Carlos Carrasco- For a bigger slate, I have a pretty small group of pitchers that I’m interested in and that group does not include some of the pitchers I expect to be pretty highly-owned on this slate. Starting with Carrasco, he is coming off another solid season in 2018 with a 3.03 SIERA and just under 30.0% strikeouts. He’s been equally as sharp so far in 2019 walking just 4.4% of the batters he’s faced while generating over 11.0% swinging strikes. He has one of the better matchups on the board with the Kansas City Royals, and is not an overly expensive spend on this slate. I think he is, overall, the safest option on this slate in terms of a floor and a ceiling, and he is at the top of my personal rankings for cash games tonight.
Patrick Corbin- The closest graded pitcher I have to Carrasco tonight is Patrick Corbin in a matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who struck out 11 times last night to Jose Quintana of all people. Corbin hasn’t gotten off to the hot start that he saw in 2018, but he is coming off a pretty solid game against the Mets in which he struck out 9 over 6 innings and gave up three runs. He also saw the Mets in his first start, and I think it’s a huge advantage to the batters when they see the same guy in a matter of five-six days at the start of the season. He has 13 strikeouts in his first 12 innings this season, but that number feels like it’s due to jump even more soon seeing as he’s generated a 14.4% swinging strike rate — the second highest mark on this slate. He is cheaper than Carrasco, so if you need a few hundred dollars in savings I would have no issues dropping to him in all formats.
Chris Paddack- Paddack is one of my favorite up-and-coming pitchers in the MLB, and I broke down just why I think he is legitimate this morning on my solo podcast. I’m not worried about the four walks he issued in his last start seeing that he never posted a walk rate above 5.5% in the minors and it was under 3.0% last season, this guy has ELITE control and the matchup is much better this time around against the Diamondbacks than the Cardinals. I won’t be going here in cash games, but the upside is there for me to take a shot in tourneys even at an elevated price over guys like Eduardo Rodriguez and Jake Arrieta.
GPP Wildcard: Lucas Giolito- Some of you may be cringing seeing that Gio matches up with the Bronx Bombers tonight…but hear me out. Giolito was once one of the top prospects in the MLB. He has a dominant fastball, and down the stretch of last season he was much, much better than his 2018 numbers indicate. For this season, he sits at a 3.89 SIERA, 26.7% strikeouts and 11.1% walks. Those numbers are more than acceptable, with the walks still being his main concern. The thing I like about this matchup is, even with the rough numbers last season, he allowed just 31.0% hard hits to right-handed batters with over 50.0% ground balls. The only two guys I’m scared of in this Yankee order right now are right-handed, and the matchup gets an even bigger bump with Gary Sanchez now out injured. Obviously we aren’t going here in cash games, but for tournaments, I see the upside and the price is more than reasonable.
Catcher: Wilson Ramos
First Base: Mitch Moreland, Pete Alonso
Second Base: Jose Altuve, Robinson Cano
Third Base: Matt Chapman, Josh Donaldson
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Marcus Semien
Outfield: Khris Davis, Brandon Nimmo, Robbie Grossman
1. Philadelphia Phillies- A lot of people are high on Sandy Alcantara, but I just haven’t seen it from him. He posted a 5.42 SIERA with 20.6% striekouts and over 15.0% walks in 2018, and has followed that up with 12.5% strikeouts to start 2019. He has decent swing and miss stuff, but it hasn’t translated to strikeouts yet and he allowed over 43.0% fly balls and hard hits to righties last season. Knowing that he has low strikeouts, balls will be in play against him which has me focused on Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper as a tournament stack that I can see going overlooked on this big of a slate in a bad hitters park.
2. Houston Astros- I contemplated putting the Mets here, but I included so many of them above in the positional section that I think you guys can see I like them as well tonight. Wade LeBlanc is a weird pitcher, he isn’t overly terrible at anything but he isn’t “good” at anything either. He struck out just 18.5% of the righties he faced last season, and he is going to see a nightmare matchup for a southpaw tonight against the Astros. The Astros are too right-heavy for LeBlanc to navigate multiple times in my opinion, and it could be a long night for him if he gets off to a rough start.
Chalk Stacks: Red Sox, A’s and Rangers
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)