MLB DFS Picks - Million Dollar Musings: Wednesday

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Wednesday, September 11th

So, Oakland was OK last night, wow. Chi Chi survives again, and Christian Yelich is out for the season. Well, on to Wednesday.

Wednesday Night Pitching

I see a couple tiers of pitching options, but then things dry up pretty quick. The cheap nonsense is very nonsensical tonight, though there are a couple of pricing discrepancies to consider on FD and Yahoo. We’ll look at the birds eye view and then break down each tier on it’s own. Here are the three buckets that I’ve got things separated into;

THREE ACES

Stephen Strasburg at Twins
Sonny Gray at Mariners
Robbie Ray at Mets

MODERATE MID-TIER

Chris Paddack vs Cubs
Steven Matz vs Diamondbacks
Cole Hamels at Padres
Logan Webb vs Pirates
Reynaldo Lopez vs Royals
Pablo Lopez vs Brewers
Marco Gonzales vs Reds

CHEAP NONSENSE AND AN URQUIDY

Jose Urquidy vs A’s
Zach Davies vs Marlins
Dario Agrazal at Giants
Glenn Sparkman at White Sox
Dillon Peters vs Indians

SORTING OUT THE THREE ACES

Stephen Strasburg at Twins – 29.7% K, 6.3% BB, 3.50 ERA, 3.48 SIERA
Sonny Gray at Mariners – 28.5% K, 9.4% BB, 2.75 ERA, 3.99 SIERA
Robbie Ray at Mets – 31.1% K, 11.0% BB, 4.03 ERA, 4.02 SIERA

If we look to recent trends, all three of these pitchers are over 30% strikeouts over the past month and over 29% strikeouts since the All-Star Break, so the upside is here for all three. The one thing that has held steady all season is that Strasburg has the best control of this group to go along with the strikeouts. From a pure talent standpoint, it’s clearly Strasburg all alone at the top here, but he’s also got the toughest of the three matchups. Speaking of matchups, lets take a look at their opposition using projected lineups:

Twins vs RHP (Strasburg) – 23.0% K, 8.7% BB, .212 ISO, .352 wOBA
Mariners vs RHP (Gray) – 23.4% K, 9.3% BB, .160 ISO, .311 wOBA
Mets vs LHP (Ray) – 22.2% K, 8.4% BB, .186 ISO, .335 wOBA

With Max Kepler out of the lineup, there’s actually not a huge difference in these matchups, but certainly the Twins are still the biggest power threat of these teams. Where that gets interesting is that Strasburg is not only the ace of the night in terms of strikeouts and walks but also in controlling batted balls and limiting hard contact. It’s incredibly close between Strasburg and Gray for who I would start with in cash games, but it is still just enough of a matchup edge that I prefer the slight savings on Sonny Gray. Both Strasburg and Gray have been throwing plenty of innings with limited damage and somewhat up and down strikeout games. The real question is what to do if salary doesn’t matter, as is the case on Yahoo? I’m going to give the lean to Gray in cash games with Strasburg being my preferred tournament pitcher with the more realistic potential for a slate-breaking start.

Robbie Ray is kind of his own special deal at this point. I’m going to ignore the added concern of leaving last start early as a blister was forming. The risk from him just being himself if higher than the risk of getting blistered out of a start. The problem here as always is the inconsistency. He was showing great control for much of the summer, but it’s right back to his old ways with a frightening 16.7% walk rate over the past month. Given that both Strasburg and Gray can match his strikeout ability, he is a distant third place in this tier for me and only viable in multi entry as a pivot after you’ve used more Strasburg and Gray than you want.

MODERATE MID-TIER

Chris Paddack vs Cubs – 25.9% K, 5.5% BB, 3.54 ERA, 3.94 SIERA
Steven Matz vs Diamondbacks – 22.1% K, 7.0% BB, 4.00 ERA, 4.43 SIERA
Cole Hamels at Padres – 22.2% K, 8.4% BB, 3.95 ERA, 4.55 SIERA
Logan Webb vs Pirates – 21.2% K, 7.1% BB, 6.50 ERA, 4.21 SIERA
Reynaldo Lopez vs Royals – 21.0% K, 8.5% BB, 5.17 ERA, 4.93 SIERA
Pablo Lopez vs Brewers – 22.0% K, 5.0% BB, 4.75 ERA, 4.19 SIERA

You can see the clear dropoff in strikeout ability between this group and the top three. Chris Paddack is the only one who is above an average strikeout rate, and he comes with a limited pitch count that caps his ceiling.

On FD, Logan Webb and Pablo Lopez come at more meaningful discounts, while all these pitchers are between $8,000 – $10,200 on DK.

While I would say that Chris Paddack has the best skill set here, he’s also being held around 90 pitches and faces a Cubs team that not only has low strikeouts, but also a lot of very patient batters that are likely to make him work enough to limit his innings further. On DK/FDRFT, he’s just priced too close to Gray for me to have any interest at all. On FD/Yahoo, he’s still interesting, all the way down at $8,300/$39 where even 5-6 innings is enough to be useful. If the Cubs stop at four lefties, there’s still enough upside with his 29.5% K rate to righties that he’ll stay near the top of my pool on those sites.

I am pretty much off Cole Hamels right now, even though his strikeout matchup is better than his opponent. My issue here is that Hamels is all the way down to 17.7% K and 8.2% SwK over the past month and 18.5% K since the All-Star Break. He just hasn’t looked 100% since coming off the IL. He’s only hit six innings twice in seven starts, and has only topped a strikeout per inning twice in those seven starts. This would be a reasonable spot for a bounce back, but I would still be very surprised to see his pitch count pushed up here. His salary is just low enough that I’d call him tournament playable, but I’m not a fan of what we’ve seen recently.

Steven Matz has been good and steady in the second half. But good and steady is about it, there been only one start where he’s reached seven innings and he hasn’t topped seven strikeouts since early June. It’s six straight starts of 5-6 innings, 1-2 runs and 4-7 strikeouts. The skill set in the second half lines up exactly with that game log. Good, not great 22.9%n K, 5.5% BB, 4.13 SIERA. That’s a completely acceptable pretty good pitcher who is viable if you need him. The problem comes in with this matchup, where the Diamondbacks are the 2nd lowest strikeout team in the league against left-handed pitching, which takes his already low upside and brings it down another notch. His salary is completely fair and if you just want a mid-tier pitcher who will probably be OK, here he is. I just don’t see any reason to be excited about the limited ceiling.

Reynaldo Lopez is the first of two interesting Lopez’s’s’z. While it’s happened three times in 29 starts this season, the only reasonable thing to do is to write off his last start as an outlier. He threw a complete game with 11 strikeouts against the Indians. I guess if something has happened three times (he has two other double digit strikeout games this season), it can happen again, but he also has another 26 starts that say he’s just OK. And when he’s not coming up with those outlier starts, the strikeouts can really disappear in a hurry. In 17 of his 29 starts he has come in with 5 or fewer strikeouts, making those three big starts look even more like outliers. He’s also been quite splitsy, especially with the control, and the Kansas City lineup will play into how highly to rate him here. My main issue here is that if the Royals line up the way they ‘should’, the only three righties in the lineup are their three best hitters and then he would have to deal with the weaker bottom of the order filled with lefties who, while not great, also don’t strike out much above average. The double digit strikeout games are within his range of possible outcomes, but he’s priced up way above what his overall stats deserve. This is a pass for me.

Lopez #2, Pablo Lopez is going to be Lopez #1 for me tonight. He got up to 91 pitches last start, which was his third since coming off the IL and he’s seen his velocity sitting at his usual 94-mph, so I’m willing to consider him fully healthy at this point. His strikeout rate is the same average number as just about everyone in this tier, but he combines that with better control than what we see from most of these pitchers. He’s also at home in his pitcher friendly ballpark facing a team that just lost it’s best hitter. This is still not an easy matchup, but the Brewers now have a completely average strikeout rate against right-handed pitching and only three batters with an ISO above .200 against righties. It’s also still possible they are without Mike Moustakas again tonight which would bring that number down to two. He’s not exactly cheap on DK/FDRFT/Yahoo, but still reasonably priced in relation to the rest of this tier, and on FD, he’s at a clear discount. I see him as a cash game option on all sites and one of the better tournament plays on the board.

