MLB Grind Down: Thursday, September 19th
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.
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BLUE – One of the top stacks of the slate.
GREEN – A full stack is viable in GPPs.
YELLOW – Not the best stack, but hitters are in play.
ORANGE – Tread lightly, but potentially target a hitter or two.
RED – Fade this offense in all formats.
Philadelphia at Atlanta – 12:10 PM ET
There are nine games on the schedule this fine Thursday and once again the sites couldn’t agree on the slate sizes. While FanDuel and DraftKings are both offering a three-game early slate, the former has four games in their main slate and the latter has five. We start with the Phillies and Braves, two teams that still have something to play for. Atlanta essentially has their division wrapped up, while Philadelphia is still fighting for a wild card berth.
For a three-game slate, we actually have quite a few enticing pitchers taking the mound. Nola has pitched well in 32 starts this season, posting a 4.11 SIERA with a strikeout rate of 27% and a walk rate of 9%. While a matchup against the Braves looks awful on paper, he has average 20 fantasy points (DK scoring) in five starts against them this season. He’s the most expensive pitcher of the slate, which could help lower ownership.
Quick Breakdown: Nola has a tough matchup on the road against the Braves, but he’s firmly in play for tournaments.
Soroka should be one of the most popular pitching options of the early slate. He’s considerably cheaper than Aaron Nola and he’s a sizable favorite pitching at home. On the season, Soroka owns a 2.57 ERA (4.32 SIERA) with a strikeout rate of 20%, a walk rate of 6%, and a ground ball rate of 52%. He’s one of the only pitchers in baseball that I expect to sustain a lower ERA than SIERA given his ability to throw strikes and induce ground balls. He draws a mediocre matchup against the Phillies, whose projected lineup has an average xwOBA of .308 with an average k-rate of 23% against right-handed pitching.
Quick Breakdown: Dollar for dollar, Soroka might be the top pitching option of the early slate.
Batter Grind Down
There aren’t many exploitable matchups for batters in the three-game early slate. The Phillies have a low implied total, as they are facing a ground ball pitcher on the road in a somewhat pitcher-friendly ballpark. On the season, Mike Soroka has held both left and right-handed hitters under a .150 ISO. He’s held righties to a .271 xwOBA with a 57% ground ball rate. I’m not excited about the idea of rostering any Phillies’ hitters, but Cesar Hernandez (.314 xwOBA) and Bryce Harper (.379 xwOBA) are viable in tournaments.
Elite Plays – None
Stackability – ORANGE
The Braves are in the same boat as the Phillies, but at least they are playing at home. A matchup against Aaron Nola is never ideal for fantasy production. He has above-average ground ball (50%) and strikeout (27%) rates and has held both left and right-handed hitters under a .315 xwOBA this season. This isn’t an offense that I’m looking to load up on, but Ronald Acuna (.379 xwOBA), Freddie Freeman (.415 xwOBA) , Josh Donaldson (.388 xwOBA) , and Nick Markakis (.371 xwOBA) are viable in tournaments.
Elite Plays – None
Stackability – ORANGE