I’ll be bringing you the Saturday FanDuel MLB plays from RotoGrinders.com. Today there is a nine-game early slate and a five-game late slate. I’ll provide a pick for each slate and the early slate picks will be denoted with an (E) and the late slate with an (L).
Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays, $10,500 (E) - There are three terrific options on the early slate with Archer, Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole. I like deGrom, but he’s a GPP play for me as the Braves don’t strike out and I don’t trust the Mets’ offense to get him a win so it really boils down to Cole and Archer. In terms of safety, Gerrit Cole is probably the top option as he’s a monster favorite (-260) and the Phillies’ offense is the worst in the league. However, they don’t strike a ton so he doesn’t have the upside that Archer brings to the table and Archer is actually $500 cheaper. Based on how he’s pitched this season, Archer should be the highest priced pitcher on the board as he’s struck out 38 batters over his last three games and his peripherals all match up with his low ERA. While Cole may be the best cash game option, Archer is my go to GPP option. Even in cash games, it’s tough to pay an extra $500 when Archer has put up three straight 20 FD point games and is facing an offense that has struggled all year in the White Sox.
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers, $10,400 (L) - Unlike the day slate where there are three elite arms to choose from, the night slate is very cut and dry... it’s Greinke and then everyone else. He’s been good, but not great this year, and I’d actually prefer all three of the early slate options if I was playing an all-day slate. However, for the night slate, he’s head and shoulders above everyone else. The Padres struggle against right-handed pitching, have the lowest team total of the night, and he’s a heavy favorite to pick up the win, which is very important on FanDuel. He’s already faced them three times this year and has a 0.87 ERA in 20 innings pitched against them.
Late - C. J. Wilson
Evan Gattis, Houston Astros, $3,500 (E) - Catcher on the early slate is really weak, but luckily Gattis is still catcher eligible on FD. Vegas likes the Astros to put up some runs today against a young lefty in Mike Montgomery as they are predicted for 4.55 runs, which is top five on the day. Montgomery is getting a huge negative park shift and Gattis’ power plays very well in Houston as the Crawford Boxes are only 315 feet away.
Miguel Montero, Chicago Cubs, $3,100 (L) - There are five very viable catcher options in the late slate in my eyes: Montero, Brian McCann, Matt Wieters, Buster Posey and Yasmani Grandal. All are in play as the Yankees’ lefties, Orioles’ righties, and Dodgers’ lefties are all in good spots tonight. I’ll focus on Montero here though as I hit on other Orioles, Yankees, Giants and Dodgers below and I wanted to note Mike Leake’s struggles with lefties. Leake has always had issues with lefties and that has continued this season as he’s allowed a .340 wOBA and 1.80 HR/9 to them. Montero has struggled all year but has busted out recently with two home runs in his last three games.
Also Consider: Early - Salvador Perez
Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers, $3,600 (E) - I’m eyeing Miguel Cabrera and Pedro Alvarez, too, as Miggy has a great history against Carrasco and Pedro is facing Sean O’Sullivan, and both have shown big day splits this season. However, Miggy is expensive and Pedro is a boom/bust option, so for cash games I’m honing in on Prince at an affordable 3.6k. I’ve been trying to pick on Mike Pelfrey with little success, but regression should be coming. All of his peripherals point to him pitching over his head to date and his career numbers are very unimpressive as he’s allowed a career .341 wOBA to lefties. Vegas agrees that winter, er, regression is coming for Pelfrey as they have the Rangers pegged as one of the highest scoring teams of the day. Prince has cooled off a bit since earlier this season but he still has hits in eight of his last ten and is affordable compared to where he was priced earlier this season.
Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers, $3,400 - If price isn’t a factor, Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo are my top options, and I particularly like Rizzo, so I’ll be trying to squeeze him in for GPPs. However, price is a factor, especially with Greinke being expensive, so it’s tough to overlook A-Gon at his price tag. The Dodgers lead MLB in almost every category against right-handed pitching so I really like their bats tonight, especially their lefties. A-Gon has a ..423 wOBA against right-handed pitching while Ian Kennedy has allowed a staggering .423 wOBA and 2.49 HR/9 to righties. Not surprisingly, his two starts against the Dodgers have not gone well as he’s allowed 10 ER in 10 innings pitched, including one home run to Gonzalez.
Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals, $3,200 (E) - The Cardinals’ lefties are in a prime spot today as they face Jeremy Guthrie away from his home ballpark. Guthrie always struggles with lefties, but the best place to target him is on the road as his spacious home ballpark can hide some of his home run issues. He’s allowed an incredible .425 wOBA and 2.59 HR/9 to lefties on the season, but on the road that number jumps even higher to .514 wOBA and over 3 HR/9 (compared to his .348 home wOBA). Wong’s been scuffling of late but this is the perfect matchup for him to get going again and he brings that power/speed combo that is always great to target.
