By: John Heffelfinger
Chris Sale – Sale really struggled to start the year, but has been red hot as of late and should be the top play of the day. He has 66 K’s in 59 IP so far this year, and has 10+ K’s in 3 out of his last 4 starts. On the 6th of May, Sale had an ERA of 5.93 and with lots of quality starts, it is now down to 3.66. He is going against the Rangers lineup who has been getting better throughout the season but just lost one of their best players in Adrian Beltre for a couple weeks. The Rangers do hit lefties better than they do righties (.265 AVG/.332 OBP/.440 SLG), but without Beltre, I think those numbers go down a bit. The Rangers numbers are also a little better at home, but they hit for more power on the road (33 HR on the road vs. 22 at home this year). They have also been prone to the strikeout, striking out 8th most in the majors at 406 times and with the addition of Gallo for Beltre, I expect that number to go up. The White Sox are at -140 to win tomorrow which is pretty good for them considering they have struggled so far this year. My only worry is whether that White Sox lineup can score some runs for him tomorrow, but I think Nick Martinez will come back to earth with his ERA and allow some runs tomorrow. I’ve had some struggles recently with pitchers, but I have a lot of confidence in Sale tomorrow.
Anibal Sanchez – It may not seem like a super value since he is still at an above average price point, but I don’t see him getting much lower than this, and he is going to get back on track at some point this year. In 67 IP this year he has 68 K’s which is awesome, but he has allowed 69 hits, walked 19 guys, and has an ERA of 5.75. It’s not a primetime matchup with the A’s tomorrow who have struck out the 25th most in the MLB (352 times) and have a solid .257 BA overall. They also hit righties better overall than lefties and strikeout less often against them as well. I like him more on a gut instinct, his price, and his 2012-2014 numbers. He had a 3.29 ERA and had a line of .243 AVG/.293 OBP/.358 SLG against him the last 3 years. There is a chance that he could be regressing as a pitcher, but I will take my chances with a guy who has proved himself year after year. The other thing I like is that his splits against righties and lefties have been basically the same in that time frame so he has been very good against all hitters. There may be some pitchers with better matchups, but at Anibal’s likely lowest price point, he is an option for GPP’s or cash games
Brian McCann – I really like Yasmani Grandal, but with him catching last night’s game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sit today against the Rockies, and if you pick him you are taking a risk. I will mention these numbers again for Teixeira, but the righty Taijuan Walker has really struggled all year. He is giving up a line of .287 AVG/.358 OBP/.418 SLG against left handed hitting this year. Then we have McCann who was on a nice hot streak there for a while where he had an 8 game hitting streak with 4 HR in those games. Against right handed pitching this year, McCann has a line of .265 AVG/.331 OBP/.513 ALG and 7 HR in 117 which for a catcher is solid. He is pretty bad at hitting left handed pitching but that isn’t the case tomorrow. I wish his road numbers were a little better than they are, but with a guy in Walker who has struggled I will take the chance at Safeco.
Nick Hundley – Hundley has been a quietly good player for the Rockies this season, and with a prime matchup at Coors Field today, I can’t pass on him especially at his price. He is going against the right handed Mike Bolsinger who is one of the cheaper pitchers on the slate. While Hundley may be a right handed hitter, he struggles against lefties and mashes against righties. His split against them is .340 AVG/.373 OBP/.563 SLG with 5 HR in 103 AB’s which are all extremely good numbers. While it may not be surprising, his stats at home are much better than they are on the road, and he has 4 of his 5 HR at home this year. Bolsinger has been tough against right handed hitters having a .185 AVG/.232 OBP/.262 SLG line against them, but being at Coors; I expect those numbers to rise today. Hundley has been all over the batting order this year so far, but these Rockies/Dodgers games have been high scoring all series and I don’t see why tomorrow will be any different.
Mark Teixeira – I could easily have gone with Adrian Gonzalez again and I really do like him again, but I also really like Teixeira today. He is going against Taijuan Walker who was really good in this last start, but has been bad this year overall. Teixeira against righties this year has a line of .252 AVG/.336 OBP/.585 SLG with 11 HR in 123 AB. The only thing he does better against lefties is getting on base, but he hits for a better average and slugs better against righties. Then there is Taijuan Walker who has really struggled against both righties and lefties. Against lefties though, he is giving up a line of .287 AVG/.358 OBP/.418 SLG with 3 HR in 122 AB’s. He gives up more HRs to righties than lefties which is the only downfall, but as you can see there is plenty to like tomorrow with this matchup. I still like Walker as a pitcher, but until he can consistently put together starts like his last one, I have no problem picking guys against him.
Ryan Zimmerman – Zimmerman hasn’t been his usual self this year so far, but this has lowered his price and made him more than affordable in either cash games or GPP’s. He is going against the crafty lefty Mark Buerhle who has had a down year so far this year. Zimmerman has hit lefties okay this year (.267 AVG/.306 OBP/.489 SLG which are all quite a bit higher than they are against righties. The main reason I like him though is the matchup with Buerhle. He has been much worse on the road this year (39 IP with 25 ER allowed along with a .312 BA against), and while lefties are hitting better off of him righties still have a solid line too (.292 BA/.322 OBP/.449 SLG). I like a lot of the Nationals hitter today, and hopefully Zimmerman can be in one of those top 5 spots so that he will have lots of opportunities to put up points.
