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Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($10,000) - Too much adds up in Gausman’s favor to go in another direction Friday. The Rays are middle of the pack against right-handers in OPS, wOBA and ISO, which isn’t necessarily a huge boost for Toronto’s starter, but it’s far from a deterrent. What should play large, however, is the fact the Rays have the highest strikeout rate against righties in all of baseball (25.8%). After punching out five while facing a Guardians lineup that’s on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Tampa should be a breath of fresh air for Gausman.
Other Options – Max Scherzer ($10,400)
Dane Dunning, Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox ($6,700) – Is it weird that the second I saw Dunning was lined up to face Boston he became my value option for the night? He’s normally a guy you want to target, not roster. But there’s no two ways about it, Texas right-hander has looked good over his last three starts — and against three explosive lineups.
The Red Sox had a nice offensive burst on Tuesday vs. Atlanta, but they’ve done next to nothing otherwise. They’re bottom 10 in OPS, ISO and wOBA against right-handed pitching, so it’s no surprise to learn they don’t make much hard contact against righties. That bodes well for Dunning, who has given up quite a bit of hard contact this year, but does generate a lot of soft contact, too — along with a steady diet of grounders (52.7% ground-ball rate).
Other Options – Eduardo Rodriguez ($7,100)
Corey Seager, Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox ($4,900) – Seager just had himself a series vs. Kansas City, and now he gets a look at the far-from-fearsome Nick Pivetta ($7,500). The Texas shortstop hasn’t had much success against right-handed pitching, but he does have a solid 36.5% hard-contact rate against them. Pair that with his .220 BABIP against righties and he’s prone to carrying over some of what he did vs. the Royals. On top of all that, Pivetta has a rock-bottom 19.2% ground-ball rate against lefties, which puts Seager in position for some serious home cooking vs. Boston.
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals at Colorado Rockies ($5,300) – Over $5K for a guy hitting .200? Absolutely. Perez is 8-for-25 with three doubles over his last six games played. Yet, he has not homered since April 22. Now he’s in Colorado facing an OK lefty in Kyle Freeland ($5,800)? Perez may not be making a ton of hard contact against lefties right now, but it’s only a matter of time before he gets back to what he’s been best at for the last four seasons. Given Freeland’s 38.5% hard-contact rate against righties, he’s likely to give Perez a few chances to snap his homerless spell.
Other Options – Pete Alonso ($5,200)
Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers ($3,900) – Mancini and Eduardo Rodriguez ($7,100) have squared off more than a few times throughout their careers. The Baltimore righty has fared well in those meetings, sporting an .896 OPS with three doubles and two home runs in 42 plate appearances against E-Rod. Mancini only has two doubles and a home run against left-handed pitching this season, but he’s still making quite a bit of hard contact against lefties (36.7%). E-Rod isn’t generating much in the way of soft contact from righties, and he has a very high fly-ball rate (46.5%) against them to start the year.
Brad Miller, Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox ($2,600) – Miller leads off whenever the Rangers are lined up against a righty. Similar to Seager, he’s got a low BABIP (.239) against right-handed pitching, but he has a solid hard-contact rate (36%). Against a subpar right-hander like Pivetta — who gives up a lot of flies and liners to lefty hitters — Miller is a great salary saver.
Other Options – Gleyber Torres ($3,800), Royce Lewis ($2,300)
Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros at Washington Nationals ($5,700) – When the man is hot, just let him go to work. The combination of a 41.2% hard-contact rate and .214 BABIP against right-handed pitching is enough to roll with Alvarez, never mind the fact his streaky bat is trending in a positive direction at the moment. Josiah Gray ($8,700) has given up five home runs and two doubles to left-handed hitters this season, leading to their .400 wOBA against him — making him a very favorable matchup for Houston’s big man.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics ($6,200) – There’s no real way to sugarcoat this: Daulton Jeffries ($6,200) is in for a rough day. Taylor Ward ($5,600) is expected to return. Shohei Ohtani ($6,100) has been cooking. And perhaps worst of all, Trout is rested, only serving as a pinch hitter in Wednesday’s loss vs. Tampa before Thursday’s off-day. No one is hitting righties better than the Angels right now, and Trout is at the center of that with his absurd .480 wOBA and .386 ISO against righties — generated by his 39.6% hard-contact rate against them.
Other Options – Aaron Judge ($5,900), Taylor Ward ($5,600)
Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Guardians ($3,600) – Kepler doesn’t have a crazy hard-contact rate against righties (32.7%), but he doesn’t get cheated either (7.7.% soft-contact rate). Of his five home runs this season, four have come against right-handed pitching. He’ll face a right-hander who doesn’t generate many ground balls from lefties in Aaron Civale ($5,900). Also, left-handed hitters have a whopping 42.3% hard-contact rate against the Cleveland righty to start the season.
Juan Yepez, St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants ($3,500) – The kid finally had his first hitless performance. The pressure is off, and he can go back to mashing — which is all Yepez has done since he was called up to the bigs. He’s already gotten a taste of Logan Webb ($9,400), going 1-for-2 against him back on May 7. But regardless of who’s on the mound, you don’t have to think twice about rostering Yepez until he’s over $4K — something that’s going to happen soon.
Other Options – Brad Miller ($2,600)
TEAM TO STACK
Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Guardians – Civale has not been good to open the season. As much as Minnesota doesn’t have an overwhelming OPS or ISO against righties, this lineup’s 32.7% hard-contact rate against righties is one of the best in baseball. Kepler, Byron Buxton ($6,300) and Royce Lewis ($2,300) make for the ideal trio to target the Cleveland right-hander. Gio Urshela ($3,200) is also an option as a value play.
Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox – Left-handed hitters have a 30.8% line-drive rate and 50% fly-ball rate against Pivetta. Boston’s Friday starter also has a 5.62 FIP against lefties, so you know where to go with this. Seager and Miller are the best ways to start this stack atop the Texas lineup. There’s nothing wrong with cutting this at a mini-stack, but you can also save more by adding Kole Calhoun ($2,500) to the mix.
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