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The MLB Fives for April 23

The MLB Fives_03Elite Starters

1. Yovani Gallardo RHP MIL @ SD- I’m going to keep riding the stream of quality pitchers against San Diego in San Diego. It’s just makes too much sense. Yovani pitched well in his last start, and I think the stumble in St. Louis was just a stumble.  Yovani

2. Hisashi Iwakuma RHP SEA @ HOU- Iwakuma has been pitching extremely well through the early goings of 2013. He has limited opponents to just a .135 AVG and a .425 OPS. Facing the awful Astros should help further those averages. However there is a slightly alarming risk. All of Iwakuma’s 5 earned runs have came by way of four long balls. Playing in Houston can give way to a few home runs, but if Iwakuma can continue to limit base runners at anywhere near this clip, then I can live with a couple of solo shots.

3. Clayton Kershaw LHP LAD @ NYM- Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Kershaw has shown some recent kinks in his armor over the last couple of starts and has increased his risk. Of course Kershaw is the best pitcher on this list and should outperform them all. But is he the safest? Is he worth the max salary it will take to get him? I don’t know. If you are playing on a site like DraftKings, you’ll have to pair him with a cheaper pitcher, and the cheap pitchers aren’t really available today. All that said, Kershaw has owned the Mets in the past with a 1.37 ERA and a .220 AVG against.

4. Cole Hamels LHP PHI vs PIT- Hamels has been very disappointing so far in 2013. I figured him to be a preseason top 6 starting pitcher. I still think he will show his talent. Hamels has a quality start in both of his last two outings and racked up 8 Ks last time out versus the Cards. Pittsburgh’s bats have awakened lately but it’s been mostly driven by the left-handed hitters. I think Hamels will shut down the left-handed hitters and force McCutchen to beat him. On sites where Hamels price has dropped, I would be rostering. If he’s still price up at the Kershaw level, you should probably pass.

5. Tony Cingrani LHP CIN vs CHC- Cingrani made me look good his last time out, and he gets another solid matchup versus the Chicago Cubs. Past DeJesus, Castro, Rizzo, and Schierholtz, the Cubs don’t offer much by way of fire-power. I think they have a very top heavy lineup. In fact three of those top four hitters are lefties. That should favor Cingrani who pitches to success with deception. Cingrani should still be reasonably cheap most places. He’ll most likely find his way on all my teams.

Elite Hittersjoey-votto-ap2

1. Joey Votto 1B CIN vs CHC- Finally Votto is back. I was wondering when the extra base hits were going to come back. Votto sent two balls out over the weekend. He’ll face Villenueva tonight who he has hit well. Votto has also hit right-handed pitching to a .333 AVG and should find his way on base multiple times. I just pray that he continues to exhibit that power.

2. Freddie Freeman 1B ATL @ COL- Freeman is back! He’ll return to a double header so there is a lineup question in that will he start the nightcap. I think he will. I’m not buying the success so far of Jon Garland. He’s played the Padres twice and the Mets. This Atlanta Braves lineup will be rejuvenated today and should enjoy the friendliness of Coors Field. Freeman was playing incredible for the Braves before he strained his oblique. That’s not a coincidence. Freeman has taken another step in his development and should start being considered elite. I may be jumping the gun on using him his first day back, but the matchup is too beautiful to pass up for this Braves fan.

3. Nelson Cruz OF TEX @ LAA- I wouldn’t recommend taking Cruz on Draftstreet for risk of the strikeout, but I like Cruz in this  matchup with LHP Vargas. Cruz has 3 HRs against him in the past, and has been absolutely killing LHP to the tune of a .389 AVG. Any lefty is going to have trouble with the Rangers lineup and even more so a lefty with the mediocre pedigree of Vargas. Cruz is a 4,100 guy on DraftKings and 3,200 on Fanduel. Both those salaries are low enough to warrant the roster spot.

4. Carlos Gonzalez OF COL vs ATL- I don’t know if there is a more solid play today than CarGo. He’ll get to face the struggling Teheran who has already given up 4 HRs to left-handed batters and a .433 AVG against. I would also say that Dexter Fowler should draw consideration in the nightcap of this double header. CarGo has all the tools, and they will be on display tonight I’m afraid.

5. Matt Kemp OF LAD @ NYM- Who else thinks it’s time Matt Kemp hits a home run? I know that sounds familiar. I think he has the chance, but who really knows with him. The reason I like him tonight is that he has 6 for his last 13 with 3 stolen bases. To me that says that he’s making good contact and trying to make up for his lack of power with his wheels. He’s also hitting lefties to the tune of a .333 AVG and a .826 OPS. He’ll draw LHP Jon Niese in this one. His price has plummeted most everywhere. He’s worth the risk today. I also think Giancarlo Stanton has the same kind of risk/reward as Kemp tonight. Pick your poison.

Five Fanduel Value Plays

1. Alexi Ogando RHP TEX @ LAA ($5,400)- Ogando is still filthy even though the Cubs got to him last start. The Angels bats are still asleep for the most part. If you were wanting to go for the cheap starter in the Fanduel DFBC, look no further than Ogando who should be a lock for strikeouts in this one.Alexi-Ogando21

2. Matt Joyce OF TB vs NYY ($2,500)- Joyce is a right-handed pitching killer. He hasn’t necessarily delivered on that claim to fame so far in 2013 with a .220 AVG against and only 2 HRs. Joyce is 5 for 11 with two HRs against a good Phil Hughes in the past. This Phil Hughes we’ve seen so far is not the good one. Hughes has already given up 4 HRs this year, and if anybody on the Rays is going to take Hughes deep, Joyce is as good a bet as any.

3. Michael Young 3B PHI vs PIT ($2,800)- Young is riding a 13 game hit streak right now. He is not killing the ball and only has 4 extra base hits during that span. With that said this price tag on Fanduel is way too low even if Young is lacking power. Young is the safe play and worth the $2,800 it’ll take to fill the roster spot. Young will also get to face a below average lefty in Jeff Locke, and I know Young has struggled against lefty pitching this year, he has historically hit them very well.

4. A.J. Pollock OF ARI @ SF ($2,500)- Picking a right-handed rookie with a little pedigree against a RHP Matt Cain is hard for me to do. But let’s face the facts, Cain has looked awful this year, and Pollock has been great. Pollock is coming off of two straight multi-hit games and could give you runs and a steal to go along with a hit or two. If he does that, he’ll be well worth the price tag, but keep in mind Cain will snap out of this funk.

5. Dustin Ackley 2B SEA @ HOU ($2,200)- Ackley may have the most value of anybody on this list. Ackley had three hits last night against the Astros. He also plays second base which can be a good position to punt with a minimum salary guy like Ackley. Houston right-handed pitcher Bud Norris has been getting hammered by the lefties (.342 AVG and 2 HRs). I think Ackley can build some confidence off the showing last night and take advantage of Norris’ troubles. Ackley is a good contact hitter. Somebody just needs to tell Ackley that. If you care, Ackley will probably be on my DFBC team if I make one.

Five Teams to Stack

1. Colorado Rockies vs RHP Julio Teheran

2. Atlanta Braves @ RHP Jon Garland

3. Tampa Bay Rays vs RHP Phil Hughes

4. Milwaukee Brewers vs LHP Clayton Richard

5. Arizona D’backs @ RHP Matt Cain

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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