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.
I rarely enter more than one lineup, but today I'm entering two: one with Jacob deGrom ($11,100) and one with his opponent, Nationals starter Joe Ross ($5,000).
First, Joe Ross: Ross is the brother of Padres P Tyson Ross, and he also features a good fastball and filthy slider that generates a lot of swings and misses. Ross had a cup of coffee with the Nats earlier this year and put up ridiculous numbers in 20 IP over 3 starts: 2.66 ERA, 1.09 FIP, 2.05 xFIP, 28.8% K%, 2.5% BB%, 13.3% swinging strike% with 71% first pitch strikes and 56.6% ground balls. Ross faces an impotent Mets offense that is currently the worst offense in baseball and will be in good position to go deep into the game with a solid strikeout total and strong run prevention. The only issue for Ross is run support, because his team faces Jacob deGrom.
Second, deGrom: deGrom has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in the last calendar year and the velocity on his fastball keeps getting better and better. His performance in this year's All Star game really highlights what he's become, and deGrom faces a terrible Nationals offense that is without 4 of its best hitters.
deGrom is expensive, so you'll have to play cheaper hitters to fit him in. Ross, on the other hand, is unbelievably cheap, and a monster hitting lineup can be built around him, creating a higher ceiling for point scoring.
Here are a few hitters a fantasy owner can consider today:
1B- Wilin Rosario vs Matt Harrison, $3,500
Rosario has hit LHP to a 149 wRC+/.293 ISO combo in 433 career PA. He plays at home in Coors Field and faces a below average lefty. ZiPS has Harrison pegged at a 4.63 ERA the ROS.
Punt play: 3B- Pablo Sandoval vs Vincent Velasquez, $2,200
Sandoval is priced at the FD minimum but can still hit RHP. Sandoval has a 124 wRC+ in 233 PA vs RHP this year. ZiPS has Velasquez at a 5.10 ERA the ROS. If a fantasy owner needs a punt play to fit more expensive hitters into their lineup, Sandoval is a good option.
Texas Rangers vs Kyle Kendrick
This is a no brainer stack. A road team moving to Coors Field where pitches move less is good enough, but against one of the least effective pitchers in the entire game makes it overwhelming. A few Rangers hitters aren't priced too extreme considering the Coors Field/Kendrick combo.
But first, a few words about Rangers hitters and wRC+: Arlington's park factors have changed a lot in the last few years. It used to be one of the best hitting parks in the game, mostly because of a jet stream to right center, but construction has changed the wind pattern and the jet stream that used to exist doesn't anymore. wRC+ will likely underrate Rangers hitters, so I will use OPS instead:
2B: Rougned Odor, $3,900
Odor, a supremely talented 21 year old, has tore up MLB since his demotion to the minor leagues, hitting to a 1.010 OPS/.245 ISO in 104 PA. Odor has been batting 2nd in the order, which is big for his fantasy value.
OF- Shin Soo Choo, $3,800
The Rangers have benched Choo against some righties lately, which is a little perplexing. Choo has been a massive disappointment based on what the Rangers paid him, but he still hits RHP well. Choo has a .822 OPS/.202 ISO vs RHP this year. If he's in the lineup, he will be a good play in Coors against Kendrick.
OF- Josh Hamilton, $2,900
Hamilton's numbers the last 2 years vs RHP don't exactly inspire confidence, but he will likely be in the lineup batting anywhere from 5-6 in the order. Considering the run scoring environment with Kendrick/Coors, Hamilton's price is pretty low; the light hitting Elvis Andrus is priced higher than Hamilton is. Playing Hamilton is a gamble, but one that I have no issue taking in this environment.
Follow me on Twitter at @TimFinn521, I usually tweet out more good options as lineups are released.