Since today is a split slate, I decided to do my MLB GPP Breakdown “Healy style.” Today, I’ll be covering both the five-game early slate, beginning at 1:10 pm ET, and the six-game main slate, beginning at 7:05 pm ET.
If you’re not familiar with this piece, it will be broken down into four sections:
- A cheat sheet with my favorite players at each position and in each tier.
- My top pitchers to target on today’s slate.
- My favorite stacks to target and which players I really want to include in them.
- The “Today’s Edge” section, which covers my favorite play (or fade) on the slate, HR predictions, and the players I expect to be the top performers.
Chris Paddack – Considering teammate (and fellow right-hander) Joe Musgrove threw a no-hitter in this very matchup last night, the field is not going to sleep on Chris Paddack. Following a monstrous rookie season, Paddack disappointed in a big way last year, only making 12 starts and finishing with a 5.17 xERA. In his first start this year, Paddack only struck out 15.8-percent of batters and walked 15.8-percent of the hitters he faced also. Basically, he is not as tuned in as Musgrove is/was and should be treated accordingly. Having said that, the Rangers home stadium has become much less hitter-friendly since moving parks, and their lineup is not exactly loaded. Nate Lowe has had a great start to the season, Joey Gallo features massive power, and Nick Solak rarely strikes out, but those are most of the selling points for this lineup. Given the expected public interest in Paddack, I am lukewarm on him at best, but pitching on this slate is extremely shallow, so he is an option by default.
Ian Anderson – Ian Anderson was the third overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, and he has not disappointed in the early goings of his career. After posting a 2.46 xERA in 32.1 innings last year, Anderson started this season by striking out seven in his first start of the year en route to a 2.87 xERA in that game. Basically, Anderson can miss bats with the best of them and, like Charlie Morton who pitched yesterday, he relies heavily on his curveball. As noted in yesterday’s content, the Phillies were the worst hitting team in the league (according to xwOBA) versus right-handed curveballs last year so another pitcher with a nasty curve is not exactly what the doctor ordered for the Phillies. If moving off Paddack chalk, Anderson is the logical alternative.
Jeff Hoffman – There are two ways to view Jeff Hoffman tonight, and you basically have to choose a side. Either you trust the matchup versus a Diamondbacks team that ranked in the bottom 10 of both wRC+ and ISO versus right-handed pitching (RHP) a season ago, or you just flat-out do not trust Hoffman. Either way is a reasonable approach to the slate, but, if stacking expensive offenses, there are very few legitimate alternatives to Hoffman in the cheap tier. In his first start, he struck out over 35-percent of the batters he faced, so maybe not having to pitch in Coors Field anymore is going to boost his confidence and change his approach. It should be noted he threw the slider quite a bit in the opener, and that is not a pitch he has focused on much since the 2018 season, so there is legitimate reason to believe he may change his approach in 2021.
Honorable Mention: Garrett Richards versus an Orioles offense that ranked 22nd in xwOBA against right-handed sliders last season
Los Angeles Angels – The road underdog Angels should prove to be the less popular side of this game stack despite facing a power-prone southpaw. Sure, Steven Matz started the year in magnificent fashion, shutting down Rangers to the tune of nine Ks and just three baserunners in 6.1 IP. However, the Rangers struggled mightily in the split against lefties a season ago, whereas the middle of the Angels lineup includes such power bats as Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton. In other words, this should not be a lineup that struggles versus the handedness, and they should be able to put up a much better fight than the Rangers. Over the course of his now seven-year career, Matz has yielded a 1.68 HR/9 rate to righties to go along with a 4.59 FIP and 35.6-percent hard hit rate. All the Angels righties make for fantastic plays in a game with a 10.5-run over/under.
Boston Red Sox – Orioles probable starter Bruce Zimmermann posted mediocre numbers in Triple-A in 2019, bad numbers in a tiny sample at the MLB level last year, and started off the 2021 season with a mixed-results start. Projection systems expect Zimmermann with an ERA in the mid-5.00s for the year and a middling strikeout rate. Meanwhile, the top of the Red Sox lineup is equipped to hit lefties, with Kikè Hernandez, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts all hitting in the top four lineup spots. Beyond the starter Zimmermann, the Orioles bullpen is lacking, especially with their closer Hunter Harvey on the injured list. Basically, this should be a favorable matchup throughout, and you can target some of the power bats down the Boston lineup (such as Hunter Renfroe/Bobby Dalbec), as well.
Toronto Blue Jays – If you do not mind chalk, then go ahead and play the Blue Jays versus Jose Quintana, with most of the team owning the platoon edge. Teoscar Hernandez recently hit the COVID-19 list, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was removed from last game, so this lineup could end up being watered down. Combine that with the fact that Jose Quintana is not exactly a gas can and this team probably ends up a bit over-owned. Having said that, the righty power bats are legitimately excellent plays, but DFSers will need to be mindful of differentiating around the Blue Jays to form a unique lineup.
Arizona Diamondbacks – As noted in the Hoffman tidbit, this is one of those scenarios where playing both sides makes a ton of sense. While the Diamondbacks offense is not exactly oozing with power threats, the middle of the lineup is still dangerous. In an extended sample against right-handed hitters (RHHs), Hoffman has been blasted for a .409 wOBA overall, including a .425 career wOBA allowed to the handedness on the road. For that reason, Christian Walker is my favorite bat of the bunch, but lefties have still posted a 1.00 HR/9 rate versus him on the road (so away from Coors Field) as well. This team is going to go completely overlooked and yet Kole Calhoun, David Peralta and Walker can all inflict damage on a middling right-hander. Stack away with an offense where the most popular player may come in around eight-percent rostered.
Home Run Predictions
- J.D. Martinez
- Anthony Rendon
My Highest-Owned Guys
- Highest Scoring Hitter: J.D. Martinez
- Highest Scoring Pitcher: Ian Anderson
- Top Value Play: Christian Walker
- Player to Fade: Eric Hosmer
- Slate Edge: Anthony Rendon
Hit me up on Twitter @RSandersDFS or visit the MLB Chat Room with any lineup questions!