MLB DFS Daily Fantasy Rundown – May 8th, 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: There are a few games to keep an eye on tonight. LAD-COL, CIN-CHW, and KC-DET all have some concerns. 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.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) – Coors Field is always a top target for offensive options but the matchup on Friday is particularly compelling for the Dodgers. The Dodgers rank as the top offense in all of baseball against RHP (136 wRC+) and they’ve out-performed the second best offense by a wide margin (Royals – 115 wRC+). Weighted runs created plus is a park-neutral statistic and the Dodgers are getting a huge park shift in their favor as Dodgers Stadium plays three percent below the league average for scoring while Colorado plays 44 percent above the league average. The Rockies opposing starter, Eddie Butler, is the weakest starter going. He’s posted a career 4.93 ERA, 5.20 FIP, 5.14 xFIP, and ZiPS projection system has him pegged for a 5.30 ERA and 5.05 FIP for the rest of the season. He doesn’t miss bats (career 9.8 percent K Rate) and that is dangerously low for Coors Field. This is why you’ll see a ton of Dodgers in our recommendations. Grandal ranks as our top catcher option and a Top 15 hitter overall. He’s posted an impressive .355 wOBA and .183 ISO against RHP since 2012 and yesterday he hit second. If he holds an elite lineup spot, this is a dream matchup that places him 50 spots or more ahead of our next ranked catcher.
Brian McCann (NYY) – McCann is a staple of our content when facing RHP in Yankee Stadium. McCann has posted a .184 ISO against RHP since 2012 and Yankee Stadium inflates home runs 17 percent above the league average. McCann will face Miguel Gonzalez who has held LHBs to just a .314 wOBA since 2012 but has surrendered a 41.7 percent Fly Ball Rate. With McCann modestly priced, taking a shot on his power against a fly ball pitcher in a park that inflates left handed power makes a lot of sense. McCann ranks inside our Top 70 hitters. The gap between Grandal and McCann is huge but with Grandal’s expected usage high, I think McCann is a nice alternative in tournaments.
Additional catcher notes: Russell Martin (TOR) is our next highest rated catcher after Grandal (Top 60) but has an elevated price point on most sites. The Jays are one of the better team situations to attack at home against a LHP, so he makes sense in tournaments as a part of a Jays stack or mini-stack. Nick Hundley (COL) has been on a tear with the Rockies early this season and at times has emerged with nice lineup spots against LHP. Brett Anderson does a great job at keeping the ball on the ground and Hundley’s recent performance is priced in. With a good lineup spot, I’d consider him an acceptable tournament option. Evan Gattis (HOU) gets to face Jered Weaver who has seen a steep velocity drop and isn’t missing bats (83.1 mph, 9.9 percent K Rate). Weaver is fly ball prone and Gattis’ value is tied up in power. The park environment isn’t great for power (deflates home runs seven percent below league average) which makes Gattis a tournament only option. Wilson Ramos (WAS) is another viable tournament option. The Nationals face a LHP and in favorable hitting conditions with temperatures and humidity elevated in Washington. Ramos makes sense as a part of stacking or mini-stacking the Nationals.
Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – Gonzalez gets this huge park shift in his favor and gets to face one of the weakest SP on the slate in Eddie Butler. The Dodgers have a team total of 5.5 and Gonzalez has posted a .384 wOBA and .222 ISO against RHP since 2012. He ranks below some other elite first base options (eighth overall) in our model, but if cost weren’t an issue and I could only pick one first baseman, I’d choose Gonzalez.
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz gets a nice park shift in his favor and also gets to take on a below average RHP. The Rogers Centre inflates LH production four percent above the league average including home runs by about six percent; whereas, Fenway deflates LH production by three percent and home runs by 10 percent according to FanGraphs Park Factors. Ortiz has always destroyed RHP and he’s shown no signs of age in recent years. Since 2012, he’s posted a .410 wOBA and .279 ISO against RHP. This year he’s at .395 wOBA, .221 ISO and last year he posted a .364 wOBA and .248 ISO as a .247 BABIP held down some of the production. Aaron Sanchez has struggled with LHBs early in his career allowing a .360 wOBA, 1.85 HR/9 and posting a mediocre 17.3 percent K Rate and well below average 14.6 percent BB Rate. Ortiz’s price point is down due to a recent slump but with a really low K Rate during the slump (two strikeouts in last 33 AB) we view the pricing as an opportunity. Ortiz ranks within our Top Five overall hitters. UPDATE: Ortiz is sitting due to suspension.
