I’m employing the same strategy most days. An anchor at starting pitcher, a more volatile starter, punting catcher if I can, and then trying to zero in on hitters that swat homers—or stacks with upside that might be a bit less chalky than some others.
Pitchers: Gerrit Cole, Hyun Jin Ryu
Paying up today, I’m chasing the ceiling of Gerrit Cole. No offense to the venerable elder Max Scherzer, but for $300 less I get the 30+ point ceiling that Cole can offer. Cole missed two weeks with a bout with Covid-19, but returned on August 16th to hurl 90 pitches and amass 31.0 DK points over 5 2⁄3 innings versus the middling Angels offense. The Twins have been a tougher out than the Halos over the last two weeks, but I still give the big edge to Cole against a lineup that lost Nelson Cruz at the trade deadline. That’s a pretty ghastly looking bottom-five hitters, and the top four aren’t all that intimidating, either.
Ryu gets the major recipe for success: a matchup against the woeful Detroit Tigers offense. The Tigers rank 21st in ISO (.156) over the last two weeks, and that comes with the third-worst K-rate over the same stretch, at 26.1%. They are among the best matchups for opposing pitchers over the last two weeks, alongside teams like the Pirates, Rangers, and Mets. Of those teams, only the Mets are on the slate, and they get the pleasure of facing Max Scherzer. I’m not saying Mad Max is a bad play by any stretch, as a result. But my default here is to take the savings.
I’m trying to pay down as much as I can. I was looking into Robinson Chirinos or Wilson Ramos against lefties today, but both have been much better in the RvR split. Therefore, I’m looking into Francisco Mejia for just 3K, against LHP Dallas Keuchel. Mejia is slashing .282/.349/..436 against southpaws, with a .342 wOBA and 122 wRC+. He’s not a huge threat for a home run, but Keuchel has allowed 22 homers this year, and 18 have been to right-handed sticks. Right-handers only strike out 12.9% of the time against Keuchel, and RHH make more hard contact, hit more fly balls, and pull the ball more (a whopping 52.2% pull rate, compared to only a 43.4% pull rate by lefty bats). It’s a floor play to be fair, but multiple hits and a run and/or RBI could turn into a really productive day.
***Edit: I thought Zunino was out for a longer stretch of time, but he’s starting today. Luckily, he fits into the hottest stack in baseball over the last two weeks...***
Stack: Tampa Bay Rays vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel
The Rays have been SMOKING over the last two weeks. Their collective .264 ISO is far and away tops in the league, as the Athletics are a very distant second with a .200 ISO. If you consider the guys getting the most at-bats, you’ve got a fairly narrow cluster of Brandon Lowe (6 HR, .521 wOBA), Nelson Cruz (4 HR, .288 wOBA), and Wander Franco (3 HR, .386 wOBA). Cruz’s wOBA is underwhelming, but to me that just means he’s due. These are the three biggest home run threat currently for Tampa. That’s a 2-5-6 stack based on today’s lineup. If you include Mike Zunino’s five dingers, that’s a 2-5-6-8 grouping. You can weave in Randy Arozarena (batting first) or Austin Meadows (batting third). Over the last two weeks, Meadows has more at-bats and is striking out far less, only 12.0% of the time compared to Arozarena’s whopping 35.1% K-rate. However, Meadows has been awful against southpaws, while Arozarena has batted .301 on the season, with nine of his 16 homers against them. Give me Randy, who is $200 cheaper anyway, batting leadoff, and in the superior split.
I’m looking at the corners and the outfield spots given that I paid up a bit more than usual at catcher, and that the Rays are expensive.
Luke Voit ($3,300) looks criminally underpriced given his rampage since returning from the IL. He’s sitting on four dingers and a .304/.360/.609 slash line over the last 14 days. I like weaving in bats who can help my pitcher out, so give me all the savings with Voit at first base today.
Victor Robles ($2,200) could bat leadoff against ordinary lefty Eric Lauer today, while Jarred Kelenic ($2,100) gets a tougher matchup against Jake Odorizzi and is coming off of an 0-for-4 performance on Friday (with four strikeouts). However, Kelenic has been better since his call-up, and is still an option for me given the low price point. I am most fond of Robles to pair with Carter Kieboom at third base, though. That’s a fun little mini-stack that helps me round out a fun lineup today.
Who are YOU playing today, ladies and gents?