Matt Harvey wasn’t awful in his first start for the Orioles (4.2 IP – 2 ER – 0 HR – 1 BB – 4 K – 21 BF) and that’s the most praise you’re going to get at this point. We’re talking about a pitcher who hasn’t had an ERA below 4.86 since 2015 and has exceeded a 7.7 K-BB% just once since 2016. He didn’t allow a Barrel in that first start either (16 BBE), despite a 90.2 mph EV. 2017 was the last time he had an EV below 90 mph. Batters from either side of the plate are above a .350 wOBA and xwOBA against Harvey since 2019. He is the pitcher to attack on this slate outside of Coors (and perhaps including it). While the absence of Xander Bogaerts weakens stacks, it’s not substantial, as just two of nine batters are below a 100 wRC+ vs RHP since 2019. It simply makes them more affordable with the removal of an expensive bat. Christian Vazquez moves up to the middle of the lineup and while he’s expensive (over $5K on DraftKings), he costs less than half of that on FanDuel, where Alex Verdugo is less than $3K as well.
Tyler Anderson probably deserves a bit more on his strikeout rate (15.8%, 10.1 SwStr%), but still had non-FIP estimators a run and a half above his 4.37 ERA last year. Statcast was a bit more sympathetic (4.77 xERA, .321 xwOBA) due to just 5.8% Barrels/BBE (86.8 mph EV). In his first start, also against the Cubs, he produced seven strikeouts on 23 swings and misses over 91 pitches in addition to an 86.6 mph EV on batted balls. He threw a lot of cutters (36.3%), burying them down and in against RHBs and complemented them with four seamers up and changeups away. The heat maps of his first start are truly things of beauty, but perhaps not something he can keep up on a consistent basis. Also of note, the spin rate was up significantly on most of his pitches. Other points of interest are that current Cubs combine for a .252 xwOBA and 27.3 K% over 77 PAs and that Pittsburgh greatly diminishes RH power. While the top half of the Cubs’ lineup is tough (three batters above a 120 wRC+, .200 ISO vs LHP since 2019), the bottom half includes three players below a 75 wRC+ against southpaws in addition to the pitcher’s spot. At just $6.6K on DraftKings, Anderson is the most interesting secondary piece if paying up for Corbin Burnes or Jose Berrios today.
Every player in the Mets’ lineup has at least a 99 wRC+ vs RHP since 2019 and five of the first six (Lindor is the exception) are above a 120 wRC+. Jonathan Villlar is the only batter in the lineup below a .180 ISO. Nick Neidert, who Fangraphs projects with a 45 Future Value grade with back end of the rotation upside, has faced just 34 major league batters. His 41 AAA innings in 2019 produced just an 8.0 K-BB%. This is a spot to jump on some of those affordable Mets bats, particularly Brandon Nimmo, who continues to be an on-base machine and is within $400 of $3K on either site. We’re not generally looking for walks from our DFS lineups, but those could turn into runs, which have more value at a low price.
Lucas Giolito is your top pitching option on Tuesday night. While there are a few comparable pitchers at the top of the board tonight, a couple of factors tip the scales in Giolito’s favor. First, he looked exceptional in his first outing. His velocity was up nearly a mile per hour (94.9), while he struck out eight of 20 Angels with a 19.5 SwStr%. While Tyler Glasnow looked great as well, Giolito did this against a good, contact prone offense, while Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish struggled. Of course, Kershaw was at Coors, but his velocity was down and he doesn’t have an easy matchup tonight, while Darvish should bounce back, but faces a contact prone Giants’ lineup.
The second factor in Giolito’s favor is the matchup. The Mariners strike out a ton and play in a negative run environment. Lastly, consider that Giolito is the third most expensive on either site. Glasnow is $200 cheaper on DraftKings, but pitches at Fenway (and is still a fine choice by the way), while Kershaw is $600 less on FanDuel. A possible Cy Young contender in a great matchup as only the third most expensive pitcher makes for tonight’s top pitching choice.
