After yesterday's tiny five game contest, it's refreshing to have a full 15 game slate available. The contests with limited options are fun since they tend to reward a good process, but there's something pleasant about choosing from 285 names.
Today lacks a true A+ stack, but the Jays against Felix Doubront definitely look tasty. He's coming off two solid outings against weak offensive clubs. Even with the good, his 4.54 ERA looks exploitable, especially when you notice his declining strikeout rate. Doubront has doled out the fly balls, which could be a problem at Fenway Park tonight. Compared to a neutral park, the Green Monster helps righties to six percent more home runs and 12 percent more doubles. The Jays are a little left-handed, which helps Doubront, but Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion can all take their hacks from the right side.
Jose Bautista - TOR: Speaking of Bautista, let's dust him off for this contest. Doubront should have a hard time striking him out. With the Green Monster in play, good things are bound to happen. Fully healthy for the first time in several seasons, Bautista is hitting like it's 2011. If there's a downside, it's that he could lose several plate appearances to walks. Doubront is not known for commanding the strike zone.
Buster Posey - SF: You're probably aware it's good to play away hitters (or any hitters) at Coors Field. The park allows 30 percent more runs and 26 percent more home runs than a neutral stadium. With Posey facing mediocre lefty Franklin Morales, it's a good day to project a long ball and an RBI double.
Brandon Moss - OAK: Usually, Tropicana Field is one of the last places to look for hitters. The park suppresses both runs and home runs, which is bad news for DFS owners. However, the Athletics will face Jake Odorizzi today. He's survived past the fifth inning just twice this season, and he's yet to go beyond six innings. Even in his best outings, he's had to scrape and claw for every out. The A's are patient and can blast mistakes. Moss has enough power to make up for the park.
Hunter Pence - SF: Pence has been quietly decent this season, which isn't what DFS owners want. One of the challenges Pence faces on a daily basis is his home park, which is extremely stingy to hitters of all shapes and sizes. He puts plenty of hard hit balls in play, so expect good things to happen during this trip to Colorado.
Melky Cabrera - TOR: After a fiery start, Cabrera has cooled off a fair amount. He was never going to maintain the mammoth home run pace he showed through the first couple weeks, but like Pence, he's great at putting hard hit balls in play. He could definitely bang a couple balls off the Monster. The drawback to using Cabrera is he doesn't often get under the ball. So on the one hand, he's one of the best bets for a multi-hit game. On the other hand, a home run isn't a likely outcome.
Pedro Alvarez - PIT: If you ever want to find the hitter mostly likely to hammer two home runs, ask yourself "does Pedro Alvarez have the platoon advantage?" Maybe that's hyperbole, maybe not. Nobody will argue Alvarez lacks for power against right-handed pitchers, yet he's also pretty good at swinging his way directly back to the bench. Miguel Gonzalez has a tendency to allow plenty of fly balls and home runs. Since entering the league, he's typically among the leaders in home runs allowed over any given period of time. PNC Park is one of those anti-home run parks, but that didn't stop Alvarez from hitting nearly half his dingers at home last season.
Michael Saunders - SEA: With the rise of James Jones, Saunders has mostly been working out of the two hole. He's opposed by fringy right-hander Colby Lewis. He's been less than sharp across six outings this season. Visually, he's not as crisp with his locations as he has been in years past. If he's still kicking off the rust today, Saunders should have a shot to provide a little bit of everything - hits, runs, RBI, steals, and home runs. He's a safer pick than Jones whose profile skews towards speed over power.
Mike Napoli - BOS: Whatever Napoli is doing in the bargain bin, today is the time to use him aggressively. The Sox cleanup hitter will face Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ, who's not noted for being particularly difficult to hit. We've discussed the value of Jays hitters in Fenway, but don't forget the Red Sox also have a tidy little matchup for run scoring.
Travis Snider - PIT: Snider is scuffling through his last hurrah in Pittsburgh. The club is perilously close to activating Gregory Polanco, potentially at the expense of Snider. For the time being, he's getting leadoff opportunities against most right-handed pitchers, but the good times won't last forever. As we discussed earlier, Gonzalez has a tendency to allow big flies. Snider's in the bargain bin for a reason, but he's not a bad gamble.
Adam Wainwright - STL: For the elite pick, we really could have gone with one of three pitchers and been very happy. Wainwright seemingly enjoys the most factors in his favor. The Diamondbacks offense is notably pitiful despite the presence of stalwart Paul Goldschmidt. Meanwhile, Busch Stadium is rather friendly to pitchers - by some measures, it is the fifth friendliest. In case you wanted to pump your odds more, the Cardinals are at home today. Home field advantage is small in baseball, but it exists. Therefore, Wainwright has a slightly higher chance to record a win.
Josh Beckett - LAD: At least on one platform, Beckett looks like a steal today. Citi Field is a relatively neutral stadium for runs scoring and home runs, but the Mets offense is definitely below average. They offer some left-handed home run threats, but they're more likely to make quiet outs. Beckett has been sharp this season. He's recorded about a strikeout per inning while limiting the damage against him. He appears to be prone to allowing home runs, which is probably what will make or break his performance today. If you're able to stomach the high-risk, high-reward profile, he's not a bad option.
Trevor Bauer - CLE: Or you can skip the high-risk option, pay less, and maintain the same high-reward upside with a medium-risk pitcher. This season marks the first in which Bauer is showing a strong command and control profile. He's doing it with a 94 mph fastball and good offspeed stuff, which can make him a mid-rotation horse. Bauer used to be one of the top pitching prospect in baseball, but his tendency to work deep counts and walk too many batters led to runs and early exits. Now the 23-year-old is once again touching on the promise that made him a top draft pick. Kudos to the Indians for sticking with him and kudos to the DFS owner who snatches him today.