I couldn’t think of a topic relevant to today’s slate to cover in the introduction, so instead I’ll just quickly mention one factor that sometimes will be overlooked when deciding pitchers on FanDuel due to FanDuel’s insistence on having the Quality Start be worth 4 points (though it’s better than the odious win, which shouldn’t be a thing). In the National League, because they are ridiculous and still think it’s a good idea to waste people’s time by having the pitcher bat, a road team pitcher who is pinch hit for in the 6th inning will, by definition, not be eligible for a QS. The home team pitcher who gets pinch hit for in the 6th will have pitched 6 innings. So while it’s obviously a very small factor, it still can sometimes be a tiebreaker – road National League pitchers have a marginal FanDuel disadvantage because they are a little less likely to qualify for a QS.
On to the picks…
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Zack Greinke, SP: $8,900 – Greinke is still a Major League pitcher, which is on short supply in this slate. Since the start of last year, he’s struck out 27% and walked 5.3%, which are some excellent skills. He has, unfortunately, been prone to the home run with 1.2 per 9, but as will be discussed later, Arizona may be death to offense and the Giants offense isn’t impressive right now as they have a 78 wRC+ and a 24.9% K rate (counting on a bunch of old guys may not be the best idea) for the year.
Michael Conforto, OF: $3,900 – Matt Wisler has pitched both in relief and as a starter in his career and the results have been bad. He’s had a 16.1% career K-rate and a 7.8% career BB-rate. He backs that up with a well below average 36.8 GB-rate. When facing lefties, he becomes an absolute disaster with a .5 K-BB% and a 37.1 GB% The Mets have a few guys who are really good at destroying bad righties and Conforto is one of those as so far in his career he has a .380 wOBA and a .258 ISO against righties.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF: $3,500 – Cespedes doesn’t have the platoon advantage, but it doesn’t matter. Since the start of 2016, he’s had a .357 wOBA and a .234 ISO vs righties. Those are healthy numbers.
Jay Bruce, OF: $2,800 – Bruce continues to struggle to open the season but pretty soon he will start to do what he does best, which is hit baseballs thrown by pitchers with their right arms. Since the start of 2016 he’s had a .362 wOBA and a huge .273 ISO. Yeah, Bruce is good and is way too cheap. At some point he’s going to start dropping bombs and you want to have him on your team when he does.
Ender Inciarte, OF: $3,300 – Matt Harvey continues to lose velo, and last year he was one of the worst pitchers in the Majors. In only 92.2 IP he managed to rack up -0.8 WAR and as bad as he was vs righties, he was complete dumpster fire vs lefties. He had a 0.5 K-BB%! He still managed to keep 32.6% of balls on the ground. Thank goodness for small miracles. Anyone with a bat is dangerous vs Harvey, and lefties go from dangerous to flat out lethal. Ender Inciarte has a bat (probably has a few of them to choose from) and swings it from the left side. Do I need to give Ender’s stats? He’s leadoff and left handed vs Matt Harvey!
Freddie Freeman, 1B: $4,400 – Freeman got hit by a pitch last night and may not play today, but if he does, just play him. Just in case you aren’t convinced, he has had a .391 wOBA and a .227 ISO vs righties in his career and he’s going up against Matt Harvey. In case you forgot – Freeman has a bat (probably has a few of them) and swings it from the left side.
All Other Braves – All other Braves are in play because again, Matt Harvey is bad, but I really dislike Ozzie Albies’ price. He’s projected to be an average hitter or little below without a lot of power. But he’s still hitting at the top of the lineup and again, facing Matt Harvey. He too has a bat (probably a few of them) and swings it from the left side against Matt Harvey as he’s a switch-hitter. Nick Markakis over the last 3 years has a .334 wOBA and a punchless .118 ISO, basically anyone facing Matt Harvey is in play, especially in GPPs.
