We’ve finally reached the end of the week! With slate of games today, we have plenty of fantasy baseball to kick off your weekend. This article features all information on the 14 games going tonight. 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.
Madison Bumgarner vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (-215) – Bumgarner enters the night as the favorite pitcher, according to Vegas. With a 2.91 ERA to go with a 1.01 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.6, Bumgarner is having a solid season all around. Tonight, Bumgarner gets matched up with a good hitting Diamondbacks team, who owns a .325 wOBA in the second half of the season with a K% of 21.9%, which is ranked 7th highest in the league. Even with the high strikeout percentage, this could end up being a bit of a tough spot for Bumgarner. The Diamondbacks have hit left handed pitching well this season, owning a .322 wOBA against them, which is ranked the 9th highest in the league. Bumgarner is priced at $11,500 on the night, which actually makes him the fifth most expensive pitcher on the night. Yeah, pitching is very top heavy to say the least. I think Bumgarner will be able to pull out a victory here against the Diamondbacks, but I might actually pass on Bumgarner tonight, only because we have so many options at pitcher to choose from. At least do yourself a favor and look into some of the other options on the night.
Zack Greinke vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (-200) – Greinke checks in as the most expensive pitcher on the night, which seem a bit crazy figuring who he has underneath him. Greinke is more expensive than Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Jose Fernandez, and Madison Bumgarner. Quite the list, isn’t it? Greinke gets a Pirates team that is ranked 14th in wOBA in the second half of the season at .324 with a K% of 21.5%, which is 11th in the league. Greinke continues to be filthy in almost every start he’s had, as he owns a 1.62 ERA to go with a 0.85 WHIP and a K/9 of 8.1. At this point, he’s basically matchup proof. If Greinke has a start coming up, he’s basically in consideration to be on your roster. However, the high price tag does pose a bit of a problem. Getting two premium pitchers in your lineup is going to be tough when filling out your offense tonight. But one thing is for sure, when you’re rostering Greinke, you’re certainly getting someone who has been consistent for the entire season.
*Mike Fiers vs. Oakland A’s (-200)-*With that list I just named off of all the quality pitchers going tonight, did you expect Mike Fiers to finish off the three favorite pitchers according to Vegas? Yeah, I didn’t think so. To be fair, Fiers is facing one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Oakland owns a .305 wOBA in the second half of the season, good for 27th in the league. As I usually mention, the downside to facing the A’s, is that they’re a tough team to strike out, with an 18.4 K%, which is one of the lowest in the league. Fiers is certainly an attractive pick tonight as he’s a hell of a lot cheaper than any of the premium pitchers going tonight. His $8700 salary almost makes him feel like he’s free with the price you have to pay for everyone else. Fiers owns a 3.67 ERA to go with a 1.28 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.1. I think Fiers would be a nice pairing with one of the top pitchers tonight, as it won’t totally kill your offense salary cap numbers. I think he might fly under the radar a bit, regardless of his opponent. With so many top pitchers going tonight, it would be hard to even make it down the list to where Fiers would be.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies 10.5 Over/Under – We had a nice run of different games to talk about when the Rockies are on the road. Unfortunately, the Rockies are back home and we get to talk about them every day now. It’s gotten to the point where it’s very obvious what you do when teams play at Coors Field. You get some exposure to that game since it’s always projected to be the highest scoring game of the day. Ian Kennedy takes on Chad Bettis in this one, which will be anything but a pitchers duel. Both pitchers struggle against right handed batters, as Kennedy owns a .351 wOBA against them and Bettis a .359. Honestly, if you’re going to be looking at rostering a couple of the expensive pitchers tonight, I think if you still want exposure to this game, you should look closely at the bottom of the order for both teams. This would be a perfect night to get contrarian with your COL/SD hitters since people will be going for the obvious people. Look for the guys you wouldn’t normally roster. It could work out on a night like tonight.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Zack Davies vs. Cincinnati Reds- Davies is making his fourth start in the majors tonight, so he now qualifies to be featured in this section, according to the Steve Buchanan Cheat Sheet rulebook. With that being said, Davies owns a .174 wOBA against lefties this season. Just remember though, the sample size is a lot smaller than normal.
