What’s up Mafia, welcome to The MLB Early Bird…
This article will focus exclusively on DraftKings and FanDuel Early Slates. It will be written to hopefully draw out some factors for CASH and GPP players on each slate. I will update as news breaks after 11am each day. Now, let’s get started!
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New York (NL) @ Philadelphia
- Starters: Wheeler v Arrieta
- Game Time Temp: 60 degrees, 7 MPH winds in from right field
- Vegas: PHI -116
K Street: The Mets team strikes out 24% of the time to RHPs. Jake Arrieta comes into this matchup with some nice BVP. On this current Mets roster, Robinson Cano is the only batter with more than 20 plate appearances against Arrieta. He’s batting .227 against him; after that, the rest of the Mets are 11-51 with 17 Ks. Ideally, I am not fond of FB pitchers (Arrieta 40% v LHHs, 38% v RHHs) in Philly, but with a smaller slate, he’s in play. As for Wheeler, he’s allowing a 41% FB% to LHHs. This season, he’s yet to yield a homer to a lefty and he owns a 24% rate against LHHs. Against this Phillies’ lineup, he’s been hit in the past, allowing four homers. Bryce Harper is on a six-game homerless streak so let’s put him on the Dong Detector and roll the dice.
Power Alley: So, in a hitter’s park with some flyball tendencies, we should have some homers. First off, the Phillies who have had success against Wheeler are McCutchen and Franco. McCutchen owns a .547xwOBA and an average EV of 90.8. With Jean Segura day-to-day, if he’s out, I’d imagine Harper in the 2 hole, which will benefit him even more. Maikel Franco has been on a tear with 2 homers and 5 RBIs in the series. He has a 17% FB rate increase over the last two weeks and a .508 xwOBA against Wheeler. As I mentioned above, Arrieta has been able to handle this lineup. The one bat I think can take advantage of his FB rate is Pete Alonso. Alonso owns a 46% FB% and a monster 57% hard-hit%, which are team highs in each. He also leads the team with a .317 ISO and three homers off RHPs. Yikes! Dong Alert!
***Bullpen: The Mets bullpen has allowed a 2.43HR/9 and a 42% hard-hit% thus far. If this lineup can get to Wheeler early, it’s going to be another long day for Mets fans.***
St. Louis @ Milwaukee
- Starters: Wacha v Burnes
- Game Time Temp: Roof Closed
- Vegas: MIL -134
K Street: Wacha is back on the Early Bird article in a matchup that could be a very scary one. Wacha has seen an increase of batted ball distance by 18ft and an overall 8% increase in hard-hit%. That’s not good when you must face a Brewers team that has four players with a 40% flyball rate and five players with 40% hard-hit% against RHPs. For Burnes, he too must pitch in this hitter’s park. He’s been hit hard at a 55% hard hit% and allowed 16 ER in three games. Burnes did strike out this team 12 times on 3/31.
Power Alley: This game will be the chalk slate and ideally most of the CASH bats. The player who should homer is Paul DeJong. I prefer playing him against an RHP because of his .219 ISO and .343wOBA. He’s had an increase of 10% in his hard-hit%. Play Yelich. Moustakas is the other bat I’d use as a one-off if you aren’t stacking it fully.
Kansas City @ Chicago (AL)
- Starters: Keller v Giolito
- Game Time Temp: 60 degrees, 73% humidity, 9 MPH in from RF
- Vegas: CWS -115
K Street: Both these pitchers are very familiar with these batters. For Keller, he has 18 Ks and has only allowed one homer to this current White Sox roster. The White Sox bats are starting to warm up with Moncada homering twice last night. However, they are still striking out 26.3% of the time, which is 4th highest in MLB. Keller is coming off a 10-strikeout game and fanned five White Sox on Opening Day. Keller is my top pitcher for CASH or GPP with that strikeout upside. I wish it was a bigger slate because I’d imagine he’s going to be popular. As for Lucas Giolito, he struck out eight Royals on 3/31 but had back-to-back outings that were less impressive. The Royals are 25th in strikeouts against RHPs. Giolito throws his fastball nearly 60% of the time, and his flyball rate is 37%. The Royals stack will be a low owned option.
Power Alley: Starting with KC, Duda and O’Hearn are the LHHs I prefer. Duda went deep last night, and O’Hearn has had some success against Keller. Based off pitch type, and his 43% hard-hit% and his .317 ISO v RHP, Hunter Dozier is on the Dong Detector. As for the White Sox, with Keller drawing most of the chalk, IMO, using some bats against him could benefit if Keller bombs. Jose Abreu has the top hard-hit% against RHPs with 48% and a 41% flyball rate.
Cincinnati @ Los Angeles (NL)
- Starters: Gray v Buehler
- Game Time Temp: 74 degrees
- Vegas: LAD -175
K Street: Walker Buehler is the top-priced arm on this small four game ONLY on DK. The Reds have the slate’s lowest projected total. Also, the Reds strike out 25% to RHPs and have a .171 ISO. Buehler is in a prime spot, and with this small slate, you can fit him and still have high priced bats. Sonny Gray is coming off a calf injury, and I am going to avoid. Again, if you LOVE the deep high risk, upside play, he’s your man. I don’t see much ownership. Dodgers maybe without Bellinger and Turner…okay, I’ll stop trying to talk myself into punting.
Power Alley: Starting with the Dodgers, overall the Dodgers have 29 homers and a .243 ISO against RHPs. Even with some injuries, the Dodgers stack should be in play. I wish FanDuel had this game to help lower ownership elsewhere. If you again want to have another hedge/leverage play, play some Reds. Start with Yasiel Puig, who has been in revenge mode all series. He is a great option batting 4th. He has been hitting more fly balls and owns a .268 ISO against RHPs. Buehler is only allowing 0.79HR/9 with 35% hard contact. Clearly GPP only.
SLATE POSITION BREAKDOWN
Pitchers: Keller, Buehler (DK ONLY), Arrieta
C: Grandal (BVP), Molina, Realmuto
1B: Alonso, Goldy, Duda (VALUE)
2B: Moose, Merrifield, C. Hernandez (BVP)
3B: Dozier, Franco, Shaw (VALUE)
SS: DeJong, Mondesi, Kingery (VALUE)
OF: HIGH $$$ – Yelich, Harper, McCutchen; MID $$$ – Soler, Cain, Verdugo; LOW $$$ – Herrera, Dietrich, Pollock
Dong Detector: Alonso, DeJong, Harper, Dozier