Plays of the Day
Value: Jose Peraza broke out last summer with a .355 batting average and 127 wRC+ after the ASB and he will open the 2017 season as the Reds everyday second baseman. He’s been scorching the ball this spring and opens the year against a vulnerable RHP in Jeremy Hellickson, who struggled to miss bats while posting a 3.98 FIP and 12-10 record last season.
Fade: Brain Dozier posted some eye-popping numbers against LHP last season, but Royals southpaw Danny Duffy has held him in relative check with 8 hits and 0 HR over 34 career plate appearances.
Chance of rain delays in Cincy, Chicago (White Sox) and Minnesota today.
Noah Syndergaard: (NYM) vs. ATL DK: $11,600/FD: $11,100
Of course Clayton Kershaw is an elite play at his lofty price tag, but I might go against the grain a bit with Thor in what should be a lengthy revenge tour of the MLB. The young phenom was heated when he wasn’t even a finalist for N.L. CY Young last year after posting a 2.50 ERA with a 2.29 FIP and the lowest HR/9 ratio (0.54) amongst qualified starters. Syndergaard tormented hitters with a fastball topping around 98 MPH and a knee-buckling slider to sport a 10.68 K/9 ratio and he’ll face a Braves team that posted a 20% K-Rate along with the fourth-lowest wOBA (.304) in the Majors last year.
Justin Verlander: (DET) @ CWS DK: $10,200 / FD: $10,200
Whatever adjustments Verlander made last season, they worked. He returned to ace status and nearly earned an A.L. CY Young with an outstanding second half (1.96 ERA, .179 BAA and 10.93 K/9 ratio after the ASB). Verlander dominated a conference rival in the White Sox with 28 Ks and a 2.57 ERA over 3 outings and should continue to produce against a lineup that posted the fourth-lowest collective wOBA (.311) with an above average 21% K-Rate last year.
Kevin Gausman: (BAL) vs. TOR DK: $6,600 / FD: $8,000
Gausman started to break out towards the end of the 2016 season with a 2.45 ERA and 10.06 K/9 ratio during August and he could ride that momentum into the start of 2017. The young RHP posted notable home/road splits with a 6-2 record, 2.67 ERA and .236 BAA at Camden Yards and he faces a Blue Jays lineup that isn’t as dangerous as you might perceive with Edwin Encarnacion traded and both Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki in steep decline. Gausman might’ve struggled against Toronto last year but could conquer his demons with a solid outing on Opening Day.
Stephen Strasburg: (WAS) vs. MIA DK: $9,900 / FD: $9,700
Here we go again. “The Orchid” will attempt to bloom today in Washington and conditions should be ideal aside from the fact that winds are expected to be blowing out to LF at around 13 MPH. Yet Nationals Park is big enough to hold a lot of deep fly balls and Strasburg should be able to come out strong for at least one start, right? Last April, he posted a 2.25 ERA and .217 BAA and continued to ramp up his strikeout numbers with an 11.14 K.9 ratio before the ASB. He was excellent over 2 starts against Miami and is sporting a 9.89 K/9 ratio over the last 3 seasons against the Marlins.
Matt Wieters: (WAS) vs. MIA DK: $3,200 / FD: $2,700
Here’s to hoping Wieters Nationals debut is a good one against a RHP that he should be able to hit. Marlins SP Edinson Volquez posted a 1.63 WHIP with a weak 1.60 K/BB ratio and allowed LHB to put up a 22.3% Line Drive Rate last season. Wieters happens to be 2-for-6 with a pair of doubles in a small sample against Volquez and has done almost all of his damage as a switch hitter from the left side of the plate throughout his career. His power dipped following Tommy John surgery last year but he could return to form while switching to the National League.
Travis d’Arnaud: (NYM) vs. ATL DK: $2,900 / FD: $2,500
Salvador Perez: (KC) @ MIN DK: $3,300 / FD: $2,900
Miguel Cabrera: (DET) @ CWS DK: $4,600 / FD: $4,000
The King of consistency should begin his 2017 campaign with another solid outing against a LHP that he’s found success against in the past. Miggy is 15-for-43 (.349) with 2 HR and 5 doubles in his career against Jose Quintana and hit .385 with a .459 wOBA and ridiculous 1.124 OPS on the road against lefties last season. At the age of 34, he’s still one of the best all around hitters in baseball and can serve as an excellent cash game play on Opening Day.
