We are always looking for the middle-tiered players to couple with solid starting pitchers. Do you go for the best starters available? Do you target the ones facing mediocre offenses? Regardless, we are always looking for players that have success versus a given starting pitcher, and ones that can be had for a reasonable price. This week, I want to breakdown one player, per position (outfield will have three players), that I’m targeting in DFS contests during a specific day.
Starting Pitcher – 5/1 James Taillon @ Texas Rangers
Career vs. Texas Rangers: N/A
After the names Tanaka, Lester, Kluber, and Mikolas, Taillon finds himself with a solid matchup. Regardless if the game is in Arlington, Texas is no stranger to the strikeout as the team is tenth in MLB in total strikeouts (261). On the season, Taillon has pitched then his record (0-1) has shown. He enters Wednesday with a 4.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 25:6 K:BB. Before his last start (five earned runs through 5.0 inning pitched), Taillon had three out of four starts where he gave up one run or less. He’s under just one strikeout per inning pitched, and has only given up one home run, Opening Day! Of the current Rangers lineup, only Asdrubal Cabrera and Hunter Pence has gotten a hit off of Taillon, and this came when they were with former teams. If you’re looking for a pitcher that won’t eat too much into your day’s salary, Taillon is a solid arm to look at.
Starting Pitcher – 5/1 Marcus Stroman @ LAA Angels
Career vs. Los Angeles Angels: 1-1/4.26 ERA/1.539 WHIP/19:5 K:BB
As I stated earlier, the likes of Tanaka, Lester, Kluber, and Mikolas will be the highest-priced pitchers on Wednesday’s slate. Of the current Angels roster, only Kole Calhoun has taken Stroman deep. Stroman enters Wednesday with a miniscule 1.43 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and [36:14] K:BB. Of his five starts, only one has gone for more than two earned runs (3 ER). He’s coming off five-straights start with 5+ strikeouts. One thing that goes against him is the fact that Angels lead the league with only 171 team strikeouts and are tied for seventh with 108 team walks. Still, the life on Stroman’s pitches look back to those of years past, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s arrival has sparked a new flame within the Blue Jays organization. If you’re looking for a pitcher that has started the season hot, then Stroman’s your guy.
Catcher – 4/30 Kurt Suzuki vs. Adam Wainwright
Career vs. Adam Wainwright: .357/.438/.357
Suzuki finds himself with a perfect matchup on Tuesday versus Wainwright. He’s had Wainwright’s number through 16 career plate appearances, and is an affordable piece at the catching position. Currently slashing .250/.292/.409, he hasn’t gotten off to the hot start we’ve seen in recent seasons, but the price, and history versus Wainwright, makes Suzuki once of the better options on Tuesday.
First Base – 4/30 Chris Davis @ Ivan Nova
Career vs. Ivan Nova: .316/.386/.763/5 HR
After an historically-slow start to the season, Davis has shown signs of life. Entering Monday, he’s slashed .300/.364/.900 with two home runs and 11 RBI over a seven-day span. With his price arguably the lowest among first basemen, Davis makes for an intriguing play in Tuesday’s slate of games. Looking deeper into the matchup, Ivan Nova has struggled mightily in the early going of the season having given up 23 earned runs over his last four games, including three starts in which he’s given up six earned runs or more. If you’re one that buys into a player’s career versus a starting pitcher, Davis is arguably one of the better bets out there.
Second Base – 5/1 Enrique Hernandez @ Madison Bumgarner
Career vs. Madison Bumgarner: .500/.512/.905/4 HR
There’s no question Hernandez has been getting the at-bats, and he’s provided solid dividends in DFS leagues. One thing that makes the Dodgers’ offense standout among others, are their ability to manage the strike zone. With some of the best plate discipline in the game, and facing Bumgarner that hasn’t looked like himself in years past, Hernandez finds himself in a perfect spot for a big Wednesday. Over his past two starts, Bumgarner has given up nine earned runs. Through 42 career at-bats versus Bumgarner, Hernandez has 21 hits, including five home runs and nine extra-base hits. Bumgarner has given up four, of his five, home runs to right-handed batters, and hitters have hit .292 while facing Bumgarner in San Francisco.
