Friday night was wild! If you had some combination of Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, Yasmany Tomas or Peter O’Brien, you can probably go ahead and hang up your cleats and enjoy your Mai Tai on the beach. Alas, I had shares of both Arizona outfielders, but I didn’t have Saunders anywhere due to paying for George Springer and Ryan Braun in that same price range. I did have a few 180 FDP lineups that let me win a little, but nothing life-altering. Oh well. Back to the grind, eh?
There are three different slates on FanDuel for Saturday’s games, with the largest being the Early Only slate at 2:10pm ET. That is where I will focus my attention. I will be updating the comments section of this article with any additional thoughts on Saturday’s plays (as I continue to do more research). Sometimes I love my first thoughts. Other times I hate them by the end of the day. We’ll see how it goes.
The Conundrum of the Day
Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros opened as -255 favorites against top prospect Cody Reed and the Cincinnati Reds. That number is now -270 as I type this morning. Why, I don’t know, as Keuchel has managed to win only one time in his last 11 starts. He is off limits for me in cash games, as the Reds are pretty middling against southpaws (but not bad). As a team, the Reds are 17th in wRC+ (96), 13th in wOBA (.320), and 14th in ISO (.165). That’s enough to make me question the Astros as such heavy favorites given Reed’s pedigree. A startling 89% of money is on the Reds, too, as of Saturday morning. Just another reason for me not to trust Keuchel.
I’m probably not trusting the Astros bats in a cash game situation, especially a night after managing only two runs through eleven innings against John Lamb and company. For tournaments though? Feel free to use your Astros bats, but I still want no part of Keuchel in a game with an 8.5 run total. You can’t make me do that to myself. I’ll take Altuve, Springer, Correa, and Evan Gattis in my GPPs if I roll out a Houston lineup (I will).
Note: Evan Gattis is ice cold at the moment and is strictly a tourney play. He had a terrible game on Friday with six men left on base and an 0 for 4 performance (and one walk). He is the perfect GPP play against a southpaw, though.
Adrian Sampson will make his big league debut for the Seattle Mariners against the Red Sox on Saturday, poor guy. Sampson had a below average 18.8% strikeout rate at Triple-A Tacoma in 2016, but he had a low walk percentage (3.7%) and didn’t allow home runs (0.56 HR/9). Maybe he’ll make the Red Sox work for it on Saturday. Maybe he’ll get shelled. The Red Sox are so expensive, and tough to stack in cash games. They’ll also be chalky. I’ll probably have a piece or two, but it’s not the primary route I’m going (mainly due to the price and to having a full game stack to target).
Just get boring and stack the Toronto bats, okay? The matchup against the formerly good Yovani Gallardo is excellent, and the absence of Joey Bautista to the DL makes it easier to save a little money. This might be the last day you get Ezequiel Carrera for a reasonable price, so enjoy it while you can. This is NOT a day where I am fading the guy who hit three home runs last night. Michael Saunders is $3,700 on FanDuel and he and Carrera make it so easy to stack Toronto. Perhaps game theory points you elsewhere in your tournaments, but in cash games it is difficult to look away from the four main pieces of Toronto (add in Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion). There is so much upside with this team, and Gallardo actually has a higher HR/9 to right-handed hitters—1.00 compared to 0.83 to left-handed hitters. He walks left-handed bats more, though—further solidifying my affinity for the affordable Carrera and Saunders...especially in cash games.
Another Stack of the Day
The New York Yankees draw Ricky Nolasco in Minnesota today, which means you consider stacking them. In recent years, Nolasco has been slightly more vulnerable to same-handed hitters, while Alex Rodriguez has a slightly higher career ISO against RHPs (.256 compared to .249 against southpaws). Both marks are great, but the point is A-Rod is a big power threat from the right side against a same-handed pitcher. He is my favorite Yankee bat today, but I like the stack as well after the Yankees piled on eight runs in Minnesota on Friday night. Carlos Beltran is healthy again and has a .216 career ISO against right-handed pitchers, so consider him as well.
One Value Bat
Yadier Molina ($2,500) vs Nick Martinez is too cheap to pass up. Molina is a reverse-splits guy, with a 100 wRC+ and .280/.354/.373 slash against same-handed pitchers so far in 2016. We don’t have data on Martinez yet in 2016, but in 2015 he logged 62.2 innings against right-handed hitters and allowed a slash of .303/.378/.527 along with a .388 wOBA. Against left-handed hitters he was pretty average with a .297 wOBA and .233/.314/.362 slash. So yes, the stars align for Yadier Molina today.
Stud of the Day
After the Toronto bats smashed five home runs on Friday night, this title must needs go to one of them against a pitcher making his first start off the DL whose fastball velocity is sitting in the high 80s right now. The run total in this game is 9.5 and 98% of the money is on the over. You can stack either side, and my preferred Baltimore bat is Manny Machado (who has hit Dickey very well with a .368 batting average in 19 at-bats). However, the STUD of the day goes to Josh Donaldson, who has a 42.4% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching so far in 2016, along with a .316 ISO and 14 of his 17 home runs. Not bad for a lefty-masher, eh?