MLB DFS Breakdown August 23

Pitcher Spotlight- Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies

Vince Velasquez is a confusing real life and fantasy pitcher.  Velasquez has an ideal matchup versus the Miami Marlins who sport a pathetic 75 wRC+ verus right-handed pitchers.  Velasquez’s 25.3% strikeout rate this season as well as a ballpark upgrade in Miami put his in a great spot at a much to low cost. 

Stacks: Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks. Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros

Focus: St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals offense has quietly begun to find its footing over the last few weeks.  They get a juicy matchup with the Rockies rookie powder keg Peter Lambert. Lambert has been bad whether he is Coors or on the road giving up a .500+ slugging percentage.  The focus of my lineup will be on the power guys.  If you can find a way to fit Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong into your lineup they all have major power upside.  Pair them with lead-off hitter Dexter Fowler and you can have a stack that has the potential to carry you with two mid-level pitchers.

Focus: Houston Astros

Houston sports one of the baseball lineups in the majors.  You can get the red-hot Robinson Chirinos at a bargain bin price.  Add in your favorite players like George Springer, Jose Altuve and/or Yuli Gurriel and you have some combustible elements in the middle of your lineup.  The price of the bats outside of Chirinos will make it tough to have a full stack with any pitching but having a three man with the right one-offs can lead to a successful night. 

Favorite one-off: Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

You will have to watch and make sure that Jake Lamb makes the lineup, if he does you have an affordable option that has decimated Brewers starter Jordan Lyles.  Targeting this game as a potential full stack would be ideal if you can afford it. The focus on Lamb is based on his domination of Lyles in 12 career at bats.  Lamb has 7 hits, .604 wOBA and an exit velo of 89MPH.

P: Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals, $9,400

P: Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies, $7,800

C: Robinson Chirinos, Houston Astros, $3,800

1B: Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies, $4,200

2B: Isan Diaz, Miami Marlins, $3,100

3B: Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,800         

SS: Adeiny Hechavarria, Atlanta Braves, $3,300

OF: Marcell Ozuna, St. Louis Cardinals, $4,900

OF: Dexter Fowler, St. Louis Cardinals, $4,200

OF: George Springer, Houston Astros, $5,300

MLB DFS August 9 Attack Edwin

Pitcher Spotlight- Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs

Darvish in a pitcher friendly ballpark at one point would have been a scary concept.  This Yu Darvish has turned his season around, putting up twenty points in 4 of 5 of his last five games.  His most recent start against Cincinnati Darvish went six innings, struck out seven, giving up just two hits.  

The Reds have a watered-down lineup after moving Yasiel Puig and Scooter Gennett.  They have officially entered into a rebuild mood around their pitching.  Sporting a top three rotation that can be one of the tops in the league entering 2020 is not going to help their offense.  They sport a 23.5% strikeout rate over their last 10 games.  Darvish has a great matchup and his cost is just outside of the top on the slate leaving you wiggle room for upper level hitters. 

Potential Stacks- Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros

It’s hard to ignore the Kansas City Royals.  They have multiple low-priced power options that can help you fill up your lineups.  They get a matchup with the infamous Edwin