We have a jam-packed 15-game MLB slate on tap tonight so let’s get right into the picks and see if we can rake in some profits early in the week!
P – Chris Paddack (SD) – $10,600 vs. SF
All rookies stumble at some point in their inaugural campaigns, and Paddack has done just that lately as he’s allowed a combined nine earned runs over his last two starts, spanning just 9.1 frames. That said, there is plenty to like about the rookie right-hander in this one tonight. First, we have to consider the venue in which he will pitch at as Oracle Park in San Francisco is the most pitcher-friendly venue in all of Major League Baseball. Second, according to FantasyLabs, the Giants are projected to score just 3.6 runs tonight, the lowest total on the slate at the time of this writing. Third, the Giants rank 28tyh with a .285 wOBA against right-handed pitching this season and last by a notable margin with a tiny .259 wOBA at home this season. Paddack will enter this one with a .297 ERA and 3.69 FIP on the season , but also a strong 9.79 K/9 rate and a tiny 1.78 BB/9 clip. He’s as safe a bet as there is one this 15-game slate tonight.
P – Jakob Junis (KC) – $7,200 vs. DET
You’ll have to look past Junis’ surface numbers in order to buy into his upside tonight against the lowly Detroit Tigers. Obviously the matchup is a good one as the Tigers are right there with the Giants as one of the worst-hitting teams against right-handed pitching this season as their .286 wOBA against them is just one tick better than the Giants at .286. Also like Paddack, Junis gets a pitcher-friendly park tonight at his home park of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Junis enters this one with a 5.63 ERA on the season, but he also owns a 4.77 FIP and 4.53 xFIP that do point some some positive regression moving forward. Despite owning an ugly 6.27 ERA at home this season, Junis is in for some massive positive regression at Kauffman where he also owns a 3.57 FIP and a small 0.72 hR/9 rate. The walks are elevated at 3.50 per nine innings, but the strikeouts are solid at 8.25 per nine. Finally, active Tigers bats are hitting a combined .264 with a tiny .286 OBP against him after he hurled six innings of three-run ball with eight strikeouts against them in his second start of the 2019 season.
C – Danny Jansen (TOR) – $2,300 vs. BAL
I have a real expensive stack going in this lineup tonight and I needed some salary relief somewhere, so I’m going with Jansen as part of a mini-stack tonight against left-hander John Means of the Orioles. Means has seen nice results this season, but his 2.67 ERA is well under his 4.03 FIP and miles under his 4.98 xFIP, so negative regression is indeed coming for the southpaw, and soon. Jansen also offers us some fantastic value upside at this price. His overall numbers this season are weak, but he improves a vast amount against left-handed pitching as he owns a .282 average, .154 ISO and .800 OPS to go with a 118 wRC+ on the season against lefties compared to a brutal .135 average, .058 ISO, .421 OPS and a horrendous 18 wRC+ against righties. Jansen also hit lefties for an .896 OPS at Triple-A last season and a massive 1.206 OPS at Double-A in 2017 as further evidence of his abilities against southpaws. He appears to me to be the best form of salary relief on this huge slate.
1B – Howie Kendrick (WAS) – $5,300 vs. CWS
The Nationals are one of the very best offenses against left-handed pitching this season and are also one of the hottest offenses in baseball as they get set to take on White Sox left-hander Manny Banuelos in the hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago tonight. First, the Nationals have produced a .353 wOBA over the last two weeks, good for a second-place tie with the Minnesota Twins. Second, they rank fifth in all of baseball with a .354 wOBA on the season against left-handed pitching and as you’re about to see, it’s not hard to figure out why. For Banuelos’ part, he owns a 7.36 ERA, 6.69 FIP and a 5.44 xFIP on the season while allowing a massive 5.58 BB/9 this season and a huge 2.45 HR/9 to boot. Enter Kendrick who has obliterated left-handers to the tune of a .407 average, .241 ISO and 1.066 OPS on the season to go along with an eye-popping 176 wRC+. He’s also 3 for 5 with a homer, a double, four runs scored and two RBI over his last two games. Sure, I’ll take that.
2B – Brian Dozier (WAS) – $4,000 vs. CWS
Dozier has bounced back from a rather tough 2018 season – by his standards, however he is back to hitting the ball well here in 2019, especially against left-handed pitching. After scuffling to a .209 average, .104 ISO and .643 OPS against left-handed pitching last season, all Dozier has done this year has hit them for a huge .367 average, massive .367 ISO, 1.171 OPS and a 200 wRC+. Is that good? I mean, given the fact that he’s at about as large of a sample size as possible against lefties this season, these are some of the best numbers we’ve seen against either handedness in these lineups this season. Heck, even his lone stolen base on the season came against a left-handed pitcher. He’s also hitting for plenty of extra-base power at the moment as he’s gone 10 for 27 (.370) with three doubles, three homers, nine runs and eight RBI over his last seven starts. There’s just too much to like about this guy in this matchup tonight.
3B – Anthony Rendon (WAS) – $5,500 vs. CWS
I’m wondering what type of ownership level we should expect given the huge price tag for Rendon, however without too many top-tier pitching options we probably should expect some ownership on this stack, but boy it’s a tough fade. Like his teammates before him, Rendon is punishing left-handed pitching here in 2019. All he’s done to this point is tattoo left-handers to the tune of a .300 ISO and 1.072 OPS on the season to go along with a 170 wRC+. Hey, it’s no Dozier, but I think we should like those numbers. I mean, the guy is making hard contact against lefties at a massive 54.1% rate. What I like about Rendon is the fact he is mashing right-handers with very similar numbers this season, making him matchup proof for when the bullpen takes over for Banuelos in this one tonight. Speaking of that bullpen, the White Sox rank 19th with a 4.60 bullpen FIP and 26th with a 4.88 bullpen xFIP, so let’s attack both Banuelos and the ‘pen with this stack tonight.
SS – Dansby Swanson (ATL) – $4,400 vs. PIT
Chris Archer has been shaky to say the least this season as he enters tonight’s contest with the Braves sporting a 5.20 ERA and 5.45 FIP on the season with a massive 4.70 BB/9 and 1.84 HR/9 clip. Furthermore, he’s also sporting some reverse splits and struggling versus right-handed bats with an .841 OPS allowed to them this season and a massive .998 OPS allowed to right-handed bats on the road as well. Enter Swanson who is showing why he was the first overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft. After showing some promise with the bat in 2018 with 14 homers and 10 steals, Swanson has already swatted 13 homers and swiped six bags this season. His OPS of .915 against lefties trumps his .766 mark against righties, but Swanson’s hit for a little more extra-base power against righties with a .225 ISO compared to a .211 mark against lefties while 10 of those 13 homers have come against a righty. He’s projected to hit in the valuable two-hole for this one against the struggling right-hander tonight.
OF – Teoscar Hernandez (TOR) – $3,600 vs. BAL
Hernandez was sent down to the minors to find his stroke not too long ago, but he’s since returned and been much more of a power threat than he was before the demotion. Since returning to the big leagues on June 5th after roughly three weeks at Triple-A, Hernandez has gone 5 for 20 (.250) but with a homer and three doubles as part of those five hits to go along with two runs, two RBI and a stolen base. He only faced a lefty for 18 at bats in his Triple-A stint, however he homered three times against them in that span and produced a massive 1.627 OPS against them. Regardless of sample, that’s some impressive stuff. I rostered him against a lefty in his return to the big leagues last week against southpaw James Paxton and Hernandez homered against him in his first at-bat. He hit lefties for a big-time .243 ISO in the big leagues last season and considering the power we’ve seen from that bat since his return I am loving the value here to cap a mini-stack against the lefty Means and a horrific Orioles bullpen.
OF – Victor Robles (WAS) – $4,100 vs. CWS
Robles is going to complete the four-man stack against the lefty Banuelos, and of course he too owns some excellent numbers against southpaws this season while bringing plenty of stolen base upside to the table as well. Robles has produced a powerful .250 ISO and .906 OPS on the season against left-handed pitching, good for a .386 wOBA and 139 wRC+. That’s all well and good, but I’m also loving the fact that he has nine steals on the season and five of those have come against a left-handed pitcher. Of his nine homers, three have come at the expense of a southpaw. He hasn’t been the most efficient base-stealer as he’s also been caught four times, but Banuelos has allowed six steals in just short of 70 big league innings in his career, a massive number for any pitcher, little own a lefty. I am incredibly excited to see what this stack can do tonight as I would roll with them in both cash and GPP tournaments.
OF – Josh VanMeter (CIN) – $2,600 vs. CLE
If VanMeter’s minor league success this season and last season mean anything, then we won’t be getting him at such a tiny price for much longer. He hasn’t had much success so far this season with zero homers and one steal in 37 plate appearances, but the dude simply rocked Triple-A pitching prior to his call up and was a beast in the minors as well. The 24-year-old had 13 home runs and a unreal .400 ISO at Triple-A prior to his promotion and posted a 1.073 OPS against right-handed pitching as well as he gets set to take on Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer tonight. Bauer was in the Cy Young conversation last season, but has struggled this season, especially at home where he’s posted a 5.61 ERA and 5.63 FIP to go along with a big 1.87 HR/9 rate and, more importantly for VanMeter, an eye-popping 2.61 HR/9 rate at home against left-handed bats. The Reds lineup is already confirmed so let’s look for some big-time value from the powerful bat of the young outfielder tonight.