MLB Grind Down: Saturday, August 12th

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The RotoGrinders MLB Grind Down will give you an in-depth analysis into the upcoming MLB schedule. This article will break down the numbers for every single game and give you analysis on which trends you can exploit. While matchups are a major factor in daily fantasy baseball, there are plenty of other factors to consider such as injuries, weather, and salaries.

The analysis should point you in the right direction, but it is still up to you to decipher the information and make your own selections. No sport has more variance than baseball. The best choice is not always the right choice but following the trends will win you money over time.

Note: As always, if you want to try a new DFS site, be sure to click through a RotoGrinders link and use our DraftKings promo code, FanDuel promo code, and FantasyDraft promo code to receive the best perks in the industry.


Stackability Rating System:

GREEN – A viable full stack in cash games and GPPs.
YELLOW – A viable mini-stack in cash games and full stack in GPPs.
ORANGE – A viable stack in large field GPPs.
RED – Not a recommended stack for cash games or GPPs.


Pittsburgh at Toronto – 1:07 PM ET

Pittsburgh Toronto
Trevor Williams Chris Rowley
RIGHT RIGHT
Vegas Moneyline Vegas Over/Under
TOR -105 9.5
Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB% Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB%
SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.343 0.286 24.9% 6.8% 13.7% 49.5% SP vs. Left (2016-17)
SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.317 0.334 34.6% 7.2% 19.9% 48.8% SP vs. Right (2016-17)

Pitcher Grind Down

Trevor Williams
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $7,200 Salary: $6,000 Salary:
Salary Rank: 15 of 30 Salary Rank: 22 of 30 Salary Rank: of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 1 4.28 7.82 18.0% 8.2% 45.5% 31.1% 17.8%
2017 16 4.57 4.47 16.8% 6.8% 49.7% 29.5% 25.1%
L30 4 4.47 3.42 16.5% 8.7% 63.0% 24.7% 24.7%

Happy Saturday, faithful MLB Grinders! If you are reading this in advance of the early slate, we have a relatively ugly Saturday on tap with regard to early games. There are four games that start prior to the usual 7 PM main slate lock, and here is how the sites are handling them: DraftKings is ignoring this first game entirely, while the other three games comprise the early slate. On the other hand, FanDuel is ignoring the two 6 PM starts, instead featuring an early slate that has just the first two games. The sites couldn’t be more different in how they handle these short early slates, and it’s not just a Saturday thing. In any case, this is probably a day where you don’t want to go nuts with your bankroll for the afternoon slate.

If you do choose to play this slate, we have Trevor Williams taking the mound for the Pirates at the Rogers Centre. Jameson Taillon held the Blue Jays in check last night, and Williams has been surprisingly effective for Pittsburgh this year. He does a good job of limiting hard contact and line drives, and he has an ERA in the low fours. Looking forward and from a DFS perspective, though, the advanced metrics aren’t the best, and he doesn’t have a ton of strikeout upside. He’s hard to trust in a road matchup against a team that is capable of putting up some runs at home.

Quick Breakdown: Even on the two game FanDuel slate, we can’t really trust Williams today.

Chris Rowley
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $5,500 Salary: $4,700 Salary:
Salary Rank: 29 of 30 Salary Rank: 28 of 30 Salary Rank: of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%

Rowley is a 26 year old fringe prospect who will be making his major league debut this afternoon. He has posted reasonably good numbers in the minor leagues this year, pitching in 27 games and making 11 starts between AA and AAA ball. He doesn’t have huge strikeout ability, and the strikeout upside is not going to be there against a Pirates team that is one of the best in the league at avoiding the strikeout. Major league debuts for pitchers tend to have a lot of risk, as nerves can play a big role. I also don’t expect Rowley to pitch very deep into this game, as he has not been a full time starter this year. Let’s take a wait and see approach.

Quick Breakdown: There is too much risk with Rowley in his major league debut. Pass.

Batter Grind Down

Pittsburgh

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Starling Marte RIGHT 0.331 0.310 0.101 26.8% 5.0% 19.0% 51.5% OF $3,300 OF $3,800 N/A N/A
2 Josh Harrison RIGHT 0.331 0.325 0.145 32.2% 5.0% 15.8% 36.1% 2B $2,800 2B/3B $3,500 N/A N/A
3 Andrew McCutchen RIGHT 0.350 0.351 0.170 33.7% 10.9% 17.7% 41.9% OF $4,000 OF $4,500 N/A N/A
4 Josh Bell SWITCH 0.343 0.335 0.219 33.9% 10.2% 20.2% 50.9% 1B $3,100 1B $4,300 N/A N/A
5 David Freese RIGHT 0.330 0.350 0.106 29.8% 12.7% 19.4% 55.9% 3B $3,200 3B $3,600 N/A N/A
6 Gregory Polanco LEFT 0.318 0.320 0.181 25.9% 7.7% 10.9% 40.3% OF $2,800 OF $2,900 N/A N/A
7 Adam Frazier LEFT 0.317 0.335 0.111 30.4% 8.7% 11.6% 48.1% OF $2,700 2B/OF $3,800 N/A N/A
8 Francisco Cervelli RIGHT 0.330 0.334 0.130 31.5% 10.0% 20.0% 49.3% C $2,500 C $3,100 N/A N/A
9 Jordy Mercer RIGHT 0.320 0.311 0.149 27.5% 10.2% 15.6% 45.7% SS $2,200 SS $2,600 N/A N/A

We don’t have any splits data to look at for Rowley, so we are flying blind here. I will let pricing guide my decisions, and remember that this game is only available for “early slate” play on FanDuel. The only way you can play this game on DraftKings is to play the “all day” slate, which doesn’t have much for tournaments. I would not recommend that. The Pirates do have some favorable price tags on FanDuel, so this can be a value buying opportunity.

Elite Plays – Starling Marte, Josh Bell

Secondary Plays – Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison

Stackability – YELLOW

Toronto

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Jose Bautista RIGHT 0.323 0.333 0.186 34.7% 12.6% 22.3% 33.9% OF $4,000 OF $4,100 N/A N/A
2 Russell Martin RIGHT 0.346 0.333 0.171 28.4% 14.3% 22.2% 52.9% C $3,100 C $3,300 N/A N/A
3 Josh Donaldson RIGHT 0.362 0.363 0.223 34.1% 15.3% 25.4% 42.0% 3B $4,100 3B $4,500 N/A N/A
4 Justin Smoak SWITCH 0.378 0.394 0.294 40.6% 10.4% 22.6% 32.6% 1B $3,600 1B $3,900 N/A N/A
5 Kendrys Morales SWITCH 0.305 0.366 0.197 36.3% 8.0% 21.3% 46.6% 1B $3,200 1B $3,700 N/A N/A
6 Steve Pearce RIGHT 0.338 0.319 0.169 32.5% 8.5% 19.5% 42.7% OF $3,600 OF $3,700 N/A N/A
7 Ryan Goins LEFT 0.267 0.279 0.132 27.9% 7.4% 16.9% 44.9% SS $2,500 2B/SS $3,300 N/A N/A
8 Kevin Pillar RIGHT 0.273 0.300 0.127 26.1% 5.3% 15.4% 46.6% OF $2,600 OF $2,900 N/A N/A
9 Darwin Barney RIGHT 0.260 0.260 0.103 16.8% 2.3% 15.9% 47.6% 2B $2,300 2B/3B $2,500 N/A N/A

There are a lot of teams with similar projected run totals on the early slate, but the Blue Jays check in as a team that is near the top. It’s hard to make heads or tails out of the splits for Trevor Williams, as he has allowed a higher wOBA to LHBs this year, but RHBs have made a lot more hard contact and have a much higher line drive rate. If I am targeting Toronto bats, I would simply stick to the known commodities. The bottom of the order, which features heavy hitters like Goins, Pillar, and Barney, is pretty tough to trust.

Elite Plays – Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista

Secondary Plays – Russell Martin, Justin Smoak

Stackability – YELLOW / ORANGE


Boston at NY Yankees – 4:05 PM ET

Boston NY Yankees
Drew Pomeranz Luis Severino
LEFT RIGHT
Vegas Moneyline Vegas Over/Under
NYY -157 8.5
Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB% Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB%
SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.323 0.297 32.3% 10.4% 24.8% 41.3% SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.286 0.308 29.8% 6.4% 25.2% 46.6%
SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.287 0.287 31.6% 8.6% 26.1% 45.7% SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.304 0.283 28.3% 7.4% 26.6% 50.7%

Pitcher Grind Down

Drew Pomeranz
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $8,600 Salary: $9,500 Salary:
Salary Rank: 7 of 30 Salary Rank: 7 of 30 Salary Rank: of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 30 3.80 3.32 26.5% 9.3% 46.2% 31.5% 19.1%
2017 22 4.07 3.36 24.8% 8.8% 42.8% 32.2% 21.8%
L30 5 4.50 2.64 22.7% 10.2% 41.0% 29.4% 18.8%

Pomeranz has good stuff. There’s no denying that. Unfortunately, sometimes the game beats him between the ears, and he is also capable of racking up pretty big pitch counts in a short period of time. That prevents him from pitching deep into games. The good news is that the Yankees are weaker against lefties, and Pomeranz brings some upside to the table with his 25% strikeout rate and 11% swinging strike rate. He has given up just five total runs over his last four starts, so the recent form is also trending in the right direction. His SIERA and xFIP are both right around four, slotting him in as a slightly above league average arm.

Quick Breakdown: The Yankees have been struggling since the All Star break, and Pomeranz is in play as a pitching option on the short early slate.

Luis Severino
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $9,600 Salary: $11,800 Salary:
Salary Rank: 2 of 30 Salary Rank: 1 of 30 Salary Rank: of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 11 4.06 5.83 21.2% 8.0% 45.1% 29.4% 20.6%
2017 22 3.28 2.91 28.6% 6.4% 51.0% 28.7% 18.8%
L30 6 3.29 1.36 30.2% 6.9% 42.9% 24.5% 16.3%

It has been a very good year for the emerging Luis Severino, and he is rolling with a 2.91 ERA, a 3.27 SIERA, and a 51% ground ball rate on the year. Those are borderline elite figures, and his strikeout rate has jumped over 7% to 28.6% this year. His swinging strike rate has also jumped from 9% to over 12%. The numbers are impressive across the board, and while it’s easy to fear a matchup against a hot Boston squad, Severino has allowed just one run in two starts against them this season, and the Red Sox are one of the only teams on the early slate with an implied team total below four runs.

Quick Breakdown: Severino is definitely the top arm on the two game early slate on FanDuel, and he rivals Chris Archer for the top spot on the three game early slate on DraftKings.

Batter Grind Down

Boston

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Eduardo Nunez RIGHT 0.344 0.275 0.143 25.7% 3.1% 9.7% 53.4% SS $3,800 3B/OF $4,400 N/A N/A
2 Andrew Benintendi LEFT 0.344 0.343 0.175 37.9% 11.1% 16.0% 37.5% OF $3,700 OF $4,600 N/A N/A
3 Mookie Betts RIGHT 0.338 0.328 0.198 36.0% 9.4% 10.6% 40.7% OF $3,900 OF $4,600 N/A N/A
4 Hanley Ramirez RIGHT 0.328 0.357 0.174 34.7% 8.4% 18.7% 43.0% 1B $2,900 1B $3,700 N/A N/A
5 Rafael Devers LEFT 0.453 0.393 0.313 40.7% 13.5% 13.5% 51.9% 3B $3,400 3B $4,200 N/A N/A
6 Mitch Moreland LEFT 0.326 0.383 0.196 41.9% 10.6% 22.9% 37.7% 1B $2,600 1B $3,400 N/A N/A
7 Xander Bogaerts RIGHT 0.321 0.268 0.135 31.4% 7.3% 18.6% 47.3% SS $2,800 SS $3,900 N/A N/A
8 Christian Vazquez RIGHT 0.307 0.261 0.092 25.7% 4.6% 18.9% 47.3% C $2,400 C $3,400 N/A N/A
9 Jackie Bradley Jr. LEFT 0.309 0.333 0.172 39.1% 9.1% 23.9% 40.3% OF $2,400 OF $3,600 N/A N/A

Playing hitters against Severino is not recommended on a normal day, and I can’t even really do it on a short slate. Both LHBs and RHBs have a wOBA below .270 against him this year.

Elite Plays – None

Secondary Plays – Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts

Stackability – ORANGE / RED

NY Yankees

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. LH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Brett Gardner LEFT 0.278 0.290 0.120 21.9% 12.4% 20.6% 47.5% OF $3,500 OF $4,400 N/A N/A
2 Aaron Hicks SWITCH 0.396 0.332 0.250 28.9% 11.0% 17.8% 45.1% OF $2,900 OF $3,700 N/A N/A
3 Aaron Judge RIGHT 0.429 0.471 0.333 42.6% 24.0% 28.0% 34.0% OF $4,500 OF $5,300 N/A N/A
4 Gary Sanchez RIGHT 0.342 0.405 0.250 38.6% 13.0% 23.2% 38.6% C $3,400 C $4,700 N/A N/A
5 Chase Headley SWITCH 0.240 0.248 0.089 27.8% 3.8% 26.7% 43.1% 1B $2,600 1B/3B $3,600 N/A N/A
6 Didi Gregorius LEFT 0.290 0.268 0.081 13.7% 3.3% 15.2% 37.5% SS $3,300 SS $4,800 N/A N/A
7 Todd Frazier RIGHT 0.359 0.397 0.311 39.7% 16.5% 18.7% 20.7% 3B $3,700 3B $4,300 N/A N/A
8 Garrett Cooper RIGHT 0.404 0.336 0.267 55.6% 6.3% 37.5% 22.2% 1B $2,600 1B $2,900 N/A N/A
9 Ronald Torreyes RIGHT 0.339 0.248 0.049 18.0% 4.4% 8.9% 64.1% 2B $2,400 2B/SS $2,700 N/A N/A

I generally don’t play hitters against Pomeranz, and that will continue today — primarily because I am not playing the early slate. Pomeranz has shown some strong reverse splits this year, but that has not been the case throughout his career. That feels more like sample size noise than anything. Didi Gregorius does have solid BvP against Pomeranz, though. Gary Sanchez is also 4-for-10 with a pair of home runs. If you are a BvP believer, there might be some merit in those guys. Of course, Aaron Judge is always a great GPP option with his power, though he has been in a massive funk since the All Star break.

