It was a quiet three-game slate to open the week last night, but we get right back into the swing of things with a jam-packed 15-game slate for this Tuesday evening!
Let’s get right into the picks and see if we can get our week started on the right note!
P – Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – $11,500 vs. CWS
It’s an interesting slate tonight as there is a mixture of elite pitching and terrible pitching while we have a lot of high projected run totals on offense as well. In terms of pure strikeout upside, I’m not sure there is a better option on the mound for this slate than Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg. It’s a home date for Strasburg as he takes on a White Sox team that is among the highest strikeout clubs in baseball against right-handed pitching. The Sox enter this one sporting a .306 wOBA against right-handed pitching, good for 21st in the league, but also a 26.4% strikeout rate versus righties that is tied for the second-worst mark in all of baseball along with the Detroit Tigers and only better than the San Diego Padres. Strasburg is enjoying a big season here in 2019 as he owns a 3.19 ERA< 2.68 FIP and a 2.94 xFIP to go along with a big-time 11.16 K/9 clip. It’s a pretty penny, but there’s every reason to believe Strasburg has double-digit strikeout upside in this one tonight and should provide a nice foundation for this lineup.
P – Noah Syndergaard (NYM) – $9,600 vs. SF
It’s been an up and down year for Syndergaard as he’s clearly been more hittable than in year’s past with a 4.90 ERA on the season, but he’s also due for some notable positive regression with a 3.62 FIP and 3.77 xFIP on the season as well. His strikeouts are a little down from his career mark of 9.85 with a 9.20 K/9 on the season, however Syndergaard’s numbers are home at quite impressive. Aside from his 4.73 ERA at Citi Field, Syndergaard owns a 3.51 FIP, 3.28 xFIP and an increased 10.30 K/9 at home this season. He also gets a very favorable matchup tonight as he takes on a Giants team that is among the worst teams in baseball against right-handed pitching. The Giants are a better offense on the road, but still rank 27th overall with a .290 wOBA against righties with a 23.2% strikeout rate that ranks right smack-dab in the middle of the pack. With a 3.2 run projection, the Giants shouldn’t score much at all tonight and given Syndergaard’s wonderful peripherals at home, I’m looking for a nice night from the hulking right-hander tonight.
C – Mike Zunino (TB) – $3,600 vs. DET
As mentioned above, there are some very targetable pitchers on this slate and the Tigers’ Ryan Carpenter is certainly one of those pitchers. That said, after spending up on pitching, I need to be cost-conscious with my stacks as well. Fortunately, I’ve found some cost-efficient bats that have plenty of upside against poor starting pitching and furthermore, brutal bullpens as well. Zunino gets us started against Carpenter, he of a 7.58 ERA and 6.93 FIP to go along with a massive 2.84 HR/9 rate. Despite three homers on his injury-shortened season so far, Zunino boasts a ton of raw power. He owns a .198 ISO for his career, but he’s posted a massive .297 ISO and .883 OPS against left-handed pitching as recently as the 2017 season. That was the second consecutive year he’s posted an ISO north of .250 against left-handed pitching and his .183 mark from last season isn’t too shabby, either. It doesn’t take long for this guy to put runs on the board and I’ll look for him to flex some muscle in this one tonight.
1B – Ronald Guzman (TEX) – $3,800 vs. BAL
The Orioles pitching staff has surrendered a whopping 122 home runs already this season, by far the most in baseball with the Mariners’ 108 the second-worst mark in the league to this point. As a result, rostering some Rangers bats with pop seems like a logical move as they get set to take on right-hander Dylan Bundy. Bundy’s 4.58 ERA is an improvement on last year’s 5.45 mark, but that’s where the most of the improvements ends. His 5.24 FIP and 4.75 xFIP are both worse than 2018 while he’s striking out less, walking more and his home run rate of 1.98 per nine innings is barely an improvement on his 2.15 mark from last season. Enter Guzman who boasts plenty of power in that bat with a massive .274 ISO on the season and an increased .299 mark against right-handed pitching. He’s off to a hot start in June by going 3 for 7 with a double, a run, an RBI and a stolen base over his last two games. He’ll hit down the order, however the power is undeniable against a starter and bullpen that are allowing plenty of long balls this season.
2B – Rougned Odor (TEX) – $3,500 vs. BAL
Odor’s game can be a frustrating one. He certainly has pop in his bat as he’s homered at least 18 times in three straight seasons and 30 or more in two of those three years. He also brings plenty of stolen base upside to the table with 12-15 steals in each of the last three seasons. That said, he’s striking out in 33.7% of his plate appearances this season and hitting just .166, making him a boom-or-bust player that is producing plenty of empty at-bats. Still, I really like the Rangers and their projected 5.6 runs tonight – the second highest mark on the slate – so I’ll roll the dice on Odor in GPPs. Six of his seven homers have come against right-handed pitching, as well as all four of his steals, but he’s also been caught stealing five times, a nasty trend for his career. His .167 ISO against righties is a solid number and he’s hit safely in four of his last five games with a pair of doubles in that time. The floor is low, but the ceiling is high and he fits nicely into this Rangers stack tonight.
