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Justin’s Pick: Patrick Corbin
Patrick Corbin has looked outstanding through eight starts this season. He owns a 3-1 record with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. He also enters this game with a 3.85 xFIP and a 3.72 SIERA, suggesting he has only gotten slightly lucky early this season. Corbin has allowed an uncharacteristic 40.3% fly ball rate in 2019, although he has held his opponents to an 11.5% HR/FB rate. He has also held his opponents to a 36.9% hard hit rate, while recording a 15.4% soft hit rate thus far. Most importantly, Corbin enters this game with 28% strikeout and 12.4% swinging strike rates. He comes with elite strikeout potential, and he gets a matchup against the New York Mets, who lead the slate in strikeouts per at-bat. They also rank as a below average offense in team wOBA. Corbin is a -157 favorite in a game set at 8 runs, giving the Mets one of the lower implied run totals on the slate at 3.6 runs.
Jason’s Reaction: I’m going to have to start waking up earlier, so I can recommend the best pitching option on the slate. Corbin is a lock in all leagues.
Jason’s Pick: Kenta Maeda
The other truly interesting pitching option for tonight’s slate is Kenta Maeda. He gets a good matchup against the San Diego Padres, a team that has bolstered its offense, but still struggles to put runs on the board. The Padres strikeout 0.273 times per at-bat, which is the second highest on the slate behind the New York Mets, and Maeda has a solid 10.1 K/9. Los Angeles is actually one of the better ballparks in the league for pitchers, and the Dodgers are on a home stretch right now, which is always easier on the players. Maeda has the second highest strikeout projection, only behind Patrick Corbin. The Dodgers are -151 favorites to win tonight in a game set at 7.5 total runs, giving the Padres an implied run total of 3.4, the second lowest tonight, only behind the Miami Marlins. Maeda has plenty of upside, and the Vegas line is favorable enough to roster him in cash games, as well.
Justin’s Reaction: I’m a fan of Maeda tonight, and I have no issues with him on this slate.
Justin’s Pick: David Freese
David Freese is a specialist hitter, who generally only plays against left-handed pitching. He has caught fire in limited at-bats recently, though, as he’s hitting .350 with a .650 slugging percentage and a 1.169 OPS over his last 10 games. He also owns 2 home runs and 5 RBIs in only 20 at-bats over that same time span. Freese has posted 46% hard hit and 53% fly ball rates with a 90 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. He gets a plus matchup against Matt Strahm, and Freese enters this game with 0.075 wOBA and 0.052 ISO differentials against left-handed pitching. He’s expected to hit fourth in the lineup, which adds to his upside, as well. This pick was originally slated to be Kike Hernandez, but Freese will likely go more overlooked in this situation. In other words, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a few dominant right-handed bats, who can be considered in this matchup.
Jason’s Reaction: Any time fantasy owners can get a power hitter with positive splits hitting in the four-hole for $3.6K, it makes sense in tournaments.
Jason’s Pick: Dansby Swanson
Dansby Swanson has been rather consistent this season, hitting .262 with 6 home runs and 26 RBIs. Over his last 10 games, he is hitting .263 with one RBI, three walks, and two stolen bases. Tonight, he gets a good matchup against Michael Wacha in a game that is set at 9.5 total runs. The Atlanta Braves are favorites (-133) and own an implied run total of 5.1. That suggests there should be some scoring in Atlanta, and Swanson is expected to hit second. He has minor positive power splits against right-handed pitching, and on the season, he is stealing 0.066 bases per game. In the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance of 235 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 94 MPH, a 37% fly ball rate, and a 55% hard hit rate. He has power. He has speed. He has upside. Roster him in tournaments.
Justin’s Reaction: I actually like Swanson in all leagues. He’s been extremely consistent, and comes with the upside for tournaments, as well.
Justin’s Pick: George Springer
When you have a player as locked in as George Springer is, you simply don’t avoid him. Over his last 10 games, he’s hitting .500 with a 1.000 slugging percentage and a 1.553 OPS. He also owns 8 extra-base hits (6 home runs) and 12 RBIs over that same time span. Furthermore, Springer has stolen base potential that he simply hasn’t flashed recently. He owns 52% hard hit and 32% fly ball rates with a 95 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. He also gets an elite matchup against Gregory Soto, who likely isn’t an MLB-caliber starting pitcher. Springer will lead off for the best offense on the slate, and he has scored double-digit fantasy points in 8 of his last 10 games, including 5 games with 20+ fantasy points. It may be difficult to afford his price tag, but if you can, there’s no reason to avoid him.
Jason’s Reaction: It goes without saying that all fantasy owners will want to have Springer tonight. Whether or not that is a realistic possibility is another question.
Jason’s Pick: Ronald Acuna
Ronald Acuna makes for a good pair with Dansby Swanson, if the salary is not an issue. Again, as previously mentioned, the Atlanta Braves are expected to score over five runs tonight, and Acuna is expected to leadoff. He is hitting 0.061 HR/AB and stealing almost one base per game. Over the last 15 days, he has a ridiculous average batted ball distance of 274 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 99 MPH, a 45% fly ball rate, and a 62% hard hit rate. He is actually almost likely to hit a home run and steal a base tonight. His average batted ball distance is up 47 feet from his 12-month average, and his hard hit rate is up 15%. Acuna is absolutely locked in right now, even if his actual numbers are slightly less encouraging. In his last 10 games, he has a .275 batting average with two home runs and zero stolen bases. Tournament lineups are about predicting the future, though, not following past trends, and Acuna should see a few huge games soon.
Justin’s Reaction: Acuna and Swanson make a strong pair tonight. I like where you’re going with this.