Trevor Bauer- Most everyone knows Bauer was my Cy Young pick to begin the season in the American League, and he has responded with over 14.0% swinging strikes to begin the season. He had a tough outing against Detroit in his last start, and walked six Blue Jays in the start before that, but overall he has had the strikeouts working (9,8,7) and I expect to get better as the season progresses and he can further implement the proper pitch mix. He has a tough matchup against the Mariners who have been one of the best offenses in the MLB this season, but Bauer is the best pitcher on this slate and is the top dog for me in cash games tonight. I could see moving off of him on FanDuel given his price, but he is more than affordable on DraftKings and is a near lock for me there.
Joey Lucchesi- When looking for a cash game SP2, most will be looking at Lucchesi in a home matchup with the Rockies who have been dreadful on the road again this season. Some may be scared off of his last outing against the Giants, but it seems like bad luck to me and nothing sticks out as overly wrong. The Rockies have two batters to worry about for me tonight in Arenado and Story, and if Lucchesi can navigate those two we could see something more in line with his 38+ FanDuel point performances in his first two starts.
Matt Shoemaker- Shoemaker has been really good this season for the Blue Jays, thanks in part to his splitter in which he’s getting over 25.0% whiffs on. That has led to a 14.0+% swinging strike rate, which further backs his 26.0% strikeouts as legitimate. He’s a bit expensive for me on FanDuel, but he’s in play as an SP2 on DraftKings and while the matchup against the Twins is not “easy” there aren’t many places to go for cheap tonight.
Tournaments- Luis Castillo, Martin Perez (DK SP2 ONLY)
Paul Goldschmidt- Not only does Goldy have a strong history batting in Miller Park, he owns a .472 xwOBA against Peralta’s fastball…a pitch that he throws 80.0% of the time. I don’t think he will end up being the highest-owned first baseman tonight, but given his price I think he should be and I will be locking him into my main team on all sites.
Cheap Angels- The Angels project as one of the highest-owned teams tonight in a good spot against the corpse of Shelby Miller, and it’s going to be hard to avoid their players in cash games if attempting to fit in Trevor Bauer. Seemingly all of their players are $4K or below on DraftKings tonight, minus Mike Trout who will probably miss this game due to injury , and the likes of Kole Calhoun and Andrelton Simmons seem impossible to avoid.
1. Cardinals- The Cardinals come into tonight as my favorite overall offense matching up with Freddy Peralta and his 80.0% fast balls. I have attacked Peralta pretty much every start this season citing that there’s no way a starter can survive multiple times through an order throwing one pitch for an extended period of time regardless of how good of a pitch it is. Peralta is allowing over 40.0% hard hits and 49.0% fly balls to kick off 2019, and the Cardinals have one of the deeper lineups on the slate. I would start with Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong, and fill-in with guys like Marcell Ozuna or Yadi Molina on DraftKings.
2. Cubs- I originally had the Royals in this slot, but seeing now that it appears Trevor Richards will be pretty decently owned, I think we get a nice leverage spot with the Cubs in GPPs. I like Richards, and I really don’t like the Cubs offense, but there is no reason that he should be overwhelmingly owned in this matchup. He is due for some regression seeing his .209 BABIP, and you can pair that with a 13.0+% walk rate and you can see why I think this could turn ugly. Baez, Rizzo, and Bryant are the obvious albeit expensive picks here.
Chalk Stacks: Angels, Rangers, Brewers, White Sox
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)