4/8 MLB DFS: McCarthy is a top starting pitcher value
Welcome to Wednesday’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: Rain looks like it is going to be an issue today. 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.
Primary targets: I decided to tackle the catchers completely in the notes section today as the top options remain the same as the past two days, and there isn’t really an elite matchup or pricing mistake I’m looking to take advantage of. Rather, I suggest playing it safe at catcher, especially in cash games, and target one of three rather obvious choices, all in good park environments with a lineup spot we like to target (top five or six) against suspect pitching. The first of these is Buster Posey (SF). Rarely will you see us target Posey on three consecutive days against RHP, but he’s the best all-around offensive catcher in baseball and there isn’t a lot of opportunity cost in using him today. He once again gets a pretty massive park shift playing in Arizona’s Chase Field and will face a below average RHP in Jeremy Hellickson (four consecutive seasons with a 4-plus xFIP and 1.24 HR/9 allowed in three of those five). The next in line option is Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) of the infuriating Brewers offense, which will once again have one of the higher team totals on the day. It’s best just to erase Lucroy’s (and the Brewers in general) disappointing first two days from your brain. Lucroy hits second for the Brewers and is at home against Eddie Butler. It’s a R/R matchup but Butler projects to be pretty bad all-around. ZiPS projection system is calling for a 5.24 ERA and below average K and BB rates (in 16 MLB innings last year Butler managed just three strikeouts against seven walks). About Butler’s only skill is his ability to keep the ball on the ground. The third and final catcher I’m targeting in cash games is Yan Gomes (CLE). He’ll face the underwhelming Scott Feldman in an indoor environment (Houston) that boosts right handed power. Feldman has been okay against RHBs the last few seasons (.313 wOBA allowed), but has yielded a 23.1 LD and over a HR/9. Meanwhile, Gomes has sustained decent pop for a catcher against RHP (.177 ISO). On a site like DraftKings where the three are clustered closely in terms of salary, I’d defer to the top option (Posey). But on FanDuel where the salaries are spread out a bit more I may save some money and diversify with Lucroy or Gomes.
Additional catcher notes: If the Yankees game gets played (horrible weather forecast), Brian McCann (NYY) would emerge as the best tournament option and probably the last catcher I’d consider for cash games. He comes with considerable power upside given the short porch in right and a matchup against R.A. Dickey (low 39.8 GB rate against LHBs since 2012). Yasmani Grandal (LAD) (primarily due to best lineup spot of remaining catchers) and Evan Gattis (HOU) (poor matchup but good lineup spot and power upside) are also tournament options. I’m really not a fan of any of the pure punt options at catcher tonight, and there’s enough value elsewhere that you shouldn’t be forced to go that route.
Top Play: David Ortiz (BOS) (Ortiz rates extremely well in our model but due to price, poor offensive climate and the potential for a rainout altogether, I’ll likely reserve any exposure to him for tournaments)
Next in line:
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) – While Ortiz technically ranks higher than Goldschmidt in our model, I’m much more prone to using Goldschmidt in cash games, even at a slightly elevated price. I think there’s some extra value in his home park early in the season when other areas of the U.S. are seeing cool, miserable weather that isn’t conducive to hitting. Rookie Chris Heston will be making the spot start for the Giants (injuries to Cain, Peavy). Heston was very underwhelming in his time at AAA, posting FIPs the past two seasons of 4.98 and 4.50. We expect him to struggle as does Vegas (Diamondbacks have highest team total at 4.5), and it makes sense to target the Diamondbacks best offensive player in Paul Goldschmidt, who has both power and speed upside.
Adam Lind (MIL) – While Lind hasn’t reaped huge rewards for our subscribers the past two days, most of that is due to the lack of success around him. Lind himself has gotten on base five times over the past two days, and he once again projects to get a lot of RBI opportunities against a subpar Colorado pitcher. Lind is at home in one of the most favorable offensive environments on the day (arguably the most favorable after accounting for weather) and holds the platoon edge against Eddie Butler. It’s an extremely small sample size (28 batters faced), but Butler couldn’t get LHBs out to save his life last season (no Ks, two BBs, two HRs). Couple that with the natural platoon splits and ZiPS pessimistic overall projection for Butler, and Adam Lind and his three year .202 ISO and .386 wOBA against RHP should have success.
