MLB DEEP DIVE – 4/12/17 (EARLY)
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Now let’s get down to business!
Max Scherzer [RHP – WAS] vs STL – We don’t need to think too hard on this one, Scherzer is clearly the top end play on the early slate and his lofty price tag serves as additional validation. The Redbirds are struggling this season and have plated just 3.5 runs per game through their first eight contests. Collectively they have a pedestrian slash line against Mad Max at .244/.261/.356 through 90 at bats with just six extra base hits against 27 strikeouts. Scherzer is the guy I want anchoring my “cash” game lineups and in tournaments, the question becomes how much Coors Field “exposure” are you willing to give up as a trade-off.
Danny Salazar [RHP – CLE] vs CWS – Salazar is only available on DraftKings for the early game sets with FanDuel and FantasyDraft both rolling out the first four games and eschewing the 6:10pm ET start in Cleveland. Over the last two seasons, Salazar has demonstrated the ability to reach double digit strikeouts with a 28.0% K-rate against lefties and a 25.3% K-rate against same-handed hitters. He is at a fine price point and can even be paired with Max Scherzer in a double ace strategy that will leave a tight, but navigable $3,587 per hitting slot on DraftKings.
Jordan Montgomery [LHP – NYY] vs TBR – This will be the first start in The Show for Montgomery and he gets to take on the Tampa Bay Rays who have collectively struck out 23.7% of the time against southpaws over the last season with their current roster. Monty was exceptional while in the Yankee farm system last season with a 14-5 record and a 2.13 ERA. He is going to be popular with the Coors Field crowd as he opens up many possibilities in tournament play.
Colorado Rockies vs RHP Zach Lee, SDP – While he was the Minor League Pitcher of the Year twice for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lee has only made one big league appearance and it was back in July 2015 when he drew a start in CitiField against the New York Mets where he was rattled for 11 hits and one walk, allowing seven earned runs with just three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Lee gets the start today for RHP Luis Perdomo who just landed on the 10-day disabled list with an inflamed shoulder. We can target Nolan Arenado (3B), Carlos Gonzalez (OF), Charlie Blackmon (OF), Trevor Story (SS), Mark Reynolds (1B/3B), D.J. LeMahieu (2B) and the bat boy with impunity this afternoon.
San Diego Padres vs LHP Kyle Freeland, COL – Freeland was solid in his MLB debut against the Dodgers with six strikeouts in six innings allowing six base runners and just one earned run. That said, this is Coors Field so we can give consideration to Wil Myers (1B/OF) and Yangervis Solarte (2B/3B) and Hunter Renfroe (OF) for the Pod Squad.
Washington Nationals vs RHP Mike Leake, STL – Leak has struggled with batters swinging the stick from the left-side of the plate allowing a 1.26 HR/9 and a 29.0% hard contact rate over his last 799 batters faced. The obvious plays are of course Bryce Harper (OF) .418 wOBA and a .275 ISO in his last 953 lefty/righty plate appearances and Daniel Murphy (2B) .386 wOBA and a .230 ISO over his last 846 plate appearances. Newly acquired Adam Eaton (OF) is very much in play as well and he is really seeing the ball well to start off the season.
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – DET vs RHP Kyle Gibson, MIN – Miggy is going to round into form sooner or later and he has been outstanding in righty/righty matchups with a .401 wOBA and a .222 ISO since the beginning of 2015.
Ian Kinsler (2B) – DET vs RHP Kyle Gibson, MIN – Teammate Ian Kinsler is a lefty killer of great renown, so his above average skills against same-handed pitching often are overlooked. Over the last two plus season he has posted a .341 wOBA and a .156 ISO and a stack of the Motor City Kitties is one way to counter the Coors Field crowd.
Rickie Weeks (OF) – TBR at LHP Jordan Montgomery, NYY – Weeks has been installed as the clean-up hitter for the Devil Rays when the opposition is rolling out a southpaw. While there is a good chance he is lifted for a pinch hitter whenever a right-armed reliever comes in from the bullpen, he provides the salary relief needed to work in Max Scherzer and/or some hitters in the Coors Field affair.
Brandon Guyer (OF) – CLE vs LHP Derek Holland, CHW – Guyer is another platoon guy who should see a favorable batting position as the Cleveland squad is becoming more and more of a platoon and or switch-hitting group of batsmen.
Tyler Collins (OF) – DET vs RHP Kyle Gibson, MIN – Collins is another discounted outfield option and probably my favorite of this trio since there is a chance he stays in for most of the game with the Tigers still missing key contributor J.D. Martinez.
Aaron Judge (OF) – NYY vs LHP Blake Snell, TBR – Yes, another outfielder. Because we need to play three of them, this is usually the best position to find a discounted differentiation play, particularly on day games after night games when a platoon-player or fourth outfielder is more likely to be in the lineup. Judge has a nice power stroke and he is someone that will likely be overlooked since he is “batting in the bottom third of the order” but just know, a home run hit there counts the same as a home run hit from the cleanup slot.
Chris Carter (1B) – NYY vs LHP Blake Snell, TBR – Speaking of that cleanup hitter, Chris Carter is in the perfect spot to stroke one today!
Wilmer Difo (2B/SS) – WAS vs Mike Leake, STL – With Stephen Drew straining his hamstring on Tuesday night and likely headed to the disabled list, Wilmer Difo should see secure playing time at the middle infield positions for the next two weeks. While he does not do a ton with his bat and he is not a burner like Trea Turner, he does have some speed and can at least get on base with a plethora of other hitters who can bring him home.
Tim Beckham (2B/SS) – TBR at LHP Jordan Montgomery, NYY – Beckham does possess some pop against left-handed hurlers with a .197 ISO over his last 217 right/lefty matchups.
Nick Castellanos (3B) – DET vs RHP Kyle Gibson, MIN – Kyle Gibson did allow 1.11 HR/9 to same-handed hitters over the last two plus seasons and Castellanos is an underrated slugger with multi-extra base hit upside if he can just stay healthy long enough to put everything together.
SHORT SLATE STRATEGY
FanDuel: With FanDuel excluding the 6:10pm ET game with Danny Salazar from their early contests, I want to do everything I can to get Max Scherzer in my lineup along with some Coors Field hitters. This can easily be accomplished by playing two of 1B Chris Carter – $2,600, OF Aaron Judge – $2,200, OF Tyler Collins – $2,200, OF Rickie Weeks – $2,000.
DraftKings: Here is where we can go with Danny Salazar as our SP1 and Jordan Montgomery as our SP2 which will leave us with $4,437 for the eight hitting slots. Pairing Max Scherzer with Montgomery will leave us just shy of $4,000 per hitting slot and two punts such as C Jason Castro – $2,500 and OF Tyler Collins – $2,700 will get us up to $4,400 and makes putting four or five Coors Field in rosters very manageable.
FantasyDraft: For me, I will be going along with the crowd and playing Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery in tournaments with C Jason Castro – $4,800, OF Tyler Collins – $5,400 and Rickie Weeks – $4,500 which gets me to $9,900 for my other five slots and that is where I can look to Coors Field, or put in a differentiating stack of Tigers.