Matt Harvey gets nod in favor of Syndergaard as Mets host the Braves
As previously alerted, the Mets have scratched Noah Syndergaard and replaced him with Matt Harvey who becomes a viable SP option for the afternoon slate of games facing a weak Braves offense. There's not a lot of strikeout upside, however, so he's probably best utilized as a SP2 on pitchers that require two SP's. The Braves are countering with R.A. Dickey who is much too inconsistent to be trusted and is an easy fade in all formats. Dickey is vulnerable to left-handed power bats putting Michael Conforto (leading off), Asdrubal Cabrera (2nd), Jay Bruce (4th), Neil Walker (5th), and Curtis Granderson (6th) in play as viable DFS options today either on their own or as part of a Mets stack. Conforto and Bruce are the top options of that group and Yoenis Cespedes batting 3rd is also in play despite being the lone RH bat at the top of the Mets order. With Syndergaard out, the once completely fade worthy Braves lineup does at least have one option in Freddie Freeman as he is a masher against RHP to the tune of a .422 wOBA and .306 ISO.
Are Braves hitters priced at a "Thor discount" in play versus Robert Gsellman?
Outside of one bad start against the Miami Marlins, Robert Gsellman, who is starting in place of Noah Syndergaard tonight, has been fairly consistent to this point in the season. He's allowed three runs and struck out seven in each of his other two outings and may even have been a little unlucky to allow that many runs, evidenced by his .327 BABIP, 51.7% LOB% and 3.17 SIERA. This isn't a great strikeout matchup with the Atlanta Braves, but Gsellman still possesses some solid upside for his price tag, especially on DraftKings for $6.7K, given his solid 25.3% strikeout rate and manageable 7.6% walk rate. Although, on the other hand, all the Braves hitters are priced to face Syndergaard, so they can be rostered at a significant discount in what is still obviously a much better matchup than they were originally projected. It's tough to buy-in to any of Gsellman's early signs of being a reverse splits starting pitcher given the limited sample size, which means that Freddie Freeman (165 wRC+, .422 wOBA, .306 ISO vs RHP since 2016) is still firmly in play as a contrarian one-off option in tournaments. However, rostering Gsellman still looks to be the optimal way to approach this matchup
No potential rain issues worse than YELLOW in latest MLB weather forecast
There are only a couple of weather situations to monitor across the Majors this evening. Both the Braves-Phillies and Red Sox-Orioles games are currently classified as YELLOW and are experiencing effects from the same weather system. The YELLOW classification does mean that Kevin Roth can not rule out the possibility of a rain delay in either contest, which makes starting pitchers much riskier to roster should the delay happen mid-game. Be sure to check out Kevin's full forecast on the MLB Weather page linked below. Also, don’t forget to follow Kevin Roth on Twitter, as he will be posting updates and answering questions there all season long, @KevinRothWx.
Freddie Freeman clubs seventh homer in loss
Freeman tagged Phillies' starter Jeremy Hellickson for a solo shot in the sixth inning, pulling the Braves to within a run at 3-2. He finished the night 1-for-4 and is hitting an absurd .397/.485/.862 with seven homers and nine RBI on the season.
Kluber and Verlander projected as top owned pitchers, but both have struggled early
Projected ownership numbers like Eric Thames best on DraftKings, but Matt Carpenter as the top 1B option on FanDuel, where each are severely under-priced. There are a plethora of viable 1B options tonight and perhaps Freddie Freeman (vs Jeremy Hellickson), projected for less than 5% ownership on either site, makes for a nice alternative. Corey Kluber and Justin Verlander are expected to be the most popular pitchers, but tonight might be a good night to fade the mound chalk, as both have had their struggles this year and there are several cheaper arms with some decent strikeout upside. Sean Manaea currently projects at 5% or below on either site. A really contrarian move might be to consider Johnny Cueto (13.5 SwStr%) at a much reduced price against an extremely cold Colorado lineup in an extremely cold park tonight. Premium subscribers can find many more pivots off popular plays on our Projected Ownership page.
Multiple infielders (one outfield bat) with a wRC+ above 300 over the last week
Eric Thames is topping most lists concerning tearing the cover off baseballs today and he is the week's hottest hitter (354 wRC+, 48 Hard%), nothing a meeting with the declining Adam Wainwright (RHBs .367 wRC+, 32.9 Hard% since 2015) should do to interrupt, but he joins a list of four other bats with a wRC+ above 300 over the last week. Freddie Freeman (345 wRC+, 44.4 Hard%) is one of many viable 1B pivots and should continue to punish Jeremy Hellickson (LHBs .320 wOBA). Bryce Harper (340 wRC+, 38.1 Hard%) will now be facing Matt Harvey. Incidentally, he's the only batter on this list with a hard hit rate below 40% over the last week. Jedd Gyorko (316 wRC+, 50 Hard%) will face the same handed Wily Peralta (RHBs .348 wOBA). He may be the outlier on this list, but does have an ISO above .200 against RHP since last season. Nolan Arenado (307 wRC+, 44.4 Hard%) does have a tough assignment against Johnny Cueto (RHBs .293 wOBA), but does get the generous Coors boost. Jose Ramirez (299 wRC+, 42.1 Hard%) deserves mention too, against the struggling Jose Quintana (RHBs .316 wOBA).
