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The MLB Fives for April 26

The MLB Fives_03

Elite Starters

1. Jake Peavy RHP CHW vs TB- I think I’ve documented the struggles of TB vs. RHP enough on these pages. With the exception of one disastrous start against the Nats, Peavy has been excellent this year. He’s struck out 33 batters in 25.1 IP. Peavy looks like a pretty safe play at home, but you’ll have to pay for him.

2. Ryan Dempster RHP BOS vs HOU- Here’s an example of continuing the stream of decent right-handed pitchers versus the Astros. Dempster is almost identical to Peavy in that he has 33 Ks in just 24 IP. He’s really been solid as he’s posted at least 7 Ks in all four of his starts. Houston can be sneaky good, but their damage is mostly done from their right-handed hitters. Nobody on the Astros has had much success against Dempster. I personally will be using Dempster on all my teams.

3. Lance Lynn RHP STL vs PIT- I’m betting this game is going to be a blow out. I think Jonathan Sanchez is one of the worst pitchers in baseball that still has a starting role. The last time Lynn faced the Pirates the touched him up a bit to the tune of 4 earned runs in 5 innings. Somehow, Lynn still escaped with the win. Lynn has a 3.03 ERA when playing at home as opposed to his 4.14 ERA on the road. He’s also never lost in April. He is 7-0 over his three seasons (only two seasons he pitched in April). I don’t think I’m fully buying into the Pirates either although they deserve more respect than I’m probably giving them on a daily basis.

4. Ervin Santana RHP KC vs CLE- Monitor this game for the weather. It has a 50 percent chance of rain throughout the game. I can’t believe Ervin Santana is cracking an “elite” pitchers list, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out this juicy matchup. Santana hasn’t given up more than 2 earned runs in his last three starts and has worked a minimum of 7 innings in each. He’s striking out almost a batter an inning, and the Indians are always willing to give up some strikeouts. Santana has the talent when he’s throwing strikes. He has a 26/5 K:BB ratio and a 1.07 WHIP. Cleveland has had it’s fair share of troubles against Santana and righties in general. As a team the Indians have only hit .201 against Santana. It’s a riskier option, but Santana deserves the ranking.

5. Tim Lincecum RHP SF @ SD- Lincecum is another guy that I don’t know if I’m completely buying in on. The Padres’ awfulness is forcing me to put Lincecum here at number 5. Lincecum blasted the Padres his last time out. In 6.2 IP, he didn’t give up a run and struck out 8 little Padres. I watch Lincecum pitch, and it still seems like he’s laboring to keep the ball in the zone and relying too much on his subpar fastball (57 percent). Players have a BABIP against of .233 which is really low and shows luck on Lincecum’s part. Lincecum’s fastball is lost, and he really needs to reinvent himself. I know this all sounding like a ringing endorsement. Truth be told, I won’t be rostering Mr. Lincecum. I still  feel like he could have a good game because he’s playing the Padres. He’ll find a nice home on somebody else’s team who isn’t so biased.

Elite Hitters

1. Robinson Cano 2B NYY vs TOR ?- Robinson Cano is locked in as usual. He is carrying this beat-up Yanks team on his shoulders. I don’t know who the Yanks are going to get to replace Johnson if he is unable to go tonight, but the speculation is that it’s LHP Aaron Laffey. If that’s the case then Cano’s appeal drops a bit as he doesn’t hit lefties for AVG very well. He’ll still flash power against them, and I would take that from Cano even if Laffey winds up being the starter. In any case, Cano has 4 mult-hit games in his last seven and is always the best option at second base if you are going to pay.

