It’s Friday night, and we have a star-studded slate, complete with three uber-aces and Coors Field to deal with. The Rockies have been kinda trash lately, but don’t let it deter you from attacking Brandon Woodruff and company tonight. I will try to make it back for FTA+ chat, but I do have a late meeting this evening (should be on by 6:30), and follow me on twitter @jac3600. Good luck!
Max Scherzer, WAS ($11,700)
The top three starters are all projected incredibly close together, and if you need the couple of extra hundred dollars I’m OK deviating. However, Scherzer’s incredible 40% K rate (Verlander 35%, Sale 32%) puts him firmly at the top in my eyes (plus he is the only one not facing a DH). Arizona ranks in the top ten in wRC+ against RHP but they also have the fourth highest K%, and they remain watered down against RHP without the presence of Jake Lamb in their lineup. If I can, I’m paying all the way up here.
Other options – Justin Verlander, Chris Sale
Sonny Gray, NYY ($6400)
Gray is my favorite GPP play on the slate, and he will almost certainly be my SP2 on DraftKings. Gray got off to a very sluggish start to the season but has picked it up lately and his xFIP is a full run lower than his ERA. ZiPS projects him to finish the year with a 3.95 ERA and 8.34 K/9, and his win probability is high given the elite offense backing him up. Gray is currently a -215 favorite which is higher than both Scherzer and Sale.
Other options – Kenta Maeda, Luke Weaver, Steven Matz, Jake Arrieta, Dan Straily, Lance Lynn
Freddie Freeman, ATL ($4300)
At his price, Freeman seems like more of a tournament luxury than a cash play, but he’s one of my favorite overall hitters tonight. Dan Straily has been batting practice since returning to the majors and Freeman has posted a .408 wOBA and .264 ISO against RHP since the beginning of 2015. Throw in a 30% hard hit rate over the last 15 games (and the fact that he’s fresh off a five-hit game) and you cold have something special in your GPPs.
Other options – Matt Adams, Hanley Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, Gary Sanchez
Cody Bellinger/Yasmani Grandal, LAD ($3400/$3100)
Matt Harvey is starting for the Reds, so the Dodgers should be an offense you really want to get exposure to. Harvey has posted a robust 7.00 ERA this season while allowing 2.00 HR/9, and Bellinger and Grandal are both elite platoon bats. In addition, they’re underpriced and should be hitting 3/4 in the Dodgers lineup. Get one of them in there.
Other options – CJ Cron, Yuli Gurriel, Matt Olson, Yonder Alonso, Brad Miller, Neil Walker
Catcher values – Wilson Ramos, Mike Zunino, Evan Gattis
Jose Altuve, HOU ($4200)
Like Freeman, Altuve doesn’t really fit the cash mold with the onus on top starting pitching (and then Coors Field), but he’ll grab the platoon edge against Cole Hamels who has simply lost it as an effective pitcher. Hamels’ K rate has recovered in the early going this year but he’s still allowed 1.77 HR/9 overall and a .181 ISO to RHB. Altuve has a .400 wOBA and a .192 ISO against LHP over the past three years.
Other options – Ozzie Albies, Brian Dozier, DJ LeMahieu
Jason Kipnis, CLE ($2600)
Kipnis is a great value and fits the cash game mold perfectly on this slate. After a terrible start, Kipnis is finally trending in the right direction with a 32% hard hit rate over the last ten games, and he’s facing Jason Hammel who ha a 5.01 xFIP and has struck out less than five batters per nine innings this season. The Indians have an IRT of 5.1 runs, and Kipnis is basically free exposure.
Other options – Jonathan Schoop. Jonathan Villar, Ian Kinsler, Chase Utley
Jose Ramirez, CLE ($4200)
Generally Arenado is the top 3B when he’s in Coors, but I’d prefer the $1300 savings to Ramirez. He gets the same matchup described above in Kipnis’ blurb, and the switch-hitting Ramirez will also get to take on the very questionable Royals’ bullpen. Ramirez has a .222 ISO against RHP since the beginning of last year, and has a 34.5% hard hit rate over the last ten.
Other options – Nolan Arenado, Travis Shaw, Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rendon
Alex Bregman, HOU ($3400)
Opportunity cost is pretty high at the 3B position, but Bregman is an adequate dip-down if you need to save off the upper tier. He gets to face off against Hamels and a poor Rangers bullpen, and Bregman has a .200 ISO against LHP thus far in his young career. The Astros are a high event-upside team and make for an intriguing stack, and Bregman’s savings might be necessary given how much we have to spend on starting pitching.
Other options – Matt Carpenter, Jose Bautista, Matt Chapman, Rafael Devers
Trea Turner, WAS ($3800)
Shortstop is tricky tonight, and I’d like to punt the position if at all possible. If not given that option, Turner strikes me as a decent cash play given the fact that he’s cheaper than the other stud shortstops on the slate. He doesn’t have the platoon edge, but Turner actually has more pop against same-handed pitching (.235 ISO since the beginning of last year) and will get a big park shift in his favor going to Arizona. His blazing speed always gives him a higher floor/ceiling combo as well.
Other options – Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, Didi Gregorius
Jean Segura, SEA ($3400)
Segura’s price is on the rise, but he’s really come through for me with seven hits over his last two games. He’ll once again have the platoon edge, and Matt Boyd has allowed a .223 ISO to RHB since the beginning of 2016. The weather is horrible in Detroit, but Segura is still a viable value if you want to ride the wave.
Other options – Jedd Gyorko, Jordy Mercer, Sean Kingery
Charlie Blackmon, COL ($5000)
An expensive outfielder is going to be tough to fit in if you’re using a starting pitcher (which you really should be), but you can squeeze Blackmon in if you really need to make it work. He busted big time last night, but he has elite platoon numbers and Brandon Woodruff has allowed 1.58 HR/9 to LHB over the past three years. The Rockies (predictably) have the highest IRT on the slate at six runs simply due to the Coors effect, but I don’t think you need to overload on them tonight.
Other options – Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Rhys Hoskins, Nelson Cruz, George Springer, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, JD Martinez
Joc Pederson, LAD ($2400)
Joc hit second last night and would be the prime cheap play on the slate if were to be there again. Matt Harvey is terrible, and the Reds bullpen isn’t much better. Joc’s K rate is all the way down to 15.5% this season and he has a .242 ISO against RHP since the beginning of 2016. On a slate where so much of your budget is used on pitching, Joc brings much need salary relief upside.
Other options – Carlos Gonzalez, David Dahl, Domingo Santana, Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce, Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Aaron Altherr, Marcell Ozuna, Matt Joyce, Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner