It’s a jam-packed Wednesday slate with a handful of aces and A LOT of big-time batters on the board. It will be tough deciding between a stud pitcher like Madison Bumgarner and a red-hot hitter like Bryce Harper. Let’s dive in to the best targets and value plays on the slate tonight.
Madison Bumgarner – Giants v. Diamondbacks – $11,400 – Mad Bum is probably my favorite guy to spend up on if I had to spend up today. I say that, because I do not think you need to spend this much on a pitcher, but he is my favorite out of the group including Greinke, Cole Hamels, and Chris Archer. Bumgarner only allowed left-handed bats to hit .206 against him and right-handed bats were not much better at .228. He has seen the Diamondbacks quite a few times in his career with mixed success. The right-handers like Paul Goldschmidt and Yasmany Tomas present some trouble for him, but he is one of the most talented pitchers on the mound tonight and easily the one guy I would pay up for.
Joe Ross – Nationals v. Marlins – $8,100 – Ross was very good to start the season and has a solid matchup to keep it going here. The Marlins are not a great hitting team, and they do have a lot of right-handed bats. Ross is lights out against righties, so that presents trouble for guys like Prado and Stanton who are big parts of the offense. The left-handers fair better against him with a .279 batting average and 1.58 WHIP in 2015. Guys like Dee Gordon, Yelich, and Bour are in good spots, but they are easier to contain than some of the righties here. Ross has strikeout upside and the ability to limit this offense. That makes him a solid option today.
Jimmy Nelson – Brewers v. Twins – $8,000 – Nelson has looked good to start the season here. He gets a really soft matchup against a team we have targeted against early in 2016. The Twins have a high strikeout percentage (K%), a weak lineup with a low batting average, and they struggle to score runs. Miguel Sano is really the only threat I am concerned with here, and even he is not looking good at the plate. The Brewers should be able to score against Tommy Milone, too, so he should get plenty of run support to put him in line for the win.
“I may be one of the few who like him today, but the case to be made is compelling…”
Ubaldo Jimenez – Orioles v. Blue Jays – $7,000 – I may be one of the few who like him today, but the case to be made is compelling. Ubaldo is much better at home, and that’s where he’ll be today. He has strikeout upside and Toronto is a team that does strikeout a lot. Sure, the Blue Jays do mash pitchers of either handedness, but they are weaker vs. right-handed pitching and not putting up tons of runs early this season. The big bats like Donaldson, Bautista, and Encarnacion also have some bad numbers lifetime against Jimenez. When you look at it that way, this is a much softer spot than it first appears.
Ryan Braun (OF) – Brewers v. Twins – $4,600 – Ryan Braun has a really good matchup today against Tommy Milone who allowed right-handed bats to hit .273 against him in 2015. Braun has great numbers vs. left-handed pitching since 2014 with a .375 wOBA and an ISO score of .233. He is averaging 16 DraftKings points per game over his last four, and I see no reason why he can’t continue that here today.
Andrew McCutchen (OF) – Pirates v. Padres – $4,700 – Cutch is a guy who never seems to be highly owned, but his numbers are always solid. He faces Drew Pomeranz of San Diego. Pomeranz is a lefty who allowed a .260 batting average with a WHIP of 1.42 to right-handed bats in 2015. Cutch has a .399 wOBA since 2014 with a .217 ISO score. He still hits in the heart of the order, an order which should be able to put up some runs against Pomeranz and the Padres today.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B) – Diamondbacks v. Giants – $4,700 – I do not normally target too many bats against Bumgarner, but Goldy is the exception to the rule. He owns left-handed pitching with a .461 wOBA and a robust .241 ISO score. He also has seen MadBum quite a bit in his career and has posted 12 hits in 38 at-bats with 2 homers in those plate appearances. Sure, San Fran is not a great hitter’s park, but Goldy is still in play, because he is that good of a hitter.
Manny Machado (SS/3B) – Orioles v. Blue Jays – $4,900 – Machado has the best numbers to go after R.A. Dickey today. BvP is crucial to look at against a knuckleball pitcher, and Machado has a 5 for 16 lifetime line against Dickey. He still hits near the top of the order and is eligible at both SS and 3B today. That dual eligibility makes him much easier to fit into a lineup but will also probably lead to much higher ownership. Still, he has hit Dickey well and history vs. a knuckleballer is what we look at when Dickey is on the mound.
David Ortiz (1B) – Red Sox v. Rays – $4,100 – Big Papi is another guy I really like today. He faces a solid right-handed pitcher in Archer who has struggled to start his 2016 campaign. Ortiz owns right-handed pitching, especially at home in Fenway. His .393 wOBA and monstrous .291 ISO since 2014 are very impressive. He has backed up those numbers by going 9/26 with 2 homers against Archer in his career, so all the pieces fit together nicely for him today.
“The MVP candidate is already stating his case for 2016 with a .333 average in the early going and 7 homers through the first 13 games”
Bryce Harper (OF) – Nationals v. Marlins – $5,000 – In case you didn’t know, this guy is really, really good. I know Chen is solid against left-handed bats, but Harper is great in L/L matchups. His .402 wOBA and .223 ISO score shames the guys who actually hit better vs. lefties, and this is his weaker split. The MVP candidate is already stating his case for 2016 with a .333 average in the early going and 7 homers through the first 13 games. Sure, he is expensive and in the wrong splits matchup tonight, but that means little with the level of production he is giving us already.
Jose Altuve (2B) – Astros v. Rangers – $4,700 – Many will shy away from him today due to the matchup with Hamels, but why would you shy away from Altuve against any left-handed pitcher? Altuve hit over .400 vs. Lefties in 2014. In the last two and a half years he has posted a .426 wOBA and a .163 ISO score against them, which are absurdly high numbers for a middle infielder. Hamels is a great pitcher, but he has struggled more with right-handed bats in his career. Altuve is one of the most elite options we have vs. a southpaw in all of baseball, so the little man is definitely worth a look in this matchup, especially with his bat heating up.
Ryan Zimmerman (1B) – Nationals v. Marlins – $4,300 – Zimmerman is starting to swing it better as well and gets a plum matchup today. Wei-Yin Chen has been bad against right-handed bats who hit .274 against him with a 1.32 WHIP and 25 homers in 142 innings of work. Zimmerman quietly has amassed a .401 wOBA and a .267 ISO score since 2014. He is also 3 for 9 lifetime against Chen already. From the three or four hole in that order, I expect Zimmerman to continue to produce here today. He has hits in four straight and a good chance to extend that to five today.
Yasiel Puig (OF) – Dodgers v. Braves – $3,900 – Puig is back up near the top of that Dodgers order and deservingly so. He faces a weak pitcher in Julio Teheran who has been struggling since he had a gem of a season two years back. Puig is already 4 for 6 lifetime against him with a double and a home run. He has always been solid in righty/righty matchups, so I am comfortable rolling him out here for upside and salary savings.
Nomar Mazara (OF) – Rangers v. Astros – $3,200 – The Rookie is still way too cheap for his skill set here. He is averaging just shy of 10 fantasy points per game through his first eight major league starts and has returned double digit fantasy points in half of them already. He is currently batting .414 from the 2 hole for the Rangers and has the right L/R splits to take advantage of Doug Fister who has struggled with lefties his whole career.
Corey Seager (SS) – Dodgers v. Braves – $4,000 – Seager was priced a lot lower yesterday for his matchup with what was scheduled to be Teheran, but he is still relatively cheap. Teheran gave up a .300 batting average to lefties in 2015, so that is the way we want to attack him. Since his call up last year, Seager has a .394 wOBA and a .198 ISO score. You will be hard pressed to find better numbers from a shortstop not named Machado or Correa.
“With his spot in the 3 hole of that order in front of Stanton, he will continue to see a lot of pitches to hit”
Christian Yelich (OF) – Marlins v. Nationals – $4,000 – I love Yelich as a cash game option today. He has double digit fantasy points in 7 of his last 10 games. He faces a solid pitcher in Ross, but Ross has struggled with lefties. Left-handed bats hit .276 against him in 2015 with a WHIP of 1.59. Yelich is batting .350 to start the year here and should be able to continue that. With his spot in the 3 hole of that order in front of Stanton, he will continue to see a lot of pitches to hit and have a chance to keep that average high.
Adrain Gonzalez (1B) – Dodgers v. Braves – $4,000 – The Value bats section is heavy with Dodgers today, but that is because they are all pretty cheap. A $4,000 first base option, in a good splits matchup, hitting in the heart of his batting order seems very underpriced relative to his peers. A-Gon gets Teheran and the .300 batting average vs. lefties we already discussed. He has a wOBA of .372 with an ISO score of .232 since 2014, so he profiles well against him. Throw in the fact he is already 4 for 12 with a homer and we can see that the performance backs up the numbers and makes him a top value option to save salary without giving up upside.
Stephen Vogt (CATCH) – Athletics v. Yankees – $3,300 – If you need a backstop eligible player with upside, Vogt tops my list today. The lefty gets a matchup with Nathan Eovaldi at Yankee Stadium today. Lefties in Yankee Stadium are preferred with the short porch in right field. Throw in the fact that Eovaldi throws a lot of fastballs and Vogt is a good fastball hitter, and you can see why he has upside today. Vogt has been moved up to the 5 hole in Oakland’s order. Not many catchers hit in the meat of their team’s order so you always have to respect any of the ones who do.