Welcome to a fresh week of MLB action! There are nine games this Monday evening with some exploitable matchups on tap so let’s go ahead and identify those matchups as we look to get the week started on the right note!
P – Jason Vargas (KC) – $8,000 vs. CWS
Few, if any starting pitchers have had such a dominant start to the season than Royals’ lefty Jason Vargas. Vargas has posted a 0.44 ERA in three starts to begin the season while his 0.96 FIP suggests that he has deserved his excellent fate so far rather than being extremely lucky. His .286 BABIP against supports that theory as well. He has racked up a 10.02 K/9 clip in the early going while walking just 0.87 batters per nine innings, keeping the base paths clean for the most part. He will look to keep the good times rolling tonight against a White Sox team that has averaged 8.82 strikeouts per game.
P – Amir Garrett (CIN) – $6,700 vs. MIL
Garrett is another left-hander that has surprised out of the gates this season, and his situation is even more surprising considering he is a rookie. Garrett racked up 12 punchouts in his most recent outing and is now up to 9.61 K/9 on the season with an impressive 1.37 BB/9 to boot. His ERA sits at 1.83 through three starts while his 2.03 FIP supports his strong start to the season. The Brewers have struck out 206 times on the season to lead all of baseball, providing Garrett with strong strikeout upside in this matchup.
C – Yasmani Grandal (LAD) – $3,200 vs. SF
Grandal and the Dodgers will take on the division rival San Francisco Giants tonight who will send Matt Cain to the hill. Cain has been giving up a large amount of home runs in recent seasons, so let’s kick off the Dodgers’ left-handed hitting stack with Grandal. The switch-hitting catcher is noticeably more powerful from the left side of the plate where he will hit tonight against the Giants’ right-hander. Last season Grandal put together a .268 ISO and .824 OPS from the left side compared to a .171 ISO and .780 OPS from the right side. The wind is also blowing out to right center field at around 12 MPH in San Fran today, helping the left-handed hitters in their cause.
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – $3,600 vs. SF
Next up is the left-handed hitting Gonzalez who looks like a nice low-owned option at the first base position tonight. Gonzalez has seen plenty of Cain in his career with 78 career at-bats against the veteran while hitting .282 with an .885 OPS including four homers, five doubles and a triple. Cain is giving up 1.65 HR/9 this season, gave up 1.61 HR/9 last season and 1.78 HR/9 in 2015. With that in mind I have plenty of confidence in Gonzalez hitting right in the heart of this Dodgers’ lineup.
2B – Rougned Odor (TEX) – $4,700 vs. MIN
Odor has struggled some with the bat lately, having not recorded a multi-hit game or a home run over his last ten contests, but tonight could be a slump-busting night for the young second baseman. Odor will face Twins’ right-hander Phil Hughes tonight who has been very susceptible to the home run ball in recent seasons, giving up at least 1.48 HR/9 in four of the last five seasons including 1.68 in each of the last two full seasons and 1.80 to begin this season. Considering Odor cracked 33 home runs and knocked in 88 runs a season ago he brings plenty of home run upside to this matchup tonight.
3B – Jake Lamb (ARI) – $4,300 vs. SD
Lamb has continued right where he left off from last season this time around as he sits with a .315 average with four homers, 18 RBIs and a .945 OPS in 19 games this season. He terrorized right-handed pitching to the tune of a .281 ISO and .898 OPS in 2016 and has exceeded that in the early going this season with a .300 ISO and 1.250 OPS through 50 at-bats. There is little doubt this guy is a star in this league and could feast off the right-handed offerings of Jhoulys Chacin tonight who enters play sporting a 4.70 ERA for the season.
SS – Corey Seager (LAD) – $4,200 vs. SF
Completing the three-man Dodgers stack is the reigning NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager who is in a great spot to produce tonight in two-hole for the Dodgers. Seager very much enjoyed hitting right-handed pitching last season with a .223 ISO and .948 OPS against opposite-handed pitching. He’s off to a roaring start this season with a .314 batting average and a .916 OPS and a 1.128 OPS against right-handed pitching. He fits the mold for this stack and should have a very productive evening against Matt Cain.
OF – Charlie Blackmon (COL) – $5,500 vs. WAS
Blackmon will be a highly owned commodity on tonight’s slate but I’m not about to fade who I can afford and who projects to have a big night against Nationals’ right-hander Jacob Turner at Coors Field. After a slow start Blackmon has really picked it up with the bat lately as he has recorded at least a hit in nine of his last ten games while rattling off back-to-back two-hit games and homering in two of his last three. He boasts a 1.051 OPS over his last ten games and could give Turner fits in his spot start for the Nationals in place of right-hander Stephen Strasburg who is currently on the Paternity List.
OF – Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – $5,300 vs. WAS
Forming a nice mini-stack with Blackmon will be fellow Rockies’ outfielder Carlos Gonzalez who has hits in three straight games after suffering through a slow start as well. He has just one homer on the season, however has reached base seven times over his last three games and remains a power threat despite the slow start. Turner pitched just 24.2 innings in the big leagues last season but surrendered five home runs and walked 16 in that time, producing a HR/9 of 1.82 and a BB/9 of 5.84 in the process. That simply won’t work out well at Coors Field and also means that Gonzalez will most likely hit with runners on the base throughout the night.
OF – Nomar Mazara (TEX) – $4,100 vs. MIN
Forming a mini-stack with Odor, Mazara is another left-handed hitting Ranger who could give Phil Hughes some trouble this evening. Mazara had a .791 OPS against righties to go with a strong .185 ISO compared to a lowly .548 OPS and 0.36 ISO against left-handed pitching. Hughes surrendered a .956 OPS to left-handed hitters last season in a small sample size and has began this season by yielding a .950 OPS to lefties, although it should be noted he has struggled with right-handers in recent seasons too. Nonetheless, here is a guy that mashes right-handed pitching and will take aim at the short porch in right field at Globe Life Park tonight.