Saturday brings a seven-game slate of baseball with a lot of appeal for the value of Kenta Maeda. Facing a team with the highest K% against righties, the potential for a big game at a cheap price is high. Let’s breakdown this slate and as always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Chicago Cubs (5) @ Chicago White Sox (4.7)
Jon Lester (LHP) vs. Lucas Giolito (RHP)
Over/Under: 9 Moneyline: White Sox -106
Pitcher Breakdown: I’m personally not a big fan of Lester but I’ll give credit where it’s due. He racked up the strikeouts in the month of June, ending with a 27 K%, the highest mark of the season. Now he faces a White Sox team that has one of the highest K% in the league against lefties at 24.7%, the sixth highest in the league. Makes for an interesting play for someone I usually never roster.
Giolito has been a bit shaky as of late but still has been getting the job done. Even in a month where it felt like he struggled, he still only allowed 10 runs through 36 innings in June. His 3.69 xFIP was the lowest of the season while his 32 K% was the highest. I still think he’s a good play today despite the notion that he’s “struggling.”
Hitter Breakdown: Not crazy about the bats in this game as I think both pitchers are in good spots. The Cubs run total has jumped half a run to five runs, so take that for what it’s worth. The Cubs have a lot of power against righties, highlighted by Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras. Personally, I’m not going crazy here.
For the White Sox, James McCann, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez would be my top options to target here. All three players boast an ISO of at least .197 and have been hitting well over their past 10 games.
Philadelphia Phillies (4.1) @ New York Mets (5)
Jake Arrieta (RHP) vs. Noah Syndergaard (RHP)
Over/Under: 8.5 Moneyline: Mets -143
Pitcher Breakdown: Neither pitcher is an option for me in this game. Both pitchers have struggled against their opposition today and quite frankly, overall. Syndergaard has seen his K% drop every month this season and it fell all the way down to 20% in the month of June. His 4.94 xFIP in that month raises some eyebrows as well. Arrieta doesn’t provide enough for fantasy purposes for me to ever roster him. The Mets have hit him hard already this season, as he’s given up 11 runs (10 earned) through 20 innings with only 12 strikeouts.
Hitter Breakdown: I really like stacking the Phillies in this game. This is a team that already tagged Thor for five runs on nine hits through five innings this season. I’m going to focus on some of the lefties in this Phillies lineup like Bryce Harper and Jay Bruce and then fill in the rest with Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery and maybe even some Maikel Franco. If they can get to Syndergaard early again, they can feast on this poor Mets bullpen as well.
If you’re on the Mets and bat from the left side, you’re very much in consideration. On the road against lefties, Arrieta sports a .428 wOBA with a 5.30 xFIP with eight of his 18 home runs allowed. Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Dominic Smith would be a great four-man stack to consider. On DraftKings, get ol’ Peter Alonso in there as well.
Los Angeles Angels (3.6) @ Houston Astros (5.5)
Andrew Heaney (LHP) vs. Gerrit Cole (RHP)
Over/Under: 9 Moneyline: Astros -197
Pitcher Breakdown: After starting off the year well, Heaney has fallen off a cliff and posted a very poor month of June. Through 31 2/3 innings, he ended with a .337 wOBA and a 5.11 xFIP. His 26.7 K% was good but now he faces one of the toughest teams to strikeout as a lefty. The Astros combine for a 17.7 K% against lefties, the third lowest in the league. Not a spot I want to use Heaney.
Cole is in the same boat against another tough team to strikeout, as the Angels have an even lower K% of 17.4, which gives them the lowest in the league. While Cole hasn’t faced this club yet, we’ve seen him struggle to produce strikeouts against teams with low K% against righties. He only struck out four Athletics (20.9 K%) and three Pirates (18.1 K%) recently. I’m not going out of my way to use Cole despite his upside. I think this could be one of those games where he could disappoint.
Hitter Breakdown: While I’m not looking to use Cole, I’m not trying to get any of the Angels bats in my lineup either. Sure, Cole may not return value on his salary but that doesn’t mean I need these guys in my lineup. Easy fade.
The Astros have a TON of power against lefties, which makes for another good stack to consider. Jose Altuve, George Springer, Jake Marisnick and Alex Bregman all have an ISO over .300 against lefties this season. Robinson Chirinos is another name to consider if you’re looking to make a full five-man stack on DK.
St. Louis Cardinals (3.6) @ San Francisco Giants (4)
Miles Mikolas (RHP) vs. Madison Bumgarner (LHP)
Over/Under: 7.5 Moneyline: Giants -107
Pitcher Breakdown: I have a feeling Mikolas is going to be a fairly popular option because of his salary and matchup. If that’s the case, I’ll happily fade the guy who hasn’t generated more than four strikeouts in six straight starts. Also, did you realize the Giants are averaging 6.1 runs per game over their last 10?