Logan Webb has made just four career starts, and we haven’t yet learned anything useful. Two of the starts have been very good with seven strikeouts and one walk, while the other two have been short disasters, each with just two strikeouts and two walks in under five innings. The minor league numbers were strong, but he made just one Triple-A start, so we’re still dealing with very small sample size above Double-A. He has kept the ground balls at 52%, after being regularly above 60% in the minors, and this is a kid that I am still interested in using at home while we wait to see how he shakes out. This is not a good strikeout matchup, but it is a good ground ball matchup, and I can see a clear path to some easy innings here. He’s priced close enough to Lopez that there is no need to mess around with this in cash games, but I do love the FD salary, where he’ll be in my tournament mix. I’m going to have some shares on two-pitcher sites as well, but I wouldn’t expect big points per dollar upside in this matchup.

CHEAP NONSENSE AND AN URQUIDY

Jose Urquidy vs A’s – 20.5% K, 4.3% BB, 5.33 ERA, 4.41 SIERA
Zach Davies vs Marlins – 15.2% K, 7.7% BB, 3.69 ERA, 5.44 SIERA
Dillon Peters vs Indians – 18.7% K, 7.2% BB, 4.45 ERA, 4.82 SIERA
Dario Agrazal at Giants – 10.8% K, 6.2% BB, 4.94 ERA, 5.90 SIERA
Glenn Sparkman at White Sox – 13.0% K, 6.5% BB, 5.97 ERA, 5.60 SIERA

It would be more accurate to make three different groups here. One being Jose Urquidy, the next being Dillon Peters and Zach Davies, and the other being the true nonsense in Agrazal and Sparkman.

Let me start with that true nonsense in the 13% K of Glenn Sparkman and the 10.8% K of Dario Agrazal. Agrazal is not in my player pool at all. A Giants stack against him will make the list, but there is nothing OK about a 10.8% strikeout rate. This doesn’t mean he’ll never have another quality start, it will happen, but there is a floor of negative points and no ceiling. Pass. Sparkman is still living off the fumes of that one complete game in mid-July. Somebody is going to point out that it was against the White Sox if I don’t, so I will. It was against the White Sox. Whoop-dee-doo. The reason the White Sox are bad against righties is because they strike out a lot. Well, this joker just doesn’t strike anyone out. They have enough power and hard hit ability to cause him some trouble. He’s so darn cheap on DK/FDRFT that yes, he’s viable in the sense that a 5 point start doesn’t necessarily hurt you. I will leave him in my player pool if I max enter, but he will not be in my first 100 lineups.

Dillon Peters is a better pitcher than Agrazal or Sparkman, but he’s still a low strikeout pitcher who has had trouble pitching deep into games and is facing a low strikeout team that should have eight right-handed bats in the lineup. The plus side to that is Peters is actually a better strikeout pitcher to righties, at a moderate 21.5%, but he’s also quite power prone and facing six straight righties with power. I don’t see the need to mess with this tonight.

Zach Davies is on the board because he’s pitching in Miami, but to me, the salary looks wonky and out of bounds. Like all the Brewers starters, the innings are just never there, and these guys are all more likely to go four innings than they are to go seven. It’s been seven straight starts for Davies at 4-5 innings and he hasn’t topped four strikeouts in any of them. Yes, it’s a very nice matchup for a righty and a quality start is a possibility, but there is still no realistic upside here, and he’s not priced like a 15% K pitcher. I wouldn’t call you crazy for using him as a cash game SP2, knowing that he’s very likely to survive here with a moderately respectable start, but I have zero tournament interest in this lack of upside.

