Despite some really appealing matchups there wasn’t a whole lot to like about last night’s lineup. Walker Buehler pitched really well with six innings of two-run ball with eight strikeouts, however he got very little from his offense and took a tough-luck loss as a result. Garrett Richards wasn’t very good, yielding three earned runs in just 5.1 innings with only four strikeouts. Our Dodgers bats didn’t get it done, nor did our Royals stack or our Cardinals mini-stack. Baseball is a real tough gig sometimes and we had some really nice matchups to exploit last night, however things just didn’t go our way. We will look for some improvement on tonight’s 14-game main slate!
P – Justin Verlander (HOU) – $13,000 vs. TEX
There are some of the very best arms in the big leagues on this slate tonight, but I am going to give the nod to Verlander as my top arm of the slate. Of course, Scherzer and Sale are tempting, but it’s hard to argue with the minuscule 1.17 ERA and 35% strikeout rate entering tonight’s contest at home against the Rangers. Remember, a couple of important Rangers’ bats in Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus remain on the shelf while the Rangers rank 23rd with a team .692 OPS against righties while their 282 strikeouts against righties are the second most in the MLB.
P – Luke Weaver (STL) – $7,900 vs. SD
I really wanted to get another big-time arm in here but I just couldn’t find cheap enough stacks to roll out alongside them, so I will pay down for Weaver who I believe can bring some fantastic value upside to the table. Weaver gets a favorable road matchup in the pitcher-friendly Petco Park against a Padres team that ranks 29th with a lowly .642 team OPS against right-handed pitching. They also have 266 strikeouts against righties, the third most in the MLB, but their 30.3% strikeout rate against righties is the worst in the MLB. Weaver brings a 5.66 ERA into action, but also a very nice 3.44 FIP, meaning he has been very unlucky on the young season and better times lay ahead of the young right-hander.
C – Gary Sanchez (NYY) – $4,500 vs. OAK
The use of Weaver means we can lock in a real high-upside stack here with the Yankees at home against Kendall Graveman who has been torched for an atrocious 8.89 ERA in the early going. Sanchez enters play with nine homers and eight doubles on the season while he also sports a powerful .250 ISO against right-handers this season while Graveman has traditionally been a reverse-splits pitcher, meaning he is worse against right-handed bats than left-handed bats in his career.
1B – Josh Bell (PIT) – $3,600 vs. SF
Another four-man stack we will utilize tonight will be the Pirates who will be a lower owned group with nice upside against Giants’ lefty Andrew Suarez. He’s been fairly solid in three starts with a 3.06 ERA, but also owns an elevated 1.53 HR/9 to boot. Nonetheless, Bell is hitting lefties real well this season with a .318 average, .182 ISO and .929 OPS, albeit in just 22 at-bats. He hit lefties for plenty of power in 2017 with a .211 ISO against them, so I like him a low owned, cheap option at home tonight.
2B – Neil Walker (NYY) – $3,200 vs. OAK
Walker will be one of the lower owned Yankees in this stack, however I like his upside against Graveman and it’s always nice to have a left-handed bat in the lineup with the short porch in right and the breeze blowing out to right field tonight at Yankee Stadium. He’s not having a great year by any means, but Walker’s bat has perked up lately by going 3 for 8 with three doubles, five runs, three walks and an RBI over his last four games (two starts). Thanks to some power bats hitting behind him he has still scored 17 runs in part time duty on the season.
3B – David Freese (PIT) – $3,100 vs. SF
Our Pirates stack continues here with Freese who hits left-handed pitching very well. He’s not off to a great start this season in just 13 at-bats against lefties, but hit .308 with an .839 OPS against lefties in the 2017 season. He doesn’t hit for a ton of home run power these days, however Freese can certainly still run into one and his odds improve in doing so with a lefty on the mound. He is a nice low-owned play on this big slate.
SS – Max Moroff (PIT) – $3,100 vs. SF
Moroff is the confirmed leadoff hitter for the Pirates which gives his upside a boost as a result. He doesn’t see a lot of playing time, but Moroff is 2 for 6 with a double against lefties this season and has been better against lefties than righties in his brief big league career. Moroff is also a switch hitter which means he shouldn’t be yanked for a pinch hitter unless a double switch does him in later in the game. Nonetheless, he should see tiny ownership tonight, but out of the leadoff spot I think he could surprise to the upside.
OF – Sean Rodriguez (PIT) – $2,800 vs. SF
I will only roster this guy against lefties as he is a lefty-masher and a big reason why he continues to find a contract every season. He is already 4 for 10 with two homers against lefties this season after hitting for a .189 ISO against them in 2017. In 2016, he hit lefties for a big .234 ISO and .934 OPS as well. Given the price tag here and those numbers above, I think Rodriguez holds very appetizing value upside at what should be real low ownership tonight.
OF – Aaron Judge (NYY) – $5,200 vs. OAK
Let’s finish off our Yankees stack with a couple of outfielders tonight. Of course, there isn’t much explanation needed here for Judge as he sports a massive .272 ISO and 1.055 OPS against right-handed pitching this season. The Stanton/Judge debate isn’t much of a debate for me tonight as Judge sports better numbers against righties than he does lefties while Stanton has actually struggled big-time against right-handed pitching this season.
OF – Brett Gardner (NYY) – $3,600 vs. OAK
I like Gardner’s price out of the leadoff spot for a team projected to score 5.6 runs this evening. Gardner hasn’t had the best of starts with just a .208 average on the year, but he brings cross-category upside as he’s scored 29 runs already this season while he has a solid history of boasting a power/speed combination as well. Given the matchup, I like Gardner very much at this price tag to lead off our four-man Yankees stack tonight.