Welcome to a fresh week of MLB baseball! With Monday giving a handful of teams the day off we have a little bit of a lighter slate on our hands with nine games on tap. However, there are plenty of intriguing matchups on that draft board so let’s get to it!
P – Danny Salazar (CLE) – $10,300 vs. MIN
With the first pick of the day let’s go with the pitcher who I believe has the most strikeout upside in the form of Danny Salazar. Salazar posted a sizable 10.55 K/9 figure last season while pitching to a 3.87 ERA and 3.74 FIP. He will take on a Minnesota offense tonight that finished in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories last season, due in large part to the pitching-friendly environment of Target Field in Minnesota where this game will take place tonight. While he needs to be pitching deeper into games, we are after the strikeouts here and Salazar should rack up plenty of them this evening.
P – Charlie Morton (HOU) – $6,500 vs. LAA
My second pitcher of the night will come out of Houston where Charlie Morton and the Astros will host the Angels. Morton missed almost all of last season with an arm injury but has come back this season with increased velocity, averaging 95.5 MPH on his four-seam fastball compared to 92.1 MPH in 2015. That has helped him improve his K/9 to 8.18 so far this season compared to just 6.70 in 2015. Morton could be an undercover source of strikeouts while limiting the damage all around this season.
C – J.T. Realmuto (MIA) – $3,400 vs. SEA
Realmuto has gotten off to a red-hot start at this plate this season with a .395 batting average and a 1.110 OPS through ten contests. His right-handed bat has moved up to the two hole for the Marlins which will once against be an optimal spot in front of some big boppers tonight against the left-handed Ariel Miranda. Miranda carries a 5.06 ERA into tonight’s contest and has given up 2.21 HR/9 against right-handed hitters in his brief career. This is a great spot for Realmuto to keep the good times rolling this evening.
1B – Wil Myers (SD) – $4,400 vs. ATL
Another player off to a great start at the plate is the Padres’ Wil Myers. He has the season’s first and only cycle to this point while crafting a .365 batting average and 1.094 OPS so far on the campaign. Last season Myers crafted a .814 OPS and .204 ISO against left-handed pitching while cracking 28 homers and driving in 94 runs overall. He should be able to do some more damage tonight against Braves’ lefty Jaime Garcia who yielded 1.45 HR/9 to righties last season.
2B – Jose Altuve (HOU) – $5,100 vs. LAA
Altuve has yet to hit a homer this season and has just two RBIs to speak of, however he does have a .319 batting average and has stolen five bases to boot. He is clearly one of the game’s top hitting second basemen and it’s only a matter of time until the extra-base hits come in bunches. Keep in mind Altuve posted a better OPS (.942) against righties than he did against lefties (.885) last season. He likes to hit same-handed pitching and he will get an opportunity to do so tonight against Angels’ righty Jesse Chavez.
3B – Kris Bryant (CHC) – $5,000 vs. MIL
Last season’s NL MVP has also gotten off to a slow start with just a .227 batting average and .789 OPS on the season. However, that sort of slow start could have some folks fading the Cubs’ best player at a premium position tonight, but not me. Bryant is the type of hitter that doesn’t stay quiet long, and he faces a pitcher tonight (righty Chase Anderson) who gives up plenty of home runs, especially to right-handed hitters with a 1.87 HR/9 figure last season against righties. Bryant’s early season sluggishness won’t last much longer.
SS – Addison Russell (CHC) – $3,600 vs. MIL
Forming a nice mini-stack with Bryant is Cubs’ shortstop Addison Russell who has had a very up and down season so far. He has posted 14+ fantasy points in four of his last ten games but has had five or less in five of those ten games. That said, I expect more of the former tonight against Anderson and his reverse splits. Russell has more success against lefties than righties, but still clubbed 12 homers against right-handed pitching with 18 doubles and three triples to boot in 2016. He is one of the game’s best hitting shortstops and could add to his eight RBIs on the season this evening.
OF – Hunter Renfroe (SD) – $3,200 vs. STL
Renfroe could be a very cheap source of power tonight against the Braves and lefty Jaime Garcia. He already has three homers on the season and boasts a career 1.065 OPS against left-handed pitching. He projects to hit in the cleanup spot tonight in a lineup that I expect to do some damage off of Garcia so let’s ride the rookie tonight as he boasts plenty of home run upside in this matchup.
OF – Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) – $4,400 vs. SEA
This is the third mini stack in this lineup but I have no problem including one of the game’s most powerful bats in this lineup. He has a career .997 OPS against left-handed pitching and has hit a home run once in every 12.32 at-bats against lefties. He will hit two spots behind Realmuto tonight in the cleanup spot for the Marlins against the lefty Miranda who has plenty of issues with right-handed bats early in his career, making this a very solid mini stick on this slate.
OF – Khris Davis (OAK) – $4,100 vs. TEX
Davis was a very unexpected member of the 40 home run club last season as he blasted 42 bombs to go along with 102 RBIs and an .831 OPS a season ago. This OPS was dogged some by his low .307 OBP, however the slugging percentage was at an impressive .524. Rangers’ starter A.J. Griffin gave up plenty of home runs last season at a 2.12 HR/9 clip, and those problems have worsened this season with a 2.89 HR/9 figure through a small sample of 9.1 innings. Regardless, this is a solid matchup for the powerful Davis against the most home run prone hurler on the slate.