Pedro Alvarez (PIT) – Alvarez gets a huge park shift jumping from PNC Park (seventh least favorable park for LH HRs last season) to the Great American Ballpark (fourth most favorable). It’s also one of the outdoor environments where the weather forecast isn’t too bad (some wind blowing in but temperature and air density are okay). A sixth spot in the lineup isn’t great relative to other options in the same price range, but the upside is massive from a power standpoint. Alvarez posted a whopping .244 ISO against RHP over the last three seasons (that’s not park adjusted), and he will hold the platoon edge against Mike Leake (.337 wOBA and 1.08 HR/9 allowed to LHBs since 2012). Our model has Alvarez as one of the top five players most likely to homer tonight. It should also be noted that Alvarez made strides at the plate last season (career best .40 EYE as BB percentage rose and K percentage shrunk), but those were masked a little bit by his lowest HR/FB rate in three years.
Carlos Santana (CLE) – The switch hitting Santana is a much better overall hitter against LHP than RHP, but he still holds his own against RHP and actually hits for a bit more power against it (.198 career ISO). In a favorable hitting environment, batting cleanup and facing Scott Feldman, Santana is a nice value play alternative. He’s probably a safer option than Pedro Alvarez (holds the platoon edge throughout the game, better lineup spot and overall on base skills) but doesn’t quite match Alvarez’s power upside.
Additional first base notes: Chris Davis (BAL) has elite power upside. I don’t want to pick on the up and coming Jake Odorizzi too much, but he is a fly ball pitcher who has been susceptible to LHBs in the past. Brandon Moss (CLE) is a bit of a boom or bust play along the same lines of Pedro Alvarez. He carries huge power against RHP, gets a positive park shift and is on a team that is expected to have success. He’s a borderline cash game option and elite tournament play. Mark Teixeira (NYY) is a tournament option, primarily for the same reasons as teammate Brian McCann. There’s some additional upside for Teixeira opposed to McCann though, as two of the Blue Jays main bullpen pieces are LHPs (Loup and Cecil). That’s obviously bad for McCann but fine for Teixeira given his switch hitting skills (actually much better as a RHB although he loses the advantage of the short porch in right).
Top Play: Robinson Cano (SEA) (platoon edge against Matt Shoemaker who I project to regress this year but overall it’s a pretty neutral matchup leaving Cano as an okay option but not a primary target)
Neil Walker (PIT) – Walker has the same favorable matchup and park shift as teammate Pedro Alvarez. The switch hitting Walker is much better as a LHB, where, since 2012, he has amassed a .357 wOBA and high .201 ISO for a middle infielder. Throw in batting cleanup and Walker is my preferred mid-tier value. I do want to note that a lot of Pirates rank highly in our model due to the park shift, speed and/or HR upside and Mike Leake being average, but their team total is just 3.5 currently so you may want to pick and choose your spots.
Jason Kipnis (CLE) – With a team total of 4, pushing 4.5, the Cleveland offense appears to be one of the safer ones to target this evening. We’ve already touched on the ballpark and Scott Feldman‘s mediocrity, so let’s see what Kipnis brings to the table. Kipnis is coming off a very disappointing season (.289 wOBA), but we’re expecting a rebound. ZiPS projects him to post a solid .330 wOBA against RHP as a lot of last year’s disappointment was tied into bad luck (career worst .288 BABIP and 4.8 HR/FB rate despite a LD rate and EYE pretty much in line with career marks). The best news for Kipnis is he’s still in a good lineup spot and even with a down year in 2014, he kept running.
Ben Zobrist (OAK) – Zobrist finds his way into the Rundown an awful lot as a secondary value play due to a variety of reasons: manageable price tag, low opportunity cost at the position, good lineup spot and switch hitting ability (always holds the platoon edge). That’s all the case again tonight, but you can throw in a favorable matchup as well given that opposing southpaw Ross Detwiler has the worst three year split against RHBs of any pitcher in action tonight. Since 2012, he has yielded a .341 wOBA to RHBs, in large part due to his inability to miss bats (just a 13.6 K percentage).