Elite Plays – Gary Sanchez

Secondary Plays – Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge

Stackability – ORANGE


Cleveland at Tampa Bay – 6:10 PM ET

Cleveland Tampa Bay
Mike Clevinger Chris Archer
RIGHT RIGHT
Vegas Moneyline Vegas Over/Under
TB -135 8.0
Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB% Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB%
SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.292 0.325 29.1% 12.7% 22.7% 37.9% SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.309 0.300 36.5% 8.8% 28.3% 44.5%
SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.342 0.328 36.4% 12.7% 25.0% 40.0% SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.295 0.296 34.1% 6.8% 28.2% 45.4%

Pitcher Grind Down

Mike Clevinger
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $7,700 Salary: $6,900 Salary:
Salary Rank: 10 of 30 Salary Rank: 15 of 30 Salary Rank: of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 10 4.77 5.26 21.5% 12.5% 38.2% 31.2% 18.2%
2017 14 4.51 4.00 26.0% 12.8% 39.9% 34.9% 15.9%
L30 4 4.98 5.75 20.2% 11.7% 42.2% 40.6% 18.8%

Now, we have navigated to the last two early games, neither of which are available as part of an early slate on FanDuel. Again, you could only access these via playing the “All Day” slate, which doesn’t have much for GPP offerings and isn’t recommended for cash games. This matchup is intriguing, however, with two upside-worthy pitchers facing off in Mike Clevinger and Chris Archer. Clevinger has a SIERA and xFIP in the mid-fours and doesn’t really look like a great pitcher on the surface, but there is some sneaky strikeout potential here. Clevinger has a 26% strikeout rate and 13% swinging strike rate on the year. A matchup against the strikeout happy Rays also enhances that upside. However, the control is a major problem at times, he allows too much hard contact, and he hasn’t been good over his last three starts.

Quick Breakdown: A win is unlikely with Archer pitching on the other side, and Clevinger’s recent form is a concern. I like the upside potential, but I can’t recommend using him today as anything other than a massive risk/reward GPP option.

Chris Archer
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $10,200 Salary: $10,300 Salary:
Salary Rank: 1 of 30 Salary Rank: 4 of 30 Salary Rank: of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 33 3.50 4.02 27.4% 7.9% 47.8% 32.8% 18.0%
2017 24 3.46 3.80 29.3% 7.4% 41.2% 38.5% 14.9%
L30 6 3.28 3.35 31.5% 7.6% 35.8% 38.5% 11.5%

In terms of upside, it is hard to find a pitcher that brings more to the table on this slate than Archer. His overall numbers are very solid, and his SIERA of 3.45 and xFIP of 3.39 rival Severino as the top marks on the early slate. His 29% strikeout rate and 13.4% swinging strike rate are the best that you will find on the slate. In home games, his numbers are even better. He has pitched to a sub-3.00 xFIP at home, and he is striking out more than two additional batters per nine innings in starts at Tropicana Field. It may be scary to target pitchers against the Indians, but I don’t have any concerns about Archer in this spot.

Quick Breakdown: Archer is the top pitching option on the early slate, especially if you are playing tournament formats. The Indians are a dangerous offense, but they have the lowest implied team total of the teams playing in the four afternoon games.

Batter Grind Down

Cleveland

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Jason Kipnis LEFT 0.296 0.299 0.170 31.8% 6.7% 19.6% 32.8% 2B $2,500 2B $3,800 N/A N/A
2 Francisco Lindor SWITCH 0.309 0.323 0.192 30.5% 7.7% 14.1% 39.2% SS $3,400 SS $4,600 N/A N/A
3 Jose Ramirez SWITCH 0.394 0.351 0.252 33.6% 7.9% 11.0% 37.2% 3B $3,100 2B/3B $4,100 N/A N/A
4 Edwin Encarnacion RIGHT 0.351 0.359 0.233 37.6% 12.3% 22.2% 35.0% 1B $2,900 1B $4,300 N/A N/A
5 Jay Bruce LEFT 0.367 0.364 0.273 42.5% 9.6% 22.3% 33.8% OF $2,900 OF $3,700 N/A N/A
6 Carlos Santana SWITCH 0.347 0.376 0.207 36.8% 13.4% 20.1% 33.5% 1B $2,800 1B $3,700 N/A N/A
7 Bradley Zimmer LEFT 0.343 0.324 0.204 37.1% 9.6% 28.3% 45.5% OF $2,400 OF $3,800 N/A N/A
8 Abraham Almonte SWITCH 0.347 0.337 0.189 35.5% 10.8% 27.5% 45.2% OF $2,200 OF $3,400 N/A N/A
9 Yan Gomes RIGHT 0.264 0.277 0.081 25.9% 9.7% 24.9% 40.5% C $2,200 C $2,800 N/A N/A

I know the Indians have a very good offense, and they are certainly capable of hitting a home run or two against Archer, but picking the right guy would be very difficult. Edwin Encarnacion has three career bombs against Archer, but he also has a .160 batting average in 50 at bats. Chasing production here seems like a lost cause.

