We have a large slate of 13 games today split up with 6 in the early start and 7 later tonight. That means we have a lot of teams in action and most of them down to the 3rd or fourth starter. As we saw last night, I expect the scores to be a little higher as we see some of the lesser pitchers on the mound. Here is a list of some of the top options on the day at each position.
Kenta Maeda – Dodgers v. Padres – $9200 – If you never heard of him, I do not blame you. He was signed out of the Japanese league in the offseason. He does have a very nice resume though for his first start. He won the pitching triple crown (Wins, ERA, Strikeouts) over in Japan. He throws a four-seamer that tops out around 92-93, a two seamer that hits 89-90, a nasty slider, and he also uses a curveball and change up to slow batters down. He could not ask for a better matchup than playing the Padres and I think he does well. The main concern is whether he can rack up enough strikeouts to pay the salary. He did lead the Japanese league, but he had about 180 in 215 innings or so of work.
Brandon Finnegan – Reds v. Phillies – $6300 – Aaron Sanchez did it yesterday and today I think the Finnegan is the young stud who will provide value. He was a top draft choice a few years back taken at #17 overall. He came up for 24 innings of work last year and kept the opponents batting average under .200 with about a strikeout per inning and only 8 earned runs allowed. He is a lefty and the Phillies do not have a ton of big time right-handed bats to worry about. The upside is there and so is the cheap price.
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Bryce Harper (OF) – Nationals v. Braves – $5,000 – The Reigning MVP has one of the best matchups on the day, so he needs to be a guy we take a long look at. Bud Norris allowed left-handed batters to hit .323 with a WHIP of 1.83 and a HR allowed every four innings of work. Harper had an eye popping .478 wOBA last year vs. right-handed pitching with an equally ridiculous .354 ISO score. He already went yard in his first AB this year and he has a good shot to build on that number here today.
Mark Teixiera (1B) – Yankees v. Astros – $4,300 – The Yankee clean up hitter has power from both sides of the plate, but his numbers against right-handed pitcher are elite. He finished last season with a .399 wOBA and a huge .339 ISO score. His power from the left side is aided by the short porch at Yankee Stadium, but that only means he is always in play when they are at home as they are today.
Brian Dozier (2B) – Twins v. Orioles – $4,500 – It’s not the largest sample size but in 12 plate appearances against Yovani Gallardo, Dozier has 5 hits, a home run and a whopping 1.217 OPS against. Gallardo is a mediocre starter at best and Dozier should be able to build off of those numbers tonight.
Chris Davis (1B/OF) – Orioles v. Twins – $4,900 – Davis has tremendous power and plays in a great homerun hitter’s park at Camden Yards. He faces Kyle Gibson of the Twins and Gibson has always been worse against left-handed hitters. Davis had a .410 wOBA with a huge .350 ISO score that was just behind Bryce Harper vs. right-handed pitching. He is an excellent candidate for a homer today and should be one of the more upside plays on this slate.
Matt Carpenter (3B) – Cardinals v. Pirates – $4,400 – Carpenter is one of the most consistent cash game options we have in the league, especially when he faces a righty. Carpenter had a .394 wOBA with a .249 ISO score against them in 2015. He racks up the runs scored from the top of that order and is always the guy with the most ABs on the team. He is such a professional hitter that he always managed to give a solid performance. He is legendary for his consistency and that makes him a great cash game play. He always gets on once or twice and usually scores a run or two. He has a soft matchup with Juan Nicasio who is arguably the worst pitcher on the mound today, so I think we need to make sure we have exposure to him here.
Corey Seager (SS) – Dodgers v. Padres – $3,900 – Seager is a beast man. The rookie had some great numbers when he was called up last year and so far is proving they were not a fluke. Seager finished last year with a .437 wOBA vs. right-handed pitching with a robust .239 ISO score for a shortstop. He has done nothing but rack up hits out of the 2 hole in that Dodger order so far and I expect it to continue. He faces Andrew Cashner who allowed left-handed bats to hit .293 with a 1.75 WHIP and 14 homers in 80 innings of work. This looks like another great spot for Seager who should continue to prove he is a future star in The Show.
Carlos Ruiz or Cameron Rupp – Phillies vs. Reds – $3,200/$3,100 – Whichever catcher gets the nod here is in a good spot against the left-handed Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan’s numbers are actually decent against right handed bats but the O/U in this game is the highest on the night, meaning you should want to get some exposure to hitters on both sides. Ruiz and Rupp are both dirt cheap catching options who can provide some value on Wednesday in a high-scoring game.
Khris Davis (OF) – Athletics vs. White Sox – $3,300 – Davis has a .798 OPS against left handed pitching over the last three seasons and Rodon has struggled with right handed bats, allowing the exact same (0.798) OPS to righties as Davis has had against south paws.
Danny Valencia (3B/OF) – Athletics vs. White Sox – $3,600 – Valencia is slightly more expensive but he is a strong play tonight for a lot of the same reasons that Khris Davis is a viable option. Rodon struggles against right handed bats and Valencia has an even better split against lefties over the last three years with a 0.891 OPS against.
Darin Ruf (1B/OF) – Phillies v Reds – $3,500 – Platoon players in the right situation are gold in fantasy baseball. A cheap Darin Ruf against a left-handed pitcher is one of those times. Finnegan is a highly touted rookie, but Ruf has been smashing lefties for a few years now. He had a monsterous .466 wOBA with a .289 ISO score against southpaws in 2015. I expect him to continue to hit well from that side as the right-handed bat in the first base platoon for the Phillies. Plus he is in a good hitters park, so that never hurts either.
John Jaso (OF) – Pirates v. Cardinals – $3,200 – Jaso is the lead off man for the Pirates right now. He is also one of the few left-handed bats that they have. Jaso does not have elite power, but his .358 wOBA and .180 ISO score are pretty friendly. He faces Mike Leake who is not a horrible pitcher, but did allow a .263 batting average to left-handed bats in 2015 which is not lights out. Jaso is really cheap and on top of that order, so he should have plenty of chances to get on, score, and ultimately return nice value.