The MLB schedule, to start the 2018 season, has been a little funky. There have been a limited amount of full game-slates with a lot of day games. The weather has also been an issue, which is never fun.
On Masters morning, we have a very fun group of six games to look at. It involves some of the worst pitchers in the MLB, leading to a ton of offense. In terms of rostering pitchers, the selection is quite minimal. There are two good pitchers, one other viable pitcher… and that’s kind of it. To steer away from the pact, targeting low-owned hitters might be the way to go in GPP’s. Last night, fading Carlos Martinez did not work out. In a fairly similar set-up, the choice is yours.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the day-slate and look at some GPP winning options on DraftKings.
James Paxton will be the highest owned pitcher on this slate. People love to roster the young, high-upside players and Paxton stands out among the 12 options. The weather will be cold (37 degrees), limiting the homeruns in this game. David Price might challenge Paxton with ownership. Coming off of a good start in Tampa Bay last week, the former ace will face the same lineup. Otherwise, there are a lot of landmines to navigate through.
Top 5 GPP pitchers (point per dollar):
James Paxton (SEA): $9,600 @ MIN
Eating the chalk on Paxton might not be the worst idea. As mentioned above, he is going to be pitching in a great environment. Last year was a bit of a coming out party for Paxton. In 136 innings pitched, Paxton owned a 28.3% strikeout rate, 3.45 SIERA, while allowing just 0.6 HR/FB. Injuries have derailed the optimistic career path thus far for the Mariners ace and he has a lot more to prove. Hopefully, the last outing will diminish ownership enough, but there are just not a lot of viable options today. Paxton has the highest upside of any pitcher and is a great anchor for your team.
Nick Pivetta (PHI): $7,300 vs. MIA
Coming off a rough outing in Atlanta, look for the young Phillies prospect to rebound against a shocking Miami team. The Miami Marlins have been a pesky team who have been giving pitchers a tough go to start the season. However, they have shown hardly any power. Currently ranked 30th in ISO, 20th in wRC+, and 20th in .wOBA. Now on the road, the true Miami Marlins should show their colors. Pivetta has great stuff and can overpower this lineup. It is a great salary-saving pivot off of the high-owned expensive pitchers.
The weather will play a major factor in this slate. As of now, the Detroit/Chicago White Sox game is looking like it might be trouble later on in the game. However, we will see two terrible pitchers going toe to toe (think CWS vs KC on Opening Day). Otherwise, there are a lot of bad pitchers taking the mound and other games to stack.
Welington Castillo (CWS): $3,800 vs. DET
The Chicago White Sox lead the league in the majority of offensive stats to start the 2018 MLB season. Very bizarre, but true. The highest priced catcher on the slate is Welington Castillo and he is in a great spot against Jordan Zimmerman. Say all you want about his first start, but Zimmerman is a bad pitcher. In 2017, he owned a 14.5% K rate, 5.22 SIERA, and a .372 wOBA. Target the White Sox in all formats.
Miguel Cabrera (DET): $4,600 @ CWS
Last year was an off-year for the future Hall of Famer. It was the first time we saw Miggy hit below .300 in eight years and just the second time in the last 12. A rebound this season is in his favor and he should have a great game against a terrible James Shields. The flyball pitcher will try to keep the ball in the park, but Cabrera should get ahold of at least one for a homerun. One of the best “day-game” hitters in recent memory, lock in Miggy in GPP’s. He will go overlooked due to the weather concerns and deep player pool at the position.
Cesar Hernandez (PHI): $3,800 vs. MIA
The Phillies will see Caleb Smith today and look to take advantage. Smith allowed just one run in his first start, but also four hits and three walks in just 5.1 innings of work. The eight strikeouts will scare people off of a Phillies stack, but Smith got lucky in key situations against the Cubs to earn those K’s. The Phillies should destroy him today and Hernandez is a great option. He will go overlooked, as always, but continues to produce across the board. He leads off which will increase his run potential, steals bases, and drives in runs.
Matt Davidson (CWS): $4,700 vs. DET
The White Sox are raking right now and are locked in. They have a lot of young, raw talent with a lot of pop. To start the season, there are few hotter than Matt Davidson. With four homers and seven RBI’s in just five games, he has shown extreme power. Last night in Toronto, Davidson was jammed on a fastball and still was able to pull the ball over the fence. Shields is a much worse pitcher than Aaron Sanchez.
Tim Anderson (CWS): $4,100 vs. DET
Hopefully, this game plays because a game stack is certainly playable today. Anderson is the next piece of a Chicago stack which should be low-owned. Anderson has fallen back in the order and is a less-than-optimal play. However, the White Sox have 4.71 implied runs and the lineup should turnover quite often. The bullpen isn’t much better than Zimmerman, which makes this team an even more enticing stack.
Avisail Garcia (CWS): $3,600 vs. DET
Hitting second in the Chicago lineup, Garcia has shown power to start 2018. With a .211 ISO, .406 wOBA, and 170 wRC+, the young hitter is off to a scorching start. He has limited his strikout percentage and should be in line for a multi-hit game. Zimmerman is not a strikeout pitcher which bodes well for the White Sox lineup.
Nicholas Castellanos (DET): $4,900 @ CWS
The Tigers outfielder is showing that 2017 was no fluke. Hitting a .333 average with a .988 OPS, Castellanos is still looking for his first homerun and it should come today. James Shields is simply terrible. In 2017, he allowed 2.08 HR/9 which was among the league worse. Runs should be easy to come by in this game. The top plays are higher priced which is also great for ownership.
Khris Davis (OAK): $4,600 vs. TEX
Arguably the top player on the day is Oakland outfielder, Khris Davis. Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez is expected to start today and is a gas can. He will blow up more often than any other pitcher and power right-handed hitters absolutely destroy him. In 2017, Perez had a 5.04 SIERA and a .362 wOBA to righties and a .470 xFIP. The southpaw will struggle to get righties out and will likely allow a couple of homeruns.