Chris Sale- Without diving into the analytics, Chris Sale screams “top play” on this slate. He has the highest strikeout rate on the slate at nearly 35%, and he matches up with the Texas Rangers who are striking out over 26% of the time against left-handed pitching. Strikeouts are even more important this year than in season’s past with the way runs are being scored across the league, and he also gets a watered down version of the Rangers lineup with only Hunter Pence and Nomar Mazara owning an ISO above .160 against southpaws. I will be locking him into my cash game/single entry build on Monday night.
Charlie Morton- Morton gets the edge over Hyun-Jin Ryu for the second overall option on this slate, despite a tough matchup with the Oakland Athletics. Morton has been exceptional in his own right this season boasting a 3.55 SIERA and 30.4% strikeouts, and provides some savings on both FanDuel and DraftKings off of Sale if attempting to fit in Coors Field bats. I don’t think the upside is quite as high as Sale, but he definitely has strikeout ability and I will be rotating Morton into some tournament teams tonight.
Kevin Gausman- Gausman is my preferred SP2 choice right now for cash games given the weather situation in New York, but there are also weather concerns in Atlanta so we need to monitor up until lock whether or not this is safe for cash games. Gausman is simply under-priced given two recent starts where he was BABIP’d to death, don’t get me wrong, a 4.50 SIERA with just over 22% strikeouts is nothing spectacular, but it’s also better than a $6,000 price tag against the Pittsburgh Pirates. I prefer to pick on the Pirates with lefties, but Gausman is good enough to contain them in my opinion, in part due to his best pitch, a splitter. Not a single batter on the Pirates owns above-average advanced metrics against splitters, and this is a pitch Gausman is throwing nearly 40% of the time.
Note: If the weather becomes too much of an issue for Gausman, we can pivot to Michael Wacha against the Marlins for savings in cash games.
Tournament Pool: Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Sale, Charlie Morton, Michael Wacha
Rhys Hoskins- Hoskins has some stiff competition in Luke Voit as an affordable cash game option tonight, but if choosing one I think we ultimately side with Hoskins for a few hundred cheaper. His price is not reflective of the numbers he’s put up this season, as he still owns a .223 ISO and a 123 wRC+ against right-handed pitching…doesn’t sound like a $4,200 player does it? Taylor Clarke profiles as a low strikeout, fly-ball pitcher and he’s throwing fastball/slider over 70% of the time to right-handed batters…both pitches that Hoskins sports a .400+ xwOBA against.
Gleyber Torres- Speaking of low-pricing, Gleyber Torres follows suit with pretty much every other Yankee player tonight that seems “too cheap” against Jason Vargas. Vargas underlying metrics scream that regression is ahead, and Torres comes into Monday night with a huge .262 ISO with nearly 40% hard-contact against southpaws. At only $4,300, Torres is the top play in all formats for me at Shortstop.
Carlos Gonzalez (DraftKings)- This is mainly a price play, with Carlos Gonzalez coming in at just $3,000 in Coors Field. He homered over the weekend for the Cubs, but the fact is it’s just too cheap for a batter in Coors Field regardless of whether or not he could be washed up or not. Plug him into your cash game builds and move on.
Tampa Bay Rays- I’m pretty much in agreement with the chalkier stacks as the top spots on this slate, so for tournaments I will be targeting the Tampa Bay Rays. We don’t know much about Tanner Anderson, but from the looks of his minor league numbers he profiles as more of a ground ball pitcher with little strikeout ability. The Rays rank fourth-overall in wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season, with the ninth-highest ISO and the 20th overall strikeout rate. This nightmare is just so tough for an inexperienced pitcher to navigate, and every one of the top five or six hitters have the ability to get the ball up in the air and combat the ground balls of Anderson.
Chalk Stacks: Yankees, Phillies, Coors
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)