It’s Kershaw Day. That most angst riddled day of each week in which you have to decide whether to spend a full quarter of your salary on just ten percent of your lineup.
We’ll hum and haw over a 5k Mike Trout. BORING!
We’ll dither back and forth over a 10k Julio Jones. RISKY!
We’ll sheepishly roster a 13k Russell Westbrook. CHALKY SHEEP!
But like Kelis, their Kershaw brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like, it’s better than yours. So, they have to charge.
And we’ll all just line up and ask for another round.
We can all imagine situations in which a Kershaw day doesn’t involve him as a staple of cash game lineups. Like if he was pitching right handed. Or if he lost three fingers on his left hand. Or the other team got to play with aluminum bats with a 50 MPH wind blowing straight out to center. There ARE convcievable ways in which Clayton Kershaw is not worth building around in cash games. Tournaments are a totally different story. Tournaments are like siding with Bizarro Superman stooped over the bar with a second bottle of whiskey and saying “HERE’S MY GUY!” Nothing has to make sense in tournaments. Tournaments are for stacking against Kershaw and watching the world burn. Isn’t that right Captain Cornrow Bronson Arroyo? Take a bow sir. You did your job and burned out best laid plans into scorched earth last night. The burned popcorn smell emanating from the remains of my lineups can be traced right back you.
Beyond Kershaw, there are some other great pitchers to target for your lineups including Madison Bumgarner and Chris Archer: one with great skills but a lower K ceiling, and the other a mercurial enigma with great upside and almost equivalent blowup potential. There are also some great pitchers to target with your lineups including Jesse Hahn, Dylan Covey, JC Ramirez, Francisco Liriano, Ubaldo Jimenez, Adalberto Mejia, Tommy Milone and Jordan Zimmerman. There are some wonderful opportunities to profit off of the failures and public embarrassment of rich athletes today, and it doesn’t even have to do with TMZ.
As you’re building your certain to not fail lineups against pitchers not dissimilar to last night’s sure fire disaster Bronson Arroyo, be sure to keep the weather in mind too. The only real disaster brewing today is in Minneapolis, where Cleveland is set to face the Twins. They forecasted for a Noahic like deluge with 15 MPH winds blowing straight in from center field. Let someone else deal with that cold sloppy mess.
On the bright side of the weather though, we also get to benefit from some winds today too. Jonathan Bales has done some great work on the effects of wind on homerun potential, and 15 MPH seems to be the magic number where it starts to make a difference. Checking the weather is the first thing I do every day as a part of my process and today’s treasure hunt yielded some exciting nuggets of joy. In an early game, there’s potential for 15-20 MPH winds blowing out to left-centre for the game between the Pirates and Cardinals in St. Louis. Michael Wacha had a 48.4% fly ball rate last season, so the wind might just be what the Pirates need to get a ball out of the infield. Similarly, there’s expected to be 15-25 MPH winds blowing out to left tonight in KC for the game between the Giants and Royals. I have an unhealthy man crush on the unfairly underappreciated Jason Vargas, but at a career 42.7% fly ball rate for him, it’s probably time to break out your Giants stack too.
Anyways, on to the B6 and my favourite cash game plays of the day.
BEN’S BEST BET BARGAIN BASEBALL BRIGADE
JT Realmuto MIA (R) vs Felix Hernandez SEA (R) – $3200
In Splits wOBA .358 ISO .130
It’s not like you WANT to pick on a former CY Young winner, but this is merely a husk of King Felix. His K% continues to trend down and his FIP continues to trend up. On Kershaw day you need a lot of low priced bats and Realmuto hits high in the order to get you an extra plate appearance with splits that may not be pristine, but are a good bet.
Yan Gomes CLE (R) vs Tony Mejia MIN (L) – $3000
In Splits wOBA .338 ISO .183
This play is a might risk in cash games given that the game is highly uncertain to even play today. If they are a go though, Mejia is bad and Gomes is cheap. There’s not much upside, but he could hopefully give you better than zero. Which after last night’s Orioles effort, a lot of us would be happy with.
Apart from one game this season, Gregory Bird has been bad. Multiple zeroes on the game log bad. Dylan Covey on the surface though appeared to be a regular Martin Perez in his first start, striking out only one, but keeping the ground balls rolling in. SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE!
Bird’s underlying numbers show he’s not likely as bad as his production has been, and Covey’s numbers in the minors show he is far worse than he appeared. Bird is worth a shot at this price and matchup.
Jordan Zimmerman may as well be pitching with hot air balloons. They couldn’t get airborne any more quickly than the baseballs he throws. It’s not a great hitting environment in Tropicana Field, but he will make up for it with his 53.1% fly ball rate so far this season. It’s been trending upward every year since 2013. Miller has some power at a position that power is scarce and a price worth betting on.