Jose Abreu (CHW) – Abreu gets to face Jason Marquis who has allowed a .334 wOBA and 1.18 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012. Abreu has compiled a .393 wOBA and .249 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer. The Reds bullpen behind Marquis is among the worst in the league and we don’t expect Marquis to work deep into this game. The Reds have allowed a league worst 5.32 ERA from their bullpen. It’s a plus matchup for Abreu who also ranks within our Top Five overall hitters.
Joey Votto (CIN) – Votto is in that same game with Abreu and actually draws a more favorable matchup. Hector Noesi has allowed a .341 wOBA and 1.68 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. Votto is an elite hitter against RHP (.420 wOBA, .198 ISO since 2012) and he holds his own against LHP well enough late in games that his value isn’t diminished substantially. Votto, Abreu, and Ortiz all rank nearly identically in our model, but the power rates for Abreu and Ortiz give them the very slight edge.
Adam LaRoche (CHW) – LaRoche is really cheap around the industry compared to his ranking in our model. We have him as a Top 15 hitter overall but he’s not priced like anything close to that around the industry. Jason Marquis has been dreadful against RHP (.376 wOBA, 1.80 HR/9 allowed since 2012) and he’s complied those numbers in the National League. Now he has to face a DH in one of the best hitting parks in all of baseball. LaRoche has hit RHP well (.362 wOBA, .212 ISO) since 2012 and done so with power. He compiled most of those statistics in neutral hitting environments, so he’s getting a ballpark shift in his favor playing home games in U.S. Cellular Field now as well. If you’re not spending up at first base for one of the top options, he’s your best bet as a value play.
Additional first base notes: Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) also ranks within our Top 10 hitters overall. His peripherals this season have dropped off a bit (elevated K Rate, GB Rate with a decreased BB Rate) which makes it easier to pass on him compared to the other top options. I think he’s in play in tournaments as part of a Blue Jays stack. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Chris Davis (BAL) have intriguing home run scores in our model but each rank outside our Top 25 hitters and carry price tags commensurate with the top plays. I think they’re more viable tournament options. Mike Napoli (BOS) doesn’t hold the platoon edge and Aaron Sanchez has been decent against RHBs but Napoli is very cheap around the industry. The challenge with going contrarian and cheap at first base is the depth of the position. It automatically thins out percentage owned on even very good players, so generally it makes sense to stay in the recommended selections above, even in tournaments.
Howie Kendrick (LAD) – Kendrick ranks as our Top 2B option and along with practically the entire Dodgers lineup has ascended to the Top 20 within our model. Kendrick isn’t a great hitter against RHP (.318 wOBA, .110 ISO since 2012) so his ranking is almost entirely driven by a) Coors Field and b) Eddie Butler‘s struggles. On a day where you’re likely selectively spending on options, I’m not paying up for Kendrick. He does rank as our Top 2B in the model and he’s fine as a part of Dodgers stacks, but on his own he’s not a cash game target for me.
Cory Spangenberg (SD) – Spangenberg comes with a near minimum price point around the industry and has been hitting second in the Padres lineup of late. Spangenberg has been a competent hitter against RHP in his brief career (.324 wOBA, .155 ISO) and gets a nice park shift in his favor at Chase Field. Jeremy Hellickson has allowed a .319 wOBA and 1.19 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012 but this year he’s allowed a .425 wOBA to LHBs. Second base is a nice position to save some funds in order to afford the higher priced first base and outfield options and Spangenberg represents a nice minimum priced option with the platoon advantage in an elite hitting environment.
Scooter Gennett (MIL) – Scooter has been hitting second against RHP since the managerial change. He’s mashed RHP in his brief career (.361 wOBA, .162 ISO) and gets to hit in a great hitting environment. Jason Hammel is a good starter but he’s been vulnerable to LHBs (.323 wOBA, 1.25 HR/9 allowed since 2012). With a near minimum price point on most sites, Gennett is another salary relief option with a good matchup.
