With a split slate of games going today, we will cover the early slate of games that starts at 1:10 ET this afternoon. This slate will feature five games with a nice mix of quality pitching and some offense. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
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David Price – BOS vs. BAL – $12,200 – Price is by far the most expensive pitcher on the slate, and he makes his home debut with his new team at Fenway Park. Even with the narrative of his first home start aside, Price has a great matchup ahead of him with the strikeout friendly Orioles on tap. The Orioles ranked fifth last season in total strikeouts and Price owned a 9.2 K/9 in 2015. In two starts against the O’s last season, Price owned a 12.9 K/9. He’s expensive and he’ll be popular, but a five game slate doesn’t leave much room for fading Price here.
Aaron Nola – PHI vs. SD – $8,500 – I have a sneaky suspicion that Nola will continue to see his price climb as the season progresses, so get em’ while he’s hot! Err, I mean cheap. Nola has sneaky strike out potential with a 7.9 K/9 from last season. Facing the Padres, who ranked sixth in strikeouts in 2015, Nola could be a great option to reach the 20 point plateau if all goes well. I think I would like this start a tad bit more if it were in San Diego rather than Philly, as Nola did give up 11 home runs in 78 innings last season, but again, I like his upside a lot in this matchup.
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – DET vs. PIT – $5,000 – Cabrera may not have the power he did, say, three years ago, but he can still hit the ball no matter who is on the mound. Facing Jon Niese, Cabrera owned a .435 wOBA with an ISO of .238 against left-handed pitchers in 2015. Niese also had his struggles against right-handed batters, allowing 16 of his 20 home runs last season with a wOBA of .330.
Andrew McCutchen (OF) – PIT vs. DET – $5,100 – Switching sides here, McCutchen has always done well against right-handed pitching. He owned a .376 wOBA with an ISO of .200, and he’ll face righty Justin Verlander today. Also, the majority of McCutchen’s home runs came against right-handed pitching last season. Going even further, McCutchen split his home runs almost evenly between home and road games, with 10 home runs on the road last season.
Miguel Sano (3B) – MIN vs CHW – $4,100 – Sano was a huge boost to the Twins offense last season, and 2016 should prove to be no different. Against lefties last season, Sano owned a .379 wOBA with an ISO of .235. The big appeal for me here is how poorly Quintana pitches against right handed bats. Last season, Quintana had a .320 wOBA against them, compared to his .287 wOBA against lefties. 11 of his 16 home runs also went to righties, to go along with the 58 total extra bases he gave up on the year. This is a nice spot for Sano in a relatively affordable price range.
Jose Abreu (1B) – CHW vs. MIN – $4,900 – Abreu crushes right-handed pitching, so going up against an average pitcher like Kyle Gibson is certainly a matchup I want to exploit. Owning a .384 wOBA with an ISO of .240 against righties, Abreu is certainly worth paying up for this afternoon. Gibson allowed a .300 wOBA to righties, giving up 10 home runs.
Justin Upton (OF) – DET vs. PIT – $4,400– If you look at the wOBA that Upton owned in 2015 against LHP, you’d see it ended at .250. Not very impressive at all. However, if we go back to 2014, Upton owned a .423 wOBA against lefties with an ISO of .311. Major difference. With a pitcher like Niese on the mound, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to Upton and say he could have a decent game here. Overall, Upton owns a .378 wOBA in this career against lefties. I won’t let one year ruin that.
Joey Rickard (OF) – BAL vs. BOS – $3,000 – I wouldn’t normally recommend a player who is going up against the pitcher I like the most on a particular day, however, the value we get from Rickard is huge. At just $3,000 we are getting a player batting leadoff in the outfield position that has been producing in his very short stint with the big club. On the season, Rickard is batting .467 with a home run, two RBIs, and a .667 SLG. Rickard doesn’t own a lot of power, but he does have some speed (30 stolen bases in the minors in 2013) and could be a sneaky play on this short slate.
“At just $3,000 were getting a player batting leadoff in the outfield position . . .”
Brock Holt (2B/3B) – BOS vs. BAL – $3,300 – It’s always nice to get a player who’s eligible at more than one position. It gives you so much more flexibility. Holt is by no means a power hitter, but he’s a pest at the plate. Going against Yovani Gallardo, who has trouble against left-handed bats, Holt is a perfect candidate to go under owned on the slate, which can certainly give you an edge. Gallardo allowed a .334 wOBA to lefties last season and lefties dinged him for nine of his 15 home runs. Holt, on the other hand, owned a .310 wOBA against righties last season.
Eduardo Escobar (OF/SS) – MIN vs CHW – $2,900 – Here we have Escobar who not only runs you under the $3K price range, but is eligible at two different positions. The cherry on top is that he hits left-handed pitchers well. Escobar faces Jose Quintana this afternoon, who struggles against right-handed bats. Escobar is a switch hitter and overall owned a .334 wOBA against lefties in 2015. He also has decent power, hitting 12 home runs last season, but that’s not something to count on. Escobar is a fine play today, especially with the ability to slot him in different positions.
Chris Carter (1B) – MIL vs. STL – $3,300 – When you roster Chris Carter, it’s for one purpose– home run(s). Otherwise, he doesn’t really offer much to us fantasy players. Carter takes on RHP Michael Wacha, who allowed 13 of his 19 home runs to right-handed batters last season. Carter hit 15 home runs off right-handed pitchers last season with an ISO against them of .237. Take a flier on Carter, he’s capable of a 14+ fantasy point day.