MLB Grind Down: Thursday, April 17th

The RotoGrinders MLB Grind Down article will give you an in-depth analysis into the 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: Any Fantasy Point Average Listed Uses FanDuel Scoring. For more info on FanDuel’s MLB Scoring System,check out the scoring systems section of our FanDuel Review

Atlanta at Philadelphia

Atlanta Philadelphia
Alex Wood Vegas Moneyline A.J. Burnett Vegas Over/Under
LEFT ATL (-120) RIGHT 7.5
Stats Avg OPS wOBA K% Stats Avg OPS wOBA K%
SP vs. Left 0.250 0.568 0.263 28.6% SP vs. Left 0.267 0.727 0.342 21.2%
SP vs. Right 0.251 0.669 0.302 20.4% SP vs. Right 0.203 0.542 0.244 29.0%
Batter Splits ATL BvP pop up 2 ATL vs R pop up 2 Batter Splits PHI BvP pop up 2 PHI vs L pop up 2
Batter Split Links Above Open In Pop-Up Window

Pitcher Grind Down

  • Alex Wood – In his first 3 starts of the season, Wood has posted a 1.89 ERA with 17 K’s over 19 innings pitched. He is looking to build on his very promising rookie campaign last season. Wood faced this Pirates team once last season, but it was in relief. Wood has a decent K-rate and will be pitching in Citizens Bank Park which is one of the more pitcher friendly ballparks in baseball. He’s not a top option, but he’s not the worst either. Rating = 5
  • A.J. Burnett – Burnett has been a little rusty in his first 3 starts with the Phillies. He has already given up 14 walks this season and hasn’t pitched more than 6 innings in any single start. His strikeout numbers are also down a little bit, but I think that’s just an aberration more than anything else. Last season Burnett had a K/9 of 9.8. Burnett held RH batters to a .242 wOBA last season so if he can pitch around Heyward and Freeman, he should have his best outing of the season. Rating = 6

Batter Grind Down


  • Freddie Freeman – As mentioned above, Burnett gives up a .342 wOBA and an OPS of .727 to LH batters. He is extremely efficient against RH hitters so make sure to target the Braves’ bats that hit from the left side of the plate. Freeman has a .507 wOBA this season with a 1.21 OPS. Most of that damage has come against RH pitching.


  • Chase Utley – Even though this is a lefty/lefty matchup, I expect Utley to stay hot against Wood. He is batting .449 on the season and is 8/17 with 2 HR’s off of LH pitching this season.

Cleveland at Detroit

Cleveland Detroit
Danny Salazar Vegas Moneyline Justin Verlander Vegas Over/Under
RIGHT DET (-154) RIGHT 7.5
Stats Avg OPS wOBA K% Stats Avg OPS wOBA K%
SP vs. Left 0.226 0.596 0.271 29.9% SP vs. Left 0.230 0.641 0.288 23.3%
SP vs. Right 0.248 0.789 0.343 28.4% SP vs. Right 0.279 0.740 0.329 21.5%
Batter Splits CLE BvP pop up 2 CLE vs R pop up 2 Batter Splits DET BvP pop up 2 DET vs R pop up 2
Batter Split Links Above Open In Pop-Up Window

Pitcher Grind Down

  • Danny Salazar – Salazar has struck out 14 batters in his first two starts this season, but has only managed to pitched 9 and 1/3 innings. It’s a very small sample size, but his ERA this season is 6.75 with a WHIP of 1.98. Salazar is an electric young pitcher that has the potential to post double-digit strikeouts, but faces a tough Tigers offense in Comerica Park tonight. With his struggles to start the season combined with the fact that Verlander is pitching opposite him, he is a tournament play at best. Rating = 4
  • Justin Verlander – Verlander is coming off of his best start this season. While he gave up 8 hits against the Padres, he only gave up 2 earned runs and struck out 8 batters in 7 innings of work. Verlander had nice success against this Indians lineup last season as he posted a 3.38 ERA with a K/9 of 9.8 in 5 starts against them. His slow starts the last couple of years is a bit concerning, but I think he pitches well here and picks up the W. Rating = 8

Batter Grind Down


  • Even though Verlander has looked very hittable in the early going this season, targeting batters against one of the best pitchers in baseball is typically not a winning strategy. I would much rather be on the Verlander side of this matchup.
  • Additional Plays: None


  • Miguel Cabrera – Miggy’s price is very affordable across the industry and it’s not going to stay that way for much longer. Last season Salazar gave up a .343 wOBA to RH batters and Miggy should be able to take advantage here. Miggy hit for a .341 average with an OPS of 1.04 against RH pitching last season.

