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The MLB Fives for April 18

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Elite Starters

1. Justin Verlander RHP DET @ SEA- After watching the strikeout fest that happened last night and into this morning, there is little reason to think that trend won’t continue after only a few hours of sleep. Verlander will be ready. I question the readiness of the Seattle bats. This one is easy, and I think Verlander has a chance to eclipse 10+ Ks.

2. Jon Lester LHP BOS @ CLE- Other than Nick Swisher, Lester has had a lot of success against the Cleveland hitters. Cleveland isn’t great at hitting left-handed pitching, but they are better this year than last. Lester has yet to give up a HR on the season and has held righties to a .194 AVG. Lester might have seen his price increase over his last three solid starts, but I still think you should roster him as your second best option at starter today.

3. Adam Wainwright RHP STL @ PHI- The Phillies offense has been borderline anemic lately getting handled by the Marlins and the Reds pitching staffs with ease. Wainwright is coming off of one of his best starts of his career where he pitched a complete game and tossed in 12 strikeouts. None of the Phillies have a HR off of Wainwright in their careers and only Jimmy Rollins has an extra base hit among the projected Phillies starting lineup.

4. Jose Fernandez RHP MIA @ CIN- I know the Reds just put 11 runs up on the Phillies last night. I also know that Fernandez is a 20 year old rookie. There’s other factors in play here. I didn’t¬†recommend Jose last week, and he proved me wrong. He’s extremely cheap everywhere still. The Reds strikeout more¬†¬†25 other Major League teams. Fernandez sharp high 80′s curveball is a more than capable punch out pitch paired with his mid 90′s fastball. He could give up a couple of runs, but I’m pretty positive he’ll throw 6+ strikeouts in there at a bargain price.

5. Tony Cingrani LHP CIN vs MIA- The Marlins are a pathetic excuse for a baseball team. If Stanton returns today, he may present an issue for Cingrani, but I’m still not that concerned. Cingrani has absolutely dominated on every level of the Minors. He has never struggled. When examining prospects that can have an immediate impact upon their call-up, the number one thing I look at is sustained dominance without a hiccup. So far this year, Cingrani has 26 Ks in 14 1/3 innings. He’s here to stay.

Elite Hitters

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1. Justin Upton OF ATL @ PIT- With the way Upton has been swinging a bat, he’s statistically due to hit another HR today. The fact that Jeff Locke is his opposing pitcher only further validates that. I think you can go ahead and add all Braves righties, Evan Gattis in particular, and I would also recommend a Braves stack on DraftKings.

2. David “Polar Bear” Wright 3B NYM @ COL- Wright probably hopes he’ll never have to leave cold weather. In his four games against the cold weather cities of Minnesota and Colorado this year, he has gone 7 for 17 with 4 extra base hits two of which went for HRs. He’s also driven in 8 runs. David must really work opposite to common thought that cold weather¬†suppresses¬†hitting.

3. Evan Longoria 3B TB @ BAL- Longoria made this list yesterday and didn’t disappoint or impress, but I think the Rays are due to start hitting right-handed pitching. Longo is heating up. If you are playing in a one third baseman league, go Wright, but I would try to find a way to wiggle Longo under my cap.

4. Andrew McCutchen OF PIT vs ATL- I hate to write this, but Teheran is what we thought he was. Spring Training and the Winter leagues look to be a mirage through the early goings. He’s given up 3 HRs in his first 11 innings, and it seems he’s been getting hit earlier in games. Look for McCutchen to do his damage early in this one. McCutchen has had three multi-hit games in his last five. Expect another multi-hit game with a high¬†probability¬†of an extra base hit.

5. Jacoby Ellsbury OF BOS @ CLE- Ellsbury is riding a 7 game hit streak going into today’s game. Ellsbury also has 7 runs, 2 triples, and 2 SBs during that span. He has two extra base hits out of his three at bats versus RHP McAllister. I think he’s ready to hit one out today. He’s as hot a lead-off hitter as there is in the game right now. I would also recommend a stack of Red Sox versus McAllister.


About Ben Pritchett

Member of the FSWA. Top 4 2012 Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Expert. Top 3 Finisher in the 2012 DSFC football championship. Written for The Hardball Times and Daily Joust.

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