MLB Analytical Angles 9/4/16

Summary

Solid split slate today, with nine games going early (1:10 EST) and six more going at 4:05 EST. The Coors game is in the late slate and while I am going to list out all the names as if this were an all-day affair, I will call out when the participant is located in the LATE slate.

In the interest of not listing a lot of Coors bats, allow me the following: that LH bats against Archie Bradley is a really good thing (negative K-BB%, more hard contact, 5.76 xFIP away from Chase. Also, that Jon Gray has been solid at home, even in July-August where, over 32 IP, Gray has turned in a 10.13 K/9 against 2.81 BB/9, a solid 3.6 to 1 ration. His K-rate is 26% against 7% walk rate, and the xFIP is 3.43. Guys like Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt are always on the menu, but take caution.

Premium:

Max Kepler (OF) – MIN vs. CHW – There are times when CHW SP Anthony Ranaudo looks good and then, at some point, disaster strikes, as his 5.53 SIERA over last 30 days tells us. He’s not much of a K-rate pitcher (11% over L30) and he still walks a lot (9%). Oh, and he’s regularly giving up 2.5 HR/9IP, no matter the month. Lefties, righties, it doesn’t matter. Kepler should be batting in the middle and will either clean up what Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco and Joey Mauer set up and just knock himself in, or both.

Andrew McCutchen (OF) – PIT vs. MIL – Chase Anderson’s reverse splits are becoming an epidemic unto himself, but in August, Anderson fixed it, keeping his xFIP under 4.00 (3.36) for the first month since Aug 2015. Problem is, the lefties took over hammering Anderson for over 6.00 xFIP. I think his usual splits will come back here and even with the reversal, Anderson gave up 1.93 HR/9 IP to RH bats anyway in August. McCutchen has had above average expected power over the last week and 44% hard contact over the past two weeks.

Randal Grichuk (OF) – STL at CIN – It’s doesn’t really matter that the CIN SP is Tim Adleman, but it does matter that he’s right-handed, because Grichuk really digs the RHP and he hits them hard, to the tune of a .327 ISO over July/August (105 PA) and has a 270 expected power (100 is average) over the last week.

Chris Davis (1B) – BAL vs. NYY – Davis is back to pulling the ball and that’s been the spark that his power bat has needed, as he has a 339 expected power over his last six games. This goes with his .323 ISO against RHP this season, the Orioles 4.6 implied run total and 50% hard contact over the past two weeks.

Brian Dozier (2B) – MIN vs. CHW – No sense going on and on about it, Dozier has been a rocket of power and production for the last two months and Anthony Ranaudo, as I explained up in Kepler’s write up, won’t be the guy to slow him down.

Todd Frazier (3B) – CHW at MIN – Same game, other side, another bad pitcher. MIN SP Andrew Albers has given up three home runs in seven innings to RH bats, and Frazier is the meatiest vs. LH bat the Sox can send up there to hit him with. In 16 PA in August against LHP on the road, Frazier has a .400 ISO.

Francisco Lindor (SS) – CLE vs. MIALATE – The Indians are so good at home against RHP, that I want to list them all and find a way to squeeze both Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana in the lineup. Instead, I’ll take Lindor in the middle of the lineup, at a fair price on both FD and DK and the Indians carrying a 5.2 implied total against the bold look of Tom Koehler.

Gary Sanchez (CATCH) – NYY at BAL – He’s definitely cooling off, as his expected power is down to “only” 164, his contact rate is down and ground ball rate is up. Wade Miley has been pitching well, but over the past two months, his HR rate to RH bats is nearly 2 per nine innings pitched.

Value:

Tyler Naquin (OF) – CLE vs. MIA – LATE – Coco Crisp could be on here as well, as the sites haven’t caught up to Crisp batting leadoff for Cleveland now, but Naquin maintains his power heavy splits over the past month, slugging a .313 ISO and 152 wRC+ over 35 Pas against RHP at home since August 1.

Kole Calhoun (OF) – LAA at SEA – LATE – Calhoun and the Angels go against SEA SP Iwakuma, who has had a hard time over his last 30 days, recording a 4.77 SIERA over that span. He pitches better at home but hasn’t been getting a lot of soft contact from LH bats, even in Safeco, registering barely over 10% in split. The Angels are blazing hot right now and Calhoun finds himself in the middle of it, with a 150 expected power, 81% contact rate and 55% fly ball rate over the last week.

Curtis Granderson (OF) – NYM vs. WAS – On DraftKings, specifically, the Mets bats are priced way down and, given their recent hard hitting ways, are spectacular values against WAS SP Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez’s walk rate remains at 10% while his K-rate, once in the high 20s, is just above that 20% mark over his last 16.2 innings. Granderson remains hitting hard recently, with a 270 expected power, 80% contact rate and 53% fly ball rate. He, Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto are all very good prices, especially Conforto, who is $2,600 on DK.

Ryan Howard (1B) – PHL vs. ATL – Howard still has the all or nothing, low 60% contact rate but always high hard contact (mid 40s%), so a home run is always in play when he faces a RHP, especially at home. ATL SP Teheran, in 20.2 IP against LH bats since July 1, has given up an xFIP of 5.09, with 1.31 HR/9 IP.

Yoan Moncada (2B) – BOS at OAKLATE  – Moncada played Saturday night and picked up a double, gets a look at Kendall Graveman, he of the nearly 5.00 xFIP against LH bats this season. Given the Red Sox 4.7 implied run total and Moncada’s $3,100 salary, if he’s in the lineup, he’s worth rostering here.

Miguel Sano (3B) – MIN vs. CHW – I said yesterday that Sano’s power had been in a slump, but nothing better than James Shields to wake it up. It’s woke, and Sano now gets another great matchup with CHW SP Ranaudo and his price is still very reasonable in a high total (10.5) and suddenly potent lineup.

Tim Anderson (SS) – CHW at MIN – Anderson has a 147 wRC+ since August 1st against LHP, with a .393 wOBA. He’ll be batting second, likely, against MIN SP Albers and that huge implied run total that game has.

Sal Perez (CATCH) – KCR vs. DET – Detroit starting pitcher Daniel Norris doesn’t drive a lot of soft contact from opposing RH bats, with a little over 9%. Perez has a .244 ISO over the summer (since July 1) against LHP at home and the Royals have a solid 4.5 run implied total.

Good luck, everybody!