Weekly Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Eovaldi Gets Two Starts
Week 6 marks a turning point in the fantasy season. We’re nearly a quarter of the way through the MLB season already, which means that, moving forward, you can’t afford the poor weeks and bad losses that you may have suffered at the beginning of the season. Even in daily leagues, any little advantage can really make a difference in getting things back on track or continuing your dominance. A good fantasy player is always making moves and looking to improve, and I’m here to help. Here’s a look at four potentially under-the-radar guys who are poised for monster weeks.
Nathan Eovaldi - P, Miami Marlins
Another week, another two-start pitcher. I think this is going to be a thing moving forward. Eovaldi, if you recall, was once the top pitching prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system before being traded to the Marlins as part of the package for Hanley Ramirez. With the presence of Jose Fernandez in Miami, Eovaldi hasn’t had a ton of pressure to live up to the “top prospect” billing, and he’s thrived with the spotlight turned elsewhere.
Through 38.3 innings pitched, he’s 2-1 with a 2.58 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 35 Ks to only five walks and impressive nERD (2.88, 25th best) and Fantasy Score (2.84, 35th) numbers. Eovaldi has two starts this week, one at home against the New York Mets (28th-ranked .228 team batting average) and on the road against the San Diego Padres (30th-ranked .215 team average). His home and road splits are very similar, with a slightly better ERA, WHIP and batting average against (BAA) at home. While he might not be a true sleeper, Eovaldi is only currently $9,200 on DraftKings, with 10 other pitchers (with less solid matchups) being more expensive. He’s an upper-tier value, if you will.
Nick Castellanos - 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers
At first glance, Castellanos' -0.61 nERD (228th ranked) is enough to scare any fantasy owner away. But it’s important to note that he has 25-45 less at bats than most players, playing rather sporadically. Even under these circumstances, he’s still managed to hit three home runs and drive in 17, and his .289 wOBA is moving upward promisingly.
When you dive into the splits, Castellanos thrives at home (hitting .295), especially at home against right-handed pitchers - he’s compiled a .323 average with 2 doubles, 3 runs and 3 RBI against them. All seven of the Tigers’ games are at home this week, against the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros. The Twins currently have a 4.87 team ERA (28th) and .281 batting average against (30th), while the Astros are sporting a 4.88 team ERA (19th) and a .260 batting average against (21st). Five of the seven starters Castellanos will face are righties, so needless to say, he should have a pretty great week.
Carlos Ruiz - C, Philadelphia Phillies
Ruiz's less-than-stellar 2013 campaign knocked him really far down most rankings, relegating him to near irrelevancy in the fantasy community. But he’s been playing well this season with a .296 average, slugging .469 with 24 hits, 18 runs, 8 RBI and a 46th-ranked nERD. He's gone off over the last seven games, hitting .490 (12 for 25) with a homer, 4 doubles, 6 walks and only 2 strikeouts.
Ruiz has done well against lefties over his career, with a .300 average and .836 OPS. His best splits come on the road, specifically against lefties (he faces three this week). On the road, he has a .333 average with 5 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 15 runs, 7 RBI and 10 walks, and is hitting .636 with 7 hits, 3 doubles, 6 runs and 2 RBI against road lefties. Based on the overall road numbers, Ruiz is a solid play all week, but he is a must start (and likely great value) on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday, against J.A. Happ, Mark Buehrle and Jonathon Niese, respectively.
Matt Joyce - OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Joyce is off to a decent start this year, hitting .288 and slugging .450 with a solid .404 OBP. He’s become an everyday starter for the Rays, which is always good when you’re looking for a week-long option. All six of the Rays’ games are at home this week, and all are against right-handed pitchers. This is good news for Joyce, who is hitting .417 at home, and against righties at The Trop, he’s hitting .455 with 15 hits, 6 doubles, 1 home run, 10 runs and 10 RBI. He’s owned in less than 50 percent of leagues, and started in less than 40, so needless to say, he’s a solid sleeper choice. He’s also a great value on the daily sites as well.