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Hitting: early slate
Tigers vs Jon Niese
It's really cold in Detroit right now, so fly balls won't travel as far as they normally do when the summer rolls around. But among hitters in the early slate, the Tigers look best to me against Jon Niese. Niese, a lefty, faces a Tigers lineup that packs a lot of right handed punch. Niese has allowed a below average .266/.330/.420 slash to RHB since 2014 and doesn't have big swing and miss stuff, so more good fortune can happen on balls in play. JD Martinez ($3,300) stands out the most at his modest price; he's hit LHP to an elite 159 wRC+ and .298 ISO since 2014. Among qualified outfielders, Martinez's .298 ISO is best in baseball against LHP since 2014. With where Martinez is priced currently, he's a strong play against most left handed pitchers.
There's some evidence that suggests that hitters coming off a series in Colorado may be prone to lesser production in the immediate games that follow away from Coors Field because of the stark change in park environment. I don't know is this has been proven to be fact, but the theory goes that in Colorado, the pitches don't move as much, breaking pitches don't break as well, and pitchers tend to pitch a little bit differently because of the park environment. When hitters suddenly move away into a more neutral environment, breaking pitches are sharper, and there's a stronger pitch mix being thrown at hitters. It messes with their timing. It's supposedly why Rockies hitters have such poor road statistics, even adjusting for run scoring environment with stats like OPS+ or wRC+.
This probably affects Rockies players a lot more than a visiting team coming in for only 3-4 games, but the effect still appears to be there to some degree for everyone. That said, the Padres are coming off a 3 game series in Colorado, and they face one of my favorite young pitchers in the NL, Aaron Nola ($6,800). Nola has an above average 3.40 ERA to start his career with a 22% strikeout rate. The Padres lineup is not very good in terms of overall skill, either. Nola looks like a good bet to pitch well, although the Phillies dumpster fire bullpen and weak lineup makes getting the win look dicey. Nola provides some salary relief to pick better hitters, as well.
Nationals vs Bud Norris
Norris is probably the weakest pitcher in the late game. He has allowed a 4.75 ERA to LHB with a .269/.343/.466 slash since 2014, and a 4.55 ERA with a .245/.313/.412 slash to RHB. Obviously, Bryce Harper ($5,200) is an elite play today, but you already knew that, and he's very expensive. Daniel Murphy ($3,300) has been hitting for a lot of power since making a swing adjustment last season and will remain a strong option at 2B going forward against below average RHP.
Punt play: Adam Lind ($2,300) vs Colby Lewis
If a fantasy owner needs a cheap, productive play to fit a higher priced pitcher into their lineup, Lind looks like a good option. Lind has hit RHP to a strong 145 wRC+ and .196 ISO since 2014 and faces a RHP who has allowed a .289/.342/.465 slash to lefties since 2014 with a 4.68 ERA.
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