MLB DFS Daily Fantasy Rundown – April 26th, 2015
Welcome to Sunday’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: The game with the biggest weather implications today is the SF-COL game. 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.
Buster Posey (SF) – Posey is once again the clear cut top catcher from both a raw total and value standpoints. Since 2012, only Jose Abreu and Paul Goldschmidt have a higher wRC+ than Posey’s 178 mark against LHP. Simply based on his own skills he’s an elite option every time he faces a southpaw, but the contextual factors really solidify him in the top spot today. He’ll be hitting in Coors Field against Tyler Matzek, whose .368 wOBA allowed to RHBs over the last few years is the highest of any starting pitcher in action today.
Additional catcher notes: Often times it’s difficult to predict which catchers are going to play on Sunday’s but there’s a strong probability Michael McKenry (COL) is behind the dish for the Rockies after Nick Hundley caught three straight games, including last night. Based on his low price and amazing hitting environment, he’s the best alternative value to Buster Posey. On sites where Carlos Santana (CLE) still has catcher eligibility, he’s an acceptable pivot off of Posey. Santana crushes LHP and faces the underwhelming Kyle Lobstein (projections systems peg him with a 4.50-plus ROS ERA). Salvador Perez (KC) is in a great spot against John Danks (.351 wOBA, 1.51 HR/9 allowed to RHBs since 2012) in US Cellular Field, which represents a large uptick in park factor in his favor. With good career splits against LHP, the lineup spot is all that keeps Perez from being cash game playable. Evan Gattis (HOU) is a good tournament option as one of the few catchers in a great lineup spot and some nice HR upside with the platoon edge. However, he and the rest of his team are a bit of a mess offensively and playing in pitcher friendly Oakland. If rain is an issue in Colorado, Perez and Gattis would become cash game viable.
David Ortiz (BOS) – Not only does opposing pitcher Bud Norris struggle against LHBs historically (.358 wOBA allowed since 2012 is worst of any pitcher in action today with at least 100 total batters faced), but he’s off to a very rough start to begin the season. Norris is getting pelted as his lack of control (44.1 zone percentage) has led to a high LD rate (27.5 percent) and a lot of walks (5.23 per 9). Between the poor splits and current wildness, it makes since to pick on Norris at home in a friendly hitting environment facing a tough Red Sox lineup. Ortiz projects to do the most damage given the platoon edge and elite .411 wOBA and .283 ISO against RHP since 2012. He’s particularly valuable on FanDuel at just $3,400.
Next in line:
Jose Abreu (CHW) – Abreu today reminds me of Edwin Encarnacion the day he went off for two homeruns. The matchup is just okay (below average opposing pitcher and great park environment but no platoon edge) but overall the price is simply too low for a player of Abreu’s caliber. Abreu now has 41 HRs in 161 games while posting a .414 wOBA and .273 ISO. At a minimum he’s an elite tournament play against the volatile Edinson Volquez, but if you like to play price points, he’s perfectly acceptable in cash games as well, despite Volquez’s strong start to the year.
Additional first base notes: It’s tough to identify a single best value play (outside of David Ortiz) given pricing differences across the industry. Some of the options I’m keying in on (in order of preference if salary didn’t matter) are Freddie Freeman (ATL), Carlos Santana (CLE), Lucas Duda (NYM), Justin Morneau (COL) and Ike Davis (OAK). Freeman takes a hit playing for a wretched Braves lineup but don’t let that distract you from his skill set. Freeman has been Joey Votto lite for his career, always making great contact (26.4 career LD rate, just a 4.4 IFFB rate). Early on this season the 25 year old is showing some hints at a power breakout as his GB rate is real low (32.6 percent), meaning he’s generating more loft. If that continues along with improved raw power (HR/FB rate increase wouldn’t be surprising given his age and talent), Freeman could approach 30 HRs. He gets a park shift in his favor today playing in Philadelphia and taking on Jerome Williams, who projections systems are very pessimistic on (calling for an ERA somewhere between 4.5 and 5) and who has been pelted early on (34.5 LD rate allowed). Santana’s strong matchup was covered in the catcher section. Lucas Duda continues to be viable against RHP. Opposing pitcher Nathan Eovaldi isn’t anywhere as bad as Jerome Williams, but still he’s had his issues with LHBs (.339 wOBA, 24 LD rate allowed since 2012). Duda will play in Yankee Stadium, which is the second most favorable park for LH HRs and represents a significant positive park shift. Morneau will have the platoon edge in Coors Field against a declining and HR prone Tim Lincecum. His price on DraftKings is particularly appealing. Ike Davis is the worst of the bunch from a raw total perspective, but his low salary makes him the only cheap first baseman I’d consider in cash games. Davis is high risk, high reward due to his power upside but low BA. He’ll face Astros rookie RHP Asher Wojciechowski who ZiPS projects for a 5.40 ERA and 1.28 HR/9. In tournaments, strong options are Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) (expensive but has elite upside anytime he’s home and facing a LHP), Anthony Rizzo (CHC) (may be overlooked due to the low total in this one but is an absolute stud and has the platoon edge in Great American Ballpark), Miguel Cabrera (DET) (bad matchup but very underpriced) and Albert Pujols (LAA) (fair price and hitting third for a team with a high expected team total).