From a run prevention standpoint, German Marquez allowed the Dodgers only one over four innings at Coors on Opening Day. That may seem like a success, but he also walked six and generated just a 5.4 SwStr%. Nine of 13 batted balls were on the ground though. Let’s not hold one start against the best offense in the worst park against him too long, but Coors has always caused problems, despite a career 17.2 K-BB%. Despite no split in FIP and even a lower career xFIP at home, his ERA is half a run and his wOBA 50 points higher at Coors. The conditions are a concern tonight. In fact, it might be an optimal night to fade Coors altogether…except for one key bat. And that bad belongs to Ketel Marte. Marte punished the baseball in March and continued his assault on San Diego pitching to start the season (340 wRC+). Even with last year’s struggle, he still has a 134 wRC+ and .217 ISO vs RHP since 2019. LHBs have a .323 wOBA, but .351 xwOBA against Marquez since 2019 as well. The key here is that Marte is not priced up for Coors on DraftKings, at an affordable $4.6K. Keep an eye on the forecast and if it looks like this game is more likely to play than not, Marte is the bat you need in your lineups.
Adbert Alzolay started throwing a slider over his last two outings last year and the development of the third pitch beside his fastball and curveball may have helped him earn a rotation spot. He struck out 29 of 87 batters last year, but with just a 10.7 SwStr%, while also walking 13. He struck out 32% in 15 AAA starts in 2019 too though. His spring training was a bit of a train wreck, allowing nine earned runs over 7.2 innings. The Cubs seem to see the upside here though. Small sample size alert, but LHBs smashed him since his callup (.355 wOBA, .357 xwOBA). While the Brewers don’t have a lot of LH bats, the few they do have are interesting tonight. There weren’t a ton of runs scored last night, but the ball left the yard several times under similar weather conditions. The elements add up for Milwaukee LHBs to have some success here at likely low ownership. Consider that Christian Yelich still has a 159 wRC+ and .306 ISO vs RHP since 2019, despite his struggles since last season. Much more affordably though, are Kolten Wong (105 wRC+ vs RHP since 2019) atop the lineup and Omar Narvaez (113 wRC+), who has started the season with a 223 wRC+ and costs less than $3K on either site. In fact, aside from Yelich, the Brewers offer a cheap stacking opportunity for those paying up for pitching tonight.
Martin Perez has increased his strikeout rate to around 18% each of the last two years, which still isn’t much, especially with last year’s 10.7 BB%, but the Red Sox brought him back anyway, despite not clearing a 4.50 ERA in any of the last four seasons. His only usefulness is in an 86.2 mph EV since 2019, but even then, his ground ball rate dropped to 38.5% last year, resulting in 14 Barrrels in 62 innings last year. Luckily for him, only eight of those left the yard or the results would have been even worse. Difficult to see what Boston sees in him. There are plenty of strikeouts in this Tampa Bay lineup, but some right-handed thump as well. Against RHBs, Perez has allowed a .344 wOBA since 2019. While Manuel Margot hasn’t typically been one of those sluggers (.129 ISO vs LHP since 2019), he does have a 125 wRC+ vs LHP over that span. He also hit five HRs last post-season and has started the 2021 season with a 220 wRC+. Perhaps he’s ready to take his game to the next level. Regardless, he may be one of the better values on the board tonight, projected in the leadoff spot, as he could be on base when the more expensive thump behind him comes to the plate.
Jose Quintana pitched just 10 innings over four outings last year and comes to Los Angeles after a 4.68 ERA in 2019 with a matching 4.57 xERA and 4.50 SIERA. He has a career 21 K%, but has cleared 22% just once in his career. He also has a career 8.4 SwStr%, but has only matched that mark once in his last four seasons. In 2018, he had a matching xERA and SIERA. The trajectory seems to be slowly downward with his last above average was in 2017 and even then, his ERA and xERA slightly exceeded four. It’s difficult to believe that he’ll be able to turn it around and become anything much more than that this point in his career. Even worse news, Quintana has particularly struggled against RHBs since 2019 (.333 wOBA), The Houston lineup is projected to include four batters above a 125 wRC+ against LHP since 2019 and three above a .250 ISO. We know about the damage Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman inflict on southpaws, but Yuli Gurriel (126 wRC+, .259 ISO since 2019) may be the value play here, costing at least $1K less on each site.
