We have 15 MLB games on Wednesday, with 11 of them on the main slate. The game in Coors should produce more fireworks, so that means we will need to have some exposure to those big bats. In order to do so, we will either need to find some punts to pair with them or go cheaper at pitching. Let’s take a look at some of tonight’s targets.
Editor’s Note: Felix Hernandez has been scratched from his start tonight. James Paxton will start in his place.
Felix Hernandez – Mariners v. Padres – $11,000 – Felix Hernandez is having a solid season. The strikeouts are down, but the rest of the numbers are pretty solid. He does have some good fortune with his underlying numbers, but that is not a concern for me today against the Padres. The Padres are one of the worst teams against right-handed pitching. Right-handers have owned them all season long. Also working in Felix’s favor is that the Mariners are hitting the ball well and face a gas can in Christian Friedrich, so I fully expect the win to be added to the fantasy score for King Felix at the end of the game.
Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees v. Toronto – $10,400 – Scherzer has a solid matchup as well, but I prefer to save $2,500 and go with Tanaka today. He has kept the batting average under .220 to both sides of the plate along with a low WHIP. He does give up the occasional home run, but it’s usually a solo shot and does not kill him. The Blue Jays team does not have a good BvP history against him (except for Encarnacion), so he has handled them well in the past.
Michael Fulmer – Tigers v. Angels – $7,500 – Fulmer is a solid prospect who was called up a few weeks ago. He was dominant in his last two outings. He went seven innings against the Rays, resulting in a four hit, one walk, one run performance with eleven strikeouts. He then followed that up with seven and two-thirds of three hit, one walk shutout ball against the Athletics. Fulmer is a guy with some upside and the Angels are a team that struggles with right-handed pitching. Outside of Mike Trout, they do not really have a lot of guys who profile well. Fulmer returned 36 and 24 fantasy points in his last two games. That would be a solid return at this price if he repeats those efforts.
Albert Suarez – Giants v. Braves – $4,000 – Suarez is a converted long reliever who is getting the start with Matt Cain on the shelf. Jake Peavy just went seven innings of one-hit shut out ball against this Braves team yesterday. The Braves are bad and do not have a ton of upside. They lack power, they lack discipline and they do not have a ton of guys who scare you. At $4K, Suarez allows you to get a stud pitcher and any bats that you want into your lineup. The biggest concern is whether or not he goes five innings because if he does and is in line for a win, he probably returns 15-25 fantasy points which is great value for the price.
Nolan Arenado (3B) – Rockies v. Reds – $4,500 – This price jumped out right away as being a tad too cheap for me which is why Arenado is my top play. John Lamb is a bad left-handed pitcher for the Reds. The Rockies should jump on him early like they did to Moscot yesterday. When he is chased early, we get the bad Reds bullpen coming in. Get to the bad starter early and get to the even worse bullpen for the rest of the game. I see it playing out the same way here today. Arenado loves hitting at home in Coors field and is feeling good at the plate right now. Grab him at this discount, especially in cash games.
David Ortiz (1B) – Red Sox v. Orioles – $5,500 – Big Papi is a monster with the bat against right-handed pitching. He owns a .431 wOBA and a sick .346 ISO score since the start of last season. Tonight he faces Mike Wright, who has allowed a higher average, a huge Fly Ball rate and a number of home runs to left-handed bats. Ortiz is already 3-for-5 lifetime against him with 2 home runs, so the profile is backed up by his performance so far.
Nelson Cruz (OF) – Mariners v. Padres – $4,800 – Nelson Cruz owns left-handed pitching. Since last season, he owns a .442 wOBA and a .319 ISO score against LHP. Tonight he faces Friedrich, who has allowed a higher average to right-handed bats and more home runs. Cruz and the Mariners pounded out 16 runs themselves yesterday, so this offense is scorching hot right now. That is bad news for the Padres.
Jose Altuve (2B) – Astros v. Diamondbacks – $5,000 – Altuve has been awesome to start the season. His 11.1 fantasy points per game are actually the best at any position so far in 2016. He has always owned left-handed pitching as he has a .423 wOBA and .188 ISO score against them since the start of last season. In 2014, he actually had a batting average over .400 against lefties, just to show you how good he has been against them. Robbie Ray is a decent pitcher, but allows about a .270 average and a home run every five innings to right-handed bats. Altuve is already 4-for-8 lifetime against him and should add to those numbers today.
