Justin’s Pick: Aaron Nola
This is an ugly slate, and there aren’t any solid salary relief options at pitcher. Aaron Nola isn’t overly expensive, though, and he has posted a 10-3 record with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP through 25 starts. He has also posted a 3.90 xFIP and a 4.18 SIERA this season. Nola has held his opponents to a 29.5% fly ball rate, although he has given up a 17.4% HR/FB rate. He has also given up a 38.4% hard hit rate, while recording a 17.8% soft hit rate in 2019. He brings 26.5% strikeout and 10% swinging strike rates into this game, as well. Nola gets a matchup against the Chicago Cubs, who feature one of the better offenses on this slate, but also strikeout at a slightly above average rate. He’s a -115 favorite in a game set at 9 runs, and the Cubs feature an implied run total of only 4.4 runs tonight. Nola does come with some risk, but he’s relatively cheap for a player with 30+ fantasy point upside.
Jason’s Reaction: Nola has more upside than Kershaw considering both price tags, so roster him in tournaments. In cash games, just pay up for Kershaw.
Jason’s Pick: Steven Matz
Steven Matz is worth consideration in tournaments tonight, as he gets a great matchup against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves lead the slate in strikeouts per at-bat with 0.327, and Matz has one of the higher K/9 rates at 9.0. Vegas has this game set at 10.5 total runs, and the New York Mets are the underdogs at +131, which implies a 5.4 run total for the Braves. That is obviously not ideal for Matz, but on a slate without too many other solid pitching options, his upside is worth it. It is worth noting that over the last 15 days, his ground ball rate is over 50%, and his hard hit rate is a respectable 33%. As an added bonus, his average distance on batted balls is down 17 feet from his season average over that same time span.
Justin’s Reaction: I understand the thought process, but the Braves are an elite offense at home, and Matz is awful on the road. I’m actually extremely high on Atlanta tonight, so I’ll be avoiding Matz. I do understand this, though.
Justin’s Pick: Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera is still extremely cheap, but he has found plenty of success recently. Over his last 10 games, he’s hitting .325 with a .525 slugging percentage and a .938 OPS. He also owns four extra-base hits (two home runs) and six RBIs in those games. Furthermore, he boasts a 48% hard hit rate with a 93 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. Cabrera has recorded a .337/.444/.847 line at home this season, as well. He gets a plus matchup against Marco Gonzales, and brings 0.079 wOBA and 0.102 ISO differentials against left-handed pitching into this game. Cabrera is expected to hit third in the Detroit Tigers lineup, and he’s cheap enough to be considered in all leagues tonight.
Jason’s Reaction: Cabrera is a great recommendation on a slate that begs for value options.
Jason’s Pick: J.T. Realmuto
J.T. Realmuto is expensive for a catcher, but all the stars are aligned for his success tonight. Over his last 10 games, Realmuto is hitting over .300 with 1 home run, 4 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases. It is not often that catchers have both home run and stolen base upside. Tonight, he squares off against the left-handed Cole Hamels, and he will bring 0.098 ISO and 0.058 wOBA differentials into the game. Over the last 15 days, his advanced metrics are great, as he is currently sporting an average exit velocity on batted balls of 96 MPH, a fly ball rate over 45%, and a hard hit rate over 50%. If all that doesn’t get fantasy owners excited, he is playing in Philadelphia, where he sports a season-long .293 batting average compared to .257 on the road. Realmuto is a lock.
Justin’s Reaction: If you have the money, feel free to spend up. I’ll likely be trying to save at catcher, though.
Justin’s Pick: Ronald Acuna
If you’re spending up on bats, Ronald Acuna should be a priority. He has been playing at an elite level recently, posting a .391 average with a .935 slugging percentage and a 1.375 OPS over his last 10 games. He boasts 9 extra-base hits (8 home runs), 15 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases over that span. He also possesses 50% hard hit and 38% fly ball rates to go along with a 94 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. Acuna gets a great matchup against Steven Matz, who has struggled on the road throughout the 2019 season. The former also enters this game with 0.083 wOBA and 0.105 ISO differentials against left-handed pitching. Acuna is leading off for the Atlanta Braves, and he should be a priority on this smaller slate.
Jason’s Reaction: I like avoiding Acuna in tournaments, especially if fantasy owners are targeting Matz, but he is obviously a great cash game option tonight.
Jason’s Pick: Jorge Soler
Speaking of spending up on outfielders, Jorge Soler is almost a must-play right now. In his last 10 games, he is hitting over .450 with 7 home runs, 14 RBIs, and 1 stolen base. That averages out to 17.2 fantasy points per game! He gets a good matchup tonight against the right-handed Dakota Hudson, and he enters the game with 0.115 ISO and 0.062 wOBA differentials. His advanced metrics are excellent, as well. In the last 15 days, he has an average exit velocity on batted balls of 96 MPH, a fly ball rate just under 40%, and a hard hit rate just under 70%. Hudson will not be the pitcher to slow down Soler, and he should also be a priority on this smaller slate, especially considering he is averaging more fantasy points per game than most pitchers will score tonight.
Justin’s Reaction: Soler has been as hot as nearly anyone in the MLB recently, and I love this recommendation. Great call.