Elite Plays – None

Secondary Plays – Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor

Stackability – ORANGE / RED

Tampa Bay

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Corey Dickerson LEFT 0.358 0.322 0.235 35.5% 6.6% 22.8% 38.7% OF $3,300 OF $4,200 N/A N/A
2 Lucas Duda LEFT 0.387 0.393 0.295 43.1% 14.2% 23.0% 26.9% 1B $3,500 1B $4,600 N/A N/A
3 Evan Longoria RIGHT 0.338 0.317 0.190 32.1% 5.0% 14.0% 44.2% 3B $2,900 3B $3,800 N/A N/A
4 Logan Morrison LEFT 0.376 0.387 0.301 41.9% 14.9% 24.4% 31.8% 1B $3,000 1B $4,500 N/A N/A
5 Steve Souza RIGHT 0.396 0.382 0.313 39.4% 12.6% 29.2% 41.0% OF $3,600 OF $4,600 N/A N/A
6 Wilson Ramos RIGHT 0.185 0.291 0.111 34.0% 2.9% 25.0% 44.7% C $2,000 C $2,500 N/A N/A
7 Brad Miller LEFT 0.295 0.317 0.095 33.9% 20.8% 25.2% 53.2% 2B $3,000 2B $3,000 N/A N/A
8 Adeiny Hechavarria RIGHT 0.237 0.265 0.036 26.1% 2.1% 20.3% 52.3% SS $2,500 SS $2,600 N/A N/A
9 Mallex Smith LEFT 0.325 0.258 0.103 22.5% 10.9% 20.1% 52.7% OF $2,300 OF $3,500 N/A N/A

The Rays are generally a boom/bust offense, and that is certainly the case today against a pitcher as volatile as Clevinger. It would not surprise me at all if Clevinger held the Rays in check with a lot of strikeouts, and it would not surprise me at all if the Rays did some major damage. That line of thinking makes the Rays a risk/reward GPP stack on the early slate, especially since there aren’t a ton of options available on a short slate. Clevinger’s ground ball rate dips from 47% against RHBs to 30% against LHBs, and he definitely profiles as a pitcher who will struggle more with lefties. If you are taking Rays bats, I would recommend starting there.

Elite Plays – Logan Morrison, Corey Dickerson, Lucas Duda

Secondary Plays – Evan Longoria, Steve Souza, Wilson Ramos

Stackability – YELLOW


Minnesota at Detroit – 6:10 PM ET

Minnesota Detroit
Jose Berrios Jordan Zimmermann
RIGHT RIGHT
Vegas Moneyline Vegas Over/Under
DET -104 9.5
Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB% Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB%
SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.339 0.354 30.3% 11.4% 18.8% 37.8% SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.345 0.338 35.9% 5.7% 16.1% 36.7%
SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.339 0.303 28.0% 7.3% 21.4% 40.3% SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.359 0.338 30.4% 6.6% 14.6% 38.8%

Pitcher Grind Down

Jose Berrios
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $8,800 Salary: $7,500 Salary:
Salary Rank: 6 of 30 Salary Rank: 11 of 30 Salary Rank: of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 14 5.36 8.02 17.4% 12.5% 38.0% 33.3% 18.2%
2017 16 4.23 3.86 22.1% 7.0% 39.9% 26.1% 21.7%
L30 5 5.04 4.81 17.8% 8.4% 31.1% 29.0% 23.7%

This is a fascinating spot for Jose Berrios. Let’s start with the good things. Berrios has been borderline dominant against RHBs this year, holding them to a .279 wOBA, a 22% hard contact rate, and a 16.6% line drive rate. That is very good. The Tigers also have a lineup that is very heavy with right-handed hitters. The only lefties in the lineup should be Jim Adduci, Andrew Romine, and the washed up Victor Martinez. There is a very clear path to where Berrios could succeed in this game. Now, let’s move to the bad things. Berrios simply hasn’t looked right for quite some time now, and he has only topped eight strikeouts once all season. That was about when the hype reached a fever pitch. There is tons of risk with him, and the Tigers have a relatively high implied team total here.

Quick Breakdown: The RH-heavy nature of the Detroit lineup makes this an interesting spot, but there are other pitchers that I prefer over Berrios on the early slate.

