Chris Sale, P: $11,800 & Max Scherzer, P: $11,600 – I’m not going to even waste your time telling you how good they are. Play them.
Wait a second…I’m sure all you faithful readers out there are saying “But this is a FanDuel article, we only get one pitcher!”. You’re right. So, Sale or Scherzer? This comes down to matchups and ballparks. Scherzer is facing a very good Arizona lineup, in Arizona – and unless it’s confirmed that the humidor has begun being used, Chase Field is a top-3 non-Coors offensive ballpark. On the other hand, Chris Sale is facing the pathetic Angels offense, which is approaching 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers territory for lopsidedness. For those who don’t remember, that’s the Cavs team that made the finals with Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovic, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and a small forward that remains comically underappreciated and underrated throughout his entire career. The problem is, baseball isn’t basketball. One amazing hitter can’t carry an otherwise inept lineup. The 2002 San Francisco Giants demonstrated that absurdly lopsided offenses only work if you have the single greatest offensive player of all time and a second elite-level hitter (and have at least one or two other guys that aren’t complete embarrassments – that year it was Benito Santiago and David Bell). Trout’s trying his best to be Barry Bonds, and Andrelton Simmons, shockingly, isn’t a complete embarrassment, and neither is Luis Valbuena. But the lack of Jeff Kent means this offense isn’t going to give anyone trouble. Additionally, Angel Stadium is an offense-killer, although it does get credit for not selling its naming rights (although the Cubs played in Cubs Park, but then changed the name for the 1927 season to a gum company, which is now considered a non corporate name, so the lesson is, just last a long time). So while I couldn’t fault anyone for deciding that Scherzer’s their guy tonight, when you consider that Sale is facing a vastly inferior lineup and pitching in a far more pitcher-friendly ballpark, the choice (for cash) seems fairly straightforward. And yes, astute readers of mine should note that Scherzer’s GPP-value is through the roof as my hunch is that Sale’s ownership is far higher, and it’s entirely possible Scherzer outscores Sale as both are quite dominant and it may just come down to who gets 11 strikeouts as opposed to 8.
On to the picks as soon as Guaranteed Rate Field becomes a fun, cozy name…
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When I was a kid, it was routine to go thrift shopping with my mother every Sunday morning (queue the Thrift Shop song by Macklemore). My mother has a niche for finding deals and bargains. I reflect back and look to use some of those skills to find the pitcher I’ll be pairing with Clayton Kershaw in my cash games. I look no further to Trevor Cahill. This will be Cahill’s second start since coming off the DL with shoulder issues. Prior to Cahill’s injury he was having a career year. I was a bit worried watching his rehab starts coming back from the shoulder injury but he handled the Indians in the 4 innings he pitched. With guys coming off injury there is always the risk of getting pulled early because their pitch count is limited. The Padres allowed him to go 85 pitches in his first start back. I’m not worried about the pitch count given he faces a deflated Phillies lineup who is amongst the worst versus right handed pitching this season. Cahill is the bargain of the day at $15,300. The Padres are the favorite on the road today and I will be pairing Cahill with Kershaw in all cash games.
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Before we proceed: a disclaimer — granola is not good for you. It’s full of calories and sugar, but it served my title purposes and it will make you, you know, go. I’m all about helping the collective Razzball digestive system, so let me give you this to chew on: In his last 3 starts, Aaron Nola ($8,900) has earned a grand total of 3 runs, all while striking out 25, and going at least 7 innings per game. Maybe he’s finally becoming the pitcher we yearned for, pre-season? I’m going to put my breakfast cereal where my mouth is and predict that he’ll manage to repeat the good stuff for you today (and not repeat on you, hopefully) if you start him on FanDuel. To do a little caveat-diving: the Phillies are predicted to beat the Padres -135, but which team is actually going to get the most run support in this game is debatable, as the Phillies are second-last in MLB in terms of runs scored (321 this season) — but hey, they’re still above the Padres (305)! And you should get K’s out of him. But if all this is feeling like overpriced sawdust and sadness in your mouth, I’ve got a couple of other suggestions for you after the jump.
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I need to come clean about something. It’s embarrassing, and I hope once I tell you you don’t judge me. This is a bit of a trust fall for me. Okay, the truth is, whenever a player breaks out, I start singing Breakout by Swing Out Sister. I put down the convertible top on my canary yellow Sebring, flipping down my sunglasses, adjusting my spandex shorts, because they ride up all the time, and Tommy Pham, fist pump, BREAKOUT!
In Triple-A, Pham had 10 homers and 20 steals in 2014, but, like some many young hitters with the Cardinals (really, only hitters; pitchers they have no problem promoting and playing), they’ll play someone like The Federalist and never give a prospect hitter an opportunity. Now that Pham’s about to turn 30 (in nine months), the Cards have finally given him playing time. There’s nothing here long-term, but he does have power, speed and, finally, the playing time, so, Swing Out Sister and BREAKOUT! And, y’all who think I don’t keep it real, Tupac would date Swing Out Sister, then send her a letter from prison, breaking it off, only to realize halfway through the letter, he shouldn’t break it off, he should BREAKOUT!
Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
So, this legit blew my mind. As you know, I’m busy getting my top 100 for the 2nd half ready for next week, and I was looking at our Player Rater. So, Domingo Santana? He’s top 50 on the season! No, not for outfielders. For all players! Seriously! For all hitters and pitchers. Digest that for a second. What are you swallowing? I was speaking metaphorically. What does this mean? Invest in players with home games in domestic swill parks. Rename PNC Park to Iron City Park and I want me some Jordy Mercer! Busch Stadium is the exception that proves the rule, whatever that means. This also means fantasy value is about filling out five categories. All your Miggys and Edwins are purdy, but you get a guy that hits 15 homers and steals bases, and you’re getting value. Yesterday, Domingo went 4-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs with his 9th steal, as he hits .288 with 14 homers on the year. That’s how you get fantasy value. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
The Yankees called up Clint Frazier on Saturday. The Yankees are like you at a concert after your first bathroom break. “I had sixteen beers and I really gotta whizz.” *goes to the bathroom, then sips your seventeen beer* “Damn, I just took a whizz, and now I have to go again.” The childproof seal has been broken. The Yankees waited about five years too long to promote some of their rookies, and now they’re taking a whizz every third day. (I’m mixing metaphors, aren’t I?) I wonder if the Yankees are aggressively promoting rookies now because of how well Judge is doing. It’s confirmation bias, or some Psych 1010 term. In the minors, Frazier went 12 HRs, 9 SBs and .257 in 73 games. His strikeouts weren’t terrible, and that line looks like it could hold in the majors, i.e, 20/15/.250 in 162 games. That’s if he has playing time the rest of the year, which is, of course, no guarantee with Holliday, Hicks, Gardner, Ellsbury, though if they were candy, they’d all be brittle. I’d grab Frazier in all leagues to see what he can do. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
I had this lede in my back pocket. In the fantasy baseball writing world, it’s called ‘the early lede.’ It’s a form of sandbagging. You know everyone wanted Mike Montgomery in the preseason, but his rotation spot wasn’t confirmed. So, in March, you write a Mike Montgomery Buy lede like you’re filling in a Mad Libs. You say how he’s been great/solid/surprisingly awful but will come around. You can’t believe the Cubs took this long/moved this fast with him. His rotation spot was all but guaranteed once (pitcher’s name) got injured. That (same pitcher’s name) wasn’t good anyway and now Montgomery is here to stay for the season/the month/this next start. So far this year, he has a 61% ground ball rate, which would be the 3rd best in the majors if he qualified, and has a 8.6% swinging strike rate, which would be around the top 40. Those two numbers give the promise that his strikeout and walk rate aren’t giving yet. His 2.26 ERA is a bit of a fairy tale in unicorn clothes, but there’s still enough to be encouraged by. You better get him/have to get him/maybe should get him! This could be the pickup of the year/maybe a streamer and you better act fast/moderately quick/sometime while you’re still drawing breath. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
Since Corey Kluber returned from the DL, he’s been lights out. Then lights on. Then off. On. Off! Nothing but glow sticks. The sweet smell of body odor, ganja and herbal ecstasy rises. An Asian man with pigtails walks by with a Red Bull and you see he’s wearing a diaper that reads “Change me.” And…the…music…DROPS! What? He is a Kluber. Yesterday, he went 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 11 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.58. Shin-Soo Choo-Choo, next stop 3.25! Kluber has had some great years, says Private Obvious. “You’ll never replace me!” says Captain Obvious. Kluber’s great years are looking up at this season’s peripherals thus far. He has his highest K/9 (11) and his best xFIP (2.98) since his Cy Young year, which happens to be the fifth best xFIP in the majors before Clayton Kershaw. I’d guess Kluber comes up short of his Cy Young season’s 2.44 ERA, but there’s little reason why he can’t be a top five starter for the rest of the season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
If only Adam Jones had gotten injured that headline would’ve been perfect. Well, it looks like we are in the thick of baseball injury season! When I went to put this week’s article together, I had 20 players listed that I needed to check out. Luckily, some guys like Brian Dozier, Logan Forsythe and Gregory Polanco were back in their team’s line-ups by the time came for me to check out their current status. Other guys like Jarrett Parker, Mallex Smith and James Kaprielan aren’t really fantasy relevant enough to worry about. But if you are in a deep or AL/NL-only league, feel free to ask me about anyone you want in the comments. Also, many of my fill in recommendations are for deeper leagues, so if you want to know who to pick up in shallower leagues, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments as well!
In the 1700’s, magic meant going into an oven with raw meat and coming out wearing a hamburger as a hat. That magic awed people, even though they had seen an oven and a hamburger before. We’ve seen Thames before, and we’ve seen home runs before, but Eric Thames still feels like magic. He is a modern day beef illusionist. I will call him, David Copperfood. Yesterday, Eric Thames went 3-for-4, 3 runs with his 7th homer, and 15th homer in the last four games, as he hits .405. We go over Thames on the podcast that’s coming later today, but, damn, I wish I owned him everywhere. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball: