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Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels have struggled quite a bit early this season, ranking only 22nd in the MLB in runs scored, while also ranking 24th in home runs, team batting average, and OPS. They were a slightly better offense on the road last season, where they hit for a .246 average with a .408 slugging percentage and a .722 OPS. Los Angeles also averaged 4.5 runs and 3.0 extra-base hits per game on the road in 2018. Tonight, they are -126 favorites in a game set at 10.5 runs, giving them the highest implied run total on the slate at 5.6 runs.
Los Angeles gets a matchup against Shelby Miller, who has been one of the worst pitchers in the MLB for quite some time. Since his All Star season for the Atlanta Braves in 2015, Miller has posted a 5-19 record with a 6.47 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP through 31 games (30 starts) for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers. He has also allowed a 1.2 HR/9, while recording only a 7.0 K/9 over that span. This season has not gotten any better, as Miller owns a 9.67 xFIP and an 8.25 SIERA, suggesting his struggles will continue. Throughout his career, Miller has struggled more against left-handed batters, allowing them to hit for a .267 average with a .430 slugging percentage and a .336 wOBA. Recently, though, he has allowed nearly everyone to find success against him. He’ll be pitching in one of the more hitter friendly situations on this slate, and there’s very little reason to believe Miller will all of the sudden find success. This stack is less about use the Angels and more about using any team that faces off against Miller at this point.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Texas Rangers have featured a middle of the pack offense through 14 games in 2019. They currently rank 16th in the MLB in runs scored, while also ranking 17th in home runs, team batting average, and OPS. The Rangers were a significantly better team at home in 2018, where 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 last season. They are +116 underdogs in a game set at 10.5 runs tonight, but they still feature one of the highest implied run totals on the slate at 5.0 runs.
The Rangers get a matchup against Trevor Cahill, who has looked decent through three starts this season. Overall, he owns a 1-1 record with a 3.50 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. Cahill also possesses a 4.54 xFIP and a 4.05 SIERA on the season, suggesting we may start to see some regression at some point. He has also allowed a 1.5 HR/9 to go along with an 8.0 K/9 this season, although both of those are higher than his career averages. He has struggled mightily in limited innings against left-handed batters this season, and that was his problem last season, as well. In 2018, he allowed lefties to hit for a .243 average with a .365 slugging percentage and a .296 wOBA. In limited innings this season, he’s allowing them to boast a .321/.571/.393 line. This is a game that should feature a plethora of runs, and getting action on both sides makes plenty of sense tonight.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals have featured a few ups and downs early in the 2019 season, but they rank 13th in the MLB in runs scored, 20th in home runs, 14th in team batting average, 16th in OPS. Surprisingly, Kansas City found more success at home in 2018, hitting for only a .234 average with a .381 slugging percentage and a .671 OPS on the road. They averaged 3.8 runs and 2.7 extra-base hits per game away from home, as well. They Royals are +114 underdogs in this game, but they still own an implied run total of 4.6 runs tonight.
Ervin Santana will be taking the mound for the Chicago White Sox tonight. He allowed seven earned runs (three home runs), while striking out only one batters in 3.2 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in his only start this season. While his ERA will certainly come down from 17.18, his 9.09 xFIP and 7.86 SIERA leave plenty to be desired. Santana has dealt with injuries since his All Star (nearly Cy Young) 2017 season, and he has posted a 9.21 ERA with a 3.8 HR/9 in his six starts since. Throughout his career, he has struggled more against left-handed batters, allowing them to hit for a .261 average with a .433 slugging percentage and a .330 wOBA. He has struggled against everyone since the start of the 2018 season, though, which is when he saw his fastball velocity dip. The Royals will likely go overlooked as underdogs, but they’re in an elite spot to produce tonight.
Bales’ Bombs: HR Predictor
Goldschmidt has struggled with consistency early this season, but 50% of his hits have been home runs. He has been seeing the ball well over the last 15 days, posting 50% hard-hit and 53% fly ball rates with a 94 mph exit velocity over that span. He also gets a matchup against Freddy Peralta, who has thrown fastballs over 80% of the time this season.
O’Hearn’s numbers don’t stick out at first glance, but his peripherals suggest he’ll continue to see positive regression. Over the last 15 days, he owns 42% hard-hit and fly ball rates with a 92 mph exit velocity. He also gets a matchup against Ervin Santana, who has struggled with home runs, and O’Hearn possesses 0.233 wOBA and 0.205 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching.
Pederson is another player, who hits right-handed pitching well, posting 0.189 wOBA and 0.193 ISO differentials against righties. He has also been heating up with 45% hard-hit and 51% fly ball rates and a 94 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days. Pederson has also hit three home runs over his last five games.
Cabrera isn’t your typical power hitter, but his metrics line up well. He gets a strong matchup against Trevor Cahill in a hitter friendly stadium, and he owns 0.085 wOBA and 0.129 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching. Cabrera has also recorded 55% hard-hit and 44% fly ball rates with a 95 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days.
Duda is another player that gets an elite matchup against Ervin Santana. He only owns a 35% hard-hit rate and a 91 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days, but he also owns a 70% fly ball rate over that span. Furthermore, Duda enters this game with 0.071 wOBA and 0.125 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching.
Hidden Gem: Value Pitcher
Shoemaker has looked outstanding early this season, posting a 3-0 record with a 0.92 ERA and 0.71 WHIP through three starts. He also owns a 3.64 xFIP and a 3.60 SIERA, suggesting some regression, but we already knew these numbers weren’t fully sustainable. Shoemaker has also posted a 0.9 HR/9, while recording an 8.7 K/9 through 19.2 innings. He’s coming off of his worst start of the season against the Boston Red Sox, but he posted 33.4 and 31.4 DK points against the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers before that. Shoemaker is currently a +123 underdog in a game set at 9 runs, giving his opponents an implied run total of 4.9 runs tonight.
He gets a tough matchup against the Minnesota Twins, who rank as a below average team in terms of strikeouts per at-bat, while ranking roughly average on this slate in team wOBA. Shoemaker has been a reverse splits pitcher early this season, and that was the case last season, as well. He held left-handed batters to a .192 average with a .308 slugging percentage and a .276 wOBA. Through three games this season, he has held all of his opponents to a .138/.292/.221 line, as well. Shoemaker is only $200 more expensive than Yu Darvish, who will likely take up the majority of ownership around that price tag. For that reason, Shoemaker makes an elite pivot in tournaments on this slate.
Hidden Gems: Value Hitters
Carpenter has finally hit the point where he is cheap enough to be considered a value option. He’s only hitting .236 on the season, but he has been heating up recently. Over his last 10 games, he owns a .265 average with a .500 slugging percentage and an .866 OPS. He has also posted 37% hard-hit and 53% fly ball rates with a 92 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days. Carpenter is a player that has been at his best against right-handed pitching, as well, bringing 0.044 wOBA and 0.028 ISO differentials against righties into this game.
He gets a great matchup against Freddy Peralta, who is a one-dimensional pitcher. He has thrown his fastball over 80% of the time this season, and Carpenter is a veteran, who can take advantage of that. Peralta has also struggled more against left-handed batters throughout his career, allowing them to hit for a .245 average, .484 slugging percentage, and .368 wOBA. Carpenter will lead off for the St. Louis Cardinals, and he makes an elite option for a low price tag tonight.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)