The Dongers Club - Fri, March 29th
I thoroughly enjoyed Opening Day and I hope you did as well. We had some solid hits across the board yesterday and in general the DFS scores were insane across all sites. There were only 48 home runs hit on Opening Day, no big deal right? Ball juiced? Who knows. But none the less I would suspect we will see plenty more of that this year as more and more hitters are changing their approach to elevate the ball. That said, I'm confident we will still see some quiet March/April baseball slates and tonight kind of appears to be that as well.
I wrote the following yesterday and want to keep it here for the early part of the season. Trust the process.... There are also three common elements to early season Baseball that you will want to remember over the next week or two:
- Hitting generally is slow. The transition from Spring Training elements and smaller ballparks into colder weather games and adjusting to playing every day means hitters generally are behind early in the season in Production. You should still expect plenty of offense, but we won't be seeing a ton of 8, 9, 10 run games early in the year.
- Weather is key early. Lots of games will be cold. We can narrow our focus generally to a few key stadiums that will play well for hitting.
- Pitchers don't go deep and aren't worth expensive prices. The chances of getting a pitcher to throw 115 pitches on Opening Day are about as slim as they come. Don't expect more than 6 innings out of most guys early in the season which means paying 11k premiums is gonna be pretty rare to stomach unless all other options are horrific.
- Bullpens blow games. Death. Taxes. Opening Day Blown Saves.
Only half the league is playing today after yesterday's Opening Day and I'm actually starting to become a fan of the Thursday MLB Opening Day as it makes the first weekend easier to navigate than when they would start half the teams on Monday, half on Tuesday and then have weird Wed-Thu get away games.
There's 8 games tonight and all games are either in good weather spots or Domes. Golf clap for the MLB to get this done right.
As stated above, there's nothing to be concerned with today. All clear.
Robbie Ray (DK: $10,100, FD: $8,400) ... A week ago I was hoping Ray would start Opening Day as he would have been my arm. Once it was declared Greinke would start we ended up with the top stack of the day in the LA Dodgers bats. However, I am going to stick with my feeling on Ray which is he should completely shut down the Dodgers bats today for a couple reasons. First off, LA will be a team we can target with LHP this year for strikeouts. The Dodgers are known for platooning lots of their guys and thus we'll see Joc Pederson and Max Muncy go to the bench today in favor of David Freese and Chris Taylor. Neither of whom really scare me a ton and although Freese does have career splits vs LHP over .300 he's still a 20% K guy and Ray is an above average LHP. Ray has also dominated the Dodgers in L.A. and with the game at night in LA we probably won't see the ball travel as well as it did yesterday on Opening Day. This is a classic "go the other way" game after Opening Day where both teams are going to open the season 1-1 and that means a Diamondbacks win tonight. He is a steal on FanDuel at $8400.
German Marquez (DK: $9,200 FD: $9,800) ... This is a classic case of which site are you playing on to determine chalk tonight. Marquez no doubt will be higher owned than Robbie Ray on DraftKings for $900 less against the Marlins AAA lineup. But the bottom line with ownership is we should first evaluate if the pitcher is a good play first and then use the ownership to help drive where and how we play them. In the case of Marquez, I am as high on him this year as some other pre-season prognosticators are and expect him to do just fine tonight in Miami against a weak Marlins lineup. Just don't expect the same strikeout upside that Robbie Ray has tonight in my mind. But Marquez and Ray together on DK is a formidable pitching combination on a slate where you are gonna need two 20+ pt guys on DK.
Joey Lucchessi (DK: $7,900 FD: $7,600) ... The SF Giants lineup is worse than the Orioles. The only difference is that 1-5 they have some veteran bats which does scare me a little bit with someone like Lucchessi who the Padres would be smart to keep under 90 pitches today. But there's definitely strikeout upside and we saw Eric bleeping Lauer shutdown the Giants bats yesterday, so I would anticipate heavy Looch ownership today. I have him listed third for a reason and that's the limit I think the Padres will put on him and their young starting arms with a good bullpen behind them.
None. I think this is a pretty good pitching slate with lots of good options and with Marquez, Cole, Lucchesi and Ray specifically being all considerable plays I don't want to bother with any of the other 'sneaky' arms. This doesn't mean I am down per say on guys like Flaherty, Richards, Boyd and Stripling -- I just don't see the need to list 8 arms when I got 3 above and 1 below who I will take my chances with.
Matt Harvey (DK: $6,200, FD: $6,400) ... The Dark Knight rises. Keep an eye on Harvey out of the gate as I think he is going to be someone we should be using for a value arm. He had a decent spring and normally that doesn't mean much but for someone like Harvey I think it will translate well. He's gonna be completely under the radar pitching for the Angels and in some good pitchers parks like home and tonight at Oakland I will definitely utilize Harvey. I don't see the need to punt pitching on FanDuel today but on DraftKings I'd take a dart with him. 5 2/3 innings, 5 Strikeouts, 0 ER and the win.
