As is my custom, I’m going to be light on the preamble so that I can get into today’s overview. My view for this is to point someone in the right direction, not to cheaply offer up picks. If you want that sort of lameness, search for it on the Twittersphere. Here, I’d love to have a conversation. I’ll kick it off, and anyone is welcome to keep the conversation going so we all enter the slate a wee bit smarter.
Gerrit Cole’s dominance cannot be overstated. He’s striking out lefties at a 41.9% clip (tops in the MLB) and striking out righties 35.3% of the time (3rd in MLB). It’s insane. And his opponent are the Jays? As far as raw point total is concerned, there isn’t a higher ceiling on this slate.
Blake Snell has a 34.7% strikeout rate against righty bats, and the primary Angels lineup has six of those. And only half of those six are of any count (and that’s being generous). Snell’s 19.4% swinging strike rate is tops in the MLB, too.
Mad Max Scherzer has an obscene 38.2% strikeout rate against righties (tops in MLB) and a shiny 26.6% rate against lefties. In case you were wondering about any of the top three pitchers...they are all elite.
I can’t talk up the elites without mentioning Lucas Giolito. Giolito has as 28.7% K-rate against lefties (12th in MLB) and a 32.9% K-rate versus righties (6th in MLB). The potential danger here might be a strong wind out to left—so check on that before we lock.
Other good pitching notes
Did you know Kyle Gibson’s 13.9% swinging strike rate is the 13th-best rate among qualified starters in the MLB? I didn’t either. On the other side of this one, Brad Keller’s 43 walks are the third-most issued in the MLB. His 41 earned runs are the 14th-worst mark in the Majors. Seems like a poor recipe against the mighty Twins.
Speaking of things I didn’t know about pitchers—Chris Bassitt has a shiny 26.7% strikeout rate against left-handed hitters. His opponent, the Mariners, are projected to trot out seven lefties tomorrow—with Edwin Encarnacion and Domingo Santana as the lone righties. On the surface this reads like a good matchup for Bassitt at home—and the early line says Bassitt is a -180 favorite. This wouldn’t be for the faint of heart—Bassitt does own a 13.8% walk rate and allows a 1.95 HR/9 to this handedness...but his home digs should help out. At home against lefties is Bassitt’s best split with regard to dingers—lefties have only a 0.71 HR/9 against him in Oakland (only one homer so far to a lefty at home). The additional caveat is that the Mariners offense is back to being hot again. What to do, what to do? I still like Bassitt as an SP2.
Eduardo Rodriguez is a guy I’ll always consider in GPPs, especially on a site like Fanball where pitchers don’t get negative points. He’ll be in consideration for my MLB DFS Wars lineup today against Baltimore. His 12.1% swinging strike rate is top-25 in the MLB, and he generates soft contact 21.4% of the time—the sixth-best rate in the Majors. The Orioles don’t walk against southpaws (only 6.0% of the time) and they strike out 26.1% of the time, which is the 7th-worst rate in this split in the MLB. I’m just sayin’, there’s a chance.
Andrew Heaney against the strikeout-prone Rays is another consideration, especially on Fanball. His 19.4% swinging strike rate is absurd, and if he allows homers they aren’t going to cost you. I’ll be seeing which guy (E-Rod or Heaney) is cheaper on Fanball.
Spots for hitting
Lefties have a 42.2% fly ball rate, 38.9% pull rate, and 43.3% hard contact rate against Tyler Mahle. Mahle has a pedestrian 19.7% strikeout rate and a ghastly 2.60 HR/9 against lefties. The Rangers have six lefties in their projected lineup, even without the services of Joey Gallo. Don’t go chasin’ anything with Mahle, who is far better against righty bats. This game could be huge for bats, with the Rangers looking like they’ll opt for a bullpen day on the other side.
C.C. Sabathia might be in for it against the White Sox. C.C. has allowed 12 homers to righties so far, and is a member of one of my favorite clubs (the 40/40/40 club). That is, a 48% fly ball rate, 44% pull rate, and 42% hard contact rate to righty bats. Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, James McCann, Eloy Jimenez...a scary bunch!
It sounds like Andrew Cashner will not pitch today due to a blister. It’s either moving Dylan Bundy up, or this gem:
To replace Andrew Cashner, the Orioles can move Dylan Bundy up a day and he'd be on regular rest. Or they could go with a bullpen day. Keegin Akin, Luis Ortiz and Josh Rogers are all rested at Triple-A, but neither Ortiz nor Rogers are pitching well. Tom Eshelman pitched today.— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) June 13, 2019
“Or they could go with a bullpen day” have to be the greatest words ever written. We’ll all have to stay tuned on this front. Actually, after more research it appears Bundy will not be an option, and it will be Jimmy Yacabonis on the mound. Yacabonis hasn’t pitched more than 2 1⁄3 innings in any of his appearances thus far in 2019...so it’s time to check in on those Boston bats. You know whose batted ball profile looks amazing against righty pitching? Andrew Benintendi. Only a 9.9% soft contact rate for Beni, which is very J.D. Martinez-like (9.6%). Beni also has a 46.8% fly ball rate and 40.1% hard contact rate...and he’s a lefty at Camden Yards. I dig his look a little better than Rafael Devers, who puts the ball on the ground 46.5% of the time and has a low 31.8% fly ball rate as a result. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with Mookie Betts, who is a 40/40/40 club member against righties—45.6% fly balls, 44.9% pull rate, and 42.4% hard contact rate. Betts is the only 40/40/40 member of the club on the entire Red Sox squad. There may be wind blowing out in this game, too. Yikes!
I feel obligated to tell you there is a game in Coors Field today. There’s also a game that involves the Texas Rangers shoveling out bullpen arms in Cincinnati. Add those two to the Yacabonis/Orioles bullpen and it’s an exciting-looking day for offense in MLB DFS.
Who stands out to you guys right off the bat? (pun intended)