Gary Sanchez delivered for us with an early home run yesterday but outside of that, not much went well here in the Drill Down.
Of course, we always move forward and Wednesday offers a solid 10-game main slate. You have Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom at the high end of pitching, while a few $8,000 pitchers make sense if you are looking to save. There are also still a handful of really affordable bats across the slate. Let’s take a closer look at some of my favorite options from tonight’s action.
Rank vs fastball this season: 7th in MLB
Facing Matt Harvey, the Minnesota offense is sure to be fairly popular tonight. Of course, it is for very good reason, as Harvey is getting demolished by left-handed hitters and the Twins have plenty of dangerous lefty bats. So far this season, Harvey is coughing up a .273 batting average, .391 OBP, .545 slugging percentage, .396 wOBA, 35.6 percent line drive rate and whopping 55.9 percent hard contact rate to left-handed hitters. There are multiple hitters to choose from here but my favorite is definitely Polanco, who has shown plenty of pop against right-handed pitching. His 50.4 percent fly ball rate against RHP is the ninth-highest in the majors, while also sporting a 39.5 percent hard hit rate, 26.5 percent line drive rate, .338 batting average, .430 wOBA and .289 ISO score against the handedness. Polanco is also destroying the fastball, which is one of Harvey’s main pitches. He is currently the number-seven fastball hitter in the league, sporting a .403 batting average, .761 slugging percentage, .358 ISO score and 1.92 percent home run rate against the pitch. Harvey’s fastball is only sporting a 6.9 percent whiff rate, while opponents are hitting nearly .280 against the pitch to go along with a near .200 isolated power. Polanco is an elite, elite play this evening.
TB @ CLE
TB -126 / O/U 9.5
Tampa Bay Rays
Rank vs curveball this year: 5th in MLB
A big reason behind my interest in Pham tonight is price related. He enters tonight’s slate of games at just $3,800 over on DraftKings, which is way too low. And it isn’t as if the guy is slumping right now, as Pham is currently riding a six-game hitting streak. He’ll face Rich Hill, who definitely isn’t a terrible pitcher but also isn’t someone I truly fear. Hill is allowing a .260 batting average, .340 wOBA, five home runs, 40.5 percent fly ball rate, 38.6 percent hard hit rate and 29.4 percent HR/FB rate to righty bats. Pham, meanwhile, is sporting a whopping 48.5 percent hard hit rate against left-handed pitching this season, while walking just about 20 percent of the time. Pham also profiles well against the curveball, a pitch that Hill is tossing a whopping 42 percent of the time, one of the highest rates in baseball. Pham is the number five hitter against the curve, launching two home runs, hitting five singles and striking out just four times against the pitch this year. Given the major discount, I really see Pham as someone who will find his way into lineups fairly easily tonight.
HR/FB rate vs RHP: 17%
I’m going right back to the well with the Twins here. Their lineup just sets up so well against Harvey. I love Marwin Gonzalez, who is riding an 11-game hitting streak. I obviously love Polanco and Eddie Rosario, too. However, I definitely want Kepler in my stack tonight. Kepler is only striking out 14 percent of the time against right-handed pitchers this season, which bodes well against Harvey, who is giving up so much quality contact to lefty bats. The guy is allowing a whopping 30.8 percent HR/FB rate against left-handed hitters, which is the fourth-highest rate in all of baseball. Kepler, meanwhile, is sporting a solid 17 percent HR/FB rate against righties and the fact that he doesn’t swing-and-miss often against RHP puts him in a great position to succeed. He is also posting a near 42 percent hard contact rate against the handedness to go along with a .361 wOBA and .250 ISO score.
Also consider: Gary Sanchez, Jason Castro, Brian McCann, Pedro Severino, Freddie Freeman, Josh Bell, Luke Voit, Max Muncy, Rhys Hoskins, Yulieski Gurriel, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Smoak, Marwin Gonzalez, John Hicks, Gleyber Torres, Jonathan Schoop, Adam Frazier, Josh Harrison, Starlin Castro, Alex Bregman, Kris Bryant, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Rio Ruiz, David Fletcher, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Robinson Cano, George Springer, Michael Brantley, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Josh Reddick, Clint Frazier, Nick Markakis, Andrew McCutchen, Nick Castellanos, Tony Kemp.
Stacks to target: Twins, Astros, Tigers