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Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Colorado Rockies have featured plenty of ups and downs this season, but they still rank 16th in the MLB in runs scored. With that being said, they also rank 21st in home runs, 22nd in team batting average, and 19th in OPS. They were at their best at home in 2018, though, where they posted a .287 average with a .503 slugging percentage and an .852 OPS. Colorado also averaged 5.5 runs and 3.9 extra-base hits per game at home last season, as well. The Rockies are -140 favorites in a game set at 9.5 runs tonight, giving them an implied run total of 5.2 runs.
Colorado gets a matchup against Derek Holland, who has struggled through six starts this season. He owns a 1-4 record with a 5.34 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. He has also struggled with a 4.19 xFIP and a 4.07 SIERA, although he’s due for some positive regression. Holland has allowed his opponents to record 44.4% fly ball and 21.9% HR/FB rates in 2019. He has also allowed a 41.6% hard hit rate this season. Holland’s strikeout rate has jumped to 29.6%, while his swinging strike rate sits at 11.4%. He could see some type of regression back to his career averages on those numbers, though. Holland struggled significantly more against right-handed batters last season, allowing them to hit for a .262 average with a .467 slugging percentage and a .337 wOBA. He also allowed his opponents to hit for a .239/.432/.322 line on the road. The Rockies may not feature the most ownership on the slate, as the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will likely be the “chalk” options tonight. With that being said, any time I can get Colorado in a plus matchup in Coors at lower ownership, I’m willing to take that chance in cash games.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Chicago Cubs have featured a dominant offense in the MLB this season, ranking fourth in the league in runs scored and team batting average, 10th in home runs, and second in OPS. The Cubs were at their best in Chicago in 2018, where they recorded a .262 average with a .415 slugging percentage and a .753 OPS. They also averaged 4.7 runs and 2.9 extra-base hits per game at home. The Cubs are -226 favorites in a game set at 8 runs, and they feature an implied run total of 4.9 runs tonight.
The Cubs get an elite matchup against Jose Urena, who is one of my least favorite pitchers in the MLB. He has struggled with a 1-5 record, 5.45 ERA, and 1.54 WHIP through seven starts. He also owns a 4.63 xFIP and a 4.75 SIERA in those games. Urena has held his opponents to a 31.8% fly ball rate, but he has also allowed a 16.7% HR/FB rate. More importantly, Urena has allowed a ridiculous 47.8% hard hit rate this season, while recording only a 15.7% soft hit rate. His strikeout rate sits at only 16.5%, while he owns a 7.5% swinging strike rate. Urena was at his worst in 2018 against left-handed batters, allowing them to hit for a .255 average with a .425 slugging percentage and a .314 wOBA. He also struggled under pressure last season, allowing his opponents to hit for a .314/.514/.369 line with runners in scoring position. Chicago should be able to put the ball in play tonight, and they’ll see plenty of opportunities with runners in scoring position, making them a strong option tonight.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants have struggled to produce offensively early this season. Through 36 games, they rank 25th in the MLB in runs scored, 26th in home runs, 27th in team batting average, and 28th in OPS. They surprisingly struggled more away from home in 2018, where they posted a .235 average with a .363 slugging percentage and a .654 OPS. The Giants also averaged only 3.5 runs and 2.5 extra-base hits per game on the road last season. With that being said, they’re playing in the most hitter friendly stadium in the MLB tonight. They are +129 underdogs in a game set at 9.5 runs, but still own an implied run total of 4.4 runs.
Jon Gray will be taking the mound for the Colorado Rockies. He has seen plenty of ups and downs this season, posting a 3-3 record with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP through seven starts. He also owns a 3.93 xFIP and a 4.25 SIERA this season. Gray has held his opponents to a 28.6% fly ball rate, but he has also allowed a 21.9% HR/FB rate. Furthermore, he has allowed a 38.6% hard hit rate this season, while recording only an 11.4% soft hit rate. Gray owns a 24.3% strikeout rate to go along with a 12.5% swinging strike rate in 2019, as well. Last season, he was at his worst against left-handed batters, allowing them to hit for a .269 average with a .500 slugging percentage and a .354 wOBA. He also allowed right-handed batters to hit for a .262/.402/.311 line in 2018. The Giants are an offense that likely goes overlooked once again tonight, and they make a strong option in a plus situation.