Drew Smyly vs. Baltimore Orioles- Again, another pitcher that has started at least three games, so he can be featured here. It’s even in their contracts, the goal is to make it onto the Cheat Sheet. Smyly owns a .227 wOBA against lefties on the year.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Jose Fernandez vs. Washington Nationals- This matchup of Fernandez vs. Max Scherzer is one of those games that reminds me why I love baseball. Truly, what an epic matchup of two of the best pitchers going up against each other. Awesome. Fernandez enters tonight as the top guy against righties, allowing a .193 wOBA on the year.
Max Scherzer vs. Miami Marlins- It’s going to be a tough day for offense in this game. As if one team facing Fernandez isn’t enough, the Marlins get to deal with Scherzer, who they have hit well before. On the season, Scherzer owns a .239 wOBA against righties.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
James Paxton vs. Texas Rangers- Man, this is one of the worst I’ve seen all season. When your wOBA is at .444, you have to really question if your career choice was a good one. Paxton is basically throwing batting practice to lefties.
Rubby de la Rosa vs. San Francisco Giants- His wOBA against lefties just continues to grow after every start he is. It’s like a science project. How high will De La Rosa get his wOBA?! On the season, it’s inflated to .409.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Zack Davies vs. Cincinnati Reds- Remember how good it sounded Davies was against lefties, it all gets unraveled when he faces right handed batters. On the small season for Davies, he’s allowing a .432 wOBA against them.
Adam Morgan vs. Atlanta Braves- Good god, a Phillies and Braves matchup tonight. I truly couldn’t think of worse series than that. Morgan comes into tonight with a .357 wOBA against righties.
Shin-soo Choo OF ($4600) – Seriously, how hot is the Texas lineup lately? Yesterday we featured Fielder and Beltre, now we move on to Choo. He’s 14-30 two home runs, nine RBIs, and eight runs scored. This is a dangerous lineup right now.
Bryce Harper OF ($5500) – Yeah I know, super obvious. When isn’t Harper hitting well? But the information is in front of me, and it’s my job to inform all of you. Harper is 10-25 with four home runs, seven RBIs, and six runs scored.
Edwin Encarnacion 1B ($5000) – Another shocking development, someone from the Blue Jays is a hot hitter right now. Encarnacion is 8-19 with three home runs, five RBIs, and seven runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
*Salavdor Perez vs. Justin Verlander-*Perez has really fallen off in the second half of the season. A potential saving grace for him tonight, will be his matchup with Verlander. Perez is 20-41 against him with nine extra base hits, two of them being home runs, and a 1.270 OPS.
Ryan Raburn vs. Chris Sale- The left handed pitching killer, Raburn has some good numbers against Chris Sale. Raburn is 10-33 against Sale with seven extra base hits, four of them being home runs, and a 1.136 OPS.
Colby Rasmus vs. Felix Doubront- Rasmus has hit Doubront really well in the short sample that they’ve seen each other. Rasmus is 7-17 against Doubront with five extra base hits, one of them being a home run and a 1.386 OPS.
The following games have some threat of rain tonight:
Angels at Twins (very likely for a PPD, watch this one closely)
Royals at Tigers
White Sox at Indians
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Jose Fernandez ($11,800) – This one is a no brainer for me. Yes, overall, the Nationals have hit well in the second half of the season. They own a .326 wOBA, which is ranked 9th in the league. What makes this start so enticing is the strikeouts. The Nationals have the third highest K% during that same time span at 22.9%. With Fernandez coming into tonight with an 11.2 K/9, I mean, how the hell can you not love this? When a pitcher is priced as high as Fernandez is, it’s tough for him to reach his value. I think Fernandez could honestly reach that plus more. With a plethora of high quality pitchers going tonight, I think your focus really will need to be on Fernandez.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Edwin Encarnacion ($5000) –Encarnacion gets a matchup with Rick Porcello tonight, which entices me because of the home run factor. Porcello has been pitching MUCH better as of late, earning at least 16.5 points in his last three starts. However, home runs continue to bring him down. In his last three starts, Porcello has given up four home runs, with two of them coming in a start against the Blue Jays. Against right handed pitching, Encarnacion has a .395 wOBA with an ISO of .290. Going against someone who gives up a ton of home runs, Encarnacion is going to be in all of my lineups.
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Ryan Raburn($2100) –Rabrun as I mentioned, is a left handed pitching killer. Besides his great numbers against Sale (scroll on up) he’s been successful against lefties the entire season. Raburn comes into tonight with a .411 wOBA against lefties with an ISO of .266. For someone that will certainly be in the lineup tonight, maybe even in the cleanup spot, $2100 is a small price to pay for a potential good matchup.