Sell high: Josh Willingham, Target Field

Last off-season, the Twins correctly allowed Michael Cuddyer to leave via free agency, and signed outfielder Josh Willingham to take his place. Willingham was signed for $21MM over 3 years while Cuddyer signed with Colorado for $30MM over 3 years.

Willingham didn’t disappoint in his first season as a Twin. He hit .260/.366/.524, adding 35 home runs in 145 games. It was the best season of Willingham’s career, but at 33-years-old, it seems unlikely he’ll repeat his 2012 season next year.

A career .261/.362/.483 hitter, Willingham has been a solid offensive player for most of his career. A spike in his slugging percentage at such a late age is pretty rare, which is why the Twins should not expect Willingham to hit as well next season as he did this year. Willingham’s offensive boost, believe it or not, came from playing more games at Target Field. His home/road splits in 2012 were pretty extreme. Willingham hit a ridiculous and likely unsustainable .293/.407/.610 at Target Field in 2012, compared to just .230/.326/.444 on the road. Why did his numbers spike so much at Target Field? I’m glad you asked. In 2011, Willingham played in Oakland where according to ESPN’s park factor stat, the A’s scored .947 runs, or about 94% of the runs scored in a neutral park. (Target Field ranked just below Oakland, .944 to .947 last season) In 2012, however, Target Field became much more of a hitter’s ballpark. Target Field was the 10th most hitter friendly ballpark in baseball in 2012, after ranking 10th last in 2011. The Twins scored 1.04 runs, or 104% of what would’ve been scored in a neutral park.

The problem with Willingham’s breakout being tied to Target Field becoming a much more hitter friendly park is that there simply isn’t enough data yet to know what kind of park Target Field truly is. A look at the numbers since Target Field opened gives us a grand total of 3 years of information. In a league that has kept data for over a century, 3 years is far too small of a number to get a true reading on the park. Park Factor, by year:

2010 – .962 (96% of the runs scored in a neutral park)
2011 – .944
2012 – 1.044

Clearly, the numbers don’t paint really any kind of picture. It’s been random the first 3 years. However, if Target Field plays like a pitchers park next season, as it has for 2/3 of Target Field’s existence, Willingham could see a considerable dip in his power numbers, as suggested. Read more…

Time gets us all, even A-Rod

Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez will go down as one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game. I repeat, Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest baseball players EVER, in the history of the game. I realize most people understand that, but it seems to have been forgotten over the past few days.

Donald Trump, for example, the king of idiots, has tweeted several things about A-Rod. First he suggested the Yankees should renegotiate A-Rod’s contract because he hasn’t earned his money, clearly ignoring the fact that MLB contracts are fully guaranteed, and the last time A-Rod tried to renegotiate a contract to take less money the Players Association denied it. (Before getting traded to the Yankees, A-Rod was headed to Boston, pending a contract restructuring. The MLBPA told A-Rod forfeiting money for no real reason was a dangerous precedent, and a month later A-Rod was a Yankee)
Trump also suggested A-Rod was only good because of his steroid use, which is completely false. At a time when the majority of the league was taking steroids, A-Rod was emerging as the league’s best player. Yes, he was on them too, but it’s not like he was a small guy. Even without steroid use, it’s hard to imagine A-Rod not being a superstar. But again, Trump and logic fail to meet.

A-Rod’s OPS since September 3, when he came off the DL, is an absolutely atrocious .478, so a benching certainly seemed fair based on production. However, the Yankees didn’t bench A-Rod and start a solid player, they started Eric Chavez. Chavez’s 2012 season was his best in almost 5 years, and giving him a chance in games against right handers seemed logical with all of A-Rod’s struggles. But Chavez finished the ALCS 0-16.
Unfortunately, the whole Yankees lineup had trouble hitting the ball, so Girardi singling out A-Rod seems to suggest there’s more to the story than just this season. As has been mentioned in other places, the Marlins and Yankees likely will discuss an Alex Rodriguez trade this off-season. That hardly guarantees that he’ll be traded, but if the Yankees are willing to pay a portion of his contract to unload him, his hometown of Miami seems like his one of his only possible destinations thanks to his no-trade clause.
It’s worth noting that Alex Rodriguez seems like an odd man. He seems to care what people think a great deal, but despite being in the public eye for almost 20 years, he doesn’t seem to have any people skills. Kissing himself in the mirror, always looking like he’s going to cry, allegedly hitting on women behind the dugout while sitting on the bench… the list could be much much longer with all of A-Rod’s strange instances. However, his off-field personality is of no interest to me. He’s not marrying my sister.
Drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners in 1993, Rodriguez made his Major League Debut in August of 1994 when he was just 18-years-old. He played in 17 games before the strike ended the season, and then in 1995 he spent time bouncing between AAA and the big leagues. Read more…

