Ugh, yesterday was a disaster (although I won nicely in NBA on DraftKings to make a good chunk back of the baseball losses). Congrats if you picked the Duke and/or Kentucky upsets – it was a solid weekend of Elite 8 performances all around. Tonight we turn our attention to both nine games in the NBA and in MLB, and we have our first series turnovers in baseball, so make sure to join us in chat and check out our A.C.E. projections model. I’m also on twitter @jac3600.
David Price, BOS ($9300)
This is going to be a fun night since I’m going to suggest (right now) paying down in cash at the SP position which is not my usual M.O. Price is overpriced (hah) but is really the only pitcher on the slate that brings some sense of stability to the position, especially since the Red Sox need some length out of him after the rest of their starters (Sale included) blew up in Seattle. Price’s IRTA is now up to four runs which really isn’t what you’re looking for in cash, but if you want to spend on skill alone, Price is certainly viable with a park boost in Oakland. There are more enticing plays that are much cheaper, but they come with a lot of innings risks.
Other options – Kyle Hendricks
Julio Urias, LAD ($7200)
I have to imagine Urias will be the chalk SP in cash tonight, which is why I’m OK taking the plunge on him even though it’s a much better chance that he DOESN’T go six innings. Urias is still considered to be a top prospect in baseball, and Vegas has pegged him a -210 favorite with only a 3.3 IRTA from a Giants team that looks absolutely brutal to start the season. Only Buster Posey has a baseline wOBA over .315 against LHP, and Urias projects to strike out more than a batter per innings. Just don’t bank on the quality start happening.
Other options – Brad Peacock, Caleb Smith, Matt Strahm, Merrill Kelly
Justin Smoak, TOR ($3600)
The chalky Blue Jays stacks disappointed us all weekend, but we have to go back to the well at least one more time tonight. Toronto has an IRT of 5.1 runs (second highest on the slate), and are facing David Hess who is arguably the worst pitcher on the slate. Last season, Hess allowed an unbelievable 2.55 HR/9 to LHB while only striking out 13.9% of them, and Smoak posted a .237 ISO against RHP. Hess pitched in relief the other day so he may not last long, but he’s only followed by a tired bullpen that projects to be one of the worst in baseball anyway. We SHOULD get nine innings of upside from Toronto.
Other options – Freddie Freeman, Edwin Encarnacion
Rowdy Tellez, TOR ($2300)
Tellez immediately made his presence felt yesterday with a pinch hit HR, and today he’s already in the starting lineup and batting fifth. Tellez is a top-rated hitting prospect who already has a .189 ISO at the major league level, and he’s a dirt cheap way of getting the same exposure to the Toronto offense without paying all the way up for Smoak.
Other options – Yuli Gurriel, Tyler White, Justin Bour, Ji-Man Choi
Catcher values – Willson Contreras, Wilson Ramos, Danny Jansen, Robinson Chirinos
Jose Altuve, HOU ($4400)
Altuve is a high-priced option you can feel comfortable paying up for tonight. The Astros are rocking a 5.4 IRT which is the highest of the night, and they’ll be playing in one of few really positive hitting environments this time of year (Texas). Drew Smyly will take the hill for the Rangers and while he has K upside, he’s also allowed 1.35 HR/9 for his entire career, and all of that while belonging to pitcher-friendly parks. Texas is no such thing. Over his career, Altuve has posted a .383 wOBA and .171 ISO against LHP and has speed upside as well.
Other options – Rougned Odor
Jonathan Villar, BAL ($2700)
Villar is getting premier lineup spots for the Orioles, and Dee Gordon is the only player on today’s slate that has a higher SB/PA rate than Villar. He’ll face a very young pitcher/catcher tandem (Reid-Foley/Jansen) which enhances his upside a little more, and Villar has flashed pop as well (double digit homers last three years). He’s an excellent cash choice on FD if you want to spend elsewhere.
Other options – Kike Hernandez, Wilmer Flores, Brandon Lowe, Lourdes Gurriel
Alex Bregman, HOU ($4300)
Like Altuve, Bregman is well worth paying, but just note that there is an alternative value to him as well. Bregman is coming off a season where he crushed LHP for a .409 wOBA, .253 ISO, and 43% HHR, and he’ll get a premier lineup spot in what is easily the top offensive game of the night. Thank goodness for the UTIL spot on FD, where you can roster both Bregman and the value below…
Other options – Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, Justin Turner
Brandon Drury, TOR ($2200)
Drury has pretty much disappointed us as chalk all season thus far, but his price refuses to move on FD and he’s batting second tonight against the disgusting Orioles pitching staff. There’s just too much margin for error not to consider Drury as one of the top overall values of the night, even if he is a “meh” hitter.
Other options – Rafael Devers, Zack Cozart, David Freese, Rio Ruiz
TOP PLAY AND TOP VALUE
Carlos Correa, HOU ($3400)
Correa is an easy call at SS in cash today with a price tag that’s too cheap for ANY environment, let alone the elite one he’s in tonight. There are concerns over Correa’s down year and the fact that he is currently battling shoulder soreness right now, but it just doesn’t make any sense to look anywhere else with those risks baked into Correa’s current price tag. He is facing a lefty who has allowed almost a 47% FB rate to RHB over the past three years and is backed by a below-average bullpen.
Other options – Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Andrelton Simmons, Elvis Andrus, Amed Rosario
Mike Trout, LAA ($4900)
If you go with one of the cheap SPs in cash, Trout is easy to fit in alongside with at least one of the top Astros hitters, and that’s likely the route I’m taking this evening. Trout is facing Felix Hernandez who is a shell of his former self, posting a 4.94 FIP and 17% K rate against RHB last season. Trout is an elite hitter, and the BvP truthers are going to be out in full force over this one as well, as Trout has owned Felix for a .485 wOBA with six doubles and eight homers in his career.
Other options – Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, George Springer, Tommy Pham, AJ Pollock, Joey Gallo
Randal Grichuk/Billy McKinney, TOR ($2900/$2600)
You need at least one of these guys in cash, and I recommend having both. McKinney will be the obvious choice leading off for the Jays tonight with the platoon split against a pitcher who has allowed 2.55 HR/9 to LHB. However, Grichuk actually leads the team in ISO against RHP with an elite .268 mark, and he’s posted a 31% HHR out of the gate so far this season. Both are massively underpriced on FD, and would be the first two Blue Jays I’d look to lock in for cash.
Other options – Teoscar Hernandez, Austin Meadows, Kevin Kiermaier, Shin Soo Choo, Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins, Dwight Smith, Kole Calhoun, Nomar Mazara, Mallex SmithFantasy Baseball