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For the time being, we will post our MLB Content Schedule here at the top of the article. It’ll be updated with links when each article is posted, so check back throughout the day!
Today’s Coaching Sessions
All sessions take place in the MLB chat room.
- Bullpen Coach (Phil Backert) – 9am ET
- Pitching Coach (DraftCheat) – 12pm ET
- Hitting Coach (Vlad Sedler) – 4pm ET
- Cash Game Breakdown – You’re reading it!
- The Early Bird – Conquer today’s Early Slates!
- Bullpen Coach – Everything you need to know about each team’s bullpen.
- Hitting Coach – A deep dive into the top hitters (& fades) on today’s slate.
- Pitching Coach – An in-depth breakdown of today’s starting pitchers.
- Cheat Sheet – A snapshot of the top plays at each position & salary level.
- GPP Breakdown – We use game theory, & advanced stats to uncover tonight’s low-owned studs.
- MLB NOW Livestream – A daily video show breaking down tonight’s entire slate.
- MLB Summary – A summary of what we discussed in today’s Coaching Sessions & on the livestream.
- Ownership Projections
- Fantasy Baseball Elite Podcasts (Mans/Flowers/DraftCheat/Vlad)
- MLB Chat Room
- Daily Projections & Optimizer
- Splits Hub
- Umpire Factors
Friday, May 3rd
Back to life, back to reality. Back to the here and now…YEAH!! Oh, hello I didn’t see you there reading my article that I posted and promoted asking you to click on the link and read. I am happy today. Why am I happy today? If you don’t know or at least can’t guess than go ahead and kick yourself right in the genitals.
We. Smash. Friday. It is a way of life around here at Elite Fantasy and today will be no different. We’ve all been working hard to earn our keep. Getting chastised for things that go wrong both that we can and cannot control. It’s time to take the power back. It’s time to make a statement and winning a nice sum of money while beating the snot out of the rest of the DFS industry is a hell of a way to exact our revenge.
Tonight, we have a beautiful 13 game slate with only the stupid Cubs/Cardinals game not being a part of the evening slate. We do have some pesky rain showers in ballparks in the Northeast so Mother Nature indeed may play a role in it all. But overall, we have plenty of opportunity at our fingertips for cash games, tournaments and qualifiers alike. You know that I have the cash game player pool locked down for you tonight so let’s get into it.
At the high end with pitching we have a familiar face in Clayton Kershaw but slightly under him are some very different names such as Tyler Glasnow and Matthew Boyd. Then there is the Chris Sale situation. The Red Sox ace has dealt with a drop of velocity, lack of movement and an increased walk rate already this season. But the strikeout numbers are up and on the surface the opponent is subpar.
If we pay down on the mound there are a bunch of quality options for us. Joe Musgrove has been one of my favorites but is starting to get pricey as is the case with my other go-to Mike Minor. Then there is Brandon Woodruff who brings us the K’s at a low price but is facing a hot Mets lineup in a closed dome of Miller Park.
Then there is Coors Field. Robbie Ray and Tyler Anderson matchup with two very mediocre bullpens backing them up. But there is also Yankee Stadium, Globe Life Park, Great American Ballpark and Citizens Bank Ballpark also in play here this evening. So, yeah, there are quite a bit of options that need to be sorted through here.
But I have already done all of that for you. I’ve spent the last 12 hours going over every nook and cranny of this slate and am so excited that I wish we could just press the start button already. Do we dare roll out Kershaw against the Padres? Does the revenge narrative give Chris Sale enough juice to be cash viable? Is a 66-degree temperature at Coors Field enough to make it a must invest here tonight? All the answers you seek, my friends are found within.
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center.
Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles – Watch this one closely because the Orioles have been known to cancel games early on if there are any possible weather concerns. There is a 25% chance of rain showers at Camden Yards but it’s nothing heavy and should get played.
Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies –There is rain storms moving in late so the chance of a delay is fair. Pay attention to the storms in this area leading up to gametime.
Oakland A’s at Pittsburgh Pirates –The storms that are moving into Philly are moving out of Pittsburgh so there is rain possible here much of the afternoon. We could see a late start if the storms linger but we have plenty of time later in the night to get the game played in full.
Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers –it will be only in the 70’s but really humid at Globe Life Park this evening. That humidity will give was to some rain showers throughout the night.
- Tampa Bay Rays: -220
- Boston Red Sox: -190
- Philadelphia Phillies: -165
- Los Angeles Dodgers: -160
- Cincinnati Reds: -155
Highest Run Expectancy
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 5.51
- Colorado Rockies: 5.49
- Tampa Bay Rays: 5.23
- Texas Rangers: 5.16
- Philadelphia Phillies: 5.04
- Milwaukee Brewers: 4.71
Lowest Run Expectancy
- San Diego Padres: 3.08
- Minnesota Twins: 3.34
- Chicago White Sox: 3.43
- Seattle Mariners: 3.59
- Oakland A’s: 3.66
- Miami Marlins: 3.67
Today's Pitchers Grid
- Joe Musgrove, Pirates ($7200)
- Shane Bieber, Indians ($8000)
- James Paxton, Yankees($10,300)
- Chris Sale, Red Sox ($9900)
- Sonny Gray, Reds ($8200)
Contrarian: Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners $6800)
- Joe Musgrove, Pirates ($8700)
- James Paxton, Yankees($10,300)
- Shane Bieber, Indians($9400)
- Chris Sale, Red Sox ($9900)
- Sonny Gray, Reds ($8000)
Contrarian: Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners($6500)
1) Joe Musgrove, RHP, Pirates –The guy is very fairly priced on FD but extremely cheap on DK where he is pretty much an autoplay at your SP2. Musgrove is generating a 12.6% swinging strike rate as well as a 23.0% strikeout percentage. He’s also getting a 47.4% groundball rate and has surrendered just one HR all season. It all comes down to his slider which he throws about 27% of the time. He has the 11thmost horizontal movement in MLB with that pitch and generates the 19thhighest swing rate and 20thhighest whiff rate in all MLB. The A’s are a dangerous team for sure but they come into tonight’s matchup hitting .167 with a .237 wOBA both of which are lowest in MLB over the last week. Oakland also is 9thlowest in MLB against sliders and 3rdworst against curveballs which Musgrove also throws about 6% of the time. Take all of this into account and factor in that Oakland loses the DH tonight in the NL park and it places Musgrove numero uno on our board on both sites tonight.
2) James Paxton, LHP, Yankees – Are you willing to pay up on the mound tonight? Because if so, than Paxton is your safest option. Paxton has struck out 32 hitters over his last three starts which encompasses just 19.2 innings. Paxton has the highest strikeout rate on the board tonight at a whopping 36.2% while also generating a 14.8% swinging strike rate, a 31.8% O-swing%, 67.4% first pitch strikes and 2.89 xFIP. The Twins have cooled down a bit and aren’t nearly as dangerous against southpaws than righties. Over his career, Paxton has limited this Twins lineup to just a .209 BAA, .255 wOBA and a 28.5% K% against them.
3) Shane Bieber, RHP, Indians – Remember that conversation about sliders we just had with Joe Musgrove? Well Bieber is a similar specimen. He throws a four seam fastball about 50% of the time while mixing in his slider (28%) and Curveball (17%). His slider doesn’t have the movement that Musgrove’s does but is getting more swings and more whiffs so far this year. Overall this season Bieber is striking out 27.6% of hitters with help from a fantastic 13.1% swinging strike rate. Seattle started out the season scolding but have cooled off considerably since then. The Mariners are hitting just .198 with a .282 wOBA and 28.4% K% over their last seven games.
4) Chris Sale, LHP, Red Sox – Am I worried about his drop in velocity and/or the seven home runs he has surrendered so far this season? Yes. But am I worried about either of those in this matchup? Nope. Sale loves to pitch against his former team and has absolutely dominated them in every start. The White Sox have his just .161 with a .189 wOBA and 36.2% strikeout rate against them. Chicago has been hot of late and had a big walkoff win last night but Sale is just what the doctor ordered for this Boston club to get back on track. Sale is one start away from again being regularly back at the $10K+ level so enjoy the discount here tonight.