Jordan Zimmermann
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $7,000 Salary: $6,700 Salary:
Salary Rank: 18 of 30 Salary Rank: 17 of 30 Salary Rank: of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 18 4.81 4.87 14.7% 5.8% 43.1% 27.3% 18.5%
2017 21 5.03 5.35 15.9% 6.5% 33.0% 38.3% 14.0%
L30 4 4.82 3.33 15.1% 3.8% 32.1% 36.9% 14.3%

I love stacking against the current version of Jordan Zimmermann, so I would appreciate it if he would go back to being terrible again. He has somehow pitched seven innings in each of his last three starts, allowing just six total runs in that span. A lot of it is attributable to BABIP luck, as his xFIP numbers aren’t good in those starts, and he has just 10 strikeouts over those 21 innings. His ERA, xFIP, and SIERA are all still over 5.00 for the year. He’s just not a good pitcher anymore, and the Twins have been firing on all cylinders of late.

Quick Breakdown: Despite a few good outings recently, you can safely avoid Zimmermann in all formats.

Batter Grind Down

Minnesota

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Brian Dozier RIGHT 0.304 0.305 0.188 33.7% 9.4% 22.1% 39.2% 2B $3,900 2B $5,400 N/A N/A
2 Max Kepler LEFT 0.355 0.318 0.207 36.8% 9.0% 17.3% 39.8% OF $3,200 OF $4,600 N/A N/A
3 Miguel Sano RIGHT 0.352 0.353 0.235 45.7% 10.8% 36.1% 37.2% 3B $3,800 3B $4,900 N/A N/A
4 Joe Mauer LEFT 0.349 0.392 0.127 39.3% 13.3% 14.0% 47.7% 1B $3,000 1B $3,600 N/A N/A
5 Eddie Rosario LEFT 0.343 0.304 0.193 30.6% 7.1% 19.2% 41.9% OF $3,400 OF $4,700 N/A N/A
6 Robbie Grossman SWITCH 0.336 0.340 0.146 30.0% 14.0% 19.3% 43.0% OF $2,700 OF $3,700 N/A N/A
7 Byron Buxton RIGHT 0.257 0.244 0.103 26.0% 6.8% 33.5% 40.8% OF $2,500 OF $3,500 N/A N/A
8 Jason Castro LEFT 0.301 0.323 0.157 37.8% 11.9% 29.2% 37.8% C $2,700 C $2,900 N/A N/A
9 Jorge Polanco SWITCH 0.271 0.278 0.097 25.3% 9.0% 14.0% 40.7% SS $3,300 SS $3,800 N/A N/A

This is probably the most enticing stack on the early slate. The Twins have won six in a row, and this doesn’t seem to be the spot where they will slow down. Zimmermann has poor numbers against hitters from both sides of the plate, but he is particularly bad against lefties. He also allows a ton of fly balls and hard contact, so fire up any and all power hitters against him. That bodes well for Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier, even though they hit from the right side. Almost everyone is in play here. Max Kepler is red hot, and maybe even Joe Mauer can do something today!

Elite Plays – Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Brian Dozier, Eddie Rosario

Secondary Plays – Jason Castro, Joe Mauer

Stackability – GREEN / YELLOW

Detroit

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Ian Kinsler RIGHT 0.307 0.316 0.120 34.0% 10.3% 12.2% 33.2% 2B $3,500 2B $4,300 N/A N/A
2 Jim Adduci LEFT 0.330 0.346 0.188 52.2% 11.1% 25.0% 56.5% OF $2,400 OF $2,700 N/A N/A
3 Justin Upton RIGHT 0.357 0.352 0.232 43.0% 11.8% 28.7% 37.5% OF $3,800 OF $4,400 N/A N/A
4 Miguel Cabrera RIGHT 0.312 0.387 0.177 45.6% 10.2% 20.4% 41.9% 1B $3,400 1B $3,200 N/A N/A
5 Nick Castellanos RIGHT 0.294 0.336 0.145 46.1% 8.2% 26.0% 39.9% 3B $3,400 3B $4,400 N/A N/A
6 Victor Martinez SWITCH 0.296 0.363 0.129 42.4% 8.2% 14.0% 39.9% C $2,300 1B $2,400 N/A N/A
7 James McCann RIGHT 0.265 0.302 0.120 39.8% 7.2% 25.7% 38.1% C $2,100 C $2,400 N/A N/A
8 Andrew Romine LEFT 0.284 0.289 0.118 24.3% 6.5% 18.3% 44.0% OF $2,300 2B/OF $2,600 N/A N/A
9 Jose Iglesias RIGHT 0.284 0.251 0.105 30.8% 4.4% 14.6% 53.0% SS $2,500 SS $3,000 N/A N/A

The way to attack Berrios is through left-handed hitters, and the Tigers just don’t have many of those. I certainly don’t mind Jim Adduci hitting in the #2 spot as one of the best values on the early slate, and some of the RHBs bring some pop, but I’m still not super excited about Detroit in this spot. I respect Berrios enough to where I won’t pick on him too much, especially since Detroit doesn’t have a lot of dangerous lefties.

