Today we have a split slate with seven games early and five late. Pitching looks pretty good today and there should be some offense. The majority of people will be looking to attack Coors again today, which isn’t a bad idea considering the number of runs that have been scored in that park over the last two weeks. First let’s dive into our pitchers today.
The early slate has three prime arms scheduled in as of right now with Chris Archer, Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole. Strasburg has not been announced the starter, but they may just push him back a day. On DraftKings, he is currently listed as the pitcher, but it may end up being Joe Ross. Either way, my top arm early is Chris Archer.
Archer comes into this matchup with the Indians as a -114 favorite in Vegas. The total is set to just seven runs, so those both favor Archer. The Indians offense looked decent yesterday, but they’ll get a true ace today with massive strikeout upside. Archer owns a 29% strikeout rate and runs into a team with a 29.2% strikeout rate against right-handed hitters in the early going. Along with that, the Indians have a .302 wOBA against right-handed pitchers and an OPS of just .685. That isn’t much to fear. The Indians will run out five left-handed bats (three switch) against Archer today. Last year Archer limited left-handed bats to a .265 wOBA while allowing a .278 wOBA to righties. Archer is a ground ball pitcher (when ball is in play) and Lindor, Santana and Kipnis—who own the top-3 wOBA’s versus righties in the Indian lineup all have high ground ball rates, too. No bat in their lineup has an ISO greater than .200. I think Archer is the top option early.
The next pitcher, who may go lower owned in tournaments, is Gerrit Cole at $10,500. Cole saves you about $900, but gets the more difficult matchup against the Tigers offense. The interesting part with Cole is that he allows a higher wOBA to same-handed hitters. Today he will see Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton and J.D Martinez—who all own a wOBA greater than .350 against right-handed pitching. Surprisingly, Upton and Martinez both have an ISO greater than .200 against right-handed pitchers, too. Cole is a ground ball pitcher and these bats looking to put the ball in the air, according to their batted ball rates. Around game time it will be about 60 degrees with a slight wind in from left field. Even with that, I still don’t mind the Tigers bats in a tournament. Cole has strikeout upside for sure—posting a 24.3% strikeout rate a year ago, and running into a team with a 28.4% rate this year. Even with that, I am comfortable fading Cole today. I did it to Jose Fernandez the other day, and I’ll do it with Cole today; he is my fade of the day.
The San Diego Padres offense has been dreadful this season. Today they’ll get right-handed pitcher Vincent Velasquez, who dominated the Mets in his first outing of the season. Today, Velasquez will face the Padres, who have struck out in 26.4% of their at bats against right-handed pitchers. He is the early favorite in this contest, and the strikeout upside really sets him apart among the lower pitchers. He could easily put up 20-25 DraftKings points and walk away with the win today. The Padres won’t have Matt Kemp in their lineup and Melvin Upton Jr. is hitting cleanup. I wouldn’t overthink this. Play Velasquez.
As I stated in my piece about Gerrit Cole, there are some batter trends that could favor the Tigers in that matchup. Today their 2 through 4 hitters all own a wOBA greater than .350 against right-handed pitching. Cole has some nasty stuff, but he can be wild at times, which could lead to some extra runners and scoring opportunities. This isn’t my favorite stack early, but it will sure be low owned with Coors on the slate. Cole has some splits that favor right-handed batters, so I think all three of the guys mentioned before (Upton, Cabrera and Martinez) are viable in tournaments. At just $3,700, J.D Martinez is my favorite of the three batters.
We are heading back to Coors, which more than likely has some offense in store for us today. The total on this game is set to 11.5, which is tied with the highest we have seen this season. This matchup features Matt Cain and Jorge De La Rosa, who at one time were front-line type (depending on team) starters. At their current state, they are more like fourth to fifth starter types, who can be attacked—especially at Coors. For the Giants, we have to look at Buster Posey if he returns to the lineup. Posey owns a .366 wOBA against left-handed pitchers, which is the highest of their regulars. Along with that, De La Rosa allowed a .328 wOBA to righties while holding lefties at just .293. At home, De La Rosa allowed a .354 wOBA a season ago, which included a .358 wOBA to right-handed hitters.
On the other end of this we see Matt Cain, and he is going to be targeted, too. We should be looking directly at Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado yet again today. Arenado went deep twice last night, and really only hits bombs of righties. Carlos Gonzalez probably has the best matchup here as Cain allowed a .404 wOBA to lefties last season and Gonzalez had a .415 wOBA against righties. With Coors on the slate, we will need to find some value. How about Ben Paulsen at $3,600? Paulsen has the split of Cain against lefties in his favor and owns a .349 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. He will more than likely hit sixth or seventh for the Rockies today and is at a discount. Cain also allows more fly balls than ground balls, so Paulsen’s 15% HR to fly ball rate could be effective today.
I really like the St. Louis Cardinals as a small stackable option early. The Cards will face Wily Peralta, who has been beat up pretty bad in his first two starts of the season. Some believe that Miller Park is the cause of Peralta’s issues, but that just isn’t true. On the road last season, Peralta allowed a .376 wOBA in 40 innings of work. Even if we go back to 2014, Peralta still allowed a higher wOBA on the road than at home, including getting demolished by left-handed hitters. Matt Carpenter and Jeremy Hazelbacker will be at the top of the Cards lineup creating some trouble. That puts Matt Holliday, Brandon Moss (clean-up today) and Randal Grichuk with some upside here. Of those three, I think that Grichuk is my favorite option as he owns a .381 wOBA against right-handed pitchers and Peralta still struggles against righties.
When the late slate lineups come out, I will tweet my top plays there. Right now, I am leaning toward the Astros as my top stack.
Homer of the day (Early)
Carlos Gonzalez and Maikel Franco
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Best of luck!