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 three-game early slate, followed by an eight-game main slate. I’ll be focusing on the main slate for today’s game and there is a solid mix of quality pitchers to use and weak pitchers to attack. As always, be sure to check the finalized MLB lineups before submitting your teams.
Lance McCullers, Houston Astros, $9,700 – McCullers has been the most dominant arm on this slate this year, as he leads this slate in a lot of categories. He has the lowest xFIP (2.68), lowest SIERA (2.97) and combines that with highest strikeout rate on this slate at 28.2%. He’ll be in a pitcher friendly ballpark and facing a Royals offense that has lacked punch all season long. With the Astros bullpen used heavily over the past few games, we could also see him grab an extra inning if he’s pitching well. He’s backed by a potent offense, so I think the win is there; he’s my top arm if you’re spending up.
Michael Pineda, New York Yankees, $8,200 – I’m trying to squeeze in McCullers in cash games, but for GPPs I’ll mix in the savings with Pineda. The matchup with Boston isn’t perfect, but Pineda’s biggest issue is the home run ball and Boston is currently 26th in ISO this year with only 56 total home runs (29th in MLB). Pineda can be volatile but Boston currently holds one of the lowest team totals on the board. Pineda is second on this slate with a 25.1% strikeout rate along with a solid 3.37 xFIP, and the price of $8,200 is very reasonable.
Brian McCann or Evan Gattis, Houston Astros, $3,200 – I hope McCann draws the starts, but I think whoever starts at catcher for the Astros is a prime option at catcher. Both have plenty of power and Jason Hammel is getting hit hard this year. McCann has homered in two straight and Hammel has always been average at best against LHB with a .339 wOBA allowed and 1.2 HR/9 over his career. He’s getting hit harder by RHB this season for a .396 wOBA and 1.9 HR/9, so while I prefer McCann, I think Gattis is very usable if he draws the start.
If I’m not spending up for a Houston catcher, I’ll look to punt with a $2,500 or under catcher. Some of the guys I’m eyeing if they are in the lineup would be Derek Norris, Miguel Montero and Cameron Rupp.
Matt Adams, Atlanta Braves, $2,700 – Adams is still dirt cheap at $2,700 and he’s been rolling recently. This game looks like a great game to attack with bats, as we have two poor pitchers in a park that is friendly to LHB. We don’t have a ton of information on Ben Lively as he’s only made one MLB start, but his minor league numbers aren’t imposing. Adams will have the platoon advantage and I’ll continue to roll with his hot bat at this price point.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles, $3,900 – Baltimore doesn’t have many LHB to attack Joe Ross with, but Davis is in a nice spot tonight. He’s homered three times in his last seven games and can be a streaky hitter. I like him to continue his recent power surge against Joe Ross, who is getting tattooed by LHB this year for a .431 wOBA. Over his career, Ross has allowed a .366 wOBA, 36.6% hard-hit rate and 1.2 HR/9 to LHB so I like the power potential for Davis tonight.
Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals, $3,700 – Second base is typically not a great position, but I think each of the top four is in a great spot tonight. I think all four are firmly in play and this is a spot where I’ll monitor projected ownership closely and possibly jump on whoever is projected to be the lowest owned. I’ll give the slight edge to Murphy as my top overall option against Alec Asher. The Nationals have one of the highest team totals on the board and Murphy is a prime option whenever he’s under $4,000 like he is today. Alec Asher has allowed a career .343 wOBA, 1.3 HR/9 and 35% hard hit rate to LHB along with just a 15% strikeout rate, so this is a terrific spot for Murphy.
As mentioned, I don’t think you can go wrong with Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier or Robinson Cano either. Altuve faces Jason Hammel, who is struggling with RHB this year, while Dozier draws Christian Bergman, who has been hammered by RHB in his career. Finally, Robinson Cano gets Kyle Gibson, who has had issues with LHB. The current RotoGrinders’ projections has these guys projected very closely together, so I’d roll with whoever you think will be the lowest owned out of the group.
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins, $4,200 – As noted with Dozier, Christian Bergman has posted extreme reverse splits, so don’t overlook Dozier and Sano in this spot. Over his career, Bergman is allowing a .422 wOBA, 2.09 HR/9 and 38.7% hard hit rate. We know that Sano has all the power in the world, so while this price is high, he is someone I definitely want to have GPP exposure to.
Outside of Sano, I’m eyeing Kyle Seager and Evan Longoria in $3,400 to $3,500 range. Seager has homered in two straight and now gets Kyle Gibson, who is allowing a .413 wOBA to LHB this year and .342 for his career. I think we can go home run hunting with some right-handed Tampa power against Derek Holland today, who has already allowed 11 home runs to RHB this year. Longoria has hit LHP hard throughout his career with a .373 career wOBA.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros, $4,300 – As noted with the Gattis and McCann write-up, Jason Hammel is having a rough season and he’s especially struggling with RHB this season. Given those struggles against RHB, this looks like a great spot for a Houston offense with the likes of Altuve, Springer and Correa. Correa has posted a .398 wOBA against RHP this season, and while his price may be tough for cash games, he’s definitely someone I’ll include in my Houston stack.
As more affordable options, I’m looking towards Tim Beckham at $3,300 and Freddy Galvis at $2,600. Beckham draws the platoon advantage on Derek Holland, who as mentioned above gives up lots of power to RHB, while Galvis provides cheap exposure to R.A. Dickey and his struggles.
Also Consider – Trea Turner
Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies, $3,100 – Herrera was absolutely terrible to start the season, but it looks like he’s busted out of his slump with multi-hit games in four of his last five games. He has an extra base hit in each of those five games with two home runs and nine doubles, so the power is back. The matchup is also there against R.A. Dickey, who is getting hammered by LHB. Dickey has coughed up a .365 wOBA and 1.5 HR/9 to LHB this season, so I like this spot once again for Herrera.
Brian Goodwin, Washington Nationals, $2,100 – I’m not locking in Goodwin yet, but this is a spot to lineup watch as Jayson Werth was just placed on the 10 DL. Ryan Raburn hit 2nd yesterday against a LHP, so if Goodwin slots into that 2nd spot against a RHP, he’s a way to open up the salary cap while getting exposure to one of the top projected offenses on the slate.
In terms of overall raw points, I have Bryce Harper and George Springer at the top, so they are both great options if you have the salary cap. In the mid-tier, I like Ender Inciarte and Josh Reddick in cash games, as well as Nick Markakis and Ben Gamel as cheaper options in cash games. Finally, for a GPP, Kyle Schwarber has been awful, but he crushed the baseball three times last night, so maybe he’s breaking out of his funk.