Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet: May 16th MLB Slate Breakdown

Wednesday brings a condensed five-game MLB slate with more weather concerns. Barring any cancellations, we have a loaded pitching stable to choose from for your fantasy baseball lineups. Let’s jump right into all the information you’ll need and as always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Top Pitcher

Chris Sale, BOS vs. OAK, $11,800 — Even with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander on the mound tonight, Sale and the Red Sox begin the night as the largest favorites. It’s the second time Sale faces this team on the year, tossing seven innings with three runs on six hits and a 10:1 K:BB ratio. On the year, Sale owns a 12.1 K/9 and has struck out 27 over his past two starts. The A’s rank 14th in K% against lefties with a 22.4 K% and 17th in wOBA at .323. They’re projected at just three runs, which is the lowest on the slate and down from the original total of 3.3. As you’d expect, Sale should be a popular option, especially at the lowest price of the top three.

Highest Totals

CHC vs. ATL, 9.5 runs — The Cubs and Braves own the highest total on this slate, as no other game has a projection of at least nine runs. The Cubs opened as the favorites with a run projection of five but have since tied the Braves with a 4.8 projection. I feel the Cubs’ matchup is much more favorable against Brandon McCarthy than Tyler Chatwood facing the Braves. McCarthy has two straight starts with negative fantasy points and at home owns a .435 wOBA. He’s being hit hard by both sides of the plate, but righties have been superior with a .414 wOBA and a 32.2 percent hard-hit rate. I think a Cubs stack is an optimal strategy as long as the weather holds up.

Weather Concerns

CHC vs. ATL (SunTrust Park) — The heaviest rain looks to be an hour before first pitch, and it lightens up soon after. Nonetheless, the rain will be lingering throughout the night. A delay is possible here, but I think they’ll squeeze this game in.

NYY vs. WAS (Nationals Park) — These teams are set to continue last night’s suspended game this afternoon, followed by their regularly scheduled game. It’s going to be another messy night with rain and thunderstorms throughout. With the Yankees not planning on visiting Washington again, I’ll be curious to see how tolerant they’ll be at getting these games in.

Editor’s Note: The game has been postponed.

Park Factors

Fenway Park, OAK vs. BOS Fenway Park will be our most favorable ballpark on this short slate as the Red Sox host the A’s. All offensive categories except home runs are favored.

Marlins Park, LAD vs. MIA From one unfavorable ballpark to another, the Dodgers will play in our least favorable ballpark for hitters. No offensive categories as favored here, as you’d expect.

Angel Stadium, HOU vs. LAA Angel Stadium is our second-worst ballpark for hitters tonight with the Astros are in town. Like Citi Field, no offensive categories favor hitters.

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Brandon McCarthy.847.242Justin Verlander.383.117
Caleb Smith.742.292CC Sabathia.581.182
Tyler Chatwood.739.250Chris Sale.596.250

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Brandon McCarthy.961.392Max Scherzer.396.132
Garrett Richards.750.269Justin Verlander.527.171
CC Sabathia.637.233Tyler Chatwood.568154

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

HitterOpposing SPABFP/AB*
Freddie FreemanTyler Chatwood133.07
Eduardo NunezTrevor Cahill163
Albert PujolsJustin Verlander292.17

*(Fantasy Points Per At Bat)

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Justin Verlander, HOU vs. LAA, $12,000 — With no weather concerns in Anaheim, Verlander feels like the safest play to roll with. He’ll face the Angels for the second time this year after throwing seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits with nine strikeouts for 31.4 DKFP. Verlander simply is not allowing baserunners lately, as he’s allowed no more than three hits in his past three starts while walking only five. The Angels aren’t exactly crushing the ball at home either, sporting a .309 wOBA with a .169 ISO.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Anthony Rizzo, CHC vs. ATL, $4,800 — I’m backing up my sentiment of targeting against McCarthy by rostering Rizzo. After an early-season slump, Rizzo is averaging 11.6 DKFP over his past 10 games, including three home runs and 12 runs knocked in. While righties have had their success against McCarthy, lefties have had their share as well with a .365 wOBA and four of his seven home runs allowed.

Save Big by Drafting…

Matt Kemp, LAD vs. MIA, $3,800 — Kemp is cheap and faces lefty Caleb Smith, which has my attention. Kemp historically has been much stronger against lefties and owns a .410 wOBA against them thus far with a .186 ISO and a 56.3 percent hard-hit rate. While the matchup at Marlins Park isn’t ideal, the 36.1 percent hard-hit rate Smith is allowing has me intrigued. Kemp can help save salary with all the high-priced pitchers taking the mound.

Editor’s Note: Caleb Smith has been scratched from today’s start. Elieser Hernandez will start. Kemp is not in the starting lineup

Stack Em Up

BOS vs. OAK (Trevor Cahill) — Cahill has some great numbers across the board through his first four starts, but I think the Red Sox will get to him tonight. Cahill has the negative park shift at Fenway and faces a team that opened with a 5.3 run total against him. It also should be noted that Cahill owns a 46.3 percent hard-hit rate, which ranks one of the highest amongst tonight’s pitchers. I don’t think the Red Sox will go overlooked tonight, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them not talked about as much as one would expect.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.