It’s great to have baseball back, isn’t it?
I took off from my full-time gig as a teacher to stay home, play some DFS and watch baseball all day. These are the kinds of sacrifices you have to make for a day that should be a national holiday.
Move over Christopher Columbus, you and the pilgrims can go eff yourself! Opening Day is America’s pastime!
This time of the year is just awesome anyway – Opening Day, the Men’s Final Four and Master’s week. Two great weekends of sports all in a week’s time. I don’t know that there is a better week of sports at any other point of the year.
As I talked about in the MLB Value Index Monday, we will be bringing you this series 5-days a week. The Index will be premium content at certain points of the week, but for this week, you get a free preview every day!
We had a strong opener Monday, so I hope we can build some momentum off of Monday’s performances. And if you are just joining us, I will provide my favorite plays at each position, so that’s one pitcher, catcher, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, and an outfielder.
So, without further adieu…
Analysis: Japanese pitchers have a rich history of having lofty expectations with upside. But many don’t live up to expectations. Nomo, Irabu, Daisuke, Darvish and Tanaka are a few names that come to mind. Maeda is next in the line to see if he can shake the stigma and flourish in the majors. So far, so good. Yesterday we had Kershaw at home against the Padres, next in line to begin mowing down the San Diego Fathers is Maeda, who was 2-1 in four starts, allowing just 8 ER while striking out 27 in 22 IP. Maeda doesn’t eat up the innings sometimes, but I am hopeful that we see progression with a year in the majors under his belt. The Padres have a lot of young talent, but they won’t be as good as they were last year. This is the time to really target pitchers against SD, when they lack experience and likely confidence.
Analysis: I talked yesterday of a list of pitchers that I have much hatred for in DFS, but I have hitter list that is just the opposite. That list is the guys I will always play against left and right-handed starting pitchers. Buster Posey is on that list, so is Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz, Kris Bryant and even Danny Valencia. What do all of those names have in common? They eat up left-handed pitching. Posey and the Giants get take 2 in Arizona tonight as they square off against lefty Patrick Corbin. Pricing for this game is super strange. Corbin is the cheapest pitcher on the board in one of the best hitters’ parks in baseball. Generally, that means bats will be priced up, but that is not the case here. Posey comes in under $4K on DraftKings and his numbers against lefties are great. He has a .310 average with a .377 wOBA, a .199 ISO and a 37.5% hard contact rate. This is a hitter’s park where Corbin had a 5.57 ERA in home games in 2016. I don’t know how sneaky the Giants will be tonight, but I am going all in no matter what starting with Posey.
Analysis: Coming in as a sneaky offensive stack are the New York Yankees. Many will chase the lefties against Jake Odorizzi because L/R splits. But many won’t know that Odorizzi is a reverse-splits pitcher and actually is very strong against lefty bats. Where he struggles is with RH bats. Also what most people won’t realize are how strong some of the Yanks’ RH bats are against RH pitching. Odorizzi owns a .332 wOBA vs. righties to go along with a 3.2 K/BB walk rate, 1.48 HR/9 rate and a 31.4% hard contact rate. Holliday has been strong against RH bats the past three years, owning a .339 wOBA with a .153 ISO and a 36% hard contact rate. Holliday is a cheap 1B option that is likely to go overlooked. Oh, and Holliday has 2 HRs off of Odorizzi in 5 ABs.
Analysis: Remember that list against lefties I have? Altuve is on that list, too. But he’s on my always ready to play list because he’s Altuve and is the defending AL batting champion. He has his own unit of measurement named after him because of his height. That’s balling. Altuve should see most of his ABs tonight against Hisashi Iwakuma, a pitcher is 16-for-38 against with 6 doubles, a home run and two steals. This Astros’ lineup is going to be tough for pitchers to navigate through this year and so it’s going to be hard to pitch around Altuve, who has a .319 batting average and .352 wOBA against RH pitching. Altuve disappointed people last night, so I expect the ownership to dip some today, too, though he is weirdly underpriced.
Analysis: I keep talking about lists, but a couple of buddy’s of mine and I are working on a list that is the “Anti Top 10.” That means we are working on a list of 10 players we despise for a myriad of reasons – pure hatred, think they are overrated, think they are overpaid, think they are douches, or don’t hustle. Evan Longoria has made this list. I think he’s one of the most overrated 3B in the league. He can’t hit right handed bats and doesn’t elevate his team to be better. He’s not a horrible player by any means, but he hasn’t met expectations in my eyes. But luckily for us, Longoria and the Rays are not facing a right-handed starting pitcher. They are facing an continuously aging C.C. Sabathia. Now if you don’t believe in BvP, what say you to Longo’s 7 HRs against Sabathia in 72 ABs against C.C.? He’s hitting .403 and owns a .500 OBP against the Yanks’ southpaw. We can back that success up with more data, as Longo mashes lefty pitching. In the past three years, Longo has a .289 average with a .355 wOBA, and a .200 ISO against lefties. He has a 33% hard contact rate as well.
Analysis: The Brewers ruined a big night for me yesterday, shelling Jon Gray in the 5th inning. I am not happy about that still. The Brewers are more apt to light up a left handed pitcher than a right handed one, so while I want to stack the Brewers here, Tyler Anderson is a very capable pitcher that could make me go 0-2 in this series. But nonethless, Orlando Arcia has my eye at SS. In his brief stint in the majors, Arcia sports a .283 batting average and a .368 wOBA and a .174 ISO. He also has a 14.8% walk rate against lefties as well. The sample size is small, but it’s enough for me at this price tag in a game with one of the higher totals on the board. Anderson has given up a .273 average and a .333 wOBA to RH bats in his career and is allowing 1.25 HR/9 as well. Miller Park is a hitter’s paradise, but will lightning strike twice for the Brew Crew? Let’s hope at least for Arcia.
Analysis: We have a few BvP darlings on tonight’s slate. Hunter Pence falls into that category. He hasn’t hit lefties as well the past three season as his teammate Buster has, but Pence has a respectable .333 wOBA and a.171 ISO with a 31.7% hard contact rate. Pence gets a huge boost due to the ballpark and Corbin’s inability to pitch well in said ballpark. In 25 ABs, Pence has 12 hits, 3 2Bs, 1 3Bs, 4 HRs, 9 RBIs and 2 BBs. He’s making hard contact against Corbin and I don’t have a reason why this success shouldn’t continue tonight at the Stadium formerly known as the BOB.