Imagine the kind of trouble our lineups would have gotten into if Bryce “Crash” Harper would have called the umpire sir instead of the one thing you should never call an umpire.
He dropped a goose egg on our super contrarian lineups (I’m still not sure what to call it. Leave a comment if you have any ideas). Oh, well. I was still happy with the results. The two contrarian pitcher theory worked out pretty well. We got 20.95 from Joe Kelly, 18.65 from Shane Greene and 17.9 from Mike Pelfrey. Anyone who paid top dollar for Tyson Ross (20.95) was jealous of us.
As great as that feels, there’s no reason to pound my chest. I fell a dollar short of making my entry fees back yesterday. I cashed in the $300,000 mega tourney, but I put $6 in and got only $5 back. Sigh. Small wins keep us in it so we can keep swinging for the fences, but it’d be nice to hit one out of the park already. I hope you hit it big.
Today there are a couple better high-priced pitchers in play than yesterday.
Most of them had early tee times today. They’re probably already on the back nine as you read this. There was also a lot of stuff going on in the early slate, too. Kershaw vs. MadBum for one, and three of today’s top four pitchers to hate on all got early starts.
I put a lineup together at the last sec. Chris Tillman and Archie Bradley are my pitchers. The Chris and Archie comic strip, otherwise known as “Gopher Balls” probably debuts tomorrow. But it’s a 50/50 so even a short-legger like me should be able to hop the barrier to victory. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What I can help you with is the afternoon/evening slate.
Top pitchers for Thursday, May 21
1. Julio Teheran, $8,800 — I know we’re on this super contrarian thing, but it’s difficult to not find a way to get Teheran in your lineup today. I looked at a bunch of different figures over at Rotogrinders.com and every one of them was coming up Teheran. Lefty/righty weighted on-base average, L/R strikeout percentage. Overall wOBA and K%. Milwaukee is slated to be sixth-lowest scoring team of the day. Teheran is the second-most likely to win today of the players in our afternoon/evening wheelhouse.
2. Danny Salazar, $9,300 — The most expensive pitcher in our slate, like Teheran, came up quite a bit in the research. Teheran was ahead of him on every chart except one — fantasy points allowed to opposing pitchers. Salazar comes in at 54 points and change, 10 points higher than David Price who was an early-slater. Now, we can’t expect Salazar to score 54 points. The number is reached by mathing together Salazar’s average points and the White Sox’s average points per at-bat. I’m not sure it’s a metric we should hang our whole bankroll on, but I have Salazar in as many lineups as Teheran because of it.
3. Kyle Hendricks, $6,700 — He’s not exactly outfielder cheap, but Hendricks is my top low-priced option today. He has a favorable lefty/righty strikeout matchup and appears on both my overall wOBA and K% charts.
4. R.A. Dickey, $6.200 — If he didn’t have -2.8 and -4.5 in his last two games, I’d probably tout Dickey a little more. His lefty/righty matchup is favorable against the Angels and he scores highly on the overall charts too. The Blue Jays are projected to be one of the highest scoring teams of the day.
5. Odrisamer Despaigne, $4,900 — Here’s our true value of the day, but there is quite a bit of risk on Despaigne. He faces the Cubs, who strike out a lot, so he appears on both of my strikeout charts. However, the Cubs can also hit the ball pretty well and Odrisamer is sporting a 6.75 ERA. One last nod tot he Padres hurler: The game is in PetCo so that should help him keep it in the park.
6. Clay Buchholz, $7,900 — Buchholz seems too expensive, but his matchup seems favorable enough to consider starting him. He’s the most likely pitcher to win, according to Las Vegas’ -157 moneyline. He also tops both the overall and lefty/right wOBA matchup charts. And he faces the Rangers who are hitting .237 as a team with the ninth-most strikeouts in baseball.
Other pitchers to consider: Jesse Chavez, Matt Garza and Alex Colome.
If we’re running Despaigne and Hendricks out there we can get almost anyone we want, so how do we decide?
First, let’s start with the teams expected to score the most runs: Red Sox, Indians and Blue Jays. So, when you’re tossing coins go with a player from those teams first.
Next, let’s look at some pitchers the matchup charts think could be a disaster. You won’t be surprised that a couple of them are also recommended pitchers: Atlanta vs. Garza, Cleveland vs. John Danks, Oakland vs. Colome and Boston vs. Wandy Rodriguez.
So, if you’re considering starting Garza or Colome also understand it’s a favorable matchup for opposing hitters.
But because there are some indicators the pitchers will do well, I wouldn’t want to stack players from those teams unless there’s a big righty/lefty advantage at the top of the order.
Don’t fold your Sox, stack’em
There is a nice crossover in Boston, though, where Wandy is set to face the team expected to score the second-most runs. Get some Red Sox, maybe even a Sox stack. I wouldn’t fault you for having Hanley Ramirez in every one of your lineups.
If you’re going with Salazar and Teheran — I have two of those lineups today, including what I think is my best lineup — you’re going to need to find values.
Your first stop should be Cleveland because of the matchup mentioned above. Jason Kipnis, $5,500 and Michael Brantley $5,400 are the best options and they’ll cost you. However, if the Tribe goes big as Vegas expects, there’ll be other bats getting in on the action including 1B/OF Brandon Moss, 2B/SS Jose Ramirez, OF Ryan Raburn, 3B Lonnie Chisenhall and OF Michael Bourn.
Otherwise, we should consider some of the guys we’ve been talking about of late, 2B/SS Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/3B Logan Forsythe, OF Todd Cunningham, 2B/3B Jace Peterson, and SS Andrelton Simmons.
Good luck today and every day.