Milwaukee Brewers – Dillon Peters has nothing to get Major League Hitters out. The only skill he has is he doesn’t give up home runs to lefties (he’s given up 0 in his big league career). The good news is that the Brewers barely have any lefties and the righties are all cheap. Lorenzo Cain murders lefties to the tune of a .392 wOBA and .218 ISO. Domingo Santana has a .341 wOBA and a .188 ISO. Ryan Braun over the last 3 years has a .398 wOBA and a .256 ISO (note that Braun is day to day with a calf injury). Jesus Aguilar (assuming he plays) has hit lefties for a .359 wOBA and a. 180 ISO. The only way I’d play Perez, Arcia or any of the other mediocre Brewers outside of GPP stacks are if they are at the top of the order as they just aren’t good enough to be stand alone plays.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B: $4,400 – Goldschmidt is just a really good hitter (.393 career wOBA and a .234 career ISO, and against lefties, those balloon to a .435 wOBA and a .272 ISO). Ty Blach is not a really good pitcher and particularly against righties (4.5 K-BB% and 44.6% groundball rate). Now, there’s no way you play Goldschmidt over Freeman in cash partly because Matt Harvey is the pitcher, secondly, there’s an open question as to how good of a park Arizona is to hit in right now. If you just map the offensive drop that Coors Field had after their Humidor, Arizona basically becomes an unplayable nightmare for hitters and there’s an argument to be made that the humidor will have a larger effect than in Coors since Arizona is dryer than Colorado. All factors combined, I’ll most likely have Goldschmidt as an excellent GPP only play (there is injury news we are waiting on).
Ketel Marte, 2B: $2,500 – FanDuel really needs to raise Ketel’s price (or bring down non-Altuve 2nd baseman to a more reasonable level). It’s not so much that he’s particularly good, although you can certainly do worse than a projected .326 wOBA switch-hitter batting 2nd, but rather, he gets to hit in front of a really good Paul Goldschmidt and a solid A.J. Pollock, meaning that if he gets on, there’s a very good chance he’ll score. While the same “Is Arizona now a pitcher’s park” question that applies to Paul Goldschmidt, also applies here, Ketel is listed at a position that is usually fairly thin (including today) and offers tremendous salary relief. Today, like his teammates, he gets to beat up on the previously discussed Ty Blach. He’s Hitteron’s #2 2nd baseman today, but the key is that the only one rated higher is Ozzie Albies, who as we discussed earlier, is absurdly priced at $4,300. Albies certainly projects to fare better than Ketel, but not for $1,800 more. Save the money and run Ketel here (unless for some reason he’s dropped in the order, then ignore this).
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Finally looks like a clear night and it has to come on a night with 5 games.
Doing Lines In Vegas
The Mets/Braves line has not been announced yet – it was listed at roughly Braves -105 when Annibal Sanchez was the listed starter, and given that Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler are worse than Annibal, my guess would be that it moves towards the Mets, meaning you’ll get the Braves at a favorable price such as +105 or +110 or something. And while either Sims or Wisler is not exactly a pitcher you have confidence in, allow me to again reiterate that Matt Harvey will be pitching on the other side, so I’ll take my chances with a team getting favorable odds against Matt Harvey. I will note that Vegas may see Annibal’s 6.60 ERA last year and actually conclude whoever is pitching for Atlanta is better, in which case, I’ll pass on the line, because as much as I think Harvey will be destroyed, the Mets are a good bet to get to whoever the Braves throw out there as well, meaning I’d rather not take a favored team with an uninspiring pitcher themselves simply because Harvey is horrible – I only want it if I’m getting odds. Also, some places in Vegas (and thus, probably some places online) still have Giants/Diamondbacks at a 9 o/u, although most places have moved it down to 8.5. If you believe that people – sportsbooks, bettors, whoever, have not yet properly adjusted for the humidor, an o/u of 9 is absurdly high given that it’s very possible this ballpark is now almost as bad as San Diego. Even 8.5 is too high, although my gut would say 8 is the right line so you’re not getting nearly the edge that you get if you can get it at one of the places that’s still at 9.