Last night’s lineup didn’t quite reach the expectations I had for it. Colby Rasmus and Didi Gregorius eclipsed their value fairly easily but Chris Sale didn’t rack up the strikeouts we desired and Charlie Morton did not get a win, limiting the lineup’s upside. Let’s get some better picks going today in a short slate featuring some serious weather issues.
P – Justin Verlander (DET) – $9,900 vs. HOU
Our first pitcher of the night will be a popular one, but that is what we are somewhat forced into tonight with a short slate and weather concerns to boot. Nonetheless, Verlander enters play with some very solid strikeout upside as evidenced by his 8.78 K/9 mark on the season while his FIP and lower-than-usual strand rate suggest some positive regression moving forward. He takes on a strong Astros’ offense that doesn’t strikeout a lot, but Verlander has went at least six innings in five straight starts and seven innings in three of his last five, making him a fairly safe play this evening.
P – Robbie Ray (ARI) – $8,600 vs. MIL
Ray likely has more strikeout upside than Verlander does tonight as he enters play sporting a whopping 11.04 K/9 on the season while taking on a Brewers’ offense that has struck out the second most times in the league, averaging 9.26 Ks per game this season. After a couple of shaky outings Ray rebounded with 7.2 innings of scoreless ball with six strikeouts in his most recent start. Considering we search for Ks in these lineups Ray is a pitcher we can’t afford to fade this evening.
C – Jeff Mathis (ARI) – $2,300 vs. MIL
The hitter’s portion of this lineup begins with a value play coming from Arizona’s Jeff Mathis. Catcher is a very thin position today so I decided to spend down and pick up a cheap catcher that fits a stack that will be revealed as we move forward with this lineup. Besides, Mathis has four hits including a double and a homer over his last four games and could be a big part of this lineup should he connect for some extra-base power at low ownership tonight.
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – $4,500 vs. HOU
Another stack we will feature this evening is the Tigers going up against Mike Fiers and his reverse splits. The right-handed Fiers has pitched to an outrageous 10.45 FIP and 5.82 HR/9 this season against right-handed hitters, a season after showing reverse splits and a 4.81 FIP to right-handed hitters. While we can’t expect Fiers to be this bad to righties all season, but we can expect some poweful Tigers’ bats like Cabrera to give him some trouble tonight, especially considering Fiers is yielding fly-balls 50% of the time to righties this season.
2B – Ian Kinsler (DET) – $3,500 vs. HOU
I believe we are getting a huge bargain here with Kinsler considering the aforementioned stats from Mike Fiers. His price is suppressed due to a slow start to the season, but there is little doubt Kinsler boasts plenty of pop in his bat as he has averaged almost 19 home runs per season since putting on a Tigers uniform in 2014. Kinsler also boasts stolen base upside tonight as he has stolen at least 10 bases every season of his MLB career and swiped 14 in 2016, making him a multi-tool player at a very cheap price tonight.
3B – Jake Lamb (ARI) – $5,300 vs. MIL
Lamb could be the highest-owned player in his lineup tonight but I can’t resist his upside in an extremely favorable matchup against Brewers’ right-hander Zach Davies. Davies is pitching to an elevated 5.55 FIP and 1.82 HR/9 this season against left-handed bats and considering Lamb posted a .281 ISO and an .898 OPS against righties in 2016 we have a recipe for success here. Also worth nothing is the fact Miller Park in Milwaukee yields more home runs to right field than any other park in the big leagues.
SS – Aledmys Diaz (STL) – $3,300 vs. LAD
While Diaz is a standalone play at the shortstop position today he does come with some nice power upside. Diaz has clubbed five homers in the early goings of this MLB season after a rookie season where he clubbed 17 homers and produced a whopping .879 OPS in 2016. What’s better is the fact that Diaz posted a .237 ISO and an even higher .941 OPS against right-handed pitching, making him a reverse-splits hitter tonight against Dodgers’ right-hander Kenta Maeda.
OF – J.D. Martinez (DET) – $4,600 vs. HOU
Last up in this Tigers stack is the very powerful bat of outfielder J.D. Martinez. Martinez went crazy in his return from the DL this season, hitting six homers in his first 23 at-bats. After getting a rest last night, Martinez should be back in the Tigers’ lineup tonight and ready to take advantage of the reverse splits of Mike Fiers. In 2016, Martinez crafted a very nice .236 ISO and .925 OPS against righties, which actually trumped his numbers against lefties, making this a double-reverse splits situation tonight.
OF – Gregor Blanco (ARI) – $3,100 vs. MIL
We continue with the Diamondbacks stack here with leadoff man Gregor Blanco. As left-handed hitter, Blanco should be able to take advantage of Davies’ traditional splits and should get plenty of at-bats tonight in that leadoff spot. Blanco also comes with some stolen base upside as he averaged almost 19 steals per season over his last three full seasons from 2012-2014. He could be a lower-owned player to stack with Mathis and the higher-owned Lamb this evening.
OF – David Peralta (ARI) – $4,400 vs. MIL
Concluding this lineup and the D-Backs stack is left-handed hitting outfielder David Peralta. Peralta boasts solid power/speed upside tonight as he has four home runs and four stolen bases on the season to go along with a very impressive .891 OPS against right-handed pitching. Like Lamb and Blanco before him, Peralta will take his cuts in the league’s most hitter-friendly environment to right field, giving him immense upside this evening.