Our pitcher was absolutely lights out last night but just like it has been all week, our bats simply weren’t good enough to gain any profits.
Madison Bumgarner was excellent as he pitched nine innings, yes nine innings, of one-run ball with six strikeouts against the Mets. Unfortunately, Bumgarner left the game in a 1-1 tie. The game would take a whopping 16 innings to be decided as the Giants knocked off the Mets 3-2 in a lengthy thriller.
That’s about where our success came to a close. Our four-man D-backs stack was silenced by Zach Davies as the right-handers regression will wait for another day. Davies allowed just one run over seven innings. Ketel Marte had two singles, Eduardo Escobar had one single, Jake Lamb singled and had the lone RBI of the game while Christian Walker had a solid game with two walks, a run scored and a stolen base as well. Needed much more extra-base power here, however.
Our three-man Reds stack was decent, but unspectacular. Jesse Winker singled twice and scored a run, Joey Votto singled, walked and notched an RBI while Yasiel Puig doubled as part of a two-hit night.
Finally, our one-off shortstop Jorge Polanco didn’t even start against the A’s, so hopefully you were able to find a productive shortstop in his absence.
We need to get into profit territory in short order so let’s take a look at tonight’s big 14-game slate and see if we can get into the money!
P – Jacob deGrom (NYM) – $10,600 vs. SF
There are a handful of elite starting pitching options on this slate, but after a little bit of process of elimination, I landed on the Mets’ Jacob deGrom. Justin Verlander is a nice option against a strikeout-happy Rangers team, but he allowed a ton of home runs and is due for some regression as judged by his 4.07 FIP and he’s allowed four earned runs in two of his last three starts with zero double-digit strikeout games in that time. Hyun-Jin Ryu doesn’t strike out many to begin with and the light-hitting Marlins don’t strike out much versus left-handed pitching. Patrick Corbin has tough road matchup in Atlanta and he owns an ERA north of 5.00 on the road. Shane Bieber works too, but I’ll go with deGrom who has been dominant of late, posting a 2.57 ERA over his last 10 starts and he’s struck out 10 in three of his last seven. deGrom owns a bit-time 11.27 K/9 on the season and takes on a Giants team that ranks 24th with a .303 wOBA against right-handed pitching and tied for 29th with a .278 wOBA at home. Run support is a concern, but deGrom should be able to take care of his part against a weak Giants offense tonight.
C/1B – Ji-Man Choi (TB) – $2,800 vs. CWS
The Tampa Bay Rays will open up a series against the White Sox tonight in Tampa, and the Rays take on right-hander Reynaldo Lopez who has been among the very worst qualified starting pitchers in baseball this season. Entering play tonight, Lopez sports a 5.97 ERA, 5.57 FIP and 5.58 xFIP on the season to go along with a huge 1.99 K/9 clip. Choi has scuffled at the plate as of late and has spent some time on the IL recently as well with an ankle injury, but this guy has made his living in the big leagues mashing right-handed pitching. For his career, Choi has hit right-handed pitching for a .211 ISO and .810 OPS to go along with a .345 wOBA and 119 wRC+. This season, his production has slipped thanks to the last month or so, however he still owns a rock-solid .172 ISO and .803 OPS against righties to go along with a .343 wOBA and 118 wRC+, the latter two of which are right around career norms. Finally, he’s hit righties for a .208 ISO and big-time .870 OPS at home this season, so let’s give the veteran a shot here against a pitcher yielding plenty of home runs this season.
2B – Cesar Hernandez (PHI) – $2,600 vs. PIT
We are rostering an expensive pitcher and an expensive three-man stack, so I am grabbing some value elsewhere with some mini-stacks and that includes Hernandez who takes on right-hander Jordan Lyles and the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight. Lyles has been hit hard by left-handed hitters this season as he’s allowed a big .968 OPS and .403 wOBA to them this season and a 1.009 OPS and .419 wOBA to them at home this season where this one will take place tonight. Hernandez has some pop and some stolen base upside as well as he’s homered seven times on the season and swiped six bases as well. He sports a decent .154 ISO against righties, but also a strong .811 OPS and 111 wRC+. His production against righties goes with him on the road as he owns an almost identical .159 ISO, .803 OPS and 107 wRC+ in such scenarios. Hernandez hasn’t played long ball in more than a month, so you could say he’s due, but at this cost I would take some hits, a run or two, an RBI or two and perhaps a stolen base if we aren’t going to get any home run power.
3B – Nolan Arenado (COL) – $4,200 vs. NYY
With the Yankees taking on left-hander Kyle Freeland who has an ERA north of 7.00 and with a run projection of seven, it’s likely the vast majority of ownership in this one goes to the home side. Still, let’s keep in mind we have a trio of lefty-mashers on this Rockies team that will face a left-handed pitcher in J.A. Happ who is the owner of a 5.98 ERA at home this season and has allowed a whopping 2.45 HR/9 to right-handed hitters at home as well. Enter Arenado who is one of the most feared bats against left-handed pitching in all of baseball. For the season, he’s hit lefties to the tune of a .298 ISO and 1.043 OPS. Of course, he plays his home games at the extreme hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field in Colorado, so let’s check out his numbers against lefties on the road. All he’s done against lefties on the road is smack them for an increased .314 ISO as well as a .956 OPS to go along with a .382 wOBA and 121 wRC+. The Yankees bullpen is also a little taxed after a double-header last night against the Rays, so I think we can sneak some high-priced Rockies exposure into this lineup tonight and feel real good about it.
SS – Trevor Story (COL) – $4,400 vs. NYY
Story actually comes in more expensive than Arenado as he is among the elite against left-handed pitching in this league as well. On top of the 22 home runs this season, I also like the fact that Story carries some stolen base upside into this one as he’s swiped 12 bases on the season after stealing 27 a season ago. Furthermore, six of those 12 steals have come against left-handed pitching this season so there’s plenty of stolen base upside here despite a southpaw on the hill. Now, Story doesn’t have the same gaudy numbers against lefties than Arenado has, and his power has been increased against right-handers this season, but let’s not argue with his .228 ISO and .912 OPS with a 121 wRC+ against lefties. Keep in mind that the wRC+ stat takes into account park factors, so Story has been 21% better than league average with park factors baked into the equation. He hasn’t fared quite as well in the power department against lefties on the road with a .167 ISO, however his .929 OPS, .391 wOBA and 127 wRC+ against southpaws on the road tell us he’s an extremely productive road bat against lefties. It actually notably outweighs his 115 wRC+ against lefties at home. I think he’s worth the price in this one.
OF – Ian Desmond (COL) – $3,100 vs. NYY
He may not belong in the same category as Arenado and Story, however Desmond does his fair share of damage against left-handed pitching as well, and certainly not just at home. In fact, Desmond could very well be one of the most underrated bats against lefties in this league. On the season, Desmond has hit left-handed pitching to the tune of a .316 average, but also a mammoth .351 ISO and 1.022 OPS to go along with a .422 wOBA and massive 143 wRC+. In other words, we are getting a guy with notably superior numbers versus lefties compared to his teammates above at more than a $1,000 discount. Again, it’s important to check into his numbers on the road against lefties, and all he’s done in that scenario is pound them for an increased .382 ISO and 1.012 OPS on the season to go along with a .409 wOBA and 139 wRC+. For whatever reason, he’s swiped just one base this season after stealing 20 last season, so I like to think there’s some stolen base upside here to boot. The power here is undeniable and Desmond becomes my favorite player on this entire slate as a result.
OF – Adam Haseley (PHI) – $2,200 vs. PIT
Haseley is a nice cost-cutting player who allows us to afford the big bats above, but I think he’s sports plenty of value upside as well given the matchup and his abilities as well. I mentioned earlier how much Lyles struggles against left-handed hitters, especially at home, so first and foremost it’s nice to see him swinging from the left side of the dish. Second, Haseley played long ball in last night’s ball game and scored a pair of runs as well. The 23-year-old does have some pop as he posted a .218 ISO at Double-A where he started this season and a solid .176 ISO across 18 Triple-A games prior to his promotion. He also posted a .918 OPS against right-handed pitching at the Triple-A level as well. There isn’t a ton of stolen base upside, but he did steal five bases between Double-A and Triple-A this season. It would be wonderful if Haseley could run into another one tonight as it would certainly give this lineup a big shot in the arm on top of his cost-savings provided.
OF – Jordan Luplow (CLE) – $2,600 vs. KC
Simply put, Luplow is becoming a must-have against left-handed pitching and I love the fact that we continue to get him at a massive bargain at FanDuel despite the success against southpaws. Tonight, he will take on left-hander Mike Montgomery who makes his first appearance as a Royal after coming over in a deal from the Chicago Cubs. Montgomery has struggled to the tune of a 5.67 ERA, 6.21 FIP and 4.86 xFIP this season along with a 2.00 HR/9 clip, so there’s plenty of room for Luplow to do damage tonight. Luplow enters this one tonight sporting a massive .389 ISO and 1.110 OPS on the season against left-handed pitching while his .449 wOBA and 182 wRC+ versus southpaws aren’t too shabby either. Furthermore, he’s hit left-handed pitching for an unbelievable .434 ISO and 1.145 OPS to go along with a .459 wOBA and 189 wRC+ at home this season where this one will take place tonight. Finally, Luplow has gone 4 for 7 with two doubles and a homer over his last two starts, so I think we have the top two value upside players on this slate tonight in Luplow and Desmond, both of whom will take on left-handed starting pitchers.
UTIL – Willy Adames (TB) – $2,400 vs. CWS
Finally completing our Rays mini-stack is Adames who has handled himself best against right-handed pitching this season despite hitting from the right side himself. His reverse splits include a .287 average, .162 ISO and .797 OPS to go along with a .340 wOBA and excellent 115 wRC+ on the season. Those numbers are towering over his .155 average, .112 ISO, brutal .477 OPS, .208 wOBA and 26 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Adames also has four steals on the season for good measure, three of which have come against a right-handed pitcher. My one concern for tonight is that Adames hasn’t performed well at home whatsoever with a .065 ISO and .474 OPS at Tropicana Field this season, however those numbers to increase to a .098 ISO and .649 OPS against right-handed pitching at home. The Trop is a pitcher-friendly park, but I’ll remind you that Reynaldo Lopez has still allowed a big 1.85 HR/9 against right-handed bats on the road as well as yielding an .820 OPS to right-handed hitters on the road. He’s hitting behind Choi so hopefully Adames can run into one with Choi on base ahead of him in this one tonight.