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4/24 MLB DFS: Coors makes Pagan a DFS Angel on Friday

4/24 MLB DFS: Coors makes Pagan a DFS Angel on Friday
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MLB DFS Daily Fantasy Rundown – April 24th, 2015

Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem”, “dinkpiece” and “thenumbersguy”. Each day throughout the MLB season our daily MLB scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.

Weather: No major issues tonight. Please see Meteorologist Mark Paquette’s game by game weather forecasts below the Analysis.

If any weather situations shift drastically, we will keep you updated with lineup alerts so make sure to check your email inbox up until roster lock.

Catcher

Top Play:

Buster Posey (SF) – There is not a bigger park shift in baseball than the one the Giants experience when they go to Coors Field. Their home park deflates run scoring by approximately 25 percent below the league average and Coors Field inflates it by over 40 percent above the league average. As a result, the Giants hitters all see tremendous boosts in value, more so than any other team that comes to Colorado. Posey is otherworldly against LHP but he’s still really good against RHP (.356 wOBA, .152 ISO since 2012) and those numbers have largely been produced in a terrible offensive environment. Eddie Butler has not shown much reason for optimism in his small sample in the big leagues. He’s walked (10.7 percent) as many RHBs as he’s struck out (10.7 percent) and he’s allowed a 22.2 percent LD Rate and .321 wOBA to RHBs. Posey is expensive but the gap between him and other catchers is immense on Friday. He ranks inside our Top 10 overall hitters and there isn’t another catcher inside our Top 60 and just two inside the Top 100.

Value Play:

Chris Iannetta (LAA) – Iannetta is a good hitter against LHP (.355 wOBA, .177 ISO since 2012) but he hits very low in the Angels’ lineup and that ultimately drags down his value. On sites, he’s priced as a punt option he’s likely your best alternative to Posey. We haven’t seen much from Wandy Rodriguez the last few years but he’s been vulnerable to RH power (1.26 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012) and he doesn’t miss bats (16 percent K Rate).

Additional catcher notes: Unfortunately catcher pricing seems to be all over the map, which makes it difficult to write broadly about value plays. A.J. Pierzynski (ATL) will remain a fine value play if he continues to hit fifth for Atlanta. Pierzynski is off to an incredible start against RHP (.450/.476/.950) through his first 20 plate appearances. We don’t expect this to continue but Harang is vulnerable to power, Philadelphia is a good park to attack, and it’s difficult to find a combination of cheap tags with premier lineup spots at catcher. Miguel Montero (CHC) has a great price point on DraftKings in a good environment for power. Unlike most other catchers, he can hit a bit. He’s posted a .336 wOBA and .137 ISO against RHP since 2012 and generally gets to hit sixth after a bunch of on-base machines for the Cubs. I like the price point on DraftKings, but on sites where it’s around the average cost of a hitting spot, I’m less likely to invest. I do like Montero as part of Cubs stacks as well. Nick Hundley (COL) has gotten some premier lineup spots of late. If that continues, he’s a viable value play though his price tag is creeping up on most sites. Yadier Molina (STL) is another viable option getting a big park shift in his favor. As lineups come out, we’ll have a better grasp on some other punt plays.

First Base

Top Plays:

Jose Abreu (CHW) – Danny Duffy has allowed a 44 percent fly ball rate to RHBs since 2012 while walking 11 percent of them as well. Abreu has destroyed LHP in his brief major league experience posting a .307 ISO and .445 wOBA. Duffy won’t get to hide in the friendly pitching environment in Kansas City and his fly ball rate won’t play well in US Cellular Field (inflates RH HRs 14 percent above league average). Abreu ranks as a Top 10 overall hitter in our model.

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) – This is an ever so slight bit of a gut call here. Rizzo does rank within our Top 15 overall hitters but we have some other first basemen ranked right around him that I would play him above on Friday. Rizzo’s early season stat line doesn’t truly represent how well he’s hitting the ball. He’s posted a 30.8 percent LD Rate while making contact on 83 percent of his swings and chasing just 20 percent of pitches outside the zone. As a result, he’s posted a 1.25 BB/K Ratio, .484 OBP, and .400 wOBA but just a .085 ISO. Power plays better than walks in DFS and given how little he’s hitting the ball on the ground (38 percent GB Rate) and how often he’s hitting the ball hard (31 percent LD Rate), I think he’s on the cusp of a power breakout. He gets to face Mike Leake who has allowed 1.10 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012 and he gets to face him in an elite hitter’s park for power. I think he leaves the yard on Friday night and as a result, I’ve bumped him ahead of some other options that rank higher in our model.