Kemp returns, Swanson sits against Strasburg in Atlanta
Stephen Strasburg is just behind Noah Syndergaard in terms of cost, as the second most expensive pitcher on the slate tonight. While there are several young pitchers off to strong starts on the slate tonight, Strasburg could fly underneath the radar despite having a highest strikeout projection than Thor on the RotoGrinders K Predictor (7.36 vs 7.11). However, he falls to second (behind Syndergaard) in terms of overall RotoGrinders Player Projections. Atlanta is an opponent he is familiar with as Freddie Freeman leads all players with four career HRs (47 PAs) against the pitcher they are facing tonight. He does have just an 88.7 mph aEV on merely four Statcast recorded BBE in the matchup. Freeman's 161 wRC+ (.276 ISO) vs RHP since 2015 is 4th best on the slate against the handed type pitcher being faced tonight (min. 30 PA), while his 425 wRC+ (3 HR, 53.3 Hard%) by far makes him the hottest bat on the slate over the last week. His nine Barrels this season is also tied for the major league lead. Adonis Garcia is moved into the second slot today with Dansby Swanson sitting. Garcia is actually the only batter with at least 10 BBE recorded against Strasburg and although he has no extra-base hits, he does hold a 97.2 mph aEV in those matchups. Matt Kemp returns for the home team and does have the second best ISO (.198) in the linneup against RHP since 2015. It may be best to stick to just Freeman or side with a pitcher who has gone exactly seven innings in each of his three starts with eight Ks in each of his last two in this one, considering Garcia's 76 career wRC+ vs RHP. The Braves have an implied run line of just 3.3, second lowest on the slate. Conditions appear to be neutral with temperatures in the 70s and barely a breeze expected. We do not yet know how the new park in Atlanta will play with just a handful of games being played there so far.
Freeman homers again, goes 2-for-3 Wed.
He took Joe Ross over the center field wall in the third inning for his sixth home run of the season. He boosted his batting average to .440 to go with a .533 on-base percentage and .920 slugging percentage. Freeman has been the best hitter in baseball so far this season.
Inexpensive leadoff options could be popular with Kershaw, Bumgarner on the mound
With Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner on the mound, players are going to be looking for inexpensive bats. Luckily, several of those exist at the top of lineups tonight, and they are likely to be among the most popular hitters tonight. Trey Mancini and Aaron Hill are projected to be in around one quarter of all lineups tonight with Billy Hamilton another leadoff hitter projected to be as popular. Paying up for someone like Freddie Freeman might actually be contrarian (expected to be owned 10% or less on either site tonight). In that case, a pivot off the top arms like Kershaw and Bumgarner to Dallas Keuchel could also play off. Keuchel doesn't miss as many bats and the Angels have a reputation for making contact, but they've actually struck out in 21.9% of PAs this year (21.3% vs LHP) and Keuchel has a 10.4 SwStr%, while absolutely dominating at the point of contact (73.1 GB%, -18.1 Hard-Soft%) so far this season. His projected ownership (which Premium subscribers can find our Projected Ownership page) is just 5% on FanDuel.
LHBs from either side have a great matchup in Washington/Atlanta game
Among pitchers who have pitched prior to this season, it appears the best offensive matchups occur for LHBs on either side of the Washington at Atlanta game. Since 2015, LHBs have a .355 wOBA against fly baller Julio Teheran and a .354 wOBA against ground baller Joe Ross (.354 wOBA), except Ross doesn't necessarily generate ground balls when facing lefties. In fact, his 36.4 GB% against them is even lower than Teheran's 37.9 GB% facing LHBs. Those looking to stack can take the top half of each lineup, which is predominantly left-handed with Inciarte, the red-hot Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis from Atlanta. Eaton, Harper and Murphy from Washington, though there's one extra outfielder there. All that's remaining is the left side of the infield (perhaps Wilmer Difo as a punt SS) and a catcher. Jhoulys Chacin's .350 wOBA against LHBs is the next best matchup on the board, but in a more difficult hitting environment for Diamondback lefties in San Diego.