Additional second base notes: The cheap options at second base remain the same as the previous two days and both are worth cash game options if needing the salary cap relief. Joe Panik (SF) will hit second for the Giants and hold the platoon edge against subpar RHP (Hellickson) in a strong offensive environment. Jace Peterson (ATL) also hits second and holds the platoon edge. He doesn’t share the same expected team success as Panik (making him a touch riskier), but his speed gives him upside even if the bats around him are quiet. In tournaments I like targeting Jose Altuve (HOU) (speed upside and low ownership), Scooter Gennett (MIL) (ranks very strongly in our hitter model but lineup spot makes him tough to utilize in cash games) and Dustin Pedroia (BOS) (awful weather and no platoon edge, but Boston in general is in a good spot against Aaron Harang).
Troy Tulowtizki (COL) – I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know by proclaiming Troy Tulowitzki the top option at shortstop, but I will try to help you figure out what to do with that information. The way I look at it is that affordable top starting pitching and underpriced outfielders (as well as viable punt options at second base if needed) make it quite easy to pay up for Tulowitzki on most sites (particularly on DraftKings). There’s no one mid-tier shortstop option sticking out as a tremendous value, so I’m making an active effort to at least get some exposure to Tulowitzki in cash games, even if outfielders at the same price point have better projections (but come with higher opportunity cost). The matchup isn’t great as Wily Peralta keeps the ball on the ground and is tough on RHBs. However, Tulowitzki is an elite talent and is surrounded by LHBs that will be able to do damage against the sometimes volatile Wily Peralta. And, as we keep harping on, this is a nice hitting environment, unaffected by April’s poor weather.
Additional shortstop notes: If wanting to diversify off of Tulowitzki (a reasonable desire given his cost), there are a few passable options available. Asdrubal Cabrera (TB), particularly on FanDuel, is probably the best value play alternative. He’s the Ben Zobrist of shortstops – not a great offensive talent (worse than Zobrist) but lineup spot (third), switch hitting ability and matchup (Miguel Gonzalez is below average) all combine to make him the most logical mid-tier shortstop option. I don’t like Brandon Crawford‘s (SF) lineup spot, but he’s got the platoon edge in a good park/matchup with decent power for a shortstop. I’m also hopeful he could move up a spot in the order with Brandon Belt hurt. Teammate Joe Panik (SF) is shortstop eligible on DraftKings. In tournaments, Jean Segura (MIL) is a strong option. He’s in a bad lineup spot but has speed upside and is part of one of the higher expected scoring lineups. Marcus Semien (OAK) might fly under the radar, but ZiPS is calling for decent shortstop numbers for him against LHP (.328 wOBA, .168 ISO) and he faces Ross Detwiler (.341 wOBA allowed to RHBs since 2012).
Josh Harrison (PIT) – Harrison was a revelation for the Pirates last season. While I’m generally very cautious with high BA performers out of nowhere and do expect some regression, there’s still plenty to like here. For starters, Harrison is leading off a Pirates lineup that is shaping up to be its best offensively in recent years with McCutchen in his prime and Polanco/Marte/Alvarez all developing. Secondly, while Harrison’s BA was partially boosted by a fortunate BABIP, it was also backed up by some legitimate skills. He puts the ball in play often (mid-eighties contact rate), makes hard contact (24 percent LD rate) and hits for just enough power (.175 ISO) to stabilize things a bit. A same handed matchup isn’t ideal, but all the positives I said about Harrison’s overall skill set last season also applied to his specific numbers against RHP. With some speed upside and a nice park shift, Harrison is a viable play in all formats.
Aramis Ramirez (MIL) – Ramirez is a solid same handed hitter (.343 wOBA since 2012) and hitting cleanup for a Brewers offense that should bounce back today. There’s frankly not a lot more to add here as we’ve already covered the contextual factors in favor of the Brewers today (solid home park, high Vegas team total, Butler’s 5-plus ZiPS projected ERA).
Jake Lamb (ARI) – Lamb has looked good all Spring Training, something we are more apt to pay attention to given his stage of development and the results also being back up by scouts who now feel there may be 20-plus homer upside in the bat (ESPN’s Keith Law). He should hit fifth or sixth for the Diamondbacks (highest expected scoring team of the day) and will hold the platoon edge against rookie RHP Chris Heston. We talked about our pessimism surrounding Heston in general, and it should also be pointed out that he had difficulty with LHBs at AAA the past two years (.703 and .953 OPS allowed). Lamb provides excellent salary cap relief on FanDuel but is also playable on sites like DraftKings where his price tag is a bit further away from the minimum.
