Yesterday featured a no-hitter by Edinson Volquez and Albert Pujols’ 600th home run. Volquez dedicated the masterpiece to his late friend Yordano Ventura, who would have turned 26 years old yesterday. Pujols’ 600th was a grand slam off of Ervin Santana and allowed the Angels to get a 7-2 win over the Twins in front of the home fans.
Speaking of grand slams, a whopping seven were hit yesterday, which is a new MLB record (previous record for a day was six). Pujols’ was the most meaningful of course, but yesterday featured a lot of pop.
In short, there is no way that today tops yesterday. Especially being a “funky lineup” Sunday. But we are going to play the slate anyway. The main one on FanDuel has nine games to pick from and begins at 1:07pm ET.
Target: Trevor Bauer @ Kansas City Royals
We may be witnessing a culmination of sorts for Trevor Bauer, who has long-teased the baseball world with his potential. I’ll refer you right away to a great piece on Fangraphs about Bauer’s increased usage of his curveball. The curve has changed the way Bauer is getting calls this season. His swinging strike rate is actually down a bit, but he is getting more called strikes due to the breaking action on his curve. Bauer second in the league in vertical break, behind Mike Fiers and ahead of guys like Drew Pomeranz (3rd) and Clayton Kershaw (4th).
Bauer has a career 8.60 K/9, but so far this season his evolution has allowed him to post a shiny 11.53 K/9. He has also allowed a career-high 1.74 HR/9 so far, but the confines of Kaufmann Stadium and the relative ineptitude of the Royals should limit the longball danger today. There’s also hope that that number normalizes for Bauer as he continues to refine his approach. His career mark is only 1.11 HR/9 and his 21.2% HR/FB rate is inflated...he’s due for some positive regression there (career 11.7 HR/FB%). The Royals themselves are middling in K-rate against RHP at 21 percent (17th), but 23rd in ISO (.151), 27th in wOBA (.296), and 28th in wRC+ (80). It is possible that an Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas type pop a dinger or a few doubles today, but overall Bauer is in a pretty favorable spot.
Stack Against: Amir Garrett with Atlanta Braves
The Braves have only faced four left-handed starters this season. They are 2-2 in those games. Since the sample size is small, any numbers I share from this point onward are career numbers...Matt Kemp (.232 ISO, 151 wRC+) has mashed lefties over his career and is the cornerstone of this stack and an epic one-off play if you are looking elsewhere. Dansby Swanson (.333 ISO, 164 wRC+) has flourished against southpaws and I really want him to NOT get a higher spot in the batting order today. If he is down towards the bottom we’ll get him in this preferred split for lower ownership.
After those two, Adonis Garcia (.167 ISO, 125 wRC+) is much stronger in the RvL split. Brandon Phillips (.170 ISO, 105 wRC+) is the final guy that has solid appeal. Matt Adams, Ender Inciarte, and Nick Markakis are all “safe fades” for me. None have ever shown an ability to engage in some lefty-on-lefty crime. You could perhaps consider Tyler Flowers (.155 ISO, 89 wRC+) but he is actually a better overall hitter against RHP (.146 ISO, 95 wRC+). Still, in this best season of his career he has begun with a 4-for-10 line against LHP and only has one strikeout in those 10 at-bats.
I love the Braves stack so much because it allows me to also use every prominent New York Met in my lineup. The Mets face Trevor Williams today in a game that opened with a 9.5 run total. Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Michael Conforto, and Jay Bruce pair nicely with Matt Kemp, Dansby Swanson, Adonis Garcia, and Tyler Flowers. If I use Bauer, that means I’ll have $300 left over.
Here is your obligatory heads-up that Chris Sale ($11,400) is pitching today. Of course he is a strong favorite (-173) against the Orioles, but you didn’t come here for that sort of obvious insight.
As I have said previously, I do not play in cash games. But if I did I think I’d consider Justin Verlander ($9,800) against the White Sox. Verlander is at home and the Tigers are hot right now. Against the southpaw David Holmberg, they should come through enough for Verlander to log plenty of innings—even if every inning isn’t pristine.
Lastly, with my extra $300 I think I’ll roll out a lineup with the same hitters but bump up to Kenta Maeda ($8,800). His game log is unimpressive but he has actually been pretty consistently limiting the damage each time out and the Brewers have obvious strikeout concerns that should pump up Maeda’s final line. I do not think his ownership will be high at all and Maeda is a solid -140 road favorite in this one. I’ll take a shot.
Good luck out there, ladies and gents! Let’s end it with a poll:
Who is your top GPP pitcher today?
This poll is closed
Chris Sale ($11,400) @ BAL
Justin Verlander ($9,800) vs. CWS
Kenta Maeda ($8,800) @ MIL
Trevor Bauer ($8,500) @ KAN
Matt Moore ($7,700) @ PHI