It’s a bit odd to be back after a week-long layoff, but the show must go on. And hey, the silver lining with Thursday’s PPD is that all stats you read here are 100% current, with no early morning tweaking or box-score reading required. Now let’s rock and roll...
Best play: Kyle Hendricks @ Arizona Diamondbacks ($7,500)
Let’s rock and roll with one of the most boringly reliable pitchers in the game, eh? The Snakes are 26-66 on the season. They rank 17th in runs scored, but next to last in homers, with only 82 on the year. Only the lowly Pirates have hit fewer dingers. Digging deeper, the Snakes rank 27th with a .297 wOBA and 29th with a 84 wRC+. Only the Rockies (77 wRC+) have been worse. The D-backs are also bottom third of the league in strikeouts versus RHP, with their 24.5% K-rate ranking 20th.
Meanwhile, Kyle Hendricks has begun to right the ship. His Mar/Apr splits are pretty rough, mostly due to a whopping 10 home runs allowed over his first 22 2⁄3 innings. That’s a 3.97 HR/9, for reference. Again for reference, Hendricks had a 7.54 ERA in Mar/Apr, but since then he’s posted marks of 2.67, 2.97, and 2.19 in the following months. As the season has worn on, Hendricks has generated more ground balls and elicited more soft contact. He’s never going to be a strikeout artist, but this is a really soft matchup on paper and the price point is low. I’m biting. The upside here comes with working deep into the game, limiting runs scored, and securing a win. I like his chances on all three fronts today.
Worst play: Lance McCullers Jr. @ Chicago White Sox ($9,100)
There are some obviously bad plays today, but I’m trying to get off the beaten path. McCullers has been great this year, but with a bevy of quality starting pitching available today I don’t think you have to go here. Despite Chicago’s injuries, this is still a tough matchup on the road, and McCullers isn’t a guy who generally gives us a lot of length. I think you can find more bang for your buck elsewhere, by either bumping up or down in the pitcher rankings.
Best play: Boston Red Sox @ RHP Domingo German
Look, you’ve got a min-priced Jarren Duran likely making his debut at Yankee Stadium, as well as other Red Sox lefties who can get into that short right field porch against German. German hasn’t been bad this year, but he’s not been stellar, either. And he’s squaring off with a Red Sox unit that ranks ninth in homers and third in batting average against right-handed pitching. Boston is tied for third in the majors with a .187 ISO in the split, and they rank seventh with a .328 wOBA. They strike out a middling 23.9% of the time, ranking 15th in the league. It’s been an underrated offensive unit in recent years, one I like to use in good spots. Lastly, with all the history between these two teams, I’m expecting plenty of fireworks tonight. You can almost toss out the matchups, but I still like this one for the Red Sox.
Worst play: Colorado Rockies vs. LHP Julio Urias
Just don’t do it to yourself. Don’t get cute just because it’s Coors Field. Even the price point on Elias Diaz ($4,100) is trending upward. I’d rather have Will Smith on the other side of things. But in truth, I’d rather just stay away from the Coors affair entirely. Find your best spot for ownership and check the projections, but I imagine this spot will be too highly owned on both sides for me to bite.
Value Plays: Charlie Morton, Chris Bassitt, Baltimore Orioles
Michael Conforto, Alex Verdugo, Eric Hosmer, and Cavan Biggio are all names that stick out to me at first glance. Ehire Adrianza ($2,100) could be an extreme value if he leads off for Atlanta, but that’s more of a “cash game” option for me. And while I don’t love his lineup spot, Reese McGuire ($2,600) is cheap for the Blue Jays. Others also won’t like his lineup spot, so he shouldn’t be rostered a ton—but he could get plenty of at-bats in that Toronto lineup and the park is prime.
One value offense I like is the Baltimore Orioles. I expect the Royals to be a bit popular against Keegan Akin, but the Orioles have been known to do damage this year, their price points are low, and the lefty Danny Duffy has been limited this year due to injury. Even if he’s effective, he probably won’t pitch deep. The Royals bullpen is seventh-worst with a 4.87 ERA, a number that is supported by the third-worst FIP (4.83) and fifth-worst xFIP (4.64). Despite the plush home pitching environs, Kansas City’s bullpen allows a 1.44 HR/9, or the fourth-highest mark in the league. For reference, only the Reds, Twins, and Diamondbacks have worse rates.
On the pitching side, there’s just tons to roll with. But coming out of the break, I’m having a hard time justifying paying up if I think that most of these guys might be eased back into action given that bullpens are rested. That’s anecdotal, but do with it what you will. I’m a fan of Robbie Ray at home against the Rangers, and it’s tough not to like Kenta Maeda on the road against Detroit. But Charlie Morton at home against Tampa is enticing, as is Chris Bassitt at home against Cleveland. And that’s the price point I like to start at tonight, the Morton/Bassitt point at $8,500. I don’t think you have to go above that. Instead, I think you can pay up for the bats that you think will go off.
What say you, ladies and gents? What sticks out to you at first glance?