This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Arlington continues to play like Coors, which offers two paths to a double-digit over/under total Tuesday night. Felix Hernandez and the Mariners are visiting Texas, while Bartolo Colon takes the ball for the Rangers.
At least as lunch time on the east coast approaches, the weather concerns appear to be minimal, but check again later in the afternoon to be sure that everything checks out OK.
I'm making a concerted effort to indicate the type of contest I prefer to use players in – cash (50/50) or tournaments (GPPs) – which is generally an exercise in estimating ownership rates (or "finding the chalk") and making sure to have enough variation around the highly-coveted top value plays to have a dangerous lineup.
Remember, a strong cash-game play isn't necessarily a "bad" tournament play, but too many "chalky" players can create a limiting factor in big-field tournaments.
Your constructive feedback is appreciated, and always welcomed.
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Preferred Cash Play: Zack Greinke, ARI vs. PHI ($10,200)
Greinke edges out Carrasco as the best cash-game play on the board, but the margin is slim. The $400 savings, the effects of the humidor at Chase Field, and the Phillies' heavy swing-and-miss tendencies (24.2% K% vs. RHP) are enough to move the needle. While Carrasco has more strikeout upside on a typical day, Greinke's matchup offsets that.
It seems like I'm looking at Carrasco against the Twins every Tuesday or Friday – oddly enough, I went to a Twins game on a Friday night earlier this season. They hosted Cleveland. Carlos Carrasco pitched, and was hit pretty hard in that particular outing. This is a different iteration of the Twins' lineup of course, with Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar gone, Miguel Sano there as a high-risk, high-reward (K potential) bat in the heart of the order. Carrasco is hitting one of those dominant stretches – he's 5-0 with a 1.99 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 42:4 K:BB over his last seven starts – and his season ERA (3.66) still seems to be a tick above his actual skills-based baseline.
More on Scherzer below, but the general though here in cash-games with two double-digit over/under games is that saving a little on pitching will be necessary on this particular slate.
Preferred Tournament Play: Scherzer
Tuesday will mark Scherzer's third home start of the season against the Braves. He fanned 10 in a two-hit, complete game shutout in his first meeting against them back in April, while posting a quality start in the other home turn, and getting knocked around a little bit (relatively speaking) in his only road turn against them. With home matchups and significantly lower prices on both Greinke and Carrasco, the concerns about the quality of the Braves' lineup presenting at least a slight issue for Scherzer, and the desire to load up Pirates-Rockies and M's-Rangers bats, I think Scherzer's ownership rate will come out somewhat low in tournaments.
Also Consider: Carrasco, Greinke, Chase Anderson, MIL vs. SD ($7,600)
I watch Anderson pitch often, and there are two keys to his success. The first, which holds true for a lot of pitchers, is that he can't get too much of the plate. The second, is that he needs to hold his fastball average fastball velocity closer to the 93-range than the 91-92 mph range. His margins for success are very slim, and his changeup continues to be his best pitch for generating whiffs, but that offering and his curveball have fooled hitters less often in 2018 (23.6% and 26.6% whiff rates, respectively) than they did a year ago (34.4%, 32.4%). At home, against the Padres, at a significantly lower price than the aces pitching Tuesday, he's a viable tournament option for those looking to do something different on the mound in order to have higher-priced bats.
Jesus Aguilar, MIL vs. SD ($3,400) – The price has come down on Aguilar since he's cooled off somewhat since the All-Star break. He should continue to play on a near everyday basis, even with the Brewers' added infield depth, and he'll likely be a lock against left-handed starters. With a home matchup against San Diego southpaw Clayton Richard, Aguilar is facing a starter with one of the worst splits against right-handed pitching on the slate (.359 wOBA allowed since 2016), in a park that boosts up right-handed power.
As was the case Friday, Ryon Healy ($2,300) remains cheap as a punt play, or a utility option in tournaments, and he draws an even better matchup during the Mariners' road series with the Rangers, facing right-hander Bartolo Colon on Tuesday night.
Scooter Gennett, CIN at NYM ($3,200) – I'm not necessarily using Gennett is a cash-game lineup, but I'm definitely looking past the lefty-lefty matchup since he'll face Jason Vargas and the Mets at an affordable, mid-tier price. Gennett has been better against in that split over the last three seasons, after looking like a strict strong-side platoon bat for most of his time in Milwaukee to begin his career. It's amazing that Vargas has the third-worst wOBA split on the board against left-handed hitters (.373), along with the second-highest home-run rate (1.75 HR/9).
As cheaper considerations go, Jeff McNeil ($2,700) draws a lefty-righty matchup on the other side of the Reds-Mets tilt, and Reds starter Sal Romano has the fourth-worst wOBA split against lefties of the 32 starting pitchers taking the ball Tuesday. Moreover, McNeil has been used as the Mets' No. 2 hitter each of the last two games, after previously inching his way into the middle-third of the order.
Kyle Seager, SEA vs. TEX ($2,700) – A very low price, a high over/under total, a nice matchup against Bartolo Colon, and a two-homer game just two days ago should drive up the ownership rate on Seager in tournaments Tuesday. As a result, I would view him as a better cash-game play to save money as opposed to eating the chalk here. He's been enough of a disappointment this season that I'm not convinced that he's a must-play in what are all-around good conditions.
Yes, I want to use Justin Turner ($2,600) against A's lefty Sean Manaea. Other people might be all over that as well, and if you're not using Jeff McNeil for one reason or another, but like the idea of getting cheap tournament exposure to Sal Romano, Todd Frazier ($2,500) is very cheap.
Andrelton Simmons, LAA vs. DET ($3,000) – The Tigers are starting Jacob Turner on Tuesday, and Turner's limited opportunities on big-league mounds in recent years have not gone well. Against right-handed hitters, Turner has the lowest K% on the board (11.6%), a double-digit walk rate in that split (10.1%), the highest home-run rate (2.39 HR/9) and the worst wOBA allowed (.448). Once again, I like him for cash-games and tournaments, as he continues to maintain a ridiculously low 5.2% K% this season.
As an alternative, at least for tournament purposes, I would rather play Jean Segura ($3,200) as my shortstop than use Seager at third base in the Mariners-Rangers matchup. He continues to fall to a lower-than-expected price against right-handed pitchers.
There are no reservations here about using the Mariners and Rangers bats in Texas, or the Pirates and Rockies bats at Coors – especially when Mitch Haniger checks in with a low $3,100 price tag. Looking elsewhere for value, there are a few names that stand out.
Nick Castellanos, DET at LAA ($3,000) – Castellanos continues to be a monster against left-handed pitching, posting a career-best .396/.448/.642 line in 2018 (194 wRC+). Andrew Heaney is starting for the Angels, and while I generally like Heaney as a pitcher, I'm not using him in Tuesday's matchup despite the overall weakness in the Tigers' lineup. As a result, Castellanos becomes a cheap tournament play I'm seeking out with the expectation that he'll be very low owned despite the steep discount in a matchup that is very favorable for him.
Justin Upton, LAA vs. DET ($3,000) – There is no good explanation for the low price on Angels bats in the matchup against Jacob Turner. As noted above, his splits against right-handed hitters are horrendous. Upton has a slightly inflated strikeout rate against right-handed pitching in recent years (27.4% or higher annually, since 2016), but Turner's inability to miss bats offsets that. Upton's 132 wRC+ against same-handed pitching this season is his highest mark since 2015.
Lorenzo Cain, MIL vs. SD ($3,000) – Stacking Brewers against Clayton Richard might be a fine choice, but if you're looking for an alternative one-off play to pivot away from the Jesus Aguilar recommendation above, Cain is a great option. The price is down because he hasn't homered since June 13 against the Cubs, but he continues to show a good eye at the plate, while offering multi-hit upside and plenty of run production given his place in the Milwaukee lineup. Cain has posted great numbers against lefties throughout his career, but he's carrying a career-best 168 wRC+ against them this season, while striking out at a career-low 9.2% clip.