The former MVP is coming off an old man rest day and gets the platoon advantage versus another old man in Liriano. The geriatric stare down will be wonderful to pick on. Pedroia hit atop a loaded Red Sox lineup with plenty of opportunity to get on base and put up runs. The Red Sox are built to embarrass Francisco Liriano.
I always like playing Jake Lamb versus RHP. His bad splits versus lefties tends to keep his overall price depressed, and his power and skills versus RHP make him a great value play nearly every time. Jhoulys Chacin is not awful, but he’s not good. The game is in San Diego which hurts his power upside, but he’s still a great hitter in this setting.
Ryan Schimpf SDP (L) vs Zach Grienke ARI (R) – $3600
In Splits wOBA .373 ISO .299
Squaring off on the other side of the matchup is DailyRoto sweetheart Ryan Schimpf. Ask golf guru Christian Drappi about Schimpf, then let me know what he tells you once the conversation is done three years from now. Schimpf has power and the platoon advantage at a price that makes him a good value even if Grienke appears to have righted his ship somewhat.
Anytime I can get a Mets batter versus RHP I’m interested. Their ISO up and down the lineup versus righties is terrifying. Cabrera will likely be high in the order with great upside for a cheap SS.
There are not many Dodgers that can hit LHP. Their splits are pretty awful. I’d mention Logan Forsythe in this article somewhere, but he got hit by a pitch again last night and had to leave the game. AGAIN. He gets beaned more than a cheap overstuffed burrito at Taco Bell. Hernandez though does offer a cheap price and some capacity to hit lefties. You could do worse!
Translated, this is not quite Adam Dunn territory, but you could hit a home run to it from here. Judge can hit the ball a mile and Dylan Covey is likely a bad pitcher. It’s just that almost none of the Yankees have been doing it to this point. I wouldn’t play him in cash, but he could be a great part of a GPP stack.
Nomar may not be a Garciaparra level hitter yet, nor does he have the scrappy intangibles of the hero of my youth, but he is one of the few Rangers that excels against RHP.
Josh Reddick HOU (L) vs JC Ramirez LAA (R) – $3700
In Splits wOBA .364 ISO .130
What’s left of Josh has been hitting 2nd in the batting order the Astro’s versus RHP lately. At his price he’s certainly a cash game option versus and bad pitcher.
This is a mediocre matchup at a mediocre price versus and better than mediocre pitcher. It’s not super enticing, but the value is there to be had on Kershaw day.
Last season saw his numbers fall badly in an injury plagued season, but for his career, Peralta smashes right handed pitching. Many RHP having faced Peralta eventually succumb to a form of Sinistrophobia.
Wanna guess who gives up the third highest fly ball percentage on the slate?
No … it’s not Ubaldo Jimenez. Guess again.
You should really read the whole blurb here, because then you’d likely guess it’s Jordan Zimmerman at 40.1%. Put that together with Dickerson’s power and you’ve got an explosive recipe.
Last season was an unmitigated dumpster fire of Springfield Tire Fire proportions for Puig. That being said, he still managed a .210 ISO in the midst of that implosion. He’s off to a much better start this season and gets to face a LHP.
Tyler Anderson (L) vs Los Angeles Dodgers – $7000
The Dodgers really struggle to hit LHP and one of their lone weapons against it, Logan Forsythe, seems to take another heater off the left lung every second night. He made an early exit vs the Rockies last night and it remains to be seen whether he’ll play Wednesday. Even if he does, he may only last a single at bat before the anxiety gets to him and he crawls back to the dugout.
Amir Garrett (L) vs Baltimore – $4800
Do you want to know who Harold Reynolds thinks is not terrible at baseball and is the current NL rookie of the year?
Do you want to know who I think is terrible at baseball analysis and TV?
All this being said, Garrett has looked pretty solid thus far and gets an Orioles team who couldn’t hit Bronson Arroyo last night. The strikeout upside is pretty high and all for less than the price of a lot of position players.
BEN’S HOUSE OF PANCACKES (BHOP for short)
There’s not much more Canadian that maple syrup on a tall stack on pancakes, so here are your daily stacks ranked in order of deliciousness and desirability.
Blueberry Buttermilk with Maple Syrup
Chicago Cubs vs Tommy Milone MIL
Chocolate Chips with Whipped Cream
Boston Red Sox vs Francisco Liriano TOR
Baltimore Orioles vs Amir Garrett CIN
Plain Homemade with Butter Flavored Syrup
Houston Astros vs JC Ramirez LAA
Tampa Bay Rays vs Jordan Zimmerman DET
Arizona Diamondbacks vs Jhoulys Chacin SDP
Aunt Jemima with No-Name Sugar-Free Syrup
New York Yankees vs Dylan Covey CHW
Cincinatti Reds vs Ubaldo Jimenez BAL
New York Mets vs Vincent Velasquez PHI