Additional second base notes: Devon Travis (TOR) remains incredibly cheap on DraftKings. He’s a phenomenal site specific value play on that site at just $3,300. He has the platoon advantage and is atop one of the better offenses in baseball. It’s a cheap entry point to an elite offense. Jose Ramirez (CLE) has some punt appeal if he hits second for the Indians. He’s not a very good hitter (.286 wOBA, .101 ISO against RHP) but the lineup spot in an offense that is good against RHP creates value at minimum price points. Alex Guerrero (LAD) where second base eligible, is an elite value if he finds his way into the lineup.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – Tulowitzki against a LHP in Coors Field is as automatic as the top play selection gets for our content. Tulowitzki owns a ridiculous .431 wOBA and .268 ISO against LHP since 2012. Brett Anderson is tough on RHBs (.300 wOBA, 0.57 HR/9 allowed since 2012) but Coors Field is a far more difficult environment than the ones he’s compiled those statistics in. Vegas has given the Rockies a team total of five and Tulowitzki is their best hitter against LHP. If spending up at shortstop, he’s clearly your top option and ranks within our Top 10 overall hitters.
Jimmy Rollins (LAD) – Rollins ranks inside our Top 20 overall hitters in our model. Again, this has more to do with Eddie Butler and the scoring environment than Rollins who has posted a .319 wOBA and .155 ISO against RHP since 2012. Most of the sites have bumped Rollins price point in accordance to the move to Coors Field, but we think he’s more appropriately priced than overpriced. At a thin position, he’s a fine play if you’re not spending all the way up for Tulowitzki.
Additional shortstop notes: If Coors becomes a weather problem, I’m looking towards the Nationals shortstop options as secondary value plays. Yunel Escobar (WAS) is more of a salary relief option. He’s compiled just a .310 wOBA and .094 ISO but has consistently earned good lineup spots. Ian Desmond (WAS) has actually hit LHP well (.344 wOBA/.144 ISO) but his lineup spot has varied dramatically. If Desmond secures a good lineup spot, he’s a fine alternative to Rollins if weather concerns persist. Desmond ranks inside our Top 50 hitters. Jhonny Peralta (STL) has always hit LHP well (.358 wOBA, .193 ISO) which makes him a solid play at current price points. He’s playing in a dreadful park for pull power which is where Peralta does much of his damage and the scoring environment is low overall which is why he doesn’t rank particularly well in our model. He’s another emergency option if weather ruins our Coors dreams.
Josh Donaldson (TOR) – Donaldson ranks as our Top 3B option and inside our Top 20 hitters overall. He’s excellent against LHP (.410 wOBA, .286 ISO) and has compiled most of those statistics in far more difficult hitting environments than the Rogers Centre which inflates RH power 8-10 percent above the league average. Wade Miley has surrendered a .322 wOBA and 0.93 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012 but has struggled with his transition to the American League. Donaldson’s price tag is down modestly, which makes for a fine investment point.
Next in line – Todd Frazier (CIN) and Nolan Arenado (COL) are both strong options but fall a bit below Donaldson in our rankings.
Pablo Sandoval (BOS) – Sandoval is a switch hitter but he’s always been far more successful against RHPs (.365 wOBA, .188 ISO) than LHPs (.302 wOBA, .117 ISO). He’ll face a RHP in the Rogers Centre (a big park boost) that has allowed a .360 wOBA and 1.85 HR/9 to the first 110 LHBs he’s faced at the big league level. Sandoval typically hits fifth against RHP. We’d prefer he hit fourth, but fifth is good enough. He cracks our Top 50 hitters overall and is priced as a slightly above average hitter on most sites.
Danny Valencia (TOR) – Valencia is a lefty masher that typically gets a good lineup spot for the Jays against LHP. He’s posted a .377 wOBA and .188 ISO against lefties since 2012. His price tag simply doesn’t reflect his per plate appearance value because he’s a platoon player. There is always pinch hit risk late in the game with Valencia but if he’s hitting fifth he’s locked into 2-3 premier plate appearances behind Bautista and Encarnacion.