RED SOX ... Kikuchi isn't someone that should scare us. The Red Sox bats are what potentially scare me. A team that historically has had a few struggles against LHP gets a pitcher they have never seen before, but they also get to face a horrible defense and bullpen in an underrated hitters park. If any team hits 3+ homers today it will be the Red Sox.
- JD Martinez, Xander, Benintendi
CARDINALS ... If you are reading and not just skimming then you should have taken note of my 1-1 opening series belief. This is another lock go the other way game to start the season. The Cardinals/Brewers will be battling all year long in the NL Central and should likely split the season series. I'll be right back on the top of the Cardinals order today for the same reasons as yesterday. Carpenter, Goldschmidt and DeJong
- Carpenter, Goldschmidt, DeJong
ASTROS ... Teams against their former pitchers? Astros on the road? Astros against a 6'5 pitcher? Check. Check. Check. We could even get Gimpy (Correa) back in the lineup today, but lots of love for me on the Houston Astros today. In particular I like the bottom of the Astros order today. When Morton struggles it will be with putting too many men on and not so much with giving up home runs. So this brings the bottom of the order into play for a cheaper stack.
UPDATE: Max Stassi can be used as a punt catcher
- Brantley, Gurriel, Reddick, Altuve
TIGERS ... I'll keep picking on Toronto. I came into the season feeling their bullpen is weak and have never trusted Matt Shoemaker. Christin Stewart is a name that should be on your radar daily vs RHP.
- Stewart, Castellanos, Cabrera
PADRES ... Derek Holland stinks. Thanks for reading, have a nice day. No, seriously. His 2018 season was an outlier in my mind and maybe it was the Posey effect, but time will tell. He suddenly went from being a guy who couldn't generate swings and misses to someone who was almost a K/IP arm again. The adjustments he made coming to the Giants don't scare me off some more Pads power bats today. Second base feels week tonight, so Ian Kinsler is one of our top plays today (I told you today would be opposite yesterday in terms of juicy offense).
- Kinsler, Machado, Reyes/Renfroe
Blue Jays ... This is a bad lineup. They're as bad as the Royals, Orioles, Marlins... Literally the only bat here to consider is Justin Smoak and that is the deepest position on the slate. I'll fade and expect the production to be spread out from this team today.
Favorite one off players per position in BOLD
CATCHERS: Spending up for catcher is a NO before April 15th and don't roster any on FanDuel today.
- Yadier Molina
- Robinson Chirinos
- Mike Zunino: When punting catcher always find the cheapest guy who sucks but can hit some random b.s. home run.... Oh hi Zunino.
FIRST BASE: Solid spot today.
- Albert Pujols: I didn't mention the Angels above because it's only two guys for me today and Pujols is one of them. He won't be used as folks flock to Justin Bour. Mistake. Pujols is the guy I like today and he has become a better power bat when he DH's.
- Paul Goldschmidt: A few nasty AB for Goldy who prior to last season was dominant in Milwaukee but now is in a Miller Park slump. That's ending today with a 2-run HR.
- Yuli Gurriel: Astros bottom of order stack only.
SECOND BASE: Repeat of 2018 already, as second base once again is thin.
- Ian Kinsler: Oof. I'm touting Kinsler.
- Jose Altuve: In cash you might as well just pay up for Altuve even vs a RHP. Morton is tall afterall.
- Josh Harrison: As long as Harrison is leading off and $3400 he'll be your top value play at 2B.
THIRD BASE: As you can see below, third base is definitely worthy of spending up today.
- Matt Carpenter: One bad game does not make Carpenter suddenly a bad play.
- Eduardo Escobar
- Play Carpenter
- Andrelton Simmons: SIMMMBBAAA.. SIMBA is the other Angel today.
- Xander Bogaerts: If you roll with the Sox then X is the SS for you today.
- Paul DeJong
- Brandon Crawford
- JD Martinez
- Ryan Braun
- Domingo Santana
- Michael Brantley
- Franmil Reyes (4 for 6 off Holland... Hope he gets 2nd start).
- Christin Stewart
- Marcell Ozuna
- Josh Reddick
- Kole Calhoun
What is the Dongers Club exactly??? These are the 'special' calls for the slate, or more specifically they originated as players who are being picked to homer from their respective positions on the slate. No more than one player per position and you can generally use these as my favorite play at the position on the day when trying to decide on a tie-breaker. The Chairman is the top overall HR pick of the slate and it will not always be guys who are gonna wind up with 30+ homers -- that's what makes this unique and bold.
CHAIRMAN: Albert Pujols - 1B
- Christin Stewart - OF ... Bullshit Double Dong pick of the day.
- Eduardo Escobar - 3B
- Xander Bogaerts - SS
- Ryan Braun - OF
- JD Martinez - OF
- Nobody - 2B
- Mike Zunino - C
- BONUS ................ Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Money Line BETS:
- Cardinals - Favorite play of the day