Hopefully, everyone had a good Easter weekend and could sneak in watching some MLB and NBA playoffs around church, Easter egg hunts and ham dinners. Monday features a nine-game evening slate to kick off the week. There are no true “aces” on the hill tonight so I am rolling with a couple wily veterans and a youngster for my pitcher recommendations. Meanwhile, on the hitting side, tonight would be a good night to deploy my “suited connectors” or “suited gappers” concept. Much like the poker terms the concept features pairing up two (or three) hitters from the same team that hit within a spot or two of each other in the lineup. While it is not a full-on stack it still offers some of the upside of a stack while spreading out your risk by having access to more teams thus giving you more “outs” to steal another poker term. Maybe we shouldn’t call it “outs” in baseball but you get the idea. It is a good concept to use in both Cash and GPP lineups and likely a strategy that I will use quite a bit tonight.
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Let’s mow down the competition 3 Up and 3 Down…
John Lackey (FD-$9,600 / DK-$10,200)
The 38-year-old John Lackey is still an effective big league pitcher and pitching for a good Cubs team doesn’t hurt. Lackey has pitched well to start the season racking up 17 strikeouts over his first two starts (12 IP). Now he will face a Brewers’ offense that had the highest strikeout rate (25.8%) against righties last season and are currently exceeding that rate (26.7%) so far this season. Lackey his also a big favorite and has pitched better at home than on the road over the last season-plus.
Brandon McCarthy (FD-$7,000 / DK-$7,900)
It feels like McCarthy is older than 33, maybe it is because he is in the news a lot due to injury or bouncing in and out of the rotation throughout his career. McCarthy has been solid in his first two starts of the season although maybe a little bit lucky with a 1.50 ERA but a 4.06 xFIP. He will face the Diamondbacks who are a little boom-or-bust against righties with a high strikeout rate (25.7%) so far this season but are also capable of putting runs on the board. With the game in Los Angeles instead of hitter-friendly Arizona and McCarthy and the Dodgers as a decent favorite, he is a solid value option to consider for Cash lineups in two-pitcher sites and GPP lineups.
Jordan Montgomery (FD-$6,600 / DK-$6,000)
While Montogomery is my Darkhorse pick for tonight but I do expect him to be fairly “chalky”. He showed good signs in his first start with seven strikeouts over just 4.2 innings against the Rays. He will need to pitch a little deeper into the game to put up the kind of fantasy day you need but pitching at home as a decent favorite against the White Sox he might have the biggest upside of the cheap pitching options. Others to consider if you want a lower owned option could be Jaime Garcia or Ariel Miranda.
Indians vs. Kyle Gibson
Gibson has struggled against Indians’ hitter over the last couple of seasons allowing a .402 wOBA in 84 plate appearances. He also allowed a .380 wOBA to lefties last season while giving up the long ball (1.23 HR/9) to both sides of the plate. If there is one team to deploy a full stack on tonight it is the Indians.
Carlos Santana (FD-$3,800 / DK-$4,400) – Santana has demonstrated more power versus righties during his career with a .213 ISO (.285 last season). He also has two homers in 12 at-bats against Gibson over the last two years.
Edwin Encarnacion (FD-$3,400 / DK-$4,500) – Encarnacion has been slow to adjust to his new home in Cleveland with just one home run and one RBI(!) so far this season. A trip to Minnesota could be just what E5 needs as he has hit seven homers in just 23 games with a .294 average at Target Field.
Francisco Lindor (FD-$4,100 / DK-$4,200) – Lindor is 8-for-10 with two steals against Gibson over the last two seasons.
Jose Ramirez (FD-$3,700 / DK-$4,000) – Ramirez is batting .423 with three homers against righties so far this season and had a .351 wOBA against righties last year.
Mariners vs. Tom Koehler
Koehler has a tidy 3.27 ERA through his first two starts but has given up five walks and three homers while only striking out five batters which lead to a 5.13 xFIP. He gave up near equal production to both righties and lefties last season. Mariners could also be considered a Contrarian stack as I expect them to be fairly low owned.
Robinson Cano (FD-$3,400 / DK-$) – Cano is off to a slow start but had .396 wOBA and .272 ISO against righties last season.
Kyle Seager (FD-$3,800 / DK-$) – Seager is homerless so far this season but had .390 wOBA and .231 ISO last season.
Nelson Cruz (FD-$3,600 / DK-$) – Cruz continues the list of Mariners hitters off to a slow start with just one long ball so far this season. He had a .234 ISO against righties at home last season.
Athletics vs. A.J. Griffin
Griffin is a prime candidate to stack against every time he takes the mound. He gave up a 2.12 HR/9 last season and has already given up three homers over his first 9.1 innings this season. Griffin is not picky on who he gives up long balls to with both righties and lefties going deep off him at a high rate.
Matt Joyce (FD-$2,200 / DK-$2,600) – Joyce continues to have a low salary on both sites and has strong platoon splits against lefties with a career .347 wOBA and .196 ISO against righties.
Khris Davis (FD-$3,400 / DK-$4,100) – Davis has six homers already this season including five off of righties.
Stephen Vogt (FD-$2,800 / DK-$3,400) – Vogt has a career .328 wOBA and .171 ISO against righties.
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