So that brings us to Jose Urquidy, who is priced right next to Davies on FD/DK/FDRFT and at minimum salary on Yahoo. The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that Oakland scoring 21 runs last night has no bearing on what happens tonight. This is the same team that had scored a combined three runs in the previous two games. There is a lot of power in this Oakland lineup, and that will not be the last time they explode for a big game, but obviously, that was an outlier. That game last night is more likely to help Urquidy here than it is to hurt him, as the Astros had to use up a couple of their long relievers. Because of September callups, there are still plenty of rested arms in the bullpen, but I would say Urquidy has a better chance than usual of pitching deeper into this game. Even though he was technically in the bullpen, he is pretty well stretched out, having been starting in the minors and throwing four innings and 61 pitches in his last appearance. When we saw him with the Astros in July, he was regularly up around 90 pitches, which would be good for 5-6 innings if things go his way. His most trustable skill is control, with a 4.3% walk rate in the majors and a 5.5% walk rate at Triple-A. He showed tremendous strikeout ability in the minors, though we don’t know yet whether he can carry that over, as a 20.5% K rate in 27 innings could go either way. I don’t love the matchup, but this is just a better pitcher than the rest of this cheap nonsense tier. Based on the minor league numbers, he has a chance to belong in the mid-tier, and for tournaments, this is the clear stand out option for me tonight.

Pitching Cliff Notes

Things are not clear cut with this group of pitchers. I could build a case to go a few different directions, and depending on how much salary you need for your bats, I don’t think it’s wrong to skip the top tier of pitchers in cash games. But to me, the salary on Sonny Gray, at least on FD/DK/FDRFT is reasonable enough that I will start there in cash games. I have a slight lean to Stephen Strasburg ahead of Gray in tournaments, but I will be using both. Robbie Ray is a distant third, but still an upside tournament dart worth throwing.

The mid-tier gets a little dicey, and though I can make an argument for most of these pitchers, I’m leaving Chris Paddack, Cole Hamels, Reynaldo Lopez, Steven Matz and Logan Webb for multi-entry tonight. Webb is particularly cheap on FD and a more interesting option there. Both Paddack and Hamels could be put higher on your list if you are steering clear of the top tier.

Pablo Lopez is the mid-tier option that stands out for me, especially on FD at $7,100. But even on DK/FDRFT, the salary is enough lower than the options above him that I lean his way in cash games.

Jose Urquidy is kind of in a tier of his own. There are unknowns here with the pitch count and where his true strikeout talent will land, but he is a far better pitcher than the cheap nonsense below him, making him a strong tournament target.

Wednesday Night Bats

COORS FIELDDakota Hudson at Antonio Senzatela

This is an interesting situation, as we saw the same scenario play out last week when Senzatela followed Chi Chi Gonzalez. Gonzalez had a surprisingly strong start against a chalky Dodgers team, and the next night, Senzatela allowed five runs in three innings. More importantly, nobody was fooled, and the ownership on Dodgers bats did not see a drastic decrease. That is what we should expect here, most people understand the ups and downs of baseball by this point in the season and will be willing to go right back to St. Louis bats. The splits are a little different tonight with Senzatela being a high 60% ground ball pitcher to righties, which makes Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong a little less necessary, though all three hit either line drives or fly balls and still have the clear edge in this matchup with the scary low 12.5% strikeouts of Senzatela to righties. But, the splits are more in favor of lefty bats, with Senzatela at a goofy 11.1% K, 11.5% BB, 50% GB and 38% HH with a .421 wOBA to lefties. I’ll go to Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong first as the cash game building blocks. If it fits in a build to use Goldschmidt in cash games, I’m on board, but I won’t be sacrificing my pitching to make that happen. In tournaments, this is more of a full stack or nothing for me.

The Rockies side is an even clearer edge to the lefty bats with the extreme 65% ground balls of Dakota Hudson to right-handed batters. The thing to keep in mind here is that Hudson gets all those grounders with a sinker, and we’ve seen sinkers fail to sink in this altitude, so I am still extremely interested in the fly balls and hard hits of Trevor Story (41% FB, 41% HH) and Nolan Arenado (45% FB, 42% HH). As is the case with Goldschmidt, if you just find yourself with the salary to be able to play these Rockies righties in cash games, I’d do it, but I do not think this needs to be forced in here tonight. It’s much more of a tournament spot for me. Hudson’s ground balls are just a moderate 49% to lefties with strikeouts down to 16.8%, making Charlie Blackmon (.261 ISO, .398 wOBA) my top cash game play on either side of this game. Daniel Murphy has a strong mix of contact and fly balls and is enough cheaper than Goldschmidt that I’m more likely to land his way in cash games as well.

Overall, this game is more relevant to me in tournaments, and not an absolute must play in cash games. Ideally in cash games, I will start with Blackmon and Fowler, and then potentially one of Wong or Murphy, with the rest being left for tournaments where I like the Cardinals as a full stack and the Rockies for the power trio of Blackmon/Arenado/Story.

Rays at Rangers – Kittredge/Pruitt at Ariel Jurado

Ariel Jurado is bad enough against lefties to put Tampa up alongside the Cardinals, and arguably even ahead of them for both cash games and tournaments tonight. Like Senzatela, Jurado has some ground ball ability to righties, but he’s downright awful to lefties. He has just a 12.5% K rate, while allowing 46% hard hits with no ground ball lean. Austin Meadows is in the running for top overall play on this slate with his .277 ISO and .400 wOBA. Then we’ve got two affordable first base options in Ji-Man Choi (.184 ISO) and Nate Lowe (.185 ISO) that are cash game playable if you can’t quite afford Murphy. We should also see either Eric Sogard (12.4% K) or Joey Wendle (16.6% K) lead off, and while they aren’t great, both have strong enough contact skills to be playable in this matchup. I would get Tommy Pham and Travis d’Arnaud into tournament stacks here, but this game starts with Meadows in all formats and other Tampa lefties in cash games.

The Rangers side is less enticing here with Tampa having a solid primary pitcher in Austin Pruitt who has strong control and ground balls along with 25% strikeouts to lefties. Tampa has a lot of good bullpen arms they can mix and match to keep these Rangers hitters off balance, which leaves this as a multi-entry stack for me. There is a lot of power in the lineup and it’s not out of bounds to use someone like Willie Calhoun, Danny Santana or Shin-Soo Choo on their own, but there are more attackable pitchers elsewhere on this slate.

Boston Red Sox at Trent Thornton

Thornton has sort of survived his rookie season with a 5.23 ERA and only a couple of truly disastrous starts. But it’s still a below average skill set with some batted ball issues to both sides of the plate and not enough strikeouts to think he can get through this Boston lineup. The splits are very close to even with an ever so slight lean to lefties, so we can just play this based off the Boston numbers against right-handed pitching. The salaries should keep ownership in check as well, making me a little higher on this team for tournaments. I’ll take Rafael Devers first with his .280 ISO, .415 wOBA and 43% hard hits, followed by the power righties of J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. Andrew Benintendi is never quite as exciting as the top four Boston bats, but his salary is down to a point where I am considering him in cash games. Mitch Moreland is the other power bat to add to tournament stacks with his .289 ISO, and after that I’m just looking for cheap fill-ins to finish out stacks. If the projected ownership agrees with my assessment that this will be a low owned offense, I’m going to have them near the top of my list.

LA Dodgers, Maybe at John Means

With the Dodgers clinching the AL West last night, I am approaching this game very cautiously. Until we see the lineup, my assumption is that this will not be the usual Dodgers roster, and even it is, I am skeptical that they’d get a whole game. On top of that, Means is actually good at pitching. If the Dodgers use their regulars, I would be OK hunting for a couple home runs here with the fly balls of Means, mainly Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger, but I plan to be very light on this team tonight.

Braves at PhilliesDallas Keuchel at Zach Eflin

This has been a fun series so far with each team piling up some runs against a good starter. First it was the Braves beating up on Aaron Nola, and then last night the Phillies got to Max Fried in a hurry. Either side is stackable here, but it’s a clear lean to the Braves as far as picking out individual bats. Zach Eflin is a strike thrower to righties with 18% K, 2.5% BB and moderate 51% ground balls. But to lefties, he’s at the same 18% K, but with 10% walks, 42% fly balls and 39% hard hits leading to a .258 ISO against. Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies are the top plays here, with Albies being on my cash game radar. I really don’t even think it’s wrong to play Freeman ahead of the Coors Field first baseman if spending at the position. After those two, would be the starting points of a Braves stack, I’d look to get the power of Ronald Acuna and Josh Donaldson, and then fill in with lefties lower in the order. Brian McCann is one of my top catchers on the slate, and could make my cash game build on DK. Matt Joyce is too much of a pinch hit risk to play on his own or in cash games, but I’d have him in the stacking mix as well.

