We have a big 14-game main MLB slate on tap with plenty of high run projections across the board.
Let’s see if we can take advantage and roster the right pitcher and stacks and earn some money early in the week!
P – Mitch Keller (PIT) – $6,100 vs. SF
Now, this pick certainly carries its fair share of risks. Not only does Keller own a 8.18 ERA in the big leagues this season across eight starts, he also left his most recent start after just 1.2 innings after taking a line drive off of his pitching wrist. That said, according to the Pirates’ official website, Keller is good to go for this start tonight and there is no mention of a pitch limit or anything that could prevent him from reaching his ceiling in a favorable matchup at Oracle Park in San Francisco tonight. If you can look past the sky-high ERA, you’ll see that Keller has actually been wildly unfortunate in the early going of his MLB career as he also owns a 3.70 FIP, 3.90 xFIP and a massive 12.00 K/9 clip. The culprit in his bad luck to this point is his huge .469 BABIP against despite allowing a decent 37.6% hard contact against on the year. The matchup couldn’t be much better as he takes on a Giants team that ranks 28th with a .296 wOBA against right-handed pitching on the season and while their 22.9% K-rate versus righties is roughly middle of the pack, Keller boasts significant strikeout upside with his sky-high K-rate on the season. Add in the extreme pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park and I think we have a ton of value upside with the Pirates’ top prospect tonight.
C/1B – Freddie Freeman (ATL) – $4,000 vs. PHI
My bats will see some ownership tonight, so I suppose you could call these bats a cash lineup, although most cash lineups will start with Walker Buehler in the pitching spot. Nonetheless, I am simply going to roster a pair of stacks that have huge ceilings, beginning here with Freeman and the Braves as they take on left-hander Jason Vargas and the Phillies. Vargas owns a 4.27 ERA on the season, but also a 4.68 FIP and 5.43 xFIP and a tiny 7.06 K/9 clip as well. Vargas has interestingly made just one start this season against the Braves despite playing in the same division against them with the Mets and Phillies, but that start was his worst of the season as he lasted just 0.1 innings and surrendered four earned runs before getting the hook. As a result, dial up a four-man Braves stack beginning here with Freeman. He’s shown an ability to smash left-handed pitching in the past despite hitting from the left side, however this season his splits greatly favor right-handed pitching. Nonetheless, he still owns a .200 ISO versus left-handed pitching on the season and an increased .226 mark against lefties at home. Freeman also gives us some stolen base upside with six steals on the season. He’s also bound to see a righty at some point tonight and I still wouldn’t be leaving him out of any Braves stack tonight.
2B – Ozzie Albies (ATL) – $3,300 vs. PHI
The young second baseman Ozzie Albies is a switch-hitter, but we certainly want to roster him against left-handed pitching as opposed to righties. Albies owns just a .173 ISO, .763 OPS, .321 wOBA and 94 wRC+ on the season versus right-handed pitching. However, against lefties, he’s hitting .385 with a .296 ISO, 1.086 OPS, .445 wOBA and a massive 175 wRC+. Furthermore, the numbers get even tastier at home versus lefties where he’s hit them for a .303 ISO, 1.147 OPS, .469 wOBA and a 191 wRC+. The lefty-mashing is certainly nothing knew for Albies as he has hit southpaw pitching for an impressive .240 ISO, .973 OPS, .408 wOBA and 153 wRC+ so far in his big league career. Of course, we also get some stolen base upside here as well as he’s swiped 15 bases on the season, albeit with just three of those coming against left-handed pitching. We also have a player who’s had the upper hand in the batter vs. pitcher area here. Albies has gone 5 for 12 (.417) with a double and a stolen base against the veteran left-hander in their history against one another. Add in the fact he’s projected to hit out of the valuable two-hole tonight and I am loving this play to be sure.
3B – Justin Turner (LAD) – $3,600 vs. BAL
On top the Braves and their 5.7 run projection for tonight, I will be using a four-man Dodgers stack as they take on left-hander Ty Blach and the Baltimore Orioles tonight. Blach has been absolutely pummeled this season in the big leagues as he owns a 10.95 ERA, 6.94 FIP and a 6.69 xFIP to go along with a 2.19 HR/9 clip across four starts and six appearances in the bigs this season. The former Giants southpaw also posted a 5.93 ERA, 5.26 FIP and 5.39 xFIP across his 17 appearances with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate prior to switching organizations, so we certainly have a targetable pitcher here. Turner’s bat has turned into a home-run-hitting bat against this season as he’s launched 27 long balls on the season and owns a .223 ISO as a result. The long-time lefty-masher is getting it done against both lefties and righties, but he owns a big-time .297 ISO, .938 OPS, .384 wOBA and a 141 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching. Furthermore, his best work comes against lefties on the road where he’s destroyed them to the tune of a .356 ISO, 1.174 OPS, .476 wOBA and an eye-popping 201 wRC+. There’s simply no decision to be made on whether to use Turner in a stack tonight.
SS – Dansby Swanson (ATL) – $2,800 vs. PHI
Next man up in our f0ur-man Braves stack is Swanson who came out of the gate red-hot this season against lefties, and while he’s slowed down some, there is plenty to like about his chances against Vargas in this one tonight. First, his .186 ISO, .853 OPS, .359 wOBA and 119 wRC+ on the season against lefties represents much better figures than the ones he sports against righties despite hit .190 ISO versus righties being slightly higher than his .186 mark against lefties. Still, I love the fact that his best split comes at home against lefties where he owns a .292 ISO, 1.084 OPS, .443 wOBA and a 174 wRC+. The next-best wRC+ Swanson owns on the season is his 119 mark on the road against right-handed pitching, so clearly we have him precisely where we want him tonight. Furthermore, Swanson gives us some stolen base upside as he’s swiped eight bases on the season, albeit with just two steals versus left-handed pitching. He’s been in a bit of a rut at the plate in the month of September, however Swanson doubled, scored a run and stole a base in last night’s series opener against the Phils, so let’s look for him to build on that effort in this one tonight.
OF – Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL) – $4,000 vs. PHI
Completing our four-man Braves stack tonight is Acuna Jr. who obviously brings a ton of power and speed into this lineup tonight as evidenced by his 38 home runs and 34 stolen bases on the season. That said, Acuna loves himself some left-handed pitching and has simply owned the veteran Vargas in their history against one another. His lefty-righty splits are actually pretty close, but the advantage goes to lefties as he owns a .281 ISO, .916 OPS, .378 wOBA and 131 wRC+ against southpaws on the season – all of which are improvements over his figures versus righties. Acuna was actually scuffling a little bit at the plate of late, going hitless in five of his last eight starts before hitting a home run and scoring three runs in last night’s win over the Phillies. The home run now gives him a big-time .278 ISO for the month of September to this point. On top of being the leadoff man for the Braves – a spot that gives him a ton of cross-category upside – Acuna has also owned Vargas in his young career as he’s gone 6 for 9 (.667) with a triple and a homer to go along with a stolen base against him. That’s good for a .556 ISO and 1.922 OPS off of the southpaw. Sign me up all day long.
OF – A.J. Pollock (LAD) – $3,800 vs. BAL
Getting back to our Dodgers stack, I will roster Pollock who is set to hit in the leadoff spot tonight against the lefty Blach. Pollock loves himself some left-handed pitching as he has posted a .358 batting average against them on the season, but also a .185 ISO, .948 OPS, .394 wOBA and a 148 wRC+ – numbers that hold up quite similarly on the road as they do at home. Pollock busted out with a three-homer night on Friday against the Giants, and while he failed to register a hit in the two games since, there is clearly plenty of pop in that bat. The oft-injured outfielder doesn’t possess the same speed that saw him steal 39 bases back in the 2015 season, but he does have four across just 287 plate appearances in another injury-shortened campaign in 2019. The leadoff spot is certainly encouraging here, but I also love the fact that he’s had success in the past against Blach. Pollock has gone 3 for 8 (.375) with a double and a home run in his career against the left-hander. His lefty-mashing ways combined with a struggling opponent in a hitter-friendly venue out of the leadoff spot tonight gives us plenty of reason to love the ceiling Pollock brings to the table.
OF – Cody Bellinger (LAD) – $4,600 vs. BAL
Next man up in the Dodgers stack is Bellinger who has obviously dominated plenty of pitchers this season in what could amount to an MVP for the young outfielder. It’s been an outrageous campaign for the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year as he’s smacked 44 home runs on the season and owns a .336 ISO as a result. While the splits edge goes to right-handed pitching, it’s actually pretty close as Bellinger has pummeled left-handed pitching as well. Entering this one tonight, Bellinger owns a .329 ISO, 1.000 OPS, .404 wOBA and 154 wRC+ on the season versus southpaw pitching. The numbers fall on the road a little bit, but let’s also not get too upset over his massive .311 ISO, .906 OPS, .371 wOBA and 132 wRC+ on the road against lefties. With Bellinger, we also get some stolen base upside as he’s swiped 11 bases on the season, four of which have come against lefties, which is nice to see. He’s also enjoyed some success in the past against Blach as he’s gone 5 for 16 (.312) with a double and a steal against the left-hander. At the end of the day, I’m not about to leave Bellinger out of any Dodgers stack in this matchup tonight.
UTIL – David Freese (LAD) – $2,700 vs. BAL
Completing our four-man Dodgers stack is the veteran Freese who is actually projected to hit out of the two-hole tonight and has had a big season in part-time duty for the Dodgers. He’s been limited to just 168 plate appearances on the season, but Freese has obliterated both left and right-handed pitchers this season. Entering this one tonight, Freese owns a .256 ISO, .884 OPS, .372 wOBA and a 133 wRC+ on the season against lefties – something that’s nice to see as he gets set to take on Blach. However, he’ll also likely face a right-hander tonight as well and he’s actually destroyed righties to the tune of a .397 ISO, 1.230 OPS, .497 wOBA and a 215 wRC+. On the road as a whole, Frese has posted a .361 ISO, 1.027 OPS, .418 wOBA and a 159 wRC+, so he’s set to go for a nice matchup in a hitter-friendly environment tonight. Freese has two hits over his last five plate appearances, and both of those hits went for home runs. He’s also 2 for 4 in his brief history against Blach. Add it all up and I think Freese brings a ton of value upside to the table at this price tag and in this matchup tonight.