After a rather weak group of pitches to choose from on Monday, we’re back with some No. 1 options on Tuesday’s 10-game slate. Let’s jump into tonight’s slate and as always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top PitcherJustin Verlander, $11,500, HOU (-210) at TEX (+180) — Verlander will take the mound for the Astros tonight, who are the heavy favorites on this slate. He looked as if he was in midseason form in his first start against the Rays, striking out nine while allowing one run on three hits through seven innings. This lineup sports a lot of power against right-handed pitching but also will provide a good amount of strikeouts. Last season, four players had a K% over 25 against RHP (Joey Gallo, Jeff Mathis, Ronald Guzman, Hunter Pence). Verlander also pitched some of his best baseball away from Houston in 2018 with a .261 wOBA and just nine of his 28 home runs allowed. In a game the Astros are heavily favored in against Shelby Miller ($4,900), Verlander is in a great position to grab a win.
Highest TotalLAA (-108) at SEA (-108), 9 runs — With a lot of teams deploying their No. 1 pitching options tonight, the run total for the majority of these games are low. The Angels and Mariners are the exceptions with a total of nine. The Mariners have come out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Having already played seven games, this club is averaging 7.7 runs per game, having scored no less than five runs. Tonight they’ll face Trevor Cahill ($6,660), who would go on to own a .349 wOBA on the road last season with a 4.70 xFIP. The way the Mariners are hitting the ball, they have to be a consideration tonight, especially with so many good pitchers going. Edwin Encarnacion ($4,200) and Mitch Haniger ($4,200) both had ISOs over .200 vs. RHP last season.
Weather ConcernsPHI at WAS (Nationals Park) — Of course, the only concern for tonight involves Bryce Harper ($4,500) and his return to Nationals Park. The threat of rain will linger all throughout the night, so this will be a game to keep an eye on.
Splits to StartStats showcased here will be from the 2018 season until May 1
Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters
|Worst vs. LHB||wOBA||xFIP||Best vs. LHB||wOBA||xFIP|
|Eric Lauer||.366||5.37||Blake Snell||.186||2.63|
|Andrew Cashner||.361||5.01||Chris Sale||.196||1.84|
|Zach Eflin||.355||4.32||Kyle Freeland||.234||3.50|
Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters
|Worst vs. RHB||wOBA||xFIP||Best vs. RHB||wOBA||xFIP|
|Andrew Cashner||.370||5.38||Max Scherzer||.239||2.53|
|Jason Vargas||.359||4.23||Chris Sale||.245||2.41|
|Eric Lauer||.341||4.28||Hyun-Jin Ryu||.254||2.81|
Top Hard-Hit%This section will start to populate in April after players have started to log over seven games played!
Pitcher to Build AroundJustin Verlander, HOU at TEX, $11,500 — I went into the reasons to like Verlander earlier in this article, and it makes senses to make him who to build around tonight. What does make this difficult is finding who to pair him with and then fill out your hitters. As I tried to put together some lineups, I’ve had some difficulty doing so to a lineup I feel comfortable with. Mike Fiers ($6,800) keeps grabbing my attention because of how poor the Red Sox are to start the season, but that’s likely to change as the day progresses. Either way, you’re getting great upside from Verlander against a strikeout-prone Rangers club tonight. If you can make it work, it should be worth it.
Heavy Hitter to Pay ForJuan Soto, WAS vs. PHI, $5,100 — Plenty of eyes will be on this game, but for Harper vs. Scherzer. One matchup we should be paying attention to is Soto going up against Zach Eflin ($6,300). Against lefties, Eflin posted a horrific .355 wOBA with a 4.32 xFIP and nine of his 16 home runs allowed in 2018. Against righties, all Soto did was own a .401 wOBA with a .231 ISO with 15 home runs. He’s expensive, so I imagine his ownership will be suppressed with everyone likely paying up for pitching.
Save Big by Drafting…Nolan Arenado, COL at TB, $4,100 — Maybe this is a total trap, but I feel like we’re being baited into playing Arenado tonight. Truly, when do you ever see him priced this low against a lefty no less? Sure, that lefty is Blake Snell ($9,500), but this is exactly the type of matchup Arenado excels in. Even away from Coors Field, he had a .421 wOBA against lefties with a .279 ISO. I honestly can’t remember a time Arenado was considered a “value,” so I really think I’ll be rostering him even against a pitcher like Snell.
Stack Em UpHOU at TEX (Shelby Miller) — If you want to be different from the field and pay down at pitching, you could bring it back with an Astros stack. This stack could completely go off against Miller tonight at expected lower than usual ownership. Miller returned from Tommy John surgery in 2018 but was derailed once again by injury. He didn’t look good in Spring Training and I imagine not much will change against the Astros.
I’ll give you one more stack to consider if you do want to pay up for pitching. The Marlins are interesting against Jason Vargas ($5,600). Truly, if this was any other team other than the Marlins, people would be talking about using them. Regardless of who the team is, Vargas had a .394 wOBA on the road with a 4.90 xFIP last season. On a slate where the salary cap is going to feel extremely tight, the Marlins could be a way to make it work. Do I love the idea? Absolutely not. Am I going to give it a shot? Hell yes, I am.
Favorite Prop Bet
Colorado Rockies OVER 2.5 runs (-143)
We all know Snell was a dominant force on the mound last season, and that’s nothing to write off. In the same sense, he’s facing a team that can hit lefties very well and has proven to do so even away from Coors Field. On a slate with so many good pitching options, this is the game the opposing offense could break through.
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