Saturday features a six-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.
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Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies ($8,900) – This is a solid slate for pitching considering there are only 12 teams in action, and Gallen stands out as my favorite of the top options. He’s been phenomenal since reaching the major-league level in 2019, pitching to a 2.72 ERA, and he’s posted a 2.16 ERA through his first three starts this season. He gets arguably the best matchup possible vs. the Rockies, who have struggled mightily against right-handed pitchers this season. They rank dead last in wRC+ in those matchups, and their implied team total of 3.4 runs is the second-lowest mark on the slate. Gallen is also the largest favorite of the day at -184, so he’s an excellent option from a Vegas perspective.
Other Options – Brandon Woodruff ($10,100), Blake Snell ($9,500), Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,700)
Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners ($7,200) – This seems like a day where you want to pay up at both pitching spots if possible, but Canning does have some appeal at $7,200. The Mariners have been better this season against right-handed pitchers, but they’ve still struggled in those matchups in the long term. Their projected lineup boasts just a .301 wOBA and 27.9% strikeout rate vs. right-handers over the past 12 months, so Canning has some upside at his current price tag.
Other Options – None
Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies ($4,500) – A catcher who is expected to bat leadoff? Sign me up! Not only that, but the Diamondbacks’ implied team total of 4.7 runs is the fourth-highest mark on the slate, and Kelly will be on the positive side of his splits vs. Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber ($6,500). Kelly is a nice hitter for a catcher, and he’s posted a ridiculous 337 wRC+ vs. left-handers to start the year.
Other Options – Travis d’Arnaud ($4,900), Christian Vazquez ($4,200)
Danny Jansen, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Atlanta Braves ($2,100) – Punting the catcher position is always a viable option, and Jansen is priced basically at the minimum at $2,100. He hasn’t hit a lick to start the year, but the Blue Jays’ implied team total of 4.9 runs is tied for the second-highest mark on the slate. That’s enough to make Jansen viable.
Other Options – Victor Caratini ($3,200), Max Stassi ($3,000)
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves @ Toronto Blue Jays ($5,700) – Freeman is starting his day on the wrong side of his splits vs. left-hander Travis Bergen ($4,000), but don’t let that dissuade you. Bergen is simply opening the game for the Blue Jays, so Freeman could still see the majority of his at-bats vs. right-handed pitchers.
Regardless, the Braves stand out as the top team to target on Saturday. They’re currently implied for 5.7 runs, which is the top mark on the slate by nearly a full run. They should also benefit from the wind conditions in Dunedin, Fla., which currently call for a 10 mph wind blowing directly out to centerfield.
Other Options – Shohei Ohtani ($5,300), Eric Hosmer ($4,200)
Asdrubal Cabrera, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies ($3,300) – The Diamondbacks’ lineup is extremely affordable on Saturday, which makes them an excellent stack target if you’re paying up for pitching. Cabrera is expected to occupy the No. 3 spot in the lineup, and he’s a switch-hitter who has been at his best vs. left-handers recently. He’s posted a .406 wOBA and .309 ISO vs. southpaws over the past 12 months, so he’s an awesome target vs. Gomber.
Other Options – Pavin Smith ($3,900), Dan Vogelbach ($2,800)
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves @ Toronto Blue Jays ($5,100) – Albies did not hit at all against left-handed pitching last season. He struggled to a 30 wRC+ in those matchups, which is an absolutely dreadful mark. That said, he has historically feasted vs. southpaws – he posted a 180 wRC+ in 2019 – and he’s off to a decent start in those matchups in 2021. 2020 was a weird year for a lot of reasons, so I think it’s pretty safe to chalk that up as a fluky result. I have no problem backing him against Bergen and whoever else comes out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen on Saturday.
Other Options – Eduardo Escobar ($4,800), Ty France ($4,200)
David Fletcher, Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners ($3,400) – The Angels are another team with a solid matchup on Saturday. They’re implied for 4.6 runs vs. right-hander Ljay Newsome ($5,100), who will be making his first start of the year. He’s pitched well out of the bullpen this season, but he posted a 5.17 ERA and 5.74 FIP last season. Fletcher is expected to bat leadoff in this matchup, and I’m interested in anyone batting in front of Ohtani, Mike Trout ($6,200) and Anthony Rendon ($4,700) at just $3,400.
Other Options – Jake Cronenworth ($3,700),
Marwin Gonzalez ($3,500)
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox @ Texas Rangers ($5,300) – Devers had a down year by his standards in 2020 after blossoming into one of the best hitters in baseball the year prior. He racked up an astounding 54 doubles and 32 homers in 2019, and he’s on pace for an even better season in 2021. He owns a 164 wRC+ through his first 25 games this year, and he shouldn’t have any problems hitting right-hander Jordan Lyles ($5,400). Lyles has pitched to a 6.75 ERA through his first five starts this season, which is somehow an improvement from his mark of 7.02 last year.
Other Options – Anthony Rendon ($4,700), Manny Machado ($4,900)
Evan Longoria, San Francisco Giants @ San Diego Padres ($3,600) – Very few people are going to target the Giants on Saturday, which makes sense given their matchup vs. Snell. However, Longoria has absolutely smashed against left-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .484 wOBA and .338 ISO. He has reached based in 19 of his first 28 plate appearances vs. southpaws this season – which is absolutely mind-boggling – and four of his 11 hits have been home runs. I love him as a contrarian option for tournaments.
Other Options – Wyatt Mathisen ($3,600), Pablo Sandoval ($2,700)
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Atlanta Braves ($5,600) – The Blue Jays own a slightly tougher matchup than the Braves on Saturday, but they will benefit from the same elite hitting conditions. Charlie Morton ($8,200) is also less imposing than he used to be, pitching to a 4.74 ERA last season and a 4.76 ERA to start 2021. Bichette can hit against anyone, and he’s posted a 128 wRC+ vs. right-handers so far this season.
Other Options – Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,900), Xander Bogaerts ($5,400)
Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies ($3,300) – There aren’t a ton of appealing value plays at shortstop, which has become one of the most top-heavy positions in the league. Ahmed doesn’t check all the boxes – he’s expected to bat seventh in the Diamondbacks’ lineup – but he will be on the positive side of his splits vs. Gomber. Ahmed was slightly above average against left-handers last season, so he can find success against a mediocre pitcher like Gomber.
Other Options – Dansby Swanson ($4,000)
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners ($6,200) – You guys don’t need me to tell you how good Trout is at baseball. He’s on pace to become one of the greatest players in the history of the game, which spans more than a century at this point. The crazy thing is that he somehow continues to get better. He’s posted a 263 wRC+ to start the season, and his OPS is over 1.300 through his first 21 games. He’s absolutely demolished right-handed pitching, posting a 301 wRC+, so I have no problem paying up for him vs. Newsome.
Other Options – Ronald Acuna Jr. ($6,000), Alex Verdugo ($4,700)
George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Atlanta Braves ($4,600) – OK, so I’m technically cheating here. Springer doesn’t count as a true “value” at $4,600, but I still think he’s one of the best pure values on the slate. He’s an elite hitter, he bats leadoff and he’s in one of the best spots of the day.
Other Options –
Enrique Hernandez ($4,100), Hunter Renfroe ($3,100)
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