Tonight we have a very small five-game slate that includes Coors Field and a lot of tough options. There are a few spots that I like outside of Coors, so let’s dive into the top FanDuel picks at each position.
Jon Lester: $10,100 (vs. LA Dodgers)
With Lester and deGrom so close on FanDuel, I really prefer Lester in cash games. Lester is a -149, which is the second highest favorite behind Chatwood tonight. The Cardinals hit Lester in his first start, but he was able to keep them to one earned run in five innings. Franklin Gutierrez is the only active Dodger that had a wOBA over .350 against left-handed pitching last season and eight of the 11 active Dodgers had a strikeout rate over 20% against left-handed pitching last season. They can go very right-handed heavy with this lineup, but Lester was very good against righties last season. Dating back to the start of 2016, Lester allowed a .274 wOBA with a 24.5% strikeout rate. Lester has a solid floor on this slate, and I’m giving him a slight edge over deGrom for cash games.
Brandon Finnegan: $7,200 (vs. Pittsburgh Pirates)
I’m a big Finnegan fan and I was disappointed I wasn’t able to roster him in his first start because of weather. He threw seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts against the Phillies in that game. This is a great ballpark shift for Finnegan and this looks like a really good game to target pitchers in. Freese and Polanco were the only two Pirates with an ISO over .200 against lefties last season and Freese had a 60% groundball rate. There was only 21 home runs hit by the starting lineup against left-handed pitching last season. Finnegan has a career 9.8% swinging strike rate with a 21.3% strikeout rate. Throwing all of that out there and having very little downside in this ballpark, Finnegan will be one of my highest owned pitchers in GPPs tonight.
Matt Wieters: $2,900 (vs. St. Louis Cardinals)
Catcher is really weak on this slate and the Coors Field catchers will be extremely popular. Since the start of last season, Wainwright has a .358 wOBA with a 33.1% hard contact rate against left-handed hitters. Wieters wasn’t anything special against right-handed pitching last season, but he did hit 14 homeruns against them. I will have plenty of exposure to Wolters and Hedges, but I think Wieters has enough upside to be a good GPP pivot in this spot.
Mark Reynolds: $4,000 (vs. San Diego Padres)
This is one of the best spots on the slate and I think Reynolds will be very under owned tonight. With him hitting down in the order, people just don’t play this guy. Cosart is a reverse-splits pitcher, and since 2015 Cosart has allowed .356 wOBA with a 32.7% hard contact rate to right-handed batters. Cosart is a low strikeout guy, but he does tend to get a lot of ground balls. Last season, Reynolds was sneaky good and finished the season with a .371 wOBA against righties. His power numbers were down, but he is swinging a hot bat with three home runs to start the season. Reynolds is a guy I want to be overweight compared to the field in GPPs tonight.
Ryan Schimpf: $3,400 (vs. Colorado Rockies)
Schimpf is one of my favorite young power hitters, and playing with the Padres means a lot of people overlook him. He’s going from one of the worst ballparks for hitters, to the most infamous hitter-friendly park, Coors Field. He’s a massive fly ball hitter and finished the 2016 season with a 61.9% fly ball rate against right-handed pitching. He also had a .324 ISO with a 38.8% hard contact rate against righties. Chatwood had massive home/road splits in 2016 and it’s not too shocking for a pitcher that pitches half of his games in Coors field. He had a 33.5% hard contact rate at home last season, compared to his 24.8% hard contact on the road. Lefties hit over .300 against Chatwood in Coors last season.
Nolan Arenado: $4,900 (vs. San Diego Padres)
I just talked about Cosart’s reverse splits, and that’s very good for Arenado. Like I mentioned above, since 2015 Cosart has allowed .356 wOBA with a 32.7% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching. Arenado crushed right-handed pitching last season to the tune of .304 average with 32 home runs and 110 RBIs, coupled with a 37.7% hard contact rate with a .289 ISO. He’s my top play on this slate, and he’s the one guy I really want to pay up for in this matchup.
Asdrubal Cabrera: $2,900 (vs. Philadelphia Phillies)
I think the Mets are sneaky tonight, and with the projected wind blowing out to center, this already small ballpark becomes smaller. Eickhoff was elite against right-handed hitters last season, but when he struggled it was against left-handed hitters. He allowed a .346 wOBA with a 31.1% hard contact rate to lefties in 2016. Cabrera was sneaky good last season, and while he only hit .269 against righties, he finished the season with 20 homeruns. He had an ISO over .200 and an OPS over .800 against righties last season. Shortstop is weak outside of Coors, and the Mets are a sneaky stack on this slate.
Bryce Harper: $4,700 (vs. St. Louis Cardinals)
I expect Blackmon and Gonzalez to be very popular tonight in Coors Field, and while I don’t think they’re bad plays, I do like Harper as a pivot. Harper only hit .250 against righties last season, and finished the season with only 17 home runs against them. He did, however, finish the season with a .391 OBP against right-handed pitching. Harper dealt with a lot of injuries in 2016 and I’m playing him while he’s healthy. Like I said above, since the start of 2016, Wainwright has a .358 wOBA with a 33.1% hard contact rate against left-handed hitters.
Hunter Renfroe: $3,000 (vs. Colorado Rockies)
There’s nothing better than getting cheap exposure to Coors Field, and the Padres outfield is a great way to do that on this slate. Renfroe showed a lot of promise in a small sample size in 2016 and has multiple hits in two of the last four games. He’s hitting .302 with a .371 wOBA in 43 ABs against right-handed pitching since being called up last season. Chatwood allowed a 37.1% hard contact rate against right-handed hitters in Coors Field last season. I really like this spot for Renfroe, and it’s a stack I’m targeting heavily tonight.