David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz actually ranks as the top first basemen in our model and the number two overall hitter. He has wide platoon splits against RHP (.411 wOBA, .283 ISO since 2012) and is showing no signs of deterioration in skill (.407 wOBA, .263 ISO this season). He’s playing in a great park for power and facing a below average fly ball pitcher. He generally comes at a discounted price tag to all the other stud first basemen, so there is even a little bit of value. While he ranks ahead of Abreu and Rizzo in our model, I’d prioritize one of the Chicago first basemen ahead of him on sites they’re priced similarly. On sites where the gap is meaningful, I’ll gladly take Ortiz.

Value Play:

Brandon Belt (SF) – Eddie Butler is so bad that the combination of him and Coors Field is basically bumping all of the Giants substantially in our model. Belt ranks as our third hitter overall, but I would personally treat him as more of a Top 15 or Top 20 hitter. He’s gotten off to a difficult start (.167/.250/.167, 0 extra base hits) but he’s posting a 33 percent LD Rate so I think it’s mostly bad luck. The important thing for Belt is he’s hitting fifth against RHP which is a premier lineup spot for Fantasy value. Butler has allowed a .472 wOBA to LHBs in his brief career (63 LHBs faced). He’s walked 14.3 percent of them, struck out just 6.4 percent and allowed a 24.5 percent LD Rate and 2.19 HR/9. He’s really bad and ZiPS projection system doesn’t expect him to be much better (projects a .360 wOBA allowed to LHBs). If you can find discounted price tags because of his early season struggles, this matchup is a good one to take advantage.

Additional first base notes: As usual, first base is exceptionally deep with options. Albert Pujols (LAA), Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ), Lucas Duda (NYM), Freddie Freeman (ATL), Chris Davis (BAL), Justin Morneau (COL), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR), and Mike Napoli (BOS) all rank within our Top 30 overall hitters. In cash games, I’d prioritize the hitters listed above unless there is an unusual pricing discrepancy with one of the hitters listed here. I think all of the options listed in our notes section are great plays as part of stacks or mini-stacks in tournaments. Miguel Cabrera (DET) is a Top 10 hitter in our model and an elite tournament play given Danny Salazar‘s issues with HRs to RHBs (1.55 HR/9).

Second Base

Value Plays:

Neil Walker (PIT) – Walker gets a premier lineup spot (clean up) for a very good offense against RHP and he’s experiencing a huge park shift in his favor. Walker has posted a .355 wOBA and .200 ISO against RHP since 2012 and faces fly ball oriented Josh Collmenter who has allowed a .330 wOBA to LHBs during that time frame. Walker ranks right alongside our next value play recommendation in our model (both in the Top 50). The decision between the two plays likely comes down to exactly how bad you believe in Eddie Butler is and how much exposure you want to Coors Field. Walker is clearly the better hitter and in a great hitting environment in his own right, but our model is rating them as nearly identical options due to Butler’s ineptitude as a big leaguer.

Joe Panik (SF) – Panik isn’t a great hitter. He owns just a .305 wOBA and .065 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer. He takes his walks (7.8 BB Rate) and he’s got a great LD Rate (24.4 percent) against RHP. He also gets a premier lineup spot (second) and Coors Field’s wide gaps should inflate his power potential. In a matchup with Eddie Butler, he ranks inside our Top 50 overall hitters.

Additional second base notes: The traditional top two second base options (Robinson Cano and Jose Altuve) have the platoon advantage on Friday night but both face above average starters in bad hitting environments. They’re better tournament options as stack fillers.  Dustin Pedroia (BOS) is a fine option as part of a Red Sox stack. He hasn’t hit RHP well the last few years (.324 wOBA, .113 ISO) which is why I’d rather allocate resources to Walker or Panik in cash games. As a part of stacks or mini-stacks, Pedroia makes more sense. Alberto Callaspo (ATL) and Devon Travis (TOR) are viable punt plays with good lineup spots and the platoon advantage but on most sites the pricing gap between them and the value plays above isn’t significant enough that I’d opt for them.

Shortstop

Top Play:

Troy Tulowtizki (COL) – Tulowitzki is a Top Five overall hitter in our model and the clear cut top shortstop option. Chris Heston has shown some skills that would make you pause to pay top dollar for Tulowitzki. He’s yielded just a .226 wOBA while generating a 62.9 percent GB Rate and 30.5 percent K Rate against RHBs. It’s a very small sample (59 batters faced), but it’s fairly dominant. Heston had success at AAA last season (3.38 ERA) but he only struck out 17.5 percent of batters. He did hold RHBs to a .594 OPS in AA and given the performance early on, I’d rather pick on him with LHBs than RHBs. Tulowitzki has such a substantial edge on his competition at shortstop that he’s a viable option in cash games, but I’ll likely get my exposure through tournament lineups.

Value Play:

Jhonny Peralta (STL) – Peralta doesn’t rate exceptionally well in our model (outside the Top 110) but he’s got a nice combination of contextual factors working in his favor (positive park shift and premier lineup) and I think Matt Garza‘s a good candidate to underperform baseline expectations going forward. Garza isn’t missing bats early in the season (six percent swinging strike rate) and he’s giving up a ton of hard contact (28.9 percent LD Rate). He’s throwing his best pitch (slider) less often and on the whole, he looks like a declining asset. The Cardinals offense is deep and Peralta gets a premier lineup spot. He’s posted a .322 wOBA and .149 ISO against RHP since 2012. He’s an adequate option for his price tag.

Additional shortstop notes: Brandon Crawford (SF) ranks as a Top 30 option in our model before any lineup adjustments, but he’s largely hit eighth all year. In addition, I can’t find too many discounted price tags on Crawford around the industry.  Starlin Castro (CHC) and Ian Desmond (WAS) are fine as parts of mini-stacks or stacks in tournaments, but the elevated price tag in matchups without the platoon advantage make them weaker cash game options. In recent days, we’ve had some good fortune finding flexibility in punt options with favorable lineup spots and we’ll be on the lookout again on Friday. On sites where Joe Panik (SF) has shortstop eligibility, he’s a preferred value target.

Third Base

Top Plays:

Kris Bryant (CHC) – Bryant is a Top 15 hitter in our model. He’s been phenomenal in his brief major league experience (.409/.552/.591, .497 wOBA) and he gets to play in the best hitting environment he’s seen as a big leaguer. Mike Leake is vulnerable to power (1.06 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012) and Bryant has loads of it. Bryant’s price is on the rise, but I still think he’s slightly discounted to fair value around the industry.

Value Plays:

Josh Harrison (PIT) – Harrison is part of a Pirates offense we’re high on for Friday. He’s posted a .324 wOBA and .148 ISO against RHP since 2012 and gets a huge park shift in his favor playing in Arizona. Josh Collmenter has held RHBs down in recent years but it’s largely BABIP driven and his 50 percent fly ball rate allowed to RHBs makes him a great option to target for power. Harrison ranks within our Top 45 hitters overall.

Pablo Sandoval (BOS) – Sandoval ranks a bit ahead of Harrison (Top 30) but his value is more susceptible to lineup spots. While Harrison always hits leadoff, Sandoval sometimes drops as far down as sixth in the lineup. If Sandoval is hitting fifth, I think he and Harrison are near equivalents. If Sandoval is hitting fourth, he gets the edge; and if he’s hitting sixth, I’d prefer Harrison. Sandoval is facing a fly ball oriented starter in a great hitting environment. Sandoval has posted a .350 wOBA and .158 ISO against RHP since 2012. As part of a Red Sox lineup with a healthy team total, he’s a fine value play around the industry.

David Freese (LAA) – Freese has destroyed LHP in recent years (.383 wOBA, .197 ISO since 2012) and he’s facing Wandy Rodriguez who is vulnerable to RH power (1.26 HR/9 since 2012). Freese gets a premier lineup spot hitting clean up behind Trout and Pujols, which makes him a fine target in cash games.

Additional third base notes: Casey McGehee (SF) is cheap but has seen his lineup spot drop to seventh on most nights against RHP. With a lot of good options at third base, exposure to him feels like more of a tournament option as a part of Giants stacks. Josh Donaldson (TOR) has great historical numbers against LHP but faces a good LHP in a tough hitting environment. He’s a fine tournament option. Matt Carpenter (STL) is a viable option as a part of Cardinals stacks or mini-stacks in tournaments. Pedro Alvarez (PIT) and Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) are other viable third base tournament options as part of team stacks.

Outfield

Top Plays:

Mike Trout (LAA)/Andrew McCutchen (PIT) – Trout ranks as our top overall hitter. He gets the platoon advantage which doesn’t matter much for him but improves the hitters directly behind him, aiding his Fantasy value. He’s priced as the top overall hitter on most sites, which leaves little room for value. McCutchen gets the huge park shift we’ve noted with the Pirates throughout out content and ranks inside our Top 10 hitters. He’s posted a .389 wOBA and .202 ISO against RHP since 2012 and we like taking shots on RH power in a park that inflates HRs to RHBs by six percent against a fly ball pitcher.

Value Plays:

Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – Gonzalez has been putrid to start the season and there are some reasons for concern, most notably his 53.2 percent ground ball rate. Ground balls are an impediment to Fantasy value because they limit power. Gonzalez has been able to overcome some high ground ball rates in the past (47-49 percent in 2011-2012 and 2014) but he hasn’t been able to early on this season. The ground ball issues are a concern when matched up with Chris Heston who is generating a 62 percent GB Rate overall. Still, Heston has struck out just 4.4 percent of LHBs he’s faced at the big league level and in AA and AAA last year he struck out just 15.5 percent of LHBs. Contact in Coors Field is something worth betting on and on sites where Gonzalez price point is reduced (like FanDuel), we think he’s a worthwhile selection. Gonzalez posted a .440 wOBA at home against RHP last season and for his career he’s produced a .433 wOBA and .208 ISO at home against righties. He ranks within our Top Five overall hitters.

Angel Pagan/Nori Aoki (SF) – Both Pagan (.338 wOBA, .125 ISO) and Aoki (.325 wOBA, .107 ISO) are adequate hitters against RHP and get a huge park shift in their favor as well as the elite matchup with Eddie Butler. Since both players have limited power upsides, price point is important when investing in either option. Ideally I’d like to invest in Pagan at price points around or slightly above the average hitter cost and I’d target Aoki on sites his price is below the average cost of a hitting spot. I prefer Pagan by a wide margin on sites they’re priced similarly. The Coors bump coupled with Eddie Butler‘s wild struggles against LHBs push each of them into our Top 25 overall hitters.

Jason Heyward (STL) – Heyward is one of the cheaper entry points to picking on Matt Garza‘s early season struggles. Heyward gets a premier lineup spot (second) and a nice park shift in his favor. He’s posted a .364 wOBA and.183 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer. Platoon advantage, positive park shift, favorable lineup spot, and matchup against an opposing SP struggling against LHBs. It checks all the boxes and Heyward is fairly priced for his skill set. He ranks inside our Top 40 hitters.

Gregory Polanco (PIT) – Polanco is a lot like Heyward. He faces a weak SP in a plus hitting environment and he’s part of a lineup that we like overall. Polanco hasn’t shown as much dominance against RHP early in his major league career (.331 wOBA, .133 ISO) but he’s made up for some of that with an increased willingness to run. He ranks inside our Top 55 hitters overall.

Additional outfield notes: While McCutchen and Trout stand out as top plays, Corey Dickerson (COL) Hanley Ramirez (BOS), Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), Starling Marte (PIT), and Bryce Harper (WAS) all rank within our Top 30 overall hitters.  Typically Dickerson is someone I’d target against any RHP in Coors Field, but leaving multiple games early this week has me a bit cautious of going all in. I’d be more inclined to use him in cash games if I was using multiple lineups so I could diversify some of my exposure. Mookie Betts (BOS) and George Springer (HOU) rate as interesting tournament options in our model. Betts makes more sense as a part of Red Sox stacks or mini-stacks while Springer’s power makes sense as a stack filler. Billy Hamilton (CIN) has a low probability of getting on base against Jon Lester but given Lester’s issues holding baserunners early in the season, he has immense upside. He’s a fun tournament play. Melky Cabrera (CHW) gets a nice lineup spot against Danny Duffy who we project as well below league average against RHBs. Cabrera has posted a .347 wOBA against LHP since 2012. He’s a fine source of salary relief. Alejandro de Aza (BAL) and Travis Snider (BAL) remain adequate sources of salary relief in a plus scoring environment. Rick Porcello‘s ground ball rate helps limit power but he’s allowed a .345 wOBA to LHBs since 2012. Seth Smith (SEA) has been a frustrating option to target but if he gets a good lineup spot, the minimum price point on FanDuel is worthy of consideration for salary relief. Phil Hughes has generated just a 28.8 percent GB Rate early on. This makes Smith a bit boom or bust, but taking a shot on power at a minimum price point makes sense if he lands in a good lineup spot. Eric Young Jr. (ATL) is another viable punt play. Aaron Harang has allowed a .334 wOBA fueled by a 9.5 percent BB Rate to LHBs.

Starting Pitcher

Rankings (price not considered):

Tier 1

1) Felix Hernandez (SEA)

Tier 2

2) Zack Greinke (LAD)

3) Scott Kazmir (OAK)

Tier 3

4) Michael Pineda (NYY)

5) Gerrit Cole (PIT)

6) Alex Wood (ATL)

7) Jacob deGrom (NYM)

8) Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)

Tier 4

9) Danny Salazar (CLE)

10) Jon Lester (CHC)

11) Garrett Richards (LAA)

Tier 5

12) Andrew Cashner (SD)

13) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

14) Carlos Martinez (STL)

15) Phil Hughes (MIN)

16) R.A. Dickey (TOR)

Top Play:

Felix Hernandez (SEA) – The Twins project as one of the weaker offenses in the league against RHP and early in the season they’ve lived up to this projection; posting a .266 wOBA and 65 wRC+ against RHP while striking out in 23.4 percent of their plate appearances. Hernandez is the best starter on a deep slate for starting pitching and he has the best matchup of any of the starters going. He’s a clear cut top dog at the starting pitcher position and priced appropriately. With the depth at the starting pitcher position and an early emphasis on higher priced hitting, he’s not a necessity in cash games; however, on sites with softer pricing I’d make the effort to pay up for Hernandez.

Next in line:

Zack Greinke (LAD) – The Padres project similarly to the Twins against RHP. Their lineup has just a few LHBs and all the big bats hit from the right side. Greinke has absolutely dominated RHBs the last few years. He’s allowed just a .278 wOBA while generating a 23.6 percent K Rate and 48.1 percent ground ball rate. Greinke gets a positive park shift pitching in San Diego and is favored (-125) in a game with a 6.5 total.

Value Plays:

Scott Kazmir (OAK) – Kazmir is pitching exceptionally well to start the season. He’s posted a 29.9 percent K Rate, 51.1 percent GB Rate, and it’s supported by a 12.1 swinging strike rate and a career best 34 percent chase rate. His velocity early in the season has been closer to his 2013 velocity with Cleveland when he struck out 24.1 percent of batters and perhaps most importantly; his dominance has come against RHBs (34.5 percent K Rate, 54.8 percent GB Rate). It’s a small sample, but the dominance against the platoon advantage is important against a heavily right handed Astros lineup. The Astros are dangerous against LHP but they’re also very vulnerable to strikeouts. They’ve struck out 27.3 percent of the time against LHP early in the season while posting a .197 ISO. The power is a real threat but pitching in Oakland should mitigate some of the risk. Kazmir is a modest favorite (-135) in a game with a total of seven, suggesting the Astros have a team total between three and 3.5. Strikeouts are king in DFS and the combination of Kazmir’s early season success with the reliability of the Astros strikeout rate makes him a strong option.

Michael Pineda (NYY) – Pineda, like Kazmir, is off to an incredible start. He’s posted a 54.2 percent GB Rate, 26.7 percent K Rate, and walked just 2.7 percent of batters in his first three starts. The strong strikeout rate is supported by a lofty 11.9 percent swinging strike rate. He’s pitching in a tough park for starters, especially with a projected wind blowing out to right field, but his ground ball tendencies should help mitigate the power risk. In addition he gets the benefit of facing a National League lineup that is a) battered with injuries and b) unaccustomed to using a DH. The lineup we’re likely to see tomorrow night includes just one really good hitter against RHP (Duda), three average hitters against RHP (Cuddyer, Granderson, Murphy), and five below average options. It also should only include three LHBs and for Pineda’s career he’s posted a 26.1 percent K Rate against RHBs compared to 21.5 percent against LHBs.

