Happy Saturday Gamers! We have a fun, nine game slate on tap with the first pitch at 7:05pm ET. While there are not a ton of top-end pitching options, there are a boatload of hitters in favorable situations. Let’s look at what roads we may be able to take to victory!
Francisco Liriano – PIT vs CIN – $9,900 – While it is seemingly always a roller coaster ride with Liriano, he does offer great upside, a solid matchup and a very palatable price point. The Reds current hitters have struggled over the last two seasons against southpaws with a 95 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus which is an advanced metric that neutralizes ballpark factors and creates a league-wide baseline of 100) meaning that they score 5% less than the average team against lefties (this ranks in the bottom five). They also have a .138 ISO and a .310 wOBA in that time frame, both of which are in the bottom third of the league.
Wei-Yin Chen – MIA at MIL – $9,000 – The Brew Crew does not score often against lefties with a 94 wRC+ over the last two seasons which is the third lowest in the league; however, they do hit them for power with the eighth highest team isolated power mark at .163 ISO in the same time frame. Chen doesn’t give up many runs, but he does allow home runs. Something is going to give in this matchup, but I am willing to run with Chen in tournaments since he does have access to the twenty fantasy point plateau.
Kevin Gausman – BAL vs CHW – $7,500 – Gausman is going through an Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh phase in which he is kind of pitching all over the place. He has strikeout stuff, but also can get into trouble with issuing too many walks in an inning. Over the last two seasons, the current White Sox batsmen have been a middling team against right-handed pitching, and with his upside, Gausman is worthy of a tournament look. Of course you can’t spell gas can without Kevin Gausman.
Ross Stripling – LAD vs SDP – $6,300 – It is going to be tough trying to find a second starting pitcher to pair with Francisco Liriano on Saturday, but we are all working with the same puzzle pieces, and there are A LOT of BIG BATS we can spend on. The Pad Squad has been in the bottom five against right-handed pitching for most relevant hitting categories, so that brings Stripling into play. Fifteen fantasy points is probably a reasonable (60%) projection, and he will be a popular option as people have figured out that picking on San Diego with pitching is a favorable strategy.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B) – ARZ vs COL – $5,400 – Woo Hoo, Goldy against a lefty at home, sign me up! In his last 210 at bats against southpaws, Goldschmidt has accrued a .456 wOBA, a 190 wRC+ (meaning he creates runs nearly twice as efficiently as the average player against left-handed pitching) and a .243 ISO. RHP Chris Rusin has allowed a .356 wOBA to hitters swinging the stick from the left-side of the plate over his last 28 starts.
Mike Trout – (OF) – LAA at TEX – $5,200 – Since the beginning of 2014, Trout has a .415 wOBA, a 175 wRC+ and a .256 ISO against left-handed pitching. The matchup with LHP Derek Holland and the favorable park shift to Texas makes Trout a fine play on Saturday night.
Yasmany Tomas (OF) – ARZ vs COL – $4,000 – Rolling with the D’Backs against LHP Chris Rusin is going to be a very popular strategy in all formats, and it makes a lot of sense. In his last 140 at bats against southpaws, Tomas has a .380 wOBA and a .241 ISO, both elite numbers and a bargain at $4,000.
Robinson Cano (2B) – SEA vs KCR – $4,200 – Most gamers are going to shy away from this matchup based on RHP Yordano Ventura’s reputation for throwing 100mph. Don’t worry, Cano can hold his own and is a fine contrarian option on Saturday night.
Nolan Arenado (3B) – COL at ARZ – $4,100 – This is a steal for Arenado, and he will be one of the most popular plays on Saturday night. RHP Zack Greinke has struggled this season, and he is no longer a pitcher to be feared, especially in the thin desert air. Arenado has put up a .270 ISO against same-handed pitching over the last two seasons, and he has nice home run upside.
Manny Machado (3B) – BAL vs CHW – $5,100 – We will be paying a premium for Machado; however, he has been excellent in his career in same-handed matchups and over his last 775 at bats against right-handed pitching he has a .382 wOBA, a .220 ISO and a .890 OPS. This is a terrific spot to spend and make a differentiation play from The Masses.
Andrew McCutchen (OF) – PIT vs CIN – $4,900 – McClutch rewarded his backers with a three home run game on Tuesday in Colorado, sadly I had already hopped off the bandwagon. Hopefully this is a sign that his bat is waking up as he has a phenomenal matchup against RHP Alfredo Simon who is prone to home runs and since the beginning of last year has allowed a 30% hard hit rate to opposing right-handed hitters. Pairing him with teammate Starlin Marte – $4,700 is also in play as Simon allows a 34% hard hit rate to lefties in addition to a .384 wOBA.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF) – COL at ARZ – $3,700 – This price is just too low for Cargo in a game that projects to have the most runs scored on Saturday night. In his last 630 at bats against right-handed pitching, Gonzalez has a .393 wOBA and a WICKED .300 ISO (.210 is considered elite). Yes, he is out of Coors Field, but the desert is a fine hitting environment, and he is in play in all formats.
Corey Seager (SS) – LAD vs SDP – $3,900 – Like a broken record, Seager is again one of the premiere shortstop options. In his last 125 at bats against right-handed pitching he has posted a .365 wOBA and a .190 ISO. At this price point, he is a plug-n-play as long as he is in the lineup for the Dodgers.
Andres Blanco (2B/3B) – PHI vs CLE – $2,500 – The key with Blanco is that we have to cross our fingers that he makes it in the Phillies lineup as he has been relegated to spot starts this season. If he does play, he is an amazing punt option and a terrific differentiation play as the vast majority of gamers will be rolling with Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado.
Justin Bour (1B) – MIA at MIL – $3,300 – Yes, Dodgers Stadium does have an expansive outfield; however, RHP Chase Anderson will help mitigate that. Last season the Wild Bour poked all 23 of his home runs over the wall against right-handed pitching. He is a fine discount option in the late contests or as part of a tournament mini-stack of Marlins.
Derek Dietrich (3B/OF) – $3,500 – Speaking of Marlins, we should see Dietrich a whole lot more now that Dee Gordon has been suspended for 80 games as the result of a failed PED test. In his last 370 at bats against right-handed pitching he has accumulated a .366 wOBA and a .220 ISO which is just dandy at his current price tag.
Trayce Thompson (OF) – LAD vs SDP – $2,900 – Thompson is a fine option if he finds his way into the lineup for the Dodgers. He has hit fifth the last couple times they have faced a right-handed pitcher, and he is an excellent discount option.
Yasmani Grandal (CATCH) – LAD vs SDP – $3,200 – Grandal is due for a day off at some point again, but he is another great Dodger option if he is behind the plate as he has excellent extra base hit upside against RHP Colin Rea.
Nelson Cruz (OF) – SEA vs KCR – $3,800 – Most gamers think of Cruz when he is facing a lefty; however, 63 of his 88 home runs since the beginning of 2014 have come against right-handed pitchers. Enjoy!