Eric Hosmer: (KC) @ MIN DK: $3,700 / FD: $3,200
Ryan Zimmerman: (WAS) vs. MIA DK: $3,400 / FD: $2,400
Jose Peraza: (CIN) @ PHI DK: $3,700 / FD: $3,000
The Reds utility man broke out last summer with a .355 batting average and 127 wRC+ after the ASB and he will open the 2017 season as the Reds everyday second baseman. He’s been scorching the ball this spring and opens the year against a vulnerable RHP in Jeremy Hellickson, who struggled to miss bats while posting a 3.98 FIP and 12-10 record last season. Hellickson’s only plus pitch was a changeup that fooled plenty of power hitters, but Peraza has done a great job of staying back on the ball and spraying it to all fields during his early tenure in Cincinnati.
Logan Forsythe: (LAD) vs. SD DK: $3,600 / FD: $4,100
Daniel Murphy: (WAS) vs. MIA DK: $4,500 / FD: $3,500
Nolan Arenado: (COL) @ MIL DK: $5,000 / FD: $4,000
Some Rockies hitters aren’t worth a long look when they travel away from Coors Field, but Arenado is definitely an exception. The stud 3B hit .299 with 14 of his 32 homers coming on the road against RHP last year and continued to improve throughout the second half of his fourth campaign. Tonight the Rockies will face one of the weaker Opening Day starters in sophomore Junior Guerra, who has found a way to avoid major damage at the age of 32 but doesn’t necessarily have the physical skills necessary to get anything past Arenado.
Justin Turner: (LAD) vs. SD DK: $3,500 / FD: $3,500
Jose Reyes: (CHC) @ STL DK: $4,000 / FD: $2,700
Trea Turner: (WAS) vs. MIA DK: $4,900 / FD: $3,700
We haven’t heard a ton of hype out of Nationals camp this offseason and maybe that will help this young group come out and produce right off the bat. There is plenty of hype surrounding Turner after his breakout rookie campaign, but the 23-year-old simply goes about his business and should be able to pick up where he left off in a plus matchup against Edinson Volquez. He’s a true dual threat who slugged 13 HR with 22 XBH and added an absurd 35 SB over 78 games last year, so you’re not going to find a player with more upside at the SS position.
Asdrubal Cabrera: (NYM) vs. ATL DK: $3,500 / FD: $2,800
Corey Seager: (NYM) vs. ATL DK: $4,400 / FD: $3,600
Mookie Betts: (BOS) vs. PIT DK: $5,200 / FD: $4,600
The Red Sox MVP (and probably the actual MVP of the A.L. last year) opens the season with a great matchup at home against straight-line throwing Gerrit Cole. Big Cole gave up a career-high 25.4% Line Drive Rate as his fastball went from being rate 24.2 runs above average (according to Brooks Baseball) in 2015 to just 0.7 runs above average last year. He posted a 4.30 ERA with a .297 BAA on the road last year and Betts went 1-for-3 with a SB off Cole, which is worth noting considering he’s another dual threat with elite upside.
Ryan Braun: (MIL) vs. COL DK: $4,600 / FD: $4,000
The Rockies may hope that RHP Jon Gray will develop into an ace, but he’s still a vulnerable young pitcher who somehow posted worse numbers with a 4.91 ERA and 1.40 WHIP away from Coors Field last season. While Gray had a very solid start in his first outing against the Brew Crew, he’ll now have to contend with a better overall lineup that includes powerful LHB Eric Thames ($3800/$2200 as 1B on FD) as well as budding stars in Keon Broxton ($3900/$3000) and Domingo Santana ($3800/$2900). Those players are all worth GPP consideration, but Braun is the engine that makes Milwaukee’s offense go and he should be able to square up on Gray today.