Today’s article is going to focus solely on the FanDuel late slate. Rather than an even split of games, the late slate has a few more, and since the tournaments are a bit bigger, I opted to go this route. This is a very interesting slate as there is no ace pitcher that we can lock in and feel safe about. In fact, this slate is full of pitcher that we’d like to hitters against, so picking the correct pitcher is crucial. This is the type of slate where, if you’re primarily a cash game player, it’s the perfect time to change things up a bit, build a few tournament lineups, and take a break from the head to heads, 50/50s and double ups.
Good luck tonight!
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies, $8400 – If you’re playing cash games, Nola is the only option I’d feel remotely comfortable with. The problem here is that there’s rain in the area, so keep an eye on the forecast as we get closer to lock time. If you’re not already, follow Kevin Roth (@KevinRothWx on Twitter) as he does a fantastic job of analyzing the weather situation for all games.
If we get the all clear, Nola is easily the top option tonight. He’s striking out over a batter per inning, and he’ll be facing a mostly right-handed Reds lineup. Against righties, he’s striking out over 30% of the batters he faces while walking only 30%. Against lefties, he’s posted a 24% strike rate along with a 6.3% walk rate. Oh, and he’s inducing ground balls at well over 50% against both sides while allowing very low rates of hard contact. Based on these metrics, he’s already a near elite pitcher, and on a slate with a bunch of options that I have no interesting in rostering, I’ll have him locked into every lineup I build.
Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals, $8400 – The only reason to play Roark is if you’re playing the Nola fade. I don’t recommend that in cash games, but it’s certainly a viable option in tournaments. Any pitcher can come out and not have their best stuff, and there are certainly scenarios where Roark could outscore Nola.
Roark is not a high strikeout pitcher, and if you were to take out the anomaly that was his 15 strikeout performance against Minnesota, you’d see less than impressive strikeout rates. However, he’ll take on a Marlins team that features mostly right-handed bats. His struggles have always been against lefties, so he should be able to mostly keep the ball out of the air against this team, give up a run, maybe two, and cruise to an easy win as the Marlins are starting a minor leaguer in the second game of the doubleheader.
Additional Plays: None, not even in GPPs
Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers, $3500 – The benefit of having no pitchers to pay up for is that you have a lot more flexibility with your hitters. As such, there’s not much reason not to spend up for the best catcher ( who isn’t a catcher ) on the slate. In Mike Wright’s limited time in the majors, he’s allowed a .417 wOBA with seven home runs allowed in just 34 innings pitched to lefties. That’s just not good. Factor in the hitter-friendly environment at Camden and the likelihood that the Tigers get their bats going after a very disappointing stretch and you have by far the best option at the catcher position.
Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants, $3400 – I went heavy on the Giants last night, and aside from a Joe Panik home run, they were a big letdown. I’m going right back to the well with Posey tonight facing a lefty in the extremely hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field. Patrick Corbin has allowed seven home runs in 34 innings pitched to righties this season while also allowing just over 40% hard contact. His ground ball rate is good, but he’s still going to allow a good number of hard hit line drives and fly balls, which is a bad combination in Arizona. Buster Posey has been a terrific hitter against lefties his entire career, and he’s in a great spot tonight. It’s hard to argue with either Martinez or Posey tonight.
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamonbacks, $4000 – Goldschmidt sure has been frustrating, but it’s worth mentioning that almost all of his home runs this season have come off of right-handed pitching. The hard contact is there, the batted ball profile is there, and he’s not hitting too many ground outs. Jake Peavy is finished, and he’s already allowed seven home runs in just 21 innings pitched to righties. Some of those include pitching at AT&T Park, so I really don’t like his prospects in one of the best hitting environments in baseball. Goldschmidt is likely to be popular, but given we have plenty of salary to spend on hitting today, it’s hard to justify a fade in cash games.
Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays, $3800 – After a very disappointing April, Encarnacion appears to have found his home run swing in the month of May. He’s a great play tonight against homer prone Colby Lewis. We typically want to target Lewis with lefties, but he’s the type of pitcher that allows a lot of hard contact and fly balls to both sides. There’s risk here as fly ball pitchers can shut offenses down if they fly balls stay in the park, but Texas has great weather for hitting, so there’s a very good chance some of those fly balls leave the park. I like Encarnacion for a home run tonight, and while he can be a frustrating cash game play, he has a ton of upside for tournaments.
Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners, $4100 – Cano currently holds a 40% hard hit rate over the last week while Jhoulys Chacin is allowing nearly 40% hard contact to lefties this season. I’m not overthinking this one. I’m locking in one of the left-handed hitters around against a pitcher that gets clobbered by lefties. Cano is worth paying up for today in a terrific matchup.
Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee Brewers, $3000 – The Brewers, another team that keeps disappointing in favorable matchups, gets to face a minor league Padres pitcher that has very unimpressive numbers between AA and AAA since last season. Gennett should be in the lineup batting second, and he should do well in a terrific matchup in a very hitter-friendly environment.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles, $4200 – Anibal Sanchez is a reverse splits pitcher that has given up a rather absurd number of home runs to right-handed batters over the past couple of season. He also strikes righties out at a much lower rate than lefties. Baltimore is a bad matchup for him, and it certainly doesn’t help that Machado has been a much better hitter against righties than lefties throughout his major league career. You can’t spend up everywhere, and I would rank Machado as a higher priority than the likes of Robinson Cano given he’s a better hitter overall and plays in a much better park. Machado is a top overall play for me, and I would look to get him in cash game lineups with a fair amount of tournament exposure.
Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks, $3100 – It’s a tough call between Machado and Lamb for the best cash game play as Lamb is much cheaper and is facing an awful pitcher in Jake Peavy. Peavy is allowing a .500 wOBA with nearly 45% hard contact to lefties this season. He hasn’t given up a home run to a lefty, but given currently sporting a 29% ground ball rate to left-handed batters, it shouldn’t be much longer. Lamb is likely to be batting cleanup again tonight, and in this ball park, hitting behind Paul Goldschmidt, facing a pitcher that just has nothing left, I like him for a big game.
Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays, $2800 – With home runs in two of his past three games, perhaps Tulowitzki is finally figuring things out after a brutal start to the season. I like him to keep things going against homer prone Colby Lewis. At just $2800 at a position where paying up doesn’t seem to make any sense, Tulo is the top option for me and I would look to play him in cash games simply to block all of those that will be using him as well.
Aledmys Diaz, St. Louis Cardinals, $3200 – Diaz just keeps hitting, and I like the matchup against a declining Scott Kazmir tonight. Diaz his both lefties and righties extremely well, and although he bats eighth, he’s had no trouble being one of the most productive players at the shortstop position this season. Tulo is the better cash game play, but give Diaz a look in tournaments.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles, $2700 – Jones is still way too cheap now that he’s figured things out. The home runs keep coming as he hit another one last night off of Justin Verlander. Facing the reverse splits, extremely homer prone Anibal Sanchez, you have to like his chances to put together another big game. His price tag will result in very high ownership, but he’s simply not someone I can bring myself to fade in cash games.
Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles, $3900 – Interestingly, Trumbo is crushing right-handed pitching this season, posting a .423 wOBA with a .235 ISO. Obviously he’s still better against lefties, but the fact that he’s hitting righties so well bodes very nicely for his prospects against Anibal Sanchez. Yes, I’m picking on Sanchez a lot, but as a Tigers fan I’m well aware of how bad he really is. I think he gets shelled by the Orioles tonight, and I’ll be looking to get a lot of exposure to the Baltimore power bats.
Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals, $2800 – Holliday is another cheap outfielder that’s likely to be popular based on recent success. We can’t pay for $4000 players everywhere, so why not save with hitter that have home run upside and are in favorable matchups? That’s exactly what we have tonight Holliday facing lefty Scott Kazmir. Holliday is the type of guy where I don’t mind on the herd side of a high owned player because, since he’s been raking lately, there’s too much risk in fading him in cash games. In tournaments, anyone is a fade, but I’d still get some exposure to him as he can help open things up for the rest of your lineup.