With a full slate on tap tonight we have a plethora (great word) of options to choose from. I’ll be here to get you set for this awesome slate of baseball tonight. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Biggest Favorites

CHC (-184) vs. CIN – Jon Lester – After Arrieta threw a no-hitter against the Reds last night, the Cubs are once again one of the big favorites on the night. Lester checks in as the third most expensive pitcher on the night at $10,000 and making his fourth start of the season. In a month that is historically tough for Lester, he’s been great in the early going. Owning a 2.21 ERA with a 0.84 WHIP and a K:BB of 19:4, Lester faces a Reds team that ranks 27th overall in strikeouts. In four starts last season, Lester was fantastic against this Reds team. Lester pitched 27 innings allowing 11 runs on 23 hits and a sensational 27:1 K:BB ratio.

WAS (-176) vs. MIN – Gio Gonzalez – Gonzlaez will be pitching in some interleague action tonight with the game being in Washington. This is obviously a critical piece of info for Gonzalez, as he’ll have the luxury of no DH and pitching to a pitcher that never hits. At $9,100, Gonzalez has been near perfect in his two starts. Owning a 0.69 ERA to go with a 0.77 WHIP and a 12:3 K:BB ratio, his matchup against the Twins should be a breeze. Ranked 7th in stirkeouts, Gonzalez not only should be able to get some in this start, but he really has nothing worry about near the bottom of the order. With a full slate tonight, Gonzalez should be a popular choice against the team ranked 25th in runs scored.

Hightest Totals

LAD vs COL – 11 runs – Ah yes, the return to Coors Field. Scott Kazmir will take on Jon Gray of the Rockies, who is making his first start of 2016 after an abdomen injury. If Gray pitches anywhere near like he did in 2015, he could be in some real trouble here. Gray owned a .434 wOBA at home last season in his brief appearances in the majors last season allowing three home runs in just 20.1 IP at Coors Field. I will say though, for this game taking place at Coors, hitters are NOT overpriced and making a Dodgers or Rockies stack is extremely doable. As always, wouldn’t hurt to have some exposure here.

PIT vs ARZ – 9 runs – Jonathan Niese and Patrick Corbin take the mound for the Pirates and Diamondbacks tonight. Both have these ball clubs have been hitting the ball extremely well in the early going and have tasty match ups on tap.  Niese ended 2015 with an overall wOBA of .336 with a .330 on the road. He’s in a tough spot here with his lack of K upside, 5.7 K/9 in 2015, and how well the Diamondbacks are hitting, 5th in SLG, 9th in OPS. With Corbin, he didn’t pitch much last season but did own a .340 wOBA against right-handed batters. He has a bit more overall upside as he had an 8.2 K/9 last season, but PIT is a tough team to strikeout, ranked 24th in the league.

Weather Concerns

1) MIN vs. WAS (Nationals Park) – We have good news and bad news. Good news for hitters, we have a wind blowing to straight away center at 11 mph. Bad news, we have a chance of thunderstorms midway through the game. It should clear up after, but it could be enough for at least a delay.

2) CLE vs DET (Comerica Park) – Strong winds of 14 mph blowing out to right field in this one.

3) CHC vs CIN (Great American Ballpark) – Chance of thunder storms throughout this game. I would most certainly watch this one as we get closer to game time.

4) NYM vs. ATL (Turner Field) – Just like the other games, thunderstorms are threatening all throughout the night.

Park Factors

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.

  • Coors Field – LAD vs COL – It should come as no surprise that Coors was ranked the best ballpark for hitters in 2015. Spoiler alert, it will also rank first in 2016. Last season, it had a favorable rating in every single offense category you can think of.
  • Great American Ballpark – CHC vs CIN – Even though this is a great park for hitters, it didn’t exactly help the Reds last night. The Great American Ballpark owned a favorable rating for hitters in every offensive category except triples in ’15.
  • AT&T Stadium – MIA vs SF – Ranked the worst ballpark for hitters in 2015, AT&T Stadium only favored hitters in triples.
  • Angels Stadium of Anaheim – SEA vs LAA – Park Factor doesn’t really seem to make a difference for these two teams, as they both rank in parks for pitchers. LAA only favored hitters in walks last season, so that’s exciting.

