Thursday is a rather small five-game slate starting at 7:10 p.m. ET. With pitching ownership likely heavy on two of the top priced guys, finding an efficient SP2 is likely the biggest challenge for tonight. Let’s dive 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

Hunter Wood, $4,000, TB (-250) vs. BAL (+215) – The Rays are massive favorites tonight as Tampa Bay continues its series against the Orioles. Wood is set to be the opener for this game and will LIKELY give way to Ryan Yarbrough ($7,400). Last night the Rays used Yonny Chirinos, so Yarbrough seems like the most likely option. Regardless of who starts, this is an Orioles club that’s simply not hitting. Entering tonight, Baltimore sports just a .286 wOBA with a .141 ISO and a 23.2 K%. If Yarbrough is indeed the starter tonight, the Orioles will bring a .277 wOBA and a .129 ISO against lefties with a 26 K%, which is ranked amongst the highest in the league. I’m not going to recommend using Yarbrough as we don’t have official confirmation that he’s pitching but if he is, his $7,400 salary is extremely enticing, especially on a five-game slate.

Highest Total

PHI (-110) vs. COL (-109) 11 runs — One thing this short slate does feature is a few high totals, highlighted by a game at Coors Field. Both teams are projected at 5.5 runs with the Phillies as slight favorites against Kyle Freeland ($6,200). Last season, Freeland pitched his best baseball at Coors Field, ending with a .300 wOBA and a 3.98 xFIP through 93.2 innings. He did allow 11 of his 17 home runs at Coors but overall, was very good in the league’s best hitting park. With all that said, I’m not sure I’m looking to target him today against a Phillies team that is smashing lefties thus far to the tune of a .356 wOBA and a .227 ISO. The Phillies are also currently the best hitting club against the slider, the secondary pitch that Freeland relies upon heavily.

Weather Concerns

No weather concerns for tonight!

Splits to Start

Stats showcased here will be from the 2018 season until May 1st

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Worst vs. LHBwOBAxFIPBest vs. LHBwOBAxFIP
Andrew Cashner.3615.00Kyle Freeland.2343.50
Chris Stratton.3574.56Ryan Yarbrough.2863.70
Zach Eflin.3554.32Tanner Roark.3324.51

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Worst vs. RHBwOBAxFIPBest vs. RHBwOBAxFIP
Andrew Cashner.3705.38Zach Eflin.2873.80
Felix Hernandez.3384.63Tanner Roark.3074.34
Ryan Yarbrough.3244.67Kyle Freeland.3084.42

Top Hard-Hit%

This section will populate with the hitters that have the top hard-hit% over the last seven days. This percentage can help distinguish who is swinging the bat well over the course of the past week. I’ll be updating this daily so we have a consistent flow of names in this section.

Christian YelichMIL$560075%
Wil MyersSDP$460070%
Cody BellingerLAD$550069.2%
Franmil ReyesSDP$390062.5%
Yasmani GrandalMIL$480062.5%

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Chris Paddack, SDP vs. CIN, $9,100 — Paddack is an easy choice on this slate as it’s rather void of reliable pitching options. The Reds continue to struggle at the plate and against righties, have amongst the worst offensive numbers in the league. As of today, Cincinnati sports a team .263 wOBA with a .156 ISO and a 25 K%. The team also isn’t making any hard contact, as it ranks 22nd in the league at 34.3%. Paddack is going to be a very popular option tonight as he’s averaging 17.4 DKFP through his first three starts with a 10.2 K/9.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Joc Pederson, LAD vs. MIL, $5,200 — When Pederson is seeing the ball well, he becomes a fantasy monster. Over his last five games, Pederson is averaging 11 DKFP with a home run in three of those games and five RBI. Tonight he’ll face Zach Davies ($7,000), who has a solid start to the season. Davis didn’t pitch much last season but has historically had issues against lefties all throughout his career. Thus far on the year, Pederson is posting a .478 wOBA against righties with a .509 ISO with all eight of his home runs.

Save Big by Drafting…

Ji-Man Choi, TB vs. BAL, $3,700 — The Rays are smashing the ball right now and Choi batting third feels like an absolute bargain at $3,700. He blasted his first home run of the season last night en route to a 25 DKFP performance. He draws Andrew Cashner ($5,000), who has been nothing but a puddle on the mound this season. Last season, Cashner allowed a .371 wOBA to lefties with 15 of his 25 home runs allowed and a 5.00 xFIP. I love stacking the Rays tonight and Choi in the heart of that order should be in a position to capitalize.

Stack Em Up

TBR vs. BAL (Andrew Cashner) — Going off the Choi play, I think stacking the Rays is an optimal play. Not only has Cashner been struggling but the Orioles bullpen has been amongst the worst in the league. They’re tied for the most home runs allowed in the league at 14 as well as owning a 12.2 BB% (6th) and a 5.02 xFIP (3rd). If we’re to believe that Cashner is knocked out of this game early, the Rays can feast on this poor bullpen and pile on the fantasy points.

Favorite Prop Bet

Chris Paddack OVER 4.5 strikeouts vs. Reds (-162)

While the odds on this aren’t the greatest, this just feels like easy money. The Reds are amongst the highest in K% against right-handed pitching at 24.8% and Paddack currently sports a 10.2 K/9 on the year. The over feels completely obtainable and I’m surprised the bar is set as low as it is. With the Reds struggling as bad as they are at the plate, I think we hit the over on this with ease.

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