It was a pretty disappointing opening to the week as yesterday’s lineup didn’t produced as expected. Gio Gonzalez was a bright spot along with Jorge Bonifacio, but our Astros didn’t produce and our Royals’ stack was mostly held in check by Mike Fiers and the Astros’ bullpen. We have a maximum capacity slate on our hands tonight so let’s get to it!
P – Chris Archer (TB) – $10,600 vs. CWS
There is a plethora of top arms on tonight’s slate but I don’t have faith in all of them. That said, I do have plenty of faith in Chris Archer as he takes on the White Sox tonight. Archer enters play tonight with a strikeout percentage over 28% to both sides of the plate and has allowed just six home runs in 79.1 innings so far, putting last year’s home run issues to rest early in the season. He will take on a White Sox team that does their damage against lefties and not righties as they rank 28th in OPS and 26th in runs scored versus right-handed pitchers this season.
P – James Paxton (SEA) – $8,800 vs. MIN
If you want strikeout upside combined with a solid degree of safety you have that with the Archer/Paxton combination. Paxton is striking out 23.1% of lefties this season and 31.5% of righties and has a FIP under 1.50 to both sides of the plate as well. He has yet to give up a home run in 43 innings this season and has yielded a .184 batting average against this season. He takes on a Twins’ offense that ranks 21st in OPS against left-handed pitching this season in the pitching-friendly confines of Safeco Field tonight.
C – Cameron Rupp (PHI) – $2,700 vs. ATL
Rupp has frequented this lineup quite a bit this season, but I simply cannot pass up the immense value he brings to the table against left-handed pitching at this price. That is the case tonight as he will face lefty Jaime Garcia of the Braves. In 2016, Rupp produced a .309 ISO and a .993 OPS against lefties and has hit them to a .243 ISO and a 1.049 OPS in 2017. Those are simply outrageous numbers for one of the cheaper catchers on the draft board tonight.
1B – Matt Carpenter (STL) – $3,700 vs. CIN
Another powerful bat that screams value tonight is Cardinals’ first baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter will face Reds’ righty Tim Adleman tonight who has a 5.86 FIP and a 1.71 HR/9 surrendered to left-handed bats this season. This is good news for Carpenter as he carries a .215 ISO and an .815 OPS against righties into tonight’s contest after producing a .262 ISO and a .920 OPS against righties in 2016. He also gets the ballpark advantage in the hitting-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park tonight.
2B – Javier Baez (CHC) – $4,100 vs. MIA
As of the time of this writing Baez is slated to hit in the leadoff spot for the Cubs tonight against Marlins’ left-hander Jeff Locke. If that remains the case Baez has immense value, especially considering he is hitting left-handed pitching to a .271 ISO and an .872 OPS in the 2017 season. He is making hard contact 37.1% of the time against lefties as well while being the only active Cub to successfully steal a base against a lefty this season. There is plenty of value in this play tonight.
3B – Kris Bryant (CHC) – $4,600 vs. MIA
Of course last season’s NL MVP is in a great spot tonight against a left-handed pitcher. Projected to hit right behind Baez in the number two hole, Bryant carries a team-leading .400 ISO and a 1.249 OPS into tonight’s game against left-handed pitching. It is shocking to me that there are seven third baseman more expensive than Bryant on this draft board. It likely has something to do with the wind blowing in from left at Wrigley tonight, but Bryant hit a two-run homer through that same wind last night, so lock this guy into your lineup.
SS – Addison Russell (CHC) – $3,200 vs. MIA
The last man in the Cubs’ stack is shortstop Addison Russell. He is currently projected to hit near the bottom of the Cubs’ lineup tonight, but my bet is he moves up a couple spots due to his numbers against left-handed pitching. Russell has just a .140 ISO and .761 OPS against lefties this year, but his 16.7% BB rate almost matches his 18.5% K rate against lefties. Besides, in 2016 he hit lefties to a .245 ISO and an .801 OPS. Plenty of value in these Cubs bats tonight.
OF – Aaron Altherr (PHI) – $3,400 vs. ATL
This lineup is jam packed with value and high-upside players and it continues here with Altherr. Altherr will form a nice, low-cost mini-stack tonight with Rupp. He has hit lefties to a .261 ISO so far this season and has struck out just 15.7% of the time against lefties in 2017. His .772 OPS against lefties will perk up once his very low .200 BABIP against lefties begins to normalize. I believe that begins tonight against veteran lefty Jaime Garcia.
OF – Dexter Fowler (STL) – $4,900 vs. CIN
Another very nice, high-upside mini-stack is the Fowler/Carpenter duo. Fowler comes at a notably higher cost, however he has high power/speed upside tonight. Fowler has a .240 ISO and an .809 OPS against righties this season to go along with three stolen bases in three attempts against righties. Considering Adleman’s figures against lefties and the venue where this game will be played, these Cardinals’ lefties have big upside in this matchup.
OF – Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – $3,800 vs. CLE
Gonzalez doesn’t have his typical massive numbers against righties so far this season, however that will keep his ownership down while he has immense value at a very suppressed price for a Coors Field matchup. He will face right Mike Clevinger who has already allowed a 1.50 HR/9 to left-handed hitters this season. What’s best about targeting Clevinger is his massive 51.9% fly ball rate to lefties, which is a very dangerous numbers at Coors Field. Gonzalez hit righties to a .201 ISO and an .883 OPS in 2016, so expect some positive regression beginning tonight in an excellent matchup at a very reasonable price.