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Daily Forecast: Mash McCutchen

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Like every Saturday, the games start in the early afternoon today. The late contest features five games, but most platforms are only including nine games in the early contest. The game between the Rangers and Nationals starts at noon ET - some sites probably want to allow time for people to submit their entries. 


On most days, there's at least one obvious stack but not today. Sure, there are plenty of pitchers to target, but that perfect alignment of great lineup, hitter friendly park, and bad pitcher really isn't there. The closest thing to a top stack is the Toronto Blue Jays versus Aaron Brooks. The Royals righty is relatively unremarkable. He shouldn't be expected to strikeout many batters or issue multiple walks. It's unclear what kind of contact we should expect him to allow. He's described as a strike throwing ground ball pitcher with the ability to run his fastball up to 94 mph. The Blue Jays have plenty of home run hitting lefties to go with a couple elite right-handed bats. 




Andrew McCutchen - PIT: Amazingly, McCutchen is priced like a bulk purchase player on one major site, but let's leave him with the top shelf players. Like so many of the players we recommend, McCutchen will have the platoon advantage today against Hyun-Jin Ryu. We're not targeting Ryu, it's McCutchen's career .337/.428/.586 line against lefties we want. Over the last three years, no hitter has been nearly as effective as McCutchen against lefties. One advanced stat rates his performance as 114 percent above average against lefties. That's 29 percent better than the second best hitter (Buster Posey). 


George Springer - HOU: When looking for individual picks, the platoon advantage is the first thing to target. Yet sometimes a good matchup exists without an opposite-handed pitcher on the bump. Chris Tillman has lost some of his command and control from last season. He's walking more batters, striking out fewer, and his velocity is down to boot. He's a fly ball pitcher set to face one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Springer strikes out a ton, but that's the risk you take when using him. To DFS owners, he's kind of a rich man's Juan Francisco.


Jose Reyes - TOR: Sometimes a leadoff hitter with a little pop and speed is exactly what your team needs. When it comes at a shallow position like shortstop, it's doubly useful. This is a pretty simple play, you're aiming at five plate appearances and hoping for a couple doubles, some runs scored, and maybe a stolen base. 


Also Consider: Mike Trout - LAA, Albert Pujols - LAA, Josh Donaldson - OAK




Freddie Freeman - ATL: Freeman has one of the best line drive profiles in baseball. Few batters are better at squaring up the baseball. The result is a high batting average, and while he doesn't hit enough fly balls to post big power numbers, he still hits plenty of doubles. With Jacob Turner on the mound for the Marlins, Freeman has a good shot at a multi-hit game. A home run isn't likely at Miami's cavernous home park, but there is plenty of real estate for balls to find gaps.


Daniel Murphy - NYM: The Mets' second hitter is opposed by Kyle Kendrick. KK has been torched by lefties his entire career, which puts Murphy in a good spot for fantasy value today. Not only is he a threat to reach base, swipe a bag, and pop a home run, he has several decent left-handed batters hitting behind him.


Charlie Blackmon - COL: The Rockies regular leadoff man has cooled down enough to be affordable. As we noted in yesterday's column, his fly ball distances have been comparable to J.J. Hardy. Blackmon has nine home runs compared to Hardy's zero. While Blackmon's experienced some luck with home runs, he'll play in a hitter friendly park tomorrow - at least for left-handed power - against a pitcher who makes the occasional mistake.


Also Consider: Jay Bruce - CIN, Adam Lind - TOR, Seth Smith - SDP




Derek Norris - OAK: He's come back down to Earth in recent weeks after a very hot stretch. He's always been very good against left-handed pitching and Tyler Skaggs is one of those. It's pretty exciting to find him at a bargain bin price since he profiles to be as good as the very best bulk purchase options.


Jason Heyward - ATL: Like with Freeman, a home run isn't a great bet. Heyward is too talented to remain in the bargain bin all season. At some point he's going to go on a run and get expensive. If you want to catch the updraft, targeting pitchers like Turner is a good place to start.


Brock Holt - BOS: Holt is a low power spray hitter, but he's currently batting leadoff for the Red Sox. He'll have the platoon advantage against Jake Odorizzi, which is enough to recommend him. Don't expect power, but you might get a couple hits and a stolen base. 


Also Consider: Chase Headley - SDP, Steve Pearce - BAL, Yan Gomes - CLE




Johnny Cueto - CIN: While his offense doesn't provide much run support, Cueto has been filthy nasty all season. His special combination of ground balls, strikeouts, and limited walks is why he's one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball. That his record is 4-4 speaks to just how poorly the Reds offense is operating. He should dominate the Arizona lineup, but his opponent has the stuff to make this a real rubber match.


Hyun-Jin Ryu - LAD: We may be targeting one of the best hitters in baseball against Ryu, but that doesn't mean an alternate lineup can't feature the left-hander. He's a reliable starter due to his solid strikeout and walk rates. He limits strong contact against him. Last but not least, he should get run support against Brandon Cumpton. 


Brandon McCarthy - ARI: Cueto's opponent is McCarthy. People who care about peripherals know McCarthy has been one of the best pitchers of the 2014, except for one little issue - home runs. His home run rate is about double his career rate, which has led to a 4.87 ERA. An advanced stat called xFIP estimates his ERA would be 2.88 without the extra home runs. 


Also Consider - Michael Wacha - STL, Dallas Keuchel - HOU, Wily Peralta 

Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on Rotoworld, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.