Yesterday’s lineup was a fairly solid one as both pitchers delivered gems and ended up with wins on their respective ledgers. That said, the lineup could have been better as the Padres’ stack did not pan out too well and there were a couple of scratches in the form of Kennys Vargas and Trevor Story, we was also placed on the DL yesterday. The fate of the lineup was likely decided by these two vacant spots considering the domination from our two pitchers and the productive nights from Sano and Grossman. Let’s get into tonight’s picks!
P – Rick Porcello (BOS) – $9,700 vs. TB
Porcello is following up his Cy Young season from 2016 with another very impressive campaign, save for one outing which happened to be against these Rays in Boston. That said, Porcello has cranked up the strikeouts this season to a 9.35 K/9 clip so far this season and he enters tonight’s start having yielded just five earned runs over his last four starts combined. He takes on a Rays team that has racked up a ton of strikeouts on the season and will also be pitching in a pitcher’s ballpark tonight in Tampa Bay.
P – Lance McCullers (HOU) – $9,500 vs. NYY
McCullers is certainly more of a GPP play than a cash play this evening given the risk we are taking with him pitching in a hitters ballpark against a team that hits a lot of home runs. That said, McCullers has high strikeout potential with a whopping 10.63 K/9 on the season after pitching to a sky-high 11.78 K/9 in 2016. McCullers has allowed two runs or less in two of his last three starts but he also has allowed five runs in two of his last five starts. That said, the upside is there with the strikeouts so let’s take McCullers and call this a GPP lineup tonight.
C – Stephen Vogt (OAK) – $3,500 vs. TEX
Vogt is off to a pretty terrible start this season at the plate, having clubbed just a single homer while entering play tonight sporting a low .555 OPS on the season. That said, he will face Andrew Cashner tonight who has been on the receiving end of a lot of luck this season, especially against left-handed hitters. Vogt does his best work against right-handed pitching and has the ballpark on his side tonight as Globe Life Park in Texas is very friendly to left-handed hitters. In other words, this is a good opportunity for Vogt to get it going this evening.
1B – Albert Pujols (LAA) – $3,900 vs. DET
Pujols and his Angels teammates will face one of the slate’s most vulnerable pitchers tonight in the form of Tigers’ right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann has been giving up tonnes of homers to both sides of the plate this season and his FIPs are terrible from both sides as well. Enter Pujols who is a fastball masher (Zimmermann’s most utilized pitch) and has already driven in 27 runs this season to go along with 6 homers. He won’t be too highly owned tonight at a premium position so let’s start an Angels’ stack here with the future Hall of Famer.
2B – Devon Travis (TOR) – $3,500 vs. SEA
Travis and the Blue Jays will take on the inexperienced arm of Mariners’ right-hander Christian Bergman this evening in the hitting-friendly confines of the Rogers Centre in Toronto. That said, Travis is the lone Blue Jay in this lineup. Like with Vogt, we will be getting Travis at extremely low ownership tonight due to a tough start to the season, however Travis currently sports a low .209 BABIP that is due for positive regression. He also hits fly-ball pitching well and hit righties to a .838 OPS in 2016, so let’s nab him in a good spot against a poor pitcher this evening.
3B – Ryan Schimpf (SD) – $3,900 vs. CWS
Schimpf will likely never hit for a high batting average, but boy does he bring a lot of power to the table. He has already clubbed nine homers after bursting onto the scene last season with 20 in just 276 at bats. Schimpf posted a .324 ISO and a .907 OPS against righties in 2016 and has a .290 ISO and an .815 OPS against righties in 2017. He will face another righty tonight in a hitters park, so ride Schimpf and his power to some long balls this evening.
SS – Andrelton Simmons (LAA) – $3,000 vs. DET
Simmons is a low-cost player at the shortstop position tonight, however he could thrive in an Angels’ stack. He is certainly known much more for his glove work than his work with the bat, however he has shown some decent pop this season with three homers and 12 RBIs through the first five weeks of the season. He has also done much better work at home (.405 SLG%, .738 OPS) than he has on the road (.360 SLG%, .642 OPS). He should hit with plenty of traffic on the bases tonight and hopefully he can capitalize with some RBIs.
OF – Mike Trout (LAA) – $5,300 vs. DET
This stack simply cannot be used without the best hitter in the world. Needless to say, Trout brings a ton of power to the plate as well as a speed element tonight. Trout has a 1.081 OPS on the young season and made his return to the lineup last night after a five-game absence with a bad hamstring. He will hit right in the middle of the lineup tonight, a lineup that is expected to do some damage against Zimmermann this evening.
OF – Kole Calhoun (LAA) – $3,600 vs. DET
Calhoun is another player in this lineup who hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts, but here’s to hoping he can set the table tonight for this stack out of the two-hole for the Angels. That said, we are talking about a guy who always gets near the 20 homer, 75 RBI range and has been scoring plenty of runs in recent seasons thanks to his spot in the lineup ahead of Trout and Pujols. I am looking for the trio along with Simmons to give Zimmermann fits tonight, giving this lineup a very high-upside stack to build upon.
OF – J.D. Martinez (DET) – $3,900 vs. LAA
For the last pick of this lineup we will stay in L.A. but head to the other dugout with J.D. Martinez, who makes his season debut in tonight’s contest. J.D. sprained his foot in spring training and looks to build on the last couple years’ success beginning this evening. Like Zimmermann, Angels’ right-hander Matt Shoemaker has been giving up plenty of home run balls in recent seasons, and considering Martinez has hit one home run every 18 at bats over the last three seasons to go along with a .908 OPS from a season ago and we have a recipe for success here, likely at low ownership considering he was activated from the DL this morning.