By: John Heffelfinger
Gerrit Cole (STUD) – I’m torn on my top two cash game guys today because I think they are both going to do extremely well. I’m going to lean Cole as a tiny bit better because he is cheaper than Scherzer, the opposing pitcher he’s going against and the Marlins offense doesn’t scare me nearly as much as the Cubs lineup. Cole has been dominating this year having 63 K’s in 57 IP with a 2.05 ERA. He has 6 K’s in every start but one, has gone at least 6 innings in 7 of his last 8 starts, and has 6 Wins in his last 8 starts. Then we have the Marlins offense which isn’t very good outside of Stanton and Gordon. Their numbers are across the board lower than they are against lefties (.256 AVG/.308 OBP/.356 SLG against righties), and this is obviously an elite righty. The Marlins have now also struck out the 7th most in the MLB with 365 K’s and have the 24th most runs with 176 this year as well. Then there is the fact that Brad Hand is pitching for the Marlins who is one of the cheapest if not the cheapest pitcher on the slate, so a win for the Pirates is very much in reach (line isn’t up but I expect it to be very high). I see a 14% chance of rain in Pittsburgh today so there is a small risk, but that isn’t enough to scare me away from Cole.
Max Scherzer (STUD) – I might be crazy to not have him as my top overall pitcher today, as he has also been dominant as of late. That being said, I still have him as my 1B pitcher today, and he should have another great fantasy day. Scherzer’s stats this year are outstanding with 64 IP 48 H 9 BB 72 K 1.67 ERA and 5 Wins. He has less than a 1.00 WHIP which is crazy good, and has 43 K’s in his last 5 starts. The thing I love about Scherzer is his ability to pitch deep into ball games. He has pitched at least 7 innings in all but one of his starts this year which is quite impressive especially with today’s pitch counts. He is facing the Cubs who strike out a ton (most in the MLB with 437 K’s). Also while the Cubs may rake lefties, they are very pedestrian against righties (.235 BA/.313 OBP/.385 SLG). It is a little concerning having Lester opposing him with how he has been pitching of late, but the Nationals hit fine against lefties and Lester seems to have a bit of that hot and cold to him. I expect Scherzer to hold up his end of the bargain, if the Nationals can score some runs he should have another great day.
Noah Syndergaard (Value) – It was very frustrating to the Mets bullpen blow DeGrom’s win yesterday, but that isn’t going to steer me away from Syndergaard today. I am finally coming around to him now that he has 3 starts and has a little sample size. He has 16 K’s in 17 IP with a 3.63 ERA which is respectable. The main reason why I like him again is that Phillies lineup. In case you missed it yesterday, the Phillies have the 23rd best average at .241 and have a league worst 153 runs. Vegas has them at -190 to win today, and that number is usually that high when a stud pitcher is pitching for the favored team. Taking the Phillies numbers a little deeper they only have a .231 BA/.282 OBP/.346 against righties. Also maybe it’s because I’m used to watching the Twins, but I love pitchers that can throw hard and Syndergaard can simply do that. With a lot of expensive pitchers going today, he should be available at an affordable price, and put up good numbers
Buster Posey (STUD) – If you’re going to be paying up for a catcher today, Posey is the guy I like today. He may bat right handed but he also hits them much better than he does left handed pitching (.311 BA/.393 OBP/.459 SLG). He is playing at Miller Park today, so not only is rain never going to be a concern there, it is also a hitters park. He is going to be going against Mike Fiers who has really struggled so far this year. Against righties he is allowing a .304 AVG/.348 OBP/.500 SLG split which is pretty bad. His numbers at home are also far worse than they are on the road giving up 17 ER in 24.1 IP vs. 7 ER in 22.1 IP on the road. Lefties are hitting just fine against him as well this year (.357 OBP), so I fully expect the like of Aoki, Pagan, and Belt to get on base and give Posey point opportunities.
Wilson Ramos (Value) – He is going against Jon Lester who has been hot of late, but Ramos hits lefties pretty well and his price is definitely affordable. He only has 37 bats against lefties but he has a .351 AVG/.351 OBP/.486 SLG split. It is a bit frustrating that he hasn’t gotten one walk in 37 AB’s against a lefty but that won’t steer my away. The weird thing about Lester is that lefties actually are hitting better against him than righties (only a .250 AVG and .305 OBP against righties), but I think that plays into the Nationals hands a bit. This should allow guys like Span and Harper to get on base for Ramos who has been batting 6th lately. If you’re looking to save a bit on catcher, I think Ramos definitely has some upside today.
Joey Votto (STUD) – As always 1B is an extremely deep position filled with plenty of big boppers, but today I really like Votto. He has been moved up to 2nd in the lineup lately which is never a bad thing with the extra at bat possibilities. Today, he will be batting against Kyle Kendrick who has really struggled this year. Lefties this year are absolutely crushing him with a .284 AVG/.387 OBP/.537 SLG split. Those numbers are really bad and while he may pitch a little better away from Coors, they still a lot to be desired. Votto is hitting righties pretty good at a .274 AVG/.374 OBP/.522 SLG clip and has all 7 of his HR against righties. I know that he has Phillips and Frazier hitting around him, but righties still fare well against Kendrick and I expect Votto to have a great day at a great price tag.