Additional third base notes: Chris Davis (BAL), where third base eligible, is right in line with the top third base options and should be considered in all formats. Pablo Sandoval (BOS) ranks as the best value play in our model, but I’ve downgraded him to a secondary value due to the inclement hitting conditions expected. Evan Longoria (TB) ranks high in our HR model. Similar to Monday when he homered, he has another same handed matchup against a pitcher that has demonstrated reverse power splits. Since 2012, Miguel Gonzalez is yielding 1.58 HR/9 to RHBs. Nolan Arenado (COL) doesn’t rank real well in our model against a heavy GB pitcher who is right handed. However, I think we may be shortchanging his baseline as his ability to generate both loft and put the ball in play often could lead to higher power numbers than most expect this season. He’s definitely in play for tournaments. Lonnie Chisenhall (CLE) is a great tournament option on the cheaper end of things, but his poor lineup spot prevents us from considering him in cash games. Brett Lawrie (OAK) can be considered in all formats. The price is down after another disappointing season, but he still carries upside and a favorable matchup this evening. He’s more valuable where he still holds second base eligibility.
Andrew McCutchen (PIT) – McCutchen is a top 5 season long Fantasy outfielder and those skills certainly translate to the daily arena (power/speed/contact combination gives him a nice combination of safety and upside) and he’s one of many Pirates we feel are underpriced due to the park shift and facing just an okay pitcher in Mike Leake (career 3.92 ERA). Ultimately, I’m more likely to use McCutchen in tournaments than cash games, although he is viable in all formats. My preference is to pay up at scarcer positions (catcher, shortstop), and as I noted in Neil Walker‘s blurb, I’m wary about overexposing myself to Pirates in cash game settings, despite their strong ratings in our model. Gregory Polanco (PIT) (platoon edge, speed upside) may actually be the better value for cash games and Starling Marte (PIT) is a great tournament option.
Carlos Gomez (MIL) – Like McCutchen, Gomez has an elite power and speed combination that is really conducive to DFS scoring, and while his leadoff spot limits RBI opportunities, it increases the likelihood we see a fifth plate appearance out of him. As mentioned several times throughout the Rundown, we like the Brewers to finally have that big offensive day. With Gomez cheaper than McCutchen, I’m more likely to sneak him into my cash game lineups. You can also consider Ryan Braun (MIL) if he returns to the lineup, but there is health/performance risk there. The best value play of the group would actually emerge if Braun is out as Gerardo Parra (MIL) would fill in and likely bat sixth. He’d hold the platoon edge and has posted an average wOBA against RHP for his career. What I like about Parra is the consistent hard contact he makes against RHP (22-plus percent LD rate like clockwork) and ZiPS projecting Eddie Butler to allow a .360 wOBA to LHBs. Khris Davis (MIL) is a borderline cash game option with big time power upside; his boom or bust nature and not holding the platoon edge makes him better served in tournaments.
Carlos Gonzalez/Corey Dickerson (COL) – Both of these COL outfielders crush RHP and as much of a Wily Peralta fan as I am, he has troubles with LHBs, allowing a .343 wOBA, 22.3 LD rate and 1.19 HR/9 to them since 2012. Gonzalez is more favorably priced than Dickerson and has a better lineup spot and is therefore the logical cash game option of the two.
David Peralta/Ender Inciarte (ARI) – You’ll likely need to save some money in one or two outfield spots if paying up at scarce positions and playing it smart with starting pitching. The best way to do that is via the Arizona offense as both Peralta and Inciarte give you access to the highest projected scoring offense in good lineups spots (Inciarte leads off, Peralta hits clean up) and for a very reasonable cost. If priced near the same, Peralta is the better option. In a limited sample size (267 PAs), he’s been really good against RHP (.369 wOBA, .194 ISO). Inciarte is a much worse offensive player, but he makes some of it back with his ability to steal bases (30-plus steal guy over a full season). Whichever right handed outfielder starts for Arizona between AJ Pollock/Mark Trumbo (ARI) will be an excellent option for tournaments.
