I can’t believe we’ve entered September, and we’re now in the final full month of doing these Cheat Sheets! Absolutely incredible how fast the time as gone by. Tonight features a full 15 games, with the exception of the first ARZ COL game, as they play a double header. Pat Corbin and Yohan Flande will take the mound for that game, so make sure you research the night game, not this afternoon. Let’s just right into it and as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
ALERT: St. Louis SP Carlos Martinez has been scratched from tonight’s game. LHP Marco Gonzales ($6,400) is starting in his place.
Heaviest Pitcher Favorites
This section is to showcase who the Vegas favorites are on the night. Not my own personal choices.
Jonathon Niese vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-221) – On a night where we have quite a few quality starting pitchers taking the mound tonight, Niese gets the nod as the favorite against the Phillies. Interesting choice I must say, but this is why Vegas is worth about 348 billion dollars and I’m not. Anyways, I found this one interesting because Niese has been anything but solid lately. In his last three starts, Niese has scored a combined 19.8 points. Yes, that’s all three starts combined. His last start, was even against the Phillies, the team he’s so heavily favored to beat tonight. During those three starts, Niese has given up 15 runs on 21 hits in just 17 innings with a 13:9 K:BB ratio. Does this sound like a guy you want to be investing your salary cap into tonight? Granted, Niese is very cheap tonight at $6500. Not too shabby for a guy who owns a 3.95 ERA on the year with a 1.36 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.1. If you read this article on the regular, you’ll know that the Phillies are hitting well since the All-Star break, owning a .327 wOBA, good for 8th during that time span. So with Niese tonight, he certainly his a cheap price tag to reach his value, it’s just a matter of if he can actually do it or not. Honestly, I won’t hold my breath on this one.
Marco Estrada vs Cleveland Indians (-185) – Estrada may not be the most enticing name on the slate tonight, but he’s certainly pitched well enough to be. Estrada enters tonight with a 3.19 ERA to go with a 1.09 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.9. He faces the Cleveland Indians, who have been hitting well in the second half, just behind the Phillies, with a .326 wOBA during the time, good for 9th in the league. Estrada continues to give us what we pay for at the $7000 tier level, a mid to high teens score with a decent amount of strikeouts and good command. The Indians don’t strike out a lot, owning a 19.6 K% in the second half, but Estrada really isn’t that type of guy either. It’s not a stretch to except maybe four or five strikeouts from Estrada tonight, as he’s usually very consistent with that. Of course as always, with the absurd amount of runs the Blue Jays are scoring, it’s pretty safe to say that Estrada is also a good bet to nab a win here, as the run support has been high for all the Blue Jays starting pitchers. Playing at home tonight, look for Estrada in terms of some salary relief, as you load up on some of these premium pitchers tonight.
Johnny Cueto vs. Detroit Tigers (-150) – The only problem with some of these elite pitchers going tonight, is that they face some fairly tough matchups tonight, or their price is sky high. A couple of these sky high prices, in my opinion, will still be worth it, it’s just a matter of identifying who. Cueto could be one of them, if he can right the ship tonight. Cueto is coming off two disappointing starts in a row now, one against the Boston Red Sox and one against the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox one, I wasn’t overly surprised about, since they’re hitting so well lately. The Orioles I was, since they have such a high K% and their wOBA in the second half of the season is near the basement in the league. Tonight, Cueto gets the Tigers, who are also near the bottom of the league in wOBA in the second half at 19th, with a .314 wOBA. The Tigers are also striking out at a decent pace, with a 20.9 K%. Cueto isn’t excessively high price wise tonight at $10,100, especially compared to some of the other pitchers priced above him in some less than stellar matchups. I think with how poorly Cueto has pitched lately, his won’t be as highly owned across the board as he normally might be. For tonight ,I think I’d use Cueto only in tournaments, maybe not cash. Even though the Tigers are hitting nearly as well as they were in the first half of the season, they still have some serious talent on that team.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 10.5 Over/Under – The night game checks in just like the day game, with a 10.5 projected run total. Rubby de la Rosa takes on Kyle Kendrick, in a battle of “who can be worse against LHB.” It’s true, both of these pitchers REALLY struggle against left handed batters tonight. De la Rosa checks in with a .405 wOBA against them and Kendrick with a .422 wOBA. Mix that in with some Coors Field and lefties should have a field day tonight. Also tonight, both of these starting pitchers LOVE giving up home runs. Between the two of them, they’ve given up 53 home runs. 53 god damn home runs between the two of them! Truly, if you normally fade the Coors Field game to (hopefully) separate yourself from the rest of the field in case the game doesn’t go as planned, tonight would not be the night to do that. Between how poorly these pitchers perform against lefties and how easily they let balls fly out of the park, this one could be a mess. Target wise, anyone you can afford. Just keep your eyes on the lineup, as they’ll be playing a double header, so a couple of key guys could potentially get some rest in the second game. Let’s hope not.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Johnny Cueto vs. Detroit Tigers – Cueto has been fantastic against lefties this season, even with his recent struggles. When facing them this season, Cueto owns a .240 wOBA.
Zack Greinke vs. San Francisco Giants – Greinke is having his best season in the majors by far. As we enter the final month, his numbers are even more impressive, especially since his name is Clayton Kershaw. Against lefties this season, Greinke owns a .249 wOBA.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Joe Ross vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Ross has been a force against right handed batters since his call up to the majors. At this point, it almost feels like they don’t stand a chance against him. Lefties are a different, story, but let’s not focus on that (.343 wOBA if you’re curious) Ross owns a .205 wOBA against righties on the season, good for the top spot in tonight’s slate.
