Thursday’s On the Hill column will focus on the small four-game “main” night slate. Oh where, oh where have the ace pitchers gone?!?! Thursday’s slate is sure void of top of the line pitchers as we are now on the fourth day of the MLB season. So, I needed to look for an angle to help find the right choice which is why I turned to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) for guidance.
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Let’s mow down the competition 3 Up and 3 Down…
Marcus Stroman (FD-$7,500 / DK-$8,700)
Stroman was one of the heroes of the WBC for the USA on their way to winning the title but he wasn’t the only MLB pitcher that has success in the WBC. There were seven other MLB starting pitchers that throw at least five innings in the WBC with an ERA under 2.50 (Danny Duffy, Felix Hernandez, Carlos Martinez, Edinson Volquez, Julio Teheran, Hector Santiago and Jose Quintana). All of those pitchers had a successful opening start for their MLB teams except Quintana. Excluding Quintana, the other six starters have a 2.23 ERA and 41 Ks in 36.1 innings this season. Look for Stroman to be the next starter to take advantage of pitching in meaningful games in the WBC. Oh, and the Rays’ 24.2% strikeout rate against righties last season.
Robbie Ray (FD-$7,600 / DK-$8,300)
On a night where all of the pitchers are technically value options, Ray stands out as the pitcher with the biggest strikeout upside on the slate. Ray had 11.25 K/9 last season and a 28.1% strikeout rate. His matchup with the Giants is not ideal as the Giants struck out only 18.4% of the time against lefties last season but when you are looking for upside in DFS you need Ks and Ray has the best chance to give them to you on this slate.
Jaime Garcia (FD-$7,200 / DK-$7,200)
Garcia will make his first start for the Braves against Matt Harvey and the Mets. I expect Harvey to be the highest owned pitcher on the slate due to his potential upside based on this season two years ago. However, with Harvey’s recent struggles, I would avoid him until we see him string together a few good starts. So, a pivot to his counterpart, Garcia makes for a nice contrarian play and even saves you about $1,000 of salary off the higher priced mid-level starters on the slate.
Diamondbacks vs. Jeff Samardzija
Samardzija struggled with the long ball away from home last season allowing 1.34 HR/9 on the road.
Paul Goldschmidt (FD-$4,400 / DK-$5,200) – Typically performs better at home where he had a .226 ISO and .391 wOBA last season.
Jake Lamb (FD-$3,100 / DK-$4,100) – Last season Lamb had a .319 ISO at home which is where he will be on Thursday.
David Peralta (FD-$2,600 / DK-$3,800) – Peralta has a .225 ISO and .388 wOBA at home in his career.
AJ Pollock (FD-$3,600 / DK-$4,200) – Pollock looks like he might be back to his 2015 form hitting .500 with a homer and steal in his first three games of the season.
Astros vs. Ariel Miranda
Miranda has only started 10 games in the big leagues so far but has struggled against righties so far allowing 11 home runs in just 47.1 innings (2.09 HR/9). Stack up the Astros right-handed bats at the top of their lineup.
George Springer (FD-$3,900 / DK-$4,500) – Springer already has two homers this season and could make it three (or four) after Thursday.
Alex Bregman (FD-$3,200 / DK-$4,000) – Bregman has a .205 ISO against lefties at home so far in his career.
Jose Altuve (FD-$3,900 / DK-$4,900) – Altuve provides more power when he plays at home where he hit 15 of his 24 homers last season with a .212 ISO.
Carlos Correa (FD-$3,900 / DK-$4,800) – Correa is better against righties but with limited SS option on a small slate and money to spend, Correa is still a solid play.
Braves vs. Matt Harvey
Harvey hasn’t been able to live up to the hype he generated in the 2013 season falling to injuries and decreased performance over the last three seasons. He will look to right the ship this year but until we see progress it is worth trying to pick on him with an off the radar Braves stack.
Freddie Freeman (FD-$3,600 / DK-$4,300) – Freeman posted a .293 ISO (.317 on the road) against righties last season.
Matt Kemp (FD-$3,200 / DK-$3,900) – Kemp performs better against lefties but can take any pitcher deep with 24 homers versus righties last season.
Ender Inciarte (FD-$2,800 / DK-$3,600) – Inciarte is still looking for his first hit of the season so he should be way under the radar batting leadoff for the Braves.
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