Once again we were on the right side of a brilliant pitching performance, however once again our value bats weren’t able to deliver.
Jacob deGrom didn’t have an insane effort like we received from Gerrit Cole on Tuesday, however deGrom still hurled seven innings of shutout baseball, striking out seven and earning his 11th win of the season in the process. He allowed just two hits and a walk in this one.
Our four-man Nationals stack became a three-man stack as Anthony Rendon understandably got a night off a day after clinching a playoff berth. However, we did get nice production from this stack as both Brian Dozier and Howie Kendrick hit home runs, although we received just two singles and an RBI elsewhere in the stack.
Our Red Sox mini-stack become just a one-off play at shortstop as Sam Travis didn’t start. Xander Bogaerts did, and he singled, scored a run and had an RBI. Not terrible, not great.
Despite the Braves scoring 10 runs against the Royals, our cost-efficient mini-stack of Adam Duvall and Austin Riley once again couldn’t deliver value as the top of the lineup did the damage in this one. Duvall had an RBI single and Riley singled and scored a run.
We needed more from our bats again last night, and I’ll look to get them going on tonight’s five-game main slate.
P – Zack Wheeler (NYM) – $10,500 vs. MIA
There are a few decent options on this slate including Wheeler, Jose Quintana, Sean Manaea and Aaron Civale, however once again I am going to roll with the top pitcher on the slate in Zack Wheeler. Of course, Wheeler’s matchup is an appetizing one as he will take on a Marlins offense that ranks 29th with a .287 wOBA on the season against right-handed pitching while their 24.9% K-rate against righties is the eighth-highest mark in the league. As noted, it’s an offense that Jacob deGrom simpy dominated in last night’s contest. I’m not about to compare deGrom to Wheeler, however Wheeler has been on one heck of a roll himself of late. Wheeler has surrendered precisely one earned runs in each of his last five starts. He owns a 1.41 ERA in that time. Furthermore, Wheeler has thrown seven innings of one-run ball in each of his last three starts, good for a 1.29 ERA in that time to go along with a 9.43 K/9 clip. On the season, Wheeler’s been good with a 3.99 ERA, but also a 3.47 FIP as well. He doesn’t rack up a ton of strikeouts with a decent 8.89 K/9 rate, but the K-rate is in good shape to increase in this matchup tonight. While he struck out just five, Wheeler threw eight shutout innings in his last start against the Marlins which also came at Citi Field where this one will be tonight.
C/1B – Seth Brown (OAK) – $2,800 vs. SEA
The Oakland A’s are in a dogfight with the Rays and Indians for a Wild Card spot in the American League and I like their chances of notching a win behind a strong offensive output tonight against right-hander Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners. Hernandez is once again struggling with a 6.51 ERA, 5.95 FIP and 5.09 xFIP on the season to go along with a 2.17 HR/9 clip. He’s been better at home in the pitcher-friendly confines of Safeco Field in Seattle, but I still believe the A’s – projected to score a healthy 5.5 runs – will get to him tonight and I want to unleash a four-man A’s stack as a result. Enter Seth Brown who despite not homering in his 22 MLB games this season, is still hitting for solid extra-base power and has mashed right-handed pitching. Entering this one tonight, Brown has hit righties for a .358 average, .226 ISO, 1.009 OPS, .420 wOBA and a massive 170 wRC+ across a 53 at-bat sample size. After all, Brown obliterated Triple-A pitching this season to the tune of a massive .337 ISO, .394 wOBA and 126 wRC+. He hit righties for a 1.017 OPS at the minors’ highest level prior to his promotion. After slugging 37 long balls at Triple-A, it’s only a matter of time until he puts one into the seats at the big league level.
2B – Jurickson Profar (OAK) – $2,800 vs. SEA
As I have noted before when using Profar in these lineups, his splits are some of the more interesting ones I have seen in my research this season. The switch-hitting second baseman brings a nice power/speed combination to the table with 20 homers and nine steals on the season, but the power seems to mostly come from the right side as he owns a .205 ISO against righties compared to a .152 mark against lefties. 17 of those 20 homers have come against a righty. The stolen base upside is also increased against righties with seven of his nine swipes coming at the expense of a right-hander. However, the bat is more productive against lefties as his .835 OPS, .354 wOBA and 125 wRC+ would show. To be honest, I don’t mind it either way as I of course want the home run upside against a right-handed starter in Hernandez, but he’s also very much a viable play against a lefty as well. It also means that he’s matchup-proof as a switch-hitter for when the Mariners’ 22-ranked bullpen enters this one, hopefully early. He’s gone 5 for 8 (.625) with a double, an RBI and a stolen base over his last two starts and he’s enjoyed success against Hernandez in the past by going 6 for 19 (.316) with a double and a homer in his career against Hernandez.
3B – Matt Chapman (OAK) – $3,600 vs. SEA
Next man up in the stack is Chapman who will technically lead this stack off tonight out of the three-hole against Hernandez. I’ll start this by saying I am not a fan of the fact that Chapman has gone 0 for 11 in his career against Hernandez, but there’s still so much to like about this bat. I mean, a guy with 35 home runs, a .257 ISO, .841 OPS and 123 wRC+ on the season can’t be all that bad, right? The thing I like most about Chapman is his ability to hit right-handed pitching as a right-handed hitter. Against righties this season, Chapman owns a .246 ISO, .840 OPS, .352 wOBA and 124 wRC+. The power plays up a little against lefties, but he’s sporting fairly even splits between the two on the 2019 season. We saw his ability to hit right-handed pitching in his breakout 2018 campaign when he hit them for a .258 ISO, .886 OPS, .376 wOBA and 143 wRC+. When he came out of the gate slugging lefties and struggling against righties, I knew those splits would even out, and they have. Chapman has scuffled a bit in September, but he went 2 for 5 with a homer in last night’s game against the Angels, so let’s look for him to build off that effort in this one tonight.
SS – Tim Anderson (CWS) – $3,200 vs. CLE
Similar to Tuesday night, I am using Anderson as a one-off shortstop against a right-handed pitcher as I am loving his power/speed combination against righties, and using the potential AL batting champion should net us some hits regardless. The righty-swinging Anderson takes on right-hander Aaron Civale, a pitcher that’s been excellent with a 1.82 ERA on the season in nine starts, however Civale also owns a 4.53 xFIP as he’s been very fortunate to allow home runs on just 3.5% of fly-balls allowed and with a 37% fly-ball rate combined with an elevated 36.8% hard-hit rate against, I think the home runs are going to come against Civale in a hurry. I’ll look for Anderson to do just that as he’s flexed some muscle against righties this season with a rock-solid .179 ISO against them and 13 home runs, but also a wildly productive .886 OPS, .371 wOBA and 135 wRC+. The stolen base upside is very much in play here as well with Anderson swiping 17 bases on the season, 13 of which have come against a righty. Anderson enters this one red-hot with a .209 ISO, 1.015 OPS, .422 wOBA and 169 wRC+ for the month of September to this point, the best month of his season to date. I’ll take the tantalizing power/speed combination as well as the overall production of Anderson in a heartbeat.
OF – Brandon Nimmo (NYM) – $2,900 vs. MIA
I believe that Wheeler will get a good amount of run support tonight, something that should enable him to notch a win as the Mets’ offense takes on right-hander Jordan Yamamoto and a weak Marlins bullpen tonight. Yamamoto’s big league career got off to a sensational start with back-to-back shutout efforts – both against the Cardinals – but things have gone downhill a bit since. Yamamoto enters this one sporting a 4.83 ERA, 4.78 FIP and 5.08 xFIP on the season across his 14 starts and 72.2 innings. Since posting a stout 1.57 ERA in the month of June when he was promoted all the way from Double-A, Yamamoto owns a 6.40 ERA across 49.2 innings in July, August and September. He also missed almost a month with a forearm injury, and allowed two earned runs on six hits and three walks in just 4.1 innings in his return. We should see plenty of the Marlins’ 26th-ranked bullpen tonight. Enter Nimmo who is once again projected to hit in the leadoff spot tonight, which makes sense considering his production in September since returning from injury himself. Nimmo has unleashed a massive .339 ISO, 1.031 OPS, .422 wOBA and 168 wRC+ for the month to this point and while the average hasn’t been too high, the walk rate is stellar and he’s homered four times in his last 11 games with 10 RBI in that time.
OF – Michael Conforto (NYM) – $3,500 vs. MIA
Next man up in the three-man Mets stack is Conforto who brings a wealth of power to the table with 33 home runs and a .242 ISO on the season across his 147 games. The ability to rock right-handed pitching is just too good to pass up and it appears Conforto will hit in the three hole tonight, a spot in the lineup that should provide plenty of RBI opportunities. Conforto enters this one sporting a .287 ISO, .935 OPS, .384 wOBA and 143 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching . Furthermore, Conforto has erupted against right-handed pitching at home this season to the tune of a .370 ISO, 1.053 OPs, .423 wOBA and a massive 169 wRC+. Those are some titanic numbers in situations such as the one that has presented itself in this matchup tonight. The bat is also white-hot at the moment. He scuffled through much of mid-September, but Conforto has caught fire by going 6 for 8 with two homers and two doubles over his last two games. If you want to go further back, he’s 8 for 13 (.615) with two doubles, three homers, five runs and eight RBI over his last four games with four walks to boot. Finally, he’s gone 1 for 3 with a homer against Yamamoto this season. There’s no way you can leave Conforto out of any Mets exposure tonight.
OF – J.D. Davis (NYM) – $2,800 vs. MIA
There’s just a ton to like about Davis as he takes on a right-handed pitcher as a right-handed hitter in this one tonight. First, Davis has been able to handle both lefties and righties this season with plenty of power against both. Against lefties, he’s posted a .309 average, .206 ISO, .888 OPs, .370 wOBA and a 134 wRC+. Against righties, he owns a .308 average, .212 ISO, .887 OPS, .372 wOBA and a 135 wRC+. If you hadn’t noticed, those splits are almost perfectly identical. That’s all well and good and I like the fact he hits both sides well, however it’s his wide home/road splits that has me licking my lips in this matchup. On the road, Davis has scuffled with a .127 ISO, .710 OPS, .305 wOBA and a 86 wRC+. However, he’s been a completely different hitter at home where he’s posted a massive .297 ISO, 1.075 OPS, .439 wOBA and 184 wRC+. Yes, his bat has been 84% more productive than league average at home this season. He’s also enjoying a huge month at the plate with a .196 ISO, .978 OPS, .411 wOBA and 160 wRC+. He’s 6 for 11 (.545) with two doubles, a homer, two runs and an RBI over his last three games. Sign me up.
UTIL – Sean Murphy (OAK) – $3,100 vs. SEA
Completing my four-man A’s stack is Murphy who has been on a tear since getting promoted to the big leagues. I mean, through the first 16 games of his big league career, Murphy’s bat has been 60% above league average with a 160 wRC+ to this point. He’s hit for a ton of power with four homers and a .386 ISO after clubbing 10 homerts and posting a .317 ISO in 31 games at the Triple-A level prior to getting the call. What do I like most, you ask? Well, as a right-handed hitter, Murphy has obliterated right-handers at the MLB level in a small sample after doing so in the minors as well. All four of Murphy’s homers have come against a righty as well as three of his five doubles. Add it up and you have a massive .517 ISO, 1.071 OPS, .422 wOBA and 171 WRC+ against righties in his brief big league career to this point. However, we can go back and look at the massive 1.154 OPS he crafted against righties across 88 Triple-A bats and conclude the guy just hits righties very, very well. He’s hit a bit of a rut of late, but I am still loving the potential in a four-man stack against a pitcher that has certainly been among the more blowup-prone pitchers in baseball in recent seasons. Big hopes for this A’s stack tonight.