Angel Pagan (SF) – Pagan has been a bit of a staple in the Rundown these first few days as his price does not account for his great lineup spot (third) and large park shift (Chase Field is a top 10 hitter’s park while AT&T is dead last). It doesn’t hurt that the Giants keep facing subpar RHP as well. Tonight’s starter (Jeremy Hellickson) has posted a 4.34 xFIP against LHBs the past three seasons. Pagan won’t wow you in any particular area, but he can still run a bit and is a very solid overall offensive player against RHP (.338 career wOBA, .350 last season). It’s also nice that Pagan’s switch hitting ability allows him to hold the platoon edge in each at bat. If teammate Gregor Blanco (SF) moves up in the order, he’d become cash game viable.
Additional outfield notes: Michael Brantley (CLE) finished last season as a top 5 Fantasy player in season long formats and holds the platoon edge in a good matchup for Cleveland. Teammate Michael Bourn (CLE) will lead of and still has some speed upside (we think), making him a cheap option on FanDuel. Steven Souza (TB) is one of my favorite tournament options due to his power/speed upside and opposing pitcher Miguel Gonzalez‘s reverse power splits. Teammate Kevin Kiermaier (TB) could move up in the order and would become a secondary value if that’s the case. Ben Revere (PHI) has the platoon edge against Rick Porcello, who struggles against LHBs. With a cheap price tag, a leadoff spot and stolen base upside, he can be considered in tournaments. The weather looks pretty bad in NYC, but I could see using Jacoby Ellsbury/Brett Gardner (NYY) at home against R.A. Dickey.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)
2) Brandon McCarthy (LAD)
3) Jordan Zimmermann (WAS) (weather risk)
4) Gerrit Cole (PIT) (weather risk)
5) Jacob DeGrom (NYM) (weather risk)
6) Scott Kazmir (OAK)
7) Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA)
8) Jake Odorizzi (TB)
9) Shelby Miller (ATL)
10) Andrew Cashner (SD)
11) Matt Shoemaker (LAA)
12) Michael Pineda (NYY) (weather risk)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) – It makes a lot of sense to anchor your rosters in all formats with one of our top two starting pitchers, perhaps both of them on multiple starting pitcher sites. Not only are their prices favorable across the industry (in many cases the cheapest of the tier one starting pitchers), but they are the only two starting pitchers in the top tier of options tonight that do not carry any weather risk. Carrasco broke out in a big way last year, posting a 2.66 xFIP that shows his 2.55 ERA was not luck based. Carrasco flashed brilliant core skills, including a 21 K-BB% to go with a 52.8 GB rate, an absolutely lethal combination. While it may have seemed that Carrasco came out of nowhere, he was a top prospect at one point and always flashed elite GB rates. There’s concern that some regression will take place following such a substantial improvement in both K and BB rates but a 13 percent swinging strike rate (never in double digits before) and a 62.6 percent first strike rate (league average is 60.6) support the growth of these skills. Carrasco may not have the safest matchup of the tier one starting pitchers, but it does come with the most upside. The Astros struck out more than any other team against RHP last season while ranking 21st in wRC+. More of the same is expected this year.
Next in line:
Brandon McCarthy (LAD) – McCarthy had the best season of his MLB career thanks to health and increased velocity. According to Pitch/fx, McCarthy’s average fastball velocity clocked in at 93.4 mph. That’s a massive upgrade to his previous career high of 90.3. Not surprisingly more swinging strikes followed as did a career best 20.9 K percentage. What I did find surprising is the increased velocity had no ill effects on McCarthy’s always stellar control (4.0 BB percentage) and his GB rate actually came in at a career best 52.6. Put it all together and McCarthy was dominant (2.87 xFIP) despite what the ERA (4.05) says. Now, he moves back to the NL and gets to pitch in a favorable home park (pitched at Chase Field and Yankee Stadium last season), which should help cancel out any skills regression he may see. As we’ve talked about already a couple of times, the Padres have a much improved offense. However, they still project to strike out quite a bit and all three of their big outfield acquisitions are right handed. McCarthy is a -140 favorite in a game with a low total of 7, pushing 6.5. NOTE: The gap between McCarthy and Carrasco is small enough where I’d consider McCarthy an equal cash game option on one starting pitcher sites like FanDuel. It might not be a bad day to split teams in cash games.
