Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Pittsburgh Pirates have featured mixed results offensively this season. Through 137 games, they rank 19th in the MLB in runs scored and OPS, while ranking 11th in team batting average. They currently own a .253 average with a .394 slugging percentage and a .719 OPS in Pittsburgh this season. They are also averaging 4.0 runs and 2.8 extra-base hits per game through 69 home games. The Pirates are currently -133 favorites in a game set at 8.5 runs, giving them an implied run total of 4.6 runs.
The Pirates get a great matchup against Matt Harvey today. He has struggled through 27 games (23 starts) this season, recording a 6-7 record with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He has also allowed a 1.5 HR/9 with a 7.2 K/9 through 126.2 innings. He has struggled against left-handed batters, allowing them to hit for a .272 average with a .492 slugging percentage and a .351 wOBA. He’s allowing righties to hit for a .268/.429/.318 line this season, as well. Furthermore, Harvey’s opponents are hitting for a .302/.475/.353 line against him on the road. The Pirates own a high upside offense, and should be chalk in this matchup.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Washington Nationals have featured an above average offense this season, ranking 11th in the MLB in runs scored, while ranking 12th in team batting average and OPS. They have also been a significantly better option at home, where they are hitting .265 with a .435 slugging percentage and a .775 OPS. The Nationals are averaging 4.9 runs and 3.2 extra-base hits per game at home, as well. Washington is a -172 favorite in a game set at 7.5 runs, giving them an implied run total of 4.3 runs.
Jack Flaherty will be taking the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals today. He has thrown well through 22 starts, posting an 8-6 record with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He has allowed a 1.2 HR/9, while posting an 11.0 K/9 through 122.1 innings. He has been a reverse splits pitcher this season, allowing right-handed batters to hit for a .204 average with a .374 slugging percentage and a .283 wOBA. Flaherty has found plenty of success this season, but Washington has flashed tremendous upside at home this season. They make an outstanding leverage stack in tournaments today.
Bales’ Bombs: HR Predictor
Freeman has struggled over his last 10 games, but his peripheral show a different story. Over the last 15 days, Freeman owns 34% hard-hit and 41% fly ball rates with a 93 mph exit velocity. Freeman also owns a .524 slugging percentage and a .221 ISO against right-handed pitching throughout his career.
Acuna has caught fire recently, hitting .366 with a .659 slugging percentage and a 1.072 OPS over his last 10 games. He features 56% hard-hit and 41% fly ball rates with a 95 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days, as well. Acuna also possesses a .588 slugging percentage and a .290 ISO against right-handed pitching in 2018.
Polanco is at his best against right-handed pitching, recording 0.041 wOBA and 0.068 ISO differentials against righties. He’s also hitting .300 with a .525 slugging percentage and an .895 OPS over his last 10 games. Polanco features a 52% fly ball rate with a 90 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days, as well.
Hidden Gem: Value Pitcher
Velasquez has caught fire over his last nine games (eight starts), posting a 4-1 record with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP over that span. He has also held his opponents to a 0.2 HR/9 with a 7.8 K/9 over his last 40.2 innings. He has also thrown well on the road this season, where he owns a 3-4 record with a 3.02 ERA. He’s a -144 favorite in a game set at only 7 runs, giving his opponents an implied run total of only 3.2 runs.
Velasquez gets a great matchup against the Miami Marlins, who rank as an average team in terms of strikeouts per at-bats on this slate, while also ranking second last in team wOBA. Velasquez has dominated right-handed batters this season, holding them to a .203 average with a .309 slugging percentage and a .273 wOBA. He has been throwing well enough to be considered in all leagues on this slate.
Hidden Gems: Value Hitters
Difo has looked outstanding at home this season, where he’s hitting .307 with a .470 slugging percentage and an .829 OPS. He has also flashed speed at times this season. Difo has performed well against right-handed pitching, as well, recording 0.115 wOBA and 0.056 ISO differentials against righties.
I have already outlined Jack Flaherty above, so I won’t do that again. Difo is only hitting seventh in the Nationals lineup, but he will feature low ownership, and continuously produces in Washington. He’s a cheap way to get a part of the Nationals stack.
Jones has been heating up a bit over his last 10 games, posting a .257 average with five extra-base hits, three RBIs, and one steal over that span. He owns a 56% hard-hit and 96 mph exit velocity over the last 15 days, as well. Jones owns 0.004 wOBA and 0.004 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching, as well.
He gets a matchup against Reynaldo Lopez, who has been a reverse splits pitcher this season. He’s allowing right-handed batters to hit for a .268 average with a .459 slugging percentage and a .343 wOBA. Jones is expected to hit ninth in the Tigers lineup, but he comes with plenty of upside due to his combination of speed and power. He’s a player that can be considered in all leagues.
By: Justin Bales (Twitter)