Isn’t it great to have baseball back? One week is almost in the books and what might seem like 100 more to go before the end of the MLB season.

I haven’t had a chance to mention about how great this week of sports is year in and year out. Some of the greatest sports events take place in the first week of April and it makes for some of the most entertaining television watching of the year.

This is all that went down this past week.

  1. The Final Four/NCAA Men’s National Championship
  2. Wrestlemania 32
  3. MLB Opening Day
  4. And of course, The Masters from Augusta National.

In Texas, it was a ridiculous week of sports. The Final Four was in Houston Wrestlemania 32 was in DFW, the Rangers had their home opener and this weekend is a very popular NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway. I could throw in that all eyes are on Texas-native Jordan Spieth in the Masters as well, but that might be cheating.

Anyway, it’s a great time to be a sports fan and having baseball back provides balance to the force. Let’s end our week of BvP picks with a bang after a very forgettable Wednesday evening.

Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Chris Tillman

BvP: 16-for-49, 4 2B, 6 HR, 9 RBI, 5 BB, 1 SB

Analysis: By looking at the following 2016 stats, you would think Tilly is coming off a perfect game…

K/9 GB/FB HR/9 BABIP ERA xFIP SIERA
22.5 0 0 0 0 -0.93 -0.51

Technically he did….for two innings. Nonetheless, it’s time for some Rays’ bats to put some blemishes on his stat line like a prepubescent 13-year-old boy. To help with that, i present my first pick of the day: Evan Longoria.

Known more for his ability to crush left-handed pitching, Longo has had no trouble teeing off on Baltimore’s version of Jennifer “Tilly,” who sported a 4.99 ERA last season. What makes this pick so great was Tillman’s inability to keep right-handed bats in check last season, finishing with a .359 wOBA against. I wish it was hot and humid in Baltimore tonight, but that’s the only knock against Longo and his 6 HRs off Tilly. It’s still nippy with low humidity so the ball won’t fly as well at Camden as it will in the summertime. Anyway, don’t be afraid to roster Longo, Tilly is not a guy who misses a lot of bats and can struggle with the long ball should he lose his command.

Devin Mesoraco – C – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Francisco Liriano

BvP: 5-for-13, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 7 BB

Analysis: This will be the first pick of its kind this season. I have a BvP bat up against a PvB pitcher, but I am OK with this. I am a little weary of this pick only because Mesoraco was out for most of last season and may still be shaking off the rust. I’d be off this pick if this game were at PNC, but it’s at the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark, which sports the best HR park factor in all of baseball. Liriano is an ace, but even he can be prone to meltdowns, especially if gives up free passes in bunches. Mesoraco’s stat line is kind of ridiculous, IMO. He has only 18 plate appearances, but has 7 walks to accompany a couple of extra-base hits. If Mesoraco has shaken off some of the rust, he’s due for a round-tripper.

Gregory Polanco – OF – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Alfredo Simon

BvP: 4-for-9, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB

Analysis: “I love it when we get Big Pa-sta. Throw your hands in the ay-er if you hate this player.” – Notorious B.V.P. Cincinnati’s version of Chef Boyardee takes the hill tonight against the Pirates and my main man Gregory Polanco gets a shot to feast on Simon’s hot garbage. For me, Simon is on a short list of pitchers I can’t stand. Mostly because I know they are spares, but any time I target bats against them, they seem to channel their inner Pedro Martinez and wipe their ass with my lineups. That list, in case you are interested, includes Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Derek Holland (yes, I am a Rangers’ fan), Scott Feldman and Chris Young (the tall white guy for KC). Funny, three of those guys are or were Rangers at one time. But i digress, put Polanco in your lineup tonight. He’s cheap, hits in the heart of the order (can lead off or bats behind McCutchen), and I’ve mentioned how GAB is the best RH HR park in the bigs, but it’s also a lefty’s paradise.In case you didn’t know, Polanco bats from the left side, where Simon has surrendered 34 HRs and a .340 wOBA from 2012-15.

Freddie Freeman – 1B – Atlanta Braves – vs. Jaime Garcia

BvP: 4-for-7, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB

Analysis: I’m slightly reluctant here because Freddie burned me big time against Strasburg earlier in the week, feeding the BvP naysayers. But Freddie is one of my favorite players to target in DFS. It isn’t much, but the 2 HRs off a guy that doesn’t normally give up a lot of long balls, especially to lefties, is encouraging. Freeman loves hitting at Turner Field, something I mentioned earlier in the week. While I actually like Jaime as a SP tonight, I also like Freeman’s ability to score points consistently, even if he only records a couple of walks, he’s usually not overpriced so much that your lineup is toast. I am willing to roll the dice that 4-for-7 against Jaime isn’t a fluke.

Eric Hosmer – 1B – Kansas City Royals – vs. Ervin Santana

BvP: 4-for-12, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 1 SB

Analysis: Ervin Santana may join my pitcher hatred list shortly if he’s able to muster a solid start tonight. Playing at Kaufmann, where the Royals and their fantastic bullpen thrive, Hosmer gets to showcase his talents against Ervin, a pitcher whose wOBA against lefties has increased the past three seasons, including a .386 wOBA in 2015. Santana also has shown steady decline in his GB/FB rate, finishing with a 1.09 last year. Perhaps Santana’s numbers need an asterisk because he was on the juice and now his true colors are starting to show?

Francisco Liriano – SP – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Cincinnati Reds

PvB: 34-for-147, 6 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 19 BB, 37 Ks

Analysis: Going into the season, I felt the Reds would contend for one of the worst teams in baseball. They still have some pop in their lineup, but their pitching is suspect, and it starts with injuries. Iglesias looks like a stud-in-the-making, but the rest of the rotation has more cons than pros. See tonight’s matchup against Alfredo Simon. Liriano’s biggest weakness is getting into trouble with his walks, if he limits those, it’s generally a going to be a good night. He makes lots of bats miss and keeps the ball down. I won’t have a chance to post a more accurate moneyline closer to first pitch, but I am willing to bet LIriano has one of the highest of the evening, meaning he’s more likely to snag a win, helping his DFS prospects.

Good luck to you all tonight and thanks for reading! Check back with us later for our MLB Expert Consensus and LIneup Construction articles.

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