Scott Kazmir (OAK) – With some underpriced hitters early in the season and relatively inexpensive aces in play, you really won’t have to get cute with starting pitching. However, I don’t mind stepping out of the tier one group of starting pitchers on multiple starting pitcher sites (especially in tournaments) if Scott Kazmir offers meaningful salary cap relief. Cool temperatures and air density once again favor the pitchers in Oakland, which is one of the better pitcher’s parks to begin with. Kazmir will face a Rangers team where three of their best hitters (and top five in the lineup) are left handed. Over the last two seasons, Kazmir has struck out 24.6 and 21.9 of LHBs and allowed wOBAs of .253 and .304. Overall, he’s been a very solid pitcher in two surprisingly healthy seasons, posting xFIPs of 3.36 and 3.59. He’s the largest favorite of the night games (-170) in a game that has a low total (7).
Additional starting pitcher notes: Jordan Zimmermann (WAS) is a really safe option from a matchup and skills standpoint (weather is the risk). However, he falls to third in the rankings because he doesn’t carry the same K upside as the top two starting pitchers (both due to his own skill set and the Mets not striking out a lot). I love both Gerrit Cole (PIT) and Jacob DeGrom (NYM) in tournaments if the weather cooperates. I expect Cole to take another step forward this year, and he could be underowned due to park environment and opportunity cost. DeGrom could also be underowned if people are too afraid to take a pitcher from a bad team, but he wasn’t a fluke last season, striking out more than a batter an inning. He’ll face a Nationals lineup without Denard Span and Anthony Rendon. Jake Odorizzi (TB) is at home and has nice K upside but average control and a very low GB rate make him a risk relative to others in this tier. Shelby Miller (ATL) will face a Marlins lineup that isn’t very good against RHP in a pitcher’s park. Look for him to bounce back this season in a new environment and an upgrade in pitching coach. I’m sure many people will be on Michael Pineda (NYY) due to the hype around him and a low total, but he was a bit fly ball oriented last season and without a dominating K rate. Improvements in both areas are expected this season, but I’m not sure if I want to test that right out of the gate in a matchup against a good Blue Jays offense in Yankee Stadium. I don’t see much reason to dip outside of the ranked starting pitchers, even in tournaments. One exception perhaps is Rick Porcello (BOS). He’ll get to face an NL team, a bad one at that and do it in an NL park (no DH). The shaky Clay Buchholz dominated this Phillies team on Opening Day despite favorable hitting conditions. Today both the wind and air density heavily favor the pitcher; we’ll just need the rain to cooperate.
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 (email@example.com) if you have suggestions.
Top Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Arizona Diamondbacks
2) Milwaukee Brewers
3) Cleveland Indians
4) Pittsburgh Pirates
Contrarian Tournament Stacks:
1) Boston Red Sox
2) Oakland Athletics
3) Houston Astros
The Diamondbacks are the most valuable stack on the night. Not only are they at home with the highest team total against a rookie RHP who wasn’t even above average at AAA, but their pricing makes it very easy to stack them and still surround them with good options at pitching and the other hitting spots. Inciarte, Peralta and Lamb all hold the platoon, will hit somewhere in the top six and come at very reasonable costs, making it quite easy to get the team’s best hitter in your stack (Goldschmidt). You could also mini-stack both teams from this game in general as the San Francisco Giants line up to have strong team success as well.
Pricing isn’t as favorable for the Brewers bats but they have a really deep lineup in arguably the best hitting environment on the night and facing a pitcher we expect to put up a 5-plus ERA. While Segura and Gennett lose value in cash games due to their lineup spots, they allow you to put in a full stack that actually holds some of the better middle infield plays on the day (when ignoring lineup spot).
I don’t have much to add to Cleveland than what was already covered throughout the Rundown.
Pittsburgh is a team I’m scared to get too much exposure to in cash games (low total in the game), but they are a great tournament stack. You’ve got a massive park shift so everyone is inherently underpriced and they come with a lot of “event” players, meaning all the hitters in the top six of their lineup either come with above average stolen base or home run upside relative to their peers.