Joe Panik San Francisco Giants, $3,400 - While Panik doesn’t have a ton of power and the Giants’ home ballpark is not favorable to hitters, he looks to be in a great spot tonight against Allen Webster. Webster has not been good in his short MLB career and has been particularly bad against lefties as he’s allowed a .391 wOBA and 1.59 HR/9. Panik hits high in the Giants’ lineup and has been red-hot recently with hits in nine of his last ten games, including six multi-hit games.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros, $3,000 (E) - Why pay up for Tulo when Correa is sitting there 1.4k cheaper? OK, that might be a bit much, but as an Astros fan I couldn’t be more excited about this kid. He is living up to his top prospect billing so far with hits in each of his four games as well as two home runs and a stolen base. He’s still very cheap and crushed left-handed pitching in the minors. That hasn’t changed in the majors as both his home runs (as well as all of his hits) have come off of left-handed pitching and he gets a hittable lefty in Michael Montgomery today.
J. J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles, $2,200 (L) - Tonight’s late slate is the rare slate where there are quite a few quality SS options. Crawford, Aybar and Rollins will all have the platoon splits in their favor and are facing pitchers, who really struggle with their handedness so they are fine options. They are all in play for me but I’m trying to fit in Greinke and some bats elsewhere so I’ll take the savings with Hardy at minimum price. Hardy has been moving up the Orioles lineup (hit fifth yesterday), is riding a five-game hitting streak, and has some pop in his bat for a shortstop. As I’ll hit on with Adam Jones below, C. C. Sabathia really struggles with righties and Hardy has fared well against him in his career (10/29 with a home run).
Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, $3,700 (E) - All the Cardinals’ lefties are in play for me in this one, but the top targets are Carpenter and Wong hitting atop their order. Carpenter’s price has come down and he is always a great 50/50 and H2H play because he is on base and run scoring machine. He’s smashing righties on the season with a .412 wOBA and should feast on Guthrie’s weakness against lefties.
Chase Headley, New York Yankees, $2,200 (L) - You’ll have to double check that he’s back in the lineup as had to leave the game early last night after being hit by a baseball in his “groin”. I really like Machado and some of the other expensive third basemen as well, but value is tough to come by on the late slate and Headley is minimum-priced and has been hitting second recently. The Yankees are predicted to be a top five scoring team tonight as they face Bud Norris, who has been awful against lefties this season allowing a .459 wOBA. He’s been terrible in both starts against the Yankees (7.56 ERA against them) so if Headley is hitting second then he makes a great value and has hit Norris well in his career (7/20 with 2 home runs).
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates, $3,000 (E) - I’m not sure how it took me this long to pick on Sean O’Sullivan, but he’s definitely a guy to target today. Don’t be scared off by the Pirates dud against Kevin Correia last night, as that just happens in baseball sometimes. They have another terrific matchup today and all of their outfielders, as well as Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker, are in play. However, Sean O’Sullivan has really struggled against lefties so that is where my primary focus will be and Polanco is very affordable at 3k. He was beyond bad last night and was drawing WOAT (worst of all time) status on Twitter last night. However, O’Sullivan has been much worse against lefties than Kevin Correia has ever been as he’s allowing a silly .486 wOBA and 4.11 HR/9 to left-handed bats.
Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners, $3,600 (E) - I probably won’t be using him in cash games as I’m a little worried about his back injury that he just returned from and outfield is loaded in the early slate, so there are some cheaper options in quality matchups. However, I think he’s a great GPP play at his depressed price as he has that two home run upside that can help take down a big tournament. Speaking of two home runs, that is exactly what he did earlier this year against McHugh as he took him deep twice in Seattle, which is a pitcher’s park. As mentioned above, Houston is favorable to right-handed batters and McHugh has been a reverse splits pitcher for his career, especially this year as he’s allowing a .371 wOBA and 1.74 HR/9 to righties.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles, $3,600 (L) - Jones is by far my favorite outfielder on the late slate and will likely be very popular at only 3.6k. He has four home runs in his last eight games and now gets a matchup with C.C. Sabathia, who is getting destroyed by righties. He has a .385 batting and .468 wOBA against lefties this season, while C.C. has allowed a .398 wOBA and 1.82 HR/9 to righties so this is a huge mismatch on paper. In case you were wondering, that mismatch has played out on the diamond as Jones is 18/58 with four home runs off of C.C. in his career.
Joc Pederson & Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers (L) - As mentioned with Adrian Gonzalez, the Dodgers lefties are in a great spot even in a hitter’s park like San Diego. It’s also worth noting that San Diego has not been near the pitcher’s park it’s been in the past this year. Ian Kennedy gives up a ton of home runs (2.49 HR/9 to lefties this year) and Joc has a monster .327 ISO and 14 home runs against righties this season so he’s a very likely “home run of the night” candidate. Ethier comes a little cheaper, but has been great this year and has moved up to fifth or sixth in the Dodgers lineups. Ethier has owned Kennedy in his career as he’s 14/39 with three home runs, and both Ethier and Joc have already taken him deep this year.
Also Consider: Early - Shin-Soo Choo, Andrew McCutchen, Michael Brantley, Bryce Harper, Denard Span, Jason Heyward, George Springer, Carlos Gonzalez, Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Rios & Lorenzo Cain