Reminder: Always double check the lineup card before rosters lock to make sure that a player you've chosen to roster is playing that day, and check the weather to make sure your players won't get rained out of their game.
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OF- Nelson Cruz ($4,000) vs Martin Perez
Cruz has been one of the games most elite lefty mashers the last two seasons; his 187 wRC+ ranks first vs LHP, and his .289 ISO is third. Cruz gets a park upgrade in Texas and faces Martin Perez, a below average lefty. Perez has allowed a .290/.353/.415 slash to RHB the last two seasons.
Giants lefties: 1B Brandon Belt ($3,000), 2B Joe Panik ($2,600) vs Jimmy Nelson
The Giants get a big park upgrade in Milwaukee and face Jimmy Nelson. Nelson has allowed a .283/.365/.474 slash to LHB the last 2 seasons with a 4.91 FIP.
Joe Panik is hitting second in the order in front of Buster Posey and has a 124 wRC+ vs RHP the last 2 seasons. He won't hit for much power (.116 ISO), but his lineup slot and above average OBP puts him in a good position to score runs in front of Posey, Pence and Belt.
As for Belt: I don't put any stock into spring training statistics at all. What I do value from spring is health, and I had concerns about Brandon Belt coming into the year with his concussion history. But Belt looked fantastic this spring health wise; he was squaring up balls all over the place and appeared to be suffering no ill effects from the concussions. He had 3 hits, 2 doubles and a walk yesterday on opening day, furthering my confidence in his health. Belt has a 133 wRC+ and .211 ISO vs RHP the last 2 seasons and will be in good position to tee off on Nelson today.
Dodgers lefties vs James Shields
Shields got obliterated by LHB last year, allowing tons of home runs (2.16 per 9) and tons of walks (11.6% walk rate). He put together a miserable 6.11 FIP with a .278/.368/.522 slash to LHB. There's a good chance he'll put some lefties on base at the very least, with upside for some dingers. Rookie stud Corey Seager ($3,500) can provide strong production from a weak SS position, and he's hitting second in the order. PetCo also isn't the pitcher's paradise anymore that it has traditionally been, possibly due to downtown construction changing ballpark wind patterns.
Thoughts on the early slate
This is the pitching for the early slate: Price, Keuchel, Thor, Kluber, Tanaka, and Chris Young. Chris Young is the lowest on that list, and he generally prevents runs well for 5 or 6 innings and then the KC bullpen takes over in an effort to get him out around the third time through the order. I don't see a whole lot to exploit from this slate, and I'll likely avoid it. I do love Syndergaard long term, but not against this Royals lineup that probably won't allow for a high strikeout total.
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