Friday is lining up as a great day for tournaments and tougher for cash games. We don’t have a lot of trustworthy starters on the bump tonight, plus we have a Dodgers vs. Rockies game in Coors with a implied total north of 11 runs, so that’ll be Chalk City. Let’s jump in.
Jon Lester – Cubs vs. Reds – $10,000 – Of all the top shelf options on the docket today I think Jon Lester is the safest of the group. He’s fairly priced and the matchup is favorable, but the ballpark shift is extreme and the Reds have shown a willingness to exploit Lester’s inability to hold runners on. Billy Hamilton is unlikely to play, so that helps a tad, making Lester the top cash game pitcher on the slate.
Jose Quintana – White Sox vs. Rangers – $8,700 – After starting the season with three road starts, Jose Quintana makes his debut at home on Friday against the Rangers. Quintana has been consistently solid to start the year, and his opponent, Texas, has struck out 27% of the time against LHP so far this season with a less-than-stellar 277 wOBA. He’s not a ‘stud’ but it’s all relative given the slate.
Aaron Sanchez – Blue Jays vs. A’s – $7,200 – I think Aaron Sanchez is underpriced on Friday. He’s looked really strong to start the season, and his ability to miss bats gives him a fairly high ceiling if he’s able to keep his command for 100+ pitches. The occasional spells of wildness makes him hard to stomach in cash games, but I love the GPP upside at just $7,200.
Nick Tropeano – Angels vs. Mariners – $6,100 – When a fly ball pitcher has a 0.0% HR/FB ratio you know he’s not the safest play, but for just $6,100 I don’t mind Nick Tropeano if you’re looking to save money for some big bats on Friday. He misses enough bats to be viable, and the ballpark plays favorably for his extreme fly ball tendencies.
Bryce Harper (OF) – Nationals vs. Twins – $5,400 – The human version of Coors Field. He needs to be either $6,500 and/or up against Clayton Kershaw/Jake Arrieta/Noah Syndergaard/Chris Sale for me to consider not using him. Kyle Gibson isn’t on that list.
Mookie Betts (OF) – Red Sox vs. Astros – $4,600 – The entire Red Sox team feels underpriced today, and I’ll take the catalyst who can do it all at the top of the order. Collin McHugh doesn’t fool many hitters, allowing one of the slate’s lowest soft-contact percentage at just 18%.
Yoenis Cespedes (OF) – Mets vs. Braves – $4,600 – Yoenis Cespedes is one of those guys that you want to ride when he’s hot. He’s streaky, and, as we saw last season, those hot streaks are insanely profitable. He’s facing Bud Norris, and Cespedes sees a near 100 point jump in both wOBA and ISO against right-handed pitching. Fire away.
“. . . he seems like one of the safest home run options on the day”
Chris Davis (1B) – Orioles vs. Royals – $4,800 – The Orioles are taking on an extreme fly ball pitcher who tops out at 85 mph and enters play with a 7.90 ERA. Delicious. Davis has a Bryce Harper-esque .378 ISO against right-handed pitching right now, and he seems like one of the safest home run options on the day.
Manny Machado (3B/SS) – Orioles vs. Royals – $4,900 – For all the reasons that Chris Davis is in play, I’m in on Manny Machado as well. Machado has shown favorable reverse splits early in his career, and he’s an exceptional tournament option because 3B has some cheaper options that’ll likely be very popular. Pay up to be contrarian here.
Nolan Arenado (3B) – Rockies vs. Dodgers – $4,600 – I think Nolan Arenado is the highest owned bat on the slate today, making him difficult to use in tournaments but extremely viable in cash games. We’ve seen Arenado approach $6,000 at home against a lefty, so $4,600 is surprisingly reasonable.
Todd Frazier (3B) – White Sox vs. Rangers – $4,500 – Todd Frazier in Chicago against a below average left-handed pitcher, and I’m predicting he’ll likely be owned in less than 10% of tournaments? Sign me up.
Adrian Gonzalez (1B) – Dodgers vs. Rockies – $4,600 – An easy tournament fade, Adrian Gonzalez is well-priced as far as Coors goes, and his Dodgers have the highest implied team total of the day at 5.8 runs. I predict he’ll be 35%+ owned in cash games.
Hanley Ramirez (1B) – Red Sox vs. Astros – $3,800 – There are multiple factors that have me interested in Hanley Ramirez today. First, he’s favorably priced and in a great ballpark, and second, he’s the second best 1B on his own team. Most people will look to David Ortiz if they’re stacking the Red Sox, so Hanley offers a different version of a Red Sox stack.
Michael Conforto (OF) – Mets vs. Braves – $3,400 – The Mets have been very good this week, and I like their OF quite a bit again on Friday. Locked into the 3-hole against right-handed pitching, Conforto feels like a $4,000 OF that’s still incredibly cheap based on his .377 wOBA against right-handed pitching.
Brandon Drury (2B/3B) – Diamondbacks vs. Pirates – $2,900 – Brandon Drury could offer some salary relief on Friday if you’re spending up elsewhere. He’s shown well against left-handed pitching in a limited sample of at-bats, and the Diamondbacks batted him second last time the faced a southpaw. Drury and company welcome Jeff Locke and the Pirates to town for the weekend, so wait and see what that lineup looks like, and then act accordingly.
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – Tigers vs. Indians – $4,100 – I try to use the arbitrary $4,000 mark to set the threshold for studs and values here, but Miguel Cabrera is just too cheap to ignore. He and J.D. Martinez ($4,000) are both $500-$1,000 under their talent level, and Josh Tomlin is not someone that should keep us off of these two studs.
“Miguel Cabrera is just too cheap to ignore”
Ryan Raburn (OF) – Rockies vs. Dodgers – $3,600 – Ryan Raburn has been a DFS favorite for years as a well-noted left-handed pitching destroyer. Now adding to the appeal is his home park of Coors Field, so if Raburn is starting you can lock him into your cash lineups.
Steve Pearce (1B/OF) – Rays vs. Yankees – $3,300 – The Rays have been letting Steve Pearce man the 2-hole in the lineup against left-handed pitching, and CC Sabathia has shown consistently growing splits as his career has gone on. The Rays have been sneaky good against lefties on the whole over the past year plus.
Xander Bogaerts (SS) – Red Sox vs. Astros – $3,700 – Yet another underpriced Red Sox hitter on the list. I love this price for Bogaerts, and Collin McHugh is the type of pitcher that Bogaerts destroys. He showed no ill-effects from his leg injury on Wednesday, starting on Thursday and playing well. X gon’ give it to ya!
Yasmani Grandal (CATCH) – Dodgers vs. Rockies – $3,700 – You have to love Yasmani Grandal in cash games. He’s favorably priced regardless of park, and when you factor in Coors and the Dodgers 5.8 implied team total you have to love this spot for Grandal.