The MLB is offering up a full slate of baseball on Monday, including a seven-game main slate 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.
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($10,700) - Let’s try this again. The Mets’ deGrom was the No. 1 stud on the Opening Day showdown slate, but COVID-19 pushed deGrom’s start back to today. Despite a difficult matchup on Thursday, deGrom was the No. 1 play. The matchup is slightly better on paper this time. The Phillies bats are cold. After their opening series, their ISO sits at .076 and their K rate is 29%. The Mets’ ace had a monster year last season, and deGrom’s a Cy Young favorite this year according to DraftKings Sportsbook and Steamer (2021 projection:12.4 K/9 and a 2.70 FIP). It does not make any sense to fade the clear No. 1 pitcher on this slate with the most strikeout upside.
José Quintana, Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros ($7,400) - There’s Jacob deGrom, and then the pitching options on this slate fall off a cliff. This Houston lineup is not as formidable against left-handed pitching as they were in past seasons, but there are not a lot of strikeouts in this lineup either. If Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa bounce back from poor performances in 2020, then Quintana is in trouble. However, if they continue to show a lack of power, then Quintana can beat this lineup. His spring training was solid until his last matchup against the Dodgers where he allowed a home run to Cody Bellinger, Will Smith and a pair of HRs to Mookie Betts. It’s the Dodgers, what are you going to do? Before that game, he had only allowed one earned run all spring. Also, he’s working on improving his changeup. Although it’s never been a plus pitch for him, in 2019 when he tossed the changeup above 11% of the time, his fastball was markedly better.
Other Options – Luis Garcia ($6,100)
Mike Zunino, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox ($4,100) - Nick Pivetta ($6,900) is a decent pitcher, but there’s a reason why he is no longer in Philly. He failed to live up to his potential by allowing 1.62 HR/9. Last season, he allowed hard contact on 45% of his batted balls. Making matters worse is that nearly 50% of the contact against Pivetta results in fly balls. That’s bad news for Pivetta and the Red Sox, but good news for Zunino and his .271 ISO against RHP last season.
Other Options – Will Smith ($5,000)
Yermín Mercedes, Chicago White Sox vs. Seattle Mariners ($3,000) - There’s not a lot of science involved with a cheap catcher. Is the catcher playing well? Is it a good matchup? Is the catcher batting close to the front of the lineup? Mercedes checks all of the boxes. His torrid streak ended on Sunday night, but he still got a base hit. Tonight, he faces LHP Justus Sheffield ($7,500). This is not a great matchup for power, but Sheffield allowed a lot of contact last season (82%). Mercedes likely won’t start another 8-for-8 hitting streak, but a multiple-hit game is a distinct possibility.
Other Options – Buster Posey ($3,800)
Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros ($3,900) - Albert Pujols might not see action at first base anytime soon. Walsh tripled on Saturday and homered twice on Sunday (including a walk-off home run). Last season, Walsh was dominant versus right-handed pitching (.430 wOBA and a .462 iso). He’s facing Luis Garcia ($6,100), a young right-handed pitcher with a lot of question marks. Garcia has good stuff and was rushed to the majors late last season. Like many young pitchers, there will be moments when he is electric and times where he absolutely explodes in a bad way. That can be seen in his spring training appearances. One start was electric and one start was explosive in a bad way.
Other Options – Jose Abreu ($5,600)
Mitch Moreland, Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,400) - Dustin May ($8,800) is an extreme groundball pitcher to right-handed bats, but that’s not the case against lefties. His flyball rate to left-handed batters is not dramatically different than his flyball rate to right-handed batters, but his HR/9 to LHB (2.0) stands in stark contrast to the home runs allowed to right-handed batters (0.9). Moreland had a .297 ISO against right-handed pitchers last season, and Steamer projects Moreland to have a .204 ISO this season.
Other Options – Yoshi Tsutsugo (2,900)
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics ($5,300) - Play Dodgers when you can. Play the Dodger lefties, if you can. Frankie Montas ($7,900) faced 116 LHB last season and allowed a .444 wOBA, 0.280 iso, and 2.4 HR/9. So far this season, Muncy has a .406 wOBA and a 156 wRC+.
Other Options – Brandon Lowe ($4,800)
Kolten Wong, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs ($3,700) - There are advanced stats and there is the old stand by — BvP. Wong faced Trevor Williams ($8,300) plenty of times during his Cardinals days, and in 20 plate appearances, Wong has a .426 wOBA against Williams. The Brewers and Cubs game also has one of the highest over/under run totals on the slate.
Other Options – Jeff McNeil ($3,600)
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants ($5,600) - Steamer projects Machado to have a .359 wOBA and a 0.243 iso this season. Other than a three-hit game (including a home run), Machado has been quiet this season. He should wake up today because teams are now rolling out the back end of their rotations. Anthony DeSclafani ($7,000) struggles against left-handed batters (.415 wOBA in 2020), but he still gives up home runs to right-handed batters (.218 ISO and 1.9 HR/9 in 2020). Some of those 2020 stats are skewed by Great American Ballpark, but an argument can be made that DeSclafani’s numbers are suppressed due to pitching against the weakest division in 2020. At the end of the day, Machado is a very good hitter and DeSclafani is a below-average pitcher.
Other Options – Alex Bregman ($5,500)
Wilmer Flores, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres ($3,700) - This has been a routine play for a couple of years. Flores is never expensive because he’s not very good, but he is above average against left-handed pitching (.344 wOBA and a 118 wRC+). The book on Adrian Morejon is not very big, but in the small sample size, he’s allowed a .383 wOBA to RHB.
Other Options – Evan Longoria ($3,800)
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics ($5,600) - It’s the best hitter in baseball against a pitcher that struggles against left-handed batters. There’s nothing else that needs to be said. The Frankie Montas splits have been covered, so how about a Seager stat? He has eight hits this season, and he didn’t even play Sunday. He has not struck out this season, and 67% of his contact has been hard contact.
Other Options – Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,800)
Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants ($3,400) - A legitimate argument can be made that DeSclafani has been good against right-handed batters throughout his career. Against left-handed batters at Cincinnati or on the road, that argument cannot be made. He allows too much hard contact and too many fly balls, and that’s why he has a career 4.65 xFIP vs. LHB. Cronenworth was outstanding as a rookie in 117 at-bats vs RHP. The lefty posted a .403 wOBA and a .265 ISO against RHP.
Other Options – Willy Adames ($4,000)
Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics ($5,600) - How about one more Dodger left-handed bat to be sure? Montas struggles against lefties, and Bellinger crushes right-handed pitching. Over his career, Bellinger has posted a sick stat line against RHP (.388 wOBA, .290 iso, 146 wRC+).
Other Options – Christian Yelich ($5,500), Randy Arozarena ($5,100)
Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox ($4,400) - The lefty exhibited power against RHP last season (.226 ISO and 41% hard contact). He’s matching up against Nick Pivetta. Not only does Pivetta allow a lot of hard contact and fly balls, but he struggles against left-handed batters. Last season for lefties, Pivetta allowed a .442 wOBA, 0.334 iso, and 3 HR/9.
Other Options – Tommy Pham ($3,700)
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