Baseball is back! We have an off day in NBA, and don’t have to deal with players resting, so kick back and enjoy some MLB. We have a huge all day slate on FanDuel with 12 games and plenty of top pitchers and hitters in action.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, $11,000 - He’s expensive, but if you’re new to MLB, you may not know pitchers are the most consistent performers, so you really have to nail them, especially on a one pitcher site like FanDuel. With it being Opening Day, there are a ton of aces on the mound, but Kershaw is the premier arm in MLB, and whenever he’s on the mound, he’s someone to consider. He’s in a terrific spot; he’ll head to a pitcher’s park in San Diego and will face a San Diego lineup that was very poor last year, and one that is now without Justin Upton.
Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds, $6,400 - I’m not sure I trust him enough in cash games, but he’s a great tournament option, considering he’ll let you load up on some of the bit bats like a Goldschmidt, Donaldson or Harper. He is expected to be on a pitch count of 90, which is something to keep in mind, but the matchup is there for him to do damage in those pitches. He was terrific as a rookie, posting a 3.28 xFIP and 26.3% strikeout percentage. The Phillies should be one of MLB’s worst offenses, and he’s installed as a -159 favorite, so the win should be there. I’d go with one of the aces for cash games, but I’ll throw him out there in some tournaments.
Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds, $2,500 - I certainly don’t mind Buster Posey, but with the high priced pitchers, I’ll be looking to save at catcher today because it’s a position I often like to punt. When I’m saving at a position, I tend to look for power, and Mesoraco certainly brings that to the table. He was injured for most of last year, but he posted great power numbers in 2014 with a .260 ISO and hit 21 of his 25 home runs off of right-handed pitching. Jeremy Hellickson is a home run prone right-hander and will be pitching in a great hitter’s ball park. The Reds have a team total over four and Mesoraco will be hitting sixth today.
Welington Castillo, Arizona Diamondbacks, $2,300 - Castillo is another catcher that is cheap and provides cheap power on a team that should score some runs today. Arizona will be facing one of the weaker pitchers on the day in Jorge De La Rosa. Castillo will have the platoon splits in his favor and held a .228 ISO against left-handed pitching last season.
Also Consider - Buster Posey
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds, $3,900 - I love Paul Goldschmidt today as well today, so if you’re rolling with Igelisas, I’d get some exposure to Goldy. However, if you’re spending at pitching, I’ll take the discount with Votto, especially in cash games. I’m looking to load up on a few Reds bats today; they are facing one of the weaker pitchers on the slate in Hellickson and are in a favorite hitting environment in their hitter friendly home park. Votto is always one of my favorite cash game options because he’s an on-base machine, and Vegas is liking this Reds offense today.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants, $3,000 - The Giants are another team I’m eyeing, because they’re getting a favorable park boost heading to Milwaukee and will be facing one of the other weak pitchers on the slate in Wily Peralta. Peralta has particularly struggled against left-handed pitching, as he allowed a .376 wOBA to lefties last season, which bodes well for some of the Giants lefties like Belt.
Also Consider - Paul Goldschmidt
Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins, $3,100 - For my bats, I’m primarily looking towards the Giants, Diamondbacks, Reds, and then this game between the Twins and Orioles. One word of caution is that there are some weather concerns here, so be sure to check in the RotoGrinders Weather Page prior to rolling with Twins or Orioles. Assuming the weather holds off then Dozier provides great power at a weak position in second base and should be leading off. He’s typically been a guy who crushes left-handed pitching, but he showed improvement against righties last season. Meanwhile Chris Tillman showed reverse splits -- he allowed a .353 wOBA and 1.75 HR/9 to righties.
Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals, $2,800 - Julio Teheran isn’t a pitcher that I love to pick on, but he is very susceptible to left-handed bats, so guys like Murphy, Harper and Span are on the radar today. Murphy should be hitting in the heart of the Nationals order and is 6-for-16 against Teheran, who allowed a .386 wOBA to lefties last year.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles, $4300 - Third base is one of the weaker positions on the slate, so it’s a spot where I’ll try spend up at. The Orioles check in with the top team total on the board, and Machado brings power and speed to the leadoff spot. He’s on his way to becoming a star and was a reverse splits hitter last year because he hit righties better than lefties.
Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays, $4,800 - Drew Smyly is actually a quality pitcher, so I don’t want to go overboard picking on him. However, he has one big thing going against him here and that’s the fact that he’s a left-handed pitcher. Toronto is built to destroy left-handed pitching, as their lineup is full of right-handed power with guys like Donaldson, Tulowitkzi, Encarnacion, Bautista, etc. Smyly is just average against righties and has allowed a career 44% fly ball rate, so there’s a good chance of the Toronto big bats tags him for a long ball. Based on his career, it could be Donaldson. He destroyed lefties last year for a .428 wOBA.
Also Consider - Evan Longoria
Jean Segura, Arizona Diamondbacks, $2,400 - If money isn’t a factor, Troy Tulowitzki would be my top option, but shortstop features some solid potential value today. Segura really struggled last year in Milwaukee, but a change of scenery could do him good. He’ll be in a hitter’s park in Arizona and is expected to be leading off. As mentioned, De La Rosa is one of the weaker pitches on the slate, and while he didn’t show it last year, Segura hit left-handed pitching hard a few years ago.
Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants, $2,700 - He’s hitting seventh, so his lineup position isn’t great, so for cash games I’d lean towards Zack Cozart or Segura, who are both leading off. However, for tournaments I still like Crawford and think he makes for a solid two-man stack with Belt, who is hitting fifth. As stated earlier, Wily Peralta’s weakness is left-handed bats, and Crawford is a lefty who flashed quality power for a shortstop. Last season he held a .341 wOBA and .220 ISO against righties, which is very good for the weak-hitting shortstop position.
Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds, $2,700 - I’ve already listed a few big names bats, so I won’t focus on Bryce Harper here, but he’s very much in play if you have the cap room. As mentioned Teheran struggles with lefties, and Harper has owned him in his career (10-for-23 with three home runs). Moving down the price list, Bruce is a boom or bust, but provides tons of upside at his price point. He makes for a nice affordable stack with Mesoraco and Votto, to get exposure to the middle of a Reds lineup that is expected to produce some runs today. He definitely has the ability to go 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, but he also brings multi-home run upside to the table.
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins, $3,100 - Typically, most players target the lefty/right splits, so a pitcher or hitter with reverse splits goes overlooked. As mentioned with Dozier, Chris Tillman flashed reverse splits last season, so don’t overlook these Minnesota right-handed power bats. Sano was great in his rookie year last year, and he posted a .397 wOBA against right-handed hitting.
Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers, $2,300 - I don’t love him, but he is expected to be leading off for a potent Dodgers’ offense and is basically minimum price. He’s hit Tyson Ross very hard in his career, going 9-for-18 with four doubles. Ross is also a guy who gives up a ton of stolen bases. Crawford is getting up there, but there is stolen base potential here, considering Ross gave up 37 steals last year, which was second most among MLB pitchers.