Welcome to the MLB playoffs! We have a two-day slate beginning tonight as the AL Wild Card game takes place between the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees tonight at Yankee Stadium before the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks collide at Chase Field in Arizona Wednesday night! There is nothing quite like October baseball so let’s get the postseason kicked off on the right note with our Wild Card lineup!
P – Luis Severino (NYY) – $11,000 vs. MIN
Severino tops the list of the four pitchers for these Wild Card matchups and for good reason. The right-hander, who some figured would land in the bullpen this season after a rough 2016, put together an incredible 2017 as the Yankees’ ace. Severino posted a 2.98 ERA on the season while his 3.07 FIP and 3.04 xFIP certainly support this sparkling figure. He crafted a 29.4% strikeout clip while he walked just 2.37 batters per nine innings. He also posted a ground ball rate over 50% and subsequently a HR/9 clip under 1.00. The Twins have been a solid offensive club this season, but they are running into one of the best pitchers the AL has had to offer this season and will be in tough to score runs tonight.
P – Jon Gray (COL) – $7,700 vs. ARI
Despite calling Coors Field home, Gray has been very consistent this season for the Rockies. After a mid-April injury cost him more than two months, Gray allowed more than three earned runs in just two starts since his late June return. He finished the regular season with a 24.3% strikeout clip and a solid 6.5% walk rate, but that strikeout rate jumped to over 30% against right-handed hitters. This is good news because three of Arizona’s best hitters in Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez and A.J. Pollock all hit from the right side. Nonetheless Gray does carry risk, but also carries solid upside and nice value upside at this price.
C – Jonathan Lucroy (COL) – $3,300 vs. ARI
Lucroy has certainly enjoyed more productive offensive seasons at the plate, however he has a couple of things going for him in his upcoming matchup against Greinke. In his career against the veteran righty, Lucroy is 7 for 11 with a triple and a walk. He has also raked at Chase Field in his career to the tune of a .980 OPS with four homers across 71 at-bats. He will hit at the end of this Rockies stack on Wednesday night.
1B – Greg Bird (NYY) – $3,600 vs. MIN
While the Yankees’ big bats like Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge will be the chalk plays for this slate, we are going to go with the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineups for this stack. While Bird struggled at the plate at times this season, he managed to find his power stroke near the end of the injury-filled campaign as he hit four homers in a five-game stretch in late September and finished the season with a strong .202 ISO against righties. He is also 2 for 5 with two home runs in his career against Ervin Santana.
2B – Starlin Castro (NYY) – $3,900 vs. MIN
Castro is another Yankee who found his power late in the season after dealing with injuries. Over the last 14 days Castro posted a .375 wOBA and an .867 OPS and hit two home runs and drove in five runs over his last five full games. He finished the season with a solid .778 OPS and .332 wOBA against righties and is a fine play as part of Yankees stack against Santana.
3B – Todd Frazier (NYY) – $3,300 vs. MIN
We are again avoiding the chalk by fading Arenado in this lineup with Frazier. The downside with Frazier is he will likely hit 8th or 9th in the Yankees lineup, but he does offer plenty of power upside as well. Frazier clubbed 15 homers and 17 doubles against righties this season and 27 homers and 19 doubles overall. Frazier does offer more home run upside against lefties, but beggars cannot be choosers on a two-game slate and Frazier certainly fits this Yankees stack and could have RBI opportunities hitting at the end of it.
SS – Trevor Story (COL) – $4,100 vs. ARI
Story actually has very similar upside as Lucroy in his matchup against Greinke. Like Lucroy, Story has hit Greinke well in his career as he is 8 for 24 (.333) with four home runs, a double and nine RBIs against the right-hander. Also like Lucroy, Story has enjoyed plenty of success hitting at Chase Field with a monster 1.110 OPS at this venue in his career to go along with eight homers, four doubles and a triple across 63 at-bats. As a result, he was an easy play in this lineup.
OF – Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – $3,700 vs. ARI
Now here is a guy who has really heated up as of late. CarGo certainly did not have a good first half to the season at all with a .118 ISO, .637 OPS and a .267 wOBA. However, in the second half he posted a .217 ISO, .921 OPS and a .390 wOBA. Over the last 14 days, he posted a .286 ISO, 1.097 OPS and a .458 wOBA with a 47% hard hit rate. He also loves to hit against Greinke and at Chase Field. Against Greinke, Gonzalez is a career 14 for 42 (.333) with five home runs, a double and a triple for a 1.140 OPS and a .472 wOBA. In his career at Chase Field he has a .870 OPS with 12 homers and 15 doubles in 219 at-bats.
OF – Charlie Blackmon (COL) – $5,200 vs. ARI
Blackmon is a must in this Rockies stack as he could very well take down the NL MVP this season. Blackmon finished the regular season with a .292 ISO, 1.023 OPS and a .420 wOBA with 11 stolen bases against right-handed pitching. He made hard contact at a 41% clip against righties and clearly boasts cross-category upside out of the leadoff spot for the Rockies in their matchup against Greinke.
OF – Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) – $3,400 vs. MIN
We now have completed two full four-man stacks as Ellsbury could be a sneaky play against Santana. He is 10 for 34 (.294) with a homer in his career against the right-hander, but he has also stole four bases off of him and swiped 22 overall this season, his highest mark since the 2014 campaign. With a lot of quality outfielders on this slate, Ellsbury could be a nice low-owned option and makes perfect sense in this Yankees’ stack.