Top Play/Best Value:
Neil Walker (PIT) – My eyes are immediately drawn to Neil Walker in cash games. His price is more than fair across the industry and everything about the matchup puts him in a position that increases his probability of success relative to an average day. For starters, the switch hitting Walker will be hitting from the left side of the plate, where he’s been far more effective for his career, posting a .350 wOBA and .182 ISO. Both are really solid marks for a middle infielder, especially one who calls PNC Park his home. Today Walker will do a 180 and play in a positive hitting environment, Chase Field, where the opposing pitcher is disappointing former prospect Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson has a 4.38 xFIP against LHBs since 2012 and is susceptible to power numbers due to his low GB against them (36.6).
Additional second base notes: The best value play alternatives to Walker are Chase Utley (PHI) (on FanDuel) and Daniel Murphy (NYM) (on DraftKings). Utley’s combination of age (36) and slow start (high GB, K percentages) have me a bit worried, but he’s worth the risk on sites where the price is very low as he’ll take on Trevor Cahill at home. Cahill has been atrocious in two very short starts and is coming off a year in which he allowed a 24.4 LD rate en route to a 5.61 ERA. Jose Altuve (HOU) has always hit LHP well, which combined with his elite stolen base upside, makes him a viable tournament option despite playing for a team that isn’t expected to have a ton of success. Likewise, Brian Dozier (MIN) is an option despite playing for a pretty poor Twins offense. Dozier has a .368 wOBA and .218 ISO against LHP since 2012 despite a pitcher friendly home park. He’ll face an average southpaw in Roenis Elias. Kolten Wong (STL) (good park shift, Fiers is liable to allow a HR to anyone) and Micah Johnson (CHW) (punt option with stolen base upside) are also tournament viable.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – I’d like to get a confirmed lineup with Tulowitzki in it as well as a positive weather report by roster lock. If that’s the case, Tulowitzki will be in all my cash game lineups. I suspect he’ll play after resting on Friday. There’s very little opportunity cost at the shortstop position and a value play starting pitcher (Drew Pomeranz) makes it feasible to use Tulowitzki without punting any offensive spots around him. Tulo is at home facing Tim Lincecum. It’s no secret that Lincecum is not the pitcher he once was, but early signs in 2015 are particularly troublesome. Lincecum, who has seen his velocity decline in the three seasons prior, is currently averaging just 87.1 mph on his fastball. His career mark is 91.9 and last season was his previous career low (87.1). Even with pitchers taking a bit of time to build up velocity early in the season, that drop is concerning. Throw in a poor career first pitch strike percentage that is also off to a bad start, and you have a pitcher with underwhelming velocity who is often working from behind. That’s a recipe for disaster in Coors Field. Don’t be afraid to pick on Lincecum despite the 2.00 ERA to begin the year.
Alcides Escobar (KC) – If weather ends up being too dicey to utilize Tulowitzki, Alcides Escobar represents the best alternative option. This is the easiest way to get exposure to the Royals bats in a great matchup since the opportunity cost at the position (outside of Tulowitzki) is incredibly low. I referenced Danks’ poor splits against RHBs when talking about Salvador Perez, but he’s a mess in general. Since 2011, Danks has posted ERAs of 4.33, 5.70, 4.75 and 4.74. The general consensus among projection systems this year is to expect an ERA around 5, perhaps even greater. Danks isn’t doing anything to dispel that notion early on. He’s traded some GBs for FBs (a dangerous exchange in US Cellular Field) and continues to fail to miss bats. Escobar may not be able to benefit from the power upside that facing Danks offers, but he’s got a low probability of striking out (both pitcher and batter K percentages by relevant handedness are below league averages) and carries runs scored/stolen base upside.
Additional shortstop notes: Mike Aviles (CLE) is a cheap option if he hits second with Cleveland facing a subpar LHP. Erick Aybar (LAA) is admittedly a terrible offensive player, but due to the matchup (Nick Martinez has been horrific against LHBs for his career), surrounding lineup and lineup spot (top five or six) can be considered for cash games at a scarce position. Marcus Semien (OAK) hit second for Oakland yesterday with Ben Zobrist hitting the DL. A similar lineup spot would keep him cash game viable in a game where the Athletics have a team total somewhere between 4 and 4.5. Everth Cabrera (BAL) has led off for the Orioles against LHP. If he does so again today, the lineup spot and stolen base upside for the low price trump the lack of offensive skill. Jhonny Peralta (STL) is a nice tournament option. He offers the most power upside of any non-Tulo shortstop in action and has a favorable lineup spot (fifth).
Nolan Arenado (COL) – As mentioned in Tulowitzki’s blurb, I think Lincecum gets in trouble in Coors Field today. On top of the declining velocity, Lincecum has demonstrated some reverse splits the last several seasons that have me eyeing RH power upside here. He’s allowed a .342 wOBA and 1.30 HR/9 to same handed batters since 2012 but just a .311 wOBA and .75 HR/9 to LHBs. I certainly wouldn’t stray from using LHBs against Lincecum as well as I expect this gap to be much closer moving forward, but it does demonstrate that this being a same handed matchup shouldn’t be any sort of deterrent. Arenado is off to a really strong start this year as his plate discipline numbers are absurd (just a 5.9 K percentage) and he’s piled up just 11 extra base hits in 63 at bats. Arenado has a bit more HR upside on the season than I’ve seen the market give him credit for as his combination of putting a lot of balls in play (low BB and K rates), hard hit contact (22.4 LD rate), loft (just a 37.6 GB rate last season) and environment (Coors Field) are rare. All he’ll need to do is add a few percentage points to his 11.4 HR/FB rate from a year ago.
Next in line:
Kris Bryant (CHC) – Bryant has a less appealing matchup than Arenado (opposing pitcher Anthony DeSclafani has been great), but he’s underpriced in general for where we have his skill set pegged, especially for a matchup in homer friendly Great American Ballpark. ZiPS projections on Bryant (a generally conservative system) are as optimistic as I’ve ever seen for a player with such limited experience. They are calling for a .368 wOBA and .240 ISO. It should be noted that Steamer projections are almost identical. Last year at AA Bryant posted a laughable .504 wOBA and .347 ISO before being promoted to AAA. Despite reaching that level for the first time at 22 YO, Bryant did not go through any sort of adjustment period, posting a .439 wOBA, .324 ISO and 21 HRs in 70 games. Look, he’ll probably strike out around 30 percent of the time, but there are few players at Bryant’s price point (especially on FanDuel) who have multiple HR upside, even in a less than stellar matchup. Don’t be afraid to simply play the talent here if weather prevents Arenado from being an option.
Josh Harrison (PIT) – The Pirates are -145 favorites in a game with a total of 8, which means their team total is right around 4.5. That’s a high team total for an offense usually forced to play in pitcher friendly PNC Park. Harrison will lead off for the Pirates in hitter friendly Chase Field. Harrison has a nice mix of skills for Fantasy players. He makes enough contact and hard enough contact to post a high BA but also generates just enough loft and raw power to be considered a 15 HR player over a full season. Throw in a 20 steal expectation over a full season, and you quickly see the upside here. Sure, we’d prefer Harrison with the platoon edge, but the lineup spot (leadoff), HR/SB upside and high expected team total make him a viable cash game option if unable to pay up for Arenado/Bryant.
Pablo Sandoval (BOS) – I’d really like to see Sandoval move into the top five in the order but even at six he’s cash game playable. With the team being on the road (guarantees them nine innings at bat) and Boston’s lineup being deep, the sixth spot for Sandoval is friendlier than the fifth spot for a lot of other teams. As mentioned in Ortiz’s blurb, opposing pitcher Bud Norris is off to a shaky start and has had a ton of problems with LHBs historically. Despite being a switch hitter, Sandoval is someone you’ll mainly want to use against RHP. For his career, he has a good 132 wRC+ as a LHB as opposed to a lowly 92 mark as a RHB. The one concern with Sandoval is elevated K and GB rates early on, which has me deferring to the other three written up third basemen.
Additional third base notes: Adrian Beltre (TEX) is underpriced and has a positive individual matchup against Hector Santiago. However, the park and poor surrounding lineup against LHP keep him mostly a tournament option. Cody Asche (PHI) has been hitting in a good spot against RHP. With the move up in the order and the hard contact he’s making early on, he’s a nice source of salary cap relief against the struggling Treovr Cahill. Alex Rodriguez (NYY) and Casey McGehee (SF) are strong tournament options. A-Rod has the platoon edge at home and opposing pitcher Jon Niese has been a bit shaky to start the year despite what the 1.50 ERA says (high LD rate, very low first pitch strike and swinging strike rates). McGehee is an option due to Coors Field and Tyler Matzek’s poor splits versus RHBs.
Top Play: Mike Trout (LAA) (elite tournament option but seems like an unnecessary spend in cash games where I’d try to build a more balanced outfield with upside at multiple spots)
Colorado outfield – You’ll definitely want to see a lineup (and weather update) before deploying these players in cash games, but my order of preference here (price aside) is Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez. We’ve already talked about the positive matchup for the Rockies (home against Tim Lincecum). Dickerson is the best hitter of the bunch right now, while Blackmon edges out Gonzalez due to lineup spot. Gonzalez has struggled (for the second straight year), but blaster a HR last night and has such a low price point on FanDuel that he needs to be considered despite the struggles and a bad lineup spot (sixth at home).
Pittsburgh outfield – The Pittsburgh outfield is flooded with upside as each player is liable to homer or steal in any given game. Here are the rest of season HR/SB ZiPS projections for the three outfielders: Gregory Polanco (12/26), Andrew McCutchen (21/16) and Starling Marte (15/26). All three obviously get a big uptick in park factor playing in Chase Field and will be in the top five of the order for a road team with a high expected team total (4.5).
San Diego outfield – It looks as if 33 year old Scott Baker the Home Run Maker will be making the spot start for the Dodges. Baker made eight starts and 17 relief appearances for the Rangers last season, posting a 5.47 ERA and allowing 1.67 HR/9. Baker has been an extreme fly ball pitcher all his career (33.3 GB rate) leading to 1.20 HR/9. He’s pitched sparingly at the MLB level recently (missed 2012, just 95.2 IP the last two seasons). Despite having the platoon advantage on San Diego’s heavily right handed lineup, you’ve got to think Baker struggles in this one. At the very least, the outfield trio of Wil Myers, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton carry significant power upside despite playing at Petco Park. Upton is the player I’m looking to utilize the most. We don’t buy into hitter hot streaks much, but Upton has a history of being a streaky player. He homered twice last night, and that’s yet to be reflected in his price tag around the industry. He’s particularly cheap on FanDuel ($3,400).
Bryce Harper (WAS) – Early on Harper has shown increases to his LD and FB rates as well as his HR/FB rate. The latter is completely unreliable in a small sample size, but we do expect an increase there given his age and scouting profile. The former demonstrates that Harper is getting a bit more loft, and quite simply, you can’t hit a homerun without elevating the ball. While playing in Miami isn’t great for Harper’s power breakout, facing Dan Haren is. Haren has struggled with the long ball his entire career, a weakness that is only getting worse with age. Last season, Haren had his worst K percentage since 2005. His velocity also dropped to a career low 87.7. Currently his average fastball is sitting at 85.9 mph. So, you’ve got a guy who had a tough time keeping the ball in the park in his prime who is now allowing more balls in play and throwing a lot slower. These are two players whose careers are going in opposite directions and even Miami’s massive home park might not be able to contain Harper in this matchup.
