Saturday features a five-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres ($10,000) – Saturday’s slate is interesting from a pitching perspective. Kershaw and Yu Darvish ($9,400) are the two highest-priced pitchers, but they’re facing off against each other. Both pitchers also play for excellent offensive teams, so they carry a bit less appeal than usual.
Still, Kershaw is the top option of the day from a Vegas perspective. The Padres’ implied team total of 3.7 runs is the lowest mark on the slate, and Kershaw is also a slight favorite in this matchup. The Padres were also a bit more vulnerable against left-handers than right-handers in 2020.
Other Options – Yu Darvish ($9,400), Zack Greinke ($8,700)
Trevor Cahill, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers ($6,900) – Cahill is a slight underdog in this matchup – such is the life of a Pirates pitcher – but he still has nice upside vs. the Brewers. Cahill came seemingly out of nowhere to post an 11.16 K/9 with the Giants in 2020, and he’s followed that up with a 12.0 K/9 through his first two starts this season. I’m not sure he can keep that pace up over the course of a full season, but he should be able to find some success in this matchup. The Brewers posted the second-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers in 2020.
Other Options – Brett Anderson ($7,200), José Quintana ($6,700)
Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels ($5,200) – Garver is pretty much the only option if you’re paying up at catcher. Luckily, there’s a lot to like about him. For starters, he’s expected to occupy the leadoff spot in the Twins’ lineup. That’s extremely rare for a catcher, and it gives him a nice boost compared to the rest at the position.
Garver will also be on the positive side of his batting splits vs. left-hander José Quintana ($6,700). Garver absolutely raked against southpaws in his last full season, posting a ridiculous 198 wRC+ and .415 ISO in 2019. The Twins are also implied for 4.5 runs, which is tied for the second-highest mark on the slate.
Other Options – None
Jacob Stallings, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers ($3,000) – Stallings is expected to occupy the fifth spot in the lineup for the Pirates on Saturday, and he will also be on the right side of his splits vs. left-hander Brett Anderson ($7,200). He has fared well in those matchups over the past 12 months, posting a .389 wOBA and .195 ISO. Those are excellent marks for a catcher, particularly one that costs just $3,000.
Other Options – Omar Narvaez ($3,900), Luis Torrens ($3,200)
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels vs. Minnesota Twins ($5,000) – Ohtani has been red-hot at the plate to start the season. He’s been insanely good against right-handers, in particular, posting a 207 wRC+, and he’ll be facing a mediocre right-hander on Saturday in Matt Shoemaker ($8,100). Shoemaker has been victimized by the long ball – he allowed 2.51 HRs per nine innings in 2020 and 2.45 HRs per nine innings through his first two starts this season – so Ohtani has plenty of appeal in this matchup.
Other Options – Jared Walsh ($4,900), Miguel Sanó ($4,500)
Nate Lowe, Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles ($4,300) – Lowe disappointed in last night’s matchup, but I’m going right back to the well against another subpar right-handed pitcher. He’s taking on Dean Kremer ($6,000), who could not have gotten off to a worse start against left-handed batters this season. He’s only faced 11 of them, but he’s allowed four hits – including three extra-base hits – and surrendered two walks. Overall, left-handed batters have started the year with a .698 wOBA against Kramer.
Lowe is someone who can take advantage of this matchup. He’s posted a .357 wOBA and .266 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months, and he’s expected to bat second in the Rangers’ lineup.
Other Options – Yuli Gurriel ($3,900), Jose Marmolejos ($3,200)
Aledmys Díaz, Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners ($4,000) – The Astros are another team that should be able to put some runs on the board on Saturday. That said, their lineup is going to be a bit different than usual. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez are all out of the lineup currently, so expect Diaz to bat higher in the lineup than usual.
That gives him some appeal against right-hander Chris Flexen ($6,300). Flexen is back in the MLB after spending last year in the KBO, and he’s pitched to a pedestrian 4.56 xFIP through his first two starts. Diaz has crushed right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .332 wOBA and .327 ISO.
Other Options – Keston Hiura ($4,400), David Fletcher ($4,300)
Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers ($3,200) – I’m always interested in cheap leadoff hitters, and Newman fits that description for the pirates. He’ll be on the positive side of his splits vs. Anderson, and he’s posted a respectable .334 wOBA against southpaws over the past 12 months.
Other Options – Jorge Polanco ($3,900), Wilmer Difo ($2,500)
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins @ Los Angeles Angels ($4,400) – Donaldson returned to the Twins lineup on Wednesday after a stint on the IL, and he earned 8.0 DKFP yesterday in a 10-3 loss to the Angels. I’m expecting him to improve on that production Saturday vs. Quintana. Quintana has undoubtedly been unlucky to start the season – opposing batters have posted a .556 batting average on balls in play – but he’s not the same pitcher that he was in his prime. He’s also struggled mightily in terms of walks this season, handing out seven free passes in just five innings of work.
Other Options – Luis Arraez ($4,800), Travis Shaw ($4,200)
Jose Rojas, Los Angeles Angels vs. Minnesota Twins ($3,000) – Rojas has gotten off to a terrible start this season, but he’s still expected to bat sixth for the Angels at just $3,000. Shoemaker has allowed a .371 wOBA to left-handed batters this season, so that’s enough to warrant consideration on a five-game slate.
Other Options – None
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles ($4,700) – The Rangers are one of my favorite stacks on today’s slate, and Kiner-Falefa is one of their most appealing options as their projected leadoff hitter. Kremer hasn’t been nearly as bad against right-handed batters as he has against lefties, but his .330 wOBA allowed in those matchups is still pretty poor. Overall, Kremer has pitched to a 7.31 FIP this season, so I’m expecting the Rangers to do plenty of damage.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kiner-Falefa is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Orioles.
Other Options – Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,100), Carlos Correa ($4,800)
Anderson Tejeda, Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles ($3,600) – I much prefer paying up for Kiner-Falefa – particularly in cash games – but Tejada is an alternative if you want to save some money. He hasn’t performed well to start the year, but he entered the season as the Rangers’ No. 5 overall prospect. He has the potential to be a producer at the MLB level.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tejeda is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Orioles.
Other Options – José Iglesias ($3,500), Luis Urías ($3,300)
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles ($4,400) – Let’s close things out for the Rangers with arguably their best hitter. Gallo has prodigious power, as evidenced by 81 total home runs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He’s gone yard just once so far in 2021, but I like his chances of hitting at least one homer vs. Kremer. Gallo tends to hit the ball a long way when he makes contact, and Kremer has allowed 3.0 HRs per nine innings this season.
Other Options – Mike Trout ($6,100), Nelson Cruz ($5,800)
Myles Straw, Houston Astros @ Seattle Mariners ($2,800) – Straw hit leadoff for the shorthanded Astros on Friday, and there’s a good chance he’s back in that spot for Saturday’s matchup vs. the Mariners. That makes him a great cash game play at just $2,800.
Other Options – Jackie Bradley Jr. ($3,500), David Dahl ($3,400)
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