With a full slate of games going all throughout the day, we have plenty of fantasy baseball information for you. So let’s not waste any time and jump right into things! As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Heaviest Pitcher Favorites
This section is to showcase who the Vegas favorites are on the night. Not my own personal choices.
Dan Haren vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-210) – Man oh man, Vegas loves hating on those Phillies again. It feel like were back in the beginning of the season, where it was almost a daily occurrence that Vegas was tabbing an opposing pitcher to the Phillies to be the favorite on the night. Well, today is no different. Haren gets the nod for today as he comes into tonight’s start with a 3.73 ERA to go with a 1.15 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.3. Aside from his last start, Haren had really been struggling on the mound, where he allowed 11 runs in 15.2 innings. In his last start, he seemed to have straightened things out a bit going seven innings against the Cardinals, allowing no runs on seven hits while striking out five. If you’ve read this article before, it’s no surprise to you that the Phillies continue to struggle once again. Since the All Star Break, the Phillies own a .316 wOBA, which continues to drop almost after every game, as they now rank 20th in the league with that. Per the usual, Haren is extremely cheap tonight, tabbed at $7,000. I think he could be a decent value play on the night, as he’s averaging 13.4 points per start. Going against a team that is struggling like the Phillies, I think Haren could sneak in a good start here.
Madison Bumgarner vs. San Diego Padres(-200) – It’s funny to me how hard baseball can be to predict. I remember during the offseason, I thought the Padres might be the team to beat with all the offseason moves they made. Instead, we have Bumgarner going tonight in a meaningless game for the Padres. The Padres own a .319 wOBA in the second half of the season, good for 17th in the league. However, when it comes to facing a leftie, they don’t fare so well. Owning a .301 wOBA against lefties this season, the Padres could have their hands full with Bumgarner tonight. It doesn’t help that the Padres strike out a TON when facing lefties this season, with the third highest strikeout percentage at 23%! This matchup for Bumgarner sounds more and more enticing, especially when you add in the fact that Bumgarner owns a 9.6 K/9 on the season. Bumgarner is the most expensive pitcher on the night at $12,200, but with this matchup, I think he’s going to be worth the price of admission.
Noah Syndergaard vs. Atlanta Braves (-186)- How can you not like a pitcher matchup up against the Atlanta Braves! When a team enters the night with the lowest wOBA in the league during the second half of the season, you pay attention to that matchup! Yes, the Braves now officially have the lowest wOBA in the second half of the season, checking in at .288. Crazy how low that’s dropped. The only downfall with facing the Braves, is that they’re a tough team to strikeout. Coming into tonight with an 18.9 K%, only four other teams in the league are tougher to strike out than the Braves. Syndergaard comes into tonight with a 3.31 ERA to go with a 1.14 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.4. I think it will be hard for Syndergaard to reach his K/9 tonight, as I’m thinking maybe five would sound like a better number to shoot for. Even with that being said, I think Syndergaard is worth his $10,700 price tag. It’s hard to pass on the team that is the worst hitting club in the league during a certain period of time. It’s not getting any better, and I don’t think the Braves are suddenly going to figure out their offensive woes against a pitcher like Syndergaard.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
Oakland A’s at Texas Rangers 10 Over/Under – Second night in a row where these two teams are slated to be the highest scoring game of the day/night. Tonight we see Sean Nolin take on Yovani Gallardo. Nolin has seen the majority of his time down in the minor leagues this season, with a cup of coffee in the majors this season. Down in the minors, Nolin had a 2.66 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP along with a 38:19 K:BB ratio in 47 innings. Nolin is not a strikeout guy by any means, so don’t be picking him up in hopes of a sneaky game with a ton of strikeouts. Not happening. I must say, I’m a bit curious on this choice because both starting pitchers going tonight aren’t terrible. Granted, we haven’t seen much of Nolin, but Gallardo is entering tonight with a 3.16 ERA to go with a 1.35 WHIP and a K/9 of 5.7. Gallardo might struggle against lefties with a .321 wOBA against them, but that’s by far not the worst I’ve ever seen. If you’re big on trusting Vegas, by all means, grab some exposure to this one. Personally, I don’t think I see it. The A’s have one of the lowest wOBA in the second half at .300 and the Rangers are at .32o. Not exactly power houses on either side here. I think I’m fading this game.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Tommy Milone vs. Chicago White Sox – Milone takes on Jose Quintana tonight in a leftie on leftie battle. This matchup is going to be tough for those lefties, as Milone owns a .243 wOBA against them. Quintana isn’t too shabby either.
Lance McCullers vs. LA Angels- McCullers gets a nice matchup tonight against another team that has really fallen off the face of the planet in the second half, the Angels. McCullers has been fantastic against lefties this season, owning a .255 wOBA against them.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Jose Fernandez vs. Washington Nationals – That’s right, baby! Jose Fernandez is back with the Marlins tonight, as he faces the Nationals. Fernandez is hoping to pick up right where he left off, as he’s holding righties to a .203 wOBA.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. Chicago Cubs- If you want to see some extreme splits, look no further than Eickhoff. He’s fantastic against righties, he truly is. He comes into tonight with a .210 wOBA against them. An impressive number by any stretch. However, you’ll see him again on this list, and not for a good reason.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. Chicago Cubs- That didn’t take long! So we have Eickhoff, who we just praised for how well he is against right handed batters. Put a leftie in front of him, and the kid forgets how to pitch. On the season, Eickhoff owns a .484 wOBA against lefties. How’s that for an extreme difference!?
