MLB Tournament Thoughts by ShipMyMoney aka Adam Scherer – 9/1/17

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Now let’s get down to business with some insight from ShipMyMoney!

 

There are 15 games on the slate, so here are some of the players I am eyeing for my tournament lineups and after my big night Tuesday on FantasyDraft, I can’t wait to get back in action!

Starting Pitchers

Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals, $25,800 Scherzer has a 35.1 percent strikeout percentage this season and will take on a young Philadelphia team that has a lot of strikeouts in their lineup.  Scherzer has had huge splits between righties and lefties this season, striking out 44.6 percent of righties compared to 26.6 percent of lefties, so we prefer him against right-handed heavy lineups.  That is not the case tonight as the Phillies’ projected lineup has six lefties, but they are not overly powerful lefties and Scherzer should still have the advantage.  It would not be surprising to see a 40+ FantasyDraft point performance out of Scherzer tonight in his home park.

Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks, $18,300 Corbin has been absolutely phenomenal since introducing more sliders to his pitch mix last month.  Corbin already threw his slider on about one-third of his pitches this season but, since his start on August 12th, he has thrown the pitch an average of 45.7 percent of the time.  His slider grades out as one of the best sliders in the game in terms of effectiveness, so it is a good thing that he is throwing it with even more regularity.  Corbin’s perceived velocity on his fastball is also one of the highest in the league for left-handed pitchers, despite only averaging 92-93 miles per hour in actual velocity.

Mix in a change-up that he throws occasionally and he is able to keep hitters off balance with a mix of very good stuff.  Since that August 12th start, Corbin has struck out 25.2 percent of hitters with just a 6.2 percent walk percentage, 0.3 home runs per nine innings allowed, a 57.5 percent groundball percentage, and more soft contact than hard contact allowed.  He has had success against righties and lefties alike and the Padres’ lineup has strikeouts throughout.  Add in that Corbin has, somehow, pitched better at Chase Field than away from it this season and it is a dream spot for the new and improved Corbin.

Mike Clevinger, Cleveland Indians, $15,000 Clevinger is a pitcher that I have recommended a number of times this season as he has three very good offspeed pitches that he is able to mix in to keep hitters from sitting on his fastball.  All of his offspeed pitches rank highly in whiff per swing percentage this season so it is difficult for hitters to just key in on one of them.  Clevinger can get in trouble with walks, at times, as he does not have the best control.  Therefore, we want to roster him against teams that provide strikeout upside and do not walk often or, at least, that will chase a lot of pitches out of the strike zone.

Over the last 30 days, the Orioles have swung at the highest percentage of pitches outside of the strike zone in all of baseball, they rank just 18th in contact percentage on those pitches, and their 5.0 percent walk percentage ranks dead last by a relatively wide margin.  Factor in that they will most likely have seven righties in their lineup and that Clevinger has struck out 28.5 percent of righties while allowing just 0.75 home runs per nine innings to them this season and this is a matchup made in heaven.

 

Infield

Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks, $9,000  Lamb will face Jordan Lyles at home in Chase Field.  In limited innings this season, Lyles has allowed 42.5 percent hard contact, 7.5 percent soft contact, and 2.45 home runs per nine innings.  Lamb destroys right-handed pitching and benefits from the favorable hitting conditions at home.  He is way too cheap for this spot.

Luis Valbuena, Los Angeles Angels, $7,200 Valbuena has power against righties, it is just a matter of making contact.  Mike Leake, starter for the opposing Mariners, has struck out just north of 10 percent of left-handed hitters this season- meaning Valbuena should not have trouble making contact.  While Leake induces a lot of groundballs when he is on and has allowed just 1.04 home runs per nine to lefties this season, there are still a couple of reasons to like Valbuena.  First, Leake’s command for the last couple of months has not been as sharp as usual, so he is relatively likely to make a mistake to Valbuena.

Even if he does not make a mistake, Leake loves to work down in the strike zone to force hitters into groundballs.  That is fine, except that Valbuena has a big looping swing and low pitches from Leake could easily find their way right into his swing path.  He is almost never highly owned because of his spot in the lineup and that gives him a lot of merit in tournaments.

 

Outfield

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, $9,200­ – Judge has obviously struggled in the second half compared to the first half, we all know this.  But his struggles have primarily been with his inability to make contact with pitches.  Therefore, we should still look to roster him against pitchers who are not good at getting swings and misses.

Martin Perez will be starting for the Rangers tonight and he has struck out a measly 12.6 percent of right-handed hitters that he has faced this season.  He also has not been getting as many groundballs as his reputation suggests, with just a 45.4 percent groundball percentage to righties.  This has led to Perez allowing 1.2 home runs per nine innings to hitters from the right side.  Not that he needs it, but Judge gets a boost in hitting environment going from New York to the summer heat of Texas.  His price tag and matchup make him a very attractive option.

Nick Williams, Philadelphia Phillies, $5,400  This is the epitome of a leverage spot in tournaments.  Max Scherzer, mentioned earlier as a top pitching play, is going to be extremely highly owned tonight in his matchup against the Phillies.  Scherzer’s biggest weakness is left-handed power, as he has allowed 1.50 home runs per nine innings to lefties this season.

If you are not rostering Scherzer, it makes sense then to look for left-handed power hitters that are going to be facing him.  Williams is a young hitter who still has holes in his swing, but he has posted a .208 ISO and .342 wOBA against right-handed pitching in his time in the major leagues so far after posting a .230 ISO at AAA this season.  He is obviously a risk play against one of the best pitchers in baseball, but there is a lot to be gained by rostering a very cheap hitter who could take the highest-owned pitcher on the slate deep.

Best of luck in taking second place tonight! ~ShipMyMoney