Last night’s lineup was no good, for the most part, on what ended up being a very high-scoring slate despite holding just seven games.
Our pitcher, Jason Vargas, looked good early as he made it through four scoreless innings and struck out four, something I would have accepted if he could just get through two more scoreless frame and notch a quality start. However, Vargas surrendered a run in the fifth innings before getting tagged for three more before recording an out in the seventh. As a result, his six innings of four-run ball with four strikeouts fell below what I wanted from the left-hander.
Our three-man Phillies stack was by far our most productive group, and it was actually a two-man stack as Cesar Hernandez didn’t start despite logging three at-bats later on in a wild game. That said, we received a solo home run from Bryce Harper and a two-run shot from Corey Dickerson to give us some nice production on this end of the lineup.
Where the lineup truly fell apart was with our four-man Brewers stack against Adam Wainwright. Turns out it was the Cardinals who should have been used as they pummeled Milwaukee by a 12-2 count in the series opener of a pivotal Central Division set.
Finally, our one-off shortstop Nick Ahmed posted a goose egg, which was pretty much in line with most of our bats on this night.
Let’s put last night behind us and move onto tonight’s jam-packed 15-game slate!
P – Patrick Corbin (WAS) – $10,000 vs. BAL
Unlike last night, there’s some big-time pitching on this slate tonight as names like Verlander, Morton, Castillo, Soroka and Corbin all take the hill on this big slate. Looking at all the matchups and factoring in strikeout and win upside, I like Morton the best and he’s actually cheaper than all of the aforementioned names save for Soroka. While Corbin’s work on the road this season has been hit and miss, his work at home has been flat-out brilliant. Entering this one tonight, Corbin sports a 1.76 ERA, 2.36 FIP, 3.21 xFIP and a 10.36 K/9 at home on the season to go along with a small 2.31 BB/9 clip. All of those numbers save for the K-rate are vastly improved from the same figures on the road. Corbin has also allowed just 0.44 HR/9 at home compared to as 1.58 per nine innings on the road. He’s been very good in the second half of the season to this point with a 2.79 ERA across 48.1 post All-Star innings, and gets a chance to lower that mark against a weak Baltimore Orioles lineup. Baltimore enters this one sporting a .311 wOBA versus lefties on the season, good for 24th league-wide. Best of all, their 25.6% K-rate versus lefties is the fifth-highest mark in baseball and is just one tick away from being second-worst as there’s interestingly three teams with a mark of 25.7%. Nonetheless, the upside here is massive at a more than reasonable cost.
C/1B – Matt Adams (WAS) – $2,800 vs. BAL
Now, I wanted to stack the Nationals against Orioles right-hander Aaron Brooks and his 6.21 ERA on the season, however with Corbin as our pitcher we can only choose three Nationals bats to use in this lineup. Factoring in cost, as they are expensive, I will begin my three-man stack here with Adams who loves himself some right-handed pitching. Adams enters this one sporting a huge .274 ISO on the season versus right-handed pitching to go along with an .821 OPS, .338 wOBA and 105 wRC+. At home against righties, Adams sports an even better .327 ISO to go along with an .874 OPS, .358 wOBA and 118 wRC+. There are other players on the Nationals whose bats are more productive on an all-around offense basis, but in terms of pure home run upside, Adams is the man and he’s the cheapest of the bunch that I was considering. Adams hasn’t started a game since August 21st, when he doubled, and he has gone 7 for 19 (.368) with three doubles and two home runs over his last four starts. Add it all up and I believe Adams carries a ton of value upside into this matchup tonight.
2B – Jurickson Profar (OAK) – $2,600 vs. KC
The A’s put up 19 runs on the Royals last night, and while some may say I am too late to the party to stack them again tonight, I very much like their matchup against left-handed Mike Montgomery. Montgomery has either been really good or really bad as a member of the Royals rotation since coming over from the Cubs in a trade. After two scoreless outings, Montgomery allowed five earned runs on three home runs and three walks in just five innings against a weak Orioles offense his last time out. He owns a 4.46 ERA on the season as a starter, but is also allowing a .313 batting average and a 1.83 HR/9 mark as well. The A’s rank sixth with a .341 wOBA versus left-handed pitching this season and fifth with a .223 team ISO, so let’s stack up some A’s in this one tonight, beginning here with Profar. Profar’s splits are interesting in the fact that he’s hitting .301 versus lefties and just .186 against righties, but yet 15 of his 16 homers have come against righties. Still, he owns a 107 wRC+ against lefties compared to a poor 71 mark against righties. His best splits is indeed on the road against lefties as he owns a .167 ISO, .862 OPS, .361 wOBA and a big 128 wRC+ on the season. I’ll take that any day of the week at this price to kick off a four-man A’s stack.
3B – Anthony Rendon (WAS) – $4,500 vs. BAL
I battled for the longest time between Rendon and Juan Soto in this lineup, but it actually came down to positioning as I had too many outfielders I wanted in my A’s stack, so Rendon wins out with his MVP-type production. He’s clobbering both left and right-handed pitching this season, but enters tonight’s contest sporting a .328 average, .283 ISO, 1.008 OPS, .413 wOBA and 154 wRC+ on the season versus right-handed pitching. The overall numbers slide a bit at home, but his power numbers don’t as he sports an increased – and massive – .315 ISO at home versus right-handed pitching this season. The bat has enjoyed a wildly productive second half of the season so far with a .256 ISO, 1.070 OPS, .437 wOBA and a huge 169 wRC+ since July 12th. Rendon sports one of the most consistent bats in baseball as he brings a 12-game hitting streak into action tonight and has homered four times with five doubles in that span as well. In his last game, Rendon went 4 for 6 with a homer against the Cubs on Sunday. He’s a real tough fade in any Nationals stack and I think he should be including regardless in this one tonight.
SS – Trea Turner (WAS) – $4,200 vs. BAL
Turner was included in this three-man stack for a few reasons. First, he’s the leadoff hitter on a team projected to score 6.3 runs tonight, the highest non-Coors Field total on the slate. Second, the shortstop position can be a tricky one and despite Marcus Semien being available in my A’s stack after a huge night last night, I again wanted the leadoff hitter for a massive run projected team. Finally, there’s just big-time power/speed combination here with Turner. Entering this one tonight, Turner has hit 13 home runs and swiped 28 bases despite missing significant time with an injury early in the season. His .191 ISO on the season would be his highest sincer the 2016 season if the season ended today while his 118 wRC+ on the season is above his career mark of 113. Even better news is the fact that his power is increased versus right-handed pitching as he owns a .206 ISO, .857 OPS, .360 wOBA and 119 wRC+ against righties on the season, all of which surpass his figures versus lefties. He’s also improved to a .219 ISO, .918 OPS, .384 wOBA and 135 wRC+ on the season versus right-handers at home. He’s managed to steal seven bags off of a left-hander this season, but still has 21 swipes versus right-handed pitching. Add it all up and the cross-category potential here is massive against the worst pitching staff in baseball out of the leadoff spot.
OF – Khris Davis (OAK) – $2,300 vs. KC
The reason I was able to afford a couple of high-priced Nationals players on top of my expensive pitcher (although a reasonable price given the upside, as mentioned) is because there’s a couple of A’s outfielders that come at cheap price with big-time upside, beginning here with Davis. The 2018 home run king hasn’t come close to his production from the last few seasons as he’s posted just a .165 ISO with only 19 homers on the season after putting together a massive .302 ISO with 48 long balls last season, the third straight year in which he hit at least 42 home runs. He hit right-handers better than lefties last season, but that hasn’t been the case this year as I have no problem using him in this one tonight against the southpaw Montgomery. Davis has posted a .238 ISO, .825 OPS, .343 wOBA and 116 wRC+ on the season versus lefties compared to a .139 ISO, .622 OPS, .266 wOBA and 64 wRC+ on the season versus righties. Furthermore, like Profar before him, his best split this season is on the road versus lefties where he owns a .211 ISO, .864 OPS, .363 wOBA and 130 wRC+, the latter of which is by far the best of any split he has this season. Lastly, while Davis has struggled mightily in the month of August, he went 3 for 6 with a homer, three runs scored and two RBI in last night’s game. We’ve seen him go on a tear before, and let’s hope that’s the case in this one tonight.
OF – Chad Pinder (OAK) – $2,500 vs. KC
Another cheap A’s bat that handles left-handed pitching is Pinder who also allows us to roster some expensive players in this lineup tonight. Pinder has always had the ability to produce against left-handed pitching, and that’s once again been the case in 2019 as he owns a powerful .205 ISO against them to go along with a .766 OPS, .321 wOBA and 105 wRC+ off of them. He’s logged 20 fewer at-bats against lefties than he has righties and yet six of his 11 homers on the season have indeed come versus a left-handed pitching. Lefty-mashing is nothing new for the 27-year-old as he posted an .835 OPS and a big-time 135 wRC+ against lefties last season despite a reduced .178 ISO against them. For his career, Pinder owns a .187 ISO, .788 OPS, .336 wOBA and 113 wRC+ against southpaw pitching. Unfortunately, Pinder only logged one pinch-hit at-bat in last night’s blowout win and hasn’t done much at the plate over the last couple of weeks. Still, his production versus lefties certainly warrants usage in this stack tonight, especially at a price that allows us to spread the wealth across our lineup.
OF – Mark Canha (OAK) – $3,500 vs. KC
Completing our four-man A’s stack is Canha who has been absolutely white-hot of late and took home AL Player of the Week honors as a result. The 30-year-old is enjoying a breakout season this year as he already has hit a career-high 22 home runs this season and owns a .266 ISO, a figure that is well above his already-impressive .203 mark. As mentioned, Canha has been electric at the plate of late as he’s homered five times over his last nine games, including three over his last three games. He’s racked up four straight multi-hit games, including last night when he singled three times and scored a pair of runs. This after a two-homer game against the Giants on Sunday. He’s getting it done against both lefties and righties this season – something that hasn’t always been true of Canha – but owns a .253 ISO, .861 OPS, .364 wOBA and 131 wRC+ versus lefties on the season. The production remains on the road against lefties where he owns a .184 ISO, .849 OPS, .368 wOBA and 133 wRC+ versus southpaw pitching. I’m expecting big things from this outfield trio in a favorable road matchup tonight.
UTIL – Travis Demeritte (DET) – $2,600 vs. CLE
I searched around for a utility player with a price tag of $2,600 or under, but I really wanted to grab someone who I believed would be low-owned given the fact that our Nationals stack should at least see a good amount of ownership tonight. As a result, Demeritte is my guy as he takes on right-hander Adam Plutko and the Cleveland Indians. Plutko sports a 4.54 ERA on the season, but also a 5.77 FIP and 5.74 xFIP to go along with a huge 2.21 HR/9 against, so here’s a pitcher that can certainly be targeted. Enter Demeritte who has been a pleasant surprise since coming over from the Braves in a trade deadline deal. He’s slashed .277/.351/.434 with the Tigers across 23 games to this point and has two homers and three stolen bases to boot. In Triple-A this season with the Braves, Demeritte clubbed 20 home runs and posted a big-time .271 ISO, so we know the power is there. The good news is that he has posted reverse-splits in his MLB time so far as he’s posted a .197 ISO, .833 OPS, .349 wOBA and 118 wRC+ against right-handed pitching to this point while both of his homers and all three of his steals have come versus right-handed pitching. The 24-year-old also posted a .938 OPS against right-handers at Triple-A this season. Given the cross-category upside, the matchup against a weak pitcher, his reverse splits and projected low ownership, I really like Demeritte as a differentiation player in this lineup tonight.