Third Base – 5/4 Asdrubal Cabrera vs. Clay Buccholz
Career vs. Clay Buccholz: .500/.591/.944/2 HR
Cabrera was off to one of the hotter starts in baseball hitting six home runs in the team’s first 16 games. A calf injury has cost him the past three games, but with him slated to start Tuesday, Cabrera has a few days to get back into sync before Saturday’s matchup against Toronto. Buccholz has been stingy this season in terms of giving up runs, but with Cabrera’s career stats against Buccholz, he’s arguably one of the better options, and at a fair price, for DFS lineups.
Shortstop – 4/30 Carlos Correa @ Michael Pineda
Career vs. Michael Pineda: .563/.611/1.313/3 HR
After an injury-plagued 2018 season, Correa is finally starting to look like his old self slashing .278/.346/.546 with six home runs and 15 RBI. Over the last days Correa’s been on fire slashing .321/.367/.679 with three home runs and six RBI. There’s no question Pineda’s been hittable, and he’s given up four home runs through his first four starts of the 2019 campaign. Previously facing Houston last Tuesday, Pineda gave up four earned runs, on eight hits, through 5.1 innings of work. With Correa’s price starting to increase, now is the time to add him to your lineup before his price starts to equal the production we’ve seen early into the season.
Outfield – 4/30 Adam Jones vs. CC Sabathia & 5/1 vs. Masahiro Tanaka
Career vs. CC Sabathia: .265/.295/.480/5 HR/10 XBH
Career vs. Masahiro Tanka: .375/.412/.719/3 HR/5 XBH
Jones enters Tuesday and Wednesday as arguably one of the top outfielders for DFS lineups. Going back to his days in Baltimore, Jones is more than familiar facing CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka. He’s slashed .320/.353/.599 with eight home runs and 15 extra-base hits combined versus Sabathia and Tanaka. Sabathia’s stringed together three solid starts to the 2019 season, and his bit about as stingy as can be facing both lefties and righties. However, righties have had more success versus Sabathia, even if the numbers aren’t much better compared to lefties.
Tanaka started the season strong allowing only two earned runs, through 12.2 innings pitched, over his first two starts of the season. Since, he’s become mortal getting shelled for five runs in two of his last three starts. He’s also given up just over a hit per inning in his last 16.2 IP, and has given up home runs in four-straight starts. Add in the fact that both games are in Arizona, and Jones is among the better outfield options early into the week.
Outfield – 5/5 Leonys Martin vs. Felix Hernandez
Career vs. Hernandez: .314/.314/.600/1 HR/6 XBH
After six-straight seasons with 200+ strikeouts, from 2009-2014, Hernandez started to show signs of wearing down after the heavy workload he saw early into his career. After the 2016 season, Hernandez saw his ERA jump from 3.82 to 4.36 (2017) and 5.55 (2018) and respectively. Coming off a 2018 season that saw him give up a career-high 27 home runs, Fernandez has looked solid into the early part of the 2019 season giving up three earned runs, or less, in four of his first five starts. On the other hand, Leony Martin has been one of the few bright spots to a Cleveland outfield that has struggled to produce. Early into the 2019 season, Martin has slashed .232/.333/.424 with five home runs. Over the last seven days, Martin has hits two home runs. While he only has eight RBI on the season, I directly associate with the Indians early inability to get numerous runners on base. Add in the fact that Francisco Lindor is finally healthy, and Jose Ramirez is looking to get back into the swing of things, Martin is a solid under-the-radar outfielder for Sunday’s slate.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday April 28th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #155 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. We will discuss spot starters for the coming week, plus a weekend update, and look ahead to next week.
Our guest this week is John Gozzi. John is a writer and editor with majorleaguefantasysports.com.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 2nd, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #156 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Cole and Kyle will discuss the latest happenings in the world of MLB and fantasy. They will take a look back on the previous few days and a preview of the coming weekend. Including spot starts, bullpens, offense, and minor league players.