Jose Abreu (STUD) – He hit a 3 run HR last night and I like his chances to do something similar tonight. He is playing in Toronto which is a hitter’s paradise and the matchup against Marco Estrada makes me like him even more. Abreu has a .289 AVG/.347 OBP/.504 SLG against righties and 7 of his 8 HR have come against them as well. Those stats are way higher than they are against lefties which is a good sign. Estrada also relies a lot on the fly ball outs which can be a recipe for disaster in Toronto. He does have a decent 3.90 ERA and 31 K’s in 32 IP but righties have hit 4 HR in 58 AB against him and get on base at a .313 clip which isn’t great but better than lefties. I like Abreu today, in which could be another high scoring affair.
Jason Kipnis (STUD) – Kipnis has absolutely mashed right handed pitching this year and today he is going again Colby Lewis. Against righties, he has a .400 AVG/.468 OBP/.582 SLG against righties in 110 AB. Those numbers are crazy good and while Kipnis may have an expensive price tag; he could easily be worth it today. Lewis has actually been pretty good this year, but more so because he dominates right handed batters. Against lefties he is allowing a .271 AVG/.324 OBP/.442 SLG split and with the lineup being lefty heavy at the top (Kipnis, Santana if he plays today, and Brantley), if Kipnis can get on base, there is a good chance he can get that extra run point. With a .468 OBP against righties, he should get on 1 or 2 times today which makes him a safe play for cash games or a high potential guy for GPP’s.
Jimmy Paredes (Value) – Paredes has a somewhat difficult matchup going against Colin McHugh who has been solid this year. I like Paredes though because he mashes right handed pitching. He has a .364 AVG/.393 OBP/.618 SLG against righties which for a 2nd basemen is really good. He brings good power against righties having 6 HR in 110 AB, and again with him hitting second in the lineup it makes him even more appealing. It would be nice if Jones or Davis could knock him in a bit more than they do, but if he keeps getting on the opportunities will be there. I’m assuming since Paredes is a switch hitter that he will be hitting lefty which McHugh does better against, but those numbers that Paredes has against righties are too hard to pass up for his price.
Jung Ho-Kang (Value) – Kang has been really hot as of late along with all of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I expect him to have another great day against Brad Hand who is one of the cheapest pitchers on the slate today. Against lefties this year, Kang has a .381 AVG/.480 OBP/.667 SLG which are outstanding numbers. It may only be 21 AB, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt especially today against Hand. Righties have hit for a .333 AVG/.382 OBP/.451 SLG against hand so again the small sample size won’t scare me away from Kang. He has moved all the way up to 5th in the lineup as of yesterday so with righties Marte, McCutchen and even Neil Walker ahead of him, there should be room for points tonight.
Brandon Crawford (Value) – Crawford is really a jack of all trades kind of guy which is why I like him on a lot of days unless his price gets out of control. Again he hits lefties better than righties, but he still has a solid .269 AVG/.351 OBP/.454 SLG. I listed above for Mr. Posey that Mike Fiers has really struggled this year so far especially at home. Crawford has shown some pop with 4 HR in 120 AB’s against righties which for a shortstop is solid. With Crawford’s high OBP and make Fiers allowing a high OBP it’s safe to say Crawford will get on base and hopefully do some damage once he is on
Matt Carpenter (STUD) – The Cardinals lineup was really struggling without Matt Holliday so now that he’s back I think they can get back to normal. I really like Carpenter going against Josh Collmenter today as he has fared very well against righties. He has a line of .336 AVG/.413 OBP/.605 SLG which are all great. He usually bats leadoff or 2nd so the at bats will also be there, which is important with his higher price tag. Collmenter has also struggled against lefties this year. He has given up a .319 AVG/.322 AVG/.517 SLG against lefties which obviously means that he doesn’t walk many of them, but he is prone to giving up a lot of hits. 6 of Carpenter’s 8 HR have come against righties and Collmenter has been prone to the long ball giving up 8 of them this year already.
Todd Frazier (Stud) – Like Votto, Frazier is going to be going up against Kyle Kendrick who hasn’t been good this year. As I usually assume, I figured Frazier would hit lefties better than righties with him being a right handed hitter but that is not true. Frazier has a line of .252 AVG/.363 OBP/.496 SLG against righties this year with 8 HR in 123 AB. While he has more power against lefties (5 HR in 43 AB), he gets on base at a much higher clip against righties which make him a safer play. Frazier has really become a great 3rd basemen the last few years, and today with a great matchup and with Frazier’s ability, I fully expect him to reach his value.
Andrew McCutchen (STUD) – Like Mr. Kang earlier, I really like righties today against Brad Hand, and McCutchen has really picked it up here in May. He only has 26 AB against lefties this year but he does have a .269 AVG/.387 OBP/.423 SLG line. He is up to 7 HR now and while only 1 is against lefties, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that be picked up. I also believe if he is able to get on base today, Starling Marte, and Kang who are also both righties, should be able to do some damage against Mr. Hand. He can be had a good price tag which is another big reason why I like him. If you’re spending on Scherzer or Cole, it’s going to be difficult to afford guys like Harper or Trout. I think McCutchen and the Pirates will stay hot and will score some runs today leading to solid fantasy days.
Matt Holliday (Value) – I know I have a lot of duplicate teams on here today but that is because I really like their matchups. Holliday is one of my favorite guys in the MLB and really makes that Cardinals lineup run. As was the case with Matt Carpenter, Holliday will be going against Collmenter who is extremely prone to the long ball especially against righties (5 HR in 90 AB’s). Holliday may not have as much power as he once did, but he still puts up great numbers (.333 AVG/.422 OBP/.456 SLG) against righties. I think the top of the Cardinals lineup will do some damage against Collmenter and his 5.19 ERA today, and wouldn’t mind stacking them at all.
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