Derek Jeter, Ray Lewis, bar brawls and Band-Aids: How the aging process affects us all

I strained my shoulder the other night breaking up a bar fight.  Normally, we have security when drunken customers switch over to the dark side but none of them happened to be around at the time.  Besides, I’ve seen Roadhouse like forty times, so I’m good.

At 44 years of age, I should probably give up trying to step in the middle of things.  Chalk it up to natural instinct.  Despite the bum shoulder, however, I won’t be missing any playing time.

The same cannot be said for Derek Jeter and Ray Lewis, who both recently sustained season-ending injuries, Lewis with a torn triceps and Jeter with a broken ankle.  Both men are their teams’ emotional leaders, both are first ballot Hall-of-Famers and both can now be found in the training room nursing their injuries, their teams’ chances of success without them dwindled considerably, if not out the window altogether.

Not only have the Ravens and Yankees been dealt huge blows with these two out, but so have sports fans everywhere as both Lewis and Jeter are among the most enjoyable players in their respective sports to watch and that’s coming from a life-long Yankee-hater.

As expected, ESPN has already begun eulogizing their careers, asking pointless questions such as “Which player is more of a loss to his team,” as if that’s something one can measure but to quote Derek Zoolander, I’m not a good eugoogolizer.  If it’s one thing I know from watching these two over the years, it’s that they’ll both be back.

At 38, Jeter led the league in hits this year (216).  He ranks 11th all-time in that category and if he repeats that same success next year, he’ll land himself in the top five behind only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.  Not bad company if you can get it. Read more…

Who had the worst loss of the week?

We all experience it.  That bitter feeling of defeat, that punch in the gut where your whole week is ruined because something that you have been looking forward to for awhile (for me, its been 9 months in the making) is taken from you and ruined.  And even worse, you know what’s coming — the Facebook posts, the Twitter tweets, the text messages, the Snapchat’s of people laughing at you, and if people still use it — the phone calls of people giving you shit because your beloved team lost.

So I’m here — mainly because I needed to blog and Kavon wanted me to write something — to rank the worst defeats of the week.  So, if one of your teams lost in dramatic fashion, a blow out, or your favorite player got hurt, then get all your sharp objects away from you because we are all on suicide watch.

Warning:  If you are in a good mood, no that’s too happy, if you are in a mediocre mood don’t read this you will become extremely depressed and may cut your wrists and black your eyes while listening to the Dashboard Confessionals.

The Candidates: 

  • The San Francisco 49ers blow out loss to the New York Giants – Well, we might as well start with my number one reason for depression of the week.  It started on a cold January afternoon (actually it was like 65 degrees in San Diego, suck it non-Californians), but the 49ers were in position to advance to their first Super Bowl since defeating the San Diego “Super” Chargers in 1995 and all did not exactly go well.  In case you’ve been living in a cave or have been so inebriated for 9 months then you probably know that the 49ers lost that game because of a couple fumbles here and there and an inept offense.  Okay, I’m officially teary eyed…must power through.  Well, the 49ers had a chance for a little bit of revenge on Sunday.  They had the defending Super Bowl Champions – who the Niners thought had their championship – in their home stadium again and laid a complete egg.  Dominated 26-3, the 49ers threw three interceptions, recorded zero sacks and got one (!) hit on Eli “Mouth Breather” Manning and didn’t even reach the Red Zone.  It felt like I was watching a Cleveland Browns game.  Okay, now I’ve gone from teary eyed to weeping like I’m watching Click or Air Bud (Fun Fact: those are the only two movies I’ve openly cried too).  Level of Depression: Getting drunk and bashing your head while yelling “Oops” like you’re on Real World.  (PS: RIP to that guy in previous video).
  • The New York Yankees and Derek Jeter – Not only did the New York Yankees lose the first two games of the ALCS at home, they lost Mr. Yankee Derek “How Could You End it With Minka Kelly” Jeter to a broken ankle.  But don’t worry Yankee fans you still have Alex Rodriguez.  Wait…he’s not on the juice anymore and 37 years old and strikes out almost every time a pitcher throws him a pitch?  Well, shit.  They can still win tonight though, right?!  Oh…Justin Verlander is pitching?  Shoot…I’m trying to find a silver lining…I got nothing.  Level of Depression: Find someone to feed you popcorn because popcorn makes everyone feel better! Right A-Rod?  Read more…

