Welcome to our MLB Daily Fantasy Breakdown! Today, we have a nice slate of Saturday night baseball.
You may be wondering why I am only covering the night slate. I am not going to be around to set lineups for the day slate. Most of the plays I like are righties for Tampa Bay and with lineups locking a full 5 hours before the start of the game, and two hours before I will be leaving, it seemed like the best decision to focus on the larger slate of games.
I have been working tirelessly on creating a projection system. As of today, I am still pretty far away from that, but I’m getting there. I will probably roll out pitcher projections first, and then move to hitters. It is very important to me to get realistic figures. If I think Mark Trumbo is going to hit two homeruns [like I did on Thursday!], I don’t want to create a projection system that puts him at 9 points. It needs to accurately reflect my thoughts mixed with analytics.
The first thing I notice on the night slate is the potential for a lot of rain, so be sure to keep that in mind.
From here on out, we will be doing a game by game breakdown of the slate. If you like what you see, don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter @researchandwin and let us know we helped you or yell at us for leading you down the wrong path.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the picks:
CINCINNATI REDS @ PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Vegas has the total of this game set at 7 with Philadelphia as sizable home favorites. I’m sorry Reds fans, this is your reality now. Boasting one of the worst starting units and bullpen, the Reds trot Tim Adleman to the mound today to face the Phillies. This isn’t a situation where I think Adleman is so bad that I want to load up against him tonight, but absolutely understand taking some Phillies in tournaments. Ryan Howard is cheap, has hit righties well in his career [not this year though], and could be a guy who wins you lots of money if he has a big game. This is 2016 Ryan Howard though, so lower your expectations.
Aaron Nola is one of my favorite up and coming pitchers, and gets to ply his trade tonight against the Reds, who may in fact be every bit as bad as the Phillies. As we saw in the barn burner yesterday, it is difficult for the Reds to muster up offense unless they are facing off against gas cans. I don’t look at Nola as that by any means. I think Nola is a good target in both formats tonight. As far as the Reds bats go, there are a handful I would look at in tournaments only.
CASH PLAYS: Nola
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Herrera, Howard, Franco, Galvis, Cozart, Phillips, Duvall, Votto, Bruce
DETROIT TIGERS @ BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Vegas has the total of this game set at 9.5 with the Orioles as home favorites. With a total this high, the first thing we can do is eliminate the pitchers. Both ranked near the bottom of our projections for the day. Anibal Sanchez will be on the mound for the Tigers tonight, and I would absolutely look toward the Orioles for both cash and tournament plays tonight. When a team total is over 5, that’s a great place to start looking. Without question, Adam Jones is the place to start here, as he is seeing the ball very well right now.
Mike Wright could very well see his ERA rise again today, playing a Tigers team most likely seething after being shutdown by the vastly improved Chris Tillman. This could be a great opportunity for Nick Castellanos to get back into his grove, or for the cheaply priced Miguel Cabrera to have that seemingly elusive big game.
CASH PLAYS: Jones, V. Martinez, Castellanos, Cabrera
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Davis, Machado, Kinsler, Moya, Trumbo
MIAMI MARLINS @ WASHINGTON NATIONALS
There are still some question marks with this game, as we only know Tanner Roark is pitching. It is the second half of a double header. Tanner Roark is going to be on the mound for Washington tonight, and I like him in both formats. He will allow you to fit big bats in around him. With Strasburgh on the mound in the morning slate, I am wondering if the Marlins will roll out a weaker lineup and save the firepower for the night. For now, I am going to just assume it will be a normal lineup and recommend everyone as a tournament play only, outside of Roark.
CASH PLAYS: Roark
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Harper, Murphy, Rendon, Stanton, Bour, Dietrich, Yelich, Ozuna
SAN DIEGO PADRES @ MILWAUKEE BREWERS
As of now, Vegas cannot seem to put a total on the game, or a favorite. The Padres are dealing with enough injuries to their pitching staff that they are sending reliever Luis Perdomo to the mound. He won’t be in the game very long, so I wouldn’t be looking to roster him. The Brewers are in play tonight, as they will be going against what is going to become a very tired Padre bullpen.
One time, Wily Peralta won me a tournament. Not a ten man, but an almost 60k entry tournament. That year was 2016. It was only 3 weeks ago. He was in a similar position, against the Phillies, and he pitched something like 5 innings, 6 strikeouts and a win. Sadly, that is a good outing for Peralta. The thing is though, getting 30-35 points from someone in his price range is like getting 70 points from a Scherzer or Kershaw.If you are convinced bats are where it is at tonight, Peralta is likely to be a very low owned option in tournaments. I don’t hate Padres bats, but I’m probably going to have a handful of Peralta tonight.
CASH PLAYS: Braun, Villar, Lucroy
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Peralta, Carter, Kemp, Upton
ATLANTA BRAVES @ KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Vegas has the total of this game set at 8.5 total with the Royals as sizable home favorites. Mike Foltynewicz is on the mound for the Braves tonight, so roll out your Royals. Eric Hosmer is my favorite, followed by Lorenzo Cain, but there are a few others I think that make solid plays tonight.
The Royals are having a high degree of difficulty with their pitching staff, so reliever Dillon Gee will be making a start tonight. Gee has started before, so it is possible that we could see a full outing [I mean like 6 innings]. I am not wild about the idea of using him against the Braves, as in short samples this year, he hasn’t handled lefties very well. I always like Freddie Freeman as a low owned tournament option.