Bales’ Bombs: HR Predictor
Arenado was able to post an elite .420 average with an .898 slugging percentage and a .477 ISO against left-handed pitching at Coors Field last season. He also enters this game with 49% hard hit and 43% fly ball rates to go along with a 96 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days.
Foltynewicz has allowed an elite fly ball rate this season, and Bellinger has posted 48% hard hit and 37% fly ball rates with a 94 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. He also bring 0.107 wOBA and 0.134 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching into this contest.
It’s impossible to trust Senzel’s numbers because the sample size is far too small, but he has posted a .500 average with a 67% home run rate in limited at-bats against left-handed pitching. Since joining the MLB, he has also recorded 42% hard hit and 64% fly ball rates with a 93 MPH exit velocity.
Bregman continues to post some of the best home run metrics in the MLB, as he owns 52% hard hit and 59% fly ball rates with a 96 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. He has been a better option against left-handed pitching, but he was still able to record a .274 average with a .517 slugging percentage and a .243 ISO against righties in 2018.
Story is in the same boat as Arenado. In 2018, he posted a .374 average with an .879 slugging percentage and a .505 ISO at home against left-handed pitching. He has also been on fire recently, as he enters this game with 46% hard hit and 48% fly ball rates to go along with a 94 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days.
Hidden Gem: Value Pitcher
Hendricks has been a bit of a hit or miss pitcher early in the 2019 season. Through six starts, he owns a 2-4 record with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. He has also posted a 4.11 xFIP and a 4.47 SIERA this season. Hendricks has limited his opponents power, holding them to 31.5% fly ball and 8.8% HR/FB rates. He has allowed a 38.9% hard-hit rate, which is nearly 10% higher than any other year of his career, allowing us to predict positive regression. His strikeout rate sits at only 18.1% to go along with a relatively low 7.8% swinging strike rate. He has featured elite control this season, though, throwing 58.5% of his pitches in the zone. Hendricks is also a -226 favorite in a game set at 8 runs, giving his opponents an implied run total of only 3.2 runs.
He gets an elite matchup against the Miami Marlins, who lead the slate in strikeouts per at-bat, while also ranking second last on the slate in team wOBA. Hendricks was a reverse splits pitcher in 2018, holding left-handed batters to a .233 average with a .381 slugging percentage and a .285 wOBA. He also held right-handed batters to a .259/.399/.303 line last season. Hendricks has looked elite at home this season, while scoring 32.9 and 38.8 fantasy points in his last two home starts. His command allows him to pitch deep into games, as he needed only 81 pitches for a complete game shutout in his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals. There aren’t many great arms on this slate, and Hendricks is as cheap as I would look tonight.
Hidden Gems: Value Hitters
I outlined Justin Turner in the Battle of the Bales article, as well, but his price tag is so ridiculous that I want everyone to see it. He’s hitting .415 with a .756 slugging percentage and a 1.211 OPS over his last 10 games. He also owns six extra-base hits (four home runs) and eight RBIs over that span. Turner also owns 48% hard-hit and 46% fly ball rates with a 98 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. Even taking away Turner’s three home run game last night, and he has still been an elite option for his current price tag.
He gets a matchup against Mike Foltynewicz, who has struggled with a 5.70 xFIP and a 4.90 SIERA this season. He has also allowed a ridiculous 55.6% fly ball rate to go along with a 15% HR/FB rate. Furthermore, Foltynewicz has allowed his opponents to hit for a 41% hard hit rate, while recording only a 15.4% soft hit rate. He has also struggled with a 16.3% strikeout rate to go along with a 10% swinging strike rate. Foltynewicz has been at his worst against left-handed batters, but he has still allowed right-handed batters to hit for a .253 average with a .398 slugging percentage and a .308 wOBA throughout his career. Turner has been underpriced for quite some time, and his price tag simply has to increase soon. This may be the last day we can take advantage of that.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)