With this being a Sunday, all eyes are on the NFL and the sites have appropriately adjusted their prize pools down for MLB. However, there are still some solid tournaments out there, and I’ll be focusing on the main slate, which includes only the early games. This looks like a GPP-only slate for me, as there’s not that ace that we can feel good about. However, no pitcher is priced above $8,500, so we can load up on bats, which can be fun at times. However, on a somber note, just as I was getting ready to submit this article I saw the news about the tragic death of Jose Fernandez. It’s incredibly tragic and my prayers go out to his family. It also appears that the Miami/Atlanta game has been canceled so don’t roster anyone from that game.
Robert Gsellman, New York Mets - $6,500 – If you like to have the safe cash game option, then this is not the slate for you. Every game has a total of at least 8.0 runs, and there just isn’t that elite arm to hang your hat on. I think this is a slate where the bats could lead the way, and Gsellman will allow you to afford basically any bats you want. He’ll draw the top matchup on the slate against the Phillies, who check in with the lowest team total on the slate at 3.79 runs. He’s a -180 favorite, and while he hasn’t pitched deep into games, he has pitched well so far in young his MLB career.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox - $7,000 – Rodriguez is tough to trust, but it’s tough to trust any of these pitching options. He’s been much better since his early season struggles and has started to pitch better recently with big performances against Oakland and Baltimore. He’ll be getting a positive park shift heading to Tampa and always has a good shot at the win with the powerful Boston offense behind him. This is not the same Tampa offense against LHP that it was earlier in the year and they also present some quality strikeout upside.
Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, $4,300 – With no pitcher priced above $8,500, getting high-priced bats into the lineup is not an issue today. Sanchez has just easily been the best option at catcher since his call-up, flashing elite power potential. He’ll be hitting in a quality ballpark in Toronto and will face an extreme fly ball pitcher in Marco Estrada. Estrada does have the ability to pitch the occasional gem when the ball stays in the park, and has been good for the most part this year. However, he’s allowing 1.4 HR/9 to RHB this year, as well as a 49 percent fly ball rate and 37 percent hard hit rate, so he’s a good option to target with a power bat like Sanchez.
Evan Gattis, Houston Astros, $3,000 – The Astros bullpen has melted down the past two games and basically eliminated them from wild card contention, but their bats are in a good spot today. Daniel Wright posted a 6.1 ERA at AAA this season and has unsurprisingly struggled at the MLB level in his five starts. He’s posted just a 9.1 percent strikeout rate so far in the big leagues, so Gattis should be able to make contact and show off his power in this matchup.
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds, $4,100 – Votto homered again last night and has just been great in the second half of the season. This is a great hitting environment in Miller Park, and Votto draws a great matchup against Wily Peralta, who has always struggled with LHB. He’s allowed a .380 wOBA to LHB this season and .356 for his career. Votto has taken advantage in their meetings as he’s 11-for-32.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles, $3,300 – I’m loving the Baltimore bats today against Braden Shipley, as this is a great spot for them to show off their power. Shipley has struggled against both RHB and LHB, and more importantly he’s posted just a 13 percent strikeout rate so far in the big leagues while allowing 1.8 HR/9. We can expect these Orioles power bats like Davis to make plenty of contact today, so this is a great spot to use him as his strikeout potential is dampened.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros, $3,700 – The Astros check in with the third-highest total on the slate at 4.9 runs and as mentioned above Daniel Wright has not been good at AAA or in MLB this year. In a small sample size, he’s allowed a .444 wOBA and a 39 percent hard hit rate to RHB. Altuve is one of the best in the game and the Astros have to basically run the table to have any slim hope at the Wild Card.
I had Dee Gordon written up here, but the game has been canceled due to the tragic Jose Fernandez news. Outside of Altuve, I think Brian Dozier is interesting against Taijuan Walker, who does have blowup potential and has traditionally struggled on the road.
Pedro Alvarez, Baltimore Orioles, $3,500 – You can go ahead and sign me up for all of the Baltimore power bats today. I’ll be attacking them heavily against Shipley, who as mentioned possesses low strikeout potential. Strikeouts tends to be the big worry with Alvarez so he should be in line to make contact today. Shipley is allowing 2.20 HR/9 and a 40 percent fly ball rate to LHB this season the Baltimore LHB in particular are in a great home run spot.
Jose Reyes, New York Mets, $3,000 - I also like Manny Machado but I already have three Baltimore bats in this writeup so I’ll roll with Reyes here. The Mets check in with a run total of 4.7, which is high for their offense, and they are swinging the bats well right now averaging nine runs a game in the first three games of this series. Jake Thompson has not been good so far in young MLB career allowing a .385 wOBA to LHB to go along with a high walk rate to LHB. The Mets should have runners on the base paths today and Reyes is a nice value from the leadoff spot.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros, $3,600 – Shortstop isn’t particularly exciting today so I’ll go back to the well with an offense I like in the Astros. I’ve already mentioned Daniel Wright’s struggles, and I think the Astros should be in store for some runs today. Correa should have plenty of RBI opportunities from the cleanup spot and fills a tough position.
Asdrubal Cabrera, New York Mets, $3,400 – Cabrera fouled a ball of his knee on Friday, but he played through it on Saturday and should be in there with the Mets battling for a wildcard spot. He’s topped 22 FD points in three of his last five games and has been a surprising source of offense for the Mets this year. I hit on Thompson with Reyes but to reiterate he hasn’t been good against LHB and he’s been really wild so the Mets are in another good spot to tee off on the Phillies pitching staff.
Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles, $3,400 – Trumbo has homered in two straight games and is now up to 45 home runs on the season. $3,400 is just too cheap of a price for that kind of power and I’ve already hit on Shipley’s low strikeout potential. Trumbo should be making contact and Shipley is allowing a .425 wOBA and 40 percent hard hit rate to RHB this season. Also, Shipley does do a good job of keeping the ball on the ground to RHB, but Trumbo has hit ground ball pitching very well in his career.
Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners, $4,000 – Cruz has been red-hot over his past two games with two home runs and six RBIs and is in another elite spot. He’s crushed LHP in recent years and has a .315 ISO against LHP. Meanwhile, Hector Santiago is an extreme fly ball LHP that has allowed 1.5 hr/9 and a 53 percent fly ball rate to RHB.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals, $3,400 – Harper has had a disappointing year but $3,400 against a young RHP certainly catches my attention. Tyler Glasnow could very well be a quality starting pitcher down the road, but I’m not sure he’s ready yet. He’s allowed a .356 wOBA to LHB so far in a small sample to LHB, and Harper holds a career .394 wOBA against RHP.