Fantasy Baseball Weekend Preview: 5/11-5/12

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In this space each Friday, I’ll be previewing the weekend ahead in Major League Baseball. These will come from DFS, season long, and baseball fan enjoyment perspectives. At the end of each post I’ll add in some waiver wire pick ups to make before your deadline on Sunday.

Saturday

Pitching Matchups

  • Hernandez, SEA @ Porcello, BOS

  • Turnbull, DET @ TBD, MIN

  • Lyles, PIT @ Mikolas, STL

  • Davies, MIL @ Hamels, CHC

  • Nova, CHW @ Stroman, TOR

  • Harvey, LAA @ Bundy, BAL

  • Bauer, CLE @ Brooks, OAK

  • Sabathia, NYY @ TBD, TB

  • Alcantara, MIA @ deGrom, NYM

  • Eflin, PHI @ Keller, KC

  • TBD, DET @ TBD, MIN

  • TBD, TEX @ Cole, HOU

  • Gausman, ATL @ Kelly, ARI

  • Luchessi, SD @ TBD, COL

  • DeSclafani, CIN @ Samardzija, SF

  • Scherzer, WAS @ Buehler, LAD

50 represents the average on ESPN’s game score metric for pitchers. Saturday we have eight pitchers above 55, indicating they should be in for well above average starts. Samardzija, DeSclafani, Bauer, and Gray. Scherzer, Buehler, and Cole are all above 60. For the first time since I’ve started doing these weekend previews, a pitcher is projected for a 70 game score. That’s what happened when Jake deGrom takes on the Marlins. Of this group, I’ll be targeting DeSclafani and Gray in DFS because I think they’ll be the cheapest. The CIN/SF and WAS/LAD totals should both be below 7.5.

On the other side of the coin, 11 pitchers are projected for less than a 50 games score. Of those, Kelly, Bundy, Nova, Pineda, Lucchesi, Smyly, and Hernandez are the guys I’m absolutely not owning or betting on.

Marcus Stroman got off to a great start to 2019 but he’s hit a snag in his two most recent starts. His strikeouts have been up this season but they were also missing in his last two outings. He gets a soft landing spot with the White Sox on Saturday. The South Siders have the fifth highest K% in the league. He should have a good start and be pretty cheap.

Miles Mikolas has been great over his last four starts, throwing 26 innings with a 2.42 ERA. He still only had 17 K’s in that period so it limits his upside in DFS but the Pirates are 24th in the league in wRC+, indicating that they are a below average lineup.

Davies/Hamels is a sneak good pitching matchups on Saturday. Davies has a 1.56 ERA through 40 IP but he’s only got a 15.9% strikeout rate. That makes him a very dangerous play with little upside in a matchup against an elite Cubs lineup. Hamels has also pitched really well in 2019 as he comes in with a 3.38 ERA but a much better 24.7% strikeout rate. He’ll be more pricey in this matchup but I’m hoping to back the Cubs at -130 or better.

The TBDs are just taking over slates more and more each week.

Sunday

Pitching Matchups

  • Gonzales, SEA @ TBD, BOS

  • Norris, DET @ Pérez, MIN

  • Brault, PIT @ Hudson, STL

  • Giolito, CHW @ Sanchez, TOR

  • Canning, LAA @ Means, BAL

  • Rodriguez, CLE @ Montas, OAK

  • Tanaka, NYY @ Snell, TB

  • Smith, MIA @ Syndergaard, NYM

  • Velasquez, PHI @ Junis, KC

  • Sampson, TEX @ McHugh, HOU

  • Fried, ATL @ TBD, ARI

  • Margevicius, SD @ TBD, COL

  • Mahle, CIN @ Bumgarner, SF

  • Strasburg, WAS @ Ryu, LAD

  • Chacin, MIL @ Lester, CHC

50 represents the average on ESPN’s game score metric for pitchers. Sunday we have eight pitchers at or above 55, indicating they should be in for well above average performances. Bumgarner, Tanaka, and Lester are all projected for 55 game scores. Ryu, Smith, Syndergaard, Snell, and Strasburg are all projected for 60+ game scores. The Strasburg/Ryu matchup should produce a low total. I can’t wait to watch Smith and Syndergaard face off. Should be strikeouts galore.

