Saturday evening brings us a seven-game slate of baseball to enjoy! Make sure to take advantage of all tools The Quantedge has to offer including our new Vegas Line Movement tool! Let’s just get into all the information you’ll need to make your lineup decisions and if your heart desires, feel free to follow me on Twitter @SBuchanan24
St. Louis Cardinals (5.1) @ Cincinnati Reds (4.6)
Adam Wainwright (RHP) vs. Tanner Roark (RHP)
Over/Under: 9.5 Moneyline: Cardinals -125
Pitcher Breakdown: In a game total that opened at 9.5 runs and has been gaining momentum towards a higher total, it’s hard to get excited about your pitching options here. Adam Wainwright is coming off a stellar start against the Padres but has been a very unreliable option for a few years now. His issues against left-handed bats could really show in this matchup, as the Reds can load up on lefties in their lineup. In limited action last season, Wainwright posted a 4.93 xFIP against lefties.
As for Roark, his control has been spotty to begin the season and his issue with the home run ball is always an issue. The Cardinals have one of the highest ISO in the league at .195 and are not a team I’m actively targeting against with pitching.
Hitter Breakdown: I’m ok with stacking the Cardinals on this slate with their power bats. Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna are all in play for the Cards. Paul DeJong has been smoking the ball lately and over the past week has the highest hard-hit% of the team at 66.7%. He’s flashing the power early on this season with six doubles and three home runs. He’s only of my favorite cheaper options of this game.
When the season first began, the Reds really scuffled out of the gate offensively. They’ve been picking it up lately and tonight against Wainwright should continue to help. Lefties would be the primary target for me in this game, specifically Joey Votto, Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker. Schebler always feels like the forgotten power bat in this lineup despite posting a .196 ISO against righties last season. Likely, batting fifth, I would make sure to grab him for your outfield.
Cleveland Indians (4.8) @ Kansas City Royals (4.3)
Jefry Rodriguez (RHP) vs. Homer Bailey (RHP)
Over/Under: 9 Moneyline: Indians -125
Pitcher Breakdown: Rodriguez has only pitched 14 games in the majors and eight starts with the Nationals. He showcased an unimpressive strikeout rate with a 16.7 K% and a 16 BB%. Lefties really gave him problems tagging him with a .381 wOBA and a horrific 7.37 xFIP. On a tough slate for pitching overall, Rodriguez can be tossed in the “no” pile.
Bailey is usually someone I pick on when taking the mound. How he still has a job in the majors is beyond me but here we are. After a really good start against the Twins, we saw the Bailey we’ve come accustomed to against the Mariners, allowing seven runs on eight hits in five innings. Per the usual, home runs are an issue, as he’s already allowed three through two starts. Both sides of the plate hit him hard and despite a weak hitting Indians lineup, I have no issue taking their bats.
Hitter Breakdown: Overall, I think this could be a potential game stack with two weak pitchers taking the hill. Taking the 2-3-4 hitters on the Indians would get you Jose Ramirez, Jake Bauers and Carlos Santana. None of these players are overly expensive and will get you essentially all the power the Indians sport against righties. Hanley Ramirez could also be an option but the majority of his power has many weighted toward lefties than righties.
Alex Gordon remains too cheap on both sites to ignore. He has a 42.1% hard-hit rate on the year with eight of his 16 hits on the season going for extra bases. Adalberto Mondesi continues to post huge fantasy performances on a nightly basis and has swiped three bags to boot. Hunter Dozier is also quietly on a good run as well, going 6-for-14 over the last three games with two home runs and three RBI. I love a Royals stack in this spot.
New York Mets (4.3) @ Atlanta Braves (4.6)
Jason Vargas (LHP) vs. Sean Newcomb (LHP)
Over/Under: 9 Moneyline: Braves -128
Pitcher Breakdown: I couldn’t tell you the last time Vargas was in a lineup of mine. Let me tell you, April 13, 2019, is not going to be the day the trend breaks either. Both sides of the plate hit him hard last year, highlighted by his horrific road numbers. In those matchups, he ended with a .394 wOBA, a 4.90 xFIP and 14 of his 18 home runs allowed. Are you excited to roster Vargas yet?