Rubby de la Rosa vs. LA Dodgers-I don’t know why, but for some reason, de la Rosa splits are stuck in my head. I knew off the bat that entering his last start, his wOBA against lefties was .399. Well, he must have done well against them his last time out, since it now sits at .396.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Matt Moore vs. Boston Red Sox- Moore has not been the same pitcher since he came back from Tommy John surgery. It’s been a real rough stretch for him, which is obvious from his 8.04 ERA. It doesn’t help that he has to take on the Red Sox tonight, one of the best hitting team in the majors. When the game begins tonight, Moore will have a .429 wOBA against righties.
Chris Tillman vs. Kansas City Royals- Tillman just hasn’t been able to settle in this season it felt like. As soon as he starts getting into a groove, he would just throw up all over himself and he’s back to being the 2015 Tillman. Righties have really been giving him trouble this season, as he owns a .370 wOBA.
David Ortiz DH/1B($4400) – Ortiz has really been a completely different hitter in the second half of the season compared to the first. He’s chasing 500 home runs on the season and is just two away. To say he’s locked in at the plate right now would be an understatement. Ortiz is 8-20 with three home runs, nine RBIs, and six runs scored.
Starlin Castro SS ($3100) –The Cubs are going places this season, especially with Castro swinging a hot bat lately. Castro is 9-16 with two home runs, five RBIs, and six runs scored. That whole lineup feels like they’re all clicking at the exact same time.
Brandon Phillips 2B ($3900) –Phillips had a real down of a season last year, but he seems like he turned it around in 2015. It’s a bummer the Reds wont be going anywhere this season. Phillips comes into tonight 12-31 with two home runs, eight RBIs, and five runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Jay Bruce vs. Lance Lynn- Bruce lovesssss when he gets to face Lance Lynn. He’s been a force against him in his career. Bruce comes into tonight 14-28 against Lynn with six extra base hits, three of them being home runs and a 1.529 OPS.
Brandon Belt vs. Ian Kennedy- Every once in awhile, it pops in my head that Kennedy once won 21 games in a season. I don’t want to live in a world where Kennedy is a 20+ game winner. Belt will do his part to make sure Kennedy has a rough night, as Belt is 11-33 against Kennedy with five extra base hits, two of them being home runs and a 1.042 OPS.
Carlos Santana vs. Justin Verlander- This matchup wouldn’t really classify as your typical BvP. Overall, Santana has not hit Verlander well, as he’s just 11-50 against him. So, what gives? Well, when he DOES hit Verlander, it’s always trouble. Of those 11 hits, seven of them have gone for extra bases, six of them being home runs. Get what I’m saying?
Stop with the rainnnnnnnn!!!!!!!! A bunch of games have threat of rain once again. Sigh.
Cardinals at Reds
Royals at Orioles
Brewers at Pirates
Cubs at Phillies
Tigers at Indians
Thank god for domes.
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Madison Bumgarner ($12,200) – I think this one is a no brainer honestly. We talked about Bumgarner earlier, and how poorly the Padres hit against left handed pitching this season. Adding on the fact how much the Padres strike out against those lefties, and I just can’t fade Bumgarner at all. He’s going to be a little tricky to get into your lineup because he is the most expensive pitcher on the night, but this also isn’t Clayton Kershaw with his $16,000 price tag. Pairing Bumgarner with someone like Dan Haren, still gives you some wiggle room, as you have an average of $3,850 left to use on you hitters. But of course, don’t expect anything higher than a mid teens score from him. So, we really have to rely on Bumgarner to score us some big points, which I think he’s fully capable of doing with his much the Padres strike out against lefties, 23%, and Bumgarner with his K/9 of 9.6.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Nelson Cruz ($5300) – Ah yes, Nelson Cruz against left handed pitching tonight. It’s almost impossible to pass up, even if it’s in Seattle. Coming into tonight, Cruz owns an absurd .465 wOBA against lefties with an ISO of .331. Truly, these numbers are huge and makes you wonder how anyone actually passes it up. Going up against Yohan Flande tonight, who allows a .378 wOBA to right handed batters, Cruz, on paper, is about as much of a slam dunk as you can get. Also, if you’re still worried about Cruz and his power at home, he does have 14 home runs on the season at Safeco field. I’ll take that all day.
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Xander Bogaerts ($3500) – Bogaerts has been a left handed pitching killer this season. Tonight, he gets the struggling Matt Moore, who still hasn’t found his groove since returning from Tommy John surgery. On the season, Bogaerts owns a .393 wOBA against lefties. He doesn’t have much power, with an ISO of only .109, but if I’m rostering Bogaerts, I’m not really looking at power for him. A couple of extra base hits would do just fine. Moore has really struggled against righties this season, with a .429 wOBA when facing them this season. Put me in for 100% Bogaerts tonight.