Hello everyone, Happy May and welcome to Sunday! We have another large slate, with 15 games on the All-Day docket, and 10 games on the Main Slate.
We have a interesting case on our hands today, as there are many games Vegas lists at 6.5 O/U. Why is this? Well, that’s because we have a slate full of many high-priced aces, as Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Danny Salazar, Clayton Kershaw, and David Price, all above the $10,000 salary range, are all scheduled to start today, which begs the question, which Ace do you want? I don’t need to get into a ton of statistics and heavy in-depth research, because arguments can be made to start each guy on any specific night, and you already know why these guys are so dominant. However, we can still get to some digging and eliminate pitchers that we don’t want, digging some more, eliminating more guys, so on, and so forth.
First up, what about the higher-priced guys? Yes, all are expensive, yet are you comfortable with selecting Clayton Kershaw (#1 cash option without thinking), at a crisp $12,300? If the answer is yes, you should also be fairly confident that he should pick up the win against the San Diego Padres, not to mention his elite strikeout upside and low walk rate, but you already knew that. What about Madison Bumgarner? Well, his biggest strength is his low-walk rate (4.5% in 2015) and his 3.00 SIERA in 2015 as well, but he is facing the Mets, which is not only tough, but he has to manage a win behind an offense facing Noah Syndergaard, and the same thing for him, as Thor has to muster a win against Mad-Bum. No thanks. I feel it is much more efficient to find cheaper options to solidify those stud bats we can roster, instead of having to pay for these top studs who are very likely to record multi-strikeout performances, yet equally have the potential to not collect the win, and to record a poor outing.
So who’s up next? There’Let’s get to it.
David Price, SP: $11,000 – Price is my favorite Ace of the day, as he is a very dominant pitcher, yet not too expensive, and can allow for us to get the bats we want. Here’s why we like Price, especially in Tournaments: He has a 5.76 ERA through 5 games started this season, yet he sports a 2.33 SIERA. The normal crowd sees this ERA and is immediately disgusted, but his very low SIERA indicates that we will see positive regressions towards the mean, in this case means that we will see more things like we saw on the 26th, as Price struck out 14 Atlanta bats en route to a 72-point performance. Don’t get me wrong, the Braves are not the Yankees, although as a team, the Yanks have a very concerning .103 ISO, 89 wRC+, and a .299 wOBA, which shows to us how they aren’t so good against southpaws. With the many great options at SP today, Price should see depressed ownership in tourneys.
Rich Hill, SP: $8,900 – Rich Hill has been absolutely dominant on the season thus far, and after a very dismal 2009-2015 seasons, Hill has flashed dominance that rivals the Aces of today, despite the fact that he is only $8,900. And why the hell is he only $8,900?!?!?! Here’s how he has done this season so far- 11 fpts in his 1st start, 57 fpts in his 2nd, 22 fpts in his 3rd, 57 fpts in his 4th, and again, 57 fpts a couple of days ago against the Tigers. It’s not too smart to only rely on his past performances, but his splits versus right-handed batters are off the charts. In the past two seasons, Hill is sporting a 12.25 K/9, .280 BABIP and a .245 wOBA against righties, which is the majority of the Houston bats, who greatly struggle against southpaws. Hill averages 6.11 IP/per game, so we can expect a high strikeout, multi-inning performance against Houston for Hill.
Drew Pomeranz, SP: $6,800 – It’s risky, but if you need a cheap option (and believe me, there are none), look for Pomeranz, who should have a lower ownership than 3%, maybe even lower. Here’s what we know, the Dodgers are batting a .147 ISO and a horrid 88 wRC+ against LHP’s, not to mention that Pomeranz is crushing both sides of the plate right now, with a fantastic 30.4% K% to L’s, and a 33.8% K% to R’s this season. Pomeranz isn’t afraid to attack batters, a gamble that could pay off in Tournaments because of the opposing SP he’s facing in Clayton Kershaw.
Devin Mesoraco, C: $2,800 – A good cheap catcher to allow you to pay up for those high priced pitching studs. Mesoraco doesn’t have the greatest individual matchups on the docket, however his .384 PFwOBA and a .207 ISO should tell you enough that $2.8k is a pretty good deal for the talent we are getting.
Joe Mauer, C: $3,800 – If you want to spend up for Catcher if you have some leftover salary, Mauer is the way to go. He has a fantastic matchup against Mike Pelfrey and Co., as Pelfrey gives up a 5.32 xFIP and a .355 wOBA to lefties, and in addition to that, Mauer has done pretty well for himself against righties, sporting a .340 PFwOBA and a 11.4% walk rate, not to mention .742 OPS thus far in the season.
