Sure, Jack Flaherty ($18,800 on FantasyDraft today) may not be the sexiest pitcher on the slate: that would be Trevor Bauer ($24,100…cough) at the White Sox, or Charlie Morton at home in Houston ($21,900) or Aaron Nola ($18,600) in San Diego. But I like the Flaherty match-up versus the second-last-in-MLB Royals in Kansas City. He’s looked great in his last couple of starts; that 11.02 K/9 is sexy, and I’m hoping for a win out of him. And at this price, you can’t really go wrong. Besides, it’s a Coors day (awww yeah!), so I’m making him the lede in case you’re interested in rolling with a pitcher who’s a tad bit cheaper, allowing you to stock up on Dodgers-Rockies bats in your FantasyDraft lineup. Let’s take a look at who else we might fit in around the edges.
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Programming note: There are two slates on FantasyDraft today: early, which is all the games up to and including the 4:00 p.m. Eastern games (Nationals-Cubs and Rays-Jays); and then the main, which is all games after 7 p.m. Eastern. That means, unusually, that BOTH games of the Red Sox-Orioles double-header are counted. Also, there’s a possible weather situation in Baltimore today. All that to say: be very vigilant with your starting lineups, kids! Lastly, alas, the games between 6 and 7 p.m. — Twins-Tigers and Diamondbacks-Reds — are NOT counted on FantasyDraft. Which is a pity, because I was going to exhort you to play Eugenio Suarez. C’est la vie. [Sidebar: I became a Canadian citizen yesterday, so I now have to do everything bilingually.] Anyway, I’m going to concentrate mostly on the main slate, pretty much because it’s bigger!, but try to give you some options for the early, too.
Trevor Bauer, SP: $24,100 – I do feel obliged to tell you about the actually sexiest pitcher on the slate: Bauer is at the top of Streamonator’s and my lists, for the match-up versus the third-last White Sox. But he’s expensive and I want some Rockies bats, so I’ll be sticking with Flaherty. If you do go with him, try pairing him up with Tyler Skaggs ($16,600; Streamonator’s #7 today. Price-wise, Skaggs should work in combination with Jack Flaherty, too).
Charlie Morton, SP: $21,900 – ESPN tells me his full name is Charles Alfred Morton, which makes him sound like an extra out of Downton Abbey. Charles Morton Esquire is bringing his dapper talents to bear against the Mariners today. This is possibly your risky-expensive play (as opposed to your safer-expensive or straight-up risky plays?) given that Seattle have been scoring runs apace, but I like it regardless: in 13 innings against them this year, Morton’s held the Mariners to a 1.38 ERA, and he’s got a 2.88 ERA at home. Pair him up with Aaron Nola, if you can afford it.
David Price, SP: $20,200 – Here’s an option for the early slate. These days, you never quite know what you’re going to get with Price, but this match-up is versus the bottom-dwelling Baltimore Orioles, and over 3 years he holds a 2.25 ERA in Camden Yards. At the very least, he’s usually good for a quality start. Lowercase yay? Pair him up with … ugh, I don’t know who to pair him up with: it’s all AL East or other terrifying hitters. Tanner Roark versus the Cubs…? ($16,800). Or you could just punt the second pitcher altogether and take a flyer on the Rangers’ Drew Hutchison, at a mere $9,600, but you have been warned.
Manny Machado, IF: $9,500 – Now that he’s moved westward, Manny gets to play in Coors. I know he costs a Downton-Abbey-fainting-worthy fortune, but I’d just like to point out that he’s Hittertron’s number-one player overall today. Just as an FYI, while we’re talking Coors, D.J. LeMahieu may also be worth a look, at $7,500: he’s frustrating, but he’s cheap.
Freddie Freeman, IF: $8,900 – Another week, another Freddie Freeman Blurb of Love. Mr. I-Hit-Lefties-for-a-.327-Average squares up against another one today in the shape and form of Wade Miley. (Yes, Miley has been pretty good on the whole, but I don’t love this start today versus the Braves: they’re 3rd best in MLB versus lefties.) Freeman has 1 home run off Miley and an .867 OPS in 15 at-bats.
Justin Turner, IF: $8,000 – There are many Dodgers and Rockies hitters to grab today because Coors, but don’t overlook JT: he’s been ticking along nicely (.294 over the last week, 1 home run) and has a decent OPS of 1.386 versus Kyle Freeland in 14 at-bats. There’s also the lefty-righty match-up: this season, he’s hitting .327 versus lefties. And lastly, the price!
Trea Turner, IF: $9,000 – Turner Pt. 2 is Hittertron’s favorite IF for the early slate. TreaT Yo’self will square up against LHP Jon Lester in Wrigley Field, and the lefty-righty match-up should suit him. And he hasn’t been on an amazing boil or anything lately, so he may fly under your opponents’ radar. Pair him up with Aledmys Diaz ($8,600; known as Police Sketch in our house), who has a nice little hit streak going — even in last night’s game, where Blake Snell shut the Blue Jays out.
Christian Yelich, OF: $10,400 – No, he ain’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination. But in 39 at-bats versus Julio Teheran, everyone’s favorite 12-year-old has a decent .725 OPS and he’s hitting .306 off righties.
Danny Valencia, OF: $6,300 – A sweet price and a sweet match-up. Lefty masher Valencia has a 1.387 OPS versus David Price in a fairly robust 25 at-bats. (Side note: other than the potential Valencia hiccup we’re hoping for, as mentioned above I do expect Price to do pretty well in this start. It’s Baltimore.)
Giancarlo Stanton, OF: $9,700 – Razzball’s favorite crush is Hittertron’s favorite early OF today, for the at-home match-up versus poor Drew Hutchison. Yes, the muscular, statuesque (steady, girl) Giancarlo may be expensive, but given the cost of today’s other top OF options ($11,300 for Mookie Betts, $10,400 for J.D. Martinez and $10,500 for Andrew Benintendi), the price actually doesn’t look so bad. Looking to some cheaper options to pair him up with, try Juan Soto ($8,700): he’s been Hot with a capital H and is mashing lefties like Jon Lester to a .371 average. Or there’s Jackie Bradley Jr.: meh, I know, but he’s $7,500, and he’s part of that stacked lineup.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
It’s pretty gross in the east. There’s a chance of thunderstorms for the Red Sox-Orioles (as mentioned earlier, for a double-header, to boot!) and Rangers-Yankees games. There may also be rain for Diamondbacks-Reds.
Doing Lines In Vegas
Probably no surprise that Vegas is leaning Trevor Bauer’s way over James Shields: it’s calling for Cleveland to take it over the White Sox at -269. Early, David Price and Boston are probably going to beat Baltimore in the first game: -246 (second game, they’ve got odds of just -115, though!). It’s a close call between San Francisco and Pittsburgh, with the edge to the Pirates: -103. You will never guess where the highest number of runs are projected to be scored. Never! … OK, yeah, it’s Coors, with a glorious 12.27 projected as the Dodgers come to town. The second game in Baltimore is also envisioned to be a high-scoring affair, at 10.89 projected.