Unfortunately yesterday’s picks didn’t pan out too well with Amir Garrett mostly stifling the Pirates’ bats while the Blue Jays’ offense continued their dreadful start to the season. Let’s turn things around immediately and cash on tonight’s six-game slate.
P – Jon Gray (COL) – $10,000 vs. SF
It’s been an interesting start to the season for Gray as he toes the rubber in San Francisco for his third start of the season tonight. Gray was cruising in the season opener in Milwaukee until getting suddenly rocked in the fifth inning and ended up surrendering five runs. His next start he lasted 5.1 innings on 94 pitches and gave up only one run, but struck out just one. He will pitch in the pitching-friendly confines of AT&T Park tonight in San Fran where he has a 2.92 ERA in two career starts. He also boasts has 10 K/9 in his career on the road, giving him solid upside as a strikeout pitcher in a friendly pitcher’s environment tonight.
P – Wei-Yin Chen (MIA) – $7,700 vs. NYM
Pitching is pretty thin on this slate tonight, so I will go with another pitcher that gets to pitch in a pitching-friendly venue. Chen pitched six innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts against these very Mets in his first start of the season and this time will get them on his home turf. Chen projects very close to a fly-ball pitcher, which makes him a good fit for the spacious Marlins Park, especially against left-handers who he allowed just 0.50 HR/9 to last season. He struggled against right-handed bats last season, but nonetheless makes for a solid play in this pitching-friendly venue.
C – Welington Castillo (BAL) – $3,500 vs. TOR
With just six games on the slate catching is a very thin position, so I decided to go with some power in a hitting-friendly venue. Castillo faces lefty Francisco Liriano of the Blue Jays tonight at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, a field that is notorious for turning into a launching pad at times. Castillo has a career .839 OPS against lefties compared to just .701 against righties while his hard contact rate against lefties sits at an impressive 39.7%. He makes for a solid one-off play at a thin position tonight.
1B – Joey Votto (CIN) – $4,900 vs. MIL
Votto is an on-base machine that will take his cuts at home tonight against Brewers’ right-hander Jimmy Nelson. Votto has a career .986 OPS against right-handed pitching and his hard contact rate against righties sits at 38.8% for his career. Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati is a hitting-friendly atmosphere and Nelson has surrendered 1.25 HR/9 to lefties in his career compared to 0.82 HR/9 to righties. Neither of those numbers are particularly terrible, however given Votto’s immense success against right-handed pitching this was an easy play for this slate.
2B – Jose Peraza (CIN) – $4,000 vs. MIL
Setting the table for Votto tonight will be speedster Jose Peraza who is on the brink of becoming a star player in this league. He won’t ever hit for a lot of power, but he makes plenty of contact and his speed kills. He has already swiped four bases on the season while producing a .297 batting average, giving Votto plenty of RBI opportunities. He is coming off of a three-hit effort his last time out while collecting a hit in seven of nine games he has appeared in this season, making him an excellent table setter tonight.
3B – Evan Longoria (TB) – $4,500 vs. NYY
Longoria is a very nice play at the third base position tonight. While he has just two hits in 11 at-bats against Yankees’ right-hander Luis Severino, one of those hits left the yard and the other went for a double. Severino boasts reverse splits in his brief MLB career, meaning right-handed bats have had more success against him than lefties have. He has surrendered 1.85 HR/9 against right handed hitters in his career and 2.25 HR/9 against right-handers at home, where he will pitch tonight. Look for Longoria to take advantage of these facts this evening.
SS – Hernan Perez (MIL) – $3,900 vs. CIN
A sneaky power/speed combo, Perez should be a fairly low-owned shortstop tonight in a hitter-friendly venue against a pitcher that, prior to this season, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in quite some time. Bronson Arroyo toes the rubber for the Reds tonight and could be in for a rough ride again after surrendering six earned runs across four innings in his first outing this season. Perez hit 13 homers and stole 34 bases last season and could very well do some more damage tonight against the worst pitcher on the slate.
OF – Corey Dickerson (TB) – $3,700 vs. NYY
Forming a mini-stack with Longoria, Dickerson makes for a solid play tonight at Yankee Stadium. The short porch in right field yields plenty of home runs to left-handed hitters and while Severino gives up more homers to right-handed bats, he has still yielded an elevated 1.67 HR/9 to lefties at home in his career. Dickerson has a career .887 OPS and .264 ISO against right-handed pitching in his career making him an excellent low-owned option tonight.
OF – Eric Thames (MIL) – $4,000 vs. MIL
In my opinion Thames is one of the biggest power threats on the slate tonight against a pitcher who we can certainly expect to surrender some runs tonight. Thames has jumped out to a .318 average with a homer and a whopping .991 OPS on the season after destroying Korean League pitching for the last few seasons. He has a hit in five straight games and a double in back-to-back contests as he has certainly been as advertised so far in his MLB return. He and Perez could form a nice mini stack tonight in a favorable matchup.
OF – Scott Schebler (CIN) – $3,800 vs. MIL
Finishing off the Reds stack is young outfielder Scott Schebler who boasts some nice power upside in this matchup. Schebler is hitting just .179 on the season so far, however his last four hits have all gone for extra bases with two doubles and two homers in that stretch. He will certainly be a low-owned outfielder tonight and projects to hit sixth in the order tonight, a spot where he could see some excellent run-producing opportunities.