Saturday brings another full day of baseball, highlighted by the return of Texas’ Yu Darvish, a potential pitcher’s duel in New York, and Madison Bumgarner throwing in Colorado. In addition to the storylines, there are more than enough options to fill Saturady’s contests.
Currently, we are using xFIP and wOBA simply to compare one pitcher’s performance against another – especially against opposite-handed hitters. We aren’t using these numbers for calculation. To help with some calculations, we have assumed that each hitter and pitcher has played at least one game. Each pitcher was assigned an innings total relative to his average projection.
Check the starting lineups and weather reports prior to making any plays, as these change without notice.
Projected Low-Scoring Games
Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets – One day after the relatively unsuccessful, but highly-publicized debut of Julio Urias, the Dodgers and Mets will meet in another fantastic pitching matchup. Noah Syndergaard continues to deliver one outstanding performance after another, and will be aiming for his third consecutive shutout with double-digit strikeouts. Such high expectations are nearly impossible to reach, but Syndergaard delivering through a regression is still worthy of use. Kenta Maeda has the good fortune of facing a Mets offense with a high strikeout rate in a game that should remain low-scoring.
Targets: Noah Syndergaard and Kenta Maeda
Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels – Dallas Keuchel has been a complete disappointment in 2016, but Saturday presents an excellent opportunity in a projected low-scoring contest. Keuchel has provided a few key statistics in his last few games that suggest a fantasy breakout is possible at any time. Specifically, he has completed six innings in each of his last four games, and seven times in his last eight starts. He is also averaging just below one strikeout-per-inning over his last four starts. Keuchel’s issues have solely rested on the surprising amount of runs he has allowed, but the Angels’ offense has only recently come alive – they still remain capable of being shut down at a moment’s notice. Jered Weaver should also contribute to a de facto pitcher’s duel, although the Angels’ starting pitcher has a comparatively low strikeout rate, making him somewhat of a risky play.
Targets: Dallas Keuchel, then Jered Weaver
Projected High-Scoring Games
Pittsburgh Pirates at Texas Rangers – While we are usually hesitant to project an offense to breakout one day after an explosion, the Pirates are in an intriguing position against Yu Darvish in his first start of the season. Like many other pitchers that have had Tommy John surgery, Darvish a complete wild card, and has a high probability of either a short or disappointing outing. On the other side of the game, Texas’ hitters have an opportunity for redemption after pushing across only a single run on Friday, despite tallying ten hits. Pittsburgh’s Juan Nicasio might strike batters out at a high rate, but he is still prone to allowing runs, especially in a hitter’s ballpark.
Targets: Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers Hitters
San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks – Like the Pirates and Rangers, the high-scoring, one-sided outcome of Friday’s game presents a nice opportunity for both teams to revert to the mean. San Diego’s Cesar Vargas actually sports a solid ERA – so some restraint in using Arizona’s hitters should be practiced – but he will also be pitching in a hitter’s ballpark. Zack Greinke is capable of a high-strikeout day against the free-swinging Padres, but runs should still be attainable throughout the game.
Targets: Carefully, both San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks hitters
Colorado Rockies Hitters – Certainly, scoring five runs on Friday should not yield disappointment. Unless, of course, said game was played in the extremely hitter-friendly ballpark of Colorado and started by a pitcher with an ERA over 5.00. The encore presents a far worse buying opportunity, at first glance, but also brings a discount for a potentially explosive matchup. As dominant as San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner has been, no one is completely without risk in Colorado. For the cost savings – and the realistic chance that Bumgarner does not shut down the Rockies and pitch a complete game – the risk is worth taking for a few of Colorado’s bats.
Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison/Flickr C.C. 2.0