Last night’s lineup ended in ‘so-so’ territory as one of our pitchers pitched very well, one got blown up, our main stack did well, but our mini stack did next to nothing. Aaron Nola was the pitcher who pitched well with his six innings of two-run ball and nine strikeouts, and Luke Weaver was blown up with eight earned runs surrendered in just three innings of work. The Dodgers knocked Travis Wood around early and often and ended up with nine runs scored, while the Mariners put up seven despite Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz unfortunately being held in check. An up and down night to say the least, so let’s aim for some more consistency throughout tonight’s lineup!
P – Chris Sale (BOS) – $13,400 vs. TOR
After regrettably going with Robbie Ray over Sale last time both ended up on the same slate, tonight I am rolling with Sale as he takes on the Blue Jays at home. Sale has owned the Blue Jays this season, having pitched 22 scoreless innings to go along with 35 strikeouts across three starts against his division rival this season. I believe that’s pretty good. Sale got back to his elite strikeout ways in his last start with 13 strikeouts over eight scoreless frames against the Orioles, so let’s ride the AL Cy Young contender as our top pitching option tonight.
P – Jordan Montgomery (NYY) – $6,800 vs. TB
Montgomery has seen his workload monitored this season, however he steps back into the rotation tonight to take on the visiting Rays. Montgomery has actually been stellar against right-hander batters lately, having yielded just a .300 wOBA to them while posting a 24% strikeout rate against them over his last 50 plate appearances against righties. While Tampa will also roll out some lefties tonight, Brad Miller’s .167 ISO and .345 wOBA are the best figures any of their lefties have against a righty the last month. He should be a solid second starting option tonight.
C – Evan Gattis (HOU) – $3,700 vs. TEX
This lineup will begin with a one-off play as Gattis and the Astros take on left-hander Cole Hamels and the Texas Rangers. Gattis has swung a hot stick over the last three games, having recorded an extra-base hit in each contest with two doubles and a homer in that span. He also has a career .304 career average (7 for 23) with three home runs against Hamels.
1B – Albert Pujols (LAA) – $3,300 vs. CWS
It’s no secret that Pujols is having another subpar season, however he still offers plenty of power as an affordable bat as part of an Angels’ stack tonight against White Sox righty Chris Volstad. Volstad has been knocked around to the tune of a 5.57 ERA at the Triple-A level this season, so he’s a very targetable arm on tonight’s slate as he makes his first MLB start this season. Pujols has hit 21 home runs against right-handed pitching this season and owns a very nice 36.6% hard hit rate against them as well, making him a very capable option in this stack tonight.
2B – Eric Sogard (MIL) – $3,600 vs. CIN
The Brewers certainly have some upside tonight against the Reds’ Deck McGuire as he makes his first MLB start of the season tonight as well as the first start of his MLB career, which is just 5.2 innings old. Sogard doesn’t have much power, but he does sport a solid .775 OPS and a .346 wOBA against righties this season and is projected to hit in the leadoff spot for a team implied to score 5.7 runs according to Vegas at the time of this writing. Lots of value to be had here.
3B – Luis Valbuena (LAA) – $2,700 vs. CWS
If Valbuena can flex some of his power tonight against Volstad, this pick could be an absolute steal. Valbuena is a lot like Pujols in the fact he hits for very little average, but for lots of power. Valbuena has clubbed 20 homers and 12 doubles against righties this season and enters play tonight sporting a powerful .243 ISO against them. He also has a 35.3% hard contact clip against righties this season so let’s extract some value from Valbuena tonight.
SS – Andrelton Simmons (LAA) – $3,700 vs. CWS
Simmons is enjoying a career year with the bat, and although he has cooled down over the last month or more, he has perked up by going 3 for his last 7 at the dish. For the season he owns a solid .769 OPS against righties and is also a very tough guy to strike out. Simmons has just a 9.9% strikeout rate against righties this season which is the third lowest mark in all of baseball among qualified hitters. Let’s roll with the elite defender with the career year at the plate tonight.
OF – Mike Trout (LAA) – $5,300 vs. CWS
Obviously this was coming. Trout displayed his cross-category upside in last night’s contest with a homer, a walk and a stolen base. All of the above are very real possibilities again tonight considering Volstad’s ERA in the minors and the fact that he gave up 19 steals in just 111 innings in his most recent extended MLB action back in 2012 with the Cubs. Trout has a .352 ISO and a 1.111 OPS to go along with 19 steals against righties this season, so let’s lock this guy in.
OF – Justin Upton (LAA) – $4,700 vs. CWS
Upton has a lot of the same upside as Trout, but of course not at the same level. In other words, Upton also brings power and speed upside into tonight’s contest as he sports a .240 ISO and an .845 OPS against righties this season to go along with ten steals. He has three homers and two stolen bases over his last three games, so let’s ride the hot bat and legs of the veteran outfielder tonight.
OF – Brett Phillips (MIL) – $2,700 vs. CIN
Phillips will be a low owned player tonight, and one that sports some upside as he mashed Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .261 ISO, .944 OPS and a .400 wOBA this season. He has three homers and five steals to go along with a solid .790 OPS across 66 at-bats at the MLB level and could form a wraparound mini-stack with Sogard against the rookie McGuire tonight.