MLB DEEP DIVE – 4/29/17 (EARLY)
Stephen Strasburg [RHP – WAS] vs NYM – Strasburg and the Mets are no strangers to each other being division rivals and the current Mets batters have compiled a .241/.306/.369 slash line with only 12 extra base hits which has been more than offset by a 32.1% K-rate over 187 at bats. Since the beginning of 2015 Strasburg has tallied a 30.5% strikeout rate lefties and against same-handed hitters an equally imposing 29.1% K-rate. With key guys like Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedis out of action, Strasburg is the clear ace on the early slate. The only concern is thunderstorms in the Washington DC area, so keep an eye on the weather leading up to lock.
Danny Salazar [RHP – CLE] vs SEA – Salazar boasts some strikeout numbers nearly as formidable as Stephen Strasburg’s since the beginning of 2015 with a 28.1% K-rate against hitters swinging the stick from the left-side of the plate and 26.4% against right-handed batters. The Mariners can be pesky against right-handed hurlers with Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz, however outside of the heart of the order, they have several unproven hitters likely to be in the lineup such as Taylor Motter, Daniel Vogelbach, Guillermo Heredia and Ben Gamel.
Mike Fulmer [RHP – DET] vs CHW – In daily fantasy baseball, strikeouts are king and the White Sox are fanning at the highest rate in the league (25.6%) against right-handed pitchers this season. Additionally they have a 76 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus is an advanced metric that neutralizes ball park factors and creates a league-wide scoring efficiency baseline of 100) meaning that they are creating 24% less runs against right-handed pitchers. Fulmer is among the most expensive pitchers on the Saturday early game set, but that could serve to suppress his popularity.
Zach Wheeler [RHP – NYM] at WAS – The Nationals are one of the hottest hitting teams in the league right now, but they lost leadoff hitter Adam Eaton last night to a leg injury and their regular hitters have been playing in nearly every game this season, so we could see someone get a day off. Wheeler has talent, but he has dealt with a lot of injuries which have limited him to facing just 91 hitters over the last two plus seasons. The Mets will be hard pressed to garner the win opposite Steven Strasburg, but Zach Attack does have strikeout upside and he will be underrepresented in tournaments.
There is some heavy thunderstorm activity forecast for today in the St. Louis area, which will “dampen” the prospects of being able to target RHPs Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake, so I am not detailing the outstanding matchups for Aledmys Diaz, Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyork, Joey Votto, Adam Duval and Scott Schebler.
Trea Turner [SS/OF – R] vs Zach Wheeler [RHP] – Turner has been outstanding against same-handed pitching in his young career with a .397 wOBA and a .250 ISO thought 341 plate appearances. Additionally he has stolen base upside and in the absence of Adam Eaton he will likely be leading off for the Nationals.
Bryce Harper [OF – L] vs Zach Wheeler [RHP] – Harper has simply been amazing this season with a .405 batting average, 8 home runs and 8 doubles through 84 at bats. Over his last 1,000 plate appearances he has accumulated a .424 wOBA and a .290 ISO in lefty/righty matchups and he is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Anthony Rizzo [1B – L] at Steven Wright [RHP] – In an interesting twist, Anthony Rizzo has not really faced many knuckleballs in his career. However, he is such a complete hitter against both right-handed pitchers and fellow southpaws, it is hard to believe he won’t be able to hold his own against RHP Steven Wright who has been getting very lucky against lefties as evidenced by his 3.68 ERA over the last two seasons compared to his 4.82 xFIP.
Ian Kinsler [2B – R] vs Derek Holland [LHP] – This is a fantastic matchup for Kinsler against LHP Derek Holland who does not strike out opposite-handed hitters (14.4% K-rate over his last 666 batters faced) and is allowing a 1.56 HR/9 which is the highest rate on the day. Throughout his career as a noted lefty-masher, Kinsler has posted a .379 wOBA, a .203 ISO and a .878 OPS with 177 extra base hits (66 HRs) in 1,580 career at bats in righty/lefty situations. As a bonus, Derek Holland has allowed a 37.0% hard contact rate to righties since 2015. Enjoy!
Kris Bryant [3B – L] at Steven Wright [RHP] – If you have the means, pairing Bryant with teammate Anthony Rizzo is a fantastic synergy strategy. Just starting his third season in The Show, Bryant already has 68 career home runs and he is a well-disciplined power hitter with a .897 career OPS.
Seth Smith [OF – L] vs Michael Pineda [RHP] – Seth Smith has a nice chance to poke one into the short porch in Yankee Stadium and he is leading off today which further enhances his chances of getting five at bats. We can also consider teammate Mark TrumBOMB [OF – R] who knocked a grand slam out of the park last night in the 14-11 10 inning scorefest.
Mikie Mahtook [OF – R] vs Derek Holland [LHP] – Mahtook is a noted lefty specialist who is betting second this afternoon for the Motor City Kitties. Over his last 150 at bats against southpaws, he has produced 9 HRs, 1 TPL and 7 DBLs and he can help us work in the top-shelf pitching options on Saturday.
Jason Heyward [OF – L] vs Steven Wright [RHP] – Heyward is coming out of last season’s dismal slump with signs of life including a .282/341/.423 slash line along with 3 HRs and 16 RBI. He is in the middle of a very potent offense and most of the DFS world has not yet caught on to his resurgence.
Didi Gregorious [SS – L] vs Ubaldo Jimenez [RHP] – Gregorious should be hitting sixth on Saturday and he is a discounted way to fill out our pesky SS position if we are looking for a cheapie. All of the Yankees are in play today and that is a nice transition to our next section.
New York Yankees vs RHP Ubaldo Jimenez – One can only hope the Yankees saved a few runs after last night’s 14 runs outburst. Current Bronx Bombers have compiled a .328/.414/.504 slash line with a dozen extra base hits in 125 at bats against Jimenez. We want to focus on Chris Carter, Jcoby Ellsbury, Grett Gardner, Chase Headly, Matt Holiday, Aaron Judge and the bat boy in this matchup. Jimenez has been knocked around to the tune of a 5.95 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP this season in 19 2/3 innings with only 12 strikeouts.
Cleveland Indians vs RHP Yovani Gallardo – The Indians are a great team to stack since they are relatively spread out with their talent and the only spot where they double up is 1B/DH where Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion play, though Santana does have OF eligibility on DraftKings. This duo along with Franciso Lindor, Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall are all very much in play against Gallardo who is nothing more than an innings eater at best in this phase of his career.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays at LHP Francisco Liriano – Don’t let the name recognition of Franciso Liriano scare you off of this matchup. Tampa Bay has several hitters that thrive against southpaws and we can give strong consideration to Steven Souza, Evan Longoria, Ricky Weeks and Tim Beckham as one-offs or a full team stack.