CASH PLAYS: Hosmer, Cain
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Perez, Gordon, Culbert, Freeman, Markakis, Smith
TORONTO BLUE JAYS @ TEXAS RANGERS
Vegas has the total of this game set at 9 with the Blue Jays as road favorites. Marco Estrada is pitching for the Jays today. Even though the total here is relatively high, a lot of the is conjecture on part of the stadium. While I don’t see myself rostering Estrada today, I don’t think I’m going to come out in full force against him. I could see using some Rangers in tournaments because they can score in bunches, but they aren’t my favorite target today.
Colby Lewis has been a known target for some time, but he gets a Blue Jays lineup that mostly looks like the inverse of what it was last year. Every statistical factor says to target the Jays tonight – just be prepared for a 10-20% success rate with that. I will have some in my tournament lineups, but I would much rather look into some teams that are scoring runs at a good clip in their respective series.
CASH PLAYS: none
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Donaldson, Bautista, Pillar, Encarnacion, Saunder, Tulowitzki, Mazara, Odor, Desmond, Moreland, Fielder
NEW YORK METS @ COLORADO ROCKIES
Vegas has the total of this game set at 11 with the Mets as road favorites. The pitchers on the mound tonight make this the game to target, in my opinion. Logan Verrett, reliever [how did we get so many reliever spot start tonight?], is going to be fed to the wolves tonight. He hasn’t really played poorly, but he doesn’t typically pitch many innings. He likely won’t get to tonight either, as the Rockies should knock him out rather quickly. There are going to be expensive, but I definitely would get exposure where you can. Well, except CarGo. He doesn’t have it together right now.
Eddie Butler is the meat served to the Mets tonight, and hopefully this will be enough to make their Bats come to life. Butler is no Jon Gray, who I’m happy to see is becoming a solid pitcher. Butler is being hit by anything and everything, especially lefties, and we know the Mets have lefties. I probably prefer the Mets side to the Rockies side tonight.
CASH PLAYS: Granderson, Conforto, Duda, Walker, Blackmon, Parra, Cespedes
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Wright, Cabrera, Plawecki, Story, Arenado,
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS @ ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Vegas has the total of this game set at 9.5 with Arizona as home favorites. Jake Peavy will get the start for San Francisco, and this is a prime spot to target the Diamondbacks, as Peavy has seen better days. I would give a slight bump to the lefties, and, as always, I am hoping Chris Hermann plays, as this is an excellent fit for him. Diamondbacks are one of my top offenses on the night. Chris Owings is a great plug at just 2.1k on FanDuel. He usually does something and can hit the long ball and could turn into a great low priced option.
With a lefty on the mound, some of the Giants lineup is neutralized. That is OK. I’ll still take some of the righties and feel good about things. My favorites would be Panik and Duffy, though Pagan is there as well. You may be wondering why I am leaving out Posey. He, much like CarGo, just doesn’t have “it” lately. If you want to be successful, you need to look past these inane ideas that everything is matchup based. Fine, you can play Posey and be successful 10% of the time while he is struggling, but ten percent success will send you broke quickly. I am much more along the mentality that I am fine with taking a guy on the second day of his hot streak than getting the first day of his hot streak wrong five times. It’s pretty simple math.
CASH PLAYS: Lamb, Hermann, Peralta, Segura, Owings, Goldschmidt, Panik, Duffy
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Drury, Castillo, Pence, Pagan
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS @ LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Vegas has the total of this game set at 7.5 with it as a toss up. Carlos Martinez is up for the Cardinals. I think this matchup is a good one for him, as the Dodgers can be shut down and Martinez is an above average pitcher. I think the Dodgers lefties could make for good tournament plays though. I probably prefer Martinez as a tournament play tonight.
Scott Kazmir is having a poor start to the year, really only achieving one good start. The Cardinals overall, do hit left handers pretty well, but I will have two main focuses in cash and tournaments tonight: Stephen Piscotty and Aledmys Diaz. Believe it or not, but Piscotty has been ELITE to start the year so far against left-handers. In 38 plate appearances, he has a .540 wOba and 242 wRC+! That’s nasty!
CASH PLAYS: Piscotty, Diaz
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Martinez, Carpenter, Molina, Wong, Grichuk, Holliday, Utley, Pederson, Grandal, Gonzalez
LOS ANGELES ANGELS @ SEATTLE MARINERS
Vegas has the total of this game set at 7.5 with Seattle as a home favorite. Given how the Angels have suddenly come alive, I’ll take the over. They will be sending newly acquired Jhoulys Chacin to the mound against the Mariners tonight. I’m not going to be looking at him in this game at all, but the top 5 of the Mariners lineup are in play in tournaments.
Hisashi Iwakuma will be on the mound tonight for the Mariners. He’s got good strikeout stuff, but ultimately can’t keep other teams from scoring. He makes for a decent tournament option, as if his stuff is good, and the Angels don’t score, he could be a low owned player with a high score. With how they have been playing though, I would much prefer just targeting Angels hitters tonight
CASH PLAYS: Trout, Iannetta, Cron
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Iwakuma, Pujols, Cruz, Cano, Marte, Smith, Aoki, Seager