Dallas Keuchel continues to roll along with his ground balls, and it’s really a stretch to pull out any Phillies bats outside of multi entry stacks in large field tournaments. Rhys Hoskins does have enough of a fly ball lean at 47% to take some shots, but he doesn’t come out near the top of the first base ranks tonight.

Washington Nationals at Martin Perez

Perez has a skill set that is right on the borderline, and gets him a pretty even mix of quality starts, mediocre games and the occasional disaster. He has struck out just 18.5% of right-handed batters with 10% walks and just kind of OK 49% ground balls and 34% hard hits. Not good, not terrible. It’s all just good enough that only Anthony Rendon (.328 ISO, .446 wOBA) is really standing out here, though he’s near the top of my tournament wish list tonight. But there is also so much contact up and down this Nationals lineup, with six low strikeout righties surrounding Rendon and Juan Soto, that there is a clear case for a Washington stack here tonight. If a cheap Ryan Zimmerman, Brian Dozier or Howie Kendrick just happen to fit well on their own as the last piece of the puzzle, I’d have no argument with any of them, but I much prefer this is a full tournament stack with Rendon as the must play cornerstone.

Houston Astros at Brett Anderson

While Oakland was the big winner last night, Houston is still the better team in this game and facing a pitcher with scary low strikeouts and a potentially overrated ground ball ability to righties. Anderson is an extreme ground baller to lefties, but against righties, this is just a moderate 51% ground ball rate which is not near high enough to make up for 12.5% strikeouts and 44% hard hits. In his favor are the ground ball leans of several of these Houston righties, but none are high enough to give Anderson the edge. The clear winner here is Alex Bregman with his 49% fly balls and 50% hard hits. With where he’s priced, he falls behind Story/Arenado in the cash game pecking order, but he is right there alongside Austin Meadows and Anthony Rendon as my top tournament bats on this slate. After Bregman, Yulieski Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz are both over 40% fly balls against lefties, but the hard hit edge sides with the bigger name bats at the top of the lineup with George Springer and Jose Altuve. The way I see this matchup as it relates to the rest of the slate is that there isn’t much reason to target any individual bats here outside of Bregman, but much like the Red Sox, this is a top offense that will probably be much lower owned than it should be in tournaments.

Indians at AngelsAdam Plutko at Dillon Peters

In the midst of the bizarre nights with Oakland and Coors Field, it may have gone a bit overlooked that Cleveland’s Zach Plesac threw a complete game shutout here last night. But while Adam Plutko is a similar style of pitcher, there’s really no reason to expect everything to go against the Angels in batted balls again tonight. Plutko is a high fly ball pitcher who has allowed a 1.83 HR/9 to lefties and 2.02 HR/9 to righties with scary low 9.4% strikeouts to lefties. The Angels could get Mike Trout back in the lineup tonight, and while he’s always in play, those low strikeouts to lefties make Shohei Ohtani (.233 ISO) and Kole Calhoun (.233 ISO) the clear standouts here. If Trout misses again, then we’d likely have Brian Goodwin back near the top of the lineup as another lefty outfield option with some power. Ohtani is a cash game option for me at his low salary on FanDuel, with Calhoun being a cash game option at his DK/FDRFT salary.

The Indians will have their lineup full of righties against the strike throwing of Dillon Peters, with his .265 ISO allowed to righties. The top six in this Indians lineup are all tournament plays and stackable, with Carlos Santana (.235 ISO, .422 wOBA) being the top play based on skill set, but with factoring in salary, I lean to one of the right-handed outfielders with power in Franmil Reyes (.233 ISO), Yasiel Puig (.158 ISO), Jordan Luplow (.345 ISO), and Oscar Mercado (.140 ISO). That is the order I rank them in with Luplow’s skills taking the most severe decline once they get into righties in the bullpen.

Royals at White SoxGlenn Sparkman at Reynaldo Lopez

While I will be sad when baseball season ends, it will be nice to not have to deal with any more of these games between the AL Central basement dwellers. I don’t think anyone would really mind if they just cancelled the rest of the Royals, White Sox and Tigers games and just let the Twins and Indians play the rest of the season. But, alas, because all of these nonsense teams have some nonsense pitching and a couple good power bats, they are going to remain in our lives. Glenn Sparkman is going to allow the ball to be hit with no control over how or where it gets hit. I actually rather well love Yoan Moncada tonight, and because third base is so good, I don’t think anyone plays him. I’ll sprinkle in a little Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez around him, but the team high .249 ISO and .386 ISO of Moncada along with the worse batted ball splits from Sparkman to lefties make him the clear leader here.

