Jake Odorizzi, SP, vs. Boston (Buchholz), $8300: Something about the catwalk agrees with him: Odorizzi’s career ERA is 2.88 in that building, with a 1.060 WHIP and a strikeout per inning. And it’s not like there’s a pitcher to fear on the other side; Clay Buchholz is a paper cup in a wind tunnel, no consistency.
Caleb Joseph, 1B, at Toronto (Hutchison), $3100: The fill-in catcher has been a surprise in the early going, the No. 7 catcher in Yahoo leagues (.333, eight runs). Over the last three years, Rogers Centre has aided home runs by 25 percent and scoring by five percent.
Cody Asche, 3B, vs. Miami (Phelps), $2500: Eleven of his 17 career homers have come at home, and he’s been particularly hot in Philly thus far in 2015 (.381/.435/.524). Asche normally slots fifth, but he's been pushed up to third for Thursday's getaway day.
Martin Prado, 3B, vs. Philadelphia (McGowan), $2800: He’s now the No. 2 man in the order while Christian Yelich rehabs, and there’s nothing scary about opposing starter Dustin McGowan. A Miami stack would make sense if you want to pay up for Dee Gordon or Giancarlo Stanton; look for Prado to come along for the ride in the middle of that undertow, a neighborhood play. Hitting in Philly sounds good to me, too.
Chris Denorfia, OF, at Pittsburgh (Locke), $2200: Meet the stand-in leadoff man while Dexter Fowler gets healthy. The price is a giveaway, and the lineup behind him is strong. Denorfia doesn’t offer a ton of power, but he likes the southpaws: .291 average, .358 OBP for his career.
Zack Cozart, SS, at Milwaukee (Lohse), $2800: The Reds apparently buy into his hot start, as he's slotted second for Thursday's getaway day at Milwaukee. The draw is good, facing a fly-ball pitcher in Kyle Lohse. Maybe we can sneak out a cheap homer.
Players to Fade
Odubel Herrera, OF, vs. Miami (Phelps), $3000: You’re thinking about some cheap speed and that’s reasonable, except that stealers don’t get far against Phelps. Would-be thieves are just 13-for-23 against the cautious right-hander, covering 305 MLB innings.
Masahiro Tanaka, SP, at Detroit, $8600: It’s another nippy day for baseball in The D, but you never know how a pitcher will react to that sort of environment – David Price looked like a deer in the headlights during Wednesday’s beatdown. Tanaka is the fourth-most expensive pitcher on the Thursday card, a ticket I can’t write when the formidable Tigers lineup is on the other side.