We have a rare small night slate tonight with just five games on tap. Even with the small slate, we still have plenty of information to get you ready! As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Biggest Favorites

CHC (-169) vs. CIN – Jason Hammel – What’s the quickest way to figure out that we have a short slate tonight? When Jason Hammel is the heavy favorite on the slate. All kidding aside, he’s a solid option tonight and he had a nice outing to kick off the 2016 season. He faced the Diamondbacks where he went six innings, allowing one run on four hits with a 6:3 K:BB ratio. Aside from the home run ball, Hammel was pretty solid in 2015, posting a wOBA of .301 against lefties and .309 wOBA against righties. The Reds are a very boom or bust offense and one that has done pretty well in the 2016 season, batting .258 as a team, which ranks 12th overall. On a short slate like tonight, Hammel doesn’t look too shabby with his $7,900 price tag.

LAD (-157) vs. ARZ – Ross Stripling – This was one of the oddest sights of the young 2016 season. Stripling hadn’t allowed a hit in his last outing against the Giants and was pulled after 7.1 IP. That’s right, Stripling pitched 7.1 IP allowing one run on no hits with a 4:4 K:BB ratio. He’s the second heavy favorite on the night against a decent Diamondbacks offense. At just $6,000, I expect him to be very heavily owned, as recency bias will always show that players are attracted to pitchers/hitters who have shown recent success.  In the minors, Stripling has shown strike out potential, consistently flirting with a K/9 in the 9 range. In the very early going of the season, the Diamondbacks rank 11th overall in strikeouts, so Stripling could rack up a few K’s in this spot.

Highest Totals

BAL vs TEX – 8.5 runs – It’s nice to be talking about a game with a high over under that doesn’t take place in Coors Field. The Orioles and Rangers send Chris Tillman and Cole Hamels to the mound tonight. Tillman will be making his third start of the season and has looked fantastic in the early going. The former punching bag of the Orioles features a dazzling 1.29 ERA with a 10:2 K:BB ratio. Just keep in mind that Tillman has really struggled against RHB recently, owning a .369 wOBA in 2015. His first two starts haven’t exactly been against tough teams thus far, with the Rays and Twins under his belt. Hamels has also had a solid start to the season, holding a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the Mariners and Angles. Again, very similar with Tillman with the favorable schedule. Both of these teams can mash and I think something has got to give in this one, so these pitchers might not find the easy sledding they had in their first two starts.

Weather Concerns

Put your hands in the air for no weather concerns! (This sounded better in my head than it did in text form.)

Park Factors

Park Factors are ranked on a scale of 1.000. If an offensive category had a ranking of 1.000 or higher, it favored the hitters. Anything below 1.000 favored the pitchers.

  • Globe Life Park in Arlington – BAL vs TEX – The Orioles just have it made lately. They start in Camden Yards, go to Fenway Park, now they play in Texas. Maybe that’s the key to their offense (not really, they’re legit.) Globe Life Park favors hitters in every offensive category except triples from it’s 2015 rankings.
  • Wrigley Field – CIN vs. CHC – In 2015, Wrigley Field came in 14th place in terms of a favorable ballpark for hitters. With the short slate, it grabs the number two spot. It had favorable ratings in home runs, triples and runs.
  • Rogers Centre – NYY vs. TOR – Don’t tell this Blue Jays offense that their ballpark was one of the least favorable places for hitters. Pitchers were favored in the majority of offensive categories with the exception of home runs and doubles.
  • Dodger Stadium – ARZ vs LAD – For the most part, almost all the ballparks tonight are more favorable to pitchers than they are hitters. Dodger Stadium and Rogers are the exception. Like Toronto, Dodger Stadium only had a favorable rating for hitters in home runs and doubles.

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Worst vs LHBOPSAVG        Best vs LHB               OPS   AVG
Ian Kennedy0.8440.256Marcus Stroman0.5140.194
Nathan Eovaldi0.7810.314Cole Hamels0.6460.237
Doug Fister0.7380.265Jason Hammel0.6960.245

  • Ian Kennedy is a really tough guy to figure out. His overall numbers aren’t that impressive, but he still owned a 9.3 K/9 in 2015 which is the second highest out of all of the pitchers going tonight.

Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Doug Fister 0.8600.327         Rasiel Iglesias0.6180.176
Ian Kennedy0.7880.259        Marcus Stroman0.6460.241
Robbie Ray0.7330.252       Nathan Eovaldi0.6560.258

  • Fister, who is usually good for eating innings, had a real tough go of it against righties last season. Making him even more unappealing, he’s not a big strikeout pitcher by any means, owning just a 5.5 K/9 last season.
  • Rasiel Iglesias owns the highest K/9 on the night even with the tough matchup on tap. In his limited appearances last season, Iglesias achieved a 9.8 K/9 in 2015.

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

HitterOpposing SPABFP/AB
JJ HardyCole Hamels122.75
Adrian BeltreChris Tillman122.66
Mike MoustakasDoug Fister251.6

* Not a big group of BvP today, so we have to stick with the best we got. Hardy leads the way with his four hits in 12 at bats against Cole Hamels. Hardy has two doubles, a home run and four RBIs in their brief encounters.

  • Like Hardy, Beltre also has 12 at bats against Chris Tillman. Beltre is 6-12 against him with two doubles, a home run and five walks.

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Chris Tillman – BAL vs. TEX – $6,800 – Am I thrilled about this pick? Absolutely not. Do I think it has potential on the night? For sure. Tillman has only had two starts this season and he’s looked great. But we have to take the opponents into consideration. Tillman has only faced the Twins and the Rays, so I wouldn’t exactly be running up and down the streets proclaiming that Tillman is back. What I do like is that the Rangers are second in strikeouts in the early going of this season. If Tillman can throw anything close to his game against Tampa, where he held them to a run on four hits and struck out five, he can net us around 20 points. That is quite the value for someone who is only going to run us for a $6,800 salary. Tillman is capable of the strikeouts, it’s just a question of if he’ll maintain his command to get to that point.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Lorenzo Cain – KCR vs. HOU (Doug Fister) – $4,900 – Fister really struggled against right handed hitters last season. It showed in the numbers – he was tagged at a .368 wOBA by season end. He faces the Royals tonight and I like this spot for Cain. He owned a .338 wOBA against right handed pitchers last season with an ISO of .139. Cain hasn’t exactly gotten off to a hot start this season and I think this will keep people off of him tonight, even in a short slate. I think this would be a great time to pounce on him, especially in GPPs, where we can get a high upside hitter at a low owned percentage.

Save Big by Drafting…

Mark Trumbo – BAL vs TEX (Cole Hamels) – $3,400 – Is anyone hotter than Trumbo right now? Maybe Chris Davis? Trumbo comes in at a super friendly price of $3,400 with a left/right matchup against Cole Hamels. Hamels allowed 20 of his 22 home runs to left handed batters while giving up a .290 wOBA. Trumbo owned a .364 wOBA with an ISO of .237 against lefties. With 11 of his 22 home runs against lefties, you have to love the combination of his price, his recent hot streak and the matchup against Hamels.

Stack Em Up

HOU vs. KCR (Ian Kennedy) – The Astros do two things well, hit home runs and strike out. Let’s hope we see a ton of the home runs and not the strike outs tonight. Facing Ian Kennedy, who allowed a whopping 31 home runs on the season in 2015, the Astros are a very stackable team with most likely, the best matchup on this slate. Even a short three person stack could get the job done with the three big bats of Rasmus, Gomez and Springer.