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Justin’s Pick: Jordan Lyles
This is a pick that makes sense, but also makes me a bit uneasy. He has posted elite numbers on the surface, recording a 2-0 record with a 0.53 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP through three starts. He has also scored 26.5 and 33.1 fantasy points in his last two outings. With that being said, his 3.78 xFIP and 3.67 SIERA suggest he’ll see regression as the season continues. I’m banking on that regression coming after this start, as he gets an elite matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks at home. Arizona ranks fourth last on the slate in team wOBA, and Lyles should find more success in this matchup. He has posted a strong 29% strikeout rate to go along with a 9.3% swinging strike rate in 2019, which are both up from his career averages. With that being said, Arizona ranks second last on the slate in strikeouts per at-bat. Lyles also has yet to throw more than 87 pitches in a game, although his control has allowed him to throw six innings in each of his last two starts. He’s also a -127 favorite in a game set at 8 runs. There has been a lot of back and forth on this pick for me, but Lyles doesn’t need another elite performance to hit value at his current price tag, and it’s difficult to avoid him in this matchup. He gets the nod.
Jason’s Reaction: I love targeting moderately priced pitching option with great strikeout potential. Arizona’s ability to put the ball in play worries me, but Lyles obviously has the movement to pick up Ks. He gets the nod from me, as well.
Jason’s Pick: Eduardo Rodriguez
There is no reason to get too fancy tonight at the pitcher position. Eduardo Rodriguez makes for a great option in both cash games and tournaments due to his ability to keep runners off the basepaths. The Detroit Tigers are not a powerful offense, and Rodriguez has a solid 9.9 K/9 and 1.306 WHIP. The Tigers strikeout at a rate of 0.251 times per at-bat. The weather is pitcher-friendly tonight in Boston at only around 55 degrees with the wind blowing moderately from left to right. Most impressively, to start the season, Rodriguez has a ground ball rate of almost 60%, and his hard hit rate is 25%. His average exit velocity on batted balls is only 87 MPH, and his average batted ball distance is 192 feet, down 20 feet from his 12-month average. All of these advanced statistics point toward Rodriguez continuing his success. With a 12% line drive rate and 28% fly ball rate, the home run potential for the Tigers in tonight’s game is low. The Tigers are expected to score the second least amount of runs on tonight’s seven-game slate, so do not hesitate to pay up for Rodriguez.
Justin’s Reaction: I agree that Rodriguez has the advanced metrics to make an elite option tonight. I’m a bit worried about him because, well, it’s E-Rod, but he’s a strong play with only seven games tonight.
Justin’s Pick: Chris Davis
Chris Davis is likely the easiest play on this slate. Everyone tends to look solely at his terrible start of the season, but he was a bit unlucky during that time. Over his last 10 games, he’s hitting .310 with a .621 slugging percentage and a .976 OPS. He owns five extra-base hits (two home runs and eight RBIs in those games). Davis has also posted 40% hard-hit and 46% fly ball rates with a 94 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. He gets an elite matchup against Ervin Santana, who has allowed 52.9% fly ball and 27.8% HR/FB rates through two starts. While these numbers have to see positive regression, it shows he’s vulnerable to the long ball. Davis is only hitting seventh in the Baltimore Orioles’ offense, but he has been at his best against right-handed pitching. He is a solid bet for a home run tonight, and the only downfall is that he plays at such a deep position.
Jason’s Reaction: At his price tag, it is going to be difficult to avoid Davis. He opens up quite a bit of salary space at other positions.
Jason’s Pick: J.T. Realmuto
This recommendation has far more to do with position eligibility than it does value across all possible fantasy options tonight. What I mean is that the catcher position is difficult to find great value at, and J.T. Realmuto offers just that. The second best catcher option for tonight’s seven-game slate is likely Robinson Chirinos or Jesus Sucre. Neither one of them come with the upside that Realmuto does, let alone the consistency. He is hitting 0.043 HR/AB, and the Phillies are expected to score five runs tonight. Over the last 15 days, he sports a 217-foot average batted ball distance, a 34% line drive rate, and a 41% hard hit rate. Perhaps most importantly, he is closing in on averaging 10 fantasy points per game over his last 10 games. He has the upside, he has the consistency, and he can be rostered in all leagues. His price tag is high, but he is an elite catcher option on a slate that does not offer many enticing catcher options.
Justin’s Reaction: I generally pay down for my catcher, but Realmuto against Vargas is extremely enticing. I have no issues if you can fit him in your lineup.
Justin’s Pick: Eddie Rosario
Eddie Rosario has been one of the best fantasy options in the outfield this season, but his price tag doesn’t represent that. He ranks third on the slate in fantasy points per game, behind only Cody Bellinger and Mike Trout (out of qualifying outfielders), but his price tag is tied for eighth on the slate with three other players. Over his last 10 games, Rosario is hitting .310 with a .929 slugging percentage and a 1.254 OPS. He has posted 10 extra-base hits (8 home runs) and 14 RBIs over that span, as well. As if that isn’t enough, Rosario owns 45% hard-hit and 42% fly ball rates with a 96 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. He gets a tough matchup against Justin Verlander in a pitcher-friendly stadium, but Verlander hasn’t found his stride early this season. Rosario brings 0.023 wOBA and 0.079 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching into this game, and it isn’t often that we can get him at low ownership. We have to take advantage of that when it happens.
Jason’s Reaction: Rosario is absolutely red hot right now, and I won’t say no until he starts to cool off.
Jason’s Pick: George Springer
I recommended George Springer on the ‘Jason’s Jacks’ article yesterday, and I still strongly believe he is closing in on a home run shortly. He gets a good matchup against the right-handed Kohl Stewart and the Minnesota Twins tonight, and the weather is perfect. It will be around 75 degrees, and the wind is blowing out toward left field, which helps right-handed batters. The Houston Astros are expected to score almost six runs tonight, and Springer will be a part of that. Over the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance of 237 feet, his average exit velocity on those batted balls is 96 MPH, and his hard hit rate is closing in on 60%. His distance is up 27 feet from his 12-month average, and his hard hit rate is up 22%. To say that he is locked in at the plate right now would be an understatement. His price tag is high, but with players like Chris Davis available tonight, as well as lower priced pitching options, it shouldn’t be too hard to get him into those lineups.
Justin’s Reaction: Sign me up for Springer on this slate.