Of course Jorge De La Rosa held the lefty-crushing Diamondbacks to one run over six innings on Saturday. How is that possible, you ask? I dunno! How is it possible the red priestess is so powerful but so wrong all the time? I mean, she thought Stannis Baratheon was Azor Ahai. What rubbish! Just like a Jorge De La Rosa gem. Moving on.
Saturday’s top offenses were Colorado, Houston, and Toronto. Some pretty standard names, those. At the time of this writing the Red Sox had mustered a single run off of A.J. Griffin (of the Hanley Ramirez solo shot variety). Apparently Hanley IS getting healthy, just like he said. Which means it is about to get "dangerous." My Boston stacks from the weekend wish the rest of Hanley’s team would get on board the dangerous train. Anyway, we’ll see if Boston manages to finish Sunday night with a flourish or not.
Sunday’s Main Slate on FanDuel begins at 1:05pm ET and has 11 games. Friendly reminder: Always check lineups prior to lock to make sure your players are, in fact, playing. And double-check that pesky weather.
Stephen Strasburg ($11,500) was scheduled to pitch on Sunday against Milwaukee but is being scratched due to some discomfort in his back. A move to the disabled list seems imminent, so get Strasburg out of any lineups you’ve already built. Tanner Roark will take his place (we’ll get to that tier later). Sans Strasburg, that leaves two elite arms to consider: Chris Sale vs. TOR and Jose Fernandez vs. CHC. Chris Sale ($11,100) has the tougher matchup against the Blue Jays in a hitter’s park, while Jose Fernandez ($10,900) is a tad cheaper and gets a good-not-great Cubs offense in the spacious confines of Marlins Park. For my money it’s Fernandez, who is 23-1 in his career at Marlins Park with a 1.48 ERA (stat courtesy of MLB.com). I like him slightly less if Marcell Ozuna sits (sore left wrist) but not enough to make me want to roster Sale against Toronto if I’m paying up for a pitcher.
The Milwaukee Brewers strikeout 26.1% of the time against right-handed pitchers, which is the worst mark in all of baseball. Tanner Roark ($8,200) is priced moderately and faces Jimmy Nelson, who has an FIP of 5.70 to left-handed hitters. Nelson also allows a lot of hard contact (37.3%) to lefties. That is a dangerous game to play against Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper. There should be a solid chance for Roark to pitch with a lead in this one. If he can go six or seven innings, strikeout five to seven batters, and grab the win, I’ll take that for 8.2K.
Marcus Stroman ($7,200) is an intriguing play for me. The Blue Jays are talking about sending him down to the minors to fix whatever is ailing him, as Stroman is currently allowing a .353 BAA and an OBP of .400 to opposing hitters. The narrative says this guy is fighting for his job on Sunday. The opponent is mediocre, as the White Sox theoretically boast two big bats in Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier—but rank 24th in wOBA (.303), 25th in wRC+ (86), and 22nd in ISO (.144). Those are horribly average marks for a team with two supposed sluggers and a hitter’s home park. Stroman still has healthy ground ball rates against LHH (60.5%) and RHH (56.8%) and could theoretically see some regression in the HR/FB ratio. That number is a staggering 20% against LHH, which is absolutely not sustainable, despite the hitter’s haven in which Stroman pitches half of his games. Stroman’s career 11.7% mark against LHH is still not good, but it would be a major improvement over the present. I’m interested in seeing how Stroman handles the pressure on Sunday. I’ll have at least one share.
The Yankees get a cheese matchup with Tyler Duffey, who has allowed at least four runs in each of his previous seven starts (stat courtesy of MLB.com). Duffey’s numbers against both handedness are bad (.322 wOBA to LHH and .355 wOBA to RHH). However, his FIP against LHH is 3.66, while his mark against RHH is 5.42. Hard/medium contact points us right back to the left-handed hitters, though, as lefties make a ton of medium/hard contact and only 14.3% soft contact. I think you can safely look at either side of the plate for the Yankees in this one.
The Red Sox and the Rangers both make for great team stacks, though you’ll have to pick one or the other to make it work. Ian Desmond ($4,500) is one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, but his price point does reflect that. Seriously, check the game logs. Only two games below double-digit FDP out of his last ten, and he hit a home run again on Saturday. I tend to side with the home team in this one, crazy as that sounds. Martin Perez has been roughed up lately but has generally shown an ability to dance around trouble—while Clay Buchholz has shown more of an ability to implode over the years. That’s purely qualitative analysis, but that’s the way of it. Perez struggles more with right-handed hitters, which is bad news considering how right-heavy the Red Sox lineup is. Still, I’m going to have to have exposure to the Rangers as well, as they are designed to take advantage of Buchholz’s deficiencies against left-handed hitters. Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor, and Mitch Moreland are all in play for me. Am I leaving off the right-handed Desmond? Not if I can help it. Moreland would likely be the casualty in that scenario, given his low batting order position.
One last tidbit since we are talking hitters: Jason Kipnis ($3,800) is batting a mere .107 with zero home runs in 47 AB against Justin Verlander over the course of his career. I won’t talk you out of a Cleveland stack to be contrarian (there’s upside there) but you may want to get off of Kipnis at his inflated price on FanDuel. Have some Odor, okay?
A Sample ‘YOLO’ Lineup:
Marcus Stroman, Brian McCann, Joey Votto, Rougned Odor, Danny Valencia, Didi Gregorius, Ian Desmond, Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara.