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Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
Boston Red Sox
Once again, we have the Boston Red Sox at home as the “Chalk Stack.” They have featured plenty of ups and downs early this season, ranking only 14th in the MLB in runs scored, 17th in home runs and team batting average, and 19th in OPS through 13 games. Boston was a significantly better offense at home last season, though, where they hit for a .282 average with a .482 slugging percentage and an .829 OPS. The Red Sox also averaged 5.8 runs and 4.1 extra-base hits per game in Boston in 2018. They enter this game as -243 favorites in a game set at 10 runs, giving them the highest implied run total on the slate at 6.2 runs.
Boston gets a matchup against David Hess, who has thrown surprisingly well early this season. He owns a 1-1 record with a 2.70 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP through three games (two starts), but his 5.36 xFIP and 4.85 SIERA suggest that he will see regression shortly. He has also struggled with home runs throughout his career, and he allowed three home runs in only five innings in his last game. Overall, he possesses a career 1.9 HR/9 to go along with a 6.6 K/9 over 116.2 innings. He struggled against nearly everyone in 2018, specifically left-handed batters. Hess allowed lefties to hit for a .249 average with a .512 slugging percentage and a .352 wOBA last season. Right-handed batters also found plenty of success with a .270/.462/.347 line, though. The Red Sox feature an offense that can only be held down for so long, and they should find plenty of success at home tonight. They aren’t necessarily going to come cheap, but they are the safest stacking option on this slate tonight.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Texas Rangers are another team that has seen mixed results in 2019. Through 12 games, they rank 15th in the MLB in runs scored and OPS, 16th in home runs, and 18th in team batting average. Unsurprisingly, the Rangers were a better offense in Texas’ hitter friendly stadium last season. They posted a .256 average with a .438 slugging percentage and a .778 OPS. Texas also averaged 5.3 runs and 3.2 extra-base hits per game at home in 2018. They are +109 underdogs in a game set at 10.5 runs, but they still feature an implied run total of 5.1 runs tonight.
The Rangers get a matchup against Mike Fiers, who owns a 2-1 record with a 5.94 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP through four starts. His ERA is relatively close to his 6.56 xFIP and 5.98 SIERA, suggesting he’ll continue to struggle as the season progresses. Fiers has also allowed a 1.7 HR/9 with a 7.8 K/9 since the start of the 2017 season. Fiers was a reverse splits pitcher last season, allowing right-handed batters to hit for a .267 average with a .482 slugging percentage and a .335 wOBA. He has struggled more against left-handed batters in limited innings this season, though, allowing them to post a .321/.357/.347 line thus far. Texas is a team that comes with tremendous upside, especially when playing in a hitter friendly stadium. They may go a bit overlooked because of their status as an underdog tonight, but they come with tremendous upside in this matchup.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
New York Mets
The New York Mets posted six runs last night, and I’m going back to the well tonight. They have found plenty success throughout the 2019 season, ranking fifth in the MLB in runs scored, 12th in home runs, ninth in team batting average, and 12th in OPS. They were an offense that was significantly better on the road last season, posting a .252 average with a .421 slugging percentage and a .752 OPS. The Mets also averaged 5.0 runs and 3.4 extra-base hits per game on the road. Tonight, they are -102 underdogs in a game set at 9.5 runs, and they own an implied run total of 4.8 runs.
Kyle Wright will be taking the mound for the Atlanta Braves. He has struggled a bit through two starts, posting an 0-1 record with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Wright also owns a 5.38 xFIP and a 5.49 SIERA this season. Wright’s biggest issues as a pitcher have been struggling with home runs, and he owns a 2.8 HR/9 through 16.1 career innings. He has also posted only a 7.2 K/9 over that span. Throughout his young career, Wright has allowed left-handed batters to hit for a .227 average with a .545 slugging percentage and a .378 wOBA. Right-handed batters have also hit for a .171/.429/.338 line against him. The only issue Wright has truly struggled with throughout his career is power, and that puts him in a dangerous spot. The Mets are a relatively consistent offense, who struggles a bit more with power than anything. This is the perfect matchup, especially when the hitter friendly stadium is added to the equation.
Bales’ Bombs: HR Predictor
Gallo owns a 57.1% home run rate through 11 games this season. He also owns 68% hard-hit and 36% fly ball rates with a 99 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days. Gallo also owns 73.9% of his home runs against right-handed pitching. He gets an elite matchup against Mike Fiers in a hitter friendly stadium, as well.
Canha gets a great matchup against Drew Smyly in Texas’ hitter friendly stadium. He has dominated left-handed pitching, entering this game with 0.066 wOBA and 0.16 ISO differentials against lefties. Canha also owns 35% hard-hit and 71% fly ball rates with a 93 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days.
Moreland has already hit five home runs this season. He also owns 48% hard-hit and fly ball rates with a 94 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days. Moreland has also been at his best against right-handed pitching, possessing 0.05 wOBA and 0.092 ISO differentials against righties. He gets a matchup against David Hess, who has struggled with home runs.
Alonso has been significantly better against left-handed pitching, but he gets an elite matchup against Kyle Wright, and he has performed well against righties, as well. He also owns six home runs this season, and he has posted 58% hard-hit and 48% fly ball rates with a 97 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days.
Choo has yet to hit a home run this season, but he features 56% hard-hit and 40% fly ball rates with a 95 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days. He also enters this game with 0.089 wOBA and 0.107 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching. Furthermore, Choo gets an elite matchup against Mike Fiers in a hitter friendly stadium.
Hidden Gem: Value Pitcher
Keller has featured a few ups and downs early this season, but he owns a 1-1 record with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP through three starts. He also owns a 4.72 xFIP and a 5.05 SIERA, which suggests he could see regression at some point in the season. Keller has yet to allow a home run this season, although he only owns a 6.2 K/9. Those are relatively close to his career averages, although he has seen very limited games in the MLB. Tonight, Keller is a +137 underdog in a game set at 7.5 runs, and his opponents feature an implied run total of 4.2 runs.
He gets a great matchup against the Cleveland Indians tonight. They rank third on the slate in strikeouts per at-bat, while also ranking in the bottom-five of the slate in team wOBA. Keller has been a better pitcher against right-handed batters throughout his career, holding them to a .236 average with a .314 slugging percentage and a .261 wOBA. He has also held left-handed batters to a .250/.345/.313 line in his career. Keller generally doesn’t get rocked by lesser teams like Cleveland because of his ability to limit his opponents power. Cleveland will need to string hits together against him to find success. Keller also comes with more strikeout potential than usual in this matchup, adding to his upside tonight.
Hidden Gems: Value Hitters
Longoria has been struggling early this season, recording a .188 average with a .292 slugging percentage and a .496 OPS through 13 games. He owns three extra-base hits (one home runs) and three RBIs. Longoria’s peripherals suggest he has gotten a bit unlucky, though, as he features 44% hard-hit and 42% fly ball rates with a 95 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days. He also enters this game with 0.025 wOBA and 0.001 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching.
Longoria gets a matchup against Chad Bettis, who struggled against right-handed batters last season. In 2018, Bettis allowed righties to hit for a .284 average with a .485 slugging percentage and a .356 wOBA. Longoria is expected to hit third in the San Francisco Giants lineup, giving him ample opportunities to score fantasy points. While he isn’t an overly consistent option, he makes a strong tournament play, as his numbers will start to match his peripherals sooner rather than later.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)