MLB Playoffs: Who I’m rooting for with the Bucs out of it

mlb playoffs orioles

Now that the once oh so promising Pirates season has mercifully drawn to a close I’ve picked myself back up after a few days of sulking to return to the game as an unbiased observer—but what fun is that?  Everyone has to have a horse in the race, and the great thing about sports is that if yours comes up lame around the third turn you’re well within your right to hop on board someone else’s to get the feeling of what it’s like to charge for the finish line.  That said, here’s who I’m rooting for, in order, as the 2012 baseball playoffs kick off later today:

1. Baltimore Orioles

They represent everything the Pirates could have been this season.  A once-proud yet long-struggling franchise with a fan base starving to get back to the postseason after their last run ended with one of the more infamous moments in baseball history (so Jeffery Maier and Sid Bream walk into a bar—yes, Maier, the then-twelve year old who didn’t dare throw back the Derek Jeter 313-foot out that he turned into a home run is old enough to throw ‘em back as he pleases now, which illustrates just how long it really has been since the O’s were playing beyond the first few days of October.)

2. Cincinnati Reds

Yes, you read that right.  They’re my wife’s home team, and I know that the longer they play, the more baseball watching there is for this home team.  Hey, I’m smarter than I look.

3. Oakland A’s

The quintessential proof that high baseball IQ in the front office can trump a low payroll.  Winning the division on the final day of the season against the very team you trailed by as many as 13 games is strong, strong enough to get you my support. Read more…

The end of Big Game?

I walked into a sports bar the other night just as James Shields had struck out his record-setting, fifteenth batter.

Watching Shields walk off the mound in the ninth, holding back the tears, was a fitting finale to the Tampa Bay Rays season, his final out of the night recorded, confident he had given his all, yet his team behind 1-0.  “Big Game” James was nearly unhittable Tuesday night.  The only problem, as has happened all too often this season, was that the lineup behind him was equally unable to manufacture a hit.

And so Shields’ night, and perhaps career with the Rays, came to a close.  He tipped his cap to the roar of the appreciative crowd then descended into the dugout to the hugs and high-fives of his teammates, probably wishing he could have traded some of that love for a run or two, but alas, he pitches for the Rays and that’s not how they roll.  Until last night, no pitcher in the live ball era had ever lost a game after striking out fifteen, walking none, giving up only two hits and one lone run.  It was another typical outing for Shields and unfortunately, another typical outing for the Rays lineup.

Don’t let their run differential of +120 fool you.  These Rays, who missed the post-season by only three games, would beat you 11-2 just as often as they’d lose 2-1.  They featured what could legitimately be considered one of the best pitching staffs ever assembled from top to bottom.  They allowed the fewest runs in the majors but finished 28th in the league in hits and 27th in batting average.  Not to be outdone by teammate and strong Cy Young candidate David Price, who won 20 games and finished with a 2.56 ERA, Shields, their number two starter, finished 15-10 and led the team in strikeouts with 223.  He won’t get any love for Cy Young this year but he finished third in the voting for the award last year.  Additionally, Shields has started at least 33 games for the Rays every season since 2008, showing he’s the most consistent arm in that rotation.  We’ll see if the Rays are about to make him the highest paid. Read more…

The New York Yankees are knocking on the door again.

C.C. SabathiaWe are nearing pennant time again in 2012 and the New York Yankees are right there at the top of the American League East once again.

When the season started there were those that said that the Yankees were too old to make another serious run at the World Series. Here we are in October and the Yankees are right there, poised to start the playoffs.

The Yankees have played through adversity all season long with key players getting hurt or injured at one point in the season or another.  C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera and others have been out this year at different times during the season.

