MLB Targets: April 5th

Greetings Gamers! There were two rainouts yesterday that were pushed to Tuesday, however, with both of those being early games, we will focus on the evening games that lock at 7:05pm ET. Most teams are on the second pitcher and it is interesting to see the drop-off in talent already. There are a couple aces that appear trustworthy and several hurlers we can pick on so it should be a fun puzzle to put together!

Pitchers

MLB: Spring Training-Kansas City Royals at San Francisco Giants

Studs

Johnny Cueto – SFG at MIL – $9,600 – The Brew Crew is a shell of their former offensive greatness with Jean Segura, Khris Davis and Adam Lind departing this off season and Gerardo Parra, Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez moved in mid-season trades last year.

This leaves Ryan Braun, Scooter Gennett and Jonathan Lucroy as the main holdovers. Collectively they are just 14 for 82 against Cueto with just three extra base hits. The current active roster for Milwaukee has tallied the second worst weighted runs created plus (an advanced metric designed to neutralize ballpark factors and created a league-wide baseline of 100) over the last two seasons at 89 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. This means they score 11% less efficiently than the league average.

Apr5 - Johnny Cueto

Scott Kazmir – LAD at SDP – $8,300 – After being released by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in mid-2011, Kazmir spent the next two seasons bouncing around the minors, independent leagues and winterball. He had a solid spring training in 2013 with Cleveland and here we are today with Kazmir in one of the better MLB rotations. Looking at the Padres lineup, there is not one batter that we will need to be overly cautious about and I suspect we will be picking on San Diego quite a bit this season.

Values

Jonathan Niese – PIT vs STL – $6,300 – As good as the Cardinals are, their current group of hitters has an aggregate .311 wOBA and a 97 wRC+ with both numbers landing them in the bottom third of the league against southpaws over the last two seasons. Active Redbirds have 100 at bats against Niese with a .300/358/.450 slash line and just one home run. If you are looking for a discounted pitcher then Niese ought to do.

Hisashi Iwakuma – SEA at TEX – $8,200 – After agreeing to a three year deal with the Dodgers, Iwakuma failed his physical and Seattle was quick to welcome him back with a one year contract with incentives that could turn into two additional years if milestones are met. Because we don’t know why Los Angeles reversed course, the Mariners think Iwakuma is healthy and effective enough to slot in as their second starter. Current Rangers hitters have not had much success against Iwakuma in their division matchups with a measly .224/.263/.359 slash line in 184 at bats making him a fine contrarian tournament play.


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Batters

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels

Studs

Nelson Cruz (OF) – SEA at TEX – $5,000 – Noted lefty killer Nelson Cruz is sporting a .289 ISO (isolated power) and a .439 wOBA in 305 at bats against southpaws over the last two years. He spent eight seasons in Texas so he is familiar with the hitting environment in Arlington.

Anthony Rizzo (1B) – CHC at LAA – $4,500 – One of the “rules” of baseball is that lefties have a hard time hitting other lefties. While that is generally true, it is certainly not the case for Rizzo who has posted an elite .396 wOBA and a 154 wRC+ (meaning he produces 54% more runs than the average hitter against lefties).

Giancarlo Stanton (OF) – MIA vs DET– $5,100 – Oh how we missed you last season my friend! It is great to have Stanton back as an option for daily fantasy baseball as he is one of a mere handful of players who have 40+ home run upside. In 651 at bats over the last two seasons, Stanton has accrued a .385 wOBA and a .270 ISO. If I had to pick one player to hit a home run on Tuesday, he would get my vote.

Nolan Arenado (3B) – COL at ARI – $4,600 – Arenado is arguable one of the top five two way players in MLB today. In addition to his slick fielding, he made the leap to greatness with his bat last season with a .346 wOBA, a .281 ISO and 22 of his 42 home runs AWAY from Coors Field. He should be just fine in the thin air of the desert and he is a great contrarian play against RHP Shelby Miller.

april 5th nolan arendao

Denard Span (OF) – SFG at MIL – $4,400 – While we cannot regularly expect three run homers, Span is a well-rounded player who makes the most of his at bats. The Giants offense is poised for big things this season and Span will have plenty of hitters behind him with the ability to get him across the plate.

Miguel Cabrera (1B) – DET at MIA – $4,700LHP Wei-Yin Chen should enjoy his move from the American League East to the National League where he will not have to face designated hitters. Chen has always been susceptible to home runs when facing right-handed hitters with a .274/.318/.496 slash line and 25 home runs allowed in 558 at bats as opposed to .233/.250/.326 and just three dingers in 175 at bats against lefties. Miggy can still crush the ball when healthy and over the last two seasons he has a .402 wOBA against lefties and 32 extra base hits in 118 at bats.

Justin Upton (OF) – DET at MIA – $4,100 – The nomadic Upton is on his fourth different team in five years, but one then he has done as every stop is hit lefties for power. He will find the going much easier with the many top hitters in the Detroit lineup.

Ian Kinsler (2B) – DET at MIA – $4,000 – In lefty/righty matchups, Kinsler has posted an elite .200 ISO and a .379 wOBA… for his career (insert mic drop).

Values

Corey Dickerson (OF) – TAM vs TOR – $3,500 – Dickerson looks to be locked in as the Tampa Bay cleanup hitter and this will be the third straight game in which the Rays are facing a right-handed pitcher. Although Tropicana Field would never be confused for the friendly hitting environment of Coors, this price and spot in the order are just too much to pass up.

Ben Zobrist (2B/OF) – CHC at LAA – $3,900 – The Zorilla should find his way into the Cubbies loaded lineup most days when they are squaring off against left-handed pitching with his versatility and ability to play multiple positions.

Corey Seager (3B/SS) – LAD at SDP – $3,800 – I suspect we will see this youngsters price in the mid-$4,000 range before the end of April. In the meantime, enjoy the ride while he is still at a discount and hitting at the top of the order for the Dodgers. Once pitchers figure out his weaknesses, he will likely spend the middle part of the season making adjustments, but until then he is an easy plug-n-play.

Stephen Piscotty (1B/OF) – STL at PIT – $3,700 – It looks like Piscotty is going to be hitting in the heart of the order for the Cardinals against left-handed pitching and though it is a small sample size, he was quite effective against southpaws with a .376 wOBA in 59 at bats. He offers some discounted flexibility at either first base or as an outfielder on DraftKings.

Justin Turner (3B) – LAD at SDP – $3,300 – Turner has been phenomenal the last two seasons against fellow right-handers posting a .391 wOBA and a stellar 154 wRC+. He should be in the heart of the order for the Dodgers and this is a fine matchup against RHP James Shields who has changed his philosophy and is challenging hitters with his fastball and hoping that spacious Petco Park will keep the long-balls to a minimum.

“He held his own versus right-handed pitching with 23 home runs and 16 doubles in 341 at bats…”

Justin Bour (1B) – MIA vs DET – $3,100 – Bour was a fine player in his first full season and he held his own versus right-handed pitching with 23 home runs and 16 doubles in 341 at bats. We will want to see RHP Justin Verlander prove to us that he can still be effective without his premium stuff. As long as Bour is in the lineup, he is an excellent option in all formats if you are looking for an extreme punt option.

Danny Valencia (3B/OF) – OAK vs CHW – $3,200 – The Oakland Athletics love to find players with extreme platoon splits because they can get them at a discount since they generally are not full-time players. Valencia should be in the lineup anytime the A’s are facing a lefty and in his last two seasons he has been excellent with a .361 wOBA and a .835 OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage). The fact that he doesn’t play every day, keeps his price reasonable on DraftKings.

Chris Colabello (1B/OF) – TOR at TAM – $3,200 – Colabello is a fine discount option who offers us multi-position eligibility at deeply discounted price point. RHP Jake Odorizzi is a solid pitcher, however, he does give up home runs to same-handed hitters more frequently than in righty/lefty matchups. This is a quirk that we can look to exploit and considering that Colabello also has had better results against fellow right-handers, this is a nice matchup.