3B – Christian Arroyo (TB) – $3,500 vs. DET
The Rays stack continues here with Arroyo as he carries a two-game home run streak into tonight’s series opener. Arroyo has only played in 10 games with the Rays after appearing in 33 at the Triple-A level, but he’s hit for power at both levels this season . He posted a huge .289 ISO and .984 OPS at Triple-A before getting the call to the big leagues and posting a .276 ISO through 10 games and 32 plate appearances. He has homered in each of his last two games, and although both came against right-handed pitching, I’m more than comfortable with his upside against a left-hander in Carpenter who, as mentioned, is allowing plenty of long balls this season. He’s bound to see a righty tonight as Carpenter shouldn’t last long and the Tigers’ bullpen enters this one tonight sporting a 5.13 ERA, good for 27th league-wide. Their 5.48 bullpen FIP ranks 29th, as does their 1.80 HR/9 clip. The cost is certainly right and I’ve got no problem riding the red-hot bat of Arroyo into this favorable matchup tonight.
SS – Willy Adames (TB) – $3,400 vs. DET
For one reason or another Adames has appeared in this lineup frequently of late and he’s coming off a real nice month of May after struggling badly in April. May saw Adames post a .159 ISO and impressive .800 OPS after scuffling to the tune of a .100 ISO and .565 OPS in the month of April. He’s also hot at the dish right now with hits in five straight games and has gone 7 for 22 (.318) in that span with a run, two RBI and a stolen base. I’d certainly like to see more power from the young shortstop and his numbers are lacking against left-handed pitching this season, but again there is just so much to like about the matchup against arguably the slate’s worst starter and for certain the slate’s second-worst bullpen. One positive in this one tongiht is that his wRC+ goes from an unsightly -54 at home to 85 on the road. He’s not the most attractive name on the slate, but his cost fits right in with this stack and he could certainly deliver us some value as a result.
OF – Nomar Mazara (TEX) – $4,500 vs. BAL
Completing our three-man Rangers stack is Mazara who is set to hit cleanup in the Rangers’ lineup tonight. For one reason or another, Mazara has produced better power numbers against left-handed pitching this season with a .258 ISO and .871 OPS against them compared to a .156 ISO and .741 OPS against righties. Still, there’s every reason to believe those splits will begin to turn the other direction as he posted superior numbers against right-handers in each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons as his career .182 ISO and .782 OPS against righties trumps his .135 ISO and .661 OPS against lefties. Mazara is certainly feeling it at the plate right now as he 12 for 29 (.414) with two homers, a double, eight runs, six RBI and a stolen base over his last seven games. Still just 24 years old, he is having his best season in the majors to this point and could certainly be in for a big night against this Orioles pitching staff.
OF – Guillermo Heredia (TB) – $2,900 vs. DET
Heredia is more than just a low-cost player to add to the Rays stack. In fact, he has some of the best numbers against left-handed pitching of any player in this stack in terms of his work to this point in 2018. Sure, Heredia only has five extra-base hits this season, but all five of those have come against left-handed pitching in the form of four doubles and a homer. He’s only logged 38 at-bats against lefties and 27 more against righties in a crowded Rays outfield this season, but he’s hit .289 with a .184 ISO and .831 OPS on the season against southpaws – wonderful numbers to be sure despite the small sample. His numbers against lefties in his career are far from eye-popping, but he does have a solid .728 OPS and a 103 wRC+ against them, meaning he’s been 3% above league average in terms of the productivity of his bat with park factors accounted for versus southpaws. Hey, at $2,900 in a four-man stack against a horrible pitching staff, I’ll take that any day of the week.
OF – Keon Broxton (BAL) – $3,700 vs. TEX
I had $3,700 to play with after getting my stacks in, and my choice of the litter in that price range is Broxton who has been real good since coming over on a waiver claim from the New York Mets. Broxton was struggling in Queens and ran into a numbers game in their outfield, but there’s lots to like about his power/speed upside when he’s playing well. In eight games since coming over the Baltimore, Broxton has gone 7 for 28 (.250), but with two homers, a double, four runs scored, four RBI and a stolen base, good for a .250 ISO and .800 OPS. He’s hit much better against lefties this season with a .762 OPS and 113 wRC+ against them compared to a .419 OPS and 10 wRC+ against righties, which is good news considering he’ll take on a lefty in Drew Smyly who owns a 6.98 ERA, 6.66 FIP and 2.33 HR/9 clip on the season. I’ll look for plenty of value out of the outfielder who has also swiped three of his five bases on the season against left-handed pitching.