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MLB: Saturday Breakdown

There are games throughout Saturday, meaning we have only 12 teams on the main slate. The available pitching options are relatively limited, meaning roster rate is likely to condense around the top picks and the obvious value. Either getting risky at pitcher or stacking different bats will be important.

Pitchers

Justin Verlander ($9,700) showed no signs of rust or arm trouble in his opening start of 2022. His velocity was in line with career norms, and he offered plenty of stuff to rack up strikeouts. Seattle isn't a pushover matchup, but after Julio Urias ($9,900) showcased decreased velocity in his initial start, I'd rather take the savings by rostering Verlander.

I'm willing to skip over the rest of the top tier entirely and land on Noah Syndergaard ($7,900). He was also coming off a significant layoff after Tommy John surgery and showed strong results on the surface. However, he effectively limited runs in his first outing of the campaign while significantly altering his pitch mix by moving away from his fastball and only recording one strikeout. He'll square off against the Rangers, who do have an improved offense. I'm not ready to count on the strikeouts returning for now, but that downside is reflected in Syndergaard's value compared to the rest of the field. I believe in his ability to suppress runs and is a strong mid-value option.

Moving down one last tier, Jameson Taillon ($7,000) is likely to be a popular option on the slate in the SP2 slot. He looked good in his only other start, but the real draw is his matchup against Baltimore and his lower salary. If you're hoping to get contrarian, playing Taillon will almost certainly not be the way to do so.

Top Bats Mike Trout ($5,700) draws a matchup against Taylor Hearn, who effectively limited runs against the Rockies and drew strikeouts at a solid rate but also allowed two barreled balls on only 13 events. Needless to say, Trout boasts the skills to take advantage. Freddie Freeman ($4,700) is an elite option, though he isn't valued that way on this slate. He began the season at $5,300 and Saturday's salary represents his lowest mark through six games. Hunter Greene displayed plenty of talent in his first major-league start, but taking on the Dodgers' lineup is a difficult task for any pitcher. Speaking of interesting salary points, it's notable to see where both Kris Bryant ($4,000) and C.J. Cron ($4,000) land relative to the field. Given the combination of talent level and a game at Coors Field, it's shocking to see both so affordable to roster.

Top Values

On the surface, Trey Mancini ($3,100) has had a slow start to the season with a .321 slugging percentage across 30 plate appearances. However, a peek at his statcast numbers tells us there's nothing wrong with the way he's swinging the bat having maintained a .647 xSLG.

Jose Siri ($3,200) should be a regular in Houston's lineup so long as Yordan Alvarez is sidelined. He occupied the sixth spot in the order Friday, which is a prime position in a lineup as good as Houston's. This is primarily a bet on team context and the matchup is solid from that perspective as Chris Flexen surrenders a lot of contact.

Aristides Aquino ($2,000) is at the minimum salary. He's all but guaranteed to be starting with southpaw Julio Urias on the mound, and it's also possible he'll be batting in a premium spot. Aquino has a lot of flaws in his profile, but not enough to be this cheap.

Stacks to Consider

Angels vs. Taylor Hearn: Mike Trout ($5,700), Anthony Rendon ($4,000), Jack Mayfield($2,900), Taylor Ward ($3,700)

The first note here is to pay attention to the Angels' lineup before locking this in. Aside from Joe Maddon messing with his lineup, Ward is expected to be activated from the injured list and that hasn't yet been made official. Assuming he's available, Ward should immediately slot into a corner outfield spot in place of Brandon Marsh with a lefty on the mound. Setting that aside, LA is a strong stack option because Hearn has a track record of allowing plenty of home runs and walks – the two things to attack in an opposing pitcher when identifying potential builds.

Rockies vs. Mark Leiter Jr: Connor Joe ($3,500), Kris Bryant ($4,000), C.J. Cron ($4,000), Ryan McMahon ($3,800)

Mark Leiter Jr. has posted a career ERA of 5.53 and has allowed 2.0 HR/8 across 114 career major-league innings. On Saturday, he'll be forced to take on the Rockies at Coors Field, and a lot of offensive fireworks should ensue. As was noted earlier in the article, the studs in Colorado's lineup are oddly misvalued, so this is likely to be an extremely popular stack.

Cardinals vs. Adrian Houser: Dylan Carlson ($4,100), Paul Goldschmidt ($5,800), Nolan Arenado ($4,900), Tyler O'Neill ($4,800)

The Cardinals' lineup has been on fire to start the season. That alone isn't a reason to stack them, but Houser is among the most contact-prone pitchers on the slate. St. Louis boasts a deep and talented batting order, so the likelihood they hit well for another night appears relatively high.




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