Thursdays in Major League Baseball are always interesting. How many games will there be?  For today, this article is going to focus on the six-game 6:40 pm Eastern Main Slate on FanDuel. There is the return of Steven Strasburg! There are good and bad pitchers playing (if you can believe that). Who should we play? Let’s kick it off with Jose Ramirez, 3B: $4,500 – Yes he is expensive, but how can I fade Ramirez tonight, facing such a bad pitcher in Kaprielian? Ramirez on the season against right-handed pitching has a .440 wOBA and .360 ISO. Those aren’t typos!

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Max Fried, SP: $9,800 – Fried is my favorite cash play on the slate. He has a solid 22.1% strikeout rate, 4.3% walk rate, a 3.25 SIERA, and allowing just 0.65 HR/9. Pittsburgh has the third-highest strikeout rate (24.6%), seventh-lowest ISO (.133), the fifth-lowest OBP (.296), and the third-lowest in runs scored on the season. Add to the mix that Fried has gone six or more innings in nine of his 11 starts (the last nine starts), and he has a high probability of a quality start and a win along with a little more strikeout upside than he usually has.  One could consider Gerrit Cole ($10,800) or Shohei Ohtani ($9,900) as well, but I prefer those two for tournaments more.

Konnor Pilkington, SP: $7,700 – Looking for a punt play? This is my favorite choice. He has the fourth-lowest SIERA on the slate (3.77), and the third-highest strikeout rate (29.1%) on the slate behind Ohtani and Cole. He has not allowed a home run yet this season. Why is he so inexpensive? His walk rate is very high at 12.7%.  His quality start and win probability are lower than other pitchers as his two most recent starts went 3.1 and 5.0 innings. The good news is he faces Oakland: second-fewest runs scored, second-lowest ISO, lowest OBP, fifth-lowest walk rate, sixth-highest strikeout rate. Punts like this are often better on DraftKings than FanDuel because of how important the win is, but if I need to punt at pitcher, I take a shot here.

Trey Mancini or Ryan Mountcastle, C/1B: $3,100 – Kris Bubic is the worst pitcher on this slate. He has a 5.91 SIERA, allows 2.45 HR/9, and has a higher walk rate (15.4%) than strikeout rate (14.3%). In past seasons, I would be pumped to start either Mancini or Mountcastle. This season, these guys have a power outage against lefties: Mancini with a .111 ISO against them this year, Mountcastle’s is .114. On their careers against lefties: Mancini has a .202 ISO and Mountcastle has a .214 ISO. These guys are performing or underperforming in lockstep, are on the same price, on the same team. Make two lineups and plug each one in one of them… Make a third lineup in case they both fail…..

Josh Naylor, C/1B: $3,100 – He is in a good spot going against James Kaprielian with his 5.16 SIERA and allowing 1.69 HR/9 in a game where the wind should be blowing out to right field. Naylor has a .399 wOBA and .244 ISO against right-handed pitching this season. For comparison, Matt Olson has a .370 wOBA and .240 ISO and is $500 more (but also a great play tonight if you wish). 

Cesar Hernandez, 2B: $3,0o0 – The Nationals face Trevor Rogerstonight. Rogers has been bad with a 4.67 SIERA, allowing 1.60 HR/9. His strikeout rate is just 19.2% while his walk rate is 10.3%. There’s not much power potential, but he is leading off at a value against a pitcher having a bad season.

Whoever You Like, SS: Whatever they cost  – Shortstop you go one of two ways: pay all the way up, or pay all the way down. You either want to take Jazz Chisholm ($4,000), Andres Gimenez ($3,600) Dansby Swanson ($3,500), or you just punt down to Andrew Velazquez ($2,100), Nick Gordon ($2,100),  Tyler Wade ($2,100), Jorge Mateo ($2,400). Players I am fading at this position are Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, and Bobby Witt, so naturally, they make for leverage tournament options in a large field tournament. 

Marcell Ozuna, OF: $3,100 – He has a .220 ISO against right-handed pitchers. It should be warm with the wind blowing out to centerfield, and JT Brubaker is allowing 1.39 HR/9.  

Lane Thomas, OF: $2,800 – In his career, he has a .373 wOBA and .206 ISO against left-handed pitchers. This season it’s a .261 wOBA and .163 ISO.  At sub-$3K, against Rogers… Why not? 


I’m Only Happy When It Rains

The weather is looking all clear in the games tonight!


Doing Lines In Vegas

I like Boston (+110) over Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Nationals (+116) over the Miami Marlins. Both bullpens are a mess for these teams, however, I like the Nationals’ chances of having the lead late in the game and Boston just has a great offense, in good weather, that should be close overall.


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