Another week in Major League Baseball kicks off with an eight-game late slate on FanDuel, which does not include the early start in Cleveland. It’s an odd night in the sense that there isn’t a clear top option at the pitcher spot, which may make it a better night to go heavy on GPPs as opposed to cash games.
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Kenta Maeda ($8,800) – Maeda is likely the safest of the bunch on a night where there just isn’t much to like at the pitcher spot. There are issues with every pitcher on the board, and the problems with Maeda surround his unsustainable 90% strand rate and decreasing chase rate. Hitters were attacking his pitchers outside of the zone over his first few starts, but we’ve seen that drop off some in his last two starts against NYM and TOR. It could be that teams are finally getting a good look at him, or it could simply be that those two teams are more patient at the dish. He still owns a very solid 12.1 SwStr% which keeps his strikeout floor high, and it’s not like the Angels are world-beaters against RHP – they’re 21st in wOBA (.305), 29th in ISO (.127) and 23rd in OPS (.692) against RHP this season.
Adam Conley ($8,300) – Conley is neck and neck with Maeda as my top option with Drew Smyly not far behind. The Marlins lefty will take on a Phillies offense that has been horrific against LHs in 2016, as they rank 27th in wOBA, 24th in ISO, 29th in wRC+ and own the league’s ninth highest K%. They simply don’t possess any pop against LHs, which means they’ll likely have to string together hits in order to put any crooked numbers on the board. Conley owns a solid 10.6 SwStr% and 25.0 K%, numbers that will play very well against the Phillies.
Victor Martinez ($3,500) – Unlike at the pitcher spot, we have a very clear cut top option at catcher. Martinez has been raking to start 2016, especially against RHP; through 111 PA, he’s posted a .424 wOBA, .214 ISO and 175 wRC+ to go along with an elite 46.2% hard-contact rate. Twins rookie Jose Berrios has had some control issues (8 BBs) along with some HR problems (4), and it’s not like strikeouts are a big issue for Martinez (10.8% K-rate against RHP). Especially in cash games, go the Martinez route and beat your opponents at other spots.
Paul Goldschmidt ($3,800) – It’s been a rough start for Goldy in 2016, but he’s too good of a hitter to stay down for long. He’ll get to take on a non-prospect who is making his debut a few weeks from his 25th birthday, something that immediately makes him and the rest of the D’Backs more appealing. It’s hard to knock Goldy for his .359 wOBA, .219 ISO and 33.8 hard% against RHP, but we’ve just come to expect better numbers from him. His struggles are reflected in his current $3,800 price tag, and it’s very likely that Green struggles in a hitter-friendly environment tonight.
Adrian Gonzalez ($2,900) – If you want to save cap at the first base spot, Gonzo is your best bet. He’s been an excellent option against RHP over the past few years and while he’s started slowly this season, he’s still going to be a solid DFS contributor over the course of the year. The power hasn’t quite been there yet (.141 ISO against RHP), but he’s still routinely finding his way on base (.383 OBP) which keeps his floor relatively high considering his price.
Ian Kinsler ($3,700) – It seems like most of the field will gravitate towards Derek Dietrich thanks to his hot start against RHP, but I’ll spend the extra $400 to acquire Kinsler’s services. He’s truly become an all-around threat this season as he’s already blasted seven HRs and stole three bases, and if Berrios’ problems with walks and HRs creep up tonight, it could be a big outing for the Tigers leadoff man. Dietrich is a fine play in his own right, but I’ll be looking towards Kinsler assuming the weather outlook in Detroit doesn’t get worse.
Derek Dietrich ($3,300) – Dietrich owns a very respectable .406 wOBA, .229 ISO and 152 wRC+ against RHP, but his price is quickly starting to catch up to those numbers. I don’t love the matchup with Jerad Eickhoff who has been getting a bit unlucky against LH bats (.373 BABIP, 64.0 LOB% despite a 29.5 hard% and 18.0 soft%), but Dietrich will be doing business in a hitter-friendly spot and possesses enough upside to justify his $3,300 price tag.
Danny Valencia ($2,600) – It’s always frustrating to see a guy like Valencia blast three HRs a day before he steps into another favorable matchup since his ownership level will now be through the roof, but he remains a solid target this evening. Derek Holland was blasted by the Blue Jays and White Sox in his last two starts, combining for 15 ERs (19 hits and 4 BBs) over his last five innings. He’s allowed 23 combined hits/walks over his last FIVE INNINGS! He likely won’t have a long leash tonight, but Valencia and his career .378 wOBA against LHP should get at least a few cracks at Holland.
Jake Lamb ($3,000) – Josh Donaldson is a fine target at the top of the 3B pool ($3,900), and his BvP numbers against Smyly (7-14, 2 2Bs, 3 HRs) certainly make him appealing, but Lamb is a great target in his own right. He owns a .375 wOBA, .218 ISO and 41.5 hard% against RHP early this season, and the fact that he’s been hitting clean-up behind Goldy should provide him with ample run producing opportunities against Chad Green.
Corey Seager ($3,900) – Seager is red-hot at the moment and is the only high-end SS option in a plus matchup, making him the no doubt top dog at this spot. Between this season and his short stint in 2015, Seager owns a .378 wOBA, .196 ISO and 43.2 hard% against RHP, numbers that should play very well against Matt Shoemaker. Xander Bogaerts and Troy Tulowitzki have both been hot of late as well, but Seager is in the best spot of the three.
Gregory Polanco ($3,500) – Williams Perez is an arm we’ll want to pick on this evening. He pitched great against the Phillies last week, but that lineup doesn’t quite compare to what he’ll see tonight. Polanco owns a robust .386 wOBA, .202 ISO and 36.4 hard% against RHP, while Perez has allowed a .373 wOBA to LH bats over his career to go along with a very poor 1.25 K/BB ratio. He’s allowed 1.43 HR/9 against LHs over that span, and while Pittsburgh isn’t exactly a hitter’s haven, expect the Pirates to hang some runs on Perez.
Khris Davis ($3,400), Billy Burns ($3,100) and Coco Crisp ($2,600) – Based on how horrific Derek Holland has been over his past few turns in the rotation, we’re going to want exposure to the A’s lineup. It’s possible that all three of these bats end up in the top four of the lineup, but they are all excellent options regardless. Davis has the highest ceiling of the group due to his power potential (.247 career ISO vs. LHs), but I’ll have exposure to all three of these bats.