In our baseball fan minds, it's "early" in the season because we're used to 162 games. There are only 60 games this year, so they're a third of the way through when a team has already played 20. That means we have to treat stats for this year seriously, even if sometimes they say things like "Donovan Solano has been one of the best hitters in baseball". All I can do is look at the numbers – from this season and beyond – and try and give you my best recommendations. There are 14 games starting at 6:05 p.m. EDT or later Saturday, and here's how that shakes out for me.
There's a reason Cleveland felt comfortable dealing Corey Kluber, and a big part of that is the fact Shane Bieber ($60) is now one of the best pitchers in baseball. He's produced a career 3.19 FIP, but this year I think he could end up winning the AL Cy Young. So far, he's managed a 1.63 ERA and has struck out 14 batters per nine innings. The Tigers' offense has looked better than last season, but I don't fully trust them after they were so terrible last year by finishing 30th in runs scored and then lost Nick Castellanos.
Speaking of the Tigers, Trevor Bauer ($59) has benefited from two of his starts being against the Motor City Kitties, but there is no quibbling with a 1.88 FIP. Besides, the Pirates may be the worst offense in the majors when all is said and done. And so far, they rank last in the league in on-base percentage.
I fully understand if you are reticent to start any pitcher at Coors Field, but don't shy away from German Marquez ($42) on Saturday. That's only partially because he comes in with a 2.69 FIP. The Rangers also rank in the bottom-five in runs scored. And when you realize two of the teams below them are the Marlins and Cardinals, that makes it even more embarrassing. Even at Coors, I don't trust Texas's bats.
Those first two pitchers carry salaries that involve a bit of investment, so here's another opportunity on a pitcher available on the secondary tier. Ryan Yarbrough ($40) has endured a couple rough starts in a row - both against the Red Sox - but last season produced a 3.54 FIP. I also like the fact he doesn't allow many home runs, at least for the modern era. Toronto ranks 29th in runs scored and that really means they're last considering the team below is St. Louis.
Matt Chapman ($20) hit 36 home runs in 2019, but he's hitting with a whole new level of power in 2020. A man with an already-impressive career .506 slugging percentage is slugging .578 to start this campaign. He's done that with Oakland as his home ballpark, mind you. Kevin Gausman has allowed a .280 batting average to righties since 2018, so I can imagine Chapman mashing Saturday.
Alex Bregman ($21) can hit just about anybody, but he shows a real affinity for lefties. Since 2018, his OPS versus southpaws is 1.082. Nick Margevicius is a lefty that has oddly been worse against righties than lefties, but I don't worry about him against either. After all, his career FIP is 5.45 while allowing 1.93 homers per nine innings.
Ketel Marte ($17) has recorded only one home run in 2020, but I'm not concerned. After all, he hit 32 last season and his batting average this year is .325. He's making contact, and the long balls should come given his .945 OPS at home since 2018. Padres' starter Luis Perdomo hasn't gone more than two innings in a game, so I don't expect more than one at-bat against him for Marte - unless the Diamondbacks really rough him up.
Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies are both banged up, but Dansby Swanson ($15) is healthy and leading off Atlanta's lineup. Considering the Marlins are primed to start Daniel Castano again due to a lack of depth - and given he allowed four runs in 4.1 innings in his first career outing - that sounds good to me. Swanson may never end up being what is expected of a first-overall pick, but he's racked up double-digit homers and stolen bases in each of his last two seasons and all of his slash numbers have improved ever season - not including his 38-game rookie campaign in 2016.
The Pirates are trying to keep Steven Brault out of the rotation and I understand that. He's maintained a career 4.85 ERA and Pittsburgh seemed like they were basically planning to platoon starts with him as a lefty and Chad Kuhl as a righty. Then, Joe Musgrove and Mitch Keller got hurt. Now, Brault has to try and shoulder more than two to three innings of a game. Nick Senzel ($11) didn't necessarily look like a second-overall selection during his debut last year, but he hit 12 homers and stole 14 bases over 104 games. He's only played in 118 career games, so we're still seeing him grow as a player. But at the very least, his power numbers are up this year.
Nobody ever gets excited about Asdrubal Cabrera ($18), and I get it. He's a 34-year-old journeyman and his game isn't flashy. Cabrera has also posted a career .269 batting average and slashed .323/.404/.565 after joining the Nationals last year while keeping that up this season. The fact I have taken the time to learn how to spell Asher Wojciechowski's name by memory should serve as an indication I'm a fan of this matchup, and indeed the Orioles hurler has struggled with a career 5.62 ERA and has given up 1.85 homer per nine innings.
Gibson is in his first year with the Rangers after spending his entire career with the Twins. He's not off to a great start, with a 4.83 FIP through three starts. Back in the day, Gibson used to excel at suppressing home runs, but that hasn't been the case since 2015. And this is Coors Field we're talking about here. Since 2018, Gibson has allowed a .278 batting average to lefties, so I figured I would load you up on Rockies' southpaws.
Not that I had to twist your arm on Blackmon, I'm sure. He is the king of Coors, with a 1.069 OPS at home since 2018. And he happens to currently be leading the majors in batting average. Murphy didn't completely take to Coors last season - his first with the Rockies - but this year he's slashed .339/.373/.536 and the team will want him in there with a righty on the mound. McMahon is admittedly off to a slow start, but that's because of a .435 road OPS. He's been fine at home, where he's produced an .879 OPS since 2018. Second base isn't as stacked of a position, so getting a player like McMahon is a nice way to gather a little potential value while saving salary for big bats at other positions.