Reminder: Always double check the lineup card before rosters lock to make sure that a player you've chosen to roster is playing that day, and check the weather to make sure your players won't get rained out of their game.
Rich Hill ($7,800) vs Yankees
I remember rostering Rich Hill in a fantasy league about 10 years ago when he was with the Cubs and remember his struggles throughout the years, particularly with injuries. I couldn't believe it when I saw that he was back pitching in the big leagues this year in 2015, especially considering Hill was pitching in Indy ball as recently as July. But Hill made some mechanical adjustments, including throwing more over the top instead of side arm, and it's had an incredibly positive effect on his effectiveness on the mound. Hill's peripherals are eye popping through 3 big league starts:
12% swinging strike%
Hill's batted ball profile is particularly impressive, too. He's generating a lot of ground balls, and hitter's are hitting into lousy trajectories:
35.3% pop up%
This is a Rich Hill exit velocity chart via Baseballsavant.com, beginning with his MLB debut in early September:
Hitters just aren't squaring Hill up at all, and when that is combined with elite strikeout and walk rates, it's a recipe for massive success.
Hill obviously won't continue to produce at a level like this, but he's shown enough to be an intriguing low cost salary relief play. Hill faces a Yankees team that has struggled vs LHP lately, so much so that they've given righty hitting John Ryan Murphy some reps at 1B to use against LHP in the absence of Mark Teixeira. Hill's opposition is CC Sabathia, who has pitched better since he began wearing a knee brace, but is still probably a below average pitcher going forward.
If a fantasy owner is not comfortable buying into Rich Hill yet (which is perfectly understandable), Stephen Strasburg ($11,200) has been absolutely dominant since coming off the DL on August 8. His stuff has looked ridiculous watching him, and in particular his curve has been crazy good. I don't think these endpoints are arbitrary because it's possible Strasburg's DL stint allowed him to heal an injury he was pitching through:
Since August 8:
15% pop up%
Strasburg takes on a poor Braves team that is starting a significantly below average pitcher.
Rostering a salary relief pitcher like Rich Hill can allow a fantasy owner to play Bryce Harper ($5,200) against Ryan Weber, who has allowed a .245/.327/.490 slash to LHB with a 5.57 FIP and does not miss bats very well. Harper has had all time great season vs RHP, hitting them to a 212 wRC+ and .357 ISO.
If playing a more expensive pitcher like Strasburg, David Peralta is $2,000 cheaper than Harper at $3,200 and faces RHP David Hale, a significantly below average pitcher. Peralta has hit RHP extremely well, with a 146 wRC+ and .227 ISO, and plays in a hitter friendly park in Chase Field out in Arizona.
If playing in the early game, some productive Dodgers lefties are priced modestly. They face Tim Hudson, who has allowed a .318/.394/.430 slash to LHB with a 5.20 FIP. Andre Ethier ($2,800) has hit RHP to a 150 wRC+ and .210 ISO and really stands out as a bargain play.
You can follow me on Twitter at @TimFinn521