Danny Salazar posting 30 FDP and being a fantasy disappointment is the definition of having a safe floor. Five innings and four runs was on the low-end of outcomes for Salazar, but the nine strikeouts gave you a fighting chance if your bats went off.
A lot of upstarts turned in strong pitching efforts yesterday, including my pair of GPP guys in Mike Leake (40 FDP) and Ivan Nova (49 FDP). I always aim to comment on my own articles with my final thoughts heading into each slate—those are the sorts of picks I’ll throw out. I welcome any back-and-forth from the general public leading up to lock.
I have had consistent success at identifying which pitchers to start this season, so hopefully I can start deciphering which bats to consider alongside them. Let’s hop to it.
Target: Amir Garrett ($7,700) @ Milwaukee Brewers
Touting Jason Vargas against the White Sox is too easy. Plus, I have some healthy fear that the wheels may fall off for Vargas eventually, despite the change in approach. The guy just doesn’t have the velocity (hovers around 86 mph) and I am doubtful that he suddenly morphed into Greg Maddux since the end of last season. Still, if you are going to use Vargas, today is the day to do so against the pitiful White Sox.
That was quite the lede for Garrett, eh? Anyway, the rookie southpaw has smothered left-handed hitters this season, due in large part to an 80% ground ball rate and 20% hard contact rate. Lefties are striking out 50% of the time against Garrett. That’s the good news. The bad news is those numbers come on an egregiously small sample size. But we at least get an idea of what Garrett is trying to do, even if we know his ground ball rate to lefty bats is going to regress.
Against right-handed bats (the worry, against Milwaukee) Garrett has been more human. He is still limiting them to a .217/.266/.305 slash and a .252 wOBA, though. His ground ball rate plummets to 43.2% (okay) and the hard contact rate spikes to 36.4% (bad) when we look a little deeper at Garrett versus right-handed hitters. There’s also the problem of Miller Park, which plays very well for right-handed and left-handed power.
But now for the good stuff: these Milwaukee Brewers are striking out a staggering 30.2% of the time against southpaws in 2017. I’ll grant you that the egregious strikeout rate comes alongside a scary .256 ISO mark, but that just means you can feel free to hedge your bets with a right-handed Brewers stack in another lineup. For my part, I’ll have far more Garrett, though. I mean, the Brewers can’t hit home runs if they are striking out, can they?
Stack Against: Phil Hughes with Texas Rangers
Phil Hughes has a limited arsenal and you have to find a way to get off of Coors a little. Hughes has a career 7.1% walk rate to left-handed bats, but that number spiked to 10.1% last season. If you are looking for a place to differentiate, stacking against a guy who can load the bases with a poor sequence of at-bats is as good a place as any.
Against right-handed pitching, Shin-Soo Choo has a staggering walk rate of 13.2% for his career, so he could be the guy to get this party started. Nomar Mazara has an average 7.3% walk rate against right-handed pitching, but he can mash them (.196 ISO, .344 wOBA). Rougned Odor hardly walks at all (3.7%) but he does like to crush a lot (.217 ISO, .330 wOBA). Joey Gallo has an epic 15.7% walk rate and .261 ISO against right-handed pitching...and those are the four guys I want for my Rangers stack. You can consider Jonathan Lucroy sometime in the future when he awakens from his slumber, but while he’s ice cold I am not interested.
I forgot to mention that left-handed hitters are making hard contact a whopping 60.9% of the time against Hughes so far this season...whew! Hughes is bringing that goodness into Arlington Park where all those left-handed Rangers can crush baseballs into oblivion. I hope.
- Rockies starter Tyler Anderson (a lefty) handles lefty bats pretty well. A career 23.5% hard contact rate, 53% ground ball rate, and a league average .301 wOBA are nothing to scoff at. That said, Bryce Harper and company are not your average lefty bats, and Coors Field is obviously a major boost. Still, if you are looking to be (slightly) more contrarian you can consider the Washington right-handed hitters. Anderson has allowed a .342 wOBA and 31.3% hard contact rate to right-handed hitters over his career. Against Anderson, RHH hit more fly balls than LHH and more of those fly balls become home runs...so just don’t forget about your Nationals righties, okay?
- The Tampa Bay Rays are another interesting stack in my opinion. Ubaldo Jimenez (like Pelfrey) can issue a free pass or three from time to time, and the Rays have the requisite lefty power bats that can take advantage of Jimenez’s splits...Ubaldo allowed a .378 wOBA a 31.1% hard contact to lefties in 2016. Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier, Brad Miller, Logan Morrison...all of these guys are in play. There’s also room for RHHs Evan Longoria and Steven Souza, Jr.—there are a lot of ways this thing could go south for Ubaldo today.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu ($7,200) is my dark horse for the quality start/win on FanDuel. He’s had some tough matchups this season and his fastball has been an issue, but the Giants are pretty punchless against southpaws (.303 OBP, .146 ISO, .299 wOBA, 22.4% K-rate). Plus, the locale of AT&T Park should help matters plenty if one of the Giants does try to unleash on a Ryu fastball. I’ll probably have at least one share, hoping that Ryu is still just shaking off the rust and that he’s had ill luck with rough matchups against the Rockies (twice) and Cubs so far. The Giants at home are a much more solvable scenario.
And that’s it for this morning...happy trails to everyone this week.