Friday, September 11 MLB Picks: The League Version
Thanks to the highly anticipated return of the NFL season, I felt like choosing a topic for this week’s pop culture crossover was easier than ever. That’s why I compared all of the baseball players from this week to the characters of the only “fictional” Fantasy Football show, The League. In all honesty, the comparisons are a little dry, because I’m comparing normal people to superstars, but hey, just roll with it, ‘cause football is back.
Catcher: Kyle Schwarber
The League Character: Rafi
This play is dependent on Schwarber making it into the lineup of the second game of a DH, but I didn’t feel comfortable writing up any other catcher as the position is incredibly thin. Schwarber has cooled down of late, but the guy is a monster, posting a .274 ISO and .380 wOBA in his short stay in the major leagues. If Schwarber is in the lineup, he’ll be facing young right-hander Alec Asher, who has been pummeled in his two starts this year, posting an ERA of 10.61 while allowing a lot of contact, and plenty of home runs. There is really no one else to suggest in this spot, and it’s not a complete punt by using Schwarber.
Let Schwarber make the difference in…cash games.
First Baseman: Paul Goldschmidt
The League Character: Pete Eckhart
If you’re unfamiliar with the league, I matched Goldy with Pete because Goldy is a winner. Not in terms of team prowess, but overall as an individual, he’s one of the best players in the league. Goldy has quieted down just a tad the second half, but I’m making this play purely based on his torture to left-handed pitchers over the course of his career. While Alex Wood is a pretty solid left-hander, Goldschmidt’s career .274 ISO and .430 wOBA against southpaws is a strong selling point. This game will take place in a nice run scoring environment in Chase Field, and I think Goldschmidt will fly under the radar.
Let Goldy make the difference in…GPPs.
Second Baseman: Jose Altuve
The League Character: Jenny
Please overlook me comparing Jose Altuve with a woman, because that has no bearing on this comparison. Instead, it stems from the stealth like nature of both of these individuals. In the show, Jenny comes from nowhere, surprising the rest of the league to be a competitive force. The same is true for Altuve, who even at his small frame, is one of the best players in the league. I feel like I’m recommending him here a lot, but it’s aided by the super shallow pool of second basemen. Altuve presents us with a solid floor, along with “power” and speed upside. His matchup is with oldman Jered Weaver, who doesn’t strike anyone out and gives up a lot of hard contact. Again, this is a chance you can take to separate yourself from the field. Editor’s Note: An added layer of irony here as Jenny is a well-known “height supremacist”.
Let Altuve make the difference in…GPPs.
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki
The League Character: Rodney Ruxin
I really think this comparison is fitting, because although I don’t know Tulo, I think he feels like he’s the shit. Ruxin is the same way, and in a lot of facets in life, it’s really important to have a lot of confidence. I’d say the same is true for baseball, and well, Tulowitzki is the only shortstop that is really ever worth taking. The matchup doesn’t jump out as an enticing one, but the ballpark is good, and the Blue Jays offense is such a great threat, that Tulo should be hitting in a good spot more than once tonight. If we’re lucky, he gets a bump to leadoff, but I’ll still roster him even if he’s hitting five, just because his price is so accessible and his skillset is far and above the other shortstops.
Let Tulo make the difference in…cash games.
Third Baseman: Evan Longoria
The League Character: Andre
Yes, Longoria and Andre are essentially the same person, I’m glad you agree with me. In all honesty, this comparison might not make any sense, but I like the underdog nature of both Andre and Longoria. I note Longoria as an underdog because he doesn’t play for an outstanding offense and normally falls by the wayside, but he has excellent skills against left-handed pitchers and has for his entire career. Tonight he’ll be facing off against Wade Miley, and while the ballpark isn’t anything to write home about, using a career .249 ISO and .388 wOBA hitter against southpaws is +EV.
Let Longo make the difference in…cash games.
Outfield: AJ Pollock
The League Character: Kevin
The comparisons are tough guys, so leave me alone if they don’t make any sense. Kevin is a bit of a spazz, and I’m comparing him with Pollock due to his high energy, high upside play. Pollock is another one of the southpaw smashers that hits in the middle of the Diamondbacks lineup who will be facing Alex Wood in a great ballpark tonight. This is another GPP play, but one that could really make the difference on a full slate of games. Pollock has posted a .384 wOBA, with a slightly increased ISO of .186 against southpaws, and I’m continuing the trend for high upside tournament plays tonight.
Let Pollock make the difference in…GPPs.
Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer
The League Character: Taco
This comparison is strictly due to the crazy hair that both Taco and Archer are seemingly always sporting. I love using Archer because of his immense strikeout upside and his high energy demeanor. Archer is striking out nearly 11 hitters per nine innings while pitching to a 2.78 xFIP this year, and gets a matchup with a Red Sox team taking a significant negative park shift to the Trop. The Red Sox have been a really solid offense overall this year (6th in team wOBA), but today is all about taking risks, so go for it.
Let Archer make the difference in…GPPs.