Steve Pearce (BAL) – Pearce is off to an awfully slow start but a look at his plate discipline numbers and batted ball data indicates to me that this isn’t something to be overly concerned about. Pearce absolutely demolished LHP last season and ZiPS projects a healthy .380 wOBA and .241 ISO against southpaws this year. Take advantage of the deflated price point at home against an average southpaw in Wade Miley.
Justin Maxwell (SF) – Maxwell is the best cheap outfielder. He’s a bit of a boom or bust guy. He has struck out in 31.9 percent of his career plate appearances but also flashed strong power potential when he holds the platoon edge as he will today in Coors Field against Tyler Matzek. I don’t view Maxwell as a must play due to his overall skill set, but the matchup strongly accentuates the skill he does possess, making him one of the better low cost outfield options.
Additional outfield notes: Kole Calhoun/Matt Joyce (LAA) have a favorable matchup against Nick Martinez, who has allowed a .351 wOBA and 1.16 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. AJ Pollock/Mark Trumbo (ARI) face a tough LHP in Francisco Liriano but must be considered at moderate price points with the platoon edge at home. Both Jason Heyward/Matt Holliday (STL) are moderately priced and hold significant HR upside against Mike Fiers in Milwaukee. Eric Young (ATL) is a great cheap option. He’ll lead off on the road, which could mean five plate appearances. On top of that and the stolen base upside he always carries, he’ll set the table for a Braves offense that, despite its lack of talent, should be able to do some damage against Jerome Williams in Philadelphia. Daniel Nava (BOS) and Paulo Orlando (KC) are the two best punt options for salary cap relief on DraftKings. High upside tournament options include Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), Lorenzo Cain (KC), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and George Springer (HOU).
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Jake Arrieta (CHC)
2) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)
3) Drew Pomeranz (OAK)
4) Chris Archer (TB)
5) Lance Lynn (STL)
6) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)
7) Francisco Liriano (PIT)
8) Anthony DeSclafani (CIN)
9) Brandon Morrow (SD)
10) Hector Santiago (LAA)
11) Mike Fiers (MIL)
12) Edinson Volquez (KC)
13) Roenis Elias (SEA)
14) Dan Haren (MIA)
15) Wade Miley (BOS)
16) Jon Niese (NYM)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) – The top two pitchers this afternoon were breakout stars in 2014 who have had their success carry over to 2015 thus far. Despite pitching in an unfriendly pitching environment, Arrieta is listed as a -120 favorite in a game with just a 7 total (with money odds indicating the under is favored). Early on in the season, Arrieta is getting ahead of hitters (67.5 first strike percentage) and inducing relatively harmless contact (52.6 GB rate, 20.0 IFFB rate). This has helped lead to a 2.74 xFIP, nearly identical to the 2.73 mark he posted during last year’s breakout season. While the Ks may trail off a bit from last year, Arrieta is for real. He’s not a must play due to the environment and some dangerous Reds LHBs (Votto, Bruce), but Arrieta is certainly on my short list of cash game candidates today.
Next in line:
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) – As excited as I am about Arrieta’s 2014 looking legitimate, I’m even more confident in Carlos Carrasco‘s skill sets. It’s only been two starts so the small sample size caveat is certainly necessary, but Carrasco’s peripherals showcase the same strengths that popped last year. He’s generated a 15.4 swinging strike rate while getting ahead on batters and continuing to keep the ball on the ground (56.5 GB rate). Last season Carrasco posted a gaudy 2.66 xFIP thanks to well above average marks in K rate (9.40 K/9), BB rate (1.95 BB/9) and GB rate (52.8). Carrasco appears to be the full package and is a solid cash game option today and elite tournament play. The only concern is the matchup as this is a good and deep Tigers offense.
