Interesting little 8 game slate for tonight. Mainly because we have no truly dominant aces taking the mound anywhere. This makes factors such as ballpark, weather, team defenses and bullpens more important than usual as there will be less strikeouts around the majors. That said, you have to find the top scoring, relatively lower-owned SPs if you want to win GPPs because most of the SPs will probably bottom out. Let’s see if we can find some under the radar high ceiling guys. If you went with Jose Abreu off Jon Lester last week, you were a happy camper. Depending on how many lineups you like to play, its a good night to have some of a certain SP (ex. Clevinger) while having other lineups including members from the lineup opposing him (Red Sox in Fenway).
ASSUMED CHALK BASED OFF VEGAS LINES (and fine plays for cash games): Severino, Morton, Astros, Indians, Royals, Blue Jays, Nationals.
PITCHERS to USE:
Michael Fulmer @ Yankees: The Yankees do have some high strikeout fence-swingers in this lineup. Its a horrible park to pitch in, but Fulmer generally does a pretty good job of keeping the ball on the ground. I hate the options tonight at SP so much that you have to take GPP shots with this guy, he’s too solid. (xwOBA = .288)
Marco Estrada @ White Sox: Wow that White Sox lineup now that Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier are gone. Its a high ceiling opportunity from a guy who’s on the road and been horrible with a 4-7 record and 5.43 ERA. If he can keep Davidson and Abreu in the park you have to like his chances for a W with possibly upwards of 7Ks. (xwOBA = .311)
Gio Gonzalez @ Marlins: Another SP who isn’t great but has a dependable track record and has expected “Win” points. Miami is still a great place to pitch and hopefully Dusty Baker will allow Gio to be careful with Giancarlo in those at bats. I’ll take getting to face a lineup that includes the opposing pitcher over dealing with the AL East parks any day of the week. (xwOBA = .301)
Danny Duffy @ Orioles: Unfortunately we cannot completely fade Yankee stadium, Camden or Fenway on such an aceless slate. In actuality you want to take advantage of people who absolutely refuse to run pitchers out in scary situations. In Duffy and the Orioles you have a combination that can provide some surprise points. This is mainly due to Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon and the Royals defense. The Royals are tied with the Red Sox for 1st in team defense in the advanced metrics. I am not saying to fade Machado, Trumbo(if starting), Mancini, Castillo and/or Rickard completely, but definitely take a shot or two with Duffy. (xwOBA = .307)
PITCHERS to FADE:
Felix Hernandez @ Rangers: I’ve said it before but he is not his same old self this season. The strikeouts are way down against lefties (17.6%) and teams have been making solid contact all year. We’ve seen what the temperature does to run totals in Texas during the summer months. Monitor the weather. The Rangers might be my favorite GPP offense of the night. (xwOBA = .348)
Cole Hamels v Mariners: He will take the mound tonight with a 5-1 record and 3.97 ERA. Anyone still using those outdated traditional stats may be sorely disappointed. His FIP is 4.88, SIERA is 5.04 and xFIP is 4.97. Trust those numbers. He is not striking out anybody this year (14.1% v righties, 15.8% v lefties). Just like Felix, great spot to fade. (xwOBA = .336)
Sonny Gray v Giants: We will know by 4PM if he is making this starty or has been traded. Either way, I will have no shares. We have another pitcher who was thought of as an ace in years past but hasn’t quite had the full repertoire return. The main reason I am fading however? The Oakland Athletics defense. The defense is offensive. By far and away the worst defense in the majors, really no matter what metric you use. (xwOBA = .296)
HITTERS to USE:
Lorenzo Cain: I think he gets overlooked as the 3-hole hitter in this contact lineup. Against Ubaldo and Castillo at Camden, everything is in play, steals, doubles, bombs, runs scored and RBI. Don’t forget him.
Miguel Cabrera: Almost nobody will use him. At Comerica, he and Justin Upton perennially get robbed of more HRs than most hitters. If the Tigers can get a lead and avoid the main holds guys and Aroldis, I could see the path to big points.
Mookie Betts: When this guy goes off, he goes OFF! Against Clevinger at Fenway he could definitely go double-dong. I cant quite project where ownership will lie depending on the site you play with he and Clevinger, but Betts is an OF you must have in some of your GPP lineups. I also like Hanley Ramirez tonight.
Brian Goodwin: Jose Urena has a splits problem as he cannot get lefties out. This guy has 11 HRs already and is at the top of a lineup which is still mashing despite injuries. He will either face Urena 3 times, or they have gotten into a bullpen quick which has recently brought up noobs after recent bullpen trades.
Nelson Cruz: See the Rangers/Mariners stack section below. This game has a total of 10.5 for a reason, despite the bigger name SPs.
Brian McCann: Moved down in the Astros order despite the team missing 2 of its stars at the top of the order. Off of Cobb and the rays bullpen the high ceiling is in play at a tough position to fill.
Nori Aoki: Cobb has been notoriously easy to steal off, and has not been able to get out lefties this year. Sneaky play here allllllllll the way down at the 9 spot where nobody ever wants to invest in a lottery ticket.
Corey Dickerson: The guy who could light up a high-velocity throwing Charlie Morton on the right night. Very impressive power to all fields.
Denard Span: The guy most likely to take advantage of the A’s joke of a defense.
Yonder Alonso/Ryon Healy: Getting 2-3 shots at both the should-be-retired Matt Cain and Giants bullpen.
TEAM STACKS to USE:
Giants: Whether Gray pitches or not. Span/Belt/Posey/Crawford get the park UPGRADE even with the game being in Oakland. No pitcher hitting in the 9-hole as a rally killer. Especially try your luck with the Posey/Crawford pair at the premium positions.
Rangers: I like them all. Specifically don’t forget about Gallo/Andrus/Chirinos/Napoli. Odor and Beltre may be a touch more popular, but mix it up.
Mariners: I like them all. Even the lefties like Cano and Seager despite facing the lefty Hamels. Zunino and Cruz are double dong candidates, but again you should have this game covered everywhere.