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OwnersBox – Early main slate (5 games) – starts 4:10 PM EDT
DK/FD – Main slate (10 games) – starts 7:07 PM EDT
Cooler than usual temperatures in Arlington, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, but strong winds out to centerfield in San Francisco. Unseasonably high temps at Coors with the wind blowing in from center. Strong tailwinds in New York and Cleveland.
Pitching (Late Main)
Tuesday’s slate offers a diverse group of arms ranging from elite to very good, which should keep ownership numbers from stacking too highly on any one player. The most attractive options (and most expensive) are Shohei Ohtani vs. Washington and Jacob deGrom vs. Kansas City. You can’t go wrong with either, but you’ll have to pay to do so.
Some slightly cheaper option might be just as good, including Alek Manoah vs. Detroit, Pablo López vs. the White Sox, and Dustin May at San Francisco. I like May the most out of that group. The middling Giants are the most strikeout-prone team in the majors with 115 Ks already this year in just 10 games. Even Detroit, who is easy to pick on, is just 14th with 90 Ks.
Corbin Burnes is somebody I would avoid for now as he struggles to find his form. He was awful in his first two starts of 2023, but that slump actually started at the end of last year when he had a 3.99 ERA over his final 13 games. With his stuff, he could very well end up being just fine, but with so many other options to choose from today, I’m okay playing the wait-and-see game with Burnes.
Lance Lynn had a rough showing against the Giants his last time out but was reportedly dealing with some sort of virus. He was pretty good his first start against a much stronger Houston lineup and gets the Twins today. He’s priced slightly down after last week’s blowup and could save you some money in the pitcher market if you have the stomach for it.
Hayden Wesneski also profiles as a cheap option pitching at home against the Mariners who strike out a ton and are in the bottom third in the league in runs scored in the early going.
As a rule, I tend to play it safe with pitchers returning from injury. Kyle Wright has a good matchup against Cincinnati for his season debut, but he allowed five runs in six innings in a rehab start at Triple-A Gwinnett last week and his 8.68 K/9 last year won’t exactly help you pile up the points even when fully healthy. He opened the season on the IL after receiving a cortisone injection in his shoulder back in January.
Pitcher Pricing 4-11-23
Pitching (Early Main)
A few aces dot the landscape for the early slate with Shane McClanahan, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Nola, and Cristian Javier in an excellent position for both wins and strikeouts. I also like Jesús Luzardo. The Phillies torched Sandy Alcantara for 9 ER runs yesterday, but Luzardo has more swing and miss to his game. The Phillies are bottom 10 in the league in strikeouts.
The play of the day might be Grayson Rodriguez considering the price. He performed admirably in his season debut last week against the Rangers, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk over 5 innings with 5 strikeouts. Last year at Triple-A, the top prospect had a 2.20 ERA and 97 Ks in 69 2/3 IP. Oakland is basically a Triple-A team.
Hitting (Late Main)
I’m expecting the ball to be flying at Coors Field today with temperatures expected to be up in the mid 80s. Kyle Freeland has yet to allow a run through his first two starts, but it’s not for lack of trying. His velocity is down, he’s not missing many bats, and his xFIP is 5.54 despite a 0.00 ERA on the season.
I’d play as many St. Louis bats as I could afford, which might not be many, so choose wisely. Nolan Arenado spent most of his career in Coors and knows how to cook in the thin air. He has a lifetime OPS of 1.306 against Freeland. Paul Goldschmidt and Jordan Walker are also lefty killers, along with Tommy Edman who comes cheap after a slow start but should hit leadoff tonight.
Ranger bats are on fire right now, with 19 runs scored over the past two games. Jordan Lyles doesn’t pose much of a threat on the mound and was hit hard last time out against Toronto. Nathaniel Lowe has been absolutely crushing the ball lately with seven hits with an EV of 95 mph or higher in his past 12 at-bats. That will pay off sooner rather than later.
Corey Seager was in the same boat before last night’s game. He was crushing the ball left and right with little to show for it until going 3-for-4 yesterday with his first home run of the season. With that monkey off his back, Seager is ready to get into the groove. Get him cheap(ish) while you still can. Adolis García is another good play against a righty and is coming off of a grand slam last night.
Matt Chapman has homered in back-to-back games and is now hitting .475 on the season. He really likes Tigers’ pitching, hitting .313 with 4 home runs in five games against Detroit last season, despite batting just .229/.324/.433 overall. Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also have looked unstoppable lately, but threaten to eat up most of your budget. If you can only have one, go with Chapman.
Pete Alonso gets another lefty to beat up today in Ryan Weathers. Alonso already has five home runs on the season and is hitting a ridiculous .353/.421/.941 against left-handed pitching.
San Diego will look to match at DH with Nelson Cruz, who is a platoon player at this stage of his career but gets the start against left-handers (1.252 OPS). He was 3-for-4 Sunday night with a 3-run, 432-ft blast off Atlanta’s Dylan Dodd. Cruz could give you some flexibility as one of the cheapest players in the field.
With the wind blowing out hard to centerfield in San Francisco, it could be a good time to take advantage of a few hard-hitting flyball hitters. Mookie Betts is my favorite. He’s destroying the baseball right now and has historically clobbered Alex Wood, who struggled to get through 3 innings in his first start for the Giants. This is not a typo: Betts has a 2.188 OPS with 9 hits and 3 home runs in 14 at-bats against Wood in his career.
Freddie Freeman and J.D. Martinez are also strong plays with the lefty on the mound. Our only concern would be Wood getting chased out of the game early again.
Another cost-saving option is Hunter Renfroe, who has homered in three straight games. The Angels face Josiah Gray, who led all qualified starters in home runs allowed last season, but did have a strong game last time out against Colorado with 19 swinging strikes at Coors Field.
I also like Brandon Nimmo leading off for the Mets against San Diego and Josh Jung getting into the mix for the Rangers against KC.
Hitter Pricing 4-11-23
Hitting (Early Main)
Kyle Muller still qualifies as a rookie despite making a few appearances for Atlanta over the past couple of years. Now in Oakland, Muller is off to a solid start with a 2.53 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 8 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. It’s all a bit of smoke and mirrors so far though as he’s giving up plenty of hard contact with a low 22.8 CSW%. Baltimore hitters have been feasting early this season and I’d look to buy some of Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, and Anthony Santander who all profile strongly against the lefty.
Mitch Keller is probably pitching better than you think he is for Pittsburgh so far and is coming off a strong second half to 2022 where he posted a 2.93 ERA from July to October. But Houston is a tough draw and Keller isn’t completely inside my circle of trust just yet. Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker are hitting the ball really well right now.
Like Wright for Atlanta, I’m wary of Garrett Whitlock coming back off injury to make his season debut. And he has to make his debut against an undefeated Tampa Bay team that leads the majors in runs. It’s almost becoming a cliche at this point, but don’t be afraid to fire up your Rays yet again. That means some mix of Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe, Yandy Díaz, and Josh Lowe who have all generated huge profits against righties.