MLB DEEP DIVE – 9/29/17
With only three days to go in the regular season, there isn’t much to discuss before lineups are released. Teams still playing for playoff positioning or a playoff birth are as follows: Colorado Rockies (two games ahead of Milwaukee for the final wild card spot in the NL), Milwaukee Brewers (two games behind Colorado), Boston Red Sox (One win or one Yankees loss away from clinching the AL East), and New York Yankees (Need to win out and for Boston to lose out to win AL East).
All other teams have either already clinched or are eliminated from playoff contention. As a result, it’s difficult to know where to look prior to lineups being released. If you’re playing daily fantasy baseball tonight, I would highly recommend watching the Deeper Dive at 5:00pm EST, where we will have more clarity across the board.
This is a preliminary look at pitching for Friday’s slate, but everything could change once lineups are posted. There are far too many teams capable of running out Triple-A lineups tonight, so nothing here is concrete.
Trevor Bauer [RHP – CLE] faces a punchless White Sox team on a night where he’s a -280 ML favorite at home. Chicago owns a slate-low 3.1-run implied total, and even if they run out their everyday lineup, it’ll still be closer to a Triple-A squad than most. The White Sox are striking out at a 24.5 percent clip over the last 30 days, and should continue to facilitate big games to opposing pitchers over the final three days of the season. Bauer is a bit pricey, but there’s legitimate 30-plus-fantasy point upside in this spot.
Stephen Strasburg [RHP – WAS] should have no trouble posting quality fantasy totals tonight, but it’s still unclear whether we’ll need to pay for him or not. On one hand, teams may run out bad enough lineups for us to pay down at pitching. On the other hand, those bad lineups could present us with enough value bats to pay a premium for pitchers like Strasburg. If Pittsburgh’s lineup is anything like it was last night against Edwin Jackson, however, we’ll want to make Strasburg a priority. Chris Bostick, Jordan Luplow, Sean Rodriguez and Max Moroff will present more than enough strikeouts to mitigate the contact-heavy bats of McCutchen, Marte and possibly Polanco.
Kyle Gibson [RHP – MIN] isn’t a pitcher I like to pay for, but he’ll definitely warrant consideration on Friday night. The Tigers are a dreadful team, currently vying for the worst record in Major League Baseball as the season comes to a close. They may not be striking out at an elevated clip, but they aren’t scoring runs, either. Gibson has posted 21-plus DraftKings Points in five of his last seven starts–one of which came against Detroit–and draws another opportunity to add to that tally tonight. Since August 22nd, Gibson is sporting a 22.7 percent K-rate, 5.7 BB-rate, 3.41 xFIP and 11.6 percent swinging strike rate. He’s a -170 ML favorite at home, while the Tigers own the third lowest implied run total on the slate at 3.7.
Chris Stratton [RHP – SFG] is not a particularly high-upside pitcher, but he is facing the Padres at home inside AT&T Park. We won’t know what the entire landscape of value pitching will look like until later in the day, but at the current time there isn’t much to get excited about. Stratton owns a sub-20-percent strikeout rate and an 8.6-percent swinging strike rate, so we’ll need him to limit runs and maximize any and all opportunity against San Diego’s K-heavy bats. The Padres own an unimposing 4.1-run implied total, though, and Stratton is inducing enough weak contact to exploit the spacious outfield at AT&T Park.
Matt Boyd [LHP – DET] has been very impressive over his last three starts, allowing only two earned runs across a combined 20.2 innings, while tossing a complete-game shutout against the White Sox in the process. He’s sporting a solid 11.6 percent swinging strike rate and 23 percent soft-contact rate over that span, too, which suggests Boyd could continue to pitch well in his final regular season start. The Twins ran out their Hangover Lineup on Thursday after clinching a playoff berth the night before, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul Molitor give some of his everyday starters another night off on Friday. Pay close attention to the Twins lineup this afternoon, as Boyd could become a rock-solid value option at a sub-$7K price point.
Nolan Arenado [3B – R] and the Rockies still have something to play for as they look to bury the Brewers’ playoff hopes on Friday night. They need two wins to seal the deal, so we can expect Bud Black to run out his regular lineup against Hyun-jin Ryu. Ryu has always been better against right-handed hitters, but that won’t keep me from picking on him tonight. Arenado is absolutely demolishing southpaw pitching this season, and should be a priority option at Coors Field, while D.J. LeMahieu [2B – R] has been markedly better with the platoon advantage, too.
Charlie Blackmon [OF – L] has been downright brilliant at home this year, and he’ll face a left-hander whose primary struggles have come against same-handed bats. Don’t sleep on Blackmon just because he doesn’t draw the platoon advantage — he’s arguably the best play out of all Colorado hitters.
