-$100,000 prize pool.
– First place wins $10,000
– Only $3 to enter (FREE with first deposit)
– Top 7,850 finishing positions are paid.
– Starts today at 7:05 PM EST
– Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 10 players: 8 position players and 2 pitchers
– Roster Format: 2 pitchers, 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS and 3 OF
Tonight’s slate is really, really fun.
Before we actually get into the starting pitchers I’d prefer, just take a quick look at all of the quality arms at your disposal this evening.
-Felix Hernandez @TOR
-Max Scherzer vs PHI
-Zack Greinke vs SD
-Michael Pineda vs TEX
-Garrett Richards @BOS
-Gerrit Cole vs NYM
-Carlos Carrasco vs CIN
And there’s even more good options. In daily fantasy baseball, pitching tells the story, and that holds especially true this evening. I find myself making tons and tons of lineups just to play all of these tremendous pitchers, and it’s probably what I’m going to do.
Let’s hit the hill.
-Wow. $12,700 for Max Scherzer is a lot of coin, but it’s almost warranted. Just listen to his numbers– 10th in wins (4), 6th in innings pitched (56.2), 3rd in strikeouts (66), 4th in ERA (1.75), first in WAR (2.2), 8th in K/9 (10.48). I could keep going, too. Against the Phillies this year, Scherzer has pitched 14 innings, posting just two earned runs, 17 strikeouts and two walks. The Phillies aren’t in Coors anymore, and rank inside the bottom-eight in team batting average. Scherzer should dominate, and is the top pitcher on the night.
-This is where it gets a bit interesting. I personally think Felix Hernandez is the best pitcher in baseball right now, sitting top-10 in every major pitching category in the AL. However, this isn’t the greatest of matchups, traveling to Toronto to face a tough lineup in a very hitter-friendly park. However, Felix, a righty, faces a righty-dominant lineup, so I still think he’ll be fine. He’s nearly $2,000 cheaper than Scherzer, but is still pretty expensive, so with so many good arms on the hill tonight, I could see King Felix actually being a sneaky tournament option tonight. Jose Bautista (.219), Edwin Encarnacion (.214) and Josh Donaldson (.269) are all considerably worse against RHP this year.
-If I were ranking these pitchers, I think I’d prefer Zack Greinke to Felix. While his 7.43 K/9 is rather overwhelming, and his worst since 2010, I still think he’s in an ideal spot tonight. He’s still struck out 44 batters to just 11 walks, ranks 3rd in the NL in ERA and has gone at least six innings in every start this year. This season against right-handed hitting, Greinke is allowing just a .180 batting average, .202 wOBA and has struck out 26 batters, good for 60 percent of his total strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Padres are below average in terms of wOBA and strikeout percentage against righties on the year, and San Diego’s biggest bats are righties.
-Looking to save a bit of cash? Look no further than Michael Pineda, who is showing all the signs of a budding ace. He trails only Scherzer and Corey Kluber in terms of WAR, is striking out just under 10 batters per nine innings and is inducing groundballs over 50 percent of the time this year. The Rangers have some pop, but also have faltered plenty this year, ranking 12th in team strikeout percentage. And, Pineda has struck out 55 batters, while walking… three. Just three.
-I love me some Anthony Rizzo tonight. On the year, he actually has more walks (22) than strikeouts (20), as he continues to emerge into a superstar in this league. He gets a good matchup against Josh Collmenter in Arizona tonight, a venue that favors hitting. Collmenter can give up the long ball, surrendering seven homers on the year. Rizzo, meanwhile, is batting .286 with a .401 wOBA against right-handed pitching, while seven of his eight home runs this year have come off righties. And if Chase Field opens up the roof, that hot air will help power hitters even more. I expect him to own the Diamondbacks tonight.