With Derek Jeter the captain of the team, they play as he plays hard and to win every game. Jeter is the consummate competitor.  He will try and beat you, even if you are just playing checkers. He comes to work every day ready to work. Even at age 38, Jeter is probably the hardest working guy on the team. He never takes a play off.  He is always driving forward to win every game.

The Yankees as a team play like their leader. They play hard and they play to win.  Yankees tradition dictates that they win. The Steinbrenner’s will accept nothing less than winning.  The Yankees winning the World Series is like breathing, it is imperative to their survival.

Age has not played a factor in the run for the pennant.  The Yankees do what they need to do to win. They try and put together the best players in the game every year. You can say what you will, but the fact is the Yankees organization is filled with winners. The general thoughts are that they try and buy championships every year, but that is not the case, there is a lot more to winning a championship then just putting out a bunch of money and throwing players together.

Not just anyone is asked to dawn the Yankees pinstripes.  Wearing that uniform and playing for the most storied team in MLB, for many is a dream come true.

Old or not, the 2012 New York Yankees are knocking on that door to the playoffs once again. Let’s stay tuned to see just how far the Yankees go into playoffs. Personally, I am seeing another World Series Trophy.

Mike Samuels is a Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz.  He can be reached at or on Twitter @Steeler_Mike and at

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must Starts: Wednesday October 3rd

Daily Fantasy BaseballThe Atlanta Falcons may be excited about Matty Ice these days, but the defending world series champions (and fantasy owners) will be riding the coat tails of Matty Nice tonight.

Value plays:

New York Yankees – Are we there yet? That seems to be the mantra of the Red Sox, as this miserable season nears conclusion. The Yankees beat up on them pretty good on Monday, and if the past is any indication of the future, they should have plenty of success against DiceK tonight. The team owns a .280 batting average and a .463 slugging percentage against the Boston starter, with all of their big bats getting into the action. Derek Jeter is the only player with multiple homers, but five of his teammates have rounded the bases once against Matsuzaka. The patient nature of the Yankees lineup figures to frusterate the Red Sox tonight, giving them plenty of opportunities to score runs, and provide fantasy baseball owners with plenty of confidence.

Matt Holliday – While Homer Bailey is fresh off of a no hitter, he has very little chance at repeating that success tonight against the playoff bound Cardinals. St. Louis is batting .329 as a team against Bailey, with Holliday’s consistent bat leading the way. He has a .440 career batting average against the Reds righty while leading the Cards in doubles, triples, and HR’s against Bailey. His .840 slugging percentage is testament to his tremendous upside, and the Cardinals will be trying to play themselves into a rhythm as they approach the one game playoff on Friday. Many studs aren’t worht rostering this late in the season, but Holliday is a player you can trust to produce for in daily fantasy baseball games until the regular season expires. Read more…

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must Starts: Tuesday October 2nd

Avoid star middle infielders today. It is that simple if you want to have a chance tonight in the final week of the regular season.

Value plays:

San Francisco Giants – This roster may not be loaded with talent, but it is packed with players who hit Chris Capuano well. As a team, the Ginats are batting .281 against the Dodgers lefty, but more impressive is their .445 slugging percentage. An amazing 39% of their hits have gone for extra base hits, with four players having multiple such hits. The Giants as a team may not have anything to play for, but Buster Posey has an NL MVP in his sights, and could be in for a big performance tonight. Less heralded options like Freddy Sanchez (.360batting average / .440slugging percentage) and Marco Scutaro (.500/.700) are also good bets to far outproduce their asking price.

David DeJesus – As long as you don’t have to watch this game, there is a chance you could enjoy it. The Astros and Cubs are the clear cut bottom feeders in not only the NL Central, but also the entire league, and have been dead zones for fantasy glory this season. That being said, DeJesus has crushed Bud Norris over his career, and if you’re looking to the Cubs for fantasy players, that is about all you can ask for. He has 5 hits in 9 at bats (.556 batting average) against the Stros righty, smashing 2 homers in the process. Norris has given up 6 homers in 16.1 innings pitched against the Cubs this year, giving DeJesus even more upside. Read more…

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must Starts: Sunday September 30th

Daily Fantasy BaseballYoung and sexy names are NOT the way to go tonight. Potential helps in season long games, but if you’re only worried about tonight’s production, stick with the guys who have a proven 2012 track record against their opponent.

Value plays:

Alex Rios – Rios is having by far his best season as a member of the White Sox, providing me with confidence in him when Chicago needs him the most. David Price takes the bump tonight, a pitcher whom very few batters have had any success against, but Rios has dominated him. How good has he been? How does a .500 batting average and 1.214 slugging percentage sound? Add the fact that he is sandwiched between two hitters in Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis that have combined for a .385 batting average against the Rays ace. Give me the offense that needs a game over a pitcher who has nothing left to prove this season, especially when the past has been this encouraging.

Edwin Encarnacion – The surprise slugger of 2012 has increased him home run total in 3 of 4 months thus far, and on the final day of the month, is one long ball short of making it 4 of 5. He’s got a good chance to make it happen as he opposes Phil Hughes, a pitcher who the Blue Jays infielder has a .360 career batting average and a .640 slugging percentage against. Hughes has given up a HR in 8 of his last 10 starts, a concerning stat for Yankee fans considering the Blue Jays hit for power, and lots of it. Odd stat to watch: Hughes has recorded a decision in 13 straight contests, giving up 14 home runs in the process. Read more…

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must Starts: Saturday September 29th

Daily fantasy baseballWe’ve got proven veterans and young studs to help your fantasy baseball team as we approach the home stretch.

Value plays:

Michael Young – It has been a disappointing season by his lofty standards (batting 25 points lower than his career average), but Ervin Santana isn’t exactly having a banner year either. I trust Young more so than Santana, and his career numbers against the erratic righty proves my logic accurate. Young nears the top of the Rangers lineup in HR’s, extra base hits, RBI and batting average against Santana, giving him far more upside than his price in daily fantasy baseball leagues reflects. Due to the stacked Texas lineup, Young has equally high potential to score and knock in runs. September has been Young’s best month since April by quite a bit, and I expect the month to end with a nice streak for the Rangers utility man as they approach the postseason.

Pittsburgh Pirates – It has been a disappointing second half of the season for the Bucco’s, but I don’t expect them to throw in the towel quite yet. They’ve got some nice pieces, and all members involved have tormented Mike Leake. The Reds righty has surrendered a .289 team batting average to the Pirates and, more concerning, a .535 slugging percentage. Seven different Pirates have taken Leake yard, directly resulting in the fact that nearly 46% of the teams hits have gone for extra bases. Neil Walker leads the team in RBI against Leake (9) with Alex Presley leading the charge in both batting average (.500) and HR’s (2). Andrew McCutchen is a good play if you’re looking for a top option, and the roster is loaded with sleepers if you are looking to fill out your fantasy baseball lineup.

Mike Trout – The remarkable season figures to continue, as he has had success against Derek Holland this season. Part of what makes Trout so special is his ability to make adjusts, to not be beat on the same pitch twice. So when a pitcher has yet to beat him, his potential is as high as anybody in the league. He’s got a .417 batting average and a .917 slugging percentage, which is reason enough to make him my top player tonight. But when you add the fact that this game is being played in hitter friendly Texas, he is as close to a can’t miss as you possibly get. Albert Pujols owns very similar numbers against Holland, so the Rangers starter will not be able to pitch around the phenom. Good luck Mr. Holland, you’re going to need it. Read more…

Mike Trout vs Miguel Cabrera: The AL MVP?

mike-trout-miguel-cabreraAs the baseball season finally winds down, the last week and a half of the season should be quite exciting. There are teams battling for playoff spots and playoff positioning, and both MVP awards are still up in the air. The final 10 games or so will play a major part in deciding the 10 playoff teams and both MVPs, so despite the NFL being a lot more fun to watch, don’t forget about baseball. This is the time of the year it’s the best.

Anyway, the biggest debate seems to be about Mike Trout vs Miguel Cabrera for the AL MVP. First, I need to make a point. To me, how your team does over the course of the season should mean basically nothing in the MVP voting. Baseball is more of a team game than any sport there is. In basketball, a player like LeBron James could potentially turn the league’s worst team into a playoff team all by himself, or turn one of the league’s best teams into the league’s worst team simply by leaving. (Sorry Cleveland) Basketball is an individual sport at the NBA level; players work together at times but generally the best player on the team takes the majority of the shots, and therefore has the greatest outcome on the game. The only player in baseball that can possibly impact the game in that same way is a dominating starting pitcher; but even guys like Justin Verlander and King Felix only play, at best, about 20% of the team’s games.
If you were to place baseball’s best player in any given season onto the league’s worst team in the same season, not one of those teams would make the playoffs. Think about that for a moment: sports writers, the ones who vote for the MVP, have basically decided that the team you play for matters a great deal in post-season awards. That is ridiculous in a sport that relies so much on so many different teammates succeeding. Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham are all having great seasons this year. The Twins are one of the worst teams in baseball, because the team is full of junk in other places. Read more…

Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Monday September 24th

Aramis RamirezA very slow day in the majors leaves you with a few mid level players who could be among the top performers tonight.

Value plays:

Billy Butler – Justin Verlander has struggled this season (4.76 ERA) against the Royals this season, and Butler is the most likely Royal to experience a productive day against the Tigers ace. Butler has a career .367 batting average against the elite righty, having 33% of his hits go for extra bases. The Royals as a team are batting .251 against Verlander, a number that isn’t impressive unless you consider that the MLB is batting .217 against Verlander this season. Kansas City is a good bet to at least score against the Tigers tonight, and with Butler accounting for 40% of their RBI and 50% of their HR’s, he is a good play in daily fantasy baseball games tonight despite the tough matchup

Aramis Ramirez – The Brewers are getting hot at the right time, and that doesn’t only apply for the NL wild card race. Milwaukee’s late season surge has provided plenty of value for their loyal fantasy baseball owners, and tonight should be no different for ARam. Look past Jordan Zimmerman’s sub 3 ERA and you’ll see that Ramirez holds a .462 batting average and a .923 slugging percentage. He has accounted for 57% of the Brewers extra base hits against the Nats “ace”, and with the BrewCrew clicking on all cylinders right now, the veteran third basemen is worth your while tonight. Read more…

Rays’ clock ticks loudly as season end nears

So it is done.  That 162nd game ever near.  Hopes of another playoff run dashed with a fade down the finish.  Heads held low.  Body language telling the few fans left in the stadium all they needed to know.

It’s over.

The Tampa Bay Rays gave their playoff run a valiant effort but in the end, they just didn’t have enough.

Enough what, you ask?  Well, hitting is the obvious answer.  Sound defense is another.

The Tampa Bay Rays’ 2012 campaign is not like Shakespeare where you have to search long and hard for the inner meaning.  It’s no episode of CSI that takes the entire cast sixty minutes to decipher it was Professor Plum with the candlestick in the conservatory.  The answers are glaring.  The Rays rank 27th in the majors with a team batting average of .238.  Their total hits, 1181, rank dead last.  Their team fielding percentage, .981, ranks 29th.  Ben Zobrist leads the team with 68 RBIs.  That ranks 65th among major league hitters.  When you can’t hit and you can’t field, you can’t win, even if your pitching is among the league best, which it has been for most of the season.  To make matters worse, the Rays rank last in the league in attendance, the only team in Major League Baseball to not draw over 20,000 fans a game. Read more…

Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Friday September 21st

Daily Fantasy BaseballThe Brewers have a strong matchup, but their stud should be avoided while their banged up outfielder should find his way onto your roster is he is in Milwaukee’s tonight.

Value plays:

Michael Bourn – Kyle Kendrick was on a roll until the Houston Astros (!) recorded 7 hits and 4 earned runs against the righty in only 5 innings. It may only be one poor start after a streak of 6 straight quality starts, but this is more in line with Kendrick’s career numbers (4.32 ERA and 1.37 WHIP). On top of Kendrick possibly falling upon rough times sooner rather than later, Bourn has abused the righty in 14 career at bats. The Braves leadoff hitter has 7 hits in those 14 at bats and is slugging an uncharacteristic .929. A top of the order hitter with a history of a power stroke against a specific pitcher is impossible to avoid, and you won’t have to break the bank to roster Bourn in daily fantasy baseball games.

Corey Hart (assuming health) – Few players have had success against Edwin Jackson like Hart, which is why his nagging foot injury isn’t enough to scare me away. Hart has yet to get cheated on a single at bat against righty, recording 6 hits in 11 bats on his wildly aggressive swing. Half of his hits have gone for extra bases, giving him an other worldly1.182 slugging percentage. He leads a team that is batting .376 against Jackson, giving him more run producing potential than any other player you could roster. Read more…