After a weekend chock full of sports, be it the NBA/NHL playoffs, the Kentucky Derby, and an alleged "Fight of The Century", baseball may have found itself lost in the shuffle a bit. Well, the MLB grind continues tonight, and FanDuel offering a $175,000 Grand Slam ($25 entry fee) helps put an appropriate spotlight on the American pastime.
As always, make sure to check lineups and potential inclement weather before submitting your rosters. Let’s get to the picks.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, $11,300
An argument can be made for any of the top arms taking the bump tonight, be it Madison Bumgarner, Felix Hernandez, or paying all the way up for the Dodgers ace. Kershaw, as "disappointing" as he's been so far this season, has still put up at least 12 FD points in all but one start. No, twelve isn't exactly optimal, but he struck out 29 batters in his last three starts. It is that kind of upside (along with a win) that is the key to a potential twenty spot. The Brewers are getting a little healthier (with Carlos Gomez back), and sure, we'd prefer they rolled out a few more lefties. Heck, you can even play the narrative that Milwaukee will be inspired to play their first game for a new manager, but all in all, Kershaw is your best bet when selecting a pitcher this evening.
Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals, $8,400
I like so many bats this evening, most of them a little pricier than I'd prefer. This has me contemplating unleashing Martinez in my 50/50 games. If nothing else, he's more than suitable for your tournament rosters. The young Cardinal has looked electric on the short season with a WHIP just over one, and a K/9 slightly below a punchout per inning. The Cubs strike out a ton vs RHPs, while their bats come into tonight's contest rather cold (six total runs in their last four games). Lastly, Vegas doesn't like Chicago's chances of breaking out, as St. Louis is a - 148 favorite in a game with a paltry 7 over/under.
Evan Gattis, Houston Astros, $3,400
Nobody is mocking his nickname anymore. Affectionately referred to as "El Oso Blanco" (The White Bear), Gattis has seen his bat wake up out of hibernation. Having banged out five dongs along with 12 RBI in his last six games is not just waking up, but metaphorically double fisting Red Bulls. Add this to the fact that Gattis has his power potential heightened when facing a LHP, and no other backstop has a higher ceiling on the night.
Stephen Vogt, Oakland A's, $3,000
I was getting a head start researching today's slate yesterday when both catchers I highlighted, Vogt along with the aforementioned Gattis, knocked out a pair of dongs on Sunday. So no, just in case you are thinking this is recency bias or an overreaction, that is not what is going on here. The fact is Vogt is too cheap when considering his sweet lineup position along with his propensity to smash righties, while opposing SP Phil Hughes has his issues vs left-handed sticks. I also want to mention that Yadier Molina is minimum salary vs a LHP. Granted, Molina has looked brutal so far this year, but he has a history of owning lefties, so if you are looking for a full punt, he might be your guy.
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks, $6,100
Truth be told, I'm not quite sure how much Goldy I'll have today, but I feel obligated to write him up. Nobody is in a better spot than the D'Backs first baseman - he has the dream matchup of facing a horrific LHP (Tyler Matzek) in Coors Field. Maybe you've heard, but just in case you haven't, Goldschmidt is a notorious masher. In fact, according to the RotoGrinders Daily Batter Hub, he comes in with a ridiculous MUwOBA of .418. Oh, but that $6,100 price tag is just so steep. I love Gold more than Goldmember (of Austin Powers fame), but this asking price screams opportunity cost. I don't think I can justify his roster spot outside of a GPP, but at the same time, I'd be frightened to fully fade him, so I'll do my best to grab a share of two of the Arizona slugger. This is also a good spot to mention that basically all of the Diamondback righties are worth a look this evening.
Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers, $4,300
The Dodgers big man doesn't come cheap, but he's $1,800 less than Goldy. There are several reasons to give him a look. Gonzalez will have the benefit of a ballpark bump with a game in hitter friendly Miller Park while taking his hacks vs homer prone Kyle Lohse, a preferred RHP. If Gonzalez's price tag feels a little prohibitive, David Ortiz comes at a bit of a discount at just $3,200 and is a perfectly fine pivot.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros, $4,900
Forgive me, but I get a little excited when talking about the Astros second baseman. His numbers vs southpaws are as impressive as he is short. Altuve has a .516 AVG / 1.260 OPS vs LHPs this season. Want a bigger sample? In 2014 he raked .414 AVG / 1.013 OPS vs lefties. Yeah, I think it is safe to say he enjoys facing LHPs. Oh, and did I mention that he gets to face the dreadful Ross Detwiler tonight? Or that once he reaches base, he is always a threat to steal? All of which is true. He won't come cheap, but you might want to consider rostering the diminutive Altuve this evening.
Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins, $3,100
I generally only give Dozier a look if he were to square off against a lefty, but the price is cheap enough to consider him against Jesse Hahn. The Oakland hurler has been pretty tough on righties, so this is probably more of a tournament recommendation, but the Minnesota second baseman comes with power upside and an ideal spot in the lineup.
Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers, $2,900
I'm a sucker for a discount, even more so when it is on a proven commodity. Sure, the 36-year-old Beltre is looking every year of that thus far on the short season, as he's scuffled out of the gate, but I don't think he got this bad this fast. Dallas Keuchel is competent enough that he is not a starting pitcher I actively want to target, but he isn't someone I'd make sure to completely avoid either. The price break, along with the upside, is enough to put Beltre in the "maybe" column - I'll need to save a few bucks somewhere, and 3B seems like a good spot to do so.
Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota Twins, $2,600
For the same reasons I think Brian Dozier is in play, I'll consider Plouffe as well. He's cheap, has power upside, and will likely hit cleanup. I debated suggesting Kyle Seager here, who is also discounted, but I'm somewhat concerned that there is a correlation between his slow start and a nagging thumb injury. I may roster him in spot or two, but I need to see some production before trusting him in too many places.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Tampa Bay Rays, $2,600
I might as put "Not Troy Tulowitzki" as the name here, but that is basically what your shortstop comes down to this evening. Obviously Tulo is in play and worth paying up for, but the way I'm building most of my lineups, it appears that I will not have the funds to splurge on the Rockies shortstop. Sure, I'll likely have a share or two, but I'll mostly look to save salary here. As for Cabrera, he's cheap and gets to face Clay Buchholz, who has issues vs lefties.
Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals, $2,500
Travis Wood has exhibited some dramatic splits vs right-handed bats, and Peralta is cheap and comes with power upside. Again, I'm not in a spot to be too picky here since I'm just looking to save a few bucks, roster someone with potential, and move along. The Cardinals shortstop qualifies because he checks those boxes.
Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees, $4,200
When he is healthy, the Yankees outfielder can be such a versatile DFS player. Well, it appears that Ellsbury is feeling pretty good, as he has banged out 13 hits in his last 25 at-bats. An additional perk to Ellsbury's game is his wheels, as he can steal a bag or two any given night. There is only so much that R.A. Dickey can do to contain the running game, and you'd have to think Ellsbury will make an effort to run if/when he gets on base. I should also note that this game as a whole should not be ignored. Coors Field and the Astros really jump off the page, but I expect some fireworks in Toronto and wouldn't be surprised if some elite bats go underowned.
Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers, $3,900
It did not take long for the monster Dodger prospect to get upgraded in the lineup. He was buried in the eight-hole to start the season, but it will be hard to shake him from the leadoff spot these days. He broke his three-game homer streak yesterday, but a matchup vs Kyle Lohse in Miller Park is a premium spot to start a new dong streak. Dong or no dong, Pederson should lead off and grab himself four to five ABs, which should give him enough opportunities to justify his roster spot.
Chris Carter, Houston Astros, $2,400
One last Astro. Houston has won ten straight games while averaging a whopping 7.6 runs per game. Ross Detwiler is not the cure for stopping a hot streak. As for Carter, he can look awful at times but at the same time he possesses massive power. I hate to roster someone with Carter's makeup (an all nothing player) in my 50/50 games, but depending on lineup construction this just might happen. If nothing else, the Houston slugger is an elite cheapie when it comes to building your tournament lineups.