Brett Anderson looks like the kind of pitcher you want to attack on the surface. RHBs have a .325 woBA and .364 xwOBA against him since 2019 and he had just a 15.8 K% last year, which is in line with his career rate. And while there are some additional things we should consider while rostering Chicago bats here, including Anderson’s heavy ground ball lean (51.4% vs RHBs, higher vs LHBs last year), his likely smaller workload and Milwaukee’s great bullpen and strong defense, the weather at Wrigley tonight just demands your attention. Winds are blowing out to left-center, further favoring RHBs, and those who have access to Weather Edge (premium subscription required) are seeing some eye popping numbers. Despite overall struggles in recent seasons, Kris Bryant has still brought the hammer against southpaws with a 163 wRC+ and .299 ISO vs LHP since 2019. He’s also started the season hot with a 230 wRC+ against Pittsburgh pitching this weekend.
Matt Moore pitched just 10 innings in 2019 before spending last year in Japan. Once a top three prospect along with a couple of guys named Trout and Harper, Moore has disappointed with just a 20.7 K% and 4.51 ERA in 894.2 major league innings. It’s been reported that he was occasionally hitting 95 mph in Japan, maintaining an average velocity around 93 mph with 98 strikeouts in 65 innings (2.65 ERA). That said, the Mets pounded LHP last year (115) and all they’ve done is add Francisco Lindor and James McCann to that lineup. Moore doesn’t have much of a split. Batters from the left side have a .334 wOBA against and .324 from the right side over his career. The entire projected Mets lineup is above a 100 wRC+ against RHP and Lindor is the only RHB below a .200 ISO. The park plays very generously to RH power. Of course, your top target is Pete Alonso (126 wRC+, .309 ISO career vs LHP), who absolutely stung the ball this spring as he looks to rebound from a sophomore slump.
Teams are generally more cautious with starting pitchers in early April, but the much smaller workloads may increase that cautiousness, especially in terms of younger pitchers or for those teams who expect to contend for post-season positions. There are a lot of innings to cover and nobody threw more than 80 of them last year. We saw this play out over the weekend as teams had incredibly quick hooks and looking at today’s board, it could be a lot more of the same. In fact, with most teams towards the back of their rotations now, we’re likely to see a lot of bullpens today, something players need not only consider when selecting pitchers, but hitters as well. The Rays seem to be prone to piggybacking starters after Glasnow and Adrian Morejon didn’t exceed 11 batters in four starts last year. While they are most likely to pull their starters very early tonight, it’s really almost the entire slate we have to be concerned about in terms of workload. The Dodgers are famous for pitcher conservation and Dustin May is unlikely to break the mold in his first start. In fact, Jacob deGrom is likely to be the only pitcher we shouldn’t worry about and that still only probably means around six innings.
DeGrom is widely considered the best pitcher in baseball. He had a 32.1 K-BB% last year and did not allow more than three ERs in any of his 12 starts. His 2.38 ERA was within a half run of all of his estimators, the largest of which was a 2.74 xERA, which is still the top number on the board. The only concern we should have is the possible disruption of his routine this weekend. Of course, the issue is that deGrom costs nearly $4K more than any other pitcher on FanDuel and almost $2K more on DraftKings. Everyone is going to be on him and for good reason. He’s nearly impossible to completely fade tonight. Utilizing anyone else (and on DraftKings you have to) means you’re looking to catch lightening in a bottle for a few innings and Nick Pivetta may be your best bet for that. He could get completely torched by the Rays, but they also have some enormous projected strikeouts rates in that lineup, only two below 23%. Pivetta costs less than $7K on either site.
