Sunday is always my favorite day of baseball. We have all the teams playing in one monster slate. We’ll get you prepared with all the important information you need to turn this Sunday into a profitable one. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
CHC (-245) vs. COL – Jon Lester – The Cubs are far and away the biggest favorites on the today’s slate. At -245, we have Jon Lester taking on Tyler Chatwood. Historically, Lester has had a slow start in the month of April, owning a 3.99 ERA. However, 2016 has been different, and Lester has been coming out of the gates hot with a 2.77 ERA and a 9:2 K:BB ratio. Colorado has been a tough team to strike out in the early going, ranking 25th overall. Mix that with their league leading .542 SLG to start this season, and I think this could be a tougher matchup than everyone thinks.
STL (-182) vs. CIN – Michael Wacha – Wacha bounced back from a rough Opening Day start against the Pirates to throw six innings against the Brewers allowing no runs on four hits with a dazzling 7:1 K:BB ratio. Like the Rockies, the Reds have started off hitting well and are not striking out much. Ranked 27th overall in strikeouts, the Reds own a .421 SLG to start this season, which ranks 10th amongst all teams. One stat that does gravitate me towards Wacha is his record against the Reds last season. In four starts, Wacha pitched 26.1 innings, allowing four runs on 17 hits, with a 17:8 K:BB ratio. If he can control the walks, he should be in a good spot with his $8,000 salary.
BAL vs. TEX– 9.5 runs – – This series continues to bring in the highest run total of the slate, and it’s been living up to the hype. 28 runs have been scored in two games so far, and today should be no different. With two below average pitchers toeing the rubber, Mike Wright for Baltimore and Derek Holland for Texas, the potential for runs is high. Wright only pitched in 44 innings last season, and owned wOBA of .391 against lefties and .361 against righties. Holland is notorious for struggling with right-handed batters, owning a career .336 wOBA against them. With Joey Rickard, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado all near the top of the order, it could be a long (short) day for Holland.
TOR vs BOS – 9 runs – More of the same here again, with the Blue Jays and Red Sox slated for a high scoring game. Today features Aaron Sanchez for the Jays and knuckleballer Steven Wright for the Sox. Personally, I think this is a hard one to gauge, as both starting pitchers can come out of the gates on fire or flat as can be. Both sides can produce, and they’re hitting in Fenway Park, which is always a huge boost. If you’re looking at this game, Sanchez is weak against lefties while Wright is just about even pitching to left and right-handed batters.
1) BAL @ TEX (Globe Life Park) – The only real threat on the day is BAL and TEX, which naturally is the highest run scoring game of the day. This one has a threat of thunderstorms with a wind blowing in from center field at 16 mph. Watch this one closely, as if it does play, it should be a good one.
Park Factors are ranked on a scale of 1.000. If an offensive category has a rating of 1.000 or above, it favors the hitters. Anything below 1.000 favors the pitchers.
- Progressive Field – NYM vs CLE – Progressive was the number two hitters ballpark in 2015. It had favorable ratings in runs, singles, doubles, home runs and walks last season.
- Fenway Park – TOR vs. BOS – Another reason why this game has a high run total is because it’s at Fenway Park. In 2015, Fenway had favorable ratings in almost every type of hit. Runs, singles, doubles and triples all favored hitters.
- Dodger Stadium – SF vs. LAD -Dodger stadium gets the nod for the worst hitting ballpark on the slate today. Dodger Stadium only had favorable ratings for home runs and doubles, with every other offensive category favoring the pitchers.
- Minute Maid Park – DET vs HOU – It would seem that this series wouldn’t matter where it is, as both ballparks ranked in the bottom 10 in 2015 for hitters. Minute Maid Park only had a favorable rating for hitters in home runs and triples in 2015.
Splits to Start
Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
|Worst vs LHB||OPS||AVG||Best vs LHB||OPS||AVG|
|Jhoulys Chacin||0.982||0.319||Zachary Davies||0.434||0.12|
|Juan Nicasio||0.969||0.348||Michael Wacha||0.617||0.215|
|Mike Wright||0.919||0.322||Gio Gonzalez||0.641||0.257|
- That really is a rough looking group of guys that have issues with lefties. Their wOBA against lefties were as follows. Chacin- .420 Nicasio- .412 (1 start, 53 appearances) Wright- .392 (9 starts)
- Davies also looks quite enticing, but he only started six games last season. He did own a .214 wOBA during that span.
Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
|Worst vs RHB||OPS||AVG||Best vs RHB||OPS||AVG|
|Matt Moore||0.866||0.315||Aaron Sanchez||0.435||0.163|
|Anibal Sanchez||0.866||0.291||Corey Kluber||0.549||0.197|
|Derek Holland||0.848||0.264||Hiashi Iwakuma||0.645||0.219|
Batter vs. Pitcher Splits
|Darin Ruf||Gio Gonzalez||23||3.4|
|Chase Utley||Jeff Samardzija||15||3.2|
|Mark Trumbo||Derek Holland||45||2.5|
- This is exactly the type of spot you want to pounce on a player like Ruf. His numbers against Gonzalez are incredible. Ruf is 8-23 against Gonazlez with two doubles, three home runs, nine RBIs, and eight walks.
- Chase Utley and Kiké Hernandez have been swapping back and forth with the leadoff spot, and I hope Utley is in it today. Against Jeff Samardzija, Utley is 6-15 with three doubles, one triple, a home run and five RBIs.
Pitcher to Build Around
Michael Wacha – STL vs. CIN – $8,000 – This is a pretty tough slate for starting pitchers. I don’t really have anyone that I love today, so I truly sat here for quite some time trying to figure out who I think the best option is. Jon Lester could end up being that guy depending on the lineup the Rockies throw out today, so keep an eye on that. In the meantime, I’ll stick with Wacha with his friendly $8,000 salary. As I mentioned about Wacha above earlier in this article, even though the Red are hitting well right now, I do like the dominance that Wacha had against them last season in four starts. In a slate that overall is tough for pitching, Wacha, at least on paper, makes sense to me.
Heavy Hitter to Pay For
Bryce Harper – WAS vs. PHI – $5,000 – Honestly, Harper is an option every day of the week. Today, however, he makes a REAL option. We all know about how much he crushes almost every type of pitcher, but it’s righties that he really loves to hit. We have a weak Charlie Morton taking the hill for the Phillies today, and he struggled immensely last season against lefties. Morton allowed a .384 wOBA to lefties in 2015, allowing eight of the 14 home runs he gave up. As if you really needed conformation, Harper owned a filthy .478 wOBA against righties with a .354 ISO. Harper hit 35 of his 42 home runs against righties in 2015.
Save Big by Drafting…
Austin Jackson – CHW vs. TAM – $3,500 – I think Jackson is a pretty sneak play today because, quite honestly, who has been rostering Austin Jackson? He’s gotten off to a slow start with his new team, the Chicago White Sox, but, matchup-wise, he’s in a good spot today. Facing Matt Moore, Jackson owned a .336 wOBA against lefties last season with an ISO of .156. I think he’ll be one of the sneakier plays of the day and one that will most certainly go under owned.
Stack Em Up
CLE vs. NYM (Steven Matz) – Surprised? You should be. The obvious stacks on the day are just that, obvious. BAL, TEX, BOS and TOR are all solid options. My reasoning for going with Cleveland is because Matz is coming off his worst start of his major league career. In that start against the Marlins, Matz lasted 1.2 IP allowing seven runs on six hits with a 1:2 K:BB ratio. Coming to a hitter friendly park like Progressive Field, the Indians have a realistic chance of getting to Matz early. If anything, this stack will save you a ton of money overall.