Yesterday was a solid day across the board, as the pitching and offense all came together at the right time. Let’s keep the streak rolling today as we kick off the last full week before a little R & R over the All-star break (how is Blake Snell not an all star??). Today we have some fun decisions to make regarding pitching and offense, and I will TRY to make chat later. You can always follow me on twitter @jac3600, and track my #SFB8 picks there as well!
Clayton Kershaw, LAD ($10,500)
So in my opinion there are two ways to go at starting pitcher today. Either pay up for Kershaw, or drop down to the mid-tier. Personally, I think Kershaw is vastly underpriced for a matchup against the Padres, and my initial lean is him here. Kershaw is a -230 road favorite with a 3.2 IRTA, and the Padres are 19th in wRC+ against LHP with the sixth highest K rate against. Kershaw should be up to a full workload now, and his price is low even if he’s still capped around 85-90 pitches.
Other options – Gerrit Cole, Jose Berrios
Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS ($8000)
If you don’t pay up for Clayton, E-Rod seems the logical drop-down. The Rangers are 11th in wRC+ against LHP but they don’t project that way long term as almost all of their best hitters are left-handed (Choo, Mazara, Gallo). Rodriguez has a solid 25% K rate and is a -200 favorite despite a 4.2 IRTA. He definitely comes with more risk than Kershaw, but the $2500 savings opens up a lot of offense (and there are some super stud hitters today). Either route is viable in cash at this point.
Other options – Chris Archer, Andrew Suarez, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Urena, Francisco Liriano
Edwin Encarnacion, CLE ($4100)
The Indians are challenging the Red Sox for the top offense on the slate with an IRT of 5.7 runs, and Edwin has been smashing the ball with a 37% hard hit rate over the last 15 games. Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani has been tougher on righties which has me leaning towards Edwin’s cheaper teammate in cash (see below), but Edwin is a perfect GPP play and a key part of Indians stacks.
Other options – Joey Votto, Cody Bellinger, Anthony Rizzo, Matt Adams
Yonder Alonso, CLE ($2700)
Alonso seems like a pretty easy choice in cash games with this price tag. He gets all the same positives mentioned in Edwin’s blurb, PLUS he’s a lefty and DeSclafani has been battered by LHB for a .348 wOBA and .218 ISO over the past two years. Alonso has a .207 ISO against RHP in that span, and he only bats one lineup spot lower that Encarnacion.
Other options – Steve Pearce, Daniel Murphy, Josh Bell, Joe Mauer
Catcher values – Yasmani Grandal, Tucker Barnhart, Mitch Garver, Francisco Cervelli
Brian Dozier, MIN ($3800)
It FEELS like Dozier is starting to come alive after he went a little batty in yesterday’s game against the Orioles. He’ll hit third today against Danny Duffy who looks like a broken pitcher. Duffy has allowed 1.70 HR9 this season and is coming off another start where he got obliterated. The Twins come in with an IRT of five runs, and Dozier has a .385 wOBA and .233 ISO against LHP since the beginning of last season. It seems silly to pass on him when his price is clearly close to rising.
Other options – Jose Altuve, Scooter Gennett
Jason Kipnis, CLE ($3000)
Kipnis hits sixth for the Indians which isn’t ideal with a 3k price tag, but he’s part of an Indians offense that should really be solid today, and he’ll have the same platoon edge against DeSclafani. Kipnis has been declining, but he still has a .171 ISO against RHP over the past three seasons, and it’s not out of the question that he steals a base either. Ultimately in cash I’d get up to Dozier, however.
Other options – Daniel Robertson, Whit Merrifield, Eduardo Nunez
Jose Ramirez, BOS ($5000)
Ramirez is a tough fit if you pay up for Kershaw or Cole, but he’s once again a top three hitter on the slate regardless of position. Ramirez has been bonkers against RHP over the past year and a half with a .415 wOBA and .298 ISO, and he already has a combined 42 homers and steals. If you dip down at SP, I would pursue Ramirez aggressively in cash, and he’ll be one of my most used GPP targets.
Other options – Alex Bregman, Anthony Rendon, Justin Turner
Eduardo Escobar, MIN ($3300)
Escobar only has a 10% hard hit rate the last 15 games, but he’s still in the midst of a breakout season with a .248 ISO, and he homered yesterday. He’s ultimately too cheap for the strong batting order spot he’ll have, and a matchup against Danny Duffy is one worth fully attacking this season.
Other options – Mike Moustakas, Adrian Beltre, Rafael Devers, Colin Moran
Francisco Lindor, CLE ($4900)
Lindor is worth his price tag in all formats, just like the rest of his teammates. I wrote them having an IRT of 5.7 earlier on in this article but it has since risen to 5.8 (tied with Boston now), and Lindor has a .360 wOBA and .256 ISO against RHP since the beginning of last year. Throw in the speed component, and he’s deserving of his high price tag.
Other options – Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts
Jorge Polanco, MIN ($2900)
Polanco is an OK value if he hits fifth or sixth for the Twins, but would vault to the top of the list if he leads off like he did yesterday. He shouldn’t, as Joe Mauer will likely return, but the Twins are facing a lefty which at least gives us a hope here. Polanco has been an inferior hitter from the right side of the plate as opposed to the left, but he’s got speed and is part of one of the offenses you want to be aggressively targeting this evening.
Other options – Elvis Andrus, Brandon Crawford, Chris Taylor
Mookie Betts/JD Martinez, BOS ($5000/$4900)
I know I’ve been harping on Cleveland for basically this entire article, but my top two overall hitters are the two Boston boppers, and I think you have to prioritize one of them in cash (both would be nice if you dip down at SP). Boston has an IRT of 5.8 runs (currently tied with the Indians), and they’ll be taking on Mike Minor who has really struggled in his career with right-handed power (1.60 HR/9 allowed to them the past three years). Since the beginning of last season, Betts has a .411 wOBA and .264 ISO against LHP, while JD has popped off an amazing .475 wOBA and .382 ISO. I’d still prefer Betts of the two if choosing as he brings speed as well, and JD is battling minor injuries, but both are stellar picks tonight.
Other options – Andrew Benintendi, Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, Michael Brantley, George Springer, Eric Thames, Christian Yelich, Scott Schebler, Shin Soo Choo
Steven Duggar, SF ($2000)
Duggar led off for the Giants yesterday, and if he does so again, a 2K leadoff hitter is not something you pass on in cash. There is no major league data to really go by here, but Kyle Hendricks has allowed a 36% hard hit rate to LHB this season. Duggar helps you fit a lot of punch in elsewhere.
Other options – Joc Pederson, Adam Eaton, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Albert Almora, Kyle Tucker, Jose Reddick, Robbie Grossman, Dustin Fowler, Tyler Naquin, Derek Dietrich