Trevor Story [SS – R] and Ian Desmond [1B/OF – R] both appear to have woken up as the season winds down, and the two of them are reasonably priced across the board. I wouldn’t worry too much about Ryu’s reverse splits here, as he’ll still have to pitch at Coors, and is allowing 37-percent hard contact to right-handed hitters on the year. Colorado’s 5.9-run implied total is tied with the Dodgers for the highest mark on Friday’s 13-game slate.
Giancarlo Stanton [OF – R] hammered to home runs last night, putting him at an eye-popping 59 long balls on the year. He’s one shy of 60 with three games to play, and now he’ll face a rookie southpaw on Friday night. Need I say more? Gohara is allowing a .380 wOBA, .218 ISO and a 43 percent flyball rate to righties over four major-league starts, and those numbers aren’t likely to improve with Stanton at the dish.
Cody Bellinger [1B/OF – L] and the rest of this Dodgers team are firmly in play against Chad Bettis. The Dodgers already clinched the best record in baseball, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some everyday hitters get a rest, but that would likely present us with solid value in the highest projected scoring game on the night. Consider Corey Seager [SS – L], Justin Turner [3B – R], Chris Taylor [2B/OF – L] and Yasmani Grandal [C – L/R] in the same breath as Bellinger, and don’t hesitate to exploit some of the discounted price points.
Jose Ramirez [2B/3B – L/R] and Francisco Lindor [SS – L/R] could be tough hitters to fit at the top of their positions, but the matchup with Mike Pelfrey is certainly enticing. Pelfrey is allowing 2.30 HR/9 to left-handed hitters with a 6.14 xFIP and 2.8 percent K-BB rate on the year. He’s been rather effective against same-handed hitters, but the Indians are capable of loading their lineup with lefties. Assuming you can’t, or don’t want to fit these high-end Cleveland bats, Jay Bruce [OF – L] and Lonnie Chisenhall [OF – L] make for great ways to get exposure to the Indians without having to pay a premium. Cleveland boasts the third highest implied run total on Friday night (5.5), so now we’ll just have to wait and see what lineup they deploy this evening.
Joey Gallo [1B/3B – L] is one homer shy of the 40 mark in his first full season with the Rangers, and you best believe I’m on pins and needles waiting for him to smack one 900 feet deep on Friday night. Tonight’s matchup with Raul Alcantara presents Gallo with a better opportunity than ever to reach the all-important 40 mark, especially with this game being played at Globe Life Park. Alcantara is coughing up 2.57 HR/9 with a 5.86 xFIP to left-handers across 92 career batters faced, and the Rangers own the third highest implied run total (5.5) on Friday’s slate.
Ryon Healy [1B/3B – R] also makes for a nice play at the same positions and near identical price point as Gallo. Martin Perez is coughing up a .364 wOBA to righties this year, with a putrid 12 percent K-rate and 35 percent hard-hit rate as the season comes to a close. He’s also serving up 1.33 HR/9 to righties at home with a 5.39 xFIP and 2.1 percent K-BB rate. Don’t sleep on Healy tonight, as he’s hit southpaw pitching well this season and continues to be reasonably priced.
Marcus Semien [SS – R] also makes for a fine mid-range play at the shortstop position, and is a nice way to save if you aren’t keen on spending up. If you do intend on paying a premium, though, Trea Turner [SS – R] draws a spectacular base-stealing matchup against Gerrit Cole.
Nick Williams [OF – L] draws a phenomenal matchup with Matt Harvey tonight, who’s coughing up a heinous .425 wOBA and near .300 ISO to left-handed hitters on the year. I have no idea why they continue to trot Harvey back out onto the mound, but we’ll continue to exploit these boneheaded decisions. Harvey really has been terrible; he’s striking lefties out at a 13 percent clip while owning a 6.24 xFIP and 0.5 percent K-BB rate, good for some of the worst numbers in the league. I’ll have no problem using Phillie bats as value options tonight, as Odubel Herrera [OF – L], Cesar Hernandez [2B – L/R] and Freddy Galvis [SS – L] are also very cheap across the industry. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Phillies chase Harvey from the mound before the fourth inning is over.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Trout [OF – R] vs. Gonzales [LHP]; Curtis Granderson [OF – L] @ Bettis [RHP]; Rougned Odor [2B – L] vs. Alcantara [RHP]; Chris Iannetta [C – R] @ Kennedy [RHP]; Stephen Vogt [C – L] @ Gant [RHP]; Ozzie Albies [2B – L/R] @ Straily [RHP]; Brian Dozier [2B – R] vs. Boyd [LHP]; Steven Souza Jr. [OF – R] vs. Miley [LHP]