MLB Analytical Angles 9/10/16
Today brings us another split slate, this one with four games cranking up at 1:05 EST and 11 on the main slate at 7:05. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on the main slate, but allow me to sum up the four gamer, in case you were in the want to dive in early.
It’s an interesting short slate in that the pitchers that have had higher SIERAs over their last 30 days are in pitcher parks and the pitchers who have excelled over the same period are in hitter’s parks. What to do? When I’m in doubt like this, I lean on talent over other variable, so I would stay away from Tanaka/Archer, even though it’s in Yankee Stadium, or I would pick a player as a one-off from that game, like Starlin Castro on FanDuel for $2,500 or Logan Morrison for $2,600. I’d probably be heavy on the BOS/TOR game for hitters, even though I like both SPs somewhat, the hitting talent on both sides is the best on the slate. I’d probably lean Boston more so in that game, due to the guaranteed ninth inning at-bats and a more consistent track record of delivery this season. Guys like Chris Young and Aaron Hill are LHP bashers that are fairly priced out across the industry.
So, now, let’s get to the main slate!
Mark Trumbo (OF) – BAL at DET – DET SP Jordan Zimmermann’s weak split is against RH bats at home, where he’s given up a 5.68 xFIP and 1.99 HR/9 IP. That puts Trumbo squarely in focus tonight, given his .500 SLG and .240 ISO in split here.
Randal Grichuk (OF) – STL vs. MIL – Two big splits lining up with each other here, as MIL SP Chase Anderson’s vs. RHH-Away split (5.34 xFIP, 2.45 HR/9 IP, 43% hard contact) goes against RHP basher Grichuk (146 wRC+, .338 ISO at home vs. RHP). He’s been batting sixth lately so it’s not too far down the stack to play.
J.D. Martinez (OF) – DET vs. BAL – Going against Ubaldo Jimenez, JDM gets to deploy his massive Home vs. RHP splits into play: 214 wRC+, .323 ISO, 42% hard contact.
Freddie Freeman (1B) – ATL vs. NYM – Another great split vs. split matchup here, as Freeman takes his 156 wRC+/.291 ISO vs. RHPs against NYM SP Bartolo Colon, who has offered up a 5.66 xFIP, 9.1% K-rate, 39% hard contact rate to LH bats on the road this season.
Daniel Murphy (2B) – WAS vs. PHI – Murphy has cooled considerably since dominating most of the season, but he’s been climbing back into the goodness again, especially against RHP at home, where in 15 at-bats in September, he’s back to a 203 wRC+ and .479 wOBA in split. He’s matched up with PHI SP Eickhoff, who in 17.2 IP against LH bats on the road since July 1st, has a 5.40 xFIP, 7.3% K-rate and 2.04 HR/9 IP.
Manny Machado (3B) – BAL at DET – Same as Trumbo above, Manny faces DET SP Zimmermann in his worst split, and Machado adds his solid 133 wRC+/.253 ISO in split here as well. Vegas lines up here as well, making this matchup tied for highest run total of the slate (9.5) and BAL is receiving 4.6 implied runs from that.
Brandon Crawford (SS) – SFG at ARI – Archie Bradley, since July 1st against LH bats at home, has given up a 5.82 xFIP, -3.1 K-BB rate, and 2.13 HR/9 IP. Crawford has been hitting fourth in the Giants vs. RHP lineup, is in a great park for hitting, and has been solid enough in split (118 wRC+) to take advantage here without paying a premium at SS.
Wilson Ramos (CATCH) – WAS vs. PHI – Ramos is above average at home against RHP (118 wRC+) and should have runners on base to drive in, key on FanDuel, in his six-slot in the batting order against PHI SP Eickhoff.
Ender Inciarte (OF) – ATL vs. NYM – He’s a relative value on FD-only, where he’s $3,200, but not DK, where he is unfathomably listed at $5,200, but a quick look inside his recent splits tell us why DK has him so high. I’ve already covered Colon’s terrible split here, now marry that to Inciarte’s 151 wRC+, .398 wOBA against RHP at home and his leadoff position and suddenly it (almost) makes sense.
Melky Cabrera (OF) – CWS vs. KCR – The Melk-man is only $2,700 on FanDuel tonight against KCR SP Edinson Volquez, who isn’t always a great target, but does struggle in this split, on the road against LHH, where in 13.1 IP in split, he’s given up 2.03 HR/9 IP, walked 11% and given up 47% hard contact.
Miguel Sano (OF) – MIN vs. CLE – I happen to like Mike Clevenger, but this season he has, in a very small sample as a starting pitcher, had trouble against RH bats, especially on the road. Sano, in 42 plate appearances in split since August 1st, has a very strong 160 wRC+ and .378 ISO in split here and is generally discounted everywhere.
Kendrys Morales (1B) – KCR at CHW – You knew I had to go after CHW SP James Shields at some point, right? Shields has been awful over the last 30 days, with a 5.31 SIERA and amazingly bad 4.50 HR/9 IP in that span. In a hilarious sample of his last 29 LH batters faced at home, Shields has given up a 7.47 xFIP and a 6.00 HR/9 IP. Meanwhile, Morales has been hot: Since August 1st, in 47 plate appearances against RHP away, Morales has a 183 wRC+ and .463 ISO. Yes, please.
Joe Panik (2B) – SFG at ARI – They’ve moved him down in the lineup, so that’s a bummer, but I like him anyway as a discount 2B ($2,700 on FD) in that great matchup against ARI SP Bradley in Chase Field.
Jake Lamb (3B) – ARI vs. SFG – A possible one-off here at a $2,900 on FD, since the Diamondbacks go against SFG SP Johnny Cueto tonight. Lamb has always done well at home against RHP, with a 166 wRC+/.396 ISO in split since July 1.
Asdrubal Cabrera (SS) – NYM at ATL – Since August 1st against RHP, Cabrera has registered a 199 wRC+ and faces ATL SP John Gant, who’s been solid, but has been hit a little harder by LHH (1.27 HR/9 IP, 4.14 xFIP)
Alex Avila (CATCH) – CWS vs. KCR – Avila is always cut-rate and provides the HR upside you want from a discount catcher. I covered KCR SP Volquez’s splits above with the Melk-man writeup, and Avila brings a 44% hard contact rate over the last six games into the matchup as well.
Good luck, everybody!