Yesterday was my first effort in a while, and it worked out okay—except for me not offering up my thoughts on pitching! Today I will start off with the hurlers.
Julio Teheran ($8,500) is death to right-handed hitters, but left-handed hitters have owned him over the past year. Teheran gives up 39.8% hard contact to lefties, and we know the Mets lineup is littered with them. Michael Conforto has a 142 wRC+ and an insane 47.0% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching, and is my favorite play of the bunch. Curtis Granderson has a 128 wRC+ and a 42.0% hard contact rate against right-handers, and is my second favorite. Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera both hit southpaws harder than righties, but both still make solid hard contact against right-handed pitching at 32 and 33 percent, respectively. Teheran IS going to allow a home run or two on Sunday. And this is a lifetime Braves fan telling you this. Teheran may limit the damage a little, but he likes to walk LHHs (11.6% BB-rate) and the Braves can’t throw any runners out once they get on base. There is sneaky upside with these Mets on Sunday. Play with your head, folks.
Pay Up for deGromination
I just made that up. "deGromination," sort of like domination...get it? Okay, since I had to spell it out it must be hot garbage. Anyway, I expect Jacob deGrom ($10,400) to be pitching with a lead tomorrow. I don’t know if anyone is billing this as a pitcher’s duel, but they shouldn’t be. If the Mets were a right-handed heavy lineup, I could see it. As it is, I expect the Mets to take advantage of Teheran’s glaring weakness. Also, the "Barves" are terrible and their best hitter (Freddie Freeman) is a lefty, who deGrom is actually better against. "deGromination" allows less hard contact, less medium contact, and more soft contact to left-handed hitters. Those numbers are 22.6%/47.1%/30.4% (soft/med/hard). Right-handed hitters have a better chance against him, though still not a great one. RHHs have a batted ball profile of 17.1%/50.0%/33.0% (soft/med/hard) and are slashing .252/.308/.372 with a .298 wOBA against RHPs. That’s horribly mediocre. Now which right-handed bat are you buying for Atlanta? Chase d’Arnaud? He is your best option. Now that’s saying something. Saying get all the deGromination you can, I think.
Pay Down and Go Crazy
Archie Bradley ($6,500) opened as a -140 favorite against the Phillies, and I am interested. Hear me out before you run away from this pick screaming. Everyone and their mother will be on deGrom on Sunday (rightfully so). And perhaps that is the right move, as it is certainly the most logical. But in my experience, being logical never won anyone a big tournament. There is only one game on this entire slate that opened with a run total of seven or below (ATL@NYM) and every other game opened at 8 or above. Therefore, you can’t let the higher totals scare you away from finding another pitcher.
Archie Bradley has shown an ability to get very close to the 30 FDP threshold pretty consistently, which is nothing to scoff at if you are able to load up on the hitters of your choosing due to his minimal salary. Consider Bradley’s last few scores: 29, 20, 45, 52, and 30. The first three were without the 12-point win, for your general information. Bradley has not been good against left-handed hitters, so I imagine the Phillies will employ the same lefty-heavy lineup on Sunday as they did on Saturday. You know, same lineup that featured Cody Asche, Odubel Herrera, Andres Blanco, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Paredes. That lineup managed three hits against Zack Greinke on Saturday, with one home run being the only damage Greinke experienced. Now obviously Greinke is elite and Bradley is not, but Bradley has done some things well. He has limited right-handed bats to a .186/.273/.406 slash, and RHBs have managed a 30.6% hard contact rate against him, which is pretty average (read: not bad). Against lefties it does get ugly, with a slash of .281/.378/.556 and a hard contact rate of 37.0% allowed. So go ahead and pencil Odubel Herrera into any lineups where you don’t have Bradley. Other than Herrera, though...where does the danger come from? All I’m saying is there’s a chance!
Martinez, Moya, and Saltalamacchia
No, that’s not a law firm. That is the sound of Chris Young’s demise. Young has allowed a startling 51.5% hard contact rate to lefties in 2016. Lefty bats are slashing .341/.414/.862 overall with an insane .516 wOBA against him. In short, he has been terrible against them. Sure, we are only dealing with a 19-inning sample size, but in those 19 innings Young has allowed a mind-blowing 13 home runs! I don’t typically use exclamation marks, but how could I avoid it with that statistic?!?