Additional third base notes: Alex Rodriguez (NYY) is a bit underpriced and Miguel Gonzalez has actually been more homer prone to RHBs in his career (1.56 HR/9 allowed since 2012). Rodriguez doesn’t rate as well in our model as Sandoval, but he’s priced fairly. He’s an acceptable alternative at the position. Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) ranks inside our Top 60 hitters thanks to his prowess against LHP (.361 wOBA, .187 ISO since 2012). Like Rodriguez, he’s a viable alternative but probably better used in tournaments as part of stacks or mini-stacks. Conor Gillaspie (CHW) is a cheap part of a White Sox stack or mini-stack that makes sense given Jason Marquis’ struggles against LHBs. Luis Valbuena (HOU) is one of the Astros power bats that makes sense in tournaments given Jered Weaver‘s struggles with velocity and his propensity for fly balls.
Mike Trout (LAA) – Trout is our top overall ranked hitter in our model. This is not unusual. He’s facing Roberto Hernandez who has allowed a .313 wOBA and 1.17 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012. I’m personally more inclined to spend on our next two top plays where priced similarly, but Trout ranks as the top option in our model.
Jose Bautista (TOR) – Bautista ranks as our second best outfielder and inside our Top Five hitters overall. Bautista owns a .389 wOBA and .264 ISO since 2012 against LHP. He ranks so well in our model because he holds his value into the bullpen (.382 wOBA, .248 ISO against RHP) and plays in an elite hitting environment. In the heart of an elite offense against LHP, Bautista is a strong target this evening.
Joc Pederson (LAD) – Ok so Joc Pederson is finally priced appropriately so our string of consecutive days referring to him as a value play is finally over. Of course it comes right when the Dodgers head to Coors Field and Joc surges into our Top 10 overall hitters. He ranks right behind Bautista in our model (sixth overall) and is a great target if the weather holds tonight. Eddie Butler really struggles to miss bats. He’s struck out just 8.2 percent of LHBs he’s faced as a big leaguer. When Joc isn’t striking out, the results have been incredible. He has a .376 ISO, a .350 BABIP, and when he makes contact he’s hitting .404. Against a pitcher that induces a lot of contact, Pederson is an elite play.
Dodgers OF leftovers – Whether it’s Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke, or Alex Guerrero, the remaining Dodgers outfield options all rank within our Top 20 hitters. Eddie Butler struggles more with LHBs than RHBs so I’d prefer to see Ethier in a great lineup spot but Van Slyke and Guerrero’s power plays up in Coors Field and the likelihood of this game getting into the bullpen early is elevated. Lineup spots will determine which targets earn the highest priority.
Billy Hamilton/Jay Bruce (CIN) – Hamilton is the more stable value of the two Reds options but Bruce comes with a better price point on most sites. Hamilton’s speed plays better against RHP and Hector Noesi has struggled keeping LHBs off the bases (.341 wOBA allowed since 2012). Hamilton is a Top 20 hitter in our model. Bruce ranks within our Top 15 hitters overall. Our model loves his power against RHP (.221 career ISO) and the matchup with Hector Noesi who has allowed 1.68 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. The Reds lineup gets a slight boost removing the pitcher’s slot and adding a DH. Hopefully this results in a better lineup spot for Bruce as he’s hit sixth recently. As long as he’s inside the Top Five, he’s a very strong value play. If he’s hitting sixth again, we’d downgrade him to a secondary value option.
Adam Eaton/Melky Cabrera (CHW) – Jason Marquis has yielded a .376 wOBA and 1.80 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. Eaton (.329 wOBA, .116 ISO) and Cabrera (.349 wOBA, .122 ISO) are adequate hitters against RHP and get to hit in an elite environment in U.S. Cellular Field. Both have favorable price points around the industry and hit near the top of the lineup to ensure 2-3 plate appearances in the favorable matchup with Marquis. They each rank within our Top 35 hitters.
Jayson Werth (WAS) – Werth is a bit riskier option to invest in because it’s harder to evaluate his power baselines after offseason shoulder surgery. He’s historically crushed LHP (.398 wOBA, .235 ISO) and gets a favorable matchup with Eric Stults (.338 wOBA, 1.02 HR/9 allowed) since 2012. As a result our model likes him (Top 35 hitter) but I’m going to be price sensitive. He’s someone I’d prefer to round out rosters with than using him as a foundational piece.
Additional outfield notes: Billy Burns (OAK) is one of a few acceptable punt plays on DraftKings. John Mayberry Jr. (NYM) and Preston Tucker (HOU) are also viable punts if you’re trying to squeeze in some elite pitching and expensive bats. Tucker is the most intriguing to me but his lineup spot is a big question mark. Kole Calhoun (LAA) seems a bit underpriced in a favorable matchup against Roberto Hernandez (.361 wOBA, 1.39 HR/9 allowed since 2012) but he’s an option I’m more apt to consider if the weather shuts down our top two games to target (CHW-CIN, COL-LAD). If Alejandro de Aza (BAL) leads off, he’d represent a strong value play in Yankee Stadium against Adam Warren (.325 wOBA allowed to LHBs since 2012). There are a number of outfield plays that are viable in tournament plays as a part of stacks. I’d consult our macro-thinking section below for those.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Matt Harvey (NYM)
2) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)
3) Cole Hamels (PHI)
4) David Price (DET)
5) Francisco Liriano (PIT)
6) Sonny Gray (OAK)
7) James Shields (SD)
8) Trevor Bauer (CLE)
9) Jimmy Nelson (MIL)
10) Michael Wacha (STL)
11) Jason Hammel (CHC)
Matt Harvey (NYM) – Combine the top pitcher on the slate against the weakest overall offense and you get a quick and easy formula for our top play. The Phillies project 7-8 percent below the league average offensively against RHP. They currently rank 30th in wRC+ against RHP with a 20.2 percent K Rate. They can get very left handed but this isn’t much of an issue for Harvey. He’s actually been slightly better against LHBs in his career (.232 wOBA allowed, 31.5 percent K Rate). Harvey’s a modest favorite (-132) in a game with the lowest total of the day (6.5). A strong strikeout rate coupled with the lowest opposing run expectation makes Harvey our top option.
Gio Gonzalez (WAS) – The Braves rank 22nd in wRC+ against LHP with a healthy 21.2 percent K Rate. The Braves best hitters all come from the left side (Freeman, Markakis, Kelly Johnson and Pierzynski) and they really only have one lefty masher (Gomes). The elevated temperatures and humidity mitigate some of the effects of a favorable home park, but Gonzalez is the biggest favorite on the slate (-195) by a wide margin in a game with a total hovering between 7-7.5. The second tier of pitching is really congested in our model and ultimately umpires will move our rankings within that tier when they’re announced. Gonzalez currently looks like the best value of the bunch.
Francisco Liriano (PIT) – The Cardinals are a terrifying offense to pick on but they’re more vulnerable to high end LHP. They rank 25th in wOBA against LHP and have struck out a healthy 21.4 percent of the time early on. The risk with picking on the Cardinals is they have an elite 11.7 percent BB Rate which plays into Liriano’s biggest weaknesses, but surprisingly they rank just 27th in pitchers per plate appearance. The umpire assignment will impact Liriano most among the second tier starting pitchers since his 10.7 percent BB Rate the last two seasons is his lone weakness.
Jimmy Nelson (MIL) – Nelson is a high risk/high reward selection but his price point earns him consideration in this section. The Cubs rank 18th in wRC+ against RHP but most importantly have struck out in a league high 24.9 percent of their plate appearances against RHP. One of the oddities of Nelson’s early season schedule is he’s now facing an opponent in back-to-back starts for the third consecutive time. In each of the previous two starts, Nelson’s been far better in the first of the two outings. It’s a small sample but with Nelson highlighting a new pitch this season (curve ball), you can talk yourself into some elevated risk. The elevated projected K Rates for Nelson mitigate some of the risk in park environment and the Cubs power. I’d still prefer to utilize him in tournaments with the depth of pitching options on Friday, but the price tag required a mention in the value plays section.
