MLB DEEP DIVE – 8/24/17

PITCHING

Chris Sale is the best pitcher on the slate whenever he pitches- except, maybe, if Kluber is also pitching.  He had his worst start of the season the last time that he faced the Indians, but this is a slightly different Cleveland team.  Over the last 30 days, the Indians have a 20.8 percent strikeout percentage and 98 wRC+.  Over the last 14 days, the Indians have struck out 22.4 percent of the time with a 91 wRC+.  Add in that most of the hitters in their lineup are weaker against lefties than righties and it is a better spot than it seems at first glance for Sale.

Carlos Martinez is extremely expensive, but he does have a nice matchup against the San Diego Padres and he has a great home plate umpire in Will Little.  We saw Luke Weaver carve up this Padres lineup last night with a pitcher-friendly umpire behind the plate and Martinez gets the same situation tonight.  Martinez has struck out 29.3 percent of righties this season and the Padres will most likely have six righties in their lineup.  As long as they do not load up on lefties against Martinez, it is a great spot for him if you can afford him.

Jose Berrios is in an interesting spot against the White Sox.  He has not been getting many swings and misses in recent starts, and he has just an 18.4 percent strikeout percentage over the last 30 days, but his velocity and movement appear to be fine.  He has been better against righties than lefties throughout the season and the White Sox will most likely have three left-handed hitters in the top four.  That being said, there is not a lot to like as far as cheap pitching options on this slate, so rostering Berrios and hoping for the best in a decent matchup is worth considering.  Just keep in mind that he has not been himself lately and the White Sox do have quality lefties at the top of their lineup.

 

Troy Scribner being a viable option is about all you need to know about how terrible this slate is.  Scribner struck out 23.3 percent of hitters at AAA this season, but has just a 9.8 percent swinging strike percentage in his time with the Angels this season.  He is facing a Texas team that has been very bad on the road this season, striking out over 25 percent of the time.  There is some built in upside against this Texas offense and, with a lack of other value on the slate, Scribner is worth considering.

 

Hitting

High-Priced

 

Anthony Rizzo has a .379 wOBA and .251 ISO against righties this season and his hard hit percentage is up 5 percentage points from his season average over the last 14 days.  He will face hard throwing right-handed Sal Romano, who has allowed 41.9 percent flyballs to left-handed hitters this season.  Although he has allowed just 0.86 home runs per nine innings to lefties, his flyball percentage and 37.5 percent hard contact percentage suggest that he should be allowing more home runs.

 

Kyle Schwarber gets the same friendly matchup as Rizzo.  For the season, Schwarber has a .256 ISO against right-handed pitching.  His hard hit percentage over the last 14 days is 48 percent, up 12 percent from his season average of 36 percent.

 

Brian Dozier faces home run prone lefty Derek Holland in Chicago.  It is a sizeable ballpark boost for Dozier and he has destroyed left-handed pitching throughout his career.  That has continued this season, as he has a .397 wOBA and .255 ISO against lefties.  Holland has allowed 2.38 home runs per nine innings to righties this season.  Holland has also not been pitching well lately, allowing a .415 xwOBA to opposing hitters over the last 30 days.

 

Mike Trout gets left-handed sinkerballer Martin Perez tonight in Anaheim.  Trout has a .482 wOBA and .276 ISO against lefties, and Perez has allowed 1.41 home runs per nine innings to righties.  It goes without saying that Trout is a strong play every night, but do not overlook him in this spot against Perez.

 

Value

 

Billy Hamilton is in a plus stolen base matchup tonight against Jake Arrieta.  Hamilton, of course, is not a great hitter.  But, if he reaches base against Arrieta he should be able to steal as many open bases as are available ahead of him.  He usually goes underowned when the Reds are not a popular stack, so he makes for a great tournament option tonight.

 

Cory Spangenberg is not as good of a hitter as he has shown recently, but he is incredibly cheap against Carlos Martinez tonight.  Martinez has allowed a .343 wOBA to lefties compared to a .253 wOBA to righties this season.  If you are not rostering Martinez and you need value, Spangenberg, Solarte and Asuaje are all extremely cheap options that are in a decent spot.

 

Leury Garcia is making a case for one of the most underrated hitters available, as his price continues to drop despite a .212 ISO against right-handed pitching.  As mentioned earlier, Berrios has not been striking anyone out lately and he has been worse against lefties all season long.  Berrios has allowed 1.2 home runs per nine innings to lefties so far and Garcia is in a nice spot atop the White Sox lineup.

 

Tournament Stacks

 

Minnesota Twins- The Twins are the obvious stack on this slate as they face Derek Holand in Chicago.  The White Sox have the worst bullpen in baseball right now- and it is not close- so fully stacking the Twins makes a lot of sense since whatever lefties are in the lineup will have good matchups throughout the game once Holland leaves.

 

Los Angeles Angels- Stacking against Martin Perez can be a frustrating experience since he gets so many groundballs, but the Angels will have a right-handed heavy lineup that is affordable.  Perez has been home run prone to righties this season and the pricing of the Angels hitters, other than Trout, will allow you to roster the pitchers that you want.

 

Texas Rangers- This is not a high probability spot for the Rangers as we know that they have been terrible on the road, but it is a great spot for tournaments.  We know that a common roster construction in tournaments is to pay up for SP1 and to take a cheap SP2.  Troy Scribner will most likely be the go-to cheap SP2 tonight.  While he is not a terrible pitcher, he is almost guaranteed to be higher owned than normal simply because of the lack of options on the slate.  Stacking against pitchers that are chalk only because of a lack of other options is a great tournament strategy.