-Okay, Colby Lewis is going to start sucking soon, right? I’m banking on it, and throwing out Mark Teixeira in a handful of lineups tonight. He’s in a good spot against Lewis, who is still a guy who is sporting a 1.30 career HR/9 rate, and his fastball is coming in fewer than 89 mph. The switch-hitting Tex is batting .269 against righties this year, and 75 percent of his 2015 homers have come off right-handed pitching, too. The short porch in Yankee stadium is always appealing for power hitters like Teixeira, who is second in the American League in home runs.
-Is this the night? Robinson Cano is off to a slow start, batting .264 with just one home run and 11 RBI. His slugging percentage is way below his career average, but two terrific pieces of medicine for lack of power await him. The first one is traveling to Rogers Centre, one of the best home run parks in baseball. The second? How about going up against Marco Estrada, an extreme fly ball pitcher at 45.6 percent, which doesn’t bode well in Toronto. He’s surrendered five home runs in 25 innings this season, and allowing almost 1.50 homers per nine for his career. Cano, meanwhile, is a lot better against right-handed arms and I expect the Mariners to get after Estrada tonight. Look for Cano to look like Cano tonight.
-Kris Bryant crushes like a grape. 48.6 percent of the time he hits the ball, it’s a flyball, which ranks sixth-most in the majors. Over the last week, he’s been on a tear, batting .368 with two home runs and seven RBI, and like I stated with Rizzo, I love the Cubs matchup tonight. Collmenter is a fly ball pitcher and has coughed up six home runs over his last three starts alone. And Bryant has reverse splits, so he’s actually better against righties than lefties, batting .301 with four home runs and 18 RBI. I’m predicting another KB dong this evening.
-Kyle Seager is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak, with three multi-hit games during that span. And over his last 10 games, he’s only been held hitless once, so he’s been giving you something seemingly every night lately. Again, platoon advantage against an extreme fly ball pitcher in Toronto, Seager makes for an excellent play, especially since he’s on a nice little hot streak at the moment.
-The Rockies are single-handedly making the entire DFS community run around with pitchforks. That, by the way, was a joke–I think. They continue to underperform at home against weak pitching, and now they face Ryan Vogelsong, who has already allowed nine home runs on the year, which ranks top-10 in the majors. Enter Troy Tulowitzki, who is always in play at Coors, especially against an extreme home run pitcher. Many will be fading him due to frustration, so he may actually be a sneaky tourney option.
-Ian Desmond has now homered in two-straight contests, posting three hits and scoring two runs during that span. He’s heating up and continues to move higher up in the batting order. He’ll face a weak pitcher in Sean O’Sullivan, who doesn’t really strike anyone out and allows the opposition to put the ball in play quite a bit. Now batting second in the order, I love Desmond.
-It’s going to be impossible to fit these expensive arms AND Bryce Haprer into most lineups tonight, so if you want some exposure to him (so to speak) and O’Sullivan, definitely consider Denard Span, who has been insanely consistent as of late. Batting leadoff for Washington, Span has provided a massive spark, currently riding a nine-game hitting streak, and seven of those nine contests have seen him post multiple hits. Span also has the platoon advantage against O’Sullivan, who struggles against left-handed bats, sporting a .459 wOBA against lefties this year, as well as a 1.83 HR/9 to southpaws. He also doesn’t throw too hard, and the right-handed pitcher should be relatively easy to steal on, and with a .375 on-base percentage, I’d expect him to get on a few times in this one.
-Michael Brantley is one of the best hitters in baseball that no one likes to talk about. Oh, and he’s also simply one of the best hitters in baseball, sporting an awesome .328 average, four home runs, 26 RBI, .404 OBP and six steals thus far. Just tremendous fantasy numbers, and he gets another favorable matchup with Mike Leake, who really isn’t anything special. Brantley also gets the platoon advantage, and we know he crushes right-handed pitching. Over the last three years, he’s sporting a .309 average, .823 OPS, .361 OBP and 30 home runs against RHP. One of the few players to go 20/20 last year, he’s one of the best bets for a combo meal (HR+steal) each night.