Let’s not overreact to Opening Day!
— MLB (@MLB) March 29, 2019
— Daren Willman (@darenw) March 29, 2019
On the Agenda:
1. Lineup Placement
2. Streaming Pitchers
There were a ton of home runs yesterday, and I could go through and ramble about how great those were, but I stumbled across this tweet from our Jeff Zimmerman and decided I wanted to dive into something different.
The only useful fantasy baseball analysis over the next two weeks should be:
1. Pitcher velo and repertoire
3. Bullpen usage
Anything else is just useless fluff.
— Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) March 28, 2019
I absolutely agree with that message, and wanted to throw out some intriguing starting lineup tidbits from yesterday.
Dee Gordon was sent down to the ninth spot in the order against Chris Sale, with Mitch Haniger hitting first and Mallex Smith hitting seventh. Gordon had led off previously against RHP in Japan, but with Smith back we’ll need to see how this shakes out. The Red Sox lineup was status-quo.
The Yankees lineup was fairly predictable, with Brett Gardner leading off, Luke Voit hitting cleanup, Gary Sanchez hitting sixth, Greg Bird hitting seventh, and Gleyber Torres sitting eighth. This will all get changed around when Aaron Hicks comes back, but for now this will be the likely setup against RHP. Baltimore led off with Cedric Mullins and hit Jonathan Villar third. Hopefully that doesn’t have a negative effect his stolen base output.
The Cardinals have Paul Goldschmidt hitting second, Paul DeJong third, and Harrison Bader eighth. We’ll see what happens when a southpaw is on the mound. Milwaukee was fairly regular, with Ryan Braun hitting third and Yasmani Grandal at seven being the only spots of note.
The Phillies lineup will feature Andrew McCutchen leading off. That puts Odubel Herrera down to the sixth spot and Ceasar Hernandez at seven. The Braves placed Josh Donaldson behind Ender Inciarte at the top, putting second-year second baseman Ozzie Albies in the sixth spot.
Brandon Drury lead off against the Tigers, followed by Randall Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, and Justin Smoak. Danny Jansen was in the eighth spot, but this lineup didn’t manage a single run against Jordan Zimmermann so it’s bound to change. That’s not including when Vlad comes. The Tigers led off with Josh Harrison and threw Jeimer Candelario in the cleanup spot. Christin Stewart is hitting sixth for now.
The Rays had a lefty on the mound and the Astros were without Carlos Correa, so Jake Marisnick and Aledmys Diaz were slotted at the back-end of the lineup. The Astros will keep throwing Springer, Altuve, Correa, Bregman, and Brantley in the top-five spots when everyone is healthy. Austin Meadows looks like he could potentially be the leadoff hitter at least against RHP, maybe even permanently. Brandon Lowe hit cleanup with Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz sitting third and fifth respectively. Joey Wendle was sixth, with Kevin Kiermaier, Mike Zunino, and Willy Adames at the bottom. The Rays will continuously change things up, so keep tabs on this situation.
The Rangers lineup against LHP featured Delino DeShields Jr up top, Rougned Odor second, Hunter Pence fifth (yikes) and hitters that will no doubt be higher against RHP like Ronald Guzman and Asdrubal Cabrera down in the seventh/eighth slots. The Cubs LHP lineup had Albert Almora Jr leading off and no Kyle Schwarber.
The Athletics didn’t deploy Kendrys Morales yet, so their lineup was close to what it was in Japan, with the exception of Robbie Grossman hitting leadoff, and Ramon Laureano down in the eighth spot. Kole Calhoun lead off for the Angels against a RHP. Mike Trout, Justin Bour, and Andrelton Simmons followed. Not much to see there right now. Once Upton returns we’ll have more clarity on things.
The Padres LHP lineup included Ian Kinsler heating leadoff, Wil Myers second, Franmil Reyes cleanup (later taken out for Franchy Cordero), and Fernando Tatis Jr hitting sixth. Manny Margot and Austin Hedges also started, but hit low in the order. We’ll see how the Padres play this against RHP, but Francisco Mejia and Hunter Renfroe will find at-bats. The only Giants lineup note is Steven Duggar leading off.
The Marlins/Rockies lineups were fairly uneventful in terms of changes or predictability.
Max Kepler hit leadoff against Corey Kluber, followed by Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz, and Eddie Rosario. Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton hit eighth and ninth respectively. The Indians well, their lineup isn’t exactly strong right now. Leonys Martin will leadoff against RHP, with Jose Ramirez behind him for now. When Lindor, Kipnis, and even Bradley Zimmer return, this lineup will be a lot different. Greg Allen didn’t receive the start today, and Carlos Gonzalez isn’t involved yet either.
The Dodgers put Joc Pederson up top against Zack Greinke, followed by Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, A.J. Pollock, Cody Bellinger, Enrique Hernandez, and Austin Barnes. When a LHP is up we’ll see Russell Martin and Chris Taylor get a crack at it I presume. Adam Jones got the nod as the leadoff hitter against Hyun-Jin Ryu, but I wouldn’t count on him being there against RHP. Eduardo Escobar was second, Wilmer Flores third, and David Peralta fourth. Jake Lamb and possibly Jarrod Dyson will be implemented when Arizona sees a RHP. There’s also a very odd three-catcher situation going on here.
No surprises at the top of the Royals lineup. Jorge Soler hit cleanup and Billy Hamilton ninth, but the rest leaves a lot to be desired. Frank Schwindel received the start instead of Ryan O’Hearn because Carlos Rodon was on the mound. The White Sox placed Leury Garcia up top against a RHP, Eloy Jimenez hit fifth, and James McCann received the start over Welington Castillo.
A Pitcher for Today: None
High-Risk Option: High-Risk Option: Matt Harvey at OAK
Well, it wasn’t an awesome spring and it’s certainly been a trying couple of years, but in a good venue against an offense that can lose its luster at times, maybe we can roll the dice here? His second half numbers were solid, his velocity continues to sit mid-90’s, maybe we can get a decent start here. In deep leagues I’m in to see what happens.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Jakob Junis vs CWS
The White Sox struggled against RHP last season and on Opening Day. Kauffman Stadium remains a strong pitchers park, and Junis had two very strong outings (in four total starts) against them in 2018.
High-Risk Optiom: Bryse Wilson at PHI
Wilson went through four levels in the minors last year and had a strong spring as well. This isn’t an ideal matchup, but Wilson has a strong repertoire and command combo that could yield successful.
Fantasy Baseball and Tampa Bay Rays enthusiast. Restaurant manager by day, fantasy analyst by night. Contributor to Rotographs, Baseball HQ, Fantasy Pros, and co-owner of Friends with Fantasy Benefits. Follow me @MikeWernerFWFB.