Reynaldo Lopez is a better pitcher than Sparkman, but still someone we can find some power against with his fly balls, strike throwing to righties and low strikeouts to lefties. The Royals are not good enough to need to mess with secondary pieces on this slate, but Jorge Soler (.303 ISO), Hunter Dozier (.254 ISO) and Adalberto Mondesi (.173 ISO) belong in the multi-entry tournament discussion.

WEST COAST LEFTOVERS

The three games that start after 9:45pm ET should all be basically forgotten from the hitting side. The pitching will get a little attention, but I do see at least a couple bats worth looking at and maybe a large field stack or two worth throwing some of those blindfolded darts at.

SF Giants at Dario Agrazal – I would stack any team in any ballpark against this joker. 7.5% strikeouts against righties, folks that’s 10 strikeouts in 133 PA to righties. Then he must be good against lefties? Oh yeah, 14.3% strikeouts, that is 18 strikeouts in 126 PA. OK, then he must have some elite ground ball ability, right? Average 47% ground balls to righties and high 49% fly balls to lefties. Yikes. The only sort of moderate skill here is that he moves the ball side to side at the bottom of the zone and hasn’t given up too much hard contact. Because it’s the Giants in San Francisco, it is conceivable that he survives doing that tonight, but there is a surprising amount of hard hit ability in this lineup, and I will tell you right here and now that I am going to have more Giants stacks than anyone should ever feel comfortable with.

Cincinnati Reds at Marco Gonzales – Gonzales is a good enough real life pitcher that I just barely care about this Cincinnati team tonight, but I at least have to put Eugenio Suarez and Aristides Aquino on the GPP list with their .309 and .452 ISO’s against lefties and Gonzales throwing so many strikes to righties.

Cubs at Padres?Cole Hamels at Chris Paddack

Ugh, this really is just for leftovers. Paddack hasn’t been anything special against lefties, so if you want to toss a Kyle Schwarber or Anthony Rizzo into the stew, have at it. On the other side, Cole Hamels is just a slightly above average pitcher to righties, and he has been a little off since his return from the IL. So, sure, Manny Machado, Hunter Renfroe (questionable) and Wil Myers are on the list. Machado is the standout here with a .396 ISO on 52% hard hits against lefties.

Hitting Cliff Notes

While the Coors Field game does top the list tonight, it’s not as much of a clear must play in cash games as we’ve seen at other times this season. I would be starting with Dexter Fowler to get some exposure to the top of the Cardinals lineup with a left-handed bat, and then transitioning to Charlie Blackmon on the other side. Austin Meadows is close to those Coors Field outfielders, but we’ve also got some of our best salary saving options in the outfield with guys like Shohei Ohtani (FD), Kole Calhoun (DK/FDRFT) and Andrew Benintendi being affordable. It’s acceptable not to end up with any Rockies in cash games tonight if Blackmon is priced out of your build and you prefer the first base savings with other Tampa bats in Ji-Man Choi or Nate Lowe.

I would expect St. Louis, Colorado and Tampa to top the ownership list tonight, with my favorite alternatives being Houston and Boston. A little further down the line would be the Indians-Angels game, the Nationals and the Giants.

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About the Author

  • Dave Potts (CheeseIsGood)

  • One of the preeminent baseball minds in all of fantasy, Dave Potts, aka CheeseIsGood, has won contests at the highest levels of both season-long and DFS. He is a two-time winner of a million dollar first place prize in DFS; having won the 2014 FanDuel baseball live final and following that up by taking down a DraftKings Millionare Maker Tournament in 2015. In addition, he’s won the Main Event championship in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship and the NFBC Platinum League, which is the highest buy-in entry league. His consistent success in the NFBC tournaments recently earned him a prestigious spot in their Hall of Fame. Dave can also strum a mean guitar while carrying a tune and if you’re lucky, you’ll see him do so on one of his GrindersLive appearances. Follow Dave on Twitter – @DavePotts2.

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