I’ll be digging into the MLB slate on Thursdays and will be bringing you some top plays to consider on FanDuel. We have another split slate today with a six-game early slate, followed by a six-game main slate. I’ll be focusing on the main slate for today’s writeup, and it’s a solid one, as we have some solid higher priced arms as well as a few cheaper arms worth a look in tournaments.
Luis Severino, New York Yankees, $9,800 – I considered Jake Arrieta here, and I don’t mind him, but I’m giving the edge to Severino for cash games as the top high-end pitcher. Arrieta has struggled to start the year, while Severino is having a break-out year. He’s posted a 27.6% strikeout rate along with a quality 3.15 xFIP this year and faces a low power Angels’ offense. The Angels do tend to limit strikeout, so this isn’t the perfect upside matchup for GPPs, but this looks like a strong spot for Severino to limit damage, grab five to six strikeouts, and come away with a quality start and win. He’s the safest option in cash games on my board, as the Angels are bottom six in wOBA and ISO, and he’s a monster -228 Vegas favorite.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers, $7,000 – I have a little bit of interest of Daniel Norris and Mike Clevinger as low-owned GPP options, but Ryu looks like the safest cheapest option on the board today. His pitch count has been a concern this year, but he’s encouragingly thrown at least 100 pitchers in two of his last three starts (of course the other start he was pulled after 68 pitches). He’s having a down year, but over his career he’s proven to be a solid arm with a career 3.41 xFIP. He’ll draw a Mets offense that is 24th in wOBA against LHPs and also strikes out at a solid 22.9% clip. Vegas seems to like him in this spot, as he’s a big -195 favorite and the Mets’ implied team total is the lowest on the entire MLB odds board.
Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, $4,000 – Sanchez falls into the GPP category for me simply due to price, as I typically don’t like spending up at catcher in cash games. However, if you’re taking a shot one of those pitchers in the $7,000 range in GPPs, he’s someone I’ll get exposure to. The Yankees are a top offense to target tonight, especially their RHBs like Sanchez. Jesse Chavez is getting a big negative park shift and is getting roughed up for a .371 wOBA, 2.68 HR/9 and 38.9% hard-hit by RHBs this season.
The drawback for Sanchez in cash game is high price, along with the fact that there are solid cheaper catching options. The guys that pique my interest would be Buster Posey at $3,300, Yan Gomes at $2,600 and Wilson Contreras at $2,700. If you can swing $3,300, Posey would be my preferred cash game option, as he holds a career .402 wOBA against LHPs and has had success against Garcia in his career (8-for-18 with a home run). Dropping down in price, both Gomes and Contreras will have the platoon splits in their favor against hittable LHPs, so I like them on the cheaper end of the catching spectrum.
Matt Adams, Atlanta Braves, $3,400 - First base is once again stacked, as I also like Anthony Rizzo, Edwin Encarnacion, and Matt Holliday quite a bit. However, factoring in price, Adams grades out as my top cash game option because he’s the cheapest of the group. He’s been on a tear since his trade to Atlanta and he’ll have the platoon advantage on Matt Cain. Cain is getting a big negative park shift and has been hit hard away from his pitcher friendly home stadium. He’s allowing a .399 wOBA and 1.5 HR/9 on the road this year, and the Braves check in with a solid 4.8 implied team total.
As mentioned, I also like Rizzo, Encarnacion and Holliday quite a bit. The lefty on lefty matchup will keep Rizzo’s ownership suppressed, but he actually hits LHBs well and has crushed Jeff Locke in his career (11for-29 with five home runs). Encarnacion is on a heater and will face a struggling Wade Miley that is allowing a .352 wOBA and 1.35 HR/9 to RHBs this year. Finally, I mentioned Jesse Chavez’ struggles against RHBs earlier, and Holliday holds a .389 wOBA and .276 ISO against RHPs this season.
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs, $2,400 – Second base is a position that I’m willing to punt tonight, so Javier Baez checks in high on my list. Over his career, Jeff Locke is an average pitcher that is allowing a .326 wOBA to LHB and a .327 wOBA to RHBs. Baez has been disappointing this year, but most of his struggles have come against RHP, as he’s posted a solid .349 wOBA against LHPs this year (.344 for his career).
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs, $3,800 – As noted with Baez, Jeff Locke is average at best, and I’ll load up on Kris Bryant whenever he faces an average or worse LHP. Bryant has smashed LHPs for a .472 wOBA and .320 this season, and for his career those numbers are a .411 wOBA with a .280 ISO. His price has also dipped under $4,000, so he’s my preferred option in the high end of the third base pool.
I don’t mind Manny Machado, who is starting to heat up, but it’s likely spend up to Kris Bryant or punt this position for me. The two punts I’m considering are Logan Forsythe against Steven Matz and Wilmer Flores against Ryu. Ryu and Matz aren’t guys I typically like to attack, but both Forsythe and Flores are dirt cheap and have hit LHPs hard. Forsythe has posted a career .355 wOBA against LHPs and has a few solid games in a row, while Flores posted a .455 wOBA against LHPs last year.
Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians, $3,400 – At a very affordable $3,400 price tag, Lindor is someone I’m looking to lock into cash games. The price on guys like Encarnacion and Jose Ramirez has spiked, but we can still get affordable exposure to the Indians through Lindor. As noted above, Wade Miley is getting knocked around by RHBs this year, and Lindor is hitting LHPs for a .360 wOBA this season.
This is a position where I’m planning to eat the chalk and just go overweight on Lindor, as I don’t love the other options. However, for GPPs, my favorite pivots would be Didi Gregorius to get more exposure to the Yankees, or Jean Segura against Daniel Norris.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, $4,800 – Nelson Cruz is always a great option against a LHPs, but if I’m spending up for a bat today then it will be Judge. As mentioned, Jesse Chavez is giving up a ton of power to RHBs and Judge has hit RHPs for a .454 wOBA and .359 ISO this season. He’s been ridiculously good this year, and this lines up as another great spot for him.
Matt Kemp, Atlanta Braves, $3,300 – Factoring in price for cash games, I love the price points on Adams and Kemp, and they’ll be a mini-stack I target in cash games to get exposure to the middle of the Braves offense. Matt Cain is someone that I like to attack when he goes on the road, and Kemp is having a bounce back year with a .389 wOBA against RHPs.