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Bud Norris0.8990.295Josh Tomlin0.4480.156
Andrew Cashner0.8960.293CC Sabathia0.5160.186
Aaron Sanchez0.8780.282Martin Perez0.5370.211

Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Bud Norris0.8940.299Aaron Sanchez0.4350.163
CC Sabathia0.8640.309Adam Wainwrght0.540.226
Patrick Corbin0.7880.288Matt Harvey0.5440.218

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

HitterOpposing SPABFP/AB
Evan LongoriaCC Sabathia642.87
Mike TroutFelix Hernandez652.44
Carlos SantanaJustin Verlander532.07

  • Tonight features a few solid, big sample size BvP. We start with Longoria who has gone 24-64 against CC Sabathia with eight doubles, six home runs, 14 RBI and 13 walks.
  • Next is Mike Trout against Felix Hernandez. Trout is 23-65 with three doubles, two triples, four home runs, 13 RBIs and five walks.
  • Finally, I added Santana in the mix not because he has a high average against Verlander, but the hits he does have, he’s made them count. Santana is 11-53 off Verlander with a double, six home runs, 10 RBIs and six walks.

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Sonny Gray – OAK vs TOR – $9,500 – Normally, I might not like Gray in this situation, but with how poorly the Blue Jays are hitting right now, I find myself gravitating towards him with his price tag. At $9,500, Gray gets an offense that has been struggling all season and are racking up strikeouts. The Blue Jays currently own a team SLG of .367, which ranks 25th overall. Their OBP is a little better at .312, but these are not numbers we’d expect. The Blue Jays currently lead the league in strikeouts, averaging 9.6 per game. Gray enters this start with a 7.9 K/9 this season and could up that even more if the Jays continue this streak. It’s not the safest pick I’ve ever made, but it could certainly pay off big.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Yoenis Cespedes – NYM vs ATL (Bud Norris) – $4,600 – At this point, facing Bud Norris is like a small gift from the baseball Gods. He’s picked up right where he left off last season and has been getting shelled in the early going. Norris has allowed three home runs this season in just 17.1 IP with two of those going against right-handed batters. Cespedes has been tearing the cover off the ball, owning a .428 wOBA against right handed pitching in the early going this season. Even though $4,600 is a bit expensive, it doesn’t sound so bad when facing Norris.

Save Big by Drafting…

Brandon Guyer – TBR vs. NYY (CC Sabathia) – $3,500 – Guyer should draw the start with a left-handed pitcher on the mound tonight. This isn’t just any left handed pitcher, it’s CC Sabathia. His struggles against right-handed batters is very well documented, and this is exactly the type of match up that Guyer is with the Rays for. When he’s in the lineup, he’s been in the two spot, which is great for his value. Last season against left-handed pitchers, Guyer owned a .372 wOBA with a .186 ISO. He’s not a big power guy, but 12 of his 15 career home runs have come off lefties. Overall, Guyer is a sneaky play.

Stack Em Up

BAL vs. KCR (Chris Young) – Young has looked anything but young on the mound this season. After a fantastic 2015, he’s come crashing back down to earth. Young hasn’t made it past the fifth inning this season, allowing 12 runs in 14 innings on 20 hits with a 10:7 K:BB ratio. Going up against arguably the best hitting ball club in the majors right now, this should be a short outing for Young. However, we should be able to grab some points from the Orioles bats even with that short outing.

The Rays are also a nice stack, as they had seven straight right-handed batters against lefty David Price yesterday, scoring eight runs on eight hits in just 3.2 IP.