Last night’s lineup was so-so in the sense that some plays worked well, some didn’t and some didn’t even start. It’s very tough to predict lineups when writing these pieces during the day, and last night was a good example of a night where it really depended on who you replaced players like Robbie Grossman and Starlin Castro with as neither play got the nod from their manager.
Now, tonight is a very interesting night. There are some ace pitchers at the top of the pitching board and some very high-upside stacks as well, but of course we can’t afford both. For this lineup, I found a way to use my top two pitchers while still affording a couple of lower owned stacks that I believe have upside for GPP purposes. If you wish to go another direction, I suggest using Chris Sale at pitcher and using a Colorado or New York Yankees stack along with him and going from there. Nonetheless, let’s get to tonight’s picks!
P – Chris Sale (BOS) – $13,100 vs. TB
In my opinion Sale is pretty much in an unfadable matchup tonight. He is set to take on the Rays who are a subpar hitting team against lefties with a team .700 OPS against them this season, good for 26th in the league. Also, they have a team 29.6% K-rate against them this season, worst in all of baseball. Sale enters play tonight with a 35.9% strikeout rate on the season and held the Rays scoreless over six innings of work with eight strikeouts in his last start. While that strikeout numbers is likely lower than expected, I believe it increases tonight in the rematch, making Sale the top arm on the slate.
P – Luis Severino (NYY) – $12,000 vs. BAL
Another arm with tremendous upside tonight is right-hander Luis Severino. Severino has actually been striking out hitters at a more impressive clip than Sale has been recently, having struck out 37.5% of righties and 32.3% of lefties over the last month. Baltimore’s projected lineup sports a 24% strikeout rate against righties over the last month and have just a .314 wOBA over that stretch as well. To me these two arms provide the most strikeout upside tonight and could single-handedly keep this lineup in contention this evening.
C – Jorge Alfaro (PHI) – $3,000 vs. OAK
Alfaro and the Phillies will take on Oakland righty Daniel Mengden tonight who has simply been terrible in his brief MLB time this season. Mengden has given up 11 runs over three starts and 14 innings this season, so some Phillies exposure is warranted here. Alfaro has hit righties quite well this season, having produced an excellent .364 average with a .182 ISO, .942 OPS and a .403 wOBA, the latter two of which are second best on the Phillies next to super-rookie Rhys Hoskins. Look for Alfaro to keep swinging his hot bat tonight against the struggling righty.
1B – Greg Bird (NYY) – $2,900 vs. BAL
While a Yankees stack is a great option tonight, their prices are sky-high, save for Bird who could be sneaky tonight. Bird has spent much of the season on the DL but he has displayed serious power at the MLB level when healthy. In 2015 (he missed all of 2016) he produced a massive .304 ISO with a .915 OPS against right-handed pitching, numbers that certainly show the power ability of the young lefty. He will take his cuts at Yankee Stadium tonight which is always favorable the left-handed home run against Gabriel Ynoa who sports a .193 HR/9 clip to lefties in limited time this season.
2B – Adam Frazier (PIT) – $3,600 vs. CIN
I have big hopes for these Pirate players. Homer Bailey has been terrible at home with a 6.35 FIP to lefties and a 6.09 FIP to righties. Frazier is a lefty who has hit right-handed pitching for a .759 OPS and a .329 wOBA this season, decent enough numbers to warrant a play against the struggling Bailey. Frazier also brings some stolen base upside into play tonight with seven steals against righties this season while Bailey has given up eight steals in only 74.1 innings this season.
3B – J.P. Crawford (PHI) – $2,500 vs. OAK
Crawford is another Philly who will be low owned tonight and could provide big value against Mengden. He hit 13 homers, stole three bases and approached an .800 OPS against right-handed pitching at the Triple-A level this season. The highly-touted prospect isn’t a lock to start tonight, but he is projected to and has the upside to produce against the struggling right-hander.
SS – Freddy Galvis (PHI) – $2,900 vs. OAK
The last man in this lineup wearing a Phillies uniform will be the first guy to hit in this stack. Galvis forms a wraparound stack with Alfaro and Crawford as he should hit near the top of the lineup where the other two should hit near the bottom. Regardless, Galvis has nice power and speed upside tonight with ten homers and 11 steals against righties this season and 12 homers and 13 steals overall. He could be the run producer after the first time through the order tonight with Alfaro and Crawford hitting behind him by that point.
OF – Starlin Marte (PIT) – $3,900 vs. CIN
I have the highest of hopes in this lineup for Marte. Marte boasts cross-category upside tonight as the Pirates’ leadoff hitter against Bailey. Marte can hit for power as he has six homers this season in limited action due to an 80-game suspension, he can score runs, and best of all he has already swiped 15 bases this season against righties while hitting them for a .288 batting average. He is also a career 6 for 22 (.273) against Bailey with a homer, three doubles, a triple and three stolen bases.
OF – Andrew McCutchen (PIT) – $3,800 vs. CIN
The Pirates stack ends here with McCutchen as he sports some cross-category upside tonight as well. McCutchen has produced 14 homers and nine steals this season against right-handed pitching. In his career against Bailey, he has a .312 average (15 for 48) with two doubles, a triple, 11 walks and four stolen bases. He has two homers over his last three games and could very well stay hot in the hitting-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park tonight in Cincinnati.
OF – Travis Taijeron (NYM) – $2,300 vs. ATL
Taijeron and the Mets will take on southpaw Sean Newcomb of the Braves tonight, which gives Taijeron excellent value at an almost-minimum price tag. He has homered just once in the big leagues this season, but clubbed 25 home runs in the minors and produced an .865 OPS against southpaws there as well. He provides solid value and is the top bat in this price range tonight in my opinion.