Additional starting pitcher notes: Starting pitching is deep with options on Friday, but we’d recommend sticking in the top three tiers in cash games and more specifically within the recommended plays above. The two options that were closest to making the cut above were Alex Wood (ATL) and Gerrit Cole (PIT). Wood gets an ideal matchup against a Phillies offense that is very left handed but he’s struggled early in the season to generate swings and misses (4.7 percent swinging strike rate, career 9.3 percent). It’s likely this is just a small sample issue that is exaggerated by a start against the Blue Jays elite offense but he’s also throwing a lot more fastballs early on as hitters aren’t chasing his off-speed stuff out of the zone.  The Phillies offense can certainly act as a cure and Vegas expects him to pitch well (modest favorite in a game with a total of seven), but at similar price points to Kazmir and Pineda around the industry we’d rather opt for the guys who are pitching very well currently. Gerrit Cole (PIT) is great and likely underpriced around the industry as his K Rate is showing growth while he’s maintaining an elite GB Rate. The knock on Wood is a rather dramatic park shift pitching in Arizona. They project as a below average offense against RHP and potentially very strikeout prone (depending on how they make out their lineup). It’s a good matchup for Cole but the park shift pushes him down a bit in our ranks and again where priced similarly as Kazmir and Pineda, we’re giving the better pitching environments the nod (Yankee Stadium while small, should play bigger with temperatures expected in the 40s). Danny Salazar (CLE) is an elite tournament option. His velocity spiked last start and he’s got arguably the biggest strikeout upside of anyone on the slate. He also has an incredibly difficult matchup against the Tigers who have posted a 124 wRC+ against RHP early on and project as one of baseball’s top offenses. Salazar has had some rather immense reverse splits in his career (.344 wOBA, 1.55 HR/9, 25.6 percent K Rate to RHBs vs. .288 wOBA, 0.60 HR/9, 29.9 percent K Rate vs LHBs) so the RH heavy lineup for Detroit is actually worrisome. The strikeout rate encourages some use in tournaments, but I also think there is merit to stacking against Salazar in multi-entry tournaments given the homer issues. As a result, I’d leave him out of cash game lineups even on multiple SP sites. Carlos Martinez (STL) is the other tournament option, I’m fond of given pricing. He’ll have to endure a brutal park shift pitching in Milwaukee but the Brewers lineup is watered down and his strikeout rate (25.5 percent early on) is difficult to find at his price point. The Brewers also rank 28th in wRC+ against RHP early on with a 23.2 percent K Rate.

Macro Thinking, Stacks, and Tournament Notes:

This is a new section we’ve created to try and offer more dedicated macro thinking to our analysis and hopefully add more value to those playing tournaments. The format is a bit of a work in progress and we welcome feedback (help@dailyroto.com) if you have suggestions.

Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:

1) San Francisco Giants

2) Colorado Rockies

Contrarian/Secondary Stacks:

3) Pittsburgh Pirates

4) Chicago Cubs

5) Boston Red Sox

6) Baltimore Orioles

7) St. Louis Cardinals

8) Washington Nationals

9) Los Angeles Angels

Coors Field remains a focus in cash games for mini-stacks and they’ll remain a highly owned stack in tournaments. The pricing on both stacks is expensive, so I think there is more upside in fading the stacks in tournaments but in cash games I’ll want my exposure. Eddie Butler is the worst starter on the slate and Heston is middle of the road but isn’t a big strikeout pitcher and we like to take our chances on contact in Coors Field. The one concern for stacking against both pitchers is they rely heavily on ground balls (Butler 51.8 percent GB Rate, Heston 58.7 percent GB Rate). I’m WAY more likely to pick on Butler (14 percent K Rate in AA last year, has walked more batters than he’s struck out in his major league career) than Heston who has some pretty solid peripherals. The Giants don’t have a ton of power but they work counts and they have a lot of line drive hitters that see a profile boost with Coors Field’s large gaps (inflates doubles about 10 percent above league average and triples about 25 percent).

The Red Sox and Orioles stacks will likely represent the next highest owned options as that is the next highest total game (8.5, COL-SF is at 10), but I like two stacks ahead of them for tournaments. The Pirates get a HUGE park shift in their favor and are facing a below average starter who gives up fly balls and doesn’t miss bats. This one checks all the boxes. Chase Field inflates scoring by 12 percent above the league average while PNC Park deflates it 17 percent below the league average. Collmenter has held RHBs to a .276 wOBA the last few years but it’s largely influenced by an unsustainable .237 BABIP. This season he’s only struck out 8.9 percent of batters faced and he’s allowed a 28 percent LD Rate and 31 percent FB Rate. His average fastball velocity is down to 84.3 mph and in his two home starts he’s combined to 9 2/3 IP while allowing seven earned runs. I love the Pirates.

