MLB Preferred Plays – 4/21/17

I took the day off from MLB DFS yesterday to pay more attention to the NBA Playoff slate and the Bucks game. Boy was that a great game or what?!

We’re back tonight with a full 15-game slate of MLB games and a ton of great pitching options and stacks, so I expect differentiation to come with ease tonight. Before I give you my preferred plays for tonight’s slate, I’m going to go ahead and let you know right now that I fully intend to fade the Coors game.Here are my preferred plays for tonight’s full slate of MLB games:

Pitcher

Corey Kluber ($9,900)

With Lester completely off of my radar, my favorite pitching option tonight is Corey Kluber against the struggling White Sox. While his ERA and WHIP will likely scare some people away, his advanced stats suggest that he’s due for some positive regression. He still owns a 10.1% SwStr%, 22,5% K-rate, and only a 7.5% BB-rate. His 2016 numbers also suggest some improvements coming his way as he posted a .214 batting average allowed, 26.4% K-rate, 1.06 WHIP, 12.6% SwStr% and only a 0.92 HR/9 and 27.6% hard-contact percentage. Those are elite numbers and with the potent offense backing him, run support shouldn’t be an issue either. He gets the opportunity to follow up Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka’s dominance of the White Sox, a team that’s posted a .217 batting average, .278 OBP and a .356 SLG. To say they’re struggling is an understatement and if Todd Frazier can’t go tonight, the matchup only gets easier for Kluber.

Other options: Jon Lester ($10,600), Justin Verlander ($9,400), Drew Pomeranz ($7,700), CC Sabathia ($7,600), Alex Meyer ($6,000) – Deep GPP flier

Catcher

James McCann ($2,300)

I refuse to pay up for catchers, it bites me in the ass way too much. Lucky for us, we’ve got some great value at the position tonight. McCann is a lefty-masher for a very affordable price. Over his career, he’s posted a .370 wOBA, .262 ISO (!!!), 39.4% hard-contact percentage and a 22.7% HR/FB ratio. To say he owns lefties is clearly an understatement. He faces off with lefty Hector Santiago tonight who has allowed a career .325 wOBA, 1.51 HR/9 and a 34.5% hard-contact percentage to right-handed batters. While the Tigers’ offense has been cold, it’s been in no way, shape, or form because of McCann. He gives you a great amount of flexibility to pay up for Coors (if you want, but I’m not), and other high-priced studs. He’s a staple in my cash lineups tonight.

Other options: Jonathan Lucroy ($3,000), Wellington Castillo ($2,900), Brian McCann ($2,900), Willson Contreras ($2,800), Manny Piña ($2,400)

First Base

Eric Thames ($3,800)

There really isn’t a ton I have to go into here, I feel like I’m writing a Russell Westbrook bit. This man has been ON FIRE. 7 home runs in his last 9 games and he’s currently smashing his way to a .567 wOBA, .524 ISO, 54.6% hard-contact percentage and a 34.5% HR/FB ratio against right-handed pitching. His matchup tonight is the regressing Adam Wainwright who, through 2017 thus far, has allowed 2.70 HR/9, a 2.70 WHIP, .500 BABIP, 4.05 BB/9 and a 46.4% hard-contact percentage against left-handed batters. His price is definitely creeping up to where I’d question playing him, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind who my first baseman is tonight.

Other options: Anthony Rizzo ($4,200), Ryan Healy ($3,200), Matt Carpenter ($2,900), Joe Mauer ($2,900), Trey Mancini ($2,800)

Second Base

Starlin Castro ($3,100)

I was so set on Ben Zobrist but as soon as I started writing him up, he gets ruled out. That made the second base position a lot harder to me, but Starlin Castro continues to stick out. He, along with the entire Yankees team, has been red hot to open the 2017 season. He’s posted a career-best .426 wOBA and .211 ISO through the first few weeks of the season and is in the midst of a four-game hitting streak, fresh off of a 1-3 performance with a home run, 3 RBIs, a run and a walk. He faces off against the youngster Tyler Glasnow tonight who has gotten absolutely crushed this season. He currently holds a 1.35 HR/9, 2.55 WHIP, .313 opponent batting average and a 5.23 SIERA while only managing to leave 42.4% of his runners on base. A scuffling pitcher is clashing with a surging offense. I love a mini-stack of the Yankees tonight to leverage some ownership and Starlin Castro could be a big part of that.

Other options: Daniel Murphy ($3,400), Ian Kinsler ($3,200), Brad Miller ($3,100), Rougned Odor ($3,100), Jonathan Villar ($2,900), Javier Baez ($2,600)

Third Base

Travis Shaw ($3,400)

Shaw follows the same script as Eric Thames. He’s now homered in three consecutive games and has been red hot to open the 2017 campaign for the surging Brewers. He’s posted a .346 wOBA, .341 ISO, and a 40% HR/FB ratio against right-handed pitching this season and gets to hit in the hitter friendly confines of Miller Park tonight (especially for lefties). Adam Wainwright, as I mentioned, is regressing as he ages and that’s becoming clear with his 2.70 HR/9 allowed to lefties this season. All of the Brewers’ power hitters are in play tonight but I’ll likely be building my lineup around a Thames/Shaw stack.

Other options: Kris Bryant ($4,100), Manny Machado ($3,700), Eugenio Suárez ($3,700), Chase Headley ($3,600), Evan Longoria ($3,200), Aaron Hill ($2,800), David Freese ($2,500)

Shortstop

Corey Seager ($3,500)

Park upgrades are one of the most important aspects to look at when rostering hitters and the Dodgers get the second best park upgrade on the slate (behind the Giants in Coors), so I intend to roster a few starting with Corey Seager. Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks, has a 1.538 HR rating and a 1.594 runs rating (average is one), showing how hitter-friendly it is. They’ll throw right-hander Taijuan Walker on the mound tonight who has struggled against the Dodgers over the last three seasons, appearing for 4 innings while allowing a .353 average, 5 ER and a 11.25 ERA. Corey Seager on the other hand, dominates righties. He’s posted a career .405 wOBA, .225 ISO and a 41.7% hard-contact percentage against opposing right-handed pitchers. If you add on the park upgrade of Chase Field to Seager’s potential tonight, you’re getting into double-dong territory. He’s by far and away my favorite shortstop tonight.

Other options: Francisco Lindor ($4,200), Aledmys Diaz ($2,800), Taylor Motter ($2,800), Addison Russell ($2,700), Wilmer Difo ($2,500)

Outfield

Billy Hamilton ($3,300)

Last but not least, we have Billy Hamilton. While there are obviously a ton of better outfield plays tonight, Hamilton is my favorite given his price and his history against Jon Lester. Everyone knows how incompetent Lester is when it comes to both throwing the ball to first base and holding runners on. This spells disaster when he has to face a player like Hamilton, and that’s been proven in the past. Hamilton is a career 6-10 hitter against Lester with 2 home runs (yes, he can hit the ball out once in a blue moon) and 6, SIX, steals. While I rarely base a play strictly off of BvP, especially with such a tiny sample size, I just have a huge gut feeling that if Hamilton gets on today, he’s stealing second and third with ease.

Other options: Bryce Harper ($4,800), Ryan Braun ($4,500), Christian Yelich ($4,000), Nelson Cruz ($3,900), Jay Bruce ($3,800), Nomar Mazara ($3,600), Kyle Schwarber ($3,600), Aaron Judge ($3,500), Gerardo Parra ($3,400), Adam Duvall ($3,300), Josh Reddick ($2,900), Mitch Haniger ($2,800), Joc Pederson ($2,500), Andrew Toles ($2,300)


 

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