Anyway, Kaufmann Stadium should help depress the longball somewhat, but I am still taking as many left-handed shots as I can against Young. Victor Martinez, Steven Moya and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the only candidates I can find on the righty-heavy Detroit roster. V-Mart has a 44.4% hard contact rate against RHPs, as well as a slash of .339/.380/.552 and a .212 ISO. He is the most complete left-handed hitter Young will face on Sunday. He may not be the most powerful, though. Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn’t hitting for average against RHPs (slash of .207/.337/.483) but he is hitting for power (.276 ISO and a 41.7% hard contact rate). "Salty" is a legitimate GPP option if he cracks the lineup on Sunday. I admittedly don’t know as much about Moya just yet, but he is making hard contact 44.0% of the time and he is a lefty...so he’s in play for me. He’ll likely bat seventh and he only costs 2K on FanDuel. Sign me up for some upside in my GPPs.
I’m rolling with a small sample size here but I would surmise that the Texas Rangers will have a pretty high run projection against Mike Leake on Sunday. If that’s the case I am pretty interested in Shin-soo Choo ($2,900), who is 4 for 8 against Leake with two home runs. Choo has two multi-hit games out of his last three, and has scored in double-digits in four out of five games since returning from the DL. I like him more as a cash game option, but I might have a share as a one-off play in a tournament if he fits into what I am doing. Take advantage of the injury discount and Choo’s cheap price while you can.
Enjoy the Reverse Splits
A cursory glance at Toronto’s BvP against Tillman is ridiculously encouraging, unless your name is Chris Tillman. Edwin Encarnacion and Kevin Pillar each have three home runs against him, while the red-hot Michael Saunders has two (I know he is a lefty but he is relevant). Josh Donaldson, Ezequiel Carrera, Ryan Goins, and Troy Tulowitzki all have a homer against Tillman, too. That’s a whopping 12 home runs, folks. If you add up all those at-bats for those hitters, Tillman is allowing one home run per every 11 at-bats against those Toronto hitters. That’s not too shabby of a theoretical "floor," since the rudimentary math says Tillman should allow at least two home runs on Sunday. We shall see.
In cash games I’d probably stick with Carrera, Saunders, Donaldson, and E5. In tournaments I’d make sure I got Kevin Pillar in there instead of Carrera or Saunders. I suppose the one I got rid of would depend on the rest of my roster construction. Tillman’s numbers this year actually point to some improvement against RHBs, but he still allows more hard contact to them (34.8% compared to 27.5% to lefties). He is limiting the fly balls to right-handed bats, but Donaldson and E5 are fly-ball hitters. This is a strength on strength scenario, but I’ll give the edge to the bats in the hitter’s haven known as Camden Yards.
Chris Davis and/or Pedro Alvarez vs. Marcus Stroman
Marcus Stroman has stellar ground ball percentages at 61.7% to LHH and 57.4% to RHH. However, if there is a way for him to be beaten, it is by left-handed hitting. Stroman allows more hard contact to lefties (33.3% compared to 30.4% to RHH) and has an inflated 17.2% HR/FB ratio to left-handed bats. That HR/FB ratio drops to 9.4% against RHH. The 17.2% mark to LHH is likely to come down eventually, as Stroman’s career mark against LHH is 10.8%. But for his career Stroman gives up more line drives, more fly balls, more hard contact, and more home runs per fly ball to left-handed hitters. Therefore, if you are taking a shot with a Baltimore bat, logic points you to "Crush" or to Alvarez. You can try to talk yourself into Matt Wieters, but I only prefer him against southpaws.
Stud of the Day
Let’s roll with Jose Altuve against a southpaw. If you guys follow FakeTeams at all you know Altuve has Ruthian-level statistics against left-handed pitchers. In 2015, it was a .372/.431/.543 slash, a 166 wRC+, a .170 ISO, and a .413 wOBA. In 2016, Altuve has been EVEN BETTER, with a slash of .373/.486/.593, a 196 wRC+, a .220 ISO, and a .462 wOBA. Altuve hasn’t homered off of a lefty in a while. He’s more than due...he is overdue. I am all in on him for Sunday’s games.
Sample Lineup for Giggles
Archie Bradley, Victor Martinez, Chris Davis, Jose Altuve, Pedro Alvarez, Francisco Lindor, Kevin Pillar, Michael Saunders, Curtis Granderson.