Victor Martinez, 1B: $3,600 – Although Martinez only has a .163 ISO on the year thus far, it is coupled with the fact that he has a strikeout rate of 8.3% and a walk rate of 9.2%, so when he is up at the plate, it usually results in him hitting the ball, which is good for starters. However, his matchup is prime, as he is facing the weak Ricky Nolasco, who is giving up an xFIP of 4.68, a .381 wOBA, and a 35.1% FB rate to right-handed batters. Also, one of the better stats out there, PFwOBA, which is the normal weighted On-Base-Average, but also contains Park Factors as well. Martinez’s PFwOBA is a solid .354.
Ben Paulsen, 1B/OF: $2,700 – Paulsen and the Rockies get to travel to Arizona to face Shelby Miller, who has struggled greatly this year, especially against left-handed batters. Lefties have enjoyed a 4.65 xFIP, .315 wOBA and a 37.4% FB rate. Paulsen has done extremely well against RHP’s this year to the tune of a .193 ISO and a .364 PFwOBA. For a sub-3k price, there is a lot to like here, especially if you cannot afford V-Mart.
Ben Zobrist, 2B: $3,900 – Although it may seem daunting, 3.9k isn’t that much to spend for what you are getting with Zobrist. Tehran has been horrible against lefties this season, and horrible is putting it nicely, with a 4.45 xFIP, a 40.2% FB rate, and a .342 wOBA. Although Zobrist doesn’t have that much power, he gets on base at an extreme level with a 12.0% walk rate and a .326 PFwOBA. He has plenty of opportunities to get on base and score some runs.
Eduardo Escobar, SS: $2,900 – This one is a little bit risky, as he Escobar has a really fantastic matchup, but he isn’t the most talented shortstops we can choose from. Again, the Minnesota Twins have a really superb matchup against Pelfrey, as he gives up a prime 5.32 xFIP and a .355 wOBA to lefties. Because Escobar lacks the ISO and wOBA we would like to normally see, I am listing him as a GPP-only play.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS: $3,500 – If you have some salary left over from Escobar, and you mainly want a stud, but with less risk, then Tulo is the way to go. He has a fantastic matchup against Jake Odorizzi, as Odorizzi gives up a 4.80 xFIP and a 44.6% FB rate paired with a .324 wOBA to lefties, while Tulowitzki has shredded against righties to the tune of a .173 ISO (which isn’t the best, but it isn’t the worst) and a .344 PFwOBA.
Jake Lamb, 3B: $3,300 – The 3B position is STACKED today, and I like Lamb mostly because he provides the similar skill-set as Miguel Sano, but I don’t want to pay 4.8k for Sano. Lamb has a pretty good matchup against Chad Bettis, as Bettis gives up a 4.38 xFIP and a .336 wOBA to lefties, while Lamb has a .332 PFwOBA and a .730 OPS to RHP’s.
Kike Hernandez, OF: $3,200 – Obviously if you are selecting Drew Pomeranz you don’t want anything to do with Hernandez, but if you are not, fire away. Hernandez has been lighting it up so far to the tune of a .250 ISO and a .432 PFwOBA, which are both off the charts good. It also helps that Pomeranz gives up a 4.07 xFIP and a 36.2% FB rate to right-handed batters.
Bryce Harper, OF: $5,000 – Most surprisingly, not the chalk play of the day, and should go fairly underowned in tourneys as well. Carlos Martinez, on the surface, seems to present himself as a very tough matchup, has he is 4-0 on the season with a 1.93 ERA. However, game theory tells us we should be brutally attacking Martinez, as to us, he is only an average pitcher with a 4.21 SIERA coupled with a low strikeout rate. Another surface stat, many may fear to roster lefties against Martinez, as the pitcher has a daunting 53.3 GB% against lefties, however he also gives up a .340 wOBA and a 4.0 xFIP to lefty bats. Harper has been crushing 2016 to the tune of a .438 PFwOBA and a .268 ISO.
Michael Brantley, OF: $3,700 – At least in my eyes, no longer are the days where we are fearing to select pitchers against Vincent Velasquez, and if we still are, then that is not a smart idea, at least in Brantley’s case. Velasquez doesn’t do too hot against lefty bats, as he currently has a 4.49 xFIP with a very weak 31.3 GB% and 46.7 FB rate. Brantley has been doing very well for himself so far in 2016 to the tune of a .193 ISO and a .408 PFwOBA.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains-
Doing Lines In Vegas-
There are many high Vegas totals such as the Detroit-Minnesota game, the Colorado-Arizona game, and the Milwaukee-Miami game. Like I mentioned above, with the sudden increase of aces from our disposal, a lot of games are listed at 6.5 O/U’s, so if you cannot decide on the ace of your choice, I would look at matchup first, and if that can’t distinguish an option, then I would look at the ML, or MoneyLine, as Kershaw and Price are the biggest favorites to pick up the win, followed by Sale, Bumgarner, and the rest of the crew.