Additional starting pitcher notes:
Trevor Bauer (CLE) is cheap on DraftKings and the Twins represent a uniquely strong matchup for him. They rank 22nd in wRC+ against RHP with a 22.5 percent K Rate and just a 7.1 percent BB Rate. They rank league average in pitchers per plate appearance which presents a slight issue for Bauer but a team that strikes out a bunch and doesn’t walk is a good recipe for his success. For those that embrace some risk, he’s a viable cash game option on multiple starting pitcher sites. Cole Hamels (PHI) has a strong individual matchup with a depleted Mets offense that lost a lot of RH thump (Wright, d’Arnaud) but will get overlooked because of Matt Harvey. I think he’s a nice tournament option and a fine secondary starting pitcher option on multiple starting pitcher sites. Michael Wacha (STL) looks great on the surface (1.93 ERA in an elite park against the Pirates who rank 28th in wRC+ against RHP), but the lack of strikeouts is a concern for his DFS value. He’s only struck out 13.4 percent of batters faced and his swinging strike rate is down to a career low 7.7 percent. The low strikeout rate comes despite facing PIT (seventh highest K Rate), PHI (20th), WAS (eighth), and CIN (13th) twice. If the strikeouts return for Wacha, he’ll likely represent a really solid value play this evening, but if the modest K Rate remains his upside is limited. Last start against the Pirates he shut them out over 6 2/3 innings and only accrued 14.8 DraftKings points.
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 Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Toronto Blue Jays
4) Chicago White Sox
5) Cincinnati Reds
These are the five offenses I’m largely targeting in cash games. Unfortunately there are some weather risks associated with four of the five (COL-LAD, CIN-CHW), so we’ll have to monitor and evaluate those situations throughout the day. They all combine elite hitting environments with below average starting pitchers. Eddie Butler (LAD), Jason Marquis (CIN), and Hector Noesi (CHW) are among the bottom feeders on this slate and Coors Field (first)/U.S. Cellular Field (second) rank as the two best hitting environments in all of baseball. Coors Field ranks well ahead of U.S. Cellular, so I’d prefer to target Coors if all things are equal with pricing.
The Blue Jays have no weather concerns and are an elite offense against LHP (133 wRC+ against LHP ranks first currently). They’re facing the best starter of this below average group but Wade Miley has really struggled in his transition to the American League (12.9 K Rate, 10.9 BB Rate). If weather becomes a significant issue for the other park environments, the Blue Jays would represent the most reasonable pivot in cash games.
1) Boston Red Sox
2) New York Yankees
3) Baltimore Orioles
4) San Diego Padres
5) Washington Nationals
6) Cleveland Indians
7) Chicago Cubs
8) Houston Astros
The Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles represent the next group of elite hitting environments paired with below average pitchers. Any time you have these types of combinations on a night with Coors Field in play, you get unusually low ownership rates. These are great stacks to attack in tournaments. The depth of the Red Sox lineup without Hanley Ramirez makes them better suited for mini-stacks. The same can be said for the Orioles as their lineups have become rather unpredictable of late. The LHBs are the ones you want to attack in Yankee Stadium, so the lineup will dictate the viability. The Yankees are a great option for full secondary stacks. The price points are comparable with the Coors groups which will push ownership way down and they’re loaded with LHBs against a fly ball oriented starter. It’s a good combination for power and thus tournament upside. UPDATE: With Ortiz sitting, I’d downgrade the Red Sox considerably. I’d push them towards the bottom of this list.
The Padres get a huge park shift in their favor and face a below average starter in Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson has historically been decent against RHBs but in recent years the performance has really fallen off (.340 wOBA, 1.26 HR/9). The Padres have a number of high event players (Myers, Kemp, and Upton) that can steal bags and hit home runs. They also have a few cheap options (Spangenberg and Solarte) with the platoon advantage. It makes for a nice combination of upside and a few salary relief points.
The Nationals face a contact oriented LHP. The price points are favorable and the weather in Washington should help the ball jump. The Braves bullpen behind Stults also has the seventh highest ERA in the league.
The Indians are great against RHP with a heavy LH lineup and players like Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley significantly better against RHP. Mike Pelfrey is a below average RHP but he does keep the ball in the park. The price points aren’t as favorable on the Indians, which pushes them down our rankings.