2. Mike Trout OF LAA @ SEA RHP Aaron Harang- Trout has struggled to get much of anything going lately. He only has one hit in his last four games. It seems that the cure for a slumping team is Aaron Harang. Harang gave up three HRs his last time out to Texas. It doesn’t get much easier for Harang as the Angels, although they haven’t shown it, are equally as powerful as the Rangers. Trout and the rest of the powerful Angels should give Harang all he can handle. Take advantage of value if the price of Pujols, Trout, Hamilton, and Trumbo have fallen. I would also feel free to dispatch these guys on high-efficiency sites because I don’t anticipate Harang to be very dominant or last very long for that matter.mag_miller_trout01jr_576

3. Carlos Beltran OF STL vs PIT LHP Jonathan Sanchez- This is dreamy matchup for Beltran. Beltran is only 4,500 and should highlight your squad of stacked Cardinals into a dominant performance today. Beltran has 3 HRs and 4 multi-hit games in his last seven. He also has 2 HRs in 15 career at bats versus Sanchez. Sanchez isn’t even a Triple A pitcher anymore, and the Cardinals will send him back to the Minors. I just called it.

4. Adrian Beltre 3B TEX @ LHP Scott Diamond- Beltre has been seeing the ball a lot better over the last five games. He hasn’t struck out and has had three walks.

5. Paul Konerko 1B CHW vs TB RHP Roberto Hernandez- Konerko is due to bust out of his mini-slump. He only has three homers and a .233 AVG on the season. Over his career, Konerko has a .364 AVG and a 1.227 OPS against the Fausto Carmona. New name but Roberto is still the same “Fausto”. I think this is an ideal matchup for Konerko to show he’s still got it.

Draftstreet 5 Value Plays

1. Andrew Cashner RHP SD ($9,814) vs SF- To the same fervor in which I disdain Lincecum, I absolutely love Cashner. I do not understand the treatment he continues to get from MLB teams. He has the talent of a front-line ace, but the then Cubs and now Padres have yanked him around so much, I feel like his development has been thwarted a bit. The only risk with Cash today is how many innings will he get to throw. That isn’t necessarily crucial on DS because he should rack up enough of the other peripherals to profile nicely as your third pitcher.andrew-cashner

2. Starlin Castro SS CHC ($5,975) @ MIA LHP Wade LeBlanc- I don’t understand why Castro is priced this low. With the absences of Hanley and Reyes, the shortstop crop is relatively weak. He is the twelfth ranked shortstop based on price and draws a sexy matchup versus the lefty in LeBlanc. Castro should be everybody’s shortstop based on Castro’s talent alone.

3. David Freese 3B STL ($6,350) vs PIT LHP Jonathan Sanchez- Freese has been pretty mediocre to bad through the early part of 2013. He’s still trying to get in the flow of everything after his injury. I think this price is pretty fair, but Freese draws Sanchez. If you’ve read anything in this post earlier then you know I like to stack against Sanchez. Will Middlebrooks 3B BOS is about the same price as Freese, and I think could give you the same kind of value potential. Feel free to use either or both.

4. Michael Morse OF SEA ($6,497) vs LAA LHP C.J. Wilson- Morse has been in a bad slump lately. Morse will probably strike out at least once. So Morse is not without his risks; hence, he has a lower price. He’ll face C.J. Wilson who has been all kinds of bad early in games. If Morse can get to him early in the game for a home run, he’ll easily pay off. I think he has that potential in this one.

5. Danny Espinosa 2B WAS ($3,490) @ CIN RHP Homer Bailey- Espinosa is a very speculative play. His price will lend itself to be more of a position punt than anything else as he is one of the cheapest hitters on Draftstreet. Espinosa hit a home run and a double last night. Homer Bailey can be susceptible to the long ball, and the lefty power hitters of the Nats should be able to make him pay at least once during this game. Espinosa hasn’t struck out that much this year so your risk of negative points isn’t extremely high. If you can get 3+ points then Espinosa will have served his purpose for being on your team.

Top 5 Teams to Stack

1. St. Louis Cardinals vs LHP Jonathan Sanchez

2. Philadelphia Phillies @ RHP Dillon Gee

3. Texas Rangers @ LHP Scott Diamond

4. Los Angeles Angels @ RHP Aaron Harang

5. Colorado Rockies @ RHP Brandon McCarthy

 

About Ben Pritchett

Member of the FSWA. Top 4 2012 Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Expert. Top 3 Finisher in the 2012 DSFC football championship. Written for The Hardball Times and Daily Joust.

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