On the contrarian side of things, the Red Sox make a lot of sense. While the weather definitely concerns me for cash games, it may cause a team with a good, deep lineup and really strong matchup (Aaron Harang has a ZiPS projected 4.50 ERA) in a good park to be underowned in tournaments. Sometimes it’s good to simply embrace the uncertainty of a situation, especially if others are unwilling to do so.
If taking me up on my Oakland stack, I think a mini-stack complemented by value plays or another mini-stack is the route to go. Worry less about lineup order and more about selecting the A’s that are least likely to get pinch hit for when the game reaches the bullpen (Zobrist, Butler, Lawrie, Semien).
My final stack for tournaments is extremely contrarian: the Houston Astros. It has a low likelihood of hitting but a strong likelihood of netting a meaningful result in the scenario it does hit. Not only will you be rewarded if the stack hits by points from your lineup, but you’ll wipe out a large majority of the field that uses Carlos Carrasco as their pitcher. And similar to the Pirates, the Astros have quite a few “event” players that are boom or bust: Altuve (top tier stolen base upside), George Springer (elite power/speed combination), Evan Gattis (highest catcher HR probability) and Chris Carter (hit or miss but when he hits it involves the long ball).
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
BOS at PHI 7:00: Cold, damp, raw, drizzly. Temps in the mid 40s throughout the game. Winds east-northeast, 8-16 mph with gusts to 20 mph, blowing in from right. Air density strongly favors the pitcher. There is a probability of 30% of either a delay or cancellation.
Hour 1: 45% chance of rain
Hour 2: 45%
Hour 3: 45%
Hour 4: 50%
TOR at NY 7:05: Cold, breezy, damp, drizzly, foggy, light rain at times, possibly a steady light rain. Temps in the low 40s. Winds east 10-20 mph, blowing in from right. Air density strongly favors the pitcher. This one has a 30-40% chance of a cancellation mainly how damp and chilly it is, not from the threat of heavy rain. Less of a chance of a delay, 20%.
Hour 1: 40%
Hour 2: 40%
Hour 3: 45%
Hour 4: 50%
NYM at WAS 7:05: Light rain at times. Temps in the upper 40s. Wind northeast 8-16 mph, blowing in from right. Air density strongly favors the pitcher. 30% chance of delays and/or cancellation.
Hour 1: 45%
Hour 2: 45%
Hour 3: 50%
Hour 4: 60%
PIT at CIN 7:10: Mild, humid and breezy. Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Temps in the mid 60s throughout. Winds south 8-16 mph which blows in from right. Air density favors the batter. There could be a delay (30-40% chance) but they will play this one.
Hour 1: 35%
Hour 2: 35%
Hour 3: 30%
ATL at MIA 7:10: Retractable roof. No rain. Warm, moderately humid. Temps near 80 falling into the mid 70s. Air density favors the hitters. Winds east 7-14 mph which blows in from left.
BAL at TB 7:10: Dome.
CWS at KC 8:10 PM: Mild. Thunderstorms. Temps near 70 falling into the upper 60s. Wind South 10-20 mph with gusts past 25 mph. Thunderstorms will be strong or severe with gusty winds, hail and even tornadoes. Could be a delay or even a cancellation depending on how severe the thunderstorms are. Threat for delay 60-70%, cancellation 40%. Threat for severe thunderstorms at anytime throughout the game.
COL at MIL 8:10: Retractable roof. Dry but very chilly with temps in the 30s. Roof will be closed.
CLE at HOU 8:10: Retractable roof. No rain. Warm and humid. Air density favors batters. Temps near 80 falling into the lower 70s. Air density favors batters. Wind south-southeast which blows out to center.
SF at ARI 9:40: Retractable roof. Should be open. Dry. Air density neutral. Wind west-northwest 5-10 mph to start, almost calm late. Winds blow left to right.
SD at LA 10:00: No rain. Temps in the mid 50s. Air density favors pitcher. Winds light and variable.
TEX at OAK 10:00: Dry. Cool. Temps falling from the low 50s into the upper 40s. Air density favors the pitcher. Winds west 5-10 mph to start becoming light and variable. This wind blows out to right.
LAA at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. No rain. Cool. The will likely leave the roof open. Air density favors the pitcher. Wind southwest 4-8 mph. This wind blows out towards center.