We split the games up almost evenly today between an early slate of five games and tonight with six. This article will cover the night slate of games where we have some fantastic pitchers to choose from. Let’s just right into all the information and as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Biggest Favorites

WAS (-283) vs. ATL – Max Scherzer – Consider me not shocked that Scherzer against the Braves earns the biggest favorite on the night. Scherzer was nasty in 2015, holding opposing batters to a .284 wOBA against lefties and a .232 wOBA against righties. His K/9 of 10.9 was amongst the highest in the league, adding up to 257 total strikeouts. Even against a Braves team that was the second toughest to strikeout in the league last season, Scherzer was able to grab eight K’s in his lone start against the Braves in 2015. His salary is extremely high tonight, as it checks in at $13,100, which is $2,600 more than Jon Lester. However, with such a good matchup on tap, he would be worth paying up for.

CHC (-250) vs. CIN – Jon Lester – From one ace to another, Lester gets the nod as the second favorite on the night. Like Scherzer, Lester had some fantastic splits last season, owning a .286 wOBA against lefties and a .290 wOBA against righties. Overall, his K/9 sat at 9.1 on the season. He takes on a Reds team that doesn’t strike out a ton, as they ranked 18th in 2015.

“Like Scherzer, Lester had some fantastic splits last season . . .”

For whatever reason, historically, Lester usually has a tough time coming out of the gate. In his career, Lester owns his highest ERA of any month in April. During this time it sits at 3.98 with a .316 wOBA against him. I’m not sure what the reasoning is, but I remember this was a struggle when he was with the Red Sox, and the numbers did back it up. Is this a reason to fade him? I wouldn’t get to crazy here, but it is something to consider if you’re on the fence.

Highest Totals

KC vs. HOU – 8.5 runs – The night slate of games only see their highest run total at 8.5 tonight, and it’s the Royals vs. Astros game. Chris Young takes the ball for the Royals while Colin McHugh does so for the Astros. Young seems to have revitalized his career since joining up with the Royals. Last season, he was fantastic against right handed bats, holding them to a .237 wOBA on the season. Lefties do become a bit of a problem as they owned a .320 wOBA. Young pitched much better on the road than he did at home last season, so we’ll see if that trend continues this season.

McHugh is someone who has the talent but is often inconsistent. He has some trouble keeping the ball in the yard, allowing 19 home runs last season with 11 coming against righties. His strikeout rate of 7.6 K/9 is not very impressive either. His price at $8,000 is certainly friendly, but against a team that was the toughest to strikeout in 2015 and his limited K upside, he would be a fairly desperate play tonight.

MIA vs NYM – 7.5 runs – As I mentioned, this slate of games doesn’t carry a lot of high scoring games. The second highest total is with the Marlins and Mets at 7.5 runs. Jarred Cosart takes on Steven Matz in this one. We don’t really have much on Matz as his limited appearances of 35 innings last season was such a small sample size. Still, Matz owned an 8.6 K/9 during that span holding lefties to a .314 wOBA and righties at .278. He did allow four home runs, all to right handers during that short span so that could be in issue going forward, even against one of the worst power hitting teams in the bigs.

Cosart also didn’t see much time in the majors last season, pitching 69.2 IP allowing a .319 wOBA to lefites and a .342 wOBA to righties with an overall K/9 of 6.1. Cosart had issues with home runs, allowing 10 in that short amount of time. Righties got him the most grabbing seven of those home runs.

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Weather Concerns

Park Factors

Park Factors are rated on a scale of 1.000. Anything above 1.000 is favorable for hitters. Anything below favors pitchers.

  • Nationals Park – ATL vs. WAS -This is a rough slate for “favorable” ballparks for hitters. Washington is ranked as the best on the slate, but it came in at just 12th overall in 2015. It does have a few favorable categories for hitters, even if they just barely make it. Runs, home runs, doubles and walks all rounded out to be in favor for hitters in 2015.
  • Wrigley Field – CIN vs. CHC – Again, not exactly a favorable park in the grand scheme of things, but Wrigley gets the nod on this slate. Ranked 14th overall in 2015, Wrigley favored hitters in home runs, triples and walks last season.
  • Citi Field – MIA vs. NYM – Citi Field ranked as the third worst park for hitters in 2015. With ratings favorable for pitchers in every offensive category, it’s easy to see why this ranks as our worst ballpark for hitters on the slate.
  • Minute Maid Park – KCR vs. HOU – Minute Maid Park checks in with only two offensive categories ranked in favor of hitters last season. Home runs and triples were those two categories. This park was much better suited for pitchers in 2015.

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Bud Norris0.2950.899Sonny Gray0.2080.579
Brandon Finnegan0.20.765Jon Lester0.2470.658
Colby Lewis0.2710.756Max Scherzer0.230.659

  • Bud Norris has some really rough numbers overall and is hands down the worst against LHB. Home runs were a big issue with him last season while he was starting with the Orioles. In 66.1 IP, he allowed 14 of them, with nine coming from lefties.
  • The best against LHB is really a solid list of pitchers going on the night. All three had terrific K/9 against lefties last season. Scherzer at 9.7, Lester with 9 and Gray with 7.8.

Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Bud Norris0.2990.89Max Scherzer0.1840.538
Jarred Cosart0.2570.781Chris Young0.1590.542
Colin McHugh0.2880.755Sonny Gray0.2260.601

  • Yup, Norris shows up again. As a starter for the Orioles last season, Norris owned a 7.06 ERA in 66.1 IP. You’d think he’d be better off in a relief role.
  • Scherzer shows that he’s a freak of nature when it comes to RHB, but don’t discount Chris Young either. His numbers are quite comparable to Scherzer, that is until you get to the K/9. Scherzer owned a 10.1 while Young owned a 5.9 in 2015.

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

BatterOpposing SPABFP/AB
Ryan ZimmermanBud Norris173.17
Wilmer FloresJarred Cosart102.9
Adrian BeltreHiashi Iwakuma391.66

  • Not much in the BvP department in this one. Zimmerman has had some great success against Norris in the early going. Zimmerman is 6-17 against Norris with three home runs and nine RBIs.
  • Beltre has the most at bats with success against any pitcher tonight. Against Iwakuma, Beltre is 12-39 with three home runs, a double, five RBIs and two walks.

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Steven Matz – NYM vs. MIA – $9,200 – We have a lot to love about Matz on this slate and overall. As one of the highly touted Mets prospects, Matz gets his first start of the season against Miami at Citi Field. Not only does he have the luxury of being in a pitcher friendly park, but the Marlins aren’t exactly lighting the offensive world on fire. In his short appearances last season, Matz owned a 34:10 K:BB ratio in 35.2 IP. He was fantastic against righties, holding them to a .278 wOBA while walking only three of the them. With his price point at $9,200, I think he’ll be a fine play with a lot of factors going his way in this one.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Giancarlo Stanton – MIA vs. NYM – $5,300 – Yeahhhhhh I know, I’m suggesting a hitter to go against the pitcher I recommended. Two reasons for this. First, not everyone is going to jump on Matz. Second, it’s a short slate of just six games. Picks are slim. So here we are with Stanton. He had tremendous success against lefties last season owning a .470 wOBA with an ISO of .525. Truly, some sick numbers. Matz is still fairly green in the majors and even though I think overall he could pitch well tonight, Stanton could be the trouble spot in the order. For what it’s worth, in 37 games at Citi Field, Stanton has hit 12 home runs, which is the second most out of any away ball park he’s played in.

Save Big by Drafting…

Devin Mesoraco – CIN vs. CHC – $3,100 – Getting someone who is dirt cheap and possess some power is always something I love to target. Mesoraco has been plagued by injuries the past couple of seasons, and that really seems to be holding him back from reaching his true potential. Instead of using his 2015 season stats, which was cut short due to injury, I’m using Mesoraco’s career numbers. Over his career, he owns a .362 wOBA against lefties with an ISO of .175. I can see Mesoraco going completely overlooked and this will certainly help you save some money to spend up at pitcher. Mesoraco is certainly worth a flier when he’s healthy, and that salary doesn’t hurt you either.

Stack Em Up

WAS vs. ATL (Bud Norris) – I hate to give out the obvious choice, but I feel as though I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t put this one as the best stack of the night. Some of you aren’t into BvP, but the Nationals collectively are hitting .277 against Norris with a .492 SLG. To take it even further, of the 36 hits Norris has allowed to this Nationals lineup, 15 of them have gone for extra bases. This is a hard to fade stack in my opinion. Just be prepared for it to be the popular one on the night. Of the Nationals with at least 150 AB last season, these were the top three against RHB according to their wOBA.

  • Harper .478
  • Robinson .329
  • Rendon .310