MLB DEEP DIVE – 4/13/17 (EARLY)

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Now let’s get down to business!

 

PITCHING

Yu Darvish [RHP – TEX] at LAA – Darvish is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in the early slate pitching pool today.  In his favor is a nice ballpark shift away from Globe Life Park to Angels Stadium and a solid .238/.333/.492 with 12 extra base hits in 122 at bats against a 30.3% strikeout rate.  The only impediment is of course the lofty price point $22,400 FantasyDraft, $11,500 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel.

Eduardo Rodriguez [LHP – BOS] vs PIT – Here is where things start to get tricky on multi-pitcher sites, which at this point is pretty much all of them other than FanDuel.  Rodriguez is a talented youngster with an electric arm that is still learning the art of pitching as opposed to throwing.  He has a solid matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates who have been in the top third of the league against southpaws over the last two years with a 106 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus which is an advanced metric that neutralizes ballpark factors and creates a league-wide baseline of 100) meaning they score 6% more that the average team against lefties and they have been in the top third with a .326 wOBA as well.  While that is solid, their current batters have managed only a .133 ISO since 2015 which is 27th in the league and they strikeout at an average clip.  This is a long way of saying the Bucs don’t necessarily destroy lefties, they just nibble away.  Rodriguez is in play as an SP2 in al formats.

Josh Tomlin [RHP – CLE] vs CHW – The ChiSox are averaging just 3.57 runs per game and have traded a fair amount of their hitting talent away as they look to restock their farm system.  The current active hitters for Chicago have posted a paltry .185/.216/.315 slash line in 92 at bats with just seven extra base hits against 17 strikeouts.  Additionally, Tomlin has an entirely different pitching arsenal than Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco who have been the last two pitchers the White Sox have faced in this series.  Cleveland is nearly a two-to-one favorite in this matchup and while wins are by no means ever guaranteed, at least JT will have a good chance of being in the mix for one this afternoon.

HITTING

HIGH-PRICED

Cleveland vs RHP Miguel Gonzalez, CHW – I am putting this one up top because here is where I am making my stand as a Miguel Gonzalez truther!  Okay, maybe that is too strong of a claim, but 23 starts last season he allowed more than three runs just four times and in 2015 through 26 starts he allowed four runs five times and more than four runs six times.  Additionally, Chicago’s bullpen is pretty solid with Nate Jones (struggling this season but phenomenal last year), David Robertson and Zach Putnam.

Boston Red Sox vs RHP Chad Kuhl, PIT – This will be RHP Chad Kuhl’s 16th career start and he has yet to pitch in Fenway Park and today it will be a baptism by fire against a loaded Red Sox squad.  OFs Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi lead the charge and we can also feel very comfortable with 2B Dustin Pedroia and 1B/OF Hanley Ramirez as the core of any BoSox stack.

Detroit Tigers vs RHP Phil Hughes, MIN – Current Detroit hitters have a robust .300/.313/.517 slash line against Hughes with 25 extra base hits in 203 at bats with a 17.6% K-rate.  1B Miguel Cabrera, OF Justin Upton and 2B Ian Kinsler are fine plays as solo options or as a trio for some stacking synergy.

Minnesota Twins at RHP Jordan Zimmermann, DET – Staying in the same game, as a long suffering Nationals fan, I can say with certainty that we want to target hitters against the soft tossing Zimmermann who has struggled to transition to the American League and now dealing with a designated hitter instead of a pitcher every nine batters.  3B/OF Miguel Sano has a .242 ISO against same-handed pitchers dating back to 2015 and 2B Brian Dozier who is a noted lefty-killer also has become a tremendous all around hitter with a .236 ISO over his last 1,050 plate appearances against righties.  This duo is a fine counter-move against the likely conglomeration of games playing Cleveland hitters this afternoon.

Kyle Schwarber (C/OF) – CHC vs LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD – Don’t let the name recognition of Ryu scare you away from any of the Cubbies, particularly Kyle Schwarber.  Wrigley Field is a far cry from spacious Dodger Stadium and most gamers are going to look elsewhere.

Carlos Gomez (OF) – TEX at RHP Ricky Nolasco, LAA – This is a quietly sneaky matchup for CargoLite who will likely be lost in the outfield mix today with so many solid options and “stacking” going on in the early game set.  In addition to decent pop, Gomez also has stolen base upside which makes him a nice “one-off” play in all formats.

 

VALUE

Rougned Odor (2B) – TEX at RHP Ricky Nolasco, LAA – With a .242 ISO over his last 476 at bats against right-handed pitching, Odor has home run upside against the past-his-prime Ricky Nolasco who gave up 26 taters last season.

Tyler Collins (OF) – vs RHP Phil Hughes, MIN – Collins is a discounted option that will be helpful in working Yu Darvish into our rosters.  With J.D. Martinez out of commission, Collins should be on the field for the entire game.

Jordy Mercer (SS) – at LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS – Mercer is a noted lefty specialist who should find himself at the top of the order for the Pirates and though this is not an easy matchup, he is a great way to punt this position, particularly on FanDuel where he is just $100 off the site minimum salary.

David Freese (1B/3B) – at LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS – Depending on your site of choice, Freese should qualify at either corner infield position.  He has been a tremendous option against southpaws in his career and over his last 239 plate appearences he has compiled a .365 wObA and a .208 ISO.

Mitch Moreland (1B) – vs RHP Chad Kuhl, PIT – While a lot of gamers will be drawn to the name recognition of Hanley Ramirez for their 1B option in Boston stacks, don’t sleep on Moreland who has been on a serious heater with doubles in six straight games.

 

SHORT SLATE STRATEGY

FanDuel: Once again, FanDuel has decided to skip the 6pm ET game.  This really makes no sense because if the average MLB game takes just over three hours and there are usually games with a first pitch between 3:30-4:10pm ET, it is not like they will be able to pay out winnings and get people back into the 7pm “main” game set with those dollars on a consistent basis.

Oh well.  Today I want to roll with Yu Darvish and the best route to that goal is by playing two of $2,200, OF Tyler Collins – $2,200, SS Jordy Mercer – $2,100 or David Freese $2,500.

DraftKings: There are two different roster builds I am looking at in the low dollar tournaments on DraftKings.  The first will be to pair Yu Darvish $11,500 and either Eduardo Rodriguez – $6,600 or Josh Tomlin – $6,200 or going with both Rodriguez and Tomlin and then loading up on the spendy bats by double stacking the Cubs and another squad.

FantasyDraft: It looks like the common strategy will be to roster Yu Darvish – $22,400 and Eduardo Rodriguez $13,200 which will leave $8,050 for our eight hitting slots.  This is where we will want to make some differentiation plays so we can stand out in the $25 entry $3,000 Home Run.  I like Brian Dozier – $8,400 and Miguel Sano – $7,600; Kyle Schwarber – $8,800 and Ben Zobrist $8,100; and Mitch Moreland – $6,800 and Andrew Benintendi as potential synergy plays.