5) Sonny Gray, RHP, Reds – Gray has a terrible first start of the season but has rattled off five straight starts of 5+ innings with 5+ strikeouts and an average of 33.4 FD points per start. His 30.3% strikeout rate is third on the slate behind only Paxton and Matt Boyd (Jerad Eickhoff doesn’t qualify) and his 54.8% groundball rate is third to only Kershaw and Kyle Gibson this evening. The Giants are awful, we all know this and they pose very little threat to any opposing pitcher. So at $8000/$8200 we care projecting a floor of 4x return minimum with serious upside and money left in the bank for better bats.
6) Yusei Kikuchi, LHP, Mariners – This is totally a GPP play, second pitcher on DK if you are using Paxton or Kershaw or just a conduit to load up on Coors bats. I wish this game was in Seattle because the Indians have a nasty habit of starting to hit at home year after year. But we cannot ignore how bad Cleveland has been against LHP. They own the fourth worst wOBA in MLB at .273 and fourth worst strikeout rate of 28.1%. The tribe also has just a 65 wRC+ and .094 ISO vs LHP this year. There is a lot more risk here than I’d build around but we have to acknowledge the idea of punting on the hill and spending big for bats. If you choose to do that, Kikuchi is your guy.
(2018 Data) (Click here for more park factors!)
1) Coors Field – 45.2% above average in runs scored, 14.1% above average in HR, 217.7% above average in 3B’s.
2) Camden Yards –47.9% above average in runs scored, 79.0% above average in HR, 13.7% above average in 2B’s and 46.2% above average in 3B’s.
3) Globe Life Park –13.2% above average in runs scored, 17.4% above average in HR, 650% (not a misprint) above average in 3B’s.
4) Miller Park –17.0% above average in runs scored, 60.6% above average in HR, 76.5% above average in 3B’s.
5) Citizen’s Bank Ballpark –12.3% above average in runs scored, 28.4% above average in HR.
Things To Target (Against)
1) Dan Straily, Orioles – .300 BAA, 1.66 WHIP, 7.05 xFIP, 53.5% FB%, 18.4% HR/FB%, 3.38 HR/9, 36.6% hard contact rate.
2) Tyler Anderson, Rockies – .342 BAA, 2.16 WHIP, 4.76 xFIP, 32.1% FB%, 33.3% HR/FB%, 3.24 HR/9.
3) Reynoldo Lopez, White Sox – .286 BAA, 1.69 WHIP, 5.37 xFIP, 58.6% FB%, 13.7% HR/FB%, 2.01 HR/9, 37.9% hard contact rate.
4) Jorge Lopez, Royals – .271 BAA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.45 xFIP, 34.3% FB%, 20.0% HR/FB%, 1.87 HR/9, 39.2 hard contact rate.
5) Jose Urena, Marlins – .307 BAA, 1.54 WHIP, 4.28 xFIP, 15.6% HR/FB%, 1.34 HR/9, 48.7% hard contact rate.
6) Jeremy Hellickson, Nationals –.289 BAA, 1.66 WHIP, 5.78 xFIP, 38.2% FB%, 13.8% HR/FB%, 1.66 HR/9, 5.5% swinging strike rate.
Click here for our Stolen Base Target Tool. I strongly recommend checking it out to find a value play or to properly assess how likely a player on tonight’s slate is to steal.
The hottest hitters at each position.
|10||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||TOR||154||668||46||120||105||4||12.6||16.00||0.288||0.322||0.317||0.407||0.605||0.423||169|
|11||Frank Schwindel||- - -||57||226||14||37||40||1||6.2||16.40||0.289||0.356||0.336||0.381||0.626||0.420||163|
|13||Ronald Acuna Jr.||ATL||82||360||24||72||52||17||13.6||23.60||0.313||0.311||0.283||0.394||0.596||0.412||156|
|14||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SDP||123||524||41||98||95||25||11.8||26.90||0.333||0.320||0.285||0.370||0.618||0.408||160|
|25||Kyle Schwarber||- - -||106||447||31||73||70||1||12.5||27.30||0.290||0.306||0.266||0.367||0.556||0.389||143|
Batter v Pitcher
For more, visit our BvP Matchup Page!