Drew Pomeranz (OAK) – Pomeranz is the pitcher I’ll use most in cash games today. He offers salary cap relief on both single and multiple starting pitcher sites but the gap between him and Arrieta/Carrasco isn’t huge. Pomeranz certainly comes with more risk due to an inferior skill set relative to the top two pitchers (projections systems peg him with a high 3s ERA). However, his matchup is amazing. He’ll be at home in pitcher friendly Oakland facing an extremely strikeout prone Astros team. Last season the Astros struck out 23.3 percent of the time against LHP (fourth highest mark in MLB) and this season they are striking out 25.4 percent of the time against LHP. That’s pretty much right in line with what ZiPS projects for this swing and miss bunch. Last year it was much more of a risk/reward play against the Astros as the K upside was mitigated a bit by their third ranking in wRC+. This season the team has been absolutely wretched offensively, and they carry a team total of just 3.5 today. Also note that Pomeranz is a -160 favorite (Carrasco, Arrieta are at -120), which gives him a decent shot at a win. I wouldn’t select him solely for that reason, but at this price it’s just another reason to lock in a lot of upside at a very low cost. Getting cap relief here will allow you to pay up for a couple of the high upside hitting options at scarce positions (Posey, Tulowitzki).
Additional starting pitcher notes: Chris Archer (TB) faces a tough Blue Jays offense but is still a secondary value/elite tournament option. He dominated the Jays at the Rogers Centre and now gets them at home, possibly without Jose Bautista. While it’s a tough offense to face, Archer has been brilliant through three starts, posting a 2.28 xFIP as he’s generating a ton of Ks (backed up by swinging strike rate) and allowing pretty harmless contact (58.3 GB rate, 16.7 LD rate). Lance Lynn (STL) faces a struggling, injury riddled Brewers lineup that is heavily right handed. That’s particularly important for Lynn given his wide splits (.284 wOBA, 26.6 K% against RHBs since 2012; .337 wOBA, 18.3 K% against LHBs). You could make an argument for both he and Archer over Arrieta and Carrasco. Gio Gonzalez (WAS) is a safe option against Miami in Miami, but on paper he falls way behind the aforementioned pitchers in terms of K upside. Francisco Liriano (PIT) has been pitching very well, but I don’t see much use for him in DFS today as he moves to a hitter’s park and will face a lot of RHBs with good platoon splits. Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) and Brandon Morrow (SD) are secondary cheap options on multiple starting pitcher sites but each carries risk. DeSclafani has pitched really well and has decent K upside against the Cubs, but there’s also a heck of a lot of power potential for the Cubs offense in Great American Ballpark. Brandon Morrow is off to a strong start and will be in his pitcher friendly home confines of Petco Park but is forced to take on a strong Dodgers offense (currently first in wRC+ against RHP). Most of the tier four guys I’ll avoid in all formats. You could make a case for the first four of that group in tournaments but beyond that everyone is DFS irrelevant. Hector Santiago (LAA) is around a K per inning guy, in his pitcher friendly home park, facing a Rangers team not set up well at all against LHP and has strong win probability given the opposing pitcher (Nick Martinez). Mike Fiers (MIL), as always, is a very high risk, high reward guy given his K potential but fly ball riskiness as well.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Colorado Rockies
2) San Francisco Giants
3) Kansas City Royals
4) Los Angeles Angels
The Rockies and Giants stack suggestions have been covered pretty extensively throughout the position by position analysis and are obviously weather dependent.
The Royals stack holds a lot of value, particularly on sites that don’t price in park factors where they’ll be underpriced as a team. I mentioned John Danks‘ struggles with RHBs and overall poor ERA year after year, but it should also be noted that he has problems with same handed batters (.337 wOBA, 1.11 HR/9 allowed since 2012). That’s important as there won’t be any rally killing spots in the Royals lineup and the LHBs all represent great tournament options that could come at low ownership levels since people generally tend to avoid L/L matchups.
The Angels are in a poor park environment but I’m not sure that can save opposing pitcher Nick Martinez. In 160.1 career innings, Martinez has shown no ability to miss bats (4.83 K/9) or keep the ball on the ground (34.3 GB rate). Add that to his significant struggles against LHBs and this could be a very long day for Martinez.