Toronto at Minnesota (Game 1)

Toronto Minnesota
R.A. Dickey Vegas Moneyline Kyle Gibson Vegas Over/Under
RIGHT TOR (-141) RIGHT 8.0
Stats Avg OPS wOBA K% Stats Avg OPS wOBA K%
SP vs. Left 0.251 0.748 0.330 17.6% SP vs. Left 0.341 0.854 0.387 9.1%
SP vs. Right 0.232 0.674 0.307 20.2% SP vs. Right 0.307 0.848 0.379 16.8%
Batter Splits TOR BvP pop up 2 TOR vs R pop up 2 Batter Splits MIN BvP pop up 2 MIN vs R pop up 2
Batter Split Links Above Open In Pop-Up Window

Pitcher Grind Down

  • R.A. Dickey – Dickey’s season is taking a very similar path to that of last season. He has given up at least 5 earned runs in 2 starts and threw a 7 inning shutout in his other start. Consistency and command are two of his biggest problems. He either seems to pitch great or get blown up and there are rarely performances in between. The Twins have actually scored the 5th most runs this season and I’m not a huge fan of the knuckle-baller today. Rating = 5
  • Kyle Gibson – Gibson has pitched well in his first two starts this season, but his ERA isn’t quite indicative of how he has pitched. He has given up at least 3 hits and 4 walks in each start and has yet to strike out more than 3 batters. He has very limited upside thanks to his low K-rate and he has a tough matchup against a Blue Jays lineup that is finally starting to hit it’s stride. Rating = 3

Batter Grind Down


  • Jose Bautista – Bautista loves Target Field. He has 10 career HR’s there in only 12 games played. Gibson gave up a .379 wOBA with an OPS of .848 to RH batters last season. It may not be a bad idea to employ a mini Blue Jays stack here.


  • Joe Mauer – Last season Dickey gave up a .330 wOBA to LH batters last season and has already given up at least 5 earned runs in 2 of his first 3 starts. Mauer hits for a very high average against RH pitching (.324 last season).

Seattle at Texas

Seattle Texas
Erasmo Ramirez Vegas Moneyline Tanner Scheppers Vegas Over/Under
RIGHT TEX (-118) RIGHT 9.0
Stats Avg OPS wOBA K% Stats Avg OPS wOBA K%
SP vs. Left 0.299 0.817 0.362 16.1% SP vs. Left 0.258 0.669 0.312 18.4%
SP vs. Right 0.240 0.684 0.309 19.4% SP vs. Right 0.219 0.585 0.287 18.1%
Batter Splits SEA BvP pop up 2 SEA vs R pop up 2 Batter Splits TEX BvP pop up 2 TEX vs R pop up 2
Batter Split Links Above Open In Pop-Up Window

Pitcher Grind Down

  • Erasmo Ramirez – After a quality start against the Angels in his first start of the season, Ramirez has given up 8 earned runs in his last two starts and has walked 6 batters in that stretch. He’s not going to get away with that tonight against the Rangers. While last night’s game in Arlington was a pitcher’s duel, tonight should be the opposite with these two pitchers on the mound. This game features one of the highest run totals on the schedule and Ramirez should be avoided in all leagues. Rating = 2
  • Tanner Scheppers – In 3 starts this season Scheppers has a 7.88 ERA with a 1.62 WHIP. The Mariners are one of the best teams in baseball against RH pitching and have LH batters littered throughout their lineup. Not only is this a bad matchup for the young RH pitcher, but this game will be played in Globe Life Park which is one of the more hitter-friendly ballparks in all of baseball. Rating = 3

Batter Grind Down


  • Robinson Cano – Cano has yet to hit a HR this season, but that could very well change today against Scheppers and the Rangers. Scheppers is giving up an OPS of .863 to LH batters this season and Cano should see plenty of RBI opportunities batting 3rd.


  • Shin-Soo Choo – Employing a Rangers mini-stack looks like a good route to take today. Erasmo has really struggled in his last two starts and does not fare well against LH batters. Last season he gave up a .362 wOBA and an OPS of .817 to LH batters.

LA Dodgers at San Francisco

LA Dodgers San Francisco
Hyun-Jin Ryu Vegas Moneyline Madison Bumgarner Vegas Over/Under
LEFT SFG (-115) LEFT 7.0
Stats Avg OPS wOBA K% Stats Avg OPS wOBA K%
SP vs. Left 0.266 0.714 0.319 18.6% SP vs. Left 0.178 0.506 0.232 35.4%
SP vs. Right 0.246 0.633 0.286 20.3% SP vs. Right 0.218 0.598 0.277 22.1%
Batter Splits LAD BvP pop up 2 LAD vs L pop up 2 Batter Splits SFG BvP pop up 2 SFG vs L pop up 2
Batter Split Links Above Open In Pop-Up Window

Pitcher Grind Down

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu – If you take out his first start against the Giants, Ryu has thrown 14 scoreless innings and has struck out 15 batters. Ryu posted a 3.69 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP in 15 road starts last season. The issue here is that he has to face this Giants lineup again. While I do think he will fare much better than he did the first time around, he’s not my favorite cash game play with Bumgarner pitching opposite him. Rating = 6
  • Madison Bumgarner – Bumgarner is dominant at AT&T Park. In 13 home starts last season he posted a 2.33 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.4. He has also had success against the Dodgers with an ERA just over 3.00 in his last 5 starts against them. I wish he was a bigger favorite, but I still think he makes a great cash game play. Rating = 8

Batter Grind Down

LA Dodgers

  • I’m avoiding all Dodgers bats today. Bumgarner has pitched well against this lineup and dominates opponents at AT&T Park.
  • Additional Plays: None

San Francisco

  • Buster Posey – Posey hits LH pitching as well as anyone and has hits well at home. There are probably better value at the Catcher position, but if you are looking to spend, Posey is a terrific option.
  • Additional Plays: None

MLB Grind Down Page 1Page 2

About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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