Welcome to the inaugural Daily Forecast. We will be bringing you Daily Fantasy plays each day (hence the “daily”). We’ll break down the hitters into three categories: Top Shelf, Bulk Purchase, Bargain Bin and then the metaphorically challenged, Starting Pitcher; a basic structure we believe will help you piece together a well-balanced DFS team. This column will be headed to Season Pass in a week, so get to reading!
Each day we will start off with a pitcher we think has the opportunity to be hit hard by the opposition. Sometimes, depending on park conditions and hitter splits, these could be pitchers to stack your lineup against. Today we start with the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ. Happ gets his first start of the season in the bandbox of Citizens Bank Park. He’s only pitched in three games this year as a reliever after coming off the DL, with his last outing on April 23rd being his longest at 2.2 innings in which he walked two and gave up a two-run home run to Matt Wieters. It’s not likely he’ll go deep into the game, especially with the Phillies currently owning a .345 OBP against left-handed pitchers on the season. Happ also fares much worse on the road than he has at home with a lofty 5.86 ERA and a 6-16 record in enemy territory over the last three seasons while also giving up .356 wOBA to opposing hitters during that time. And if they do chase Happ from the game, the Blue Jays bullpen currently holds the second worst WHIP in the majors at 1.56.
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Any Phillies hitter has a good shot at putting up decent fantasy numbers in this one, with Happ giving up a .345 wOBA to righties and .330 to lefties, but his 1.24 HR/9 rate against righties makes me lean that way with players like Marlon Byrd, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Nix.
Shin Soo-Choo - TEX: This short series is set up to be a high scoring affair and Choo should put up great numbers against Jordan Lyle , who yes, has pitched well this season, but is due for a blow up game and this looks like a perfect time. Lyles has never had a season with an ERA under 5 or given up under a .279 average while Choo has a .400+ wOBA against righties over the last three seasons. Regression is on its way.
Giancarlo Stanton – MIA: All the splits you can muster are pointing toward Stanton having another good game today. Yesterday he belted two home runs in the spacious confines of Marlins Park and now he gets to face a lefty in Jon Niese. Niese has been pitching well this season, but get him on the road against Stanton at home and it spells trouble. Stanton at home against lefties is a monster with a .427 wOBA against lefties and a .416 wOBA at home, while Niese gives up a 4.27 ERA on the road, compared to 3.25 ERA at home and a .320 wOBA to righties compared to .285 wOBA to lefties. Oh, and if you want to take a look at their historical matchups, it hasn’t been pretty for Niese, having given up two home runs and a 1.151 OPD in 20 plate appearances against Stanton.
Troy Tulowitzki - COL: Much like Stanton, when Tulo faces a lefty at home, you have to pay attention. Well, when Tulo faces anyone anywhere this season, you have to pay attention. His price is restrictive to say the least, but with a little inventive bookkeeping he can fit into your team. He’s hitting .419 against lefties this season and .591 at home. That’s not a typo. It doesn’t really matter who Tulo faces right now, but Martin Perez finally came back to earth when he was rocked by the A’s for eight runs in 4.2 innings his last start. He’ll have trouble at altitude against this lineup.
Also consider: Buster Posey – SFG, Victor Martinez – DET, Charlie Blackmon – COL, Jose Bautista – TOR
Marlon Byrd - PHI: Before yesterday Byrd had hit in seven straight with five of those being multi-hit games. During that stretch he hit 13 of 29 including two home runs and 10 RBIs. Byrd has hit lefties at a much better rate with a .360 to .316 wOBA difference and as I mentioned at the open, J.A. Happ and the Blue Jays are primed to be hit.
Nolan Arenado- COL: Arenado is on a 24 game hitting streak and is hitting .345 versus lefties this season. For his career he’s sitting at a nice .366 wOBA against lefties and is about as safe as you can get with his current hot hitting.
Adrian Beltre – TEX: Beltre has been struggling since returning from the DL, but just snapped out of his funk with three hits, three runs, an RBI and a walk yesterday and now gets to travel to hitters paradise in Colorado. His recent DL stint and slump has depressed his price enough that he’s at a nice bargain for his upside in this matchup.
Also consider: Matt Adams – STL, Prince Fielder – TEX, Howie Kendrick – LAA,
Juan Francisco - TOR: Francisco makes his living against right-handers because he can’t hit lefties to save his life. Over his last seven games he’s hitting .300 with a couple home runs, both off righties. Kendrick has served up 1.29 home runs per nine innings at home over the last three seasons which bodes well for Francisco’s extra-base chances.
Grant Green - LAA: Green had been killing the ball in AAA with a .365/.412/.519 slash line in 25 games before being called back up where he’s been 3 for 6 with a double. As long as he gets the start today, he’ll get to face David Phelps who has been in the bullpen so far this season and in 11.2 innings pitched has given up three home runs and over his last three seasons has given up 1.57 HR/9 and .344 wOBA on the road.
Lonnie Chisenhall - CLE: Kyle Gibson is a good pitcher to target today against a left-handed heavy Cleveland lineup. In his short career, Gibson has given up a whopping .376 wOBA to lefties. Chisenhall is a lefty and is hitting .347 against right-handers this season. He not going to lead your team to the big money by himself, but he’s a safe value play.
Also consider: Billy Butler – KC, Brandon Barnes -- COL, Jeff Baker – MIA
Max Scherzer – DET: There’s not much to dislike in this matchup at home against the Astros. Scherzer hasn’t been going as deep into games as I’d like, but he’s striking out batters and getting wins. The Astros strike out more than any other team and lose more than any other team. He’ll cost you, but there’s not a safer pick tonight.
Scott Kazmir – OAK: Seattle is striking out 23.6% of the time and Kazmir had nine against them in six innings earlier this season in Seattle as he coasted to a 3-0 win. He isn’t going deep into games, but he has a good bullpen backing him up, which has led to a nice 4-0 start to the season. This time around he gets Seattle at home in Oakland’s spacious park against a Seattle team that is batting a measly .143 against him in 112 at bats.
Nathan Eovaldi – MIA: The Mets travel from the best hitters' park in the league in Colorado to one of the best pitchers’ park in the league in Miami to face Eovaldi who has been on point this season, especially at home, where he has a 2.42 ERA and a 2-1 record with 23 strike outs to just four walks. The Mets have an OBP of just .297 against righties this year and are striking out 23% of the time. Everything is pointing to another nice outing from the youngster.
Also consider: Yordano (Ace) Ventura – KC, Jose Quintana – CWS