Tonight’s 14-game main slate is loaded. We have plenty of pitching options at each pricing tier, and a ton of ‘stud’ and ‘value’ bats to choose from. Slates like this are fun, particularly in tournaments, because the number of viable options is so deep. Find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan. Let’s dig in.
Matt Harvey – Mets vs. Braves – $10,300 – It’s difficult to get too excited about Matt Harvey, but you can’t deny that he’s in a great spot tonight. The Braves have the lowest implied-team total on the slate at just 2.9 runs, and the Mets are huge favorites (-246). Harvey’s been sharp his last three outings, allowing just eight hits and two runs over the 21 inning stretch.
Joe Ross – Nationals vs. Padres – $9,400 – Joe Ross has some of the largest handedness splits that you’ll see, but that works in his favor tonight. Ross has really struggled to contain left-handers since his MLB debut, but the Padres are very right-handed offensively. Ross has held right-handed bats to a .224 wOBA dating back to the start of 2015, an elite number and the best on the slate. Ross’ current form is strong as well, and the Padres’ 24.1% strikeout rate against righties doesn’t hurt either.
Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees vs. Twins – $8,300 – I like the cash game floor of Masahiro Tanaka tonight, and he’s underpriced by roughly $1,000. It’s a favorable park shift for Tanaka, who’s facing a Twins club that’s below average against right-handed pitching with a .305 wOBA and 88 wRC+ against them. They also whiff at a solid clip (22.1%) which helps add to Tanaka’s expected fantasy point floor.
Lance McCullers – Astros vs. Reds – $8,700 – The Mets are the only team that are bigger favorites than the Astros versus John Lamb and the Reds. That expected run support certainly doesn’t hurt McCullers, but I like him because of his strikeout upside. He’s shown some pronounced reverse splits since the start of ’15, holding lefties to just a .270 wOBA against him. That’s perfect here since the Reds’ bats that concern us the most are their southpaws.
Jose Altuve (2B) – Astros vs. Reds – $5,600 – This isn’t too complicated. Rostering the best hitter on the team with the highest implied-team total on the slate (5.6 runs) is an optimal strategy. Plus Jose Altuve against a below-average left-hander is a DFS layup, with Altuve’s .458 wOBA and 194 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. His high priced teammates, George Springer and Carlos Correa, are in play as well.
Nelson Cruz (OF) – Mariners vs. Red Sox – $5,500 – Nelly Cruz against a lefty in Fenway? Yeah, he deserves a look. Cruz is a notorious destroyer of left-handed pitching, and that Green Monster will likely take another dent or two tonight.
David Ortiz (1B) – Red Sox vs. Mariners – $5,500 – The Large Father has pounded right-handed pitching this season, and you have to consider him anytime he’s at home in these situations. His ridiculous 210 wRC+ and .488 wOBA are head and shoulders above the rest of the league, and Hisashi Iwakuma isn’t a blow-you-away swing and miss pitcher.
Jayson Werth (OF) – Nationals vs. Padres – $5,100 – The price jump makes Jayson Werth a bit more difficult to fit into your lineup tonight, but I think he’s a great tournament play here. Werth has been warming up and has owned left-handed pitching this season, to the tune of a .493 wOBA and 215 wRC+. I like some of his teammates as well, but Werth is my favorite play on the Nationals.
Trevor Story (SS) – Rockies vs. Marlins – $4,400 – Trevor Story is priced to face Marlins’ starter Jose Fernandez tonight, but he’s been pushed back for rest and Adam Conley is taking the ball instead. This helps both Nolan Arenado and Story tonight, but since short stop is more difficult to fill tonight in my opinion, I’m going to give the slight edge to Story if I’m just picking one Rockies’ bat. Story’s 58.5% hard-hit contact rate against lefties this season is incredible, and plays well in any park.
“I don’t think that the Orioles are a great tournament stack tonight”
Chris Davis (1B) – Orioles vs. Blue Jays – $4,700 – I don’t think that the Orioles are a great tournament stack tonight, but I do think that Chris Davis goes underowned at first base. Aaron Sanchez’s severe splits keeps the O’s right-handed bats off of my radar, but lefties have a .343 wOBA against him and his power upside is something that we want in tournaments.
Mike Trout (OF) – Angels vs. A’s – $5,200 – Mike Trout is often underowned when facing a right-handed pitcher, and that’s a mistake tonight. Not only is Trout killing righties this season (.423 wOBA, 175 wRC+), but A’s starter Kendall Graveman has shown some consistent reverse split data since the start of 2015. In 85 innings he’s allowed right-handers to slug .501 against him, and that’s good for a .357 wOBA.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B) – Diamondbacks vs. Phillies – $5,300 – Though we haven’t seen the version of Paul Goldschmidt that’s arguably the best right-handed hitter in the league, he’s still been outstanding against lefties. The Diamondbacks face Phillies starter Adam Morgan on Friday night, and his .355 wOBA against righties is a bad matchup against Goldy and his .436 wOBA against lefties.
Ryan Braun (OF) – Brewers vs. Dodgers – $4,100 – I typically used $4,000 as the cut-off point, but I saved Ryan Braun for the top spot here because he’s just that good of a play. We often see Braun in the $5,000 range against right-handed pitchers, so in a spot against a struggling 19-year old lefty when he’s this cheap is just something we have to take advantage of. Braun’s 181 wRC+ against left-handed pitching is one the top marks in the league.
Shin-Soo Choo (OF) – Rangers vs. Cardinals – $3,400 – I love Shin-Soo Choo in cash games tonight. Likely hitting leadoff on the road, Choo has been a consistent performer since returning to the lineup a few days ago, and feels underpriced at just $3,400.
Stephen Piscotty (OF) – Cardinals vs. Rangers – $3,700 – My favorite cheap tournament outfielder tonight is Stephen Piscotty. He’s facing a strong pitcher in Cole Hamels, so I don’t expect him to be very popular. Piscotty’s patience at the plate will allow him to see a few good pitches, and his video game numbers against lefties (.507 wOBA, 227 wRC+) are too good to pass up.
Evan Gattis (CATCH) – Astros vs. Reds – $3,500 – As mentioned above, this is a great spot for the Astros bats. They have a huge 5.6 run implied-team total, and Gattis’ price is relatively flat and not inflated due to the elite matchup. He’s slugging .488 against lefties so far this season.
“His .321 isolated power mark and recent spike in fly ball distance and hard-hit contact help support his cause..”
Rickie Weeks (OF) – Diamondbacks vs. Phillies – $3,600 – The Diamondbacks have a number of hitters that can handle lefties well, but one that often goes overlooked is Rickie Weeks. He’ll likely hit cleanup tonight, and his .321 isolated power mark and recent spike in fly ball distance and hard-hit contact help support his cause.
Jonathan Villar (SS) – Brewers vs. Dodgers – $3,700 – Jonathan Villar makes a ton of sense tonight at short stop, especially if you’re using his teammate, Ryan Braun. Villar’s been excellent against lefties this season, with a 155 wRC+ and a walk rate nearing 16%. He’s getting on base and causing havoc when he’s there, and his stolen base upside is as good as anyone in the league right now.