Brian Dozier – This is going depend on which game you are using him for, but I still think that Dozier is a relatively safe bet either way. I really like him against Eduardo Rodriguez this afternoon and that is when I would pay up for him. Eduardo did prove me wrong his first start putting up an absolute gem, but I am usually all about sample size, so I want to see him do this over a few more starts. Against left handed pitching this year, Dozier has been pretty solid. He has a line of .286 AVG/.338 OBP/.571 SLG and is batting in the #2 hole for a pretty good Twins offense. Sometimes, he bats leadoff, but usually bats 2nd with Torii Hunter and Mauer following him who are both having solid years as well. I don’t want to post Rodriguez’s splits with a small sample size, but Dozier does have 6 of his 9 HR on the road when he has similar AB’s for both. Playing at Fenway is great for batters and I think Dozier has a real good chance at doing something today especially after the Twins were shutout last night.
Kolten Wong – Wong is somebody who I have talked about the last couple of days, but haven’t posted about him yet. While the Cardinals have been beyond frustrating only scoring 1 run in the last 2 games against the Brewers, I’m thinking today might finally be the day they get some runs. He is going against the righty Jimmy Nelson who has been solid for a somewhat low price point, but Wong has fared well against right handed pitching this year. He has a line of a .308 AVG/.365 OBP/.483 SLG with 5 HR in 143 AB’s against them this year and hits leadoff which always helps. He does hit a little better on the road, but it’s not a big enough difference to scare me away. Then there is Nelson who has pitched well against righties but not so much against lefties. He has given up a line of .261 AVG/.359 OBP/.523 SLG with 6 HR in 88 AB against lefties which gives me a lot of hope for Wong. I really hope the Cardinals can muster up some runs today and if they do, it will start with Mr. Wong.
Troy Tulowitzki – I am not really a huge fan of the expensive shortstops today as a lot of them have tough matchups today. If I am going to spend, I’m picking the best shortstop in the game whose playing at Coors against one of the cheaper pitchers today. Tulowitzki has been pretty darn bad this year against righties posting a line of .244 AVG/.265 OBP/.394 SLG. He has also hit worse at home this year which is pretty incredible. What gives me hope is his 2012-2014 numbers against righties which are much better (.318 AVG/.390 OBP/.541 SLG), and his numbers were also way better at home. Bolsinger has been tough against righties so that does concern me a bit, but I believe that Tulowitzki will eventually get back on track with his proven track record.
Erick Aybar – Aybar is really an awesome player and has been helping the Angels for a long time. He may not get a ton of HR, or RBI’s but he can get on base, has a little speed, and can score some runs. He is currently on a 10 game hitting streak, and has scored a run in 6 of those games with 3 stolen bases as well. For his price, you don’t need the HR rather just getting on base a couple times and hopefully get the run or a stolen base. I also love that he hits leadoff with Mike Trout hitting directly behind him which is why he scores as many runs as he does. He is going up against Mr. Karns who doesn’t give up a lot of hits but lefties are getting on at a 32% clip against him which is at least decent. Karns has been good this year, but Aybar has been hot and I look for him to extend that 10 game hitting streak.
Todd Frazier – I really like Cole Hamels as a pitcher, but today I like Frazier’s chances to do some damage against him. When we hear of the power hitting guys we think of the Nelson Cruz, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout types, but Frazier has a really nice 16 HR this year. This year against lefties, he has a line of .292 AVG/.333 OBP/.708 SLG with 5 HR in 48 AB. He is hitting HR’s at a better rate against lefties which is why I like him as my stud today. He does have 11 of his 16 HR at home this year so that is a downfall, but give me the righty on lefty matchup over the park most of the time. Hamel’s numbers against righties are worse than they are against lefties and he has given up 10 HR in 211 AB against righties so he is prone to the long ball. With these expensive guys, you expect big games out of them, and I think Frazier could most definitely have one of those today.
Yunel Escobar – Escobar has been a nice addition to the Nationals this year, and has helped them to one of the better records in the league. Escobar has hit righties better than lefties this year, but has still put up a solid line against lefties (.289 AVG/.319 OBP/.400 SLG). He doesn’t have a lot of power for a 3B (only 2 HR on the year) but he makes up for that by collecting a lot of hits. He has also hit better at home this year and has both of his HR at home this year if that means anything. I also touched on the fact that Buerhle has really struggled this year and I have heard that Escobar has had some success in the past against Buerhle. I don’t expect Escobar to have a monster game today, but hitting at the top of that lineup creates some opportunities for some points and I like him as a cheaper option
Joc Pederson – I didn’t pick him yesterday and that was a major blunder on my part. He has not hit a HR in every game this series and I can’t see myself not picking him today. The guy has simply been crushing this year with 16 HR and an OBP of .383 which is great. He is going against Chad Bettis who has been the Rockies best pitcher this year, but that still isn’t saying a whole lot. Against righties this year, Joc has a line of .248 AVG/.378 OBP/.589 SLG with 13 HR in 141 AB’s. His numbers this series have skewed his road vs. home splits but 3 HR in 3 games at Coors makes it really hard to fade him today. Bettis has actually been good against both sides of the plate and just plain good overall this year. It has still been a pretty small sample size so we will see if it continues. The Dodgers should have another good game as a team and I expect more HR’s out of them today.
Chris Colabello – Colabello is such a streaky hitter as we saw last year with the Twins, but he has been on fire so far this year. Today, he is going against the cheapest pitcher on the slate (Taylor Jordan) and while he may hit lefties amazingly, he has still been great against righties this year. He has a line of .338 AVG/.384 OBP/.438 SLG against them which for a guy of his price I will gladly take. I would like him to walk a little more than he has, but he is hitting the ball so well, I don’t blame him for taking cuts every time he is up to bat. His numbers are much better in Toronto, but he still has a .286 AVG on the road which is solid. Jordan has a really small sample size as well so I won’t post his splits, but he struggled in his first start this year. I expect a good game from Colabello and forsee a rather high scoring game.
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