1) Oakland Athletics
2) Atlanta Braves
3) Pittsburgh Pirates
4) St. Louis Cardinals
The Athletics stack will probably be less owned than it should be as it can be annoying to construct (multiple first base eligible players) and doesn’t come with a lot of big names. However, his team is currently second in wRC+ against RHP after finishing eighth a year ago. It’s a relatively inexpensive stack that should allow you to pay up for pitching and surrounding bats. Opposing pitcher Asher projects to be around a 5.00 ERA guy this year and to have a tough time keeping the ball in the park (just a 19.5 GB rate early on).
This Atlanta offense leaves a lot to be desired talent wise, but they’ll get a nice park shift playing in Philadelphia and face Jerome Williams, who is allowing a very high LD early on and has a pretty pessimistic season long outlook according to a variety of projection systems.
The Pirates stack isn’t exactly contrarian, but it’s definitely one to mix in in tournaments. As I’ve mentioned in this section a couple of times already this year, what’s so appealing about a Pirates stack is that all of their outfielders can homer or steal, Neil Walker is the best second base value and Pedro Alvarez has significant power upside. This stack is particularly viable on sites that don’t factor in park in their pricing.
The final stack option is the Cardinals. It may go under owned since most of the options in this lineup rate as secondary values (if that) when viewed individually. However, homeruns win tournaments and this deep Cardinals lineup goes from a park that depresses HRs to one that enhances them. That’s perfect given the matchup against Mike Fiers who is extremely fly ball risky (just a 33.1 career GB rate and slightly elevated 10.9 HR/FB rate).
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
In the scales below, a 10 strongly favors the batter, a 1 strongly favors the pitcher and a 5 has no impact on the game.
CLE at DET 1:08: Dry. Temps in the mid 50s. Air density is a 4. Wind north 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6 or 7.
CHC at CIN 1:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 50s. Air density is a 5. Wind north 9-18 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7.
WSH at MIA 1:10: Retractable roof. Looks dry but hot so the roof will likely be closed. If the roof is open, temps in the low to mid 90s. If the roof is open, air density is an 8. Wind southeast 10-20 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 3.
TOR at TB 1:10: Dome.
BOS at BLT 1:35: Dry. Temps in the low 60s. Air density is a 5. Wind north 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.
ATL at PHL 1:35: Dry. Temps in the low 60s. Air density is a 5. Wind north 5-10 mph which blows in from left-center. The wind is a 4.
STL at MIL 2:10: Retractable roof. Temps near 50. Kind of chilly, so I think the roof will likely be closed. However, if it is open, air density is a 4 and the wind is north-northeast 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6 or 7.
KC at CHW 3:00: Dry. Temps in the mid 50s. Air density is a 4. Wind north-northeast at 10-20 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7.
TEX at LAA 3:35: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind southwest 5-10 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.
HOU at OAK 4:05: Dry. Temps in the mid 60s. Air density is a 5. Wind west-northwest at 10-20 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
MIN at SEA 4:10: Retractable roof. Dry with temps in the upper 50s so the roof will likely be open. Air density is a 5. Wind southwest 6-12 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.
LAD at SD 4:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west becoming northwest 6-12 mph which blows from left to right and then in from left. The wind is a 5 becoming a 4.
SF at COL 4:10: A 30-40% chance of showers. It looks like the rain is mainly going to be in the mountains so it will likely be dry enough for the game to start but it will be a close call. The region will see rain at times during the morning so that adds in another wrinkle (seems like that if it is dry to start they do their best to try get the game in but it is a different story if it is raining before/at the beginning of the game). Windy with temps in the mid 40s so the cool weather may be another factor to cancel the game. Air density is a 6. Wind east-northeast at 15-25 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 2 or 3.
All in all, I think there is a 30-40% chance of a cancellation with a 40-60% chance of a delay. I will keep a close eye on this for you and will send an update late in the morning.
UPDATE: New data is strolling in and it says the rain will push north of the region by game time and they should be able to play it.
PIT at AZ 4:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind west-northwest at 10-20 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
NYM at NYY 8:00: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 50s falling into the lower 50s. Air density is a 5 falling to a 4. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.