Chris Davis (1B) – Orioles v. Red Sox – $4,600 – Davis profiles very well against Joe Kelly. Kelly throws a lot of fastballs and Davis hits fastballs hard and far. Davis owns a .395 wOBA and a .320 ISO score against righties and is already 5-for-10 lifetime against Kelly with a home run. He is in a really nice spot tonight.
Marcell Ozuna (OF) – Marlins v. Pirates – $5,100 – The emergence of Ozuna makes it easier to cope with Stanton being out of the lineup. He has been a monster against left-handed pitching with a .444 wOBA and a .256 ISO score. Jonathon Niese is a guy who has allowed a .280 batting average to righties over the last few years and has a high home run rate against them. Ozuna is already 5-for-12 lifetime against him and should be in the cleanup spot with a chance to improve on those numbers.
Mike Trout (OF) – Angels v. Tigers – $4,800 – Trout is arguably the best player in the game, and he tends to go overlooked nightly. He faces the young Fulmer for the Tigers who has allowed right-handed bats to hit him for a higher average and more power so far. Trout dominates righty/righty matchups with a .412 wOBA and .286 ISO since the start of 2015. The lineup around him may struggle in this one (as always), but Trout should be immune to the the disease the rest of them have.
Ryan Zimmerman (1B) – Nationals v. Phillies – $5,500 – I saved him for last, because he is my least favorite top play, but his numbers pop up so highly on every list. Adam Morgan is a horrible pitcher, so that is a plus for him. Zimmerman smashes lefties to the tune of a .401 wOBA and .323 ISO since last season began. Morgan has allowed right-handed bats to hit over .280 against him with a home run every 5 innings. In a good hitter’s park like Philly, all the arrows are pointing up for Zimmerman today.
Josh Harrison (2B) – Pirates v. Marlins – $3,900 – I love Josh Harrison back on top of that Pirates order against left-handed pitching. Harrison owns a solid .354 wOBA in those spots, and faces Adam Conley who struggles with right-handed bats. Harrison can rack up a few hits and walks and score some runs. I expect the Pirates to be able to put some runs up today and would not be shocked to see Harrison be very involved. He has had multiple hits in each of his last 4 starts. He lacks the power upside, but makes a solid cash game play with his consistent floor.
DJ LeMahieu (2B) – Rockies v. Reds – $3,900 – This is a solid price for a second hitter at Coors field who is facing a bad lefty with a horrible bullpen behind him. He homered yesterday and has been hitting the ball well lately. Lamb is horrendous against right-handed bats, and DJ has always hit lefties pretty well. He gives you cheap exposure to the heart of a Rockies lineup that should continue to pound out runs today.
Franklin Gutierrez (OF) – Mariners v. Padres – $3,000 – Gutierrez is one of my favorite salary saving options today. He absolutely owns left-handed pitching. He has a .398 wOBA and a .276 ISO score against lefties since 2015, and those are elite level power hitting type numbers. The fact we can get a guy with numbers that robust for a price that cheap makes him a viable option in cash games and tournaments. I would love it more if he hits higher in the order today, but for the price I still think he is a good option.
Carlos Beltran (OF) – Yankees v. Blue Jays – $3,900 – The Yanks get a matchup with Aaron Sanchez who has been solid, but struggles with left-handed hitters. Beltran is arguably the best bat the Yanks have this year, and he has a solid .359 wOBA and .222 ISO since 2015 to prove it. Beltran is 2-for-5 with a home run against Sanchez and hits in the friendly Rogers Centre today. He usually is low owned outside of Yanks stacks and is reasonably priced at only $3,900.
Trayce Thompson (OF) – Dodgers v. Cubs – $2,900 – My favorite upside GPP salary saving option is Trayce Thompson. He and teammate Kiké Hernandez have some huge numbers against left-handed pitching with .400+ wOBA’s and ISO scores in the .280s. Trayce was back in the lineup and hitting fifth yesterday. I assume we see him there again against the left-handed Lester and that should translate into a good day at the plate.
Francisco Cervelli (CATCH) – Pirates v. Marlins – $3,600 – Catcher is a tough position to fill, but we do have some solid options today. Cervelli and Chris Hermann are the two that caught my eye as being in good splits matchups. I like Cervelli a tad more with his .365 wOBA since 2015 against left-handers, so he gets the nod. I think Conley is in for a rough day against this Pirates team and despite the low spot in the order, Cervelli is in a good lineup which should offer him some RBI opportunities in a good matchup.