Game Notes

Biggest Favorites

SEA (-165) vs. OAK – Taijuan Walker- Walker is the heavy favorite tonight, taking on the Oakland A’s. Walker is someone that many are saying will be a big time pitcher at some point, but we have yet to see that come to fruition. Walker had a decent K/9 last season at 8.3, but he faces an Oakland team that was tough to strikeout in 2015. Oakland ranked 28th in terms of total strikeouts with only Atlanta and Kansas City punching out less. At $9,300, Walker feels a bit expensive on the night, even though he could be in line to grab the W against Eric Surkamp, who owns a career 6.47 ERA with a 1.71 WHIP.

Jaime Garcia (-150) vs. Atlanta Braves – Jaime Garcia – Garcia was one of my favorite pitchers to roster when he took the mound last season. He always seemed under priced (that’s since changed), and he was often overlooked. Tonight, Garcia checks in at $9,400 with a matchup against the Braves. The Braves have often been underdogs this season, and rightfully so because they were one of the worst hitting ball clubs in 2015. One bright spot for the Braves was their refusal to strikeout. They ranked 29th last season, and even in the early going in 2016, they rank 25th with only 19 (Blue Jays lead with 46.) I think Garcia is in a good spot here, but strikeouts may be tough to come by.

Highest Totals

HOU vs. MIL – 9 runs – This matchup will feature Scott Feldman for the Astros going up against Chase Anderson for the Brewers. Feldman struggles big-time against right handed batting. Last season, he saw his wOBA against righties rise all the way up to .354 with nine of the 13 home runs he allowed coming against righties. Against right-handed pitchers this season, the Brewers have rolled out seven right handed batters which should work against Feldman. Chase Anderson had struggles with the long ball last season, allowing 18 home runs on the year and equally splitting his wOBA at .325 against both lefties and righties. Both teams possess power, and this one could get out of hand quickly.

CHC vs. ARZ – 9 runs – Just as expected, the Cubs went to town on the Diamondbacks, scoring 14 runs last night. They’re slated as one of the highest projected runs total of the night again as they face off with Robbie Ray. Ray was solid for the Diamondbacks last season with the exception of the walks. Ray ended with a 119:49 K:BB ratio in 2015. He struggled a lot more against righties than lefties when it came to walks, as 41 of them came against RHB. Hammel also had a decent 2015 for the Cubs, but the home run ball is a problem for him, allowing 23 last season. 16 of those bombs came off the bat of right handed hitters, who also tagged Hammel for a respectable .309 wOBA.

Weather Concerns

1) PIT vs. CIN (Great American Ballpark) – This game calls for some rain in the early going. However, it looks as if it should clear up as the game progresses. The wind is certainly worth noting, as it will be blowing out toward left field at 20-22 mph.

Park Factors

Park factors are determined by having a rating over or under 1.000. A rating under favors the pitcher and a rating over favors the hitter.

  • Camden Yards – TAM vs. BAL – One of the best stadiums for a hitter, Camden Yards had a favorable rating for hitters in runs scored, home runs, and singles.
  • Great American Ballpark – PIT vs. CIN – The Reds come home for the first time this season with favorable ratings for hitters in almost every offensive category with the exception of triples.
  • AT&T Park – LAD vs. SF – The pitching matchup certainly favors the hitters in this one; however, the ballpark does not. Rated as the worst ballpark in all of baseball for hitters, AT&T park had unfavorable ratings in all offensive categories with the exception of triples.
  • Rogers Centre – BOS vs TOR – The Rogers Centre is on the cusp of being favorable for hitters in some categories, but only two ended up being in favor for them. Home runs and doubles had a rating above 1.000, while all other fell under.

TargetsTop 5'sCheat Sheet
PitchersLineup StacksWeather

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Matt Wisler0.3270.986Francisco Liriano0.2090.599
Matt Cain0.3130.96Chris Archer0.2220.604
Alfredo Simon0.2890.862Jaime Garcia0.250.63

  • Rough day to be named Matt if you’re facing a left handed batter. Matt Wisler and Matt Cain certainly have had their struggles against lefties, and these aren’t small sample sizes either. Cain pitched in 13 games last season and Wisler in 20.
  • Francisco Liriano and Chris Archer lead the pack against lefties. Both of these players have tremendous K upside, with Archer posting a 10.7 K/9 last season and Liriano posting a 9.9 K/9. The Orioles, who Archer is facing tonight, ranked 9th overall in K’s last season.

Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Matt Cain0.2760.84Jaime Garcia0.2180.557
Scott Feldman0.2940.824Chris Archer0.2180.622
Chris Tillman0.2710.828Francisco Liriano0.2270.639

  • Archer and Liriano show why they are some of the top options on the slate tonight with their stellar numbers against RHB as well. The previously mentioned Jaime Garcia is someone that always sneaks in but doesn’t get enough attention.

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

HitterOpposing SPABFP/AB
Adrian GonazlezMatt Cain741.68
Evan LongoriaChris Tillman492.24
Chase UtleyMatt Cain272.62
Eric HosmerErvin Santana124.08

  • I truly thought Carlos Gonzalez was going to have a higher FP/AB, but once I did the math, I was shocked with the number. His line against Cain looks more impressive in this fashion. Gonzalez is 22-74 with 10 extra base hits, four of them being home runs, 13 RBIs, 10 walks and a .931 OPS.
  • Eric Hosmer has the lowest amount of at bats of the group, but when he gets a hit against Santana, he’s made it count. Hosmer is 4-12 with three extra base hits, two of them going for home runs, with eight RBIs, four walks, and a 1.417 OPS. Impressive stuff.

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Chris Archer – TBR vs. BAL – $10,700 – I usually hate going with the most expensive pitcher on the slate. However, I really like the matchup for Archer against the Orioles, who ranked 9th overall in strikeouts in 2015. What intrigues me is a couple of factors here. First and foremost, Archer is always in line for some major K’s. As I’ve mentioned earlier, he owned a 10.7 K/9 in 2015. That’s exactly the type of number we like to see against a team that was in the top ten in K’s last season. Second, the Orioles added some big bats during the offseason. Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez. They certainly boost the O’s lineup and pose a serious power threat. They also provide a ton of strikeouts on their own. Trumbo and Alvarez combined for 224 strikeouts in 2015. A huge number! I like Archers chances here to rack up some strikeouts.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Andrew McCutchen PIT vs. CIN (Alfredo Simon) – $5,000 – McCutchen has a plus matchup tonight against Alfredo Simon as well as the ballpark factor working in his favor. Great American Ballpark had plus rating for almost every offensive category last season and McCutchen faces a pitcher in Simon who struggled last season. Simon struggled more against left-handed batters than he did right, but McCutchen hits right handed pitching, so I think this is a good spot for him. Last season, McCutchen owned a .376 wOBA against righties with an ISO of .200. The majority of his home runs come against righties, as he hit 18 off of them. Simon imploded on more than one occasion last season, and in a hitter friendly park, he could do the same again here.

Save Big by Drafting…

Justin Turner – LAD vs. SF (Matt Cain) – $3,500 – I’m a big fan of Justin Turner, as I feel he consistently flies under the radar but possesses some power and can get on base. Tonight, he gets a cake matchup against Matt Cain, who was the human punching bag on the mound last season. Against right handed batters in his short stint of pitching last season, Cain allowed a .357 wOBA while allowing six home runs in 33.2 IP against righties. Cain allowed 12 homers overall in 60 IP. Turner was crushing right handed pitching last year with a .390 wOBA with an ISO of .210. This is a really plus matchup for Turner and one I will have a ton of exposure to.

Stack Em Up

LAD vs. SFG (Matt Cain) – This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, as I’ve been basically all over targeting hitters against Cain in this Cheat Sheet. This game should feature a lot of runs and the Dodgers should certainly be doing a lot of the damage. As I mentioned with Justin Turner, Cain allowed 12 home runs in just 60 innings pitched last season. In the second half of the season, when he pitched most of his innings, Cain was allowing an overall .387 wOBA to opposing hitters.