Starting Pitching (Only Late Games)
1. Zack Greinke LAD vs PIT- Greinke struggled through another Spring, and at times through his career he has struggled through streaks. I don’t think that carries over into the season. We are also staring a lot of team’s fours and fives in their rotation as other options. Greinke should be considered the number one on resume alone. Add in the fact that he gets a Pirates team that will be swinging and missing and you’ve got your guy for the day.
2. Mike Minor ATL vs CHC- Minor had a 2.16 ERA after the All-Star break last year. The bats of the Cubs are under-whelming, but their strength is definitely on the right-side of the plate. Believe it or not, Minor has been better against right-handed batters over his short stint in the Majors. I think the Braves will pounce early of Scott Feldman, and Minor will settle into a nice groove. Own him.
3. Dan Straily OAK vs HOU- Straily is what people call a ‘soft-tosser’. He’ll pound the zone with his off-speed stuff and unbelievably finds ways to strike out batters. Fortunately for Straily, he’ll get the opportunity to strikeout a lot of batters as the lowly Astros come to town. I expect a low scoring affair in this one so don’t automatically pencil in a win for Straily. Peacock, his opposing pitcher, is going to be out for blood and would rank sixth on my pitcher list if I had a sixth place.
4. Josh Johnson TOR vs BOS- From all reports I’ve seen Josh Johnson looks like the Josh Johnson of old. If that’s true then we all should be rostering him if only just to have it done it once before he gets hurt. Now in all seriousness he has the hard-hitting Red Sox as his foe, but I don’t see a lefty to give him real problems. Don’t expect a shut out but you can hope for a quality start, win, and 6+ strikeouts.
5. Matt Moore TB vs CLE- When Moore has control of his pitches he can be a shut-down ace. Last year he struggled with locating his pitches through the first half but was much better in the second half. He has struggled with location this Spring. The way I see it, he’s going to be amazing today or he’s going to get absolutely shelled, high risk and high reward.
Worst Five Starters
1. Jonathan Sanchez PIT @ LAD- Sanchez has been absolutely dreadful over the past two years. I don’t know how he manages to find his way into rotations. Expect the Dodgers bats to wake up for this game. It will be an absolute blowout.
2. Alejandro Sanabia MIA @ NYM- Rookie pitcher with skills, but he plays for the Marlins. This could be a high scoring affair and Sanabia will be part of the reason. Stay away even though the price is tempting.
3. Scott Feldman CHC @ ATL- 25 earned runs in 20 innings this Spring. I know Spring stats don’t mean anything, but I’ve never like Feldman anyways. He’ll be going up against one of the best offenses in the game. I see Feldman continuing that one run per inning trend.
4. Dan Haren WAS @ CIN- Throwing straight and hittable has been his problem recently. It has carried over from last year into the Spring. Chances are it carries over into this first game. If it does, the Reds have the power to make him pay.
5. Wade Miley ARI @ MIL- Way too many great right-handed bats playing at home for the Brewers. Miley is walking into a death trap for his first game of the season.
1. Matt Kemp OF LAD vs PIT- Absolutely every team will have Kemp on it. We are all expecting that break out game for Kemp and the Dodgers in general. This game is it. Kemp gets to face Sanchez who he has a .931 OPS against in his career. That was against the good Sanchez. This is the dirty Sanchez and Kemp has the best chance of any hitter today to be awesome today. He should be rostered everywhere.
2. Ryan Braun OF MIL vs ARI- Wade Miley can not possibly navigate this Brewers lineup for an entire game. Somebody is going to touch him up. I’ll put my money on Braun to do most of the damage. If he’s too expensive on your site of choice, look to the other Brewer righties that might be more equitable for your budget.
3. Joey Votto 1B CIN vs WAS- Votto is 0-7 against Dan Haren in his career. That stops today. Today is the day Votto hits his first home run of the season. Mark it down.
4. Freddie Freeman 1B ATL vs CHC- Freeman looks to be taking that next step to show he is a great, almost elite first baseman. He has hammered some decent Philly pitching so far. Now he can relax and hit some bad Cubs pitching. He should be good for at least one extra base hit.
5. Jason Heyward OF ATL vs CHC- I expect the Home Runs to keep flowing in Atlanta. Feldman is just the kind of pitcher the Braves have been chomping at the bit to get to face. This is a simple L/R split speculative play. Feldman and Heyward have never squared off, but I’m still giving the huge edge to J-Hey.
1. Lucas Duda 1B NYM vs MIA- All lefty, Mets hitters should be stacked and sprinkled in your line-up. If I had to pick just one for a sleeper, it would be Duda, but I also like Valdespin if he gets the start. I think Ike Davis could go yard, but Duda already has one good game under his belt. I could definitely see him parlaying that into two good games on the back of a rookie, righty like Sanabia.
2. A.J. Ellis C LAD vs PIT- If you are going to ever use Ellis as your catcher, today is the day. He has two hits, both of which are doubles, this season. He showed last year to have some problems against left-handed pitching, but I’m pretty sure that was a better caliber of lefty than Sanchez. I expect multiple hits today, and Ellis should be a bargain price everywhere. I would stack the cheap righties of the Dodgers in tourneys.
3. Carlos Gomez OF MIL vs ARI- Gomez has seen his price drop recently from the incredible heights it reached last year. He has that power/speed combo that makes him so alluring to fantasy players. I saw him absolutely lace a double the other night, and I think he’ll see an opportunity to replicate that success again today. Don’t expect a steal. Miguel Montero will throw him out if tries to run.
4. Juan Pierre OF MIA @ NYM- Pierre gets a steal or two today and possibly a run. All speed guys for the Marlins get a bump with Buck behind the plate.
5. Matt Joyce OF TB vs CLE- Joyce is streaky hitter that mashes against righties. Nothing does more for your confidence/streakiness than a walk-off HR. I think Joyce has a decent enough match-up to roster on a few sites especially Draftstreet and more sharper-priced sites.
“Stacking” is the term given to playing multiple players from the same team in your lineup. In baseball, it can especially be effective because you get credit for bringing in other players via RBI and scoring runs. So if you stack a few players from the Mets and they score 10 runs, the odds are that your Mets players will have a nice night because of hits, RBIs, and runs scored.
- New York Mets left-handed batters vs MIA Alex Sanabia
- All Los Angeles Dodgers vs PIT Jonathan Sanchez
- Atlanta Braves left-handed batters vs CHC Scott Feldman
- Cincinnati Reds power lefty hitters vs WAS Dan Haren
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