Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls! Welcome to Fenway Park! OH COME ON. EVERY. TIME. Sorry. Old habits die hard. Welcome to your Weekend Edition of 3 Up, 3 Down! Now, I know what your thinking, “Wait… Isn’t this whole site called Three Up, Three Down?” And you’re right. The site was created in 2016 as a daily fantasy baseball site, where yours truly would give you 3 guys to look for during that night’s contests, as well as three guys I absolutely hated. And since this is a bit of a throwback segment, let’s take a look at the original description of the site.
“Let’s start by getting something out of the way. I’m not an expert. I’m not Peter Gammons, Bill James, Theo Epstein or Buster Olney. If anything, I’m closer to Aaron Boone; just a guy who knows a few things about baseball, has a platform to share them, but in the end isn’t known for incredible analysis. I’m just a guy. I’m simple, and in the world of Daily Fantasy Baseball, simple is key. So how’s this gonna work?
Everyday I am going to let you in on 3 guys I am UP on for the day, and 3 guys I am DOWN on. The blog is called Three Up, Three Down for a reason. In between, I’ll talk strategy, I’ll talk who to take, picking against a pitcher, picking against a team, a ballpark, even picking against the other DFS players. I’m here to help you crack the code of the days lineups using stats, rumor, legend and most important, my gut feelings on how well David Ortiz is going to hit Nick Tropeano in the second game of a three game stint in Anaheim.”
Get it? NO!? Alright, let’s hop in and see if you can get the hang of it.
THIS WEEKEND’S UPS
#3 – MARCELL OZUNA – OF, Miami Marlins
Someone explain to me why Marcell Ozuna is the least expensive player in the Marlins’ outfield? Seriously. I’m honestly asking. This is madness, but madness we’re going to use to our advantage. Draftkings has Ozuna at $3,800, which makes him the most undervalued guy on the board tonight. Let me walk you through why.
Ozuna is leading the Marlins in every major offensive category. Batting Average (.320), Home Runs (11), RBIs (29), OBP (.394), OPS (1.018), and Hits (40), it’s all Ozuna. This is guy is the semi-sleeper you’ve been waiting for. The Marlins take on the Braves this weekend, taking on Mike Foltynewicz in the first game. Folty has only pitched 2 innings at Marlins, and in those two innings he gave up 2 runs on three hits, leaving Marlins batters with a clean .333 average against him at Marlins’ Park. Against the Marlins, Folty hasn’t pitched well, hurling a 6.91 career ERA against the Fish.
Now let’s look at Ozuna’s numbers. THIS DUDE RAKES AT HOME. Ozuna hits .396 at home, as well as posting a .492 OBP, with 7 of his 11 dingers coming at home. Now, what’s the big worry about Ozuna? First off, other DFs players will be going for Stanton trying to get Home Run points, but also they don’t want a guy who is an easy out. You want your guy walking up to the plate with any advantage he can get. Ozuna’s OBP, as well as the fact that he strikes out much less at home. Ozuna is the big fish in the little pond tonight against Atlanta.
#2 – CESAR HERNANDEZ – 2B, Philadelphia Phillies
First off, this guy has been on fire for most of the season and has been my favorite DFS play so far this year. The thing that makes Hernandez so appetizing to my DFS lineups is that he’s on the Phillies and is in front of guys like Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera, who are usually sued as outliers on a team. Also, there’s still a very strong mindset that the Phillies strikeout a lot more than other teams, and that’s not necessarily true. The Phillies find themselves on the lower end of the strikeout total, coming in at 17th in the whole league, just below the halfway point. Also, he plays second base, with no other position eligibility. Name a better second basemen to have in your lineup. Did you even say Hernandez? You probably didn’t, because it’s a stacked position with guys with Home Run power, something a lot of DFS stack on. Hernandez’s a difficult choice to make, but it’s so worth it, you guys.
So back to Cesar Hernandez and why you should love him. The guy is hitting .324 in 2017 and has an OBP of .378. In his last 10 games, Hernandez has scored 10 times, gotten 15 hits, and only struck out 8 times. Remember what I said about Ozuna and his strikeouts? You need a guy who is smart at the plate and walks up with the advantage. So why do I like Hernandez? He’s very good against the Nationals, he’s very good at Nationals Park and he’s GOOD against Max Scherzer. Hernandez has a career average of .305 against the Nationals pitching staff, including a .250 against Roark, a .280 against Gonzalez and a .296 against Scherzer. That’s the important number. A guy who is good against Scherzer is a guy who will have a low ownership percentage and will get you solid points when everyone else loses them. The pick of Hernandez is points against Scherzer. That’s a guy to like.
#1 – JUSTIN UPTON – OF, Detroit Tigers
SOOOOOOOOOOO Here’s the thing. I really like Justin Upton against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I love Justin Upton against Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a multitude of reasons, but mainly the fact that he’s hitting .365 against the Angels staff, AND he’s hitting .440 against Ricky Nolasco who starts Saturday for the Halos. .440 with an OPS of 1.202. That’s some MASHING from Upton. Also happening this weekend is J.D. Martinez’s return to the Tigers. This adds quite a bit of pop to the Tiger’s lineup, so let’s do some math! Offensive Power + Offensive Power = Lots of Offensive Power. There’s nothing I like more than a team that can rake and the Detroit Tigers are more than set up to devour the Angels this weekend, and I’m looking at Justin Upton to be at the forefront of the hit parade.
THIS WEEKEND’S DOWNS
#3 – JOHNNY CUETO – P, San Francisco Giants
Johnny Cueto rarely finds himself on the Down List, but this is not a normal year for Johnny Cueto. As it stands, Cueto’s posting a 4.50 ERA, with a 4-2 record, with a 1.27 WHIP so far in 2017. Which is not too shabby considering he’s the Giants current #1 pitcher, and he’s not injured like everyone on the Giants has been. However, when you take a closer look at his numbers you can see that Cueto is already on a downward trajectory from last year.
So far in 2017 Cueto has given up 24 runs on the season, one-third of his 2016 total of 71. In 2016, batters who faced Cueto had an average of .236, whereas hitters in 2017 are connecting for hits at a .256 clip. Considering that the Cincinnati Reds are a half game back from the Cardinals in the NL Central, eighth in the league in hits, and first in triples… playing in a park with “Triples Alley” as a famed locale, doesn’t bode well for Johnny Cueto. I say it’s a hard pass on Cueto until the Giants find their groove again.
#2 – ERIC THAMES – 1B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers
OK. HEAR ME OUT. I LOVE ERIC THAMES. NO LIE. I LOVE ERIC THAMES. I love his story, I love his style, I love what he’s brought to the Brew Crew. Seriously, look for a nice, fresh piece about the Brewers coming up in the next few weeks. These guys are great! However, I do not like Thames against the Mets pitching staff. Why, you ask? Because guys who bat 2nd against the Mets rarely do the two things Thames does well: hit dingers and doubles.
Seriously, the Mets pitching staff has not given up a dinger to a #2 hitter this season and out of the 37 hits allowed, 8 of those have been doubles. All told, guys in the 2-spot are hitting .264 against the Mets staff, but that’s mostly singles, so just 3 points a pop. What gives Eric Thames those bonus points are the long bombs he hits and the doubles he slashes. He gets those extra little bonus points, the extra 11 points here, and 3 points there adds up over the course of the game. Thames isn’t going to get those against this staff. The statistics don’t support it and I think it’s better to err on the side of caution and go with Joey Votto instead. BOOM.
#1 – The New York Yankees
As much as it pains me to say this, I’m going to. The New York Yankees have been very fun to watch this season. The 9th inning home run by Gardiner against the Cubs was awesome, watching Aaron “I’m 9 feet tall” Judge go on his hitting rampage, seeing Chapman throw gas again, watching Starlin Castro come through in big ways, etc. It’s all been great! However, this weekend the Yankees will face off against the top team in the American League, and their league leaders in strikeout pitching staff.
That’s my main issue here. The Astors pitching staff is no match for the Yankees offense, even if it is Derek Jeter weekend. SIDENOTE: Derek Jeter deserves all the respect in the entire world. That guy was a class act and I hated cursing his name for all fo those years. Good for you, Jeter. Go get yours. #HOF #GOAT. The Astros have a solid staff and while it’s filled with guys like Charlie Morton and Mike Fiers, they still have solid numbers against most of the Yankees. Castro is your best bet if you go with any Yankee this weekend, besides that, I just wouldn’t trust it. Let the other guys fall into that hole. Stay above the Yankees. Trust me.
MOONSHOT – JOSÉ BERRIOS – P, Minnesota Twins
So here’s the thing… José Berrios is going to start on Saturday for the Twins in what will be his first start of 2017. Berrios was highly regarded as the best pitching prospect in the Twins system and when he made his MLB debut in 2016, there was a lot made of that game. Berrios went 4 innings, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5 against Cleveland. Not too shabby. It would all be downhill from there. Berrios ended 2016 with an 8.02 ERA, a 7.6 k/9 and a whopping 5.4 BB/9. That stat line alone was cause enough to start Berrios’ 2017 in the minors.
Berrios has a 1.13 ERA, with an 8.8 K/9 and a 1.8 BB/9 so far in 2017 at the AAA level. Those are some numbers, y’all. For comparison, Jacob deGrom had a 2.58 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and a 6.8 K/9 in the Pacific Coast League before getting called up to the Mets, and Noah Syndergaard had a 1.82 ERA, a 2.4 BB/9 and a 10.3 K/9 before joining the Metropolitans. Berrios will face that same Cleveland team in his return to the big leagues, and for complete transparency’s sake… I’m going to take him. Why? Because I love a good comeback story and I love knowing that this kid is going out and trying to prove everyone wrong. That’s the guy I want pitching for my team. The guy with something to prove. Berrios is this week’s Moonshot because it could really go either way, but I’m pulling for the kid. I’m pulling for him to come through.
TAKE ALL THE WAY – CHRIS SALE, P, Boston Red Sox
Chris Sale has struck out 10+ batters in 6 of his 7 starts in a Red Sox uniform. If you don’t take Chirs Sale this weekend you are a goddamn fool, and you should take your money and go home. This just isn’t for you. Pack it up and go home! You gotta take Chris Sale all the way.
MAKE SENSE?! Think I’m wrong? Tweet at me! @3up3downblog! Comment on Facebook! Or you can wait until Monday and we’ll recap whether or not I made some solid picks! Be sure to check it out and the rest of the other stuff we’ve got going on at THREE UP, THREE DOWN!