The main pitcher today is playing in the heat and humidity in Texas, so it feels like one of those weather truthing kind of days. I don’t particularly love these slates, so instead, I will just talk about something from Twitter. For those incapable of following a link: 

This is crazy mind-bogglingly awful. His wRC+ is 29! Pitchers hit better than this (and no, I do not like your Shohei Ohtani joke here). A 29 wRC+ is tied for the worst ever (qualified, of course) since 1946. He’s tied with someone named Billy Hunter, who was this bad in 1953 for the St. Louis Browns. It was Billy Hunter’s rookie year and the next year he improved, all the way to 62. It’s really really hard to sustain on offense when you have a 29 wRC+ in the middle of your lineup, and thus why the Orioles are fairly frequently not on the radar for DFS. And then, Chris Davis is owed $23 million a year for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Just wow. Future Yankee Manny Machado deserves so much better than this. Thankfully he’ll be able to remedy that this off-season if the Orioles don’t move him during the season (though, using Machado to get rid of the Chris Davis contract would be somewhat smart, but the Orioles are a fairly decently sized market, they should probably just absorb it).

On to the picks…

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PITCHERS

Gerrit Cole, SP: $11,800 – Cole has been utterly dominant this year with 38.2% strikeouts and 6.6% walks. He’s the only pitcher on the slate that you feel comfortable rostering and is one of the best pitchers in the game facing a mediocre Texas Rangers offense. Even though the game is going to be hot and humid, it’s still the best matchup.

Mike Leake, SP: $7,600 – I always try to list at least 2 pitchers. So I’m listing my preferred 2nd choice, because the Rays stink against righties and Mike Leake is a righty who is not Chris Tillman level bad. I have nothing else to say, well, except, play Gerrit Cole.

HITTERS

JD Martinez, OF: $4,800 – Matt Boyd is the same pitcher he was last year, which is low strikeouts, average walks and a ton of fly balls. Vs righties, he really struggles to keep the ball on the ground (33.4%) and with 19% strikeouts and 8.3% walks, it should mean a few bombs. JD Martinez is the obvious top play since he’s quite good vs righties (.470 wOBA vs lefties since the start of last year). Eduardo Nunez is fine if you’re trying to save some money. The rest of the lineup is either too expensive or fine for GPPs, since this is a very stackable game.

Curtis Granderson, OF: $2,500 – All Curtis does is be a productive hitter. In his entire career he’s only had 2 seasons below league average with the bat and that’s 1% below league average and 2% below league average. Since the start of last year he’s had a .343 wOBA and a .234 ISO, which I’ll gladly take for $2,500 at leadoff vs David Hess. This is because Hess doesn’t get strikeouts or ground balls. 12.6% strikeouts, 6.3% walks and a 37.7% ground ball rate won’t cut it in this league, sir. Kendrys Morales isn’t a bad play if you need to save some money, and it looks like you will, since he’s super cheap.

Justin Smoak, 1B: $3,400 – Smoak has Smoaked righties since the start of last year with a .359 wOBA and a .263 ISO and Hess is really bad, and when he goes full jabroni, whoever the Orioles bring in, Smoak has the platoon advantage.

Kendrys Morales, 1B: $2,300 – If you’re hurting for salary relief, Morales should at least be considered. Like Smoak, he’s a switch hitter, so he will have platoon advantage. He is a career .267/.325/.457 hitter, good for a .336 wOBA and a 110 wRC+, and faces the same David Hess who I will gladly play Granderson and Smoak against. So why is Morales just someone who should be considered if you need salary relief? That answer is simple. He’s been absolutely atrocious this year. We’re talking .245 wOBA, 46 wRC+ bad, negative WAR bad. It’s not something you can dismiss by BABIP luck or something – his HR/FB is down, his K-Rate is up (for the fourth straight season). He’s 34 years old, so whenever a player of his age is having such an abysmal season (and has shown steady decline over the last few seasons), you begin to wonder “Is he just done?”. It’s quite possible that he is, in fact, simply done as a major league caliber hitter. But it’s also quite possible that he’s simply a productive veteran who, while in the decline phase of his career, is still simply having two atrocious months and will rebound to have a productive rest of the season. If it’s the former, then even at $2,300 he’s a horrible play. But if it’s the latter, at $2,300, he’s one heck of a good value given that he’s facing David Hess. And if you can guarantee me the exact answer to that question, well, you would be shipping GPPs every single night.

Oakland Athletics – Hammel gives up a few bombs, doesn’t miss many bats and doesn’t walk guys, so you’re going to want the guys who can hit it out. On the A’s, that’s Khris Davis and Matt Olson. Olson has a .388 wOBA and .325 ISO in his career and Davis has a .354 wOBA and .265 ISO. If Dustin Fowler hits at the top of the lineup again, he’s someone to lock into cash games at $2,400. Jed Lowrie is fine, since the start of last year he has a .338 wOBA and a .142 ISO so he’s not someone I’m looking to jam into my lineups, but he’s perfectly fine if you’re stacking or as a final piece.

Houston AstrosCole Hamels is nothing special, but I don’t view him as someone you want to target in cash since he gets a bunch of strikeouts, is average in walks and a little bit below average in ground ball rate. And since the good Astros are all really expensive, this would normally be a fade for me as it’s not a particularly enticing matchup. But, as of this writing, it’s going to be very hot in Texas. So for the weather truthers out there, there is definitely at least an argument to be made that the heat makes it such that the Astros are fantastic plays as a lot of their hitters have power and the weather-truthing will only enhance it as their offense could easily explode tomorrow for multiple bombs. I will say that I don’t feel the need to play them in cash, even with the heat, as I don’t think the heat is enough to turn an otherwise fine matchup into one that becomes cash viable given the Astros prices (this changes if one of their cheap guys bats in the top 4 for some reason). But, if you’re a weather truther and think that there will be plenty of dongs, go full speed ahead with a 4-man Astros stack, because if you’re right, the Astros will be launching bombs away on a hot Texas night.

Trey Mancini, OF: $2,600 and Danny Valencia, 3B: $2,600 – Jaime Garcia’s velo is down nearly 2 MPH and has taken his ground balls with it (from 54.8% to 42.4%). Jaime Garcia without ground balls is like taking a smart phone and removing the smart phone capabilities and just making it a phone. I’m sure it has some usefulness, and in a certain situations can be genuinely life saving, but for the most part, you just have a brick. Mancini and Valencia have the platoon advantage and in their career, they both have shown some power and an ability to hit, which is crucial, because we get points when players hit the ball and reach safely (unless it’s an ROE, which we should get points for anyway, fix it FanDuel). By the way, Manny Machado is obviously the top play here and if you can spend up for him, do it, because he’s good. But knowing that some of my readers skim the detailed paragraphs, I will repeat that but with his own paragraph…

Manny Machado, SS: $4,500 – The future Yankee is obviously the top play here and if you can spend up for him, do it, because he’s good.

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

Texas is going to be hot again, so weather truthing that game in GPPs is a fine strategy.

Doing Lines In Vegas

Orioles and Blue Jays are my 2 nemesis teams and playing each other. Can anyone really win? I’m guessing it finishes a 1-0 game with both starters being gone by the 4th inning and the bullpens shut them down. How’s that for a prediction?