Daily Intel – 4/1/2019

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News From Yesterday’s Slate

Baltimore Orioles – 7
New York Yankees – 5

  • Manager Brandon Hyde surprisingly did not give much rope to SP Dylan Bundy, who only lasted 3 2/3 innings thanks to a pitch count of 93. Bundy exited with the bases loaded, but to that point he hadn’t allowed a run but he had struck out seven. All three of those runners ended up scoring, leaving Bundy with a line of three earned runs on two hits and five walks. Things don’t get easier for him as he draws the Yankees again, this time back at home over the weekend.
  • 1B/3B Renato Nuñez hit a three-run homer in the first inning of Yankees SP J.A. Happ, and he finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a walk, and three RBI. Nuñez has big power and could be a lefty killer all year, making him a strong DFS play, which we recommended yesterday.

New York Mets – 5
Washington Nationals – 6

  • 3B J.D. Davis not only got a second consecutive start Sunday, but he did so out of the cleanup spot, going 1-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Davis hit well over .300 with 43 home runs in AA and AAA over the last two seasons between stints in the majors with the Astros, so he’s worth tracking in NL-only and deep mixed leagues.
  • SS Trea Turner stole his fourth base of the season and hit his first two homers of the season yesterday, including a walk-off solo shot in the ninth. Of the hitters taken at the top of the draft, Turner had the best first weekend, and is sporting a .385 batting average with a 1.352 OPS after three games.

Atlanta Braves – 1
Philadelphia Phillies – 5

  • Not a successful weekend for Atlanta’s experimental young rotation, with SP Kyle Wright walking five yesterday in 4 1/3 innings and allowing three runs in a loss. We though SP Bryce Wilson looked a little better than Wright in their respective debuts, but there’s no doubt one of them is not long for the rotation with SP Kevin Gausman a week or so away from his season debut.
  • SP Jake Arrieta did his best to match Wright’s generosity, walking six over six innings, but the Braves bats couldn’t put together a rally and Arrieta ended up leaving with a quality start thanks to only one run allowed. We do think there’s bounceback potential for Arrieta as a SP4 type, as long as he can get deep enough games for the Phillies loaded offense to line him up for 13-15 wins. He draws the Twins next at home on Saturday.

Los Angeles Angels – 1
Oakland A’s – 2

  • Oakland SP Frankie Montas had a great spring and brought that form in to his first start of the year, hitting between 95-99 mph with his four-and-two-seam fastballs regularly and striking out six over six innings. He was burned only by OF Kole Calhoun, who hit a solo homer and a double, but besides that this looked like a pitcher ready for a major breakout. He should be started in all formats every time out moving forward.

Arizona Diamondbacks – 7
Los Angeles Dodgers – 8

  • SP Walker Buehler looked a lot like a guy who had a wobbly spring training in terms of traditional ramp-up time. He looked nasty in the first three innings, hitting 99 mph with his fastball, allowing just a single but not striking anyone out. In the fourth, he fell apart, going double, single, single, wild pitch, walk, and single before leaving the game at 66 pitches. He was eventually tagged with five earned runs on five hits and a walk. He’ll get the Rockies next in Colorado over the weekend…start him if you dare.
  • Speaking of up and down springs, SP Clayton Kershaw will hopefully wrap his up this week when he gets a rehab start on Thursday at either Double-A or Triple-A.

San Francisco Giants – 1
San Diego Padres – 3

  • The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Padres are still having talks with SP Dallas Keuchel and RP Craig Kimbrel. Keuchel would make a lot of sense based on the lack of experience in their current starting rotation.
  • One of those inexperienced starters in SP Chris Paddack, who put up five very good innings in a debut no-decision, striking out seven and allowing only one run on two hits and a walk. Paddack was probably the biggest spring training draft stock gainer and he proved worthy of that helium here, though with all of the Padres strong pitching performances this weekend, the caveat is the awful Giants lineup they faced. Paddack gets tested next on Saturday at St. Louis, but he should be started.

St. Louis Cardinals – 4
Milwaukee Brewers – 5

  • If SS Trea Turner has been the best first-round hitter in the opening weekend, OF Christian Yelich is either 1b or a very close second after homering in his fourth consecutive game and hitting a walk-off two-run double yesterday. If we had to start a team with Turner’s first weekend or Yelich’s (.500 batting average and 2.250 OPS), we’d still take Turner’s because of the fourth stolen bases, but Yelich seems primed to build on the power breakout that fueled his MVP season last year.
  • Yelich’s walk-off came at the expense of RP Jordan Hicks, who entered the ninth with a 4-3 lead and didn’t record an out in the frame before blowing the save. All three hits in the ninth came on Hicks’ sinker, which he couldn’t get in the bottom half of the zone and were ripe to be driven, which the Brewers hitters (Yelich + OFs Ben Gamel and Lorenzo Cain) were happy to do.
  • Brewers SP Corbin Burnes lived up to his late 2018 and spring 2019 hype, striking out 12 in five innings of work. He allowed four earned runs, though, including three home runs. He gets the Cubs next, and at this point he has to be started in all formats.

Cleveland Indians – 3
Minnesota Twins – 9

  • OF Byron Buxton went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a ridiculously hard-hit double, his third two-bagger of the young season. For a guy who has had such immense struggles with bat-to-ball progress, any positive steps are worth watching, especially if they lead to him getting out of the bottom of the order.
  • C Willians Astudillo got his first start behind the plate and made good on it with his unique hitting style, going 2-for-2 with two doubles, two runs scored, and two RBI. Astudillo never walks and never strikes out, so if he can even get 400 plate appearances he’s going to produce enough volume counting stats to be a top-12 catcher. He should be rostered in all leagues.
  • SP Shane Bieber worked two innings in relief late in the game after an awful debut by SP Carlos Carrasco. Bieber is not starting again until this weekend at home against Toronto.

Houston Astros – 1
Tampa Bay Rays – 3

  • SP Yonny Chirinos’ first work this year came without The Opener that serves as a lead in for many of his appearances in 2018, and if this start was any indication, the Rays may soon be down to one day of Openers instead of two or three. Chirinos had his sinker working down in the zone all day, with the pitch averaging 94.3 mph on 47 offerings over seven innings. That helped set up his splitter, which at 85.7 mph was a perfect secondary offering that generated six swinging strikes on 18 offerings. The final result was a seven-inning outing in which Chirinos allowed just a single and a solo homer while striking out six, throwing 60 of his 88 pitches for strikes.
  • SP/RP Josh James got his first work of the season for Houston in relief of SP Wade Miley, and he looked dominant, throwing 18 of his 23 pitches for strikes, nine of them swinging, and striking out four in two perfect innings. A few more outings like this to build up his stamina, and James is going to be a very good starting option should Miley struggle. As it was, Miley was good enough here, getting burned by a two-run homer a few hard-hit doubles, but only allowing eight hits and three runs over six innings, with four strikeouts and no walks.
  • 2B/3B Joey Wendle left the game early with a hamstring issue that came when he made a tag on a caught stealing of Astros OF Jake Marisnick. He doesn’t think it is serious, but with the Rays’ depth they probably won’t rush him back, so we’d sit him in weekly leagues this week.

Pittsburgh Pirates – 5
Cincinnati Reds – 0

  • SP Sonny Gray had the same home issues with a new home park in Cincy that he had at Yankee Stadium, lasting only 2 2/3 innings and allowing nine baserunners thanks to a split of 37 balls and 34 strikes on his 71 pitches. Gray needs his curveball to be sharp in order to have any shot at getting value out of four-seam fastball, and it wasn’t working yesterday, as the pitch only generated four strikes on 17 offerings. We wouldn’t start him next weekend at Pittsburgh since the Bucs just got a nice look at him.
  • SP Joe Musgrove worked two good innings out of the bullpen in relief of SP Trevor Williams, who picked up right where he left off from his great last two months of 2018 by throwing six shutout innings with six strikeouts and only four baserunners allowed. Musgrove was supposed to start today but got pushed due to the rain out yesterday, so he’ll get his first start at home on Friday against the Reds.

Boston Red Sox – 8
Seattle Mariners – 10

  • If you were going to craft a narrative for how this stacked Red Sox roster were to somehow miss the playoffs, it would be narrative that has played out over this first series, with their “aging” rotation (by standards around the league with younger guys getting more and more innings) all getting old quickly and the offense doing a lot, but not enough to keep up every night. Yesterday, it was SP Rick Porcello’s turn to get smashed, as everything he threw in the zone was in the upper half and the Mariners jumped all over him after a quiet first inning, tagging him with nine runs (four earned) on six hits and four walks. In this four-game set, the Mariners scored 28 runs on 22 hits in 15 innings against Porcello and the Red Sox other top three starters – SPs Chris Sale, David Price, and Eduardo Rodriguez. 
  • 2B/OF Dee Gordon had a very good weekend at the bottom of the M’s order, going 2-for-3 yesterday with three RBI and a stolen base. He now has six RBIs and three steals this season.

Detroit Tigers – 4
Toronto Blue Jays – 3  (11 Innings)

  • SP Trent Thornton struck out eight over five shutout innings in his major league debut for the Blue Jays, allowing only two singles  without a walk. Thornton has a developed arsenal with a curveball that has gained some notoriety for its spin rate supporting a 93-95 mph fastball, but he’s going to be limited by a 75-85 pitch limit in his first few starts. He’s a worthy streaming option in his next outing this weekend at Cleveland.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario moved out of the cleanup spot and in to the leadoff spot, and the move paid off with a 5-for-6 day that included a double and two RBI.

Colorado Rockies – 0
Miami Marlins – 3

  • This Miami bullpen…what a tire fire. Newly-minted RP Wei-Yin Chen came in with the Marlins holding a three-run lead in the ninth, but he immediately allowed a hit and a walk and yielded to RP Sergio Romo, who was coming off his own struggles on Friday. Romo then retired the next three Rockies to get the save. Romo was an adventure last season with the Rays, but if you’re desperate for saves in a deep league, he’s probably your best bet on a Miami team that may be 7-10 wins better than people think thanks to their young starting pitching.
  • And that segues too…SP Sandy Alcantara, who was terrific over eight scoreless innings, putting aside the scary-high walk rate that has plagued him in his first dozen or so MLB appearances. Alcantara did not walk a better and struck out six, allowing only four hits.
  • SP Jon Gray was solid in the loss for Colorado, and he left the game a little early due to a calf in his right cramp. He’s a tough start in his next outing, which will be at home Saturday against the loaded Dodgers lineup.

Chicago White Sox – 6
Kansas City Royals – 3

  • C Welington Castillo, who was a top-10 pick at the catcher position, sat again yesterday for the second time in three games in favor of C James McCann. This is worth monitoring for Castillo owners in one-catcher leagues who may be able to stream a more reliable option in terms of playing time.
  • Put SP Lucas Giolito on your radar. Yes, it is the Royals, but Giolito flashed the best command of his potentially-electric stuff that we’ve seen of him in the majors. Scott Merkin of MLB.com noted that Giolito was taking a more strategic approach to his start-by-start planning this season, and that showed up yesterday as he effectively mixed in his changeup 19 times on his 99 pitches, generating four swinging strikes, and nine combined called strikes and foul balls. He’ll face the hot-hitting Mariners next this weekend at home, followed by the Yankees in New York, so you’ll know quickly how legit this could be.

Chicago Cubs – 10
Texas Rangers – 11

  • This was a wild game, primarily because the big names in the Cubs bullpen just couldn’t come through in big spots. SP/RP Tyler Chatwood carried over his horrendous 2018 with a 1 2/3 inning outing where he walked two, allowed a single and a homer and three runs total, while RP Mike Montgomery couldn’t record an out while allowing two runs on two hits and a walk.
  • OF Delino DeShields is hitting .100 after two games out of three atop the Rangers order, but he showed yesterday the type of power/speed upside he could provide despite a bad batting average, hitting a grand slam and stealing his first base of the year after reaching via walk.

Daily Fantasy Recommendations for Monday, April 1 (NOTE: We use DraftKings prices and format, which means two pitchers are required)

Note: This is for Monday’s Featured set, which includes nine games starting at 7:07 pm Eastern.

  • Catcher
    • High-priced option: Robinson Chirinos ($4,100)
    • Low-priced option: Jesus Sucre ($2,900)
  • First Base
    • High-priced option: Jay Bruce ($4,000)
    • Low-priced option: Kendrys Morales ($3,600)
  • Second Base
    • High-priced option: Kike Hernandez ($4,000)
    • Low-priced option: Ketel Marte ($3,800)
  • Third Base
    • High-priced option: Justin Turner ($4,200)
    • Low-priced option: David Freese ($3,700)
      • Note: If Freese doesn’t start at first base alongside Turner, we’d pay up for Turner, who presumably would starting at third if Freese isn’t.
  • Shortstop
    • High-priced option: Alex Bregman ($5,000)
    • Low-priced option: Miguel Rojas ($3,300)
  • Outfielder (three required)
    • High-priced option 1: Tommy Pham ($4,700)
    • High-priced option 2: Mitch Haniger ($4,200)
    • High-priced option 3: Kris Bryant ($4,700)
    • Low-priced option 1: Robbie Grossman ($3,300)
    • Low-priced option 2: Peter O’Brien ($3,500)
    • Low-priced option 3: Trey Mancini ($3,900)
  • Pitcher (two required)
    • High-priced option 1: Steven Matz ($8,300)
    • High-priced option 2: Caleb Smith ($7,600)
    • Low-priced option 1: Ryan Yarbrough ($6,000)
    • Low-priced option 2: Kyle Hendricks ($7,200)

Today’s Best Bets

  • Our favorite favorite: NEW YORK YANKEES (-210) over Detroit Tigers
  • Our favorite underdog: MIAMI MARLINS (+133) over New York Mets
  • Our over/under play: Astros/RANGERS Over 9.5 Runs

Yesterday: 2-1 (hit on favorite and underdog)
Season: 6-3

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