Last night was so right and yet so wrong. We had the process and players dead on. But I failed to heed my own advice and mix up pitcher usage. I ended up with far too much Trevor Cahill after seeing his industry prices. We had basically all the hitters that went deep with an Astros fade, but alas no perfect parlay. Stick with the process, and the results will come. Patience is a virtue.
On to the present and future. Tonight the Astros, Mariners, Dodgers and Nats are significant favorites, and we have a few aces to choose from in Darvish, Paxton, DeGrom and Gray. Peacock and Salazar may also draw GPP interest. For explosive potential from hitters the underlying numbers would advise attacking Straily, Estrada, Snell, Gibson, Davies, Banda, Chris Smith, maybe Hammel and a couple others depending on handedness.
Its a tough slate to peg. I tend to think Darvish, Degrom and Paxton are solid plays, while for the most part I would fade Salazar and Peacock, including having a couple lineups with Rays and White Sox hitters. A lot of the hitters I recommend might be classified as studs, but if they will be low owned on that particular night they are great GPP plays. I really believe 1 of the best ways to hit GPPs is paying up for high ceiling guys in mediocre matchups. Bellinger fit that mold last night. Lets get to it.
ASSUMED CHALK BASED OFF VEGAS LINES/TOTALS (and fine plays for cash games): Astros, Nationals, Dodgers, Darvish, Paxton, DeGrom.
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):
Dan Straily @ Nationals: This recommendation is fully contingent on Daniel Murphy remaining out of the lineup. If he’s in the lineup, I would look elsewhere as he never strikes out and I would pivot to using him at 2B quite a bit. (xwOBA = .291)
Vincent Velasquez vs. Mets: Jay Bruce was traded to the Indians! Velasquez has far better stuff than his numbers indicate. He is still striking out 24.2% of batters and just because DeGrom is the opposing starter does not change the projections against Mets hitters. (xwOBA = .351)
Lance Lynn vs. Royals: No DH and no Salvy Perez for KC. Lynn should get a few easy outs and has a good park to hopefully survive against Moose Tacos and Hosmer. (xwOBA = .306)
Carlos Rodon vs. Astros: The Boom or Bust play. Have a share or two. Springer has just returned but they still have no Correa and no Gattis. Have under 5% of whatever you play but have a little. (xwOBA = .311)
Tyler Skaggs @ Mariners: Matches up pretty well with the lefty heavy Seattle lineup. He will have to navigate around Valencia and Cruz of course, but he does have real talent. (xwOBA = .316)
Marco Estrada vs. Yankees: This is a spot similar to yesterday. Have a couple shares of him, and also have your Yankees stacks. Because he gets fly balls and strikeouts. The Yankees have numerous guys who don’t mind striking out. If said flyballs don’t land over the fence, they are generally easy outs. (xwOBA = .301)
Note: I would USE Darvish, DeGrom and Paxton. The argument against Darvish is his career reputation currently has him a touch overrated, and he probably will not have Grandal catching tonight. Paxton is up against a lineup somewhat tough to strikeout, but they will be without Yunel Escobar and may platoon Calhoun out of the lineup. DeGrom is probably my favorite of these 3.
GPP PITCHERS to FADE:
Danny Salazar @ Rays: This “fade” is not a recommendation for a full fade, but play him scarcely and lower than what the population may own. I’ve followed his career very closely and could certainly see him striking out 9 with 6 walks in 4.1 innings tonight. More times than not, he kills himself with his own pitch count and the Rays can take advantage of him. I’m serious when I say that a negative 10-point game is in his range of outcomes. (xwOBA = .315)
Brad Peacock @ White Sox: I’m staying on the Astros @ White Sox upset train. Same thing as with Salazar, make sure you have a couple shares because the K upside is rather high. The problem is he has not proven an ability to pitch deep into games and the Astros have the bullpen to understand why. (xwOBA = .271)
Tanner Roark vs. Marlins: I don’t see the upside with Gordon, Yelich, Dietrich and a contact-making Realmuto in there surrounding the huge righty bats.. (xwOBA = .326)
Sonny Gray @ Blue Jays: I’d rather take a gamble on some of the Blue Jays mashers. Again not a full fade recommendation. (xwOBA = .295)
GPP HITTERS to USE:
Christian Yelich: He’s had a pretty quiet season. From a popularity standpoint, he’s usually #3 and left behind in terms of ownership because of Giancarlo and Ozuna. However tonight the opposing pitcher favors him.
