Atlanta @ Colorado the only full YELLOW grade in tonight's forecast
The only game with a modicum of concern in Kevin's late forecast is in Colorado tonight. It's given the only full YELLOW grade, though major issues are not currently expected between the Braves and the Rockies. Kevin points out a few other games where rain shouldn't impact play along with the wind blowing in at Wrigley, which could make Kyle Hendricks or Luis Castillo more attractive. Players can read the full report on the Weather page and catch Kevin after 6pm ET in Expert Chat for updates.
Nolan Arenado (206 wRC+, .411 ISO vs LHP this year) is tonight's top projected batter
Nolan Arenado is tonight's top projected batter (RotoGrinders Player Projections) at home against a lefty. He has a 206 wRC+ and .411 ISO against LHP this year with a 49.5% fly ball rate and 35.4 Hard%. Sean Newcomb has allowed RHBs just a .312 wOBA and 27.4 Hard%, his largest flaw, a 14.3 BB% with the platoon disadvantage. Cody Bellinger is the best projected bat in a great spot at home against a contact prone fly ball pitcher (Miguel Gonzalez). Nelson Cruz rounds out the top three. He has a 283 wRC+ with five HRs over the last week and faces Wade Miley. Charlie Blackmon makes it a pair of Rockies in the top 10, while Cleveland has quite a few batters projected highly (Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez, Jay Bruce, Francisco Lindor) against Bartolo Colon. Among those projected for at least seven points on either site, projections see another Tribe bat, Jason Kipnis, as the top value (2.68 Pt/$/K on FD, 4.08 Pt/$/K on DK). Kipnis hasn't looked himself this season (74 wRC+, .164 ISO vs RHP) as he's dealt with injuries. LHBs have a 41.9 Hard% and 36.4 GB% against Colon this season.
Both Charlie Blackmon & Freddie Freeman have a .250+ ISO vs LHP this year
The Rockies are once again implied for the highest total on the board (6.22), although why an offense with just an 88 wRC+ at home, 96 wRC+ vs LHP and potentially without Nolan Arenado again is consistently projected above six runs is perplexing, as they are generally not a much better offense than the visiting team. Atlanta has a 91 wRC+ on the road and 99 wRC+ vs LHP, but are implied for an entire run less (5.28), though without their top RH bat as well. The most interesting aspect of this game might be the desirability of both team's top bats, both left-handed against left-handed pitchers tonight. Charlie Blackmon (142 wRC+, .260 ISO) and Freddie Freeman (116 wRC+, .250 ISO) have both hit LHP well this year. LHBs have a .358 wOBA against Sean Newcomb, but that appears to be mostly BABIP luck related (.383) considering a 39.1 LD% on just a 29.2% hard hit rate with one HR. Pitchers generally don't see their BABIP improve at Coors, but you generally don't see line drive rates higher than hard hit rates either. Overall, batters from both side do have an 87.7 mph aEV against Newcomb according to Statcast though, and that is a bit high. Kyle Freeland has some unique splits. He has a 56.1 GB%, which is a necessity with just a 14.6 K%. However, 108 LHBs have a 26.9 K% against him with just a 36.1 GB% (RHBs 60.6%) and higher hard hit rate (32.9% to 28.6%). Depending on what projected ownership rates suggest later, these two premier lefty bats are certainly worth exposure if it appears they might go under-owned against a same-handed pitcher at a high cost. Despite the ability to smother RH contact into the ground, Kurt Suzuki looks like an interesting option for those who want Coors exposure at a lower cost. He has a 127 wRC+ and .257 ISO vs LHP since last season with a 47.9% fly ball rate.