Elite Plays – Jim Adduci (value)

Secondary Plays – Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Andrew Romine

Stackability – ORANGE / YELLOW


San Francisco at Washington – 7:05 PM ET

San Francisco Washington
Chris Stratton Edwin Jackson
RIGHT RIGHT
Vegas Moneyline Vegas Over/Under
WAS -235 8.0
Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB% Stats wOBA xwOBA HC% BB% K% GB%
SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.417 0.334 20.0% 17.9% 8.9% 42.5% SP vs. Left (2016-17) 0.342 0.340 29.7% 12.4% 16.7% 39.3%
SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.305 0.374 31.5% 9.5% 17.6% 46.3% SP vs. Right (2016-17) 0.383 0.362 35.2% 8.0% 16.7% 39.4%

Pitcher Grind Down

Chris Stratton
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $5,500 Salary: $4,600 Salary: $9,000
Salary Rank: 29 of 30 Salary Rank: 29 of 30 Salary Rank: 21 of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 0 5.35 3.60 14.0% 11.6% 40.6% 18.8% 18.8%
2017 2 5.77 6.63 13.8% 13.8% 46.8% 30.7% 24.2%
L30 1 4.89 4.00 19.1% 11.9% 42.9% 32.1% 17.9%

This game is the start of the 11 game main slate on a Saturday night, so welcome to those of you who are reading for just the night games and skipped the early offerings! The San Francisco/Washington game was postponed after a lengthy rain delay on Friday, so we have the same pitchers going tonight that were originally scheduled for Friday. I agree with the thoughts that Notorious wrote in the Grind Down yesterday regarding these two pitchers and this matchup, so in lieu of reinventing the wheel, the analysis below is simply what he offered up on yesterday’s slate.

Stratton has not been sharp in his first two major league starts, posting a 5.77 SIERA with a walk rate (14%) that matches his strikeout rate (14%). He’s not considered a top pitching prospect and posted mediocre numbers at the Triple-A level earlier this season. He comes into tonight’s game as a large underdog against the Nationals, who are ranked second in team wOBA and eighth in strikeout rate against right-handed pitching this season.

Quick Breakdown: Stratton is a risky fantasy option with little to no upside.

Edwin Jackson
FanDuel DraftKings FantasyDraft
Salary: $6,700 Salary: $7,300 Salary: $14,400
Salary Rank: 22 of 30 Salary Rank: 12 of 30 Salary Rank: 8 of 30
Stats Starts SIERA ERA K% BB% GB% HC% SC%
2016 13 5.23 5.89 16.4% 11.0% 40.2% 33.3% 13.3%
2017 4 4.88 4.34 17.6% 7.2% 36.7% 30.9% 27.7%
L30 4 4.30 3.75 20.8% 5.2% 39.7% 32.4% 29.6%


This should be a fun game to watch because we have two of the worst pitchers in the slate squaring off. Jackson hasn’t been as bad as many of us have wanted him to be (because we stack against him), but he still has a high SIERA with a low strikeout rate. Even though the Giants are ranked dead last in team wOBA against right-handed pitching, they have one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball.

Quick Breakdown: Jackson may be a large favorite pitching at home, but I have zero interest in him tonight.

Batter Grind Down

San Francisco

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Denard Span LEFT 0.346 0.337 0.188 26.4% 6.1% 11.8% 38.2% OF $2,300 OF $3,200 CF $6,400
2 Ryder Jones LEFT 0.128 0.181 0.000 10.0% 3.8% 19.2% 30.0% 1B $2,100 1B/3B $2,000 3B $4,000
3 Jarrett Parker LEFT 0.306 0.282 0.185 31.3% 6.9% 37.9% 50.0% OF $2,100 OF $3,000 LF $6,000
4 Buster Posey RIGHT 0.353 0.370 0.122 31.0% 10.2% 11.3% 43.5% C $2,600 1B/C $3,500 C $6,800
5 Pablo Sandoval SWITCH 0.300 0.346 0.183 44.4% 7.8% 22.2% 47.6% 3B $2,200 3B $3,100 3B $6,000
6 Hunter Pence RIGHT 0.272 0.269 0.097 28.0% 4.7% 22.5% 61.0% OF $2,400 OF $3,300 RF $6,400
7 Brandon Crawford LEFT 0.261 0.293 0.129 32.7% 6.1% 21.4% 50.5% SS $2,100 SS $2,800 SS $5,600
8 Joe Panik LEFT 0.310 0.300 0.149 27.0% 7.8% 10.2% 41.9% 2B $2,400 2B $2,900 2B $5,700
9 Jeff Samardzija RIGHT 0.165 0.195 0.133 22.7% 0.0% 31.3% 60.0% P $8,300 P $7,400 P $14,700

We have conflicted DFS strategies with the Giants. While I love to stack against Edwin Jackson, I hate to target a Giants’ offense that doesn’t hit home runs and that is ranked dead last in team wOBA against right-handed pitching this season. As I mentioned earlier, we can afford to be picky in a 15-game slate, so my approach will likely be to avoid both sides of this equation. With that said, Jackson has struggled with batters from both side of the plate in his career, so if you like a hitter or two from this lineup, don’t let me talk you off of them.

