MLB Analytical Angles 9/21/16

There is a split slate today with 3 games on the early slate and 12 on the late slate.  The Coors Field game is on the early slate, so the late slate should be a pretty fun slate since we won’t have to worry about that.  I think it will be good for GPPs and for cash since ownership should be pretty spread out and there are 12 games so there should be a good amount of value.

Note:  FanDuel pricing is used unless otherwise noted.

Early Slate

I have no intentions of playing this slate but, if I did, I would target hitters from the Coors Field game and pitchers from the Astros and Athletics.  The relatively low price tags on McHugh and Mengden should allow you to roster the hitters that you want from Coors Field, with Mengden being the more contrarian of the two options.

Late Slate


Jonathan Lucroy (C)- TEX vs LAA- $3,800

Catcher is fairly weak today, as always, and Lucroy is in the best spot on the slate facing Jered Weaver in Texas.  Weaver manages to survive when he is pitching at home because of the giant pile of rocks behind him, but on the road his inability to pitch is evident.  He has allowed 2.05 home runs per nine innings to right-handed bats this season and I expect Lucroy to be able to take advantage.

David Ortiz (1B)- BOS at BAL- $4,600

Ortiz hit another home run last night as he continues a strong final season.  Today he faces Ubaldo Jimenez, who has actually been pitching pretty well lately.  Jimenez is very home run prone to lefties, however, allowing 1.67 home runs per nine innings this season.  I don’t expect Jimenez’s strong run to continue and, even if it does, I think there is a good chance Ortiz gets to him anyway.

Miguel Cabrera (1B)- DET at MIN- $4,000

Miggy has been hitting the ball very hard lately and continued to do so last night with a fly out to the warning track against Santiago followed by a home run off of Tonkin out of the bullpen.  Jose Berrios will most likely be a good pitcher someday, but he is not there yet.  He struggles with his command inside and outside of the strike zone which makes him very home run prone when he is missing his spots in the zone.  He has allowed 2.63 home runs per nine innings to righties this season as a result.  Cabrera is in a great spot to do some damage today.


Jonathan Villar (3B)- $3,200- MIL vs PIT

I prefer Villar against left-handed pitchers but this is still a good spot for him.  The game is in Milwaukee, which is a good place to hit, and Francisco Cervelli, who struggles to throw out base stealers, will most likely be doing the catching for the Pirates.  Chad Kuhl is on the mound for Pittsburgh and struggles to miss bats, so Villar should be able to put the ball in play and, if he reaches base, there is a lot of stolen base upside in this matchup.

Asdrubal Cabrera (SS)- NYM vs ATL- $3,100

Cabrera grades out as my favorite shortstop play today against Ryan Weber.  Cabrera has a .333 wOBA and .211 ISO over the last 12 months against right-handed pitching and has a 41 percent hard contact rate over the last 15 days.  Lefties have done damage against Weber this season, as he has allowed 1.42 home runs per nine innings so far.  Even with some regression, he should still give up a healthy amount of homers and Cabrera is in a good spot to take advantage.

Bryce Harper (OF)- WSH at MIA- $3,800

Harper absolutely owns Tom Koehler.  It would be a good matchup anyway because, well, it is Bryce Harper against Tom Koehler, but his success against him over a relatively large sample makes his case even stronger.  Harper is 10-29 against Koehler with 6 home runs and a double.  In 9 batted ball events against Koehler since the start of last season, Harper’s average exit velocity is 103.8 miles per hour.  Get him in your lineups.

Curtis Granderson (OF)- NYM vs ATL- $3,400

I really like the Mets against Weber today and Granderson is no exception.  He has a .342 wOBA and .248 ISO against right-handed pitching over the last 12 months and over the last 15 days he has a 47 percent hard contact rate while increasing his flyball rate by 10 percentage points.  Pair that with Weber’s propensity to give up home runs to lefties and Granderson makes for a great play who is a little underpriced at $3,400.


Matt Wieters (C)- BAL vs BOS- $2,800

The best way to target Clay Buchholz is with lefties as he gives up 37.1 percent hard contact.  The Orioles don’t have many, but Wieters is one.  Wieters has a higher wOBA and ISO from the left side of the plate over the last year, and has seen an uptick in hard contact and flyballs over the last 15 days.  I haven’t decided yet how I feel about the Orioles as a whole, but I am definitely interested in Wieters.

Justin Bour (1B)- MIA vs WSH- $2,200

This is certainly not a cash play against Max Scherzer but, if I am fading Scherzer in GPPs, I love Bour as a leverage play.  He is still too cheap for his upside as he has a .370 wOBA and .282 ISO against righties, and Scherzer has struggled a little bit with left-handed power bats this season, allowing 1.24 home runs per nine innings despite being dominant otherwise.  It is a risky play, and there is a lot of opportunity cost at first base, but it is the best leverage play against Scherzer.

Howie Kendrick (2B)- LAD vs SFG- $2,500

Second base is terrible today.  Kendrick is not particularly good, but he will probably be leading off at a very cheap price and, despite being very unexciting and not having much positive to say about him, I will probably try and save money at second base since I don’t like the expensive options at second base as much as I do at other positions.

Jose Reyes (3B)- NYM vs ATL- $2,700

Reyes is way too cheap today considering he gets to leadoff against Ryan Weber and will most likely be matched up with Tyler Flowers once he gets on base.  Reyes is not the base stealer he used to be, but I am not convinced that the average high school catcher would throw out less runners in the major leagues than Flowers does, so if Reyes gets on base against Weber (which is likely) he should be able to run.  Reyes should be priced closer to $3,300 in this matchup so I like the discount that we are getting on him.

Adam Frazier (SS)- PIT at MIL- $2,200

Frazier played yesterday and performed very well.  I assume his good performance will lead to Clint Hurdle benching him but, if not, he is a great value option today at shortstop where there isn’t a ton to love.  In addition to leading off and being cheap, Jimmy Nelson is terrible at holding base runners so Frazier will also have stolen base upside.

Matt Joyce (OF)- PIT at MIL- $2,100

Another situation that depends on the whims of Clint Hurdle but, if Joyce is in the lineup, he is in a great spot against Nelson.  He gets a ballpark boost going from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee and Nelson has struggled with lefties throughout his career.  Joyce is a very good hitter against right-handed pitching and is way too cheap no matter where he is hitting in the order, but especially if he is at the top of the order.

Michael Conforto (OF)- NYM vs ATL- $2,200

Conforto has been very streaky this season, but still has a hard contact rate over 40 percent against right-handed pitching.  We have already established that Ryan Weber struggles with lefties, so this is a spot where Conforto should be able to take advantage if he makes his way into the lineup.