Bumgarner has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows this season. This is a game where he could produce another high against a Cardinals offense that has been average at best against lefties. Bumgarner has been much better at home and sports a .284 wOBA with a 3.80 xFIP. The Cardinals have started to hit again but I think they struggle today.
Hitter Breakdown: The Cardinals don’t have a ton of power against lefties but Jose Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt top the team in that category. Both are cheap options to help save some salary but I wouldn’t go out of my way.
The Giants have a few guys to consider, especially with how well the team has been hitting. Alex Dickerson is too cheap for a cleanup hitter and has been producing as of late as well. Brandon Belt has six hits in his last two games and should be in a prime spot in the lineup batting leadoff. Pablo Sandoval has one of the highest ISO on the team against righties and is also in the mix.
Colorado Rockies (3.9) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (4.2)
Jon Gray (RHP) vs. Robbie Ray (LHP)
Over/Under: 9 Moneyline: Diamondbacks -118
Pitcher Breakdown: As you’ll see on our Line Movement Tool this game has dropped an entire run to eight overall runs with both team dropped a half run. I think both pitchers have their appeal in this matchup for different reasons. For Gray, the D-Backs are a much better hitting team against lefties than righties. In the same breath, they’re also a fairly tough team to strikeout, which brings down the appeal for Gray.
Ray has the ability to break the slate with his strikeout upside, especially in a matchup like this. Against lefties, the Rockies have a fourth highest K% at 25.3%. Problem is, Ray is SO hard to trust and struggles to go deep into games with the number of pitches he throws. He’s faced the Rockies three times already with only one of those starts coming at home. He’s allowed 13 runs but only eight were earned through 16 1/3 innings. The biggest appeal here is the 22 strikeouts against them, which is good for a 12.1 K/9. He’ll give you the strikeouts if you can stomach the long, tedious innings.
Hitter Breakdown: While Ray carries so much strikeout upside, he’s certainly not shy about giving up some offense. I think Ian Desmond is my favorite play on the Rockies here. He has a massive .420 ISO against lefties on the road with a .450 wOBA. Nolan Arenado is also very much in play but you knew that already.
On the D-Backs, Christian Walker and Ketel Marte would be my two favorite option here. Both players have an ISO over .200 against righties and Walker especially is smashing the ball right now.
San Diego Padres (3.8) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (4.8)
Chris Paddack (RHP) vs. Kenta Maeda (RHP)
Over/Under: 8 Moneyline: Dodgers -166
Pitcher Breakdown: I think this is an easy fade on Paddack against a Dodgers team that doesn’t strikeout much against righties. On the year they sport just a 20 K%, which ranks them as fourth lowest in the league. While he has some really good upside, I don’t see it here in this matchup.
Maeda, meanwhile, faces a team with the highest K% in the league against righties at 26.3%. This skyrockets him to one of if not the top option. He’s quite cheap overall and is averaging a strikeout an inning. Despite allowing four runs to the Padres through 12 2/3 innings this season, he’s only allowed six hits and struck out 18, good for a 12.8 K/9.
Hitter Breakdown: Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger both have a ridiculous ISO over .415 against righties at Dodger Stadium. I would be locking these guys in if you can afford it. Max Muncy and Matt Beaty are other ways to grab some Dodger exposure as well.
Oakland Athletics (5.2) @ Seattle Mariners (4.4)
Chris Bassitt (RHP) vs. Marco Gonzales (LHP)
Over/Under: 9.5 Moneyline: Athletics -133
Pitcher Breakdown: With the other options on this slate, I won’t be looking toward any pitchers in this game. You could make an argument for Bassitt with his .289 wOBA and 4.62 xFIP on the road. Personally, I just don’t find it necessary.
Hitter Breakdown: The bats in this game is where my attention will be. The A’s have been a very strong team against lefties and have a number of hitters to consider. Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Mark Canha and Josh Phegley all have an ISO of at least .233 against lefties on the road. That alone would make you consider stacking these guys as a whole.
On the Mariners, I think Daniel Vogelbah and Domingo Santana are in a really good spot as well.
Best Overall Pitcher: Lucas Giolito
Best Value Pitcher: Kenta Maeda
Best Overall Hitters: Michael Conforto, Bryce Harper, Matt Chapman, George Springer, Ian Desmond, Nolan Arenado, Jose Altuve
Best Value Hitters: Jake Marisnick, Jose Martinez, Brandon Belt, Matt Beaty, Josh Phegley, Mark Canha
Home Run Call of the Day: Joc Pederson
Stacks: Phillies, Mets (lefties), Astros, Athletics
Bet of the Day: Athletics -133