The Cubs get to play in a great hitting environment and the Brewers bullpen behind Nelson is very suspect. Like the Astros, the Cubs have run a ton early in the season and while the power hasn’t shown up just yet, it’s a lineup that projects for a lot of power. They don’t have any options that stand out as great cash game options which should keep ownership down.
The Astros are our final tournament recommendation as a stack. They’ve lost a little luster without George Springer but they’re facing Jered Weaver who has seen his velocity fall off rapidly (83.1 mph average fastball) and is vulnerable to power. The park environment isn’t great for power but the Astros have posted some big performances in bad parks (San Diego most notably) early in the season and their combination of SB and HR allow them to rack up points quickly. Add in some recency bias likely pushing ownership percentages down (since they were so bad against TEX weak LHP) and you have a nice unique stack opportunity.
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. On the scales used below, a 10 strongly favors the batter, a 1 strongly favors the pitcher and a 5 should not impact the game at all.
BLT at NYY 7:05: Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind southeast 5-10 mph lessening to 3-6 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.
ATL at WSH 7:05: Dry. Temps near 80 falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 5-10 mph becoming 3-6 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.
NYM at PHL 7:05: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind south-southeast 5-10 mph becoming 3-6 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6 becoming a 5.
STL at PIT 7:05: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 80s falling into the mid-70s. Air density is a 7. Wind south-southwest 3-6 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 5.
BOS at TOR 7:07: Retractable roof. Dry and warm so the roof should be open. Temps in the mid to upper 70s falling into the mid to upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind south becoming southwest at 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows out to center to start and then out to right. The wind is a 6.
KC at DET 7:08: Showers and thunderstorms likely at any time. This will not be a steady rain though at times it could come down heavy. Because of the nature of the rain, I do not think they cancel the game (<20%) but there is a good chance (~40%) of a delay with the smaller chance of multiple delays (~20%). Temps near 80 falling into the low to mid 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 5-10 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
MIN at CLE 7:10: A 20% chance of showers or a thunderstorm after 10 PM. I do not see a huge problem here. Temps near 80 falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind south-southwest at 5-10 mph which blows out to right-center. The wind is a 6.
TEX at TB 7:10: Dome.
CIN at CHW 8:10: Rain and thunderstorms, rather steady and at times heavy, from late afternoon through about 8-9 PM. I can see a delay to start the game (~40%) but once they start it they should be good to play the rest of the game. ~10-20% chance of a cancellation. Temps near 70 falling into the low 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind southwest becoming northwest at 5-10 mph which blows first out to left and then out to center. The wind is a 6.
CHC at MIL 8:10: Retractable roof. There is the threat for some showers around so I will assume the roof will be closed.
LAD at COL 8:40: Periodic light rain and/or drizzle until a batch of steady rain moves in after 11 PM. There will be light rain and/or drizzle around all day so this complicates things a bit but the rain should be light and not steady. Thus, I think they try and play this game. A 20-30% chance of a delay to start the game, a ~20% chance of a delay in the early/mid part of the game and ~30% chance of a delay late in the game. Temps near 50 falling into the mid-40s. Air density is a 9. Wind east-southeast 10-20 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 7.
SD at AZ 10:05: Retractable roof. It will be real nice out so the roof will likely be open. Temps in the low to mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind southwest becoming west-northwest 10-20 mph becoming 7-14 mph which blows out to right-center and then from left to right. The wind is a 7 becoming a 5.
HOU at LAA 10:05: A 10-20% chance of showers early. Should not be too steady so besides a 10% chance of a delay to start the game or early in the game, this game should be good to go. Temps near 60 falling into the mid-50s. Air density is a 5. Wind west-southwest 7-14 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
OAK at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. I will assume the roof is open. Temps in the mid 70s falling into the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind northwest 7-14 mph becoming 4-8 mph. This wind blows out to right. The wind is a 6 becoming a 5.
MIA at SF 10:15: Dry. Temps near 60 falling into the low to mid 50s. Air density is a 5. Wind west-southwest 10-20 mph with gusts to 25 mph lessening to 7-14 mph late which blows out to center. The wind is a 7 or 8 becoming a 6.