The Cleveland Indians popped off for 12 runs against Seattle and rookie Chase De Jong, who I got all wrong. Still, Chris Archer did just enough to justify his cost, even if my Cardinals stack underwhelmed against Bronson Arroyo. Lastly, Mike Foltynewicz held his own against the Brewers...told y’all!
Target: Michael Wacha ($8,000) vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Yesterday I read an excellent piece by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch on Michael Wacha and his strong start to the season. See for yourself if you have the time, but increased fastball velocity (an average of 94.8 so far) is the culprit. Last season Wacha averaged 93.2 mph on his heater, so he’s up over a full tick on average. More heat means the rest of Wacha’s arsenal is suddenly more effective, and the numbers bear out that truth.
Over the last two seasons Wacha has retired right-handed hitters by strikeout about 20% of the time, but he currently has a 28.3% K-rate against them. There’s precedence for this, too, since Wacha’s mark was 23.5% in 2014 and 27.8% in 2013. Wacha’s opponent will likely be without the services of Ryan Braun, who is day-to-day with a litany of arm injuries. That’s one heck of a scary bat to remove, and only makes me like Wacha even more.
Stack Against: Jason Vargas with Chicago White Sox
The fall for Jason Vargas is going to come swiftly, and we may already be seeing chinks in the proverbial armor. Vargas’ last time out was against these same White Sox, and it marked the first time all season that he did not log a quality start. He also allowed a season-high in hits (7) and runs (3) and had a season-low strikeout total (5). The guy just doesn’t have enough fastball velocity (86.3 mph) to be so reliant on his changeup (80.1 mph).
Give me the corner infielders first in Jose Abreu (.217 ISO, .368 wOBA) and Todd Frazier (.252 ISO, .353 wOBA). Avisail Garcia (.152 ISO, .330 wOBA) is expected to return from a groin injury, so he makes three. After that you can debate Tim Anderson (.115 ISO, .335 wOBA), Melky Cabrera (.130 ISO, .322 wOBA), or Tyler Saladino (.122 ISO, .321 wOBA)...but the ace in the proverbial hole is Geovany Soto (.214 ISO, .365 wOBA) if he gets the start at catcher.
- I have some interest in Clayton Kershaw ($12,600) if I can find enough value bats. The Giants are woeful against southpaws (106 ISO, .269 wOBA) and the Dodgers bats should get to Johnny Cueto enough to get Kershaw the win. Corey Seager ($3,000) seems far too cheap, even against a quality pitcher.
- The Yankees have excellent numbers against right-handed pitching and are at home facing a fly ball pitcher in Marco Estrada. They seemed like too easy a pick, but those powerful right-handed bats are attractive. Starlin Castro (.239 ISO, .427 wOBA) is only $3,200 and is crushing right-handers so far this year.
- A Houston stack is also in play. Andrew Cashner cannot continue to walk everyone (13 free passes in 15.1 innings) and get away with it. If he does, one of these Houston boppers is going to make him pay. George Springer ($3,300) is a nice way to get a piece of that stacked lineup.
- If I’m building a lineup without Luis Severino in it, you can believe I will have Kendrys Morales ($2,700) as my first baseman.
- Manny Machado ($3,300) and Didi Gregorius ($3,100) seem like solid values on FanDuel. Whit Merrifield ($2,500) is a decent punt option at second base if he gets the leadoff spot again.
And that’s it for me, ladies and gents. I’ll be at work all day so feel free to comment with any late-breaking news. Good luck!