It’s time for my #BirthdayNarrative edition of the week, as I turn a healthy (I hope) 38 years old today. I need to immediately remove myself from the silly decision to fade deGrom at the last minute yesterday (at least I kept him on DK), so let’s get right to it. We have 11 games to tackle on this Saturday evening, and it looks like Max Scherzer will be slated to start the nightcap now. There are alternatives if you don’t want to spend all the way up, so let’s examine what we have. I will not be in chat tonight (birthday dinner), but I’m on twitter @jac3600.
Max Scherzer, WAS ($11,600)
I would wait to see the Dodgers’ lineup before actually committing to Scherzer’s price tag tonight. There’s a good chance it’s watered down (being it’s the second game of a doubleheader), but they do have a propensity to get pretty left-handed (the loss of Corey Seager helps Scherzer big time). His K upside is unrivaled in this league (even by Severino and Paxton who are both great as well), and Scherzer has only one start this year where he didn’t post a quality start. If the Dodgers’ lineup is unfavorable, Severino and Paxton are both fine dropdowns, and will save you money.
Other options – Luis Severino, James Paxton, Patrick Corbin
Jose Quintana, CHC ($7500)
Quintana has been a tough one to pin down this year, but he’s far too cheap for what he SHOULD be. His average velocity was one MPH higher last game than it had been all year, so that’s a good sign, and he’s a huge road favorite against the Reds at -190. The Reds are sixth in wRC+ against LHP but project to be worse as the year goes on, and Quintana’s xFIP tells you he’s having some bad luck. It’s not a ringing endorsement, but Quintana is too cheap for his career numbers.
Other options – Rick Porcello, Steven Matz, Clayton Richard, Fernando Romero, Freddy Peralta
Anthony Rizzo, CHC ($4100)
Rizzo came through last night (even though the weather made me fade him in the end), and he’s easily the top option at 1B again today. The Cubbies once again have an IRT of 5.5 runs and Rizzo has his hard hit rate up to 33% the last ten games. Sal Romano has a terrible K/BB ratio and a 5.08 xFIP, and is backed by a lousy bullpen as well.
Other options – Freddie Freeman, Hanley Ramirez, Joey Votto, Gary Sanchez
Jesus Aguilar, MIL ($2800)
Aguilar won’t have the platoon edge and is facing a nice young pitcher in Fernando Romero, but he’s making the most of his opportunity for the Brewers with Ryan Braun out. He homered twice last night and has a 38.3% hard hit rate over his last five games. I’d really prefer to pay up for Rizzo here but you may not get that luxury if you choose Scherzer, in which case Aguilar is an adequate value hitting third.
Other options – Mitch Moreland, Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Chris Davis, Neil Walker
Catcher values – Willson Contreras, Mike Zunino, Wilson Ramos, Robinson Chirinos
Ozzie Albies, ATL ($4800)
Jose Urena stinks. Albies doesn’t. He’s fully priced and has no position in your cash lineups, but the switch-hitter just continues to mash. Urena has a career 5.95 K/9. Fire up Albies in GPP.
Other options – Javier Baez, Yoan Moncada, Brian Dozier
Dee Gordon, SEA ($2900)
Thankfully, FD has transferred Dee Gordon to the 2B pool, which gives us a bit of a gift at a pretty thin position. Gordon’s lack of hard contact never instills much confidence in the masses, but his SB ability is top three in the league. Mike Fiers’ 3.8%% BB rate is a good tool for keeping Gordon off the bases, but Fiers also gives up a ton of hard contact and has a 5.05 FIP. The Mariners have an IRT of 4.8 runs and Gordon will hit at the top.
Other options – Gleyber Torres, Rougned Odor, Eduardo Nunez, Jonathan Villar
Kris Bryant, CHC ($4900)
This play pretty much echoes yesterday’s. Bryant is arguably the top overall hitter on the slate in an elite matchup against Sal Romano. Like his Cubs teammates, he’s priced too aggressively for cash if you want Scherzer, but Bryant has a .386 wOBA and .234 ISO against RHP over the last two years. He also has a 37% hard hit rate over his last 15 games.
Other options – Eugenio Suarez, Travis Shaw, Anthony Rendon, Kyle Seager
Zack Cozart, LAA ($2600)
Unfortunately, there’s almost nothing to be found in terms of value at the 3B position. It remains to be seen if Cozart will continue to hit leadoff since the Angels are facing a righty today, but he has some appeal in what will be a bullpen game for the Rays. The Angels have a sneaky IRT of 4.8 runs and getting the leadoff bat for that provides a bit of extra upside for cash play.
Other options – Rafael Devers, Jose Bautista, Miguel Andujar
Trea Turner, WAS ($3700)
This pick was a little better when I though Turner was facing Ross Stripling, but I’ll still take him at this price with the platoon edge against Rich Hill. The Dodgers lefty has struggled with command this year (4.74 BB/9), and any free passes to Turner is dangerous for the opposition with his immense speed. Turner has popped off a .197 ISO against LHP since the beginning of last year, and he might get a tired bullpen if Ross Stripling can’t get some length in the first game.
Other options – Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Jean Segura
Max Moroff, PIT ($2300)
Moroff should lead off against for Pittsburgh since they’re facing a lefty, and he provides a nice punt price to help you fit in a top SP and/or big bats. He’s not a great hitter but Clayton Richard has allowed a 39% hard hit rate and 1.45 HR/9 to RHB over the last three years. This is more a price play than anything else.
Other options – Addison Russell, Jose Peraza, Jurickson Profar, Nick Ahmed
Mookie Betts, BOS ($5400)
Until further notice, Betts goes in this spot, as his production is otherworldly right now. The problem is this – he’s too hard to reach for in cash games with his price, and you’re also unlikely to get him at a low ownership in GPPs. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have exposure, but even his immense production gets caught in no-man’s land as far as lineup construction goes tonight.
Other options – JD Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Kyle Schwarber, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Haniger, Ronald Acuna
Chris Owings, ARI ($2000)
Owings could prove to be an important value on this slate at the minimum price tag. Steven Matz is pitching better than his peripherals indicate, but he’s still struggling with command and hard contact allowed. Owings is not a magnificent hitter but he should get a premier lineup spot and has a .182 ISO against LHP since the beginning of last year. Again, you’re not expecting great things from Owings, but his price allows you other players that you DO expect to produce big time this evening.
Other options – Shohei Ohtani, Joey Gallo, Shin Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara, Delino DeShields, Albert Almora, Ian Happ, Adam Duvall, Billy Hamiton, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Domingo Santana, Joc Pederson