It’s a fairly busy Monday in baseball with 13 games on tap this evening. We have a series between the Pirates and Rockies that kicks off in Coors with a massive total of 12, while high-end aces Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner are both in favorable matchups at home, so deciding how to shell out your cap space won’t be easy. Let’s dive into tonight’s top FanDuel targets…
Noah Syndergaard ($11,400) – Both Syndergaard and Bumgarner are likely to make their DFS owners happy tonight, but I’ll give the nod to the Mets right-hander on this particular slate. He’s looked fantastic to start the season (2 ERs, 29 Ks in 20 IP) and while two of those three starts came against underwhelming NL East offenses, the test won’t be much tougher tonight against a Reds team that will be without Jay Bruce (paternity leave). Thor owns a borderline insane 19.3 SwStr% to go along with a 37.7% K-rate, so the upside is absolutely massive here.
Danny Salazar ($9,200) – Salazar has the type of upside that can win you a GPP on any given night, but considering the price tag you pay to acquire his services, he doesn’t have a terribly high floor. This isn’t a route I’d take in cash games, but as far as differentiation goes in GPPs, some Salazar exposure is certainly warranted. He’s continued to miss bats at a high clip (15.8 SwStr%, 31.9% K-rate this season) and while he’s walking batters at a higher clip (11.8% over the last two weeks), he hasn’t really dealt with control issues throughout his career. Minnesota’s offense isn’t a pushover by any means, but they also aren’t a team we need to avoid and the right-handed heavy nature of the lineup should work in Salazar’s favor.
Yan Gomes ($2,900) – If you want a piece of the Coors game in addition to one of the two elite options at SP, you’re going to need to go cheap at a handful of different spots. The catcher position is a great way to save cap with Gomes (in addition to a few other viable options) available at under $3K in a platoon advantage. Gomes had a dreadful season against LHP in 2015, but it was a very different story in 2014 (.380 wOBA, .186 ISO) and the matchup with Tommy Milone should revert Gomes back to his 2014 form. Milone has been pounded to start the season and finished 2015 with middling numbers against RH bats (4.55 FIP, 4.32 xFIP), and his struggles with the long ball only make Gomes more appealing.
Victor Martinez ($2,600) – The price tag is just far too low. Martinez continues to slide into the clean-up spot for a very potent Tigers lineup, and the home matchup with Kendall Graveman makes Martinez one of the top dollar per point targets at the position. Graveman is basically the definition of average and the high-end bats hitting around Martinez in the order should provide the switch-hitter with a handful of run producing opportunities.
Edwin Encarnacion ($3,900) – Miguel Gonzalez will make his 2016 debut in Rogers Centre against the Blue Jays, something that is not likely to work out well considering Gonzalez’s propensity for the long ball. He allowed 24 HRs (11 to RHs) in 144.2 IP in 2015, and he’ll now be tasked with facing a Blue Jays lineup with a ton of HR potential in the 2-5 spots. Encarnacion clearly likes hitting at home – he finished 2015 with a .383 wOBA, .280 ISO and 38.4 hard% when facing RHs in Rogers Centre. 33 of Encaracion’s 39 HRs came against RHP last year.
Mark Reynolds ($3,300) – Reynolds is one of the cheaper Coors bats available tonight, and he’ll have the platoon split working in his favor against Jeff Locke. While he’s certainly not a “safe” option given his strikeout tendencies, Reynolds has a ton of upside at this price hitting towards the middle of the Rockies lineup. Locke had his share of ups and downs last season, but he struggled more when pitching on the road, and this is just about the toughest test he could face. If you’re looking for Coors exposure without shelling out a ton of cap space, give Reynolds a long look.
Robinson Cano ($3,700) – It was a close call between Cano and Dee Gordon here. Cano gets the nod due to his matchup with Doug Fister, who struggles mightily to miss bats. Fister has been a serviceable pitcher throughout his career despite never being a high strikeout guy, but it seems like that ability is beginning to wain as he ages. Cano is at his best when facing RHP with low strikeout rates, and while I’d much prefer to have him hitting in Minute Maid Park, the home matchup with Fister is still a very strong one.