Stack candidates include Sanchez, Sampson, Gonzales, Margevicius, Means, and Norris.

Lucas Giolito has thrown 15 innings of 1.80 ERA ball in his last three outings. He gets a bottom three offense by wRC+ on Sunday when he faces the Blue Jays. That’s a lineup that also leads baseball in strikeouts. Giolito seems like he’ll be a very good play.

I’ve added Tyler Mahle in multiple leagues in the last week because he’s been killing it. In his last two starts he has 11 IP with 2 earned runs and 15 strikeouts. He gets to face the Giants, who are 27th in league in wRC+, in the most pitcher friendly park in the league. He’ll get very valuable Sunday.

I can’t play or back Collin McHugh in any form until he proves he can still pitch. In his last four starts he’s got an ugly 12.00 ERA. This is a prove it or cut game for McHugh in my mind.

Griffin Canning is one of my favorite pitchers in the league. The 22 year old has just two career starts that have resulted in a 4.66 ERA. That’s not exactly an inspiring ERA but when you dig deeper you can really see the strikeout potential. He’s got an unreal 20.8% swinging strike rate, generating whiffs with an excellent slider that he throws are 87-90 MPH. He then attacks up in the zone with a four seam fastball that sits around 93-95 MPH. Go out and get this guy while he still has a high ERA.

Mike Fiers is coming off a no-hitter. This means absolutely nothing except that he’ll be way over priced.

Waiver Wire Adds

Two-start pitchers

Below are low owned pitchers slated for two-start weeks during the week of April 1. Next to each pitcher are their matchups and ESPN ownership percentage.

  • Brad Peacock (@DET/@BOS) 29.7%

  • Sonny Gray (CHC/LAD) 24.5%

  • Brandon Woodruff (@PHI/@ATL) 23.3%

  • Reynaldo López (CLE/TOR) 14.0%

  • Brett Anderson (@SEA/@DET) 10.9%

  • Freddy Peralta (@PHI/@ATL) 4.7%

  • Danny Duffy (TEX/@LAA) 4.4%

  • Andrew Cashner (@NYY/@CLE) 3.8%

  • Trent Thornton (@SF/@CWS) 2.9%

  • Jonathan Loaisiga (BAL/TB) 2.4%

  • Jeremy Hellickson (NYM/CHC) 1.4%

  • David Hess (@NYY/@CLE) 1.2%

I really like Brad Peacock this week. He added a windup and struck out 12 in his last start. I think he’s figured something out. In fact, I’m dropping Sonny Gray for him in a league for this week. Gray’s matchups are brutal. Both Woodruff and López are high upside but very volatile picks don’t pick them up if you lack solid ratio guys in our rotation. Danny Duffy is interesting. It looks like he’s been pitching really well again this season but it’s with no strikeouts and a 4.60 FIP. He’ll be regressing real soon and you don’t want it to happen on your team. Trent Thornton is another strikeout guy that’s risky but has good matchups and big upside this week.

<30% owned hitters to add

  • Alex Verdugo, LAD (29.3%)

  • Randal Grichuk, TOR (28.6%)

  • Franmil Reyes, SD (25.6%)

  • Mitch Garver, MIN (25.4%)

  • Gregory Polanco, PIT (23.7%)

  • Kole Calhoun, LAA (21.0%)

  • Eric Sogard, TOR (18.3%)

  • Mitch Moreland, BOS (17.4%)

  • Willians Astudillo, MIN (13.5%)

  • Brian Goodwin, WAS (13.1%)

  • Hunter Pence, TEX (7.1%)

  • Yordan Alvarez, HOU (4.6%)

Fantasy Baseball Weekend Preview: 5/4-5/5