The Marlins shocked the world and put up a 16 spot vs the Brewers last night, but the Brewers should get their revenge tonight. Sandy Alcantara is going to be briefly on the mound for the Marlins. And the reason he’s going to be on the mound ‘briefly’ is because his overall numbers of 16.9% strikeouts, 12.9% walks and 46.8% groundballs are quite bad, and worse vs lefties. Alcantara turns the crappiest of left handed batters into studs. He strikes out 11.9% and walks 14.8%. He does get ground balls vs lefties with a 49.1% rate. Luckily the Brewers have a lefty who is good who you may have heard of. Travis Shaw historically has been a good hitter with a career .335 wOBA, and the last 2 years he’s had wOBAs of .361 and .351. This year, however, has been a completely different story. He’s “hit” for a .254 wOBA, and thus his price has dropped to $2,200. His statcast numbers are similar to previous years where he’s ranged from 88.3-88.6 exit velocity, and from 14.6-16.6 average launch angle. This year those numbers are 87.6 and 21.8. Given the sample size, we’re talking about minor differences, and he should continue to be the hitter he was the last 2 years. And at $2,200 he’s a fantastic play. Also, Didi Gregorious is $2,000 and will be returning to the field Friday. FanDuel almost definitely will not fix his price before then. I told you I would bring this up each week until he returns.
On to the picks…
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Chris Sale, P: $11,500 – Sale’s velocity has rebounded from well below league average to above 2016 levels, and with it the strikeouts have come completely back to 43.1% in May. The Royals are less than imposing, with a 23.3% strikeout rate and with only 2 dangerous hitters (Whit Merrifield and Jorge Soler). Sale should be able to sail through the Royals lineup with ease.
German Marquez, P: $9,000 – As of now, the wind is supposed to be blowing in at 12 MPH and it’s supposed to be a mild temp. Wrigley is one of the few parks where wind matters greatly, and if the wind is blowing in at 12 MPH this is going to be a very nice pitching environment, and Marquez can certainly take advantage. Marquez numbers are nice overall (26.7% strikeouts, 6.3% walks and 50.3% groundballs) and he’ll get a massive park upgrade. Marquez is a fringy cash play if the wind isn’t actually blowing in, but if it is he’s a top pitching play and may provide the value to get the elite bats, such as Christian Yelich.
James Paxton, P: $10,000 – Paxton is strikeouts, but on Sale. Paxton has a 32.8% strikeout rate, a 7% walk rate and a 37.5% groundball rate overall, but since I don’t expect the Blue Jays to throw out a single lefty, we’ll have to look at his vs righty stats. Paxton vs righties: 32.3% strikeouts, 7.4% walks, 36.6% groundballs. All of those are mighty tasty, and the Blue Jays lineup isn’t exactly terrifying. The only guys who might hurt you are Randal Grichuk, who has some power, and Vlad Jr. being just generally good. Note that teams do dumb things, and the Jays might actually throw Cavan Biggio or Rowdy Tellez or Eric Sogard out there, which would just enhance Paxton’s projection.
Ji-Man Choi, 1B: $2,800 – Choi is still a solid price for a .374 wOBA and .228 ISO, and Turnbull doesn’t really get lefties out that well (16.4% strikeouts, 7.6% walks, 44% groundballs) even though he’s slightly above average at getting groundballs.
Milwaukee Brewers – I noted in the intro how juicy the matchup is for Brewers lefties. While Christian Yelich (.445 wOBA and .323 ISO) is the obvious best play, he’s also the most expensive at $4,900. The Brewers have some other dudes who get the ball in the air and hit for power (from the left side). Mike Moustakas (.359 wOBA, .252 ISO, 30.9% groundballs) gets the ball in the air, hits for power and is almost as good at $4,000. Eric Thames (.353 wOBA, .252 ISO, 36.4% ground balls) is good and cheap ($3,000). Yasmani Grandal has a similar profile as every other lefty on the team (except Yelich) with a .363 wOBA and a .237 ISO, but he hits the ball on the ground a lot more (42.2%) and while he’s a very solid play, I think both his price ($3,600) and groundballs puts him slightly below Thames and Shaw. The righty Brewers are very solid plays in GPPs. I think one thing that GPP players should consider tomorrow is that the Brewers are likely going to be the chalkiest stack. So you’ll have to figure out a way to make your Brewers stack contrarian amongst the others. The most obvious way to do that is to fade the two Brewers most likely to be owned in the vast majority of stacks – Yelich and Shaw. Yelich will be chalk amongst the stacks because he’s the best Brewer, and Shaw will be chalk amongst the stacks because of price. Build your 4-Brewer stacks without those two and you’re now looking at a very contrarian Brewers stack.
Matt Carpenter, 3B: $3,200 – Carpenter is still too cheap and he has the platoon advantage. He’s facing Anthony Desclafani, who doesn’t really have much against lefties. He has below average strikeouts (21.2%), averageish walks (8.2%) and well below average groundballs (32.9%). Carpenter meanwhile has a .375 wOBA and a .245 ISO. Carpenter has a pretty big advantage here, and if you’re not playing Shaw because you think he’s broken (he’s not), Carpenter is a good play.
Matt Olson, 1B: $3,000 – The A’s are facing Felix Pena, who’s similar to Desclafani above in that he’s both not great and has nothing to really get lefties out. Pena has a 20.7% strikeout rate, 9% walk rate and 39.5% groundball rate. Olson has a .351 wOBA and a .242 ISO vs lefties, and at his price he’s a very solid play. If you want to spend a little more money and get some A’s exposure, you can play Matt Chapman (.375 wOBA and .253 ISO) or Khris Davis (.363 wOBA and .283 ISO), but I’d limit those two to GPPs.
Shohei Ohtani, OF: $3,200 – Daniel Mengden is a strike thrower (6.6% walks) who doesn’t get that many swings and misses (15.1% strikeouts) vs lefties. Ohtani has a .399 wOBA and a .300 ISO vs guys who throw baseballs with their right arms.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
There is a lot of rain possibility today and you’re going to have to be on the ball when it comes to weather. It might rain in these cities: Pittsburgh, New York, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City, St. Louis. And obviously you need to check in on the wind in Wrigley.
Doing Lines In Vegas
The Mariners had that nice little run to start the season, but that was then. Now that regression has kicked in, along with the trade of Jay Bruce, we’ve got an offense that willingly plays Mallex Smith at the top of the lineup. Brad Peacock is an OK pitcher, and while the Astros are beat up, they’re not so beat up that a matchup with the Mariners shouldn’t be a good spot for them to notch another one for the win column. Even at -156, I like the Astros. And while I just spent a large part of this column pointing out how the Brewers are going to put up a big ugly number against the Marlins, there is a flip side. The Marlins offense makes a ton of contact, and so far this season seems to do fairly decent once they leave the carnival joke (and its insane offense suppression) that is their home stadium. They could win this game 14-13. It’s not the most likely outcome (thus the odds), but hey, if you’ve got some gambool in you, the Marlins +215 seems like a nice underdog to make some money on.