Thursday afternoon brings us an eight-game slate starting at 1 p.m. ET. With this being the bigger of the two slates today, we have plenty of information to get to. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
John Lackey – CHC vs. STL – $9,200 – Pitching is not exactly at its strongest on this slate, so Lackey is my number one option. He pitched extremely well against the Cardinals in four games last season, lasting 26.2 innings allowing seven runs (six earned) on 19 hits with a 31:6 K:BB ratio. The only downfall here is that Lackey did struggle on the road, averaging 15.6 FPPG in 15 starts compared to the 20.9 FPPG at home. Nonetheless, Lackey is still my top option on this short slate.
Other Options – Gio Gonzalez ($8,400)
Brandon McCarthy – LAD vs. SD – $7,200 – Truly, when you’re going through the list of pitchers for this afternoon, you can’t help but cringe at some of the names that are near the bottom of the list. Thus, McCarthy makes the list as a value play this afternoon. McCarthy was decent at Dodger Stadium last season, averaging 12.7 FPPG in six starts. The Padres certainly have that strikeout capability, owning the second-highest K% in the league last year against righties at 24.9%, so we have some hope for McCarthy. For what it’s worth, McCarthy did end 2016 with a 9.9 K/9 in nine starts, so if he can replicate that here this afternoon, he’ll certainly be worth the salary.
Other Options – Antonio Senzatela ($5,100), Matthew Boyd ($6,200)
Kyle Schwarber – CHC vs. STL – $4,400 – Schwarber is the most expensive catcher by a long shot this afternoon at $4,400. With Schwarber looking to man the leadoff spot, he’ll see plenty of pitches going forward with the like of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant behind him. With Lance Lynn making his first start since 2015, Schwarber can capitalize early.
Other Options – Willson Contreras ($3,600)
Yasmani Grandal – LAD vs. SD – $3,400 – The Padres are sending Jered Weaver to the mound today to the delight of the Dodgers. Weaver is about as ineffective as it gets these days and could run into trouble today. Grandal hit well at home against righties last season, owning a .417 wOBA with a .650 SLG.
Other Options – Salvador Perez ($3,400)
Miguel Cabrera – DET vs. CWS – $4,800 – Cabrera will be hitting in his wheelhouse this afternoon, at home against a right-handed pitcher. Cabrera posted some insane numbers in these situations, owning a .437 wOBA with a .653 SLG with 16 of his 38 home runs. Facing James Shields, who allowed 40 home runs on the season with 24 of them to right-handed batters, Cabrera will likely be a highly owned target this afternoon.
Other Options – Matt Carpenter ($4,400)
Brandon Moss – KC vs. MIN – $3,600 – Moss will be drawing the starts when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound, just like today. Facing Kyle Gibson, who struggled against lefties last season with a .380 wOBA, this feels like a great spot for Moss. Against righties, Moss owned a .343 wOBA and a .525 SLG, hitting 25 of his 28 home runs last season.
Other Options – Victor Martinez ($3,600), Mark Reynolds ($3,700)
DJ LeMahieu – COL vs. MIL – $4,400 – They say “Home is where the heart is,” unless you’re Chase Anderson facing a right-handed batter. Anderson compiled a .389 wOBA and a .537 SLG against righties at home in 2016. LeMahieu isn’t a power hitter, but his ability to get on base (.416 OBP in 2016) and his spot in the batting order hitting second makes him a good commodity on a daily basis.
Other Options – Ian Kinsler ($4,300), Brian Dozier ($4,500)
Stephen Drew – WAS vs. MIA – $2,900 – Slotting Drew into my lineup doesn’t exactly excite me, but at $2,900 against a right-handed pitcher at home, I can live with it. Drew ended 2016 with a .388 wOBA and a .605 SLG in that situation and faces Tom Koehler this afternoon. Koehler allowed 12 of his 22 home runs to lefties last season with a .333 wOBA.
Other Options – Ryan Schimpf ($3,400), Logan Forsythe ($3,700)
Nolan Arenado – COL vs. MIL – $5,100 – Arenado certainly has a boost in numbers thanks to playing in Coors Field half the season, but he still hit 16 home runs on the road last year. As I mentioned earlier, Chase Anderson had plenty of struggles against home against right-handed batters, so this is a great spot for Arenado. On the road against righties, Arenado managed a .371 wOBA with a .537 SLG.
Other Options – Kris Bryant ($5,000), Daniel Murphy ($4,600)
Nicholas Castellanos – DET vs. CWS – $3,700 – Castellanos hit extremely well at home against right-handed batters last season, owning a .387 wOBA with a .508 SLG. As I’ve said many times before, Shields and that home run ball will be the bane of his existence.
Other Options – Justin Turner ($3,600)
Corey Seager – LAD vs. SD – $4,300 – For being a stud, Seager feels awfully cheap in this matchup against Weaver. Seager was fantastic at home in 2016, averaging 8.7 FPPG with 18 home runs and a .560 SLG. Weaver would struggle against batters no matter what side of the plate they were on, making a $4,300 investment in Seager well worth it.
Other Options – Trevor Story ($4,700), Trea Turner ($4,800)
Tyler Saladino – CWS vs. DET – $3,500 – With Saladino manning the leadoff spot, he’s in a great spot here to set the table against Matt Boyd. Saladino owned a .348 wOBA against lefties last season with a .369 OBP. On the flip side, Boyd struggled against righties, owning a .341 wOBA last season.
Other Options – Marcus Semien ($3,400)
Mike Trout – LAA vs. OAK – $5,100 – Trout is and forever will be an option on a daily basis. He’s a 5-tool player who is typically worth the price no matter who he faces. With a .401 wOBA in 2016 on the road with a .538 SLG and an insane .461 OBP, Trout is a very viable option this afternoon.
Other Options – Ryan Braun ($5,000), Giancarlo Stanton ($4,700)
Marcell Ozuna – MIA vs. WAS – ($3,700) – I was a huge fan of Ozuna against left-handed pitching last season, and this year should be no different. In 2016, Ozuna ended the season with a .384 wOBA against lefties with a .595 SLG and a .328 OBP. Facing Gio Gonzalez, who is certainly not the dominant pitcher he once was, I think this is a great value play.
Other Options – Hernan Perez ($3,600) Kole Calhoun ($3,600)
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