10 games to analyze this fine evening. Last night was fun as I hit with my main lineup on Yahoo! There is a lot of “good” out there use at SP, but no aces. Its all 2 and 3 starters who all have solid ceilings, and a bunch of gas-cans to attack with bats. You may want to pick a few under the radar hitters and use that same core of hitters while trying all the pitchers out in order to balance your exposure. We will go through pitchers below.
As for hitters, the best parks to hit in are Cincy, Milwaukee and Atlanta. Arizona’s reputation may be a bit overstated. It will be interesting to gauge ownership of the Cardinals considering the mass murder they have committed on the Royals staff this week. They are not big favorites and its a relatively low total.
There are a decent amount of groundball pitchers on the slate. Pursuant to my list, the pitchers you should want to attack to find some flyballs are Conley, Porcello, Odorizzi, Wojciechowski, Travis Wood, Eickhoff, Miguel Gonzalez and Colon. The usual suspects are big favorites, especially Houston and Washington, and Milwaukee may be popular.
ASSUMED CHALK BASED OFF VEGAS LINES/TOTALS (and fine plays for cash games): Astros, Nationals, Yankees and Brewers; Pitcher usage may be mixed depending on prices across the industry.
GPP PITCHERS to USE (In parentheses is “expected wOBA” or “xwOBA” based on statcast data from this season’s balls in play allowed, an experimental stat which may prove predictive):
Justin Verlander vs. Pirates: The Pirates are not a huge strikeout target generally, but they are righthand heavy and will be hitting in a rough environment. Verlander still has his trademark velocity, and still pitches up in the zone. I’d rather have Verlander in GPPs as opposed to Pirates hitters or some other more expensive SP options. (xwOBA = .332)
Asher Wojciechowski vs. Padres: Hopefully I spelled that right. Just because I put a guy in the “use” section does not mean to go overboard. I’d be careful, but I would use him a little bit where you are trying to spend up because he’s shown a K rate of above 25% at times and it’s a solid matchup on a night with mediocre options. Obviously have a Padres stack too. This is baseball. (xwOBA = .275)
Sean Newcomb vs. Phillies: Same situation as with the baseball alphabet above. Its a slate which begs for some diversity among SPs. Newcomb has positive K potential with a favorable opponent and there are sites with him very cheap. (xwOBA = .339)
Collin McHugh @ White Sox: The White Sox did not strike out much last night. I project McHugh to get some groundouts, a Win and 6+ Ks. Don’t pass him up because he is fairly fresh off the DL and has not gone past 6 innings yet. (xwOBA = .289)
Trevor Cahill @ Cardinals: This is a great GPP play. He has struggled since his trade to the AL, but tonight is essentially a NL start where he gets to face the pitcher. I’m not sure anyone will touch him because the Cards are scorching hot. Above a 25% K rate this season with alllllllll the groundballllllllls. USE HIM IN SOME GPP LINEUPS! (xwOBA = .291)
Rick Porcello @ Rays: This is one of those spots where you should have a share or 2 of the starting pitcher and a couple stacks of the lineup opposing him. The Rays are a boom or bust type of lineup with a lot of power. If they swing and miss, or their balls find the warning track, you’ll be upset you had no Porcello, who has actually struck out a higher rate of lefties than righties this year. (xwOBA = .334)
Alex Wood @ DBacks (xwOBA = .260) and Zack Greinke vs. Dodgers (xwOBA = .262): I wont project ownership on these guys because I’m sure it will depend on their relative prices across the industry. That being said they have that Kluber/Sale-type upside even against the tougher opponents in a hitter friendly park. As always I’m more apt to use an Arizona pitcher if Mathis is catching.
GPP PITCHERS to FADE:
Masahiro Tanaka vs. Blue Jays: The Blue Jays don’t really have high strikeout guys despite the power reputation. The top 5 in the order are extremely tough and Tanaka is more HR prone than most people realize. If he is the most popular pitcher, this is definitely a fade. (xwOBA = .319)
Gio Gonzalez vs. Marlins: Gio’s had a great year. I’ve always kind of had a bias against him. Tonight, I am treating him the way I would treat old-school Francisco Liriano or Danny Salazar. Use them when they are not popular, fade them when they might be popular. Gio has a history of getting himself in trouble going too deep in counts. If its an opportunity to gain on a field by NOT using him, its an easy fade. (xwOBA = .299)
Mike Leake vs. Royals: Another gentleman who I don’t like using for GPPs when he stands to get usage. He NEVER strikes out lefties and depends on ground balls. However the defense behind him is sketchy at best. I could see him winning tonight but not putting up a total worth the investment. (xwOBA = .317)
Ivan Nova @ Tigers: Another guy who pitches to contact with low K upside. Has to face a DH unlike in most of his outings. He and Leake are striking out only about 10% of lefties this season. Use the Tiger hitters, not him. (xwOBA = .331)
GPP HITTERS to USE:
Ryan Zimmermann: Don’t forget about him because of recency. The approach is the same despite him doing more damage pre-allstar break. Conley is a target and we know Zimmermann can double dong at his current lower prices.
Lucas Duda: I feel his first double dong game is coming as a Ray. Porcello is obviously the defending Cy Young winner (wrongly as Kluber was snubbed). There are more novice pitchers to attack on this slate, which is why I feel a guy like Duda will go unowned and still provides the potential off Porcello and the Red Sox bullpen.
Mookie Betts: Very well may be popular, and you will want some as a double dong+steal game is in his range of outcomes. You would be on the outside looking in at any GPP where that happens and you have no shares.
Gregory Polanco: Matches up well with Verlander, the Tigers pen, and outfield defense. Especially on Fanduel where RBI are valued higher, have some stock.
Eugenio Suarez: I assume he will be in the lineup in the 6 hole. Maybe my favorite GPP play of the day. Travis Wood, hitting behind dangerous hitters and The Great American Small Park are the reasons why. Its a similar spot to where Gyorko was last night.
Wil Myers: People are down on him, and his price has dropped around the industry. He’s still one of the more talented players in all of baseball. Quietly has 21 HR and 11 steals. Great matchup and park. This is a Betts-like situation for me, you must have a couple lineups with him.
Cameron Rupp: If he is in the lineup, take some shots with him in a great park against a rookie lefty.
Ender Inciarte: Its easy to say to play the Astros, Red Sox or Freddie Freeman. This column is for digging a touch deeper. Tonight is a weird slate and I’m not sure a bunch of homers will be prevalent. Have some of Inciarte who should get 5 at bats in a great start with steal potential.
Eric Thames: I own him in season long and want to kill myself. His season is flushing down a toilet. That being said its an incredible matchup considering his struggles this year have been mainly with above average fastballs, and Colon’s fastball started fading around the turn of the millennium. That was 17 years ago.
Cody Bellinger: I’m projecting this would be criminal ownership. I’ve seen this guy bomb off Andrew Miller this year. Greinke and the DBacks bullpen in that park presents a GPP opportunity actually.
GPP TEAM STACKS to USE:
Marlins: In case Gio Gonzalez walks the world, which is in the range of possibilities. I would use Giancarlo, Ozuna, Realmuto and a mixture of others.
Yankees: The opposing starter is Nick Tepesch. I would use a mixture here including Judge, Todd Frazier and DiDi.
Tigers: See Ivan Nova above. Its an easy 4-man stack to me including Kinsler, Upton, Miggy and Castellanos.
Braves: The lefties against Eickhoff, who has a serious splits problem.
Padres: I think you need a stack or 2. I wouldn’t mind even setting yourself apart further by NOT including Jose Pirela. I am not a believer in recency or hot streaks.