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Hump day baseball! We have eight-game main slates on both DraftKings and FanDuel today. There’s no Coors on today’s slate as the Rockies play a day game, so we miss out on DK’s underpriced Diamondbacks. Blake Snell is on the bump against the Red Sox, but Snell threw just 59 pitches his last time out, so it will be tough to trust him to go deep and he doesn’t come at a discount. So, let’s take a look at the top plays, as well as a couple of value plays from Fade The Noise for the day’s slate.
Top SP: Zack Greinke, HOU ($10,300 DK, $9,800 FD) vs. SFG
Today’s pitching is pretty tough. Zack Greinke looks like the clearcut safest play on today’s slate as he gets a matchup with the Giants in Houston. The strikeouts haven’t been there for Greinke but he’s done a decent job of keeping hitters off-balance. Following a rough opening outing against the Mariners, Greinke has gone 11.2 IP while allowing just two earned runs. He’s also struck out nine batters while walking just one in that time. His opponent, the Giants, have been scrappy this year, but lack the power that we fear which could lead to a blow-up start.
I want to like Julio Urias today, but the Padres are making it extremely difficult. For the year, the Padres have mashed left-handed pitching, especially recently, posting a .545 ISO over the last seven days in 35 plate appearances against southpaws. It makes sense when you’re looking at their lineup with tough right-handed hitters riddled from top to bottom. From Fernando Tatis to Manny Machado to Tommy Pham to Wil Myers and all the way down to newcomer Edward Olivares. I know Urias has the talent, but the safety that I look for just isn’t there today.
Honorable Mentions: Kenta Maeda, MIN ($9,100 DK, $8,700 FD) at MIL
Value SP: Taijuan Walker, SEA ($6,800 DK, $6,700 FD) at TEX
The Taijuan Walker pick comes with a qualifier — Globe Life Park’s roof must be closed. We only have a one game sample size of the stadium with the roof open, but that game produced double the runs when compared to the stadium with the roof closed (six runs per game). Walker has been a mixed bag to start the year, allowing line drives (25.6%) and having control issues (10.2%). But as I mentioned, pitching is tough today. The good thing for Walker is that the Rangers bats have been chilly. On the year, the Rangers rank next to last in wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Given the soft bats, Walker should be good to pay off his price on today’s slate.
OF Nelson Cruz, MIN ($5,300 DK, $3,800 FD) at MIL
It’s Nelson Cruz against a lefty day! Since the start of 2019, Cruz has posted an absurd .477 ISO and .481 wOBA against left-handed pitchers. Today’s lefty is Eric Lauer, whose StatCast page is riddled with “blue” numbers, including allowing a hard-hit rate that places him in the bottom 16% of the league. There is one thing that I don’t love about the Twins bats today and that’s facing the Brewers bullpen. Don’t get me wrong, if they get off to a hot start against Lauer, they should face the mediocre arms of their bullpen, but as a whole, the Brewers have posted 2.96 ERA on the year.
SS Fernando Tatis, Jr., SD ($5,500 DK, $4,400 FD) at LAD
Originally, I had Alex Bregman in this spot, but I wrote about the Astros in the Stack Target section, so I wanted to highlight a different team. What Fernando Tatis, Jr. is doing this year is nothing short of spectacular. The sophomore Padre has mashed eight homers, which trails only Aaron Judge while being tied for the lead in stolen bases with five. Oh, and he’s doing this while batting over .300. The Padres face Julio Urias today, who I have respect for, but he has posted just a 6.6% K-BB%. The league average tends to hover around 14%. That’s the main factor in the difference between his 2.40 ERA and his 5.13 SIERA. The other factor in that is his allowing of a 53.3% hard-hit rate. That’s not going to fly today with the Padres. Tatis also tops FTN’s Hot Hitter Report.
Value Batter: 1B Rhys Hoskins, PHI ($3,800 DK, $2,900 FD) vs. BAL
As a Phillies fan, I’ve been a little critical of Rhys Hoskins‘ approach at the plate. Sure, he’s posted a 28.3% walk rate to start the season, but when you watch his at-bats, he’s so patient that he’s become a three true outcomes hitter — walk, strikeout, or meh contact. Despite being on base at a .435 clip, he has just six runs scored to show for it and just one RBI. Instead of being up there to walk, like me as a little leaguer, I wanted to see him get aggressive in those 2-0, 3-1 counts. And that’s just what I saw last night. In his first at-bat, he swung at a first pitch fastball and hit a long flyout. Yes, it’s still an out, but it’s an aggressive out. On his fifth plate appearance, he lined a 2-0 pitch back up the middle for a base hit. These are signs of life from the Phillies first baseman and he still comes with a decent floor from his walk rate. The Phillies face a lefty today in Wade LeBlanc. The Orioles southpaw has allowed 11 earned runs in 14.2 IP to open the year. On the flip side of things, the Phillies have hit lefties really hard to start the year, posting a .921 OPS, third-highest in the league.
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Tucker, OF ($3,600 DK; $2,800 FD) vs. SFG; Josh Reddick, OF ($3,400 DK; $2,400 FD) vs. SFG; Gleyber Torres, SS ($2,700 FD) vs. ATL; Andrew McCutchen, OF ($4,100 DK; $2,400 FD) vs. BAL; Mitch Garver, C/1B ($2,300 FD) at MIL
Lineup Stack: Astros vs. Giants (RHP Trevor Cahill)
Trevor Cahill?!? There’s a name I haven’t thought about in a long time. Apparently Cahill was added to the Giants taxi squad just three days ago and is getting the call for his first start of the season. I’m not sure what to expect from Cahill in terms of being stretched out, but regardless, I’m playing the Astros bats. The Giants bullpen has been brutal, posting a 5.05 ERA on the year and things haven’t gotten any better as that number is 5.61 over the last week. So, no matter who the Giants throw after Cahill, I’m comfortable with stacking the Astros bats.
The good part about the Astros is their leadoff and number two hitter, Kyle Tucker ($3,600 DK; $2,800 FD) and Josh Reddick ($3,400 DK; $2,400 FD), are both very affordable. This makes getting bats like Alex Bregman ($5,700 DK; $4,000 FD), Michael Brantley ($4,500 DK; $3,000 FD), Yuli Gurriel ($4,600 DK; $2,900 FD), and Carlos Correa ($4,500 DK; $3,300 FD) very doable. The Astros 5.5 projected run total on FTN’s Lineup Optimizer is second to only the Dodgers today. Good luck today!
Honorable Mentions: Phillies vs. Orioles; Yankees vs. Braves; Dodgers vs. Padres
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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)