As for Newcomb, he has to be considered one of the more attractive options with how the way this slate is set up. Aside from Justin Verlander, he has to be considered the pitcher with the second highest K upside. Currently, the Mets own a 25.7 K%, which ranks eighth the league. The problem is, they’re hitting very well thus far as well. While I’m not thrilled about it, I feel like I’m being forced to take Newcomb as my SP2 today. I’m going to lock Newcomb in, run to my favorite liquor store and sweat this one out.
Hitter Breakdown: If you’re looking to target against Newcomb, Wilson Ramos would be the first Mets bat I’d lock in. He posted some huge numbers against lefties last season to the tune of a .385 wOBA with a .236 ISO and six of his 15 home runs. Peter Alonso has seen a massive jump in his salary but his production warrants it. With only 18 plate appearances against lefties thus far, Alonso has three home runs, two doubles and has walked four times. Amed Rosario is another name to consider as well, especially if he’s moved back down in the order as it will likely lead to lower ownership.
As for the Braves, I mean, where do we begin? The easier question would be, who isn’t in play for the Braves? The best answer would be “whoever is not starting.” This team has so much power against left-handed pitching that it almost feels like you can’t go wrong. Aside from the usual suspects to choose from like Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson, I really like Johan Camargo here. He doesn’t get enough love against lefties despite owning a .347 wOBA and a .213 ISO. If I’m building a Braves stack I’m making sure to lock in Camargo. Don’t forget about Tyler Flowers either.
Oakland Athletics (5.8) @ Texas Rangers (5.3)
Marco Estrada (RHP) vs. Adrian Sampson (RHP)
Over/Under: 11 Moneyline: Athletics -123
Pitcher Breakdown: Similar to many of the other games on this slate – I have zero interest in the pitching options in a game that has a combined total of 11 runs. With Estrada, he just can’t seem to keep the ball in the park and travels to the hitter-friendly Globe Life Park. After allowing 29 home runs last year, Estrada has allowed five this season through four starts. Not to mention righties are already tagging him for a .420 wOBA with an 8.54 xFIP.
Sampson doesn’t have much major league experience under his belt but he’ll learn quickly against one of the hottest offenses in the league. Thanks in part to a four-game series against the Orioles, the A’s are second in home runs, third in runs scored and have a .207 ISO, which ranks sixth. Sampson doesn’t possess much strikeout upside either, which all be eliminates him from consideration.
Hitter Breakdown: As I mentioned, we don’t have a ton of data to go off of for Sampson. He only pitched 23 innings last season but did allow six home runs and a .410 wOBA to righties. At this juncture, I’m going to continue to stack the A’s until they cool off. We know who to target when it comes to the A’s but if you want to mix up your stack a bit, both Josh Phegley and Chad Pinder are hitting for a ton of power right now against righties. Phegley would likely be my preferred option of the two, as he sports a 40% hard-hit rate thus far this season.
As for the Rangers, I’m focusing on three guys that I’m really going to try to get a lot of exposure of. Shin-Soo Choo, Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. Mazara is the one that intrigues me the most as his price point doesn’t reflect someone who has been batting cleanup. He should have opportunities to knock guys in today and is a cheaper way to get exposure to this lineup. Patrick Wisdom could also be a sneaky home run today against Estrada. This is a right-handed bat that hit 31 home runs in 2017 for Triple-A when he was with the Cardinals.
San Diego Padres (4.5) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (4.6)
Matt Strahm (LHP) vs. Merrill Kelly (RHP)
Over/Under: 9 Moneyline: Diamondbacks -111
Pitcher Breakdown: It’s a battle of the household names taking the mound tonight! I worry about using Strahm tonight because the Diamondbacks have been a good offspeed hitting team. Strahm mixes in a slider and a curveball, two pitches this team has hit well thus far. I think they could end up being one of the sneakier stacks of the night and one I’ll be looking to target. With that in mind, I’ll be off Strahm, who was rocked by this team once already.
With Kelly, he’ll be making his third major league start. He faced the Padres once already and struck out three while allowing three runs over six innings. Kelly is a bit pricey on both sites but again, good luck finding a starting pitcher you love tonight that’s not married to Kate Upton. Kelly could be an option today with the Padres scuffling at the plate as of late. As with you, I’m not that excited about it either.
Hitter Breakdown: I’ll admit, I’m not really crazy about anyone on the Padres. We have so many games that have high totals and matchups I want to exploit. Looking at the lay of the land, the Padres aren’t really worth taking a look at. I see too many other options to consider.
The Diamondbacks are a different story. They sport some sneaky power against lefties and it’s a matchup I want to exploit. Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed are consistently forgotten when it comes to power against lefties. Last season, these players had an ISO of .263 and .217 respectively. With low pricing on both, they should be considered bargains on this slate. Eduardo Escobar looks like he’s locked in at the plate right now and his salary hasn’t caught up as of yet. Grab him at a low price before it starts to rise.
Milwaukee Brewers (4.1) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (4.5)
Zach Davies (RHP) vs. Caleb Ferguson (LHP)
Over/Under: 8.5 Moneyline: Dodgers -120
Pitcher Breakdown: Ok, we have a pitcher with almost no strikeout upside going up against one of the best offenses in the league against the Dodgers? Let’s move on.
Ferguson is going to start but he looks more like an “opener” thus making Dennis Santana really intriguing, right? He’s posted some really solid numbers in the minors and boasts an above average slider and a strong changeup. The problem with today is his price! This is a tough spot to pay up for him, especially with how high he’s priced and likely going just a few innings. It’s really too bad because getting him at a cheaper price would have made this slate a bit easier.
Hitter Breakdown: Again, I’m not going out of my way to get the Brewers in my lineup. You don’t really want to roster the guys going against the lefty since Ferguson won’t be in this game long. So taking the Brewers bats against the righty will be the matchup you’ll want to target if you’re looking to grab some exposure. Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal would be the two bats I would really consider if you’re looking in that direction.
Cody Bellinger continues to tear the cover off the ball but his salary reflects that. His early season .483 ISO is just insane though and hard to pass up, especially if you have the salary to get him. Max Muncy and Joc Pederson would be the other two bats I’d really like to get in my lineups but it’s going to be a bit tough to jam in, especially if you’re trying to roster Verlander. I like the idea of mixing up the Royals and Dodgers bats to help balance out your salary a bit.
Houston Astros (4.8) @ Seattle Mariners (3.8)
Justin Verlander (RHP) vs. Felix Hernandez (RHP)
Over/Under: 8.5 Moneyline: Astros -160
Pitcher Breakdown: Have you ever seen a 100% owned pitcher before? Ok so maybe Verlander won’t be THAT high but man, he’s going to be extremely high. It’ll be high enough that he’s a warranted fade in GPPs but a cash game lock. With all that said, this Mariners offense is no joke either, so this isn’t like a slam dunk matchup for Verlander either. But it just goes to show how poor the pitching is on the slate. Damned if you do damned if you don’t
Hernandez is just a shell of his former self and can’t be trusted. Congrats are in order as he’s yet to walk anyone through two starts (3.4 BB/9 in 2018) and hasn’t allowed a home run (1.5 HR/9 in ’18). His numbers were “better” at home last season but he still posted a .327 wOBA with a 4.43 xFIP and 13 of his 27 home runs. As is the common theme to this slate, pitching is a mess and you’re going to have to trust someone you don’t want. I just don’t think Prince (he’s not a King anymore) Felix is that guy.
Hitter Breakdown: I’m certainly not going out of my way to attack Verlander but doesn’t a Mariners stack sound like a really enticing GPP stack tonight? You know everyone and their mother is going to be on Verlander so this would give you massive leverage against the field. If I were going to attack this stack, I’d mix in Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce, Mitch Haniger and Domingo Santana.
Michael Brantley feels like one of the better value plays on the slate. He was recently bumped from the cleanup spot and is batting third as of late, which I like a bit better. I like having Carlos Correa in the cleanup spot as he sports some really good power against righties. If Alex Bregman is out once again, look for Yuli Gurriel is a nice value play for today as he’s coming off his huge performance last night. Gurriel doesn’t have a ton of power but should have plenty of opportunities to knock in runs, especially once the team gets into what’s quickly turning into a shaky M’s bullpen.
Best Overall Pitcher: Justin Verlander
Best Value Pitcher: Merrill Kelly
Best Overall Hitters: Ronald Acuna, Jose Ramirez, Matt Carpenter
Best Value Hitters: Johan Camargo, Ketel Marte, Wilson Ramos
Home Run Call of the Day: Patrick Wisdom
Stacks: Braves, Royals, Diamondbacks, Cardinals
Bet of the Day: Diamondbacks -111