Today we get ourselves a Saturday split slate with eight games early and seven games late. There are some great options on the board today, so let’s dive into it.
The early slate finds Jake Arrieta as the top option going against the Rockies who are outside of Coors. If you’ve followed the Rockies over the last ten years, you would see that their numbers drop outside of their home ballpark. They won’t have their home park and will face the reigning Cy Young winner at home. Arrieta finished last season with a strikeout rate near 27.5%, so there is great strikeout upside today. Arrieta is a -319 favorite, which is the highest of the early season and may end up being the entire this season. Last season outside of Coors Field, the Rockies team wOBA dropped from .359 to .281. This is a very good matchup and at just $10,300—Arrieta is the top option early.
The wind in Cleveland is blowing in from center field at near 10 mph so Matt Harvey gets a bump. He is just $8,700, so he is very affordable and facing a lineup that was held in check by Bartolo Colon yesterday. The Indians will go from facing 86-88 to 93-96 today, so I think that could play a factor in this. In the early going, the Indians have been strikeout prone with nearly a 30% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. I am not too concerned about this Indians lineup outside of maybe Jason Kipnis. But with the wind blowing in from center and strikeout upside, I do like Matt Harvey in the early slate.
Right with Harvey we get Josh Tomlin, who gets the wind in his favor and has some strikeout upside with the Mets bats. Tomlin is a slight underdog today, but posted a 22% strikeout rate last season and gets the Mets who are striking out in nearly 25% of at bats in the early going. Tomlin is a fly ball pitcher, so the wind blowing in will do him some favors today. I like Tomlin at just $7,000 at he allows you to get a few extra bats and has some really nice upside early with the low total and the wind blowing in from center.
Later in the day we get Max Scherzer against the Phillies, which is the top overall matchup today, but it does come with a $13,100 price tag. The good news is that the other pitchers in the late slate aren’t too expensive so it shouldn’t kill your roster construction. The Phillies offense has been far from good this season and Joe Ross had no issues running through their lineup last night. There is legit complete game shutout, double-digit strikeout upside here and I won’t say that often. Scherzer hasn’t been himself thus far, so people may shy from the price tag. But the Phillies are striking out over 23% of the time against right-handed pitchers and Scherzer had a 30% strikeout rate last season. He is a -181 favorite in Vegas and will face Aaron Nola, who has been very good this season. Scherzer is far and away the best option late.
Aaron Nola actually comes in favorable in my rankings today as he get a Nationals team striking out 21% of the time against righties this season. Nola has racked up two impressive strikeout games this season, showing that he has strikeout upside for DFS purposes. The win probably won’t happen as that requires his offense to hit Max Scherzer, but he could go seven innings with seven or more strikeouts and that could certainly pay off his $7,900 price tag. It isn’t ideal to go with two pitchers that are facing on another, but the 6.5 total and Nola’s early start could push some toward that.
Johnny Cueto is going to be a popular option to go with Max Scherzer today at $10,100. Cueto gets the Dodgers, who he had some issues with in his outing in San Francisco. The Dodgers do come with a 20% strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers, but I am not sure Cueto is going to get to that price tag today. I would rather go with Scott Kazmir in this matchup as he is the favorite in Vegas and will have the better matchup against the Giant lefties. Now the Giants are disciplined at the plate, but on the late slate there isn’t a ton of options that I like. Cueto is fine, but I do worry about him meeting his price tag. I believe that Kazmir is more likely to meet his salary expectations at home against the Giants.
Cash: Arrieta, Harvey, Scherzer, Kazmir (due to slate)
Tournament: Tomlin, Nola, Cueto, Kazmir, Miller (not mentioned—gets Padres and park upgrade)
I don’t have a ton of stacks that I like today, but smaller pieces to stacks. The first of those will be against Jered Weaver. I think the Twins are about to show some life in those bats and it will start with Miguel Sano. Sano has a great wOBA and ISO against righties and I’m waiting for him to hit a ball 600 feet to get out of this early funk he had been in. The value play in this lineup is Oswaldo Arcia, who will hit sixth today and gets the platoon split in his favor. You may not recall, but Arcia hit 20 homers for the Twins in 2014 so there is some pop there. In that season, he had a .364 wOBA against righties. I think he is a great play today.
If we want to wait for the 6:10 game to get our action in, the Rays righties are in a great spot against John Danks. Last season Danks had a 16% strikeout rate, so he won’t be overpowering any of the Rays bats. He also allowed a .353 wOBA to right-handed bats which puts Evan Longoria, Logan Forsythe, Brandon Guyer and Desmond Jennings in good spots. I think this maybe my favorite spot to go after early with Longoria as a center piece to the stack.
I also believe that the Pirates are a stackable option today because Jungmann has had issues with batters on both sides of the plate as well. On top of that, he has issues with runners—allowing 18 stolen bases a year ago. My top target here is going to be Starling Marte followed by Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco. If we don’t have many options at catcher, Cervelli is okay with me.
In tournaments, I do think the Cardinals bats will go under owned against Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan was great in his first outing, but I think that Piscotty, Holliday and Grichuk could cause some issues for the lefty today. In an early stack, there three are to consider with Piscotty and Grichuk being my two favorite as Holliday will carry a higher ownership following his game last night.
As lineups are released, I will tweet about my favorite plays.
Oswaldo Arcia $3,600
Javier Baez $3,600
Homer of the day
If you have any questions, reach me on Twitter.