Welcome the Opening Day 2016! It is going to be an exciting season as always, and I want to make sure it is a profitable one for all DFSonDemand subscribers! With that said, let’s dive into my favorite pitching options of the day. The Yankees and Astros have been postponed due to rain, so make sure any players in that game aren’t in your lineups!
There are several options to pick from today in terms of start time. David Price ($9,800) is set to make his first start for the Red Sox, and he finds himself in a pretty good matchup against the Indians. While the park factor isn’t sexy in this for Price, he gets a team that posted a 23.4% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitchers in 2015. The Indians lineup will be missing Michael Brantley, who has been a huge part of their lineup the past few seasons. The only left-handed bat that Price will get today is Jason Kipnis, but that shouldn’t worry anyone who rosters Price, as he limited right-handed hitters to a .265 wOBA in 2015. The win isn’t a lock as he will face Corey Kluber, who has a Cy Young under his belt, but the Sox are running out the stronger lineup. I am fine with Price in cash and GPP. Please note that there is a slight chance of rain!
Max Scherzer ($12,300) has the juiciest matchup in the early slate. If you look at the Braves lineup, there is really nothing to fear. The Braves struggled against right-handed pitchers in 2015, posting a .315 wOBA and 20.4% strikeout rate. Along with that, Vegas has the Nationals as a -170 favorites in a game with a run total at 6.5. I believe those numbers favor Scherzer. There will also be a boost in park factor for Scherzer, as Turner Field typically favors pitchers and depresses home runs. It does look like the wind is pushing out to right field, but I wouldn’t get too caught up in that. Scherzer is an elite play, but it comes at a cost.
I believe that Raisel Iglesias ($8,900) will be a chalk play in the early slate as he matches up against the Phillies, who are one of the worst five teams in baseball and their lineup proves that. In 2015, the Phillies finished with 20.9% strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers, so Iglesias should be able to take advantage of that as he finished ’15 with a 26.3% strikeout rate. It does appear that he will be facing more left-handed hitters than right today, which is a little more concerning as Iglesias allowed a .271 wOBA to right-handed hitters and a .332 to left-handed hitters. The total is set at 7.5 and Great American Ball Park favors offense. It also appears that the wind is blowing out to left field in this game, too. I like Iglesias a little due to the Phillies offense, but the total is higher than I imagined, the wind is blowing out and it is Great American Ball Park. This is just a little caution on someone I believe is going to carry a higher ownership percentage early.
My surprising late day pick is going to be Garrett Richards ($8,500). The Cubs are being touted as the future World Series Champions, and that is for good reason. They have the reigning Cy Young winner and an offense that is explosive. However, they do strike out a lot. I believe Richards has some strikeout upside in this game, and I would take a GPP shot at him if I am playing more than five lineups late. Richards help lefties to a .279 wOBA in 2015. The Cubs posted a 23.7% strikeout rate against right-handed hitters in 2015, and I do expect production to continue. He may not get the win, but ownership is going to be low in a matchup with strikeout upside. I would consider an Opening Day shot at Richards.
One of my favorite stacks of the day is the Minnesota Twins. The Twins will get to face Chris Tillman, who really isn’t an Opening Day guy. The total in this game is set at nine, and I believe it goes over that total. Tillman finished 2015 with a .353 wOBA to right-handed hitters and .309 to left-handed hitters. The Twins will have Miguel Sano ($4,900), Brian Dozier ($4,700) and Byung Ho Park ($4,400) facing today with power upside. Don’t ignore that Target Field is much more of a hitters’ park than most believe. While the Twins may have some strikeout issues this season, Tillman had a 6.24 strikeout per nine in 2015, so don’t feat the strikeouts today. I think Eddie Rosario is in an interesting spot today, hitting fifth in the Twins lineup at just $4,000. I would consider him in tournaments.
The Reds lineup is in a very stackable matchup against Jeremy Hellickson, who allowed greater than a .330 wOBA to both left and right-handed hitters last season. He will head into Cincinnati and face left-handed sluggers Joey Votto ($4,600) and Jay Bruce ($4,100). The wind is blowing out to right field, which could lead to a few balls heading over that fence today. The Reds are favorites in this game and the total is set at 7.5 runs. I think a small Reds stack with Votto, Bruce and maybe Devin Mesoraco is a viable option in this game.
My surprise stack of the night is going to be the Colorado Rockies. There is no doubt that Zach Greinke is an ace and deserved his lucrative contract this offseason. But the Rockies offense is legit, and something to fear. No, they aren’t in Coors, but Chase Field was one of the ten best parks for hitting last season. The Rockies finished last season with a team wOBA greater than .350 vs. right-handed pitchers, so there is so hope for production in Arizona, which stated above, is a run producing park. Greinke was unbelievable last season, but I am not sure the numbers are sustainable. In a tournament, I am taking a shot with the Rockies offense. There is no lineup out yet, so I will update my favorite targets when one is released.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach me on Twitter.
Best of luck!