C – Tyler Flowers
1B – CJ Cron, Freddie Freeman, Justin Smoak, Eric Hosmer, Daniel Murphy
2B – Cesar Hernandez, Starlin Castro
3B – Matt Carpenter, Evan Longoria, Nolan Arenado
SS – Brandon Crawford, Nick Ahmed
OF – Ian Desmond, Brett Gardner, Byron Buxton, Melky Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Eaton, Curtis Granderson, Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Charlie Blackmon
Overall Hitter Rankings
- JT Realmuto, Phillies
- Brian McCann, Braves
- Gary Sanchez, Yankees
- Tucker Barnhart, Reds
- Jorge Alfaro, Marlins
This position gets worse and worse every single day and tonight I think it has hit an all time low. The only catcher that actually grades out above my usual cash line is Realmuto. I don’t like paying up for backstops so that means I will likely be digging through the bargain bin that consists of Brian McCann against Jose Urena or Tucker Barnhart at home against Tyler Beede. Let’s hope that there is a play that opens up as we get lineups posted here tonight.
- Freddie Freeman, Braves
- Luke Voit, Yankees
- Carlos Santana, Indians
- Ji-Man Choi, Rays
- Jesus Aguilar, Brewers
Freeman is in a terrific spot going up against Jose Urena who surrenders a career .342 wOBA to LHH. Freeman is 8-20 (.400) with 2 HR, 4 BB and a .500 OPB against Urena. Voit is on fire lately racking up a .389/.522/.778 triple slash, a .531 wOBA, 242 wRC+, .389 ISO and 2 HR over his last five games. Santana is an on-base machine against left-handed pitching. Choi and Aguilar are both value options who are in real plus spots tonight.
- Brandon Lowe, Rays
- Wilmer Flores, Diamondbacks
- Kike Hernandez, Dodgers
- Ozzie Albies, Braves
- Robinson Cano, Mets
Get ready to stack some RAYYYYYYYSSSSSSS (that is for you 1strtpube!) tonight against Dan Straily. Lowe will likely lead off and makes a great pairing with Tommy Pham and/or Ji-Man Choi. Wilmer will likely be in the lineup against the lefty Tyler Anderson tonight at Coors Field and his price is quite low. Kike is heating up and always hits LHP well. Albies has 3 HR over his last six games and is in a great spot but the price tag is what drags him down a bit in overall value.
- Nolan Arenado, Rockies
- Jose Ramirez, Indians
- Eduardo Escobar, Diamondbacks
- Rafael Devers, Red Sox
- Vlad Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
Arenado against a lefty in Coors Field is money in the bank. Nevermind the fact that he’s been red hot hitting 5 HR and racking up a .581 ISO over his last seven games. His counterpart is also very much in play as Eduardo Escobar has a 53.8% FB% and 69.2% hard contact over his last give games. If he continues that trend at Coors he will have a huge series against the Rockies. I know that Jose Ramirez isn’t exciting most of you right now but if you are watching these games you know that J-Ram is breaking out of his first month slump right now. He’s got a 50.0% hard contact rate while striking out only 13% of the time over the last five games.
- Gleyber Torres, Yankees
- Trevor Story, Rockies
- Jean Segura, Phillies
- Francisco Lindor, Indians
- Cole Tucker, Pirates
All the expensive SS’s grade out overwhelmingly at the top of the chart today. Gleyber has been in the zone but still isn’t priced up to where he should be especially considering the Yankees are back at home against a below average pitcher in Kyle Gibson. Trevor Story is crazy expensive but going up against a lefty at Coors so still in play. Jean Segura hasn’t struck out since returning from the DL and is making a lot of hard contact in the process. You’ll have to trust me on Cole Tucker as I could write an entire article about him here. Just know that like my recent investigations of Joe Panik, Ian Desmond and Jesus Aguilar I have done my homework. Tucker is far better against LHP and is the best punt option on the board.
- Mookie Betts, Red Sox
- Starling Marte, Pirates
- Ryan Braun, Brewers
- Ian Desmond, Rockies
- Joey Gallo, Rangers
- Jesse Winker, Reds
- Tommy Pham, Rays
- Randal Grichuk, Blue Jays
- Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers
- Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
- Bryce Harper, Nationals
- Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
I love seeing this. A lot of multi-category impact players grading out well tonight means that we’ve got a great mix of lower prices, hot bats and plus matchups. A lot of these guys present mini or even full stack opportunities here tonight. There’s not a ton of huge value here but we should see a name or two pop up as lineups begin to pour in tonight.