Andrew Heaney struck out a quarter of the batters he faced last year (25.1%) and his 12.3 HR/FB was a career low for any season in which he’s thrown more than six innings. The problem is that he’s a fly ball pitcher (38.8 GB% career) with a tendency for hard contact (89 mph EV). He’s allowed 85 HRs in 504.2 innings. It’s a bigger problem that he’s facing the White Sox (143 wRC+, 22.1 HR/FB vs LHP last year). Eloy Jimenez may be gone, but there’s still plenty of RH power in this lineup. While each of the first five batters in the projected lineup are above a .325 wOBA and .170 ISO against LHP since 2019, the real surprise is that there are not a lot of strikeouts in this lineup either. Only Yasmani Grandal (23.6%) and Yoan Moncada (30.6%) are above a 20 K% against southpaws over this span. This could potentially mean a lot of hard contact in the air. Tim Anderson leads the assault on southpaws with a .422 wOBA and .264 ISO against LHP since 2019. On a slate where the only hitter friendly park on the entire slate is Coors, players may be able to gain some leverage on Dodger stacks with some White Sox in their lineup.
The good news is that Trevor Bauer will make his Dodger debut against one of the worst teams in baseball. The bad news is that he’ll do so at Coors. Let’s just go ahead and admit the .215 BABIP and 90.9 LOB% are completely unsustainable to start with. That said, his 3.25 xFIP was his only estimator above three, bested by a 2.18 xERA. His 36 K% was a career high by more than five points, his 29.9 K-BB% by exactly seven.
Coors will be a more interesting atmosphere this year because the home team may be so bad that it still pays to roster opposing pitchers. Four of the first six batters in the projected lineup exceed a 27 K% vs RHP since last season. But that also doesn’t mean you don’t want to roster potentially cheap Colorado hitters at home either. Sam Hilliard may be the most interesting target there. He costs just $2.3K on DraftKings with a .284 ISO against them in 83 PAs since last season, according to PlateIQ. In the end, Bauer is still probably a pitcher you want to roster here (especially in GPPs) due to the upside. No other pitcher on the board was within five points of his K% last year. While it’s close between and Blake Snell for the top spot tonight, the fact that he’s the most expensive pitcher on the board and pitching in Coors will likely give Bauer the lower ownership rate.
Antonio Senzatela barely exceeds a 13 K% over 198 innings since 2019. He does keep the ball on the ground (50.6 career GB%), but his 3.44 ERA last year was a fluke (.268 BABIP, 79.6 LOB%). His best estimator was a 4.52 DRA. The ground ball rate is nice and led to just 5.4% Barrels/BBE, but when you miss so few bats, there are still going to be plenty of batted balls with some launch. Senzatela, surprisingly held the Dodgers to two or fewer runs in two of his three starts against them last year, but allowed four HRs in the other, which was on the road. Theoretically, the Dodgers should punish Senzatela in this spot. Each of the first six batters in the projected lineup exceed a 120 wRC+ with only Justin Turner (.175) below a .200 ISO. Batters from either side of the plate are above a .330 wOBA and xwOBA against Senzatela since 2019. Will Smith may be one of the top values on the board on FanDuel, where he costs a moderate $3.4K. Rostering a lower cost, high upside pitcher like Pablo Lopez, might help make a Dodger stack more affordable.
Pablo Lopez has increased his K-BB from 11.3% to 14.5% to 17.1% in his three seasons in the majors. Of course, that still only amounts to 227.1 innings, which is a single season for a workhorse pitcher, but he’s also increased his velocity around half a mile per hour each season too with 49.3% of his contact on the ground and just an 87.1 mph EV. While the Rays boast a quality offense, according to PlateIQ, six batters in the projected lineup have struck out at least 27% of the time against RHP since last season and that’s not even counting the pitcher’s spot. Lopez has a 17.2 K-BB% and 7.4 HR/FB at home since 2019 with an xFIP at 3.00. In a high upside spot, Lopez costs less than $8K on either site. In fact, there are only five pitchers cheaper on DraftKings.