Elite Plays – None

Secondary Plays – Denard Span, Ryder Jones, Jarrett Parker, Buster Posey

Stackability – ORANGE / YELLOW

Washington

Projected Lineup (Splits vs. RH Pitching)

# Player Bats wOBA xwOBA ISO HC% BB% K% GB% FD Pos. FD Sal. DK Pos. DK Sal. FDRFT Pos. FDRFT Sal.
1 Brian Goodwin LEFT 0.310 0.309 0.242 33.3% 9.1% 24.0% 40.1% OF $3,400 OF $4,400 RF $8,400
2 Wilmer Difo SWITCH 0.266 0.278 0.078 21.2% 8.1% 20.6% 56.5% SS $3,200 2B/SS $3,700 2B $7,200
3 Bryce Harper LEFT 0.459 0.436 0.348 36.4% 16.8% 17.1% 36.4% OF $5,000 OF $5,500 RF $10,800
4 Ryan Zimmerman RIGHT 0.381 0.374 0.252 40.5% 6.5% 21.4% 47.7% 1B $3,400 1B $4,600 1B $8,800
5 Daniel Murphy LEFT 0.403 0.375 0.261 35.4% 8.0% 8.6% 32.5% 2B $3,300 2B $5,000 2B $9,900
6 Anthony Rendon RIGHT 0.392 0.368 0.238 33.6% 14.3% 14.3% 36.5% 3B $3,000 3B $4,600 3B $8,800
7 Adam Lind LEFT 0.369 0.375 0.234 40.5% 7.6% 15.3% 45.0% OF $2,200 1B/OF $3,000 1B $6,000
8 Matt Wieters SWITCH 0.278 0.294 0.123 31.9% 6.4% 20.1% 39.6% C $2,900 C $3,400 C $6,600
9 Max Scherzer RIGHT 0.227 0.212 0.000 18.9% 8.3% 14.6% 75.0% P $11,800 P $14,000 P $27,300

The Nationals currently have one of the highest implied run totals on this slate (I had to edit this part because Noto referenced last night’s totals, so this is proof that I read what Notorious wrote. Also, as a side note, I just noticed that he writes “in this slate” whereas I write “on this slate.” That is fascinating. Which is more correct in your opinion? I need some reader opinions here.) Anyway, back to the analysis we go. Washington’s matchup against Chris Stratton is certainly one that we can exploit. He had subpar numbers in the minors this season and has struggled in his first two major league starts as well. The one through seven hitters are all viable tonight (assuming Adam Lind bats seventh) and a Nationals’ stack is firmly in play as well.

Elite Plays – Brian Goodwin, Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy

Secondary Plays – Wilmer Difo or Adrian Sanchez, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Adam Lind

Stackability – GREEN


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About the Author

  • Justin Van Zuiden (stlcardinals84)

  • Justin Van Zuiden (fantasy alias STLCardinals84) is a leading RG contributor for NFL, NBA, MLB, CFB and golf. One of the game’s best, he is currently in the Top 10 in the 2015/16 Tournament Player of the Year race and has six live final appearances to his name, as well as a second place finish in the 2015 FantasyAces College Football Championship..

    STLCardinals84

Comments

  • Scital

    I seriously repeated it to myself about 100x. It seems equally right lol – You and Noto just rock.

  • LuckyLuc3434

    They both work, I’d go with ‘in this slate’ if I had to choose.

  • Dot

    It’s the same. If I had to side , 51/49 on this slate

  • teljeurboy

    I use them both but would think “on the slate” would be the correct choice simply because I’d imagine that if you go way back to the invention of the phrase it was referring to something being physically written on a slate. Hard to write in a slate methinks.

  • jcottenttu

    on this slate

  • Josh_Dunville

    during

  • Mwolverine78

    Posey should be an elite play at $2600

  • Mpeter185

    The Grammar Police would probably side with you.

  • Kleppy12

    It depends on the way you word the sentence but both can be equally correct.

  • Mwolverine78

    @Mpeter185 said...

    The Grammar Police would probably side with you.

    Lol

  • CheeseIsGood

    RG MLB Contributor

    • 270

      RG Overall Ranking

      RG Overall Ranking
    • x2

      $1M Prize Winner

      $1M Prize Winner
    • x2

      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

      DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    ON THE SLATE!

  • Ndflamer

    “As of this date” or “how do you rate” or “I don’t want to cause a spate” , but my fav is “hey, I didn’t mean to make you irate!”

  • Marauder181

    On this slate refers would refer to something written down on a tablet. Since you can’t write inside, go for on.

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