D.J. LeMahieu ($3,400) – LeMahieu has been the Rockies leadoff man against LHP with Charlie Blackmon on the shelf, and that alone makes him a worthwhile target at $3,400. LeMahieu doesn’t have a ton of power and he still strikes out too often, but he hits lefties well at home (.370 wOBA, 39.3 hard% last season) and will benefit from hitting in front of Trevor Story, Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado.
Josh Donaldson ($5,400) – I have absolutely no issues with going Nolan Arenado at 3B (especially in cash games), but Donaldson looks like a very nice GPP pivot if you’re trying to attack games outside of Coors. He’s someone we love to target against LHP, but Donaldson has elite numbers against RHs as well; he finished 2015 with a .433 wOBA, .304 ISO and 36.1 hard% when facing RHs at home. 32 of his 41 HRs came against RHP and I’ve already noted Miguel Gonzalez’s issues with the long ball, so what’s not to like?
Kyle Seager ($3,000) – Like Cano, Seager is in a very favorable spot against Doug Fister. The tall RH has the lowest SwStr% among pitchers taking the hill tonight (4.9%) and owns a paltry 12.7% K-rate to this point. Sometimes simply putting the ball in play can make good things happen, especially when much of that contact is hard contact (Seager finished 2015 with a 34.5 hard%). Seager has started 2016 very slowly, but he’s in a position to break out tonight.
Francisco Lindor ($3,500) – The Indians 3-hitter should feast against Tommy Milone. He’s not the prototypical heart-of-the-order guy (Lindor stands at just 5’11, 190 lbs), but Lindor can more than hold his own against LHP; the SS posted a .381 wOBA and .200 ISO against LHP in his rookie season. He should continue to build on those numbers this year and that could very well start tonight against Milone. Stacking up some of the Indians RH bats is a perfectly viable strategy in large-field GPPs.
Trevor Story ($4,700) – In case this wasn’t obvious enough, Story is the top overall option at the SS spot this evening. The problem here is his price tag – he’s been mildly better against LHP this season, but the power binge is going to continue to slow down and we typically don’t want to pay a premium for players who have already worked through an unsustainable hot streak. With that said, Story is in an excellent spot against Jeff Locke, and he’s a perfectly fine play assuming you can find the cap space to make it work.
Andrew McCutchen ($4,900) and Starling Marte ($4,600) – I’m not going to dig too deep into this one as it’s fairly straightforward that we’ll want exposure to the top bats in a game with a total of 12 on the MLB odds board. Chad Bettis isn’t as bad as his inflated Coors numbers may look, but he’s still well worth picking on in the thin Denver air. He doesn’t have a strong platoon split one way or the other which works out well for McCutchen and Marte (both RH hitters), both of whom hit RHP well. Don’t be shy with your Coors exposure.
Michael Conforto ($3,500) – This kid is going to be a star. He’s already homered twice against RHP this year to go along with his .371 wOBA, .256 ISO and 40.5 hard% from last season, making him a recommended target as long as his price is hovering in this range. Raisel Iglesias isn’t an arm we’ll likely pick on often, but he does have his share of struggles with LH bats (4.21 xFIP, 6.92 K/9 vs. LHs last season compared to a 2.59 xFIP, 11.95 K/9 vs. RHs) and shouldn’t necessarily be avoided until he shows some improvement on that front. Target Conforto confidently at this price.
Enrique Hernandez ($3,000) – The $3,000 price tag seems a little high for a platoon player, but Hernandez owns some eye-popping numbers against LHP in his brief major league career. In 87 plate appearances last year, Hernandez finished with a .507 wOBA, .321 ISO and 234 wRC+, numbers that on the surface make him look like an elite hitter. No one is expecting him to continue that type of dominance against southpaws, but he’s still a very strong target tonight against Wei-Yin Chen, who allowed a whopping 25 HRs to RHs last year.