The Cubs also get to play in a nice park although admittedly their shift isn’t as big. Cincinnati plays about 21 percent above the league average while Wrigley plays about four percent above the league average. The reason I love the Cubs as a stack is the Reds bullpen is terrible and the Cubs lineup is loaded with power. Mike Leake does a good job at keeping the ball on the ground but he’s susceptible to home runs. He’s allowed 1.13 HR/9 in his career and early on this year he’s at 1.31 HR/9. Rizzo, Soler, and Bryant have immense power and the Cubs lineup has great depth to it with Montero and Castro behind them as well. It’s unclear if Dexter Fowler will be healthy enough to play but he profiles as another above average hitter against RHP at the top as an option as well. The Cubs and Pirates are two stacks I’m looking to exploit in tournaments.

As I alluded to before, I believe the Red Sox and Orioles will represent popular targets for Coors faders. I think they’re both compelling though prefer the Red Sox side as they’re facing a fly ball oriented starter while the Orioles are facing a ground ball specialist. The Cardinals get a big park shift in their favor and face Matt Garza who has been terrible early on. The Nationals face Mat Latos who is still battling velocity issues and has yet to pitch more than five innings in a start. The Nationals offense is pretty underrated for their depth and they’ll go way under-owned due to the tough park effects in Miami, but we like them. The Angels are another secondary stack in a tough hitting environment, but they get to face a below average LHP which is good for the back end of their lineup and the middle has some wide platoon splits (Freese and Pujols). They’re another good option, but probably better suited for a mini-stack.

MLB Game Weather Forecasts

In these scales, a 10 strongly favors the hitter, a 1 strongly favors the pitcher while a 5 means that it should not influence the weather.

NYM at NYY 7:05: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 40s falling into the lower 40s. Air density is a 3 becoming a 2. Wind northwest 7-14 mph becoming nearly calm which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.

BOS at BLT 7:05: Dry. Temps in the lower 50s falling into the mid 40s. Air density is a 3. Wind northwest at 7-14 mph becoming nearly calm which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.

ATL at PHL 7:05: Dry. Temps near 50 falling into the mid 40s. Air density is a 3. Wind northwest 10-20 mph lessening to 6-12 mph which blows in from left. Wind 3 becoming a 4.

CLE at DET 7:08: Dry. Temps in the lower 50s falling into the middle 40s. Air density is a 3. Wind variable and light. The wind is a 5.

CHC at CIN 7:10: Dry. A small chance of a shower after 11 PM. Temps in the upper 50s falling into the lower 50s. Air density is a 4 becoming a 3. Wind southeast 3-6 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 5.

WSH at MIA 7:10: Retractable roof. Showers and thunderstorms scattered about so I will assume the roof will be closed. If not, temps near 80. Air density will be 7 to 8. Winds east-northeast 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.

TOR at TB 7:10: Dome.

KC at CHW 8:10: A 10% chance of shower to begin the game becoming 20-30% late in the game. I am not expecting a delay (~10% chance of that) and certainly not a cancellation. Temps in the low 50s falling into the mid 40s. Air density is a 4 becoming a 3. Wind east-northeast 7-14 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 3 to 4.

STL at MIL 8:10: Retractable roof. Very chilly outdoors so the roof will likely be closed.

SF at COL 8:40: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 60s falling into the mid 50s. Air density is a 7 or 8. Wind northwest becoming southwest at 8-16 mph which blows in from left and then out to right. The wind is a 4 becoming a 6.

PIT at AZ 9:40: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 6-12 mph which blows out to right-center. The wind is a 6.

TEX at LAA 10:05: A 10% chance of a stray shower at anytime. Temps in the low to mid 60s falling to near 60. Air density is a 6. Wind southwest 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6 becoming a 5.

HOU at OAK 10:05: dry. Temps near 60 falling into the mid 50s. Air density is a 5. Wind south 12-25 mph becoming southeast 10-20 mph which blows right to left becoming out towards left. The wind is a 6 or 7.

MIN at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Showers around so I will assume the roof will be closed.

LAA at SD 10:10: A 10% chance of a shower that should not cause any delays. Temps in the mid 60s falling into the low 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest at 6-12 mph becoming 4-8 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6 becoming a 5.

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