Travis d’Arnaud: His batted ball profile matches up well with Velasquez. Just make sure to have a share. On April 28 of this year he hit 2 HRs in the same game off Max Scherzer. #NeverForget
Gary Sanchez: He will probably be popular and for good reason. However I don’t see massive ownership at his prices. This is the type of play where you need some shares in case he far outpaces the rest of the Catchers with a couple dongs to stay in GPP contention.
Lucas Duda/Corey Dickerson: We will be stacking Rays and discussing them below. The real issue with Salazar is he tends to get down in counts and then he challenges hitters middle-middle. People might think this is a new Salazar because of his recent 3 starts off the DL. I have my doubts.
Edwin Encarnacion: The should be an obvious GPP play but who knows.
Matt Carpenter: For people who don’t know, in the last few years MattyCarp has overhauled his swing and is honestly one of the best hitters in baseball. The only problem is a big part of the success is how selective he is at the plate. If a pitcher refuses to walk him, he can have upwards of 2 extra base hits in a game.
Marwin Gonzalez: Another guy who has gone through a transition as his career has gone on. If you want to continue fading the more popular Houston bats, this is your guy. Mashes fastballs and should be in some good RBI spots tonight. This year he’s actually hitting more fly balls against lefties.
Max Kepler: He is still unowned in quite a few season-long leagues. There is still time to get on the train before the masses. This guy has proven again recently his ceiling games are quite high.
Domingo Santana: At this point in their careers I think he’s more likely than Ryan Braun to double dong. You will probably want some of both in Miller Park.
Logan Forsythe: Always the platoon play against lefties. One thing I like about him over some of the other guys the Dodgers platoon is that he projects to stay in the game when the opposing pitcher comes out because he has proven he can hit righties as well.
Jonathan Schoop: Most people who have seen the Orioles play know that he swings for the fences. The depth of O.Co coliseum scares him about as much as it does Khris Davis. Smith is a veteran who has never had the stuff to stick in the majors. Don’t forget the high ceiling-low ownership guys in the late games.
Danny Valencia: With the Alonso trade he is either fighting for full playing time or getting to focus on what he does best, mashing lefties. Have a share or two.
GPP TEAM STACKS to USE:
Rays: This is my favorite GPP stack actually. Which sucks because I’m an Indians season ticket holder. They just project to get some walks and flyballs against Salazar. Also the Indians pen is going through a rough stretch with both LOOGYs Logan and ANDREW MILLER both on the DL. I can see a world where it gets ugly for my Tribe, even as they stand as -150 favorites.
Yankees: See Estrada above. Also, Estrada is generally easy to run on and Russell Martin aint getting any younger.
Indians: I guess I like the game stack. The Indians will have the righty platoon lineup ready to take walks and drop bombs off Snell.
Twins/Brewers.: Best park to hit in on the slate. The Brewers pitcher is 13-5 w/ a 4.18 ERA, but he is a little too split friendly to project success against Dozier, Mauer, Sano, Grossman, Rosario, Kepler, Polanco and Castro, many of whom are very patient. Mix up some Twins stacks. Full disclosure, I know NOTHING about the Twins SP Dietrich Enns. His minor league stats don’t give me enough of a story. Just get a few shares of this game.
Orioles: Bad A’s starter, bad A’s bullpen, bad A’s defense. Recipe for stack success. People may be off them due to the park shift, late start and underdog status. This is when you pounce.