Once again we got a great effort from a high-upside pitcher, but once again we also didn’t get the bats to follow suit in what ended as a disappointing night.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole furthered his own Cy Young case as he hurled eight innings of two-run ball to go along with 10 strikeouts, earning the win over the rival Rangers. That marks the seventh straight game Cole has punched out at least 10 batters.
That said, there’s very little to speak about in regards to the bats. We had some big-time exposure to the Mariners/Pirates game that featured a couple of uninspiring starting pitchers. Interestingly, our entire Mariners mini-stack was wiped out as Dan Vogelbach and Omar Narvaez both didn’t play and our Pirates stack produced ugly results.
Our pair of one-offs ended up as just one one-off as Jake Marisnick did not start against the lefty Allard. Jake Cave walked twice as the Twins were shut down by a struggling pitcher in Ivan Nova.
The bats’ results were some of the worst we’ve seen in some time, and I’ll quickly look to turn things around on tonight’s small four-game main slate.
P – Mike Clevinger (CLE) – $11,800 vs. DET
This lineup is probably geared more towards cash games as I have no reason to fade Clevinger in the slate’s best matchup against the lowly Detroit Tigers. For one, the Indians carry a 16-game winning streak into this one against Detroit, so the chances of Clevinger earning a win are quite substantial. The right-hander enters this one sporting a 2.68 ERA while his peripherals are wonderful with a 2.50 FIP and 2.99 xFIP to go along with a massive 12.49 K/9 clip. Clevinger’s matchup is of the elite variety as he takes on a Tigers team that sports a .287 wOBA against righties, good for 29th league-wide, but more importantly, their 26.5% K-rate against righties is the worst mark in baseball. Furthermore, Clevinger has made two starts against his AL Central rivals this season, and the results have been eye-popping. In 14 innings against them this season, Clevinger has allowed just one earned run, good for a 0.64 ERA, while he’s struck out a whopping 22 Tigers in that time, good for a 14.14 K/9 rate. Clevinger has allowed more than two earned runs in just one of his last 10 starts, and I would presume that that streak continues against the worst team in baseball tonight.
C/1B – Rowdy Tellez (TOR) – $2,600 vs. BAL
The Blue Jays will see some ownership tonight as they offer some cost-efficient bats to pair with the pricey Clevinger, and the bats have some big-time upside against right-hander Gabriel Ynoa and the Baltimore Orioles bullpen, which happens to be the worst bullpen in the league. The Blue Jays are coming off an epic 12-11 win over the Orioles and while their wOBA and OPS numbers aren’t the best thanks to some low batting averages, they actually carry a ton of power in their lineup and I will be rostering four power bats in that one tonight against an Orioles pitching staff that ranks dead-last with a 1.93 HR/9 against as a team. Enter Tellez who hits from the left side, but hits both lefties and righties for notable power nonetheless. The power is a little higher against lefties and the bat is more productive against southpaws with some reverse-splits, however he still owns a quality .204 ISO on the season against right-handed pitching. Furthermore, the bat is quite powerful on the road against righties where he owns a .259 ISO, .812 OPS, .335 wOBA and 109 wRC+. He also owns a big-time .325 ISO, .854 OPS, .347 wOBA and 117 wRC+ for the month of September so far – his best month to date. A lot of value to be unlocked here.
2B – Jonathan Schoop (MIN) – $2,800 vs. KC
The power-theme certainly continues here with Schoop who is mashing left-handed pitching this season as he gets set to take on left-hander Mike Montgomery and the Kansas City Royals. Schoop has sported reverse-splits at times in his big league career, but the splits this season are best against lefties, and more specifically, against lefties at home where this one will take place tonight at Target Field in Minnesota. Against lefties this season, Schoop has posted a massive .295 ISO, .930 OPS, .381 wOBA and 139 wRC+. Against lefties at home this season, Schoop has put together a .275 ISO, .978 OPS, .397 wOBA and a 150 wRC+. It’s been an up-and-down season for the left-handed Montgomery who has fared better since coming over to the Royals as a starter, but has been blown up on occasion as well. After a nice August, Montgomery has struggled with a 4.91 ERA in three September starts to this point. He’s also struggled on the road this season, which means any venue not named Wrigley Field or Kauffman Stadium, where he’s posted a 7.85 ERA compared to a 2.17 mark at home. As a result, it appears we have a quality matchup on our hands and plenty of value to be had with the slugging second baseman tonight.
3B – Yu Chang (CLE) – $2,400 vs. DET
We are targeting a couple of very bad pitching staffs tonight as the Tigers aren’t a whole lot better than the Orioles, especially against this Cleveland Indians team. The Tigers’ pitching staff has pitched to a 5.24 ERA this season, tied for 27th in the big leagues as left-hander Daniel Norris starts this one for Detroit. In each of his last seven outings, Norris has started but only pitched three innings before right-hander Drew VerHagen has taken over in each of those outings. As a result, I’m not exactly thinking lefty-righty splits in this one, but rather rostering some high-upside Indians bats including a cheap one in Chang who allows for those more expensive bats thanks to his cost. It’s not like the guy can’t hit as he’s flexed some muscle in the minors prior to his big league promotion in 2019. Chang hit as many as 24 home runs in a minor league stop – at Double-A in 2017 – and he hit nine gomers and swiped four bases in 2019 at the Triple-A level prior to being called up after Jose Ramirez went down with an injury. He hasn’t hit for a ton of power to this point yet in the big leagues, but the Tigers have made a lot of bats look good this season. His lone double and homer on the season in 19 appearances have both come over his last five games, so I’ll look for Chang to give this lineup some value tonight.
SS – Francisco Lindor (CLE) – $4,000 vs. DET
Lindor has been an absolute Tigers killer in this MLB career to this point and he’s also enjoyed plenty of success against Norris who he will probably face at least twice tonight before taking on VerHagen. The switch-hitting shortstop has produced better against righties this season as he owns a .262 ISO, .902 OPS, .364 wOBA and 124 wRC+ against them on the season, however his bat is still above league-average against lefties as well with a .190 ISO, .799 OPS, .339 wOBA and 107 wRC+ against southpaws on the season. The results at home and on the road are about equal, so there’s not much to report on that end. He’s had some nice success against the Tigers in his big league career, posting an .870 OPS across 78 games against the AL Central rivals. Furthermore he’s gone 7 for 20 (.350) with a homer and a double in his career against the southpaw Norris, with a stolen base to boot. The power/speed potential here is of fantastic quality as he has swatted 31 long balls on the season and swiped 21 bases as well. Add in his positioning out of the leadoff spot and we have some serious cross-category upside with Lindor in this one tonight.
OF – Yasiel Puig (CLE) – $3,100 vs. DET
The hero in last night’s walk-off win, Puig is red-hot at the plate right now and brings some notable power and stolen base upside into this lineup as well. Puig’s bat hasn’t been as good this season as we have seen in years past, however I am intrigued by his splits considering he is guaranteed to face both lefties and righties tonight. The fact that he owns an identical .781 OPS against both sides is an encouraging sign to be sure. The power is increased against righties with a .206 ISO compared to a .148 mark against lefties, but his 102 wRC+ against lefties has the edge over his 98 mark against righties. On top of his 24 home runs this season, Puig has also swiped 17 bases, 14 of which have come against right-handed pitching. It’s interesting that Puig is enjoying his most productive month of the season with a .368 average, .886 OPS, .387 wOBa and 139 wRC+ for the month to this point considering he also owns a tiny .070 ISO. Still, his walk-off single was easily a double if the bases weren’t loaded last night while he’s gone 7 for 10 with a double and two RBI over his last two games. Of all the players on the Indians, I think Puig is the one you want most tonight as he completes our three-man Indians stack.
OF – Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR) – $2,700 vs. BAL
We will be completing this lineup with a trio of Blue Jays outfielders as it’s tough to avoid the outfield position with this team as five of their nine players tonight are only outfield eligible on FanDuel. Nonetheless, all three bring notable power to the table against right-handed pitching, beginning here with Gurriel Jr. who is hitting left-handed pitching better as a right-handed hitter, but he’s still hitting right-handed pitching for power, as well. I mean, his .381 ISO, 1.041 OPS, .421 wOBA and 167 wRC+ against lefties is phenomenal, but there’s not much to dislike about his .204 ISO, .798 OPS, .334 wOBA and 108 wRC+ against righties, either. The production isn’t as hot on the road, but I’m willing to put that aside as the circumstances are different against a horrible pitching staff in a hitter-friendly venue such as Camden Yards. Gurriel missed more than a month with an injury from early August to mid-September, but he’s gone 3 for 9 with a double and an RBI since his return. The young outfielder is also 3 for 4 with a homer and a stolen base in his career against Ynoa. With 19 homers and six steals on the season, I’m liking the power and speed Gurriel brings to the table tonight.
OF – Randal Grichuk (TOR) – $3,000 vs. BAL
Grichuk was the hero in last night’s game as he hit a late go-ahead grand slam, displaying the power he’s shown all season despite a low batting average and on-base percentage. Grichuk added to his career-high in homers with his 30th in the win, surpassing the 25 he posted in his first season with the Blue Jays last year. The good news here is that he is displaying an identical .227 ISO against both left and right-handed pitching this season, giving us power potential regardless of who the Orioles trot out of that league-worst bullpen tonight. While the work has been better at home, I’m encouraged by the fact that Grichuk is having the best month of his season to this point in which he is hitting for a ton of power. In September, Grichuk has posted a massive .464 ISO, .938 OPS, .365 wOBA and a 129 wRC+. In fact, Grichuk has now homered four times over his last three games while those homers account for all four of his hits in that time. If you want to go further back, he has five homers over his last five games and he carries a 10-game hit streak into tonight’s action as well. Given the massive power output of late, there’s absolutely no reason not to like Grichuk in this one tonight.
UTIL – Teoscar Hernandez (TOR) – $2,600 vs. BAL
Last man up in this lineup and Blue Jays stack is Hernandez who, like his three teammates above, brings some nice power to the table against right-handed pitching. In fact, power has never been the question for Hernandez as much as his on-base woes and lackluster defense at times. The 26-year-old has clubbed 23 home runs this season across 118 games as he’s also spent some time at the minor league level as well. He hit 22 homers in 134 games in his first full season in the big leagues last year. He owns an overall .221 ISO on the season but his .219 batting average drags down the majority of his peripheral numbers. Still, I have little issue with rostering a home-run hitting stack against a pitching staff that’s allowing the most home runs in baseball. After crushing lefties early in the season, Hernandez has been doing more of his damage against righties as his .224 ISO against righties now stands higher than his .216 mark against lefties. Like Grichuk, Hernandez also played some long ball in last night’s win with a three-run homer in that one. Again, these players should see some ownership given the favorable cost and power output, but I’m okay with that in more of a cash-oriented lineup this evening.