Last night’s lineup certainly wasn’t one of our best this season. Our pitcher did just fine as they combined to throw 13 innings of one-run ball, but with just eight strikeouts. While the strikeout total was disappointing low, especially with Syndergaard’s five, Jake Junis carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, so it’s tough to argue with using Junis at his value price. That said, our batters just didn’t get the job done. Our Cardinals stack wasn’t nearly as productive as hoped while Chris Iannetta’s home run was about the only production we got from the Rockies despite them scoring six runs. We will look for notable improvement on tonight’s 12-game main slate!
P – Chris Sale (BOS) – $12,300 vs. NYY
This is an interesting slate. The big-time arms on the slate like Sale are limiting the expensive cash bats, so we are going to go with two top-tier arms and find a couple of cost-efficient stacks to utilize with them. Sale has wasted little time in racking up the strikeouts this season as he’s already punched out 15 hitters in just 11 innings with one only earned run against in that time. Pretty much any time he takes the hill he’s the top strikeout pitcher on the slate given his 36.2% strikeout rate from 2017. Against a high strikeout team like the Yankees, Sale has upside to spare this evening.
P – Jacob deGrom (NYM) – $12,400 vs. MIA
Interestingly, deGrom is the highest priced arm on the slate, and it likely has something to do with opponent and ballpark, both of which deGrom gets advantages from over Sale. deGrom posted a nasty 28.9% strikeout rate last season and his 2018 season is off to a fine start with 12 strikeouts in 11.2 frames with just a pair of earned runs allowed in that span. The Marlins are going to be one of the league’s worst offenses this year, and the pitching-friendly confines of Marlins Park make this an excellent matchup for the Mets’ right-hander.
C – Andrew Knapp (PHI) – $2,600 vs. CIN
A fair warning: this Phillies stack isn’t going to be sexy, but it’s a cost-efficient, low-owned stack against a poor pitcher, therefore we have upside. The switch-hitting Knapp figures to get the nod behind the plate against Reds’ right-hander Homer Bailey tonight in Philadelphia. Bailey was obliterated on a regular basis last season, and was lit up in his only road start this season. Knapp hit righties for a decent .767 OPS in 2017 and could provide value at a tiny price in a Phillies stack tonight.
1B – Lucas Duda (KC) – $3,100 vs. SEA
The Royals are at home tonight and take on right-hander Felix Hernandez who struggled big time in his only road start this season. He yielded eight runs in four innings to the Giants last Wednesday. He also yielded an .854 OPS and .363 wOBA to lefties last season. Enter Duda who absolutely mashed right-handers in 2017 to the tune of a .298 ISO and .867 OPS. He’s already 5 for 16 with two homers off of righties this season, so let’s lock him in at a real nice price against a weak right-handed pitcher.
2B – Whit Merrifield (KC) – $3,300 vs. SEA
Hernandez was better against right-handed hitters like Merrifield last season, but given his cross-category upside and the fact this is a four-man Royals stack I have no problem rolling with the breakout star tonight, especially at this price. Merrifield hit for more power against lefties last season, but his .292 average against righties was superior to his .273 mark against lefties. He also hit 14 homers and 26 doubles against righties while stealing 34 bases overall. Solid cross-category production at a bargain price.
3B – Mike Moustakas (KC) – $3,200 vs. SEA
Moustakas stumbled out of the gates a little bit this season, until yesterday. Moustakas went 3 for 5 with a homer and a double with three RBIs and two runs scored in yesterday’s route of the Mariners. Against righties last season, Moose posted a .268 ISO and .862 OPS. He also launched 38 homers overall while driving in 85 runs and striking out in just over 15% of his at bats. Given his breakout game yesterday, I love this play at a discounted price as part of a four-man Royals stack.
SS – J.P. Crawford (PHI) – $2,700 vs. CIN
Knapp and Crawford are expected to hit 7-8 in the Phillies’ order, so why not roll out a dirt cheap stack here. Crawford’s numbers from 2017 are certainly not eye-popping. He logged just 87 plate appearances in the big leagues last season, with a .214 average and zero home runs with just one steal. However, he hit 15 homers and stole five bases at the Triple-A level in 2017 with a solid .343 wOBA. If he can find his power stroke tonight he would provide tonnes of value to this lineup.
OF – Jon Jay (KC) – $3,100 vs. SEA
Our final Royal also comes at a very cheap price with plenty of value out of the leadoff spot. Jay is off to a solid start atop the Royals’ lineup with a .276 average, a nice .344 wOBA, four runs scored, a nice 17.1% walk rate and a tiny 11.4% strikeout rate in eight games. He hit .289 against righties with six steals in under 300 at bats against them in 2017, and could give us a little bit of everything out of the leadoff spot tonight against King Felix.
OF – Nick Williams (PHI) – $2,900 vs. CIN
Williams should not be listed under the $3K mark against right-handed pitching, but we will take full advantage this evening. He posted a .293 average, .205 ISO and .838 OPS against right-handed pitching in 2017 with 10 homers and 13 doubles in 229 at bats. Williams will technically lead this stack off out of the five-hole tonight, but he has tonnes of value upside at a dirt cheap price, especially as part of a Phillies stack.
OF – Kike Hernandez (LAD) – $4,200 vs. OAK
The Dodgers get a lefty tonight which means I am all over Hernandez. As was the case earlier this season and most of last year, Hernandez should move up into the valueable cleanup spot for this matchup tonight. Considering he clobbered lefties for a .309 ISO and a .946 OPS in 2017, the cleanup spot makes plenty of sense for manager Dave Roberts. Sean Manaea is tough, but I am liking Hernandez at home tonight as that ISO climbed to .333 at home against lefties in 2017.
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