Jimmy Nelson vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Nelson and I are no longer on good terms. We had a long discussion about what happens when I start him and he always seems to fall flat on his face during those starts. So we’ve decided it’s best I don’t roster him anymore. As for all of you, now would be a great time to jump on the Nelson train, as he owns a .246 wOBA against righties.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Kyle Kendrick vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – I truly believe we’re going to have a blood bath in Colorado tonight, all thanks to our starting pitchers! Kendrick is certainly going to help this cause, as his .422 wOBA against lefties is the worst on the night.
Rubby de la Rosa vs. Colorado Rockies – Not to be outdone by his opponent tonight, de la Rosa wanted me to kindly remind everyone that he’s no slouch when it comes to giving up big hits to lefties as well. De la Rosa owns a .405 wOBA against lefties on the season. This number has been steadily rising in the second half of the season.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Kyle Kendrick vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – I’m starting to wonder, what exactly Kendrick does well when it comes to pitching. I don’t think I can come up with much of answer here. If you start Kendrick tonight, you will have my utmost respect, because I feel bad for people who make bad life decisions. Kendrick owns a .368 wOBA against righties.
Drew Smyly vs. Baltimore Orioles – Ehhh, Smyly is kind of getting the short end of the stick here as he’s only made three starts this season. So his numbers are clearly a bit inflated here. Regardless, he’s passed the minimum requirements to end up in this section, which are those three starts. Smyly owns a .351 wOBA against righties thus far.
Ryan Zimmerman ($3600) – Hey, remember this guy? We heard so much about Zimmerman the past couple years that you almost forgot he was even playing in 2015. Well, call me Paul Revere as I yell into the streets that Zimmerman is coming, Zimmerman is coming! He’s 9-28 with four home runs, 14 RBIs, and five runs scored.
Didi Gregorius ($3300) –Gregorius has quietly been getting it done for the Yankees, even with out really being a power hitter. Gregorius comes into tonight 13-24 with two home runs, 11 RBIs, and four runs scored.
Marlon Byrd ($3700) – They say wine gets better with age, but that also may apply to Marlon Byrd. Inching closer and closer to his 40’s, Byrd has been a huge part of the Giants late season success. Byrd enters tonight 9-28 with two home runs, 14 RBIs, and four runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Evan Longoria vs. Chris Tillman – Last night we killed it with the BvP. For all the non believers, I hope you enjoyed watching from the outside. Tonight, we hope to do more of the same. To kick us off, we showcase Longoria and his long battle with Tillman. Longoria is 16-43 with 10 extra base hits, six of them being home runs, and a 1.321 OPS.
Salavdor Perez vs. Justin Verlander – Perez has really seen Verlander well in his career. Perez comes into tonight 18-38 against Verlander with nine extra base hits, two of them being home runs and a 1.266 OPS.
Jacoby Ellsbury vs Rick Porcello – This one is is absolutely mind boggling. Ellsbury isn’t a big power hitter, but how sure seems like one when he faces Rick Porcello. Ellsbury is an amazing 11-17 against Porcello with five extra base hits FOUR of them being home runs and 2.078 OPS. This is not a drill folks. This is insane. My mind is blown.
Looks like a nice clear nice of baseball ahead. Let’s get it!
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Gerrit Cole ($10,800) – You know, when you look at the pitching slate for a particular night and see that Chris Sale is associated with that slate, your eyes grow a little wide and you go YUP, this is who I’m going with. Then you see he’s going to run you for $13,900 and your eyes become a little droopy now. Not as enticing. Now, we realize he’s facing the Twins, well alright, I’m back on board! Surprisingly, the Twins actually are decent against left handed pitching. They own a .312 wOBA against them and the a K% ranked 18th in the league at 20.1 Am I saying the Twins are going to knock Sale around? Most likely not. Will I throw Sale out to the masses for $13,900 and tell you to start him? I don’t think so. Not for that much. Instead, I’m going to run with Cole tonight, who looks to be back on track. Cole takes on a Brewers team who seems to have fallen back to their old hitting ways, which is not good at all. The Brewers own a .307 wOBA in the second, good for 25th in the league with a high 21.7 K%, which runs for 7th in the league. His price tag tonight seems reasonable at $10,800, when you compare it to the likes of Sale. Cole has scored 28.2 and 23.5 in his last two starts, against the Giants and Marlins respectively, which gives me a good indication that he’s seems to be on the right path again. Cole enters tonight with a 2.44 ERA to go with a 1.11 WHIP and a K/9 of 8.8.
Superstar Worth Paying For
David Peralta ($4700) – As I mentioned earlier, getting exposure to Coors Field is a must tonight, in my opinion. Looking at either side, both pitchers have given up a combined 53 home runs, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing some balls leaving the park tonight. I think Peralta is a way to get “cheap” exposure to one of the premier players on the Diamondbacks. When I say cheap, I referring to how AJ Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt are going to run you for at least $6000. That’s going to be tough to do if you’re going to be rostering any pitchers worth over $10,000. On the year, Peralta owns a .388 wOBA against RHP with an ISO of .236. Peralta has been mostly in the clean up spot for the Diamondbacks, which I think makes this pick all the more intriguing. Of course, check that closer to came time, but I think this could potentially pay off well without totally destroying your salary cap for tonight.
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Andres Blanco ($2300) – Man, it is seriously getting hard to keep Blanco off my roster on a daily basis. I honestly find him becoming automatic. Tonight, he faces the leftie Niese, which is great news for everyone planning on picking Blanco tonight. He has crushed lefties this season, owning a .447 wOBA with an ISO of .220. Truly, these are numbers for a guy almost costing the minimum on DraftKings. The fact that his price tag has barely budged is not only amazing, but completely ups his value for a daily pick. Blanco doesn’t have to produce much to exceed his value, which he continues to do on an almost nightly basis.