This morning I am exploring whether or not I can talk myself into stacking against Freddy Peralta, who is sure to be popular in the MLB DFS world today. He is pitching on the road at Cincinnati, so that’s one strike against him. The Reds also tallied 12 runs yesterday, so that’s another potential plus. It’s arguable that this is his toughest matchup yet, even including Coors. The Reds are far more patient and strike out far less than the Rockies, and obviously play in a hitter’s haven. We shall see. For now, more on Peralta...
Peralta is throwing four-seamers a lot. Really that’s all he’s throwing, and he is mixing in a curve on occasion. Batters are “hitting” .088 with a single home run against his heater, and “hitting” .067 against his curve (and zero home runs). So yeah, he’s been filthy. There is no denying the filth.
The fastball truly is his pitch, at least for now. He’s thrown 306 of them in 2018, 194 for strikes and 112 for balls. While the curve has been effective at getting strikeouts, it has been less predictable than the heater. On 63 pitches, 35 have landed for strikes against 28 for balls. He has only thrown 11 changeups, six for strikes and five for balls—and opposing hitters have a 100% line drive rate against that pitch. So we are looking at a fastball/curve guy, at least according to the four-start sample size.
I think it is interesting that Peralta has a 0.0% walk rate on the curve, despite the pitch being more unreliable. This suggests to me that he isn’t throwing the curve when he gets into trouble—instead, he’s leaning on that fastball that has an electric 37.9% K-rate but an unhealthy 13.6% walk rate. He is in the zone 53.9% of the time with the heater, compared to only 27.9% of the time with the curve. The curve does have more of a chase rate associated with it, but that makes sense and can only exist in conjunction with the fastball. I mean, he couldn’t just throw curves out of the zone over and over...big league hitters would stop swinging.
The slight hopes I can discern are the 50.0% fly ball rate that Peralta allows on the heater, as well as the 50.0% line drive rate against the curve. That, and the aforementioned 13.6% walk rate on the heater. I think at this point it would be wise to see which Reds hitters can take a walk, not strike out, and maybe even who has success against curves.
Against right-handed pitchers, for power we go to four Reds hitters who are a cut above the rest. In order (of ISO vs. RHP) we need Eugenio Suarez, Scott Schebler, Scooter Gennett, and Joey Votto. I’m omitting Adam Duvall—who ranks slightly ahead of Votto in ISO—because of his large 28.1 K% and his poor .251 OBP. The other four guys actually take walks and get on base, something that will be crucial against a strikeout artist like Peralta. Sure, if you’re playing a ton of volume, feel free to work in Duvall. But he truly is home run or bust, and we much prefer him against left-handed pitchers.
Thankfully, the Reds don’t hit Jesse Winker in the leadoff position. If they did, his 13.8 BB% and 13.3 K% against right-handed pitchers would really throw a wrench in things. He’s not shown a ton of power yet (.117 ISO) but his on-base skills are epic. Sadly, he’ll hit in the bottom third of the order if recent history is any guide.
That’s pretty much it for me with Reds—Jose Peraza has a minuscule 12.3% K-rate against RHP but a lowly 5.3% walk rate. He offers some speed, but I’m not chasing that today.
So who can hit a curve? Let’s go in order of most powerful to least:
Suarez: 17 AB, 7 H, 2 1B, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, .412 BA - 10.5 BB%, 31.6 K%, .588 ISO, .595 wOBA
Schebler: 41 AB, 9 H, 7 1B, 2 HR, .220 BA - 0.0 BB%, 26.2 K%, .146 ISO, .261 wOBA
Gennett: 39 AB, 11 H, 8 1B, 1 2B, 2 HR, .282 BA - 0.0 BB%, 15.0 K%, .179 ISO, .309 wOBA
Votto: 21 AB, 4 H, 2 1B, 2 HR, .190 BA - 12.5 BB%, 16.7 K%, .286 ISO, .330 wOBA
Duvall: 20 AB, 3 H, 2 1B, 1 2B, .150 BA - 9.1 BB%, 40.9 K%, .050 ISO, .199 wOBA
And you thought Schebler’s numbers on the curve were bad! But then you read Duvall’s. Yikes.
I think my top four is solidified.
As for pitching, assuming the Reds do get to Peralta, we’ve already differentiated ourselves by stacking against a popular starter. We could further do so by selecting a pitcher in the same price range, and since I’m a Braves fan I’m going to start by looking at Mike Foltynewicz against the right-handed heavy St. Louis Cardinals.
It’s his best split, honestly. On the road against right-handed hitters, Folty is allowing a .178/.234/.278 slash and .227 wOBA. Foltynewicz has a ghastly 14.1 BB% against lefty bats but that walk rate plummets to only 6.9% against right-handed hitters. His strikeout rate is over 28% against both handedness of hitter, too. Moving from his home park (a hitter’s park) to the friendlier confines of St. Louis is further encouragement.
If we ran this lineup (Folty and the Reds four) we’d have $2,750 per player left on FanDuel. At shortstop I like Andrelton Simmons ($3,500) who is on a bit of a run during this series at Baltimore. He’ll likely bat No. 5 in the lineup against Kevin Gausman, who is a reverse splits pitcher (worse against right-handed bats).
That’s means we are mining for value in the outfield, which is fine by me. That’s leaves $2,300 for a punt option, and I’m partial to Chris Davis ($2,300) at home for his power potential. I imagine there will be others that we can unearth as the day goes along, too.
Addendum: Gennett is not starting today and Peraza is hitting first. So I think it’s Peraza and the three powerful guys for me, and then whoever else I can work in. The savings lets me move away from Davis, thankfully.
Who you got today? Am I crazy to go against Peralta? Just having fun here!