Pitching Preview | Is Chris Sale worth hefty price tag?

Pitching Preview | Is Chris Sale worth hefty price tag?

What an insane slate last night was. None of the top pitchers performed well, and there were home runs all over the place. We have to put that slate behind us and just assess today’s numbers. The question of the day is: Is Chris Sale worth the hefty price tag?

Pitchers to Use

Chris Sale

I just wrote up E-Rod yesterday in this same exact spot. I’m going right back to the well here. Sale gets an incredible matchup against the banged-up Royals, who have a 25% K rate, .125 ISO, and 73 wRC+ against lefties. These numbers are not very good, and I expect Sale to dominate here as he has a 35% K rate on the year and the lowest SIERA on the slate.

He also has double-digit strikeouts in six of his last eight starts. I will be making an effort to pay up for Sale and pair him with a cheaper SP2 below.

Martin Perez

Perez has been really good this year outside of his last outing. This is due to adding a cutter and a couple of MPH on each pitch he throws. He gets the Indians here, who just haven’t been very good against lefties as they strike out 24% of the time while sporting a .131 ISO and 74 wRC+.

Anthony Desclafani

This is solely a splits play, assuming the Cardinals go righty-heavy here. Desclafani is night and day against righties and lefties. His K rate jumps from 21% to 26%, his WHIP drops from 1.8 to 0.9, his xFIP drops from 5.8 to 3.6, his ground ball rate jumps from 27% to 44%, and his hard hit rate drops from 45% to 36% when comparing righty to lefty splits. Again, this is only a play if the Cards go righty-heavy like they normally do.

Joe Musgrove (DK only)

Has Musgrove been lights out? No. Should he be the cheapest pitcher on the slate behind guys with zero upside? Also, no.

Musgrove is free and is facing a Braves team that hits lefties much better than they do righties. I expect the Braves to score a couple runs, but Musgrove’s price puts him in play on DK.

Pitchers to Pick On

Sandy Alcantara

Alcantara is much worse against lefties, and he should get a bunch of them here. He only strikes out 11% of them, has a 5.8 xFIP, and a 1.5 WHIP. He also has the worst SIERA on the slate by far at 5.65.

Jake Junis

Junis isn’t very good. The only thing he does well is generate ground balls. That won’t keep me from loading up on the Red Sox here though. He sports a 4.6 SIERA with a WHIP of 1.44, so he typically allows a ton of base runners. He is also allowing hard contact over 40% to both sides of the plate.

Daniel Mengden

Mengden has been allowing a fair amount of fly balls but has yet to give up a home run. I think that is going to change against the Angels and we should look to pick on him as he regresses. He has the second highest SIERA on the slate at 5.6.

Dakota Hudson

Assuming the Reds go lefty-heavy here, they’re a stack I want. Hudson is the same pitcher as Desclafani. He is terrible against lefties and pretty good against righties.

To lefties, he has allowed 2.6 HR/9, 2.2 WHIP, 5.4 xFIP and 44% hard contact.

Carlos Carrasco

This is a tourney only stack of the Twins, but Carrasco has actually been pretty pedestrian outside of his K rate this year, especially to lefties. He’s allowing 2.5 HR/9, a 1.4 WHIP, an xFIP of 4, 44% hard contact and 44% fly balls to lefties. The Twins have a bunch of righty mashing lefties throughout the order.