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OwnersBox – Early slate (6 games) – starts 1:04 PM EDT (no CLE-MIA game); Main slate (7 games) – starts 7:04pm EDT
DraftKings – Early slate (6 games) – starts 1:05 PM EDT (no CLE-MIA game); Main slate (7 games) – starts 7:05 PM EDT
FanDuel – Early slate (7 games) – starts 1:05 PM EDT (includes 1st CLE-MIA game); Main slate (7 games) – starts 7:05 PM EDT
(Early) Rain risk for COL@PHI, but if it plays, it is extremely gusty out to left-center. Decent winds for WAS@MIN & LAD@CHC, but cool in both games which may limit the carry of the ball (although that didn’t matter for the Cubs yesterday). Slight breeze out to center for NYM@SF. Also, a decent wind blowing in for TOR@NYY.
(Main) Rain risk for DET@BAL. Slight drizzle for STL@SEA, but probably nothing to worry about. Slight wind out to center for HOU@ATL. Decent wind blowing in for OAK@TEX if they open the roof for Globe Life Field.
For any games with weather concerns, I will likely be posting updates in our Discord in the #dfs-and-bets channel, but you can also follow @KevinRothWx & @DFSMLBWeather on Twitter for posts from the experts themselves.
No matter which slate you play, there are plenty of ace options available, even if some have a bit of risk. This might come down to which top options you can fit based on the bats you target.
Talent-wise, Gerrit Cole & Shane McClanahan are probably the 1A/1B arms for the early slate. Gerrit Cole has the tougher matchup in the Blue Jays, but he is expected to have a decent wind at his back that could limit the Jays’ hard contact. I think I have to give the slight edge to Shane McClanahan though, as he gets the White Sox and the Rays have been almost unbeatable in their home park. The White Sox got a few runs off lefty Jalen Beeks on Friday, but that was mainly due to excessive walks.
For SP2, the popular choice will likely be Pablo López vs the Nats. It’s still cool in Minny and the Nats – as a team – have nine total HRs on the season. There are players in MLB with nine HRs by themselves. The Nats squeaked out a win on Friday, but have only managed back-to-back wins vs the Rockies in Coors, so look for the Twins to bounce back as Chad Kuhl will offer little resistance on the other side.
If you’re looking for upside pivots, Hayden Wesneski has been much better in his last two starts, and the Dodgers have double-digit Ks in both games at Wrigley so far this series. The wind will be blowing out a bit, but the cooler temps should help keep balls in.
Logan Webb? It’s definitely risky vs the Mets. Plus it’s a day game with the wind blowing out, so Oracle Park will have a little more pop than normal. Likewise, I don’t think you can trust an average guy like David Peterson vs the Giants, even though lefty Joey Lucchesi came out of nowhere and stymied them yesterday.
On FanDuel, they are the only site with the battle between Sandy Alcantara & Shane Bieber. Bieber has been underwhelming this year, so even vs the Marlins, I doubt he’s a better play than the top three listed above. Alcantara could be decent – the Guardians haven’t scored over three runs in their last three games – but the Marlins rarely give him the run support you would want for a win on FanDuel.
Normally everybody would flock to a guy like Cristopher Sánchez vs Rockies Road, but with the risky weather and gusts blowing out for the park – and Sanchez coming off the IL- it should probably be a hard pass.
Alek Manoah has been struggling this season, and now he finds himself in Yankee Stadium vs Gerrit Cole. Another interesting detail about Manoah is that his pace of pitching with runners on base is one of the slowest in the league, and Alejandro Kirk is also in the bottom third in pickoff speed throwing to second base. Therefore, there will be SB opportunities for the Yankees once they are on base. If Anthony Volpe is leading off, it’s a safe bet he will go for a stolen base at some point. Anthony Rizzo has also been hitting quite well – and Manoah is extra vulnerable to lefty-hitting – making him a solid 1B option for your lineup. Another likely base stealer would be Gleyber Torres, who may be batting cleanup.
If the COL@PHI game plays, a PHI stack will be popular. J.T. Realmuto has finally emerged from the haze he was in to start this season and will probably be the chalky catcher on the slate. However, the two go-to bats for PHI that I target vs lefties are Alec Bohm & Edmundo Sosa. On the other side, Kris Bryant clearly took my calling him out at Coors to heart in my last article and has been showing the power everybody has waited over a year to see – he has a solid 57% line-drive rate to go with his 57% hard-hit rate vs lefties.
As referenced in the pitching section above, Chad Kuhl is a former Rockies pitcher that has given up four+ runs in every outing so far this season. The Twins rarely run up the score, but they are getting some key players back. Max Kepler has been leading off and is still considered a value compared to where his price usually is. Joey Gallo is a boom/bust option, but given Kuhl’s 20% CSW rate vs lefties, it’s less likely Gallo will be wearing a golden sombrero at the end of this one. Lastly, if Willi Castro makes the lineup, he has been good at exceeding value vs right-handed pitching.
If David Peterson has some control issues, there are a couple of Giants bats that could take advantage – Wilmer Flores was one of the few hitters that managed an extra-base hit vs Lucchesi yesterday, and usually bats second. If you need value, you can take a shot with Darin Ruf, who has a history of bouncing back and forth between the Giants and Mets and may want to get back at the franchise that lost patience with him this spring.
The Rays have been very good at home. Dylan Cease has been mostly solid but has had some issues with walks this season. The Lowes – Brandon Lowe & Josh Lowe – have both been crushing righties this year, even if they aren’t blood brothers. If you choose to fade Realmuto or the PHI game gets PPD, Francisco Mejía is a cheap catcher alternative that has popped recently vs right-handed pitching.
Other one-offs for the Early slate:
- If playing on FanDuel with the MIA@CLE game, Jorge Soler has been crushing baseballs lately.
- Cody Bellinger is enjoying serving up revenge HRs to his former team, with one each in his last three games vs LAD.
- Brandon Nimmo is on quite a heater lately, with 10 hits in his last three games. Jeff McNeil also has five hits in the SF series so far.
- Max Muncy is a dangerous threat in Wrigley Field, with a 100% pull rate in his last dozen righty pitches faced. David Peralta is also hitting well compared to his price.
More big names on the main slate – but the SP1 here is likely Luis Castillo. STL has been a bit up and down lately, but Castillo has only given up a total of two earned runs in his four starts this season. He’s probably the most balanced option in all formats.
For SP2, how spicy do you want to get? Joe Musgrove is making his season debut and reports suggest his strength and conditioning are where they are expected to be, so no forced pitch count. This isn’t the typical D-backs team that you may be used to picking on though = Personally, I’d wait and see on Musgrove, but he could surprise out of the gate.
Garrett Whitlock is very intriguing as MIL just lost Garrett Mitchell and they still have a number of bats that strike out at a generous rate. BOS might not be strong enough vs lefty Wade Miley to guarantee a win, however. For that reason, Miley can be considered as well.
Framber Valdez might be the second most talented arm on the slate behind Castillo (if Musgrove is a little rusty), but you could make the argument he’s had a good deal of luck on his side so far – and the Braves still have a few dangerous bats.
Kyle Gibson gets the Tigers in safe-ish Oriole Park, but there is some risk of rain that could affect his start. You’ll have to monitor this game closely if you want to chance it.
Likewise, targeting pitchers vs OAK is a popular play this season. After a rough open vs BAL to start the season, Andrew Heaney has had a good two games vs KC & HOU. Odds are if you pitch vs OAK, you’re going to have plenty of run support vs their weak starters & bullpen, but they’ve found a few hitters that can surprise if you’re not at the top of your game. This will be the popular SP2 play, but if you want to pivot for tournaments, this is where you should get different.
For me, if it’s cash, you go Heaney for SP2; for single entry I prefer taking a chance on Whitlock. If you want to really get creative, you can play a couple of cheap OAK bats looking to bust the Heaney chalk and pay up for Castillo + Musgrove. If DET@BAL plays, Gibson probably finishes with an as good or better score than Heaney at lower ownership.
The reason for fading Framber Valdez above is that HOU@ATL has some shootout potential with the wind blowing out to center. Austin Riley is always in play vs a lefty and Sean Murphy has been equally as dangerous since taking over the primary catcher role. Kevin Pillar is also viable if you need a value option.
Kyle Wright has been working himself back into starter shape and the results thus far have been a very mixed bag. Mauricio Dubón has the longest active hitting streak currently in MLB, going back to April 2nd. Behind him, Alex Bregman is starting to heat up as well, with hits in his last four games. Of course, HOU also has two of the most powerful lefty hitters in Yordan Alvarez & Kyle Tucker (I prefer Tucker for cash and Alvarez for tournaments just because of the slight difference in price).
Merrill Kelly is another pitcher that’s been up and down this year and he’s actually weaker vs power righties. Xander Bogaerts is the one Padre you can trust most nights, and I’m willing to put my money down that Kelly gives up the first HR of the season to Fernando Tatis Jr. in this spot.
The D-backs are a team that remain overlooked most nights, and their pricing continues to make them a great option for tournament stacks. If Musgrove isn’t sharp in his return, this game could be a high-scoring affair. Up top, Ketel Marte & Corbin Carroll have extra-base hit or multi-hit potential, and in the bottom half of the lineup, you have options in Pavin Smith, Alek Thomas, and Geraldo Perdomo. Alek Thomas tends to be good as a one-off play if you need a value OF most nights.
It seems like I am always writing an article on a day Shintaro Fujinami is pitching, and I swear it isn’t personal. Most nights you can just throw a stack vs OAK in a tournament and it’s a solid play. There is almost no hotter bat vs righties lately than Marcus Semien. Josh Jung & Jonah Heim have also been great plays vs righties. Remember when I said there were options if you wanted to bank on chalk Heaney busting? Jordan Diaz was just called up two games ago and then proceeded to hit a double in his first game and an HR yesterday in a pinch-hit spot. Esteury Ruiz & Conner Capel are bookends for the A’s lineup that are SB threats anytime they get on base. Lastly, Brent Rooker is in the cleanup spot with his 50% line-drive & 75% hard-hit rate vs lefties.
Tyler Anderson has given up 11 ER in his last two starts, and five of those have been HRs. Yikes. As much as people like to pick on KC, they have decent power vs lefties. Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez both have HR-hitting potential vs Anderson.
- If the DET@BAL game plays, it’s Ryan Mountcastle vs a lefty. Mounty smash!
- Jarred Kelenic continues to be a solid option for hits & RBI most nights.
- Jarren Duran is one of the hottest players on BOS right now, hitting both left and right-handed pitching. Kiké Hernández is also enjoying an eight-game hit streak.