We’ve got an 11-game MLB slate on tap tonight and the Forecast team has already started diving in. If you haven’t listened to the Lineup Logic podcast I strongly recommend you do as Sean and I reviewed our favorite pitching options, stacks, and one-off bats for tonight’s slate.
I’m going to continue my analysis of tonight’s slate with my usual preferred plays article. Remember that my preferred “other options” are the ones that are in italics.
Good luck tonight!
Chris Archer ($9,300)
While Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner are the obvious top options at the pitching position, I’m going to go over my favorite pivot and GPP pitcher tonight; Chris Archer. Through his first three starts this season, Archer has handled the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays are extremely well while leaving a career-best 79.2% of runners on base and only allowing a 32.3% hard-contact percentage. Over his last three seasons (2017 included), Archer has posted a 26% k-rate to compliment a rather impressive 7.6% BB-rate. The Tigers currently have the third lowest implied run total on the entire slate today, putting him right behind Kershaw and Bumgarner. The current Tigers players are also only batting .203 against Archer over their careers with a .323 OBP and a miserable .304 SLG with 26 strikeouts in 93 plate appearances (27.7%). If Archer can maintain his early season consistency and the strikeouts come around, he’ll be a staple in a winning GPP lineup and a viable cash play as a pivot off of the top two studs.
Other options: Clayton Kershaw ($12,900), Madison Bumgarner ($11,100), Masahiro Tanaka ($8,600), Julio Teheran ($8,400)
Buster Posey ($3,900)
I’m likely going one of the studs in cash at pitcher so it may be hard to fit Posey, but I won’t argue with you if you try. He’s a career lefty masher who’s posted a .327 average, .401 wOBA, .227 ISO and a .554 SLG throughout his career against left-handed pitching to go along with a 37.4% hard-contact percentage. He continued his lefty mashing ways last season as 12.2% of his hits against LHP went for home runs. He gets a matchup with Jason Vargas tonight, a lefty who’s actually dazzled so far this season, but I see some regression coming. Over his career against right-handed batters, Vargas has surrendered 1.20 HR/9 with a 1.32 WHIP. I expect people to chase the points with Vargas in GPPs and a handful of cash lineups, but I would strongly advise against that. I love a mini-stack of the Giants tonight as they get a park upgrade, centered around Buster Posey.
Other options: Brian McCann ($3,000), Matt Wieters ($2,900), Wellington Castillo ($2,800), Sandy Leon ($2,400)
Joey Votto ($3,800)
First base is a power position with a ton of options tonight, but my sights are set on Joey Votto. He’s currently riding a four-game hitting streak and coming off of back-to-back multi-hit games and gets a dream matchup with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez tonight. Last season against righties, Votto posted a .429 wOBA, .254 ISO, .355 BABIP and a 41.9% hard-contact percentage. Insane. His counterpart Jimenez should cater nicely to those numbers. In 2016 Jimenez allowed 1.53 HR/9, a 1.70 WHIP, .353 BABIP and a 31.1% hard-contact percentage to left-handed batters. In his 15 career at-bats against Jimenez, Votto has managed 5 hits, 2 of which went for extra bases, with 2 runs, 4 walks and an RBI. He gets the perk of playing at home tonight in Great American Ballpark, an extremely hitter-friendly stadium and he’s my #DailyDinger of the night.
Other options: Freddie Freeman ($4,500), Mitch Moreland ($3,500), Hanley Ramirez ($3,400), Trey Mancini ($3,100), Lucas Duda ($2,700) – love him in a GPP
Dustin Pedroia ($3,000)
Every once in a while you have to roster a boring player. For me tonight, that is Dustin Pedroia. He’s not flashy, doesn’t have a ton of pop left, but he’s your fundamental great ball player hitting leadoff in a great matchup. Over his career against left-handed pitching, Pedroia has posted a .370 wOBA, .324 BABIP and a .150 ISO (again, not a power hitter). He gets the luxury of facing off with Francisco Liriano tonight, who, through two starts, has posted a 7.7 BB/9, 1.29 HR/9, .438 BABIP, 2.00 WHIP and a 47.1% hard-contact percentage against right-handed hitters. While Pedroia has only had 11 at-bats against Liriano, he’s mustered 6 hits batting over .500. The Roger’s Centre is not a friendly park for fly-ball pitchers and with that 47.1% hard-contact percentage, I expect the ball to fly off of the Red Sox bats tonight.
Other options: Daniel Murphy ($3,600), Logan Forsythe ($3,400), Jose Peraza ($3,100), Brad Miller ($2,900)
Evan Longoria ($3,100)
I really don’t like the third base position tonight. I refuse to pay up for Machado again and Jake Lamb seems a bit pricey even in a good spot, so I’m going down to Evan Longoria. He may not be this low in price again this season, so why not take advantage against a regressing fly-ball pitcher? He’s posted a career .347 wOBA, .209 ISO and a 34.6% hard-contact percentage against right-handed pitching. His counterpart tonight is the struggling Jordan Zimmerman who in 2016 allowed a 1.20 HR/9, 1.59 WHIP and .337 BABIP to right-handed hitters while only posting a 14.2% strikeout rate. The current Rays team also holds a career .324 batting average against Zimmerman, potentially putting a few extra runners on base to give Longoria some RBI opportunities tonight.
Other options: Manny Machado ($3,900), Jake Lamb ($3,900), Justin Turner ($3,900), Jose Ramirez ($3,800), Jose Reyes ($2,100)
Brandon Crawford ($2,700)
As I stated earlier, I’m a fan of a mini Giants stack in GPPs, but I also view Brandon Crawford as a cash-viable shortstop tonight. He remains underpriced after being productive to start the season and has actually faired better against left-handed pitching this season than he has right-handed pitching. It’s a smaller sample size, but he’s currently posting a .417 average, .525 wOBA and a .333 ISO against LHPs to start the season. I went over Vargas’ numbers and they show that he can struggle to keep the ball in the yard at times. With a nice park upgrade, I love the value in Brandon Crawford tonight.
Other options: Francisco Lindor ($4,100), Asdrubal Cabrera ($3,500), Xander Bogaerts ($3,200), Dansby Swanson ($2,700)
Mookie Betts ($4,200)
This is my favorite play of the day and I’ll likely fade the likely-chalk play of Bryce Harper in favor of Mookie Betts. The Red Sox are my favorite stack of the day and no player has better plate discipline than Betts. If you haven’t already seen the stat, he’s now gone 128 regular season plate appearances without striking out. That takes us back to September 12th of 2016. Yes, last year. Against a pitcher that struggles with command? Yes, please. He went 3-5 last night and added a home run and against left-handed pitching in 2016 he posted a .341 wOBA, .248 ISO and a 35% hard-contact percentage. If there’s one pitcher that Mookie Betts will predictably own throughout his career, my guess is Francisco Liriano. Lock and load ladies and gentlemen.
Other options: Mike Trout ($4,900), Bryce Harper ($4,700), AJ Pollock ($3,600), Jay Bruce ($3,500), Andrew Benintendi ($3,400), Adam Duvall ($3,200), David Peralta ($3,100), Billy Hamilton ($3,000), Curtis Granderson ($3,000), Chris Young ($2,600), Kevin Pillar ($2,400)