We get a tidy six-game main slate on Monday night, but we aren’t lacking in quality pitching to choose from. On the hitting side, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels check in with the highest implied team totals.
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Let’s check out the top options on tonight’s main slate.
Joe Musgrove ($10,500): Many folks were excited to see how Joe Musgrove would follow up his promising finish in 2020, and it’s safe to say that he hasn’t disappointed. Through three starts, Musgrove has a squeaky clean 1.98 SIERA, 35.8% strikeout rate, 3.0% walk rate, and 57.5% ground-ball rate. It hasn’t been against the toughest competition, but he’s taken care of business and gets another plus matchup tonight versus Milwaukee (2.94 implied total). The Brewers’ active roster has a 26.2% strikeout rate and 85 wRC+ versus righties going back to last season. It’s worth noting that excluding his no-hitter, Musgrove has been held to 78 and 81 pitches, so there’s the risk he doesn’t go very deep into the game, but he’s throwing too well to not be considered the top option.
Dustin May ($9,300): It’s only two starts, but it’s hard to not be excited by what Dustin May has done so far, with a 2.61 SIERA, 31.8% strikeout rate, 6.8% walk rate, and 57.7% ground-ball rate. While he’s seen a giant leap in punchouts compared to last year, a 14.1% swinging-strike rate sure looks legit, so it’s possible his gains are for real. If nothing else, though, he should keep things rolling against the Mariners, who are a plus matchup for strikeouts and have a modest 3.64 implied total. Like Musgrove, May’s pitch count could be on the slightly shorter side, as he’s maxed out at 85 thus far.
Dylan Bundy ($9,000): Dylan Bundy is also off to a strong start, submitting a 3.33 SIERA, 28.6% strikeout rate, and 6.5% walk rate over his three outings, which is similar to how he performed over 11 starts in 2020. His matchup checks out, too, up against a Rangers squad with a 25.5% strikeout rate and 78 wRC+ against righties dating back to 2020. Unlike the previous two, Bundy’s also the most likely to have a long leash, logging 88, 102, and 94 pitches.
Others to Consider: Brandon Woodruff ($9,600)
Los Angeles Dodgers: No team has an implied total above five runs, but the Dodgers come close at 4.86. Left-hander Justus Sheffield also isn’t some complete scrub, as he’s got roughly league-average peripherals and gets lots of ground balls (54.8% ground-ball rate in 2020).
But this is more about the Dodgers’ lethal lineup, with Mookie Betts ($4,500) and Justin Turner ($4,300) being our top right-handed options, followed by values in Will Smith ($2,900), Chris Taylor ($2,900), and A.J. Pollock ($2,200). None of these guys have high ground-ball rates, potentially negating Sheffield’s main strength.
We also shouldn’t hesitate to include Corey Seager ($3,800) and Max Muncy ($3,600), who can hold their own in lefty-lefty spots.
Los Angeles Angels: The other LA team is showing a 4.98 implied total, and they draw a low-strikeout righty in Kohei Arihara. Through his first three big league starts, Arihara has a minuscule 12.3% strikeout rate, though he’s coming off a solid outing against the Rays and has issued just one walk so far. While it remains to be seen what kind of MLB pitcher Arihara will be, we have to like attacking a pitcher who lets this many balls in play.
The Angels don’t make for the most exciting stack, but Mike Trout ($4,600), Shohei Ohtani ($4,400), and Jared Walsh ($3,500) are the obvious power options. Walsh has impressed by picking up where he left off last year, posting a 15.2% barrel rate in the early going.
Beyond those three, David Fletcher ($3,100) has value out of the leadoff spot — although he’s painfully low on pop — and Justin Upton ($3,000) still has enough punch in his bat for the occasional dinger.
San Francisco Giants: After those first two teams, the rest of the implied totals are in the low fours and below — a byproduct of the strong pitching on this slate — and it wouldn’t be surprising if this is a low-scoring night all around. But the Giants draw one of the better matchups against Chase Anderson.
Anderson has some pretty ugly numbers over his two starts, including a 15.8% strikeout rate and 13.2% walk rate. He’s escaped without too much damage, but those aren’t encouraging marks, and he’s rarely been much better than an average starter over his career.
Historically, most of the dingers Anderson gives up actually comes from right-handed batters, but Evan Longoria ($3,100) is probably the only notable righty we can expect in the middle third of the order. He’s off to an excellent early start with four home runs, and he produced a solid .171 ISO in 2020.
But Anderson allowed a 4.46 xFIP to lefties in 2020 and a 5.19 mark in 2019, so we can still load up on lefty sticks like Tommy La Stella ($2,200), Mike Yastrzemski ($3,000), Alex Dickerson ($2,300), and Brandon Belt ($2,300).
Others to Consider: Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals