MLB Analytical Angles 9/24/16
We have a split slate today with 5 games on the early slate and 10 games on the late slate. It looks like a good day for cash games as well as GPPs because we have aces that we can target on both slates for cash games and some interesting cheaper pitching options for GPPs. There also looks like there will be a lot of value available amongst hitters, especially on FanDuel, that will help us fill out our rosters in both formats.
Note: FanDuel pricing is used unless otherwise noted.
Pitching looks pretty good on the early slate, so it is going to be difficult to find a lot of good hitting spots with only five games to choose from. My approach to this slate would be to mainly target Jays hitters against Sabathia and Rangers hitters against Alcantara. This will be a popular approach, however, so if you are playing GPPs I would recommend mixing in leverage plays like Khris Davis against Yu Darvish or Corey Dickerson/Brad Miller against Rick Porcello. In GPPs you could also fade the Jays and Rangers entirely and pivot to the Tigers, Cubs or Cardinals who all have just as much upside as the chalk offenses on this slate, they just have a lower probability of reaching it. In cash games I would definitely focus on the Toronto and Texas bats and fill in around them with inexpensive options so that you can afford good pitching.
Welington Castillo (C)- ARZ at BAL- $3,000
Castillo is on the positive side of his platoon split tonight against Wade Miley in Baltimore. Although Baltimore is not as good of a park to hit in as Arizona is, it is still a great place to hit (and honestly the Grand Canyon would become hitter friendly if Wade Miley was pitching). Castillo has a .356 wOBA and .233 ISO against left-handed pitching over the last 12 months and has been crushing the ball lately with a 57 percent hard contact rate over the last 15 games. Miley has allowed 1.62 home runs per nine innings to right-handed hitters this season and Castillo has a good chance to add to that.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B)- ARZ at BAL- $3,400
I forced myself to cut back on the number of Diamondbacks I recommend today but Goldschmidt makes the cut. He has a .438 wOBA and .216 ISO against left-handed pitching over the last year and should be able to take advantage of his matchup with Miley today. I expect Goldschmidt, and the Diamondbacks in general, to be popular today but they are in a really good spot so I don’t really mind.
Joey Votto (1B)- CIN at MIL- $4,100
Joey Votto faces Taylor Jungmann in Milwaukee tonight. Jungmann is a former first-round pick who may eventually be a good pitcher but he isn’t there yet. Votto is one of the best overall hitters in baseball and I really like him in this matchup. He also makes for a nice pivot off of Goldschmidt in GPPs since he is $700 more expensive on FanDuel and will probably be attract a fraction of the ownership that Goldschmidt does. Votto has a .413 wOBA and .229 ISO against right-handed pitching and has seen a 10 percentage point uptick in his flyball rate over the last 15 days. He should be able to do damage against the inexperienced righty.
Brian Dozier (2B)- MIN vs SEA- $3,800
Dozier faces a lefty today and there really isn’t much more to say than that. He has a .425 wOBA and .356 ISO against lefties and a 45 percent hard contact rate over the last 15 days. Ariel Miranda has allowed 1.80 home runs per nine innings to righties this season along with about 38 percent hard contact. This is a very good matchup for Dozier, who also happens to get a slight price decrease from where he has been in recent weeks.
Jose Reyes (3B)- NYM vs PHI- $3,200
Third base actually sucks today because all of the usual top options are in bad matchups, which leads to Jose Reyes being the premium option at the positon. He faces Alec Asher who just really isn’t a good major league pitcher. He doesn’t strike anyone out, and Reyes doesn’t strike out, so there is a good chance that Reyes reaches base. If Rupp is starting for Philadelphia, then Reyes should be able to steal which would give him nice upside at a weak position today.
Corey Seager (SS)- LAD vs COL- $4,100
I don’t think I’m capable of writing a hitting article and not including Corey Seager. All the guy does is rake. Tonight he faces Chad Bettis in Los Angeles. Bettis has been good against lefties this season, but Corey Seager is Corey Seager. He has a .410 wOBA and .230 ISO against right-handed pitching to go along with 44 percent hard contact over the last 15 days. That is a ton of upside at the shortstop position where it is hard to come by. The matchup with Bettis is not ideal, but I pretty much consider Seager matchup proof- plus the Colorado bullpen sucks so, even if Bettis contains him, he will have chances late in the game to do a lot of damage.
Christian Yelich (OF)- MIA vs ATL- $3,400
Yelich is on the strong side of his platoon split tonight in a matchup with Aaron Blair of the Braves. Yelich has a .393 wOBA and .217 ISO against right-handed pitching and Blair has allowed 1.74 home runs per nine innings to lefties this season. Yelich also has seen an uptick in his flyball rate over the last 15 days and, since he should be able to hit the ball hard off of Blair, I like his chances of taking him deep tonight.
Mike Trout (OF)- LAA at HOU- $4,500
I will get Mike Trout right before the season ends and, seeing as how this is my last article of the season, today seems like the day. Brad Peacock has pitched pretty well since returning to the majors but I don’t buy it because he has just never been able to maintain his command and success over a long period of time. He has been home run prone against righties throughout his career and Trout is obviously one of the best power-hitting righties in baseball, boasting a .421 wOBA and .249 ISO against right-handed pitching. The price tag is definitely prohibitive, but there is enough value today that it shouldn’t be too difficult to fit him in your lineup.
Nelson Cruz (OF)- SEA at MIN- $3,800
I saved the best for last amongst the outfield options. Cruz is one of my favorite GPP targets today. People tend to overlook him against righties because he is known for his ability to hit lefties, but he is very good against righties as well with a .349 wOBA and .220 ISO. Tyler Duffey is a reverse splits pitcher and has been home run prone against right-handed hitters, allowing 2.49 home runs per nine innings on 35.9 percent hard contact. In addition, Duffey’s go-to pitch is his curveball and Cruz has destroyed curveballs from opposing righties over the last two seasons. If I had to pick one guy to hit a home run on this slate it would be Cruz.
Tyler Flowers (C)- ATL at MIA- $2,700
Flowers faces Wei-Yen Chen tonight in Miami. The ballpark is not good, but Chen has allowed 1.84 home runs per nine innings to righties this season- something that has plagued him throughout his career. Flowers hits lefties very well with a .360 wOBA and .142 ISO. Although the ISO is relatively low, he has made hard contact 40.3 percent of the time against left-handed pitching this season with only 9.7 percent soft contact. I think he can do some damage against the flyball inducing, home run prone, Chen tonight.
Tommy Joseph (1B)- PHI at NYM- $2,300
Joseph is almost minimum price tonight against a lefty and he has a .387 wOBA and .287 ISO in this platoon split. It is basically impossible to find more upside near min price ever. Gilmartin has been pretty solid throughout his minor league career, but I would roster Joseph at this price against some very good lefties so I will definitely be interested against a guy who has almost no experience in the majors.
Kennys Vargas (1B)- MIN vs SEA- $2,800
Vargas should go overlooked tonight since he is a first baseman and there are a lot of them, which makes him a nice GPP option. He has an insane .553 wOBA and .400 ISO against left-handed pitching over the last 12 months and, while there is almost certainly regression coming, I don’t expect it to start today against Ariel Miranda who has allowed 1.80 home runs per nine innings and 38 percent hard contact to righties this season. I really like a mini stack of Dozier and Vargas in GPPs tonight.
Dee Gordon (2B)- MIA vs ATL- $2,700
I don’t know who Gordon pissed off at FanDuel but they refuse to price him correctly. Today he gets to face Aaron Blair who is not good at pitching. He has a 10.2 percent strikeout rate against lefties this season which means that Gordon should be able to put the ball in play. When Gordon puts the ball in play, there is a good chance he reaches base because his speed allows him to leg out more than his fair share of infield hits. When Gordon gets on base with Tyler Flowers catching, Gordon steals because Flowers is even worse at throwing out base runners than Blair is at pitching. If you don’t pay up for Dozier at second base today, lock in Dee Gordon.
Chris Owings (SS)- ARZ at BAL- $2,500
I said I forced myself to limit the number of Arizona hitters I mentioned, but there are still four in this article and Owings in the third. He goes under the radar, but has been really good against left-handed pitching- especially considering his price. He has a .339 wOBA and .181 ISO against lefties and should be batting second for Arizona against Wade Miley. He gets a downgrade in this matchup because his stolen base upside is limited, but he is still my favorite point-per-dollar shortstop play tonight on sites where he is cheap.
Yasmany Tomas (OF)- ARZ at BAL- $2,700
Tomas is my fourth Arizona recommendation today. $2,700 against any lefty, but especially Wade Miley, is criminally underpriced to the point that it is annoying because it will drive his ownership up so much. He has a .448 wOBA and .310 ISO against lefties and absolutely has double dong upside in this matchup. On sites where he is expensive he is still an elite play, but on sites like FanDuel where he is basically free there is no reason not to have him in your lineups.
Rajai Davis (OF)- CLE vs CWS- $2,900
Davis faces Jose Quintana tonight. Quintana is a pretty good pitcher and the matchup isn’t great for Davis. The reason he makes my list is because of Omar Narvaez. If Narvaez is catching, then there is a very good chance that Davis pays off his price tag nicely because Narvaez has proven completely incapable of throwing out base stealers in the majors. If Davis is able to reach base against Quintana, he should have double digit points fairly quickly which makes him a nice play at only $2,900.