Charlie Blackmon currently projected to be in around a quarter of lineups tonight
Charlie Blackmon is currently projected to be in somewhere around a quarter of all lineups despite his high cost without a high priced favorite on any mound tonight and his team projected for a slate high 6.31 runs at Coors. Even Carlos Gonzalez is expected to be well represented against a fly ball generators who has struggled against LH power (Julio Teheran). Players with high projected fantasy point totals, who may go overlooked tonight include Paul Goldschmidt and Michael Conforto. There are plenty of bats in great spots tonight. Jose Quintana could be the most popular pitcher at a reasonable cost on FanDuel, but is $3.2K more expensive on DraftKings, where Kevin Gausman (29.8 K% last 11 starts) and Jerad Eickhoff (San Diego 25.3 K% vs RHP) could find themselves in the most lineups than other pitchers, each costing less than $9K. Players looking for a cheap, speculative arm with low ownership could consider Jakob Junis. He struck out seven in eight innnings of work last time out and had a 29.9 K% at AAA this season. Projected ownership rates are updated throughout the day and are available to premium subscribers on the Projected Ownership page.
Top projected batters tonight include several from each side at Coors
Tonight's top projected hitters are a pair of Coors bats. Charlie Blackmon (142 wRC+, .292 ISO vs RHP this year) should enjoy a matchup against Julio Teheran (LHBs .355 wOBA, 35.1 Hard%, 37.8 GB% since 2016), while Freddie Freeman (188 wRC+, .339 ISO vs RHP this year) faces a returning Chad Bettis, making his first start of the season (LHBs .302 wOBA, 25.8 Hard%, 56.8 GB% last season). Aaron Judge (171 wRC+, .317 ISO vs RHP) rounds out the top three, but he continues to struggle since the break (55 wRC+ last seven days) and Rafael Montero has managed contact well (84 mph aEV), despite his other faults. He has allowed seven HRs over his last four starts though. Giancarlo Stanton, who has homered in nine of his last 10 games, appears fourth against the very contact prone lefty, Ty Blach (11.8 K%). The Braves and Rockies both enjoy a pair of players each among the top 10 projections (Ender Inciarte, Gerardo Parra) on either site, while both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant appear among the top 10 on FanDuel (Bryant currently sits 11th on DraftKings). While players probably aren't concerned as much with value bats tonight considering the state of pitching, Ender Inciarte (3.93 Pt/$/K) costs just $3.2K on FanDuel, while Chris Davis (2.96 Pt/$/K) projects as the top value for less than $3K on DraftKings against Yovani Gallardo.
Five of 20 teams implied for 5.5 runs or more with Colorado, Arizona and Texas all active parks tonight
Five of 20 teams in play tonight (25%) currently have an implied run line above 5.5 runs with four more above 4.9 runs. It's not a pitching rich slate and some of the quality arms who are in play are pitching in places like Arizona and Texas, while there's also a game at Coors tonight. With the Rockies leading the slate with a 6.38 run total, hosting an extreme fly ball oriented, right handed pitcher, Charlie Blackmon (142 wRC+, .292 ISO vs RHP this year) may be more popular than any pitcher on the slate. Although Freddie Freeman (188 wRC+, .339 ISO vs RHP this season) should be pretty popular too against the returning Chad Bettis. High end bats with speculative pitching may be the way to go tonight without concern towards stacking any particular lineup. Giancarlo Stanton (150 wRC+, .360 ISO vs LHP this year) faces a contact prone lefty (Ty Blach 11.8 K%) and may have already homered again by the time players read this. Justin Upton (182 wRC+, .306 ISO vs LHP in 2017) faces Martin Perez (RHBs .353 wOBA since 2016) in Texas. Josh Donaldson (132 wRC+, .221 ISO vs RHP this season), faces Jake Odorizzi, whom he has four HRs against in 27 PAs and Baseball Savant records a 98.3 mph aEV (11 BBEs). Michael Conforto (168 wRC+, .307 ISO vs RHP this year) gets to face Luis Cessa (LHBs 37.1 Hard% career) in Yankee Stadium. Even considering all of those bats with great potential tonight doesn't even touch upon the Yankees (5.71 runs) or Cubs (5.63) with the highest implied run lines outside of Coors tonight. Players should seriously consider building a lineup with a concentration of strong bats rather than one around any single pitcher.
