“It’s not a good-looking city. It’s not a good-looking town. You’ve got all the worst architectural fads of the 20th century. That’s crypto-fascist Bauhaus. Mussolini would have been perfectly at home in that one. Looks like every public school in America. And every third-tier public library” (Anthony Bourdain, The Layover Toronto). Here’s hoping Max Scherzer continues to like Toronto better than Anthony did, as he cruises into the Rogers Centre for his first start there since 2014 (when he held the Jays to 1 ER). A look at why you should try to get Scherzer into your FantasyDraft lineup today, and some other options because you probably can’t afford him, after the jump.
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Programming note: So here’s the deal. First, FantasyDraft has 8 games on the “early” slate today, all starting at 4 p.m. They are skipping the actually early games, Rays at Yankees, Tigers at White Sox and Astros at Royals. My lead was going to be about Luis Severino (he’s first overall on Streamonator [SON] today. Just look at these numbers: 2.27 ERA. 0.96 WHIP, 10.78 K/9. An ERA of 1.79 at home. LOOK AT THEM), but now I’ll just settle for telling you to start him anywhere else you’re playing fantasy baseball today — yes, even at home in Yankee Stadium. Second, there are only 4 games on the “main” slate, so I’ll concentrate mostly on the early but try to give you some options for the main, too. Always feel free to drop me questions in the comments!
Stacks of stacks: The two teams that are best in the league versus LHP today just happen to be facing…you guessed it (because I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it otherwise): LHP. Steven Matz versus the Diamondbacks, and Danny Duffy versus the Astros, I’m looking at you. And wishing you luck. And stacking hitters against you.
Max Scherzer, SP: $27,400 – Max is the top pitcher for the early slate. He’s been dominant, as we all know. Look at these numbers (LOOK AT THEM) and drool: 2.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP. I’m going to confess to a small worry about the park, because Rogers Centre is so hitter friendly, but as mentioned earlier, Max held the Jays to 1 ER during his last start there, and in his starts before 2014, he never earned more than 2. However, Scherzer’s price is eye-watering, and finding a cheap option to pair him with is tough on this slate, to be honest. A risky but cheap play would be Junior Guerra at $15,900.
Carlos Carrasco, SP: $23,700 – You want Max on the early slate; you’ve done your budget acrobatics; you still can’t afford him. I get it. Look to Carlos instead (rated 4th overall by Streamonator today). I don’t love the start at home in Cleveland, but he’s held down the 22nd-place Twins pretty firmly in the past, as if he’s a cat and the Twins are a bird the cat thinks it’s bringing you as a gift. In addition, he’s picked things up nicely in his last couple of starts, ramping up the Ks. For your second pitcher, you could look to Sean Newcomb versus San Diego (6th overall on SON). However, he isn’t that cheap, either: $18,500. Again, Junior Guerra? The pitching options for the early slate are tough, I’m not gonna lie.
Patrick Corbin, SP: $23,700 – He’s the man I’d focus on for the late slate. True, his last outing versus Pittsburgh did not go well, in that he earned himself 5 runs, but things should be better for him today versus the 24th-placed Mets—even at home. Pair him up with the surprisingly discounted Madison Bumgarner ($15,900); it could be risky if MadBum is still rusty, but Streamonator and I both like the start versus the Dodgers.
Freddie Freeman, IF: $10,900 – FF is tearing it up this season, and I do not see that changing today versus righty Jordan Lyles—the fifth-lowest-ranked pitcher on Streamonator, fact fans—with a .317 average versus RHP. He’s also hitting .340 at home in Sun Trust Park.
Eugenio Suarez, IF: $9,100 – He’s slowed down a tiny bit from the roll he was on a couple of weeks ago, but he’s still doing a little somethin’-somethin’ every day, and I like this match-up versus Ivan Nova. In 21 at-bats against Nova, he has a 1.101 OPS and .435 OBP. He’s also pretty happy at PNC Park, hitting .385 there this season.
Brandon Crawford, IF: $8,400 – He has been en fuego for weeks and weeks and we hope it continues versus Alex Wood, against whom he has a 1.337 OPS in 15 at-bats. As en fuego as Crawford has been, Wood has been el coldo (I don’t think that’s right): 13 earned runs in his last 3 starts, over a total of 12 innings. Eish, which is a Xhosa term meaning “yikes.” (This was your linguistic blurb.)
Devon Travis, IF: $5,700 – At this point, you’re going to be desperate for someone cheap. Devon is starting to heat up nicely after missing a couple of games with injuries, and could be the guy you’re looking for to slot into an IF or UTIL slot. I know, “start him because he’s cheap” isn’t a ringing endorsement, but sometimes you just need a warm body, ya know?
Jose Altuve, IF – Bonus coverage, because I wrote this blurb before realizing FantasyDraft wasn’t counting the Astros-KC game today: Remember all the way up there, how I mentioned the Astros were good against LHP? Specifically, we look to Tuve, who has a .500 AVG and 1.176 OPS versus Danny Duffy. He’s a DFS batty call for today, wherever you can play him.
Mike Trout, OF: $11,100 – This would be your OF to pay up for today. The home run king has a .429 average, OPS of 1.770 and 3 home runs versus Sean Manaea in 14 at-bats. He loves him some lefties, with a .380 average against LHP. For the late slate, grab Mookie Betts (at a teeth-aching $11,500) or JD Martinez ($11,100), or perhaps a little Tommy Pham, if you need to save some cash: $9,000.
Kevin Pillar, OF: $6,700 – Or Kike Hernandez ($6,800). These are two seemingly unlikely but cheap and possibly OK (it’s another VictoriaB Ringing Endorsement[TM]!) OF options for your early and late slates, respectively. Both have strangely good histories against the aces they’re facing: Pillar versus Max Scherzer (3 for 3 with 2 HRs—stupid sample size, yeah, but he has a way of smacking the fastball. It’s weird, but it’s a thing with him); Hernandez versus Madison Bumgarner (14 for 30 with 3 HRs—add to that a .333 AVG at home so far this season).
Chris Young, OF: $5,100 – If you really can’t bring yourself to start Pillar in the early slate (can’t blame you), here’s another, even cheaper OF option. He’s hitting .300 over the week and in the past has squared up against Manaea to the tune of a 1.100 OPS. He could be an under-the-radar play.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
At time of writing, it’s looking thunderstormy in Philadelphia, and that’s about it. Game(s) on!
Doing Lines In Vegas
Welp, Vegas agrees with me about the Nationals over the poor Blue Jays, giving it to Scherzer and co. at -217. It also likes Sean Newcomb and the Braves over the Padres, at -175. And here’s the reason I kept mentioning Junior Guerra: Vegas is calling for things to go Milwaukee’s way at -129. So at the very least, you may get a win! May. (Sigh. <shakes fist and cries to the heavens, “Early slate pitching!”>) And the A’s and the Angels are in an almost dead heat, with things possibly going juuuust the Angels’ way to the tune of -102.
PS Here’s my favorite Bourdain quote: “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”