The wait is FINALLY over! The 2016 MLB season has arrived and I’ll be covering you on a daily basis with the MLB Cheat Sheet. Let’s get into all the information for the three game slate for Sunday! As always, you can follow me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Biggest Favorite

PIT (-116) vs. STL For the Pirates, Liriano gets the nod as the biggest favorite pitcher on this short three game slate. Liriano pitched well at home last season, holding opposing hitters to a .238 average and a 10.6 K/9.

Highest Total

*NYM vs. KC – 7 runs – * This game certainly has the potential for some runs.  This game is tied with Tampa Bay and Toronto in terms of run total, but I think it has the better chance of some offense. With question marks about the health of Matt Harvey and the inconsistent play of Edinson Volquez, I’ll take my shots in this one. Watch those left-handed batters (LHB) against Harvey, as they were much more effective against him with a .295 wOBA last season compared to right-handed batters (RHB) who owned a .237 wOBA.

Weather Concerns

With only three games on the Sunday slate, and one of them playing in a dome, we look to be in the clear for any weather concerns. STL/PIT will have a decent wind blowing out to center field around 19 MPH. As always, make sure to double check before game time.

Park Factors

  • Best Ballpark – NYM @ KC – Yikes. We don’t exactly have a “good” hitting ballpark in this three game slate, especially when Kauffman Stadium is your best option. This ballpark ranked above average for hits and extra bases, but not so much for power.
  • Worst Ballpark – STL @ PIT The honors of the worst of the three parks has to go to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. This stadium is a killer for right-handed power, as it ranked the second worst to those hitters. With two ace pitchers going in this one, it’s a tough one to swallow.


Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

PitcherOpponentwOBAK/9BB/9HR/9
WainwrightPIT0.2885.51.50
LirianoSTL0.2699.33.30.67
ArcherTOR0.26710.32.20.71

  • The most glaring stat in this list was the HR/9 by Harvey to LHB last season. Of the 18 home runs given up last season, 15 of them came against left handed batters.
  • Make sure you take the stats of Wainwright and Stroman with a grain of salt. Both players missed the majority of 2015, and, thus, these numbers reflect a small sample size.

Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

PitcherOpponentwOBAK/9BB/9HR/9
WainwrightPIT0.238710
LirianoSTL0.285103.30.74
ArcherTOR0.27811.13.40.92

  • Liriano and Archer wrapped up last season with K/9 in the double digits. A huge number to focus on when picking out starting pitchers.
  • Harvey is dramatically more effective against RHB, as home runs against him were almost nonexistent. He allowed only three home runs to RHB out of 18 total.

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

HitterOpponentABHXBHHROPS
Evan LongoriaStroman106221.867
Justin SmoakArcher106221.8
Jordy MercerWainwright288421
Josh HarrisonWainwright2410000.878


Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Adam Wainwright- STL @ PIT– $8,700 – It’s hard to be creative on a three game slate, but we can at least try with Wainwright. The park factor certainly goes in his favor in this one. When we combine that with his strikeout potential and his ability to keep the ball on the ground, Wainwright seems to make the most sense. In 2014, his last full season, Wainwright possessed a .277 wOBA against righties and a .243 wOBA against lefties. Not to mention his 46.5% GB (groundball) rate. I anticipate his salary to climb as he get’s back into form. Fire him up.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Yoenis Cespedes – NYM vs. KC – $4,600 – Boy, these short slates make me look like I don’t put much thought into them, don’t they? Picking Cespdes as someone to pay up for isn’t groundbreaking, but I at least have some stats to make my point. Facing a less than stellar Edinson Volquez, Cespdes hit 27 of his 35 home runs against RHP last season, all while possessing a .261 ISO. He’s certainly worthy of a spot on your roster.

Save Big by Drafting…

Randal Grichuk – STL vs. PIT – $3,300 – If you haven’t heard of Randal Grichuk as of yet, I suggest you get acclimated with him. Last season, Grichuk was a nice surprise for the Cardinals, mashing 18 home runs while hitting .275. With his first full season looming, Grichuk faces off against Liriano. Last season against lefties, Grichuk owned a .348 wOBA with an ISO of .257. Both extremely respectable numbers and ones that make his $3,300 salary feel like a steal.

Stack Em Up

New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals – Has Volquez found the fountain of youth, or will he come back down to earth this season? Volquez can go out and give you some innings, but one of his biggest problems is the walks. Last year, Volquez averaged 3.23 BB/9, and he faces a Mets team that ranked 11th in walks last season. This is certainly a team that has some patience and can mash when needed. With the likes of Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda, this team has some power, as well.