I’m not going to have enough time to get all of my research done before the early games start, but there are several good reasons to put together an early-only lineup today.
For one, top prospect Kris Bryant is back in the Major Leagues today after the Cubs started him in the minors. I’m not going to berate them for it, that happened enough right after spring training. It’s smart business, even if it didn’t make the fans very happy.
By keeping him in the minors they extended the amount of time they’ll have him under contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up getting a huge extension in a couple years anyway, but it’s too early to make that call.
BUT (note the all caps) he is debuting today in the cleanup spot for the Cubs. That says an awful lot about what the club thinks of him. He tore the cover off the ball in spring and in his short stay in the minors. Originally, I had San Diego’s James Shields in a lineup that featured only Jorge Soler from the Cubs.
With the announcement of Bryant’s start I shifted to a Cubs stack and started Jason Hammel. The Las Vegas moneylines are on Hammel and Detroit’s David Price in the early contests and those are the pitchers I have in my best lineup.
That lineup also includes Bryant, Soler, Anthony Rizzo, Matt Kemp and Ian Kinsler. If Bryant can stay scorching he provides lineup protection and should increase run production numbers for the entire team.
I also have an off-the-reservation lineup with different pitchers, Starlin Castro and Miguel Cabrera instead of Rizzo.
Anthony Gose, Detroit’s lefty leadoff hitter at a salary of just $3,600, is in both lineups against Chicago White Sox righty Jeff Samardzija, who has given up nine earned runs in two starts this season.
Plays for the rest of the day, including our daily pitcher rankings, coming later. If you have the chance to watch the Cubs today, enjoy. I hope Bryant’s arrival lives up to the hype.
Good luck today and every day.