I'd like to pretend that I carefully planned the theme for my hitter selections, but Pick-On-A-Lefty Tuesday just kinda happened on its own. I guess with a whopping 14 southpaws on the mound, it was almost bound to happen, but it wasn't until I was halfway through the write-ups that I realized just how many I'd selected.
With a small handful of big time starters going, there was also a robust market to pick out spot starts from as well. This Tuesday offers a nice slate of guys you may consider keeping beyond just the one day, too.
Here's the list of recommended players, each rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to stream
Lucas Giolito (R), rostered in 24 percent of ESPN leagues, Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers: Looking at Giolito's bottom line, you won't be impressed. He had a 5.66 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He had a 7.01 ERA as late as June 22 and you'd have to be nearly perfect for 10-plus starts to make a real dent on it. That said, he has been quite good for his last 10, especially given what we'd become accustomed to seeing from him. He has a 3.82 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in his last 10 starts. He's allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight of the 10 and was arguably at his very best in his most recent start, a 6 1/3 IP/1 ER gem with eight strikeouts against Boston. He has two quality starts in Detroit during this run with 13 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Alex Cobb (R), 17 percent, Baltimore Orioles at Seattle Mariners: Cobb's splitter is back and driving quite a bit of success. Like Giolito, just looking at his bottom line won't convey the success. Even with a 5 ER outing his last time out against Toronto, he still has a 2.79 ERA in his last nine starts. His 10 percent K-BB rate during the run isn't good, but he's regained the feel for his splitter and he's using it to generate a lot more weak contact. His splitter usage is up 15 points to 36 percent and looks like the splitter that drove his success before Tommy John surgery.
Trevor Richards (R), 5 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Solid-if-unspectacular arms on poor teams are often overlooked so you might've missed Richards and his 24 percent strikeout rate on the year. It has actually surged to 29 percent since the All-Star break, too, and has also paired well with a 3.49 ERA and 1.14 WHIP combo. The Phillies are 23rd in wOBA against righties since July 1st and just 19th on the season.
In what's likely to be even more popular now that rosters have expanded, there are three bullpen games on Tuesday's docket. The Rays are the trendsetters, using Ryne Stanek to open for the second game in a row. Jalen Beeks will follow and is a great option in points leagues, especially those distinguishing starters and relievers. The extra innings and strikeouts, with a chance for a win compensates for his inability to post a save.
The Athletics and Twins are also using a bullpen game, though theirs is of the old-fashioned variety where all the relievers are relegated to just an inning or so. Though, Oakland could extend Frankie Montas, expected to work after Liam Hendriks opens. Trevor May will get the ball initially for Minnesota.
Projected game scores
Mitch Garver (R), 3 percent, Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros (RHP Justin Verlander): Garver has a tough draw against Verlander, but he's had a severe platoon split favoring his work against righties. He has a .295/.357/.468 line with six of his seven homers against righties. Catcher has been painfully thin all year so sometimes we have to go up against an ace.
Tyler White (R), 46 percent, Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Kohl Stewart): White just hasn't stopped hitting and has now forced himself into a full time role. In the last month, he has a .319/.374/.692 line with 8 HR, 25 RBI, and 15 R in 99 PA. He's smashing lefties and righties alike which is only helping the extended playing time. I realize that a portion of leagues die off a bit as the season goes on, but White at 46 percent roster rate is far too low.
Wilmer Difo (B), 2 percent, Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Miles Mikolas): Difo has a 218-point platoon advantage against righties this year and is also 7-for-7 in SBs against them. Meanwhile, Mikolas has a 229-point platoon split that favors lefty batters including a 97-point AVG split (.293 for lefties).
Matt Davidson (R), 12 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Francisco Liriano): Davidson is a different hitter against southpaws with a blistering .305/.394/.558 line and 5 HR in 109 PA. He's been especially good against lefties in the last month with a .440/.462/.600 in 26 PA. Liriano also has a sharp platoon split with a hideous .287/.391/.508 line against righties that includes 17 homers in 376 PA (a 30-homer full season pace).
Marcus Semien (R), 47 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankees (LHP J.A. Happ): Semien is another lefty destroyer and has surged against them in the last month with an .869 OPS, 3 HR, and a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Happ is running a 251-point platoon split, though it's partly because he's so good against lefties (.485 OPS) as opposed to righties crushing him. Happ has been a little homer-happy as a Yankee with a 1.8 HR/9 in six starts with the new club.
Johan Camargo (B), 38 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): Camargo has quietly put together a nice season working as a nice fill-in for shallow leagues and a standard glue guy in deeper setups. He's running a healthy .318/.356/.509 against righties during the second half and Porcello is in a bit of lull lately with a 6.43 ERA and 2.3 HR/9 during his last five starts.
Adalberto Mondesi (B), 13 percent, Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians (RHP Mike Clevinger): Mondesi is one of my favorite late season pickups and I can't wait to draft him everywhere next year, too. He's running a solid .284/.304/.463 line in the last two months, but the real impressive part is his 5 HR and 15 SB (which would pace to a season of 21/63). The 22-year old middle infielder may be suffering from some prospect fatigue as he's been around pro ball since 2012, but make no mistake that his a top tier talent. He was a three-to-four time top prospect depending on the outlet and peaked as high as 16 back 2016. Keep him on your radar for the remainder of the year and into the winter for 2019 leagues.
Melky Cabrera (B), 33 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Danny Duffy): The Melk Man has torched lefties this year, but it's just 50 PA so I don't want to overrate his .996 OPS. That said, he's also running an .898 OPS against all pitchers since the All-Star break so the veteran outfielder is a worthy play even if you're not entirely sold on his lefty prowess.
Franmil Reyes (R), 4 percent, San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray): We're really picking on lefties for Tuesday as Reyes takes his 1.111 OPS up against Ray and looks to stay hot (.963 2H OPS). He's hit 5 HR in 53 PA against southpaws and has 13 in 191 total PA. If you're trying to spike a cheap home run off the wire or in DFS, Reyes is a great target.
Enrique Hernandez (R), 11 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets (LHP Jason Vargas): OK fine, let's just make it a whole theme. Hernandez used to be known for his ability to hit lefties, but that's actually fallen off a bit this year thanks in large part to a .228 AVG. He does still have 7 HR in 186 PA against them, though, and I'm willing to run him out there against Vargas. I promise I'm not just recommending him for the theme. Vargas is allowing a .313/.364/.550 line to righties so even if Hernandez isn't at his best, he has a great matchup.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.