Blackmon picks up four hits against Marlins
All four of his hits were singles, the fourth time in the past eight games that the 31-year-old has collected three or more hits in a single contest. Perhaps more notable were the two steals -- it was the first time all year he swiped multiple bags in one game. Blackmon is now hitting .338/.394/.618 with 27 homers, 74 RBI, 11 steals and a league-leading 105 runs scored on the year.
Justin Nicolino has a career 5.42 xFIP and 1.8% K-BB% versus RHB
Justin Nicolino is set to make his return from the disabled list to take on the Colorado Rockies tonight at home, his first start since the end of June where he was pulled in the first inning due to the aforementioned injury. Nicolino has only made five starts this season, but he has not seen great success in that time span, posting a 14.3% strikeout rate, 8.2% walk rate, and 5.00 SIERA in that period. It also appears that those statistics are far from an anomaly as Nicolino has been consistently well below-average throughout his two-plus seasons in the Majors. This is further evidenced by his abysmal 12.2% career strikeout rate to left-handed batters and even worse 9.2% strikeout to righties, putting this Rockies squad in great position to string together a solid offensive outing this evening. Nicolino has managed to keep the ball on the ground at a respectable 57.1% to lefties, though that rate drops to a much more exploitable 42.3% rate against righties, meaning that righties have a much easier time lifting the ball in the air and making solid contact in their at-bat events. Despite being on the road away from the friendly confines of Coors Field, this Rockies team still does possess several hitters that have posted solid numbers against left-handed pitching. Nolan Arenado (215 wRC+, .531 wOBA, .422 ISO vs LHP) is the clear top target from the Colorado lineup and can be utilized in all formats, though D.J. LeMahieu (151 wRC+, .433 wOBA vs LHP) and Trevor Story (131 wRC+, .403 wOBA, .326 ISO vs LHP) both fall into the tier below Arenado for entirely separate reasons. LeMahieu lacks individual upside but is always a great cash game and stacking option given his strong on base and contact abilities, while Story sports a massive 37.5% strikeout rate against southpaws, reserving him to more of a tournament option when also taking his spot in the batting order into consideration. Even though Charlie Blackmon (132 wRC+, .403 wOBA, .254 ISO vs LHP) sacrifices the platoon advantage against Nicolino, he still remains firmly in play for tournaments given his elite skills against both left and right-handed pitching, just further making a full a Rockies stack more than viable with Nicolino's inability to strike opponents out on a consistent basis.
Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are top projected bats against rookie pitchers
No team has more than one batter in the top 10 among the RotoGrinders Player Projections on both sites tonight, although the Diamondbacks barely sneak in two (Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb vs John Lackey) on FanDuel. The top five are the same on either site. Bryce Harper (183 wRC+, .351 ISO vs RHP this year) faces Chris Stratton. Mike Trout (172 wRC+, .240 ISO vs LHP) faces Marco Gonzales. Neither of those pitchers have much of a track record and are facing potential MVP candidates this season. Aaron Judge (174 wRC+, .329 ISO vs LHP) has a platoon advantage he really doesn't need against Eduardo Rodriguez and is beginning to pick it up again after a rough start to his second half (119 wRC+, 33.3 Hard% last seven days). Anthony Rizzo (123 wRC+, .255 ISO vs RHP) enjoys the confines of Chase Field in Arizona (Taijuan Walker). Charlie Blackmon (143 wRC+, .296 ISO vs RHP) is the only real Colorado threat on the road. LHBs have a .326 wOBA, 32.6 Hard% vs Jose Urena since last year. Top projected values for those projected for at least seven DraftKings points are Chris Davis (2.65 Pt/$/K) against Paul Blackburn and Logan Forsythe (2.35 Pt/$/K) against Clayton Richard. The projections like Forsythe's teammate, Kike Hernandez (4.09 Pt/$/K) and Eric Thames (4.06 Pt/$/K) against Homer Bailey.
Rockies win on Blackmon's 12th inning blast
Blackmon was retired in his first three trips to the dish, but he singled in the eighth, singled in the 10th and then took Zach McAllister deep to right-center field with two outs in the 12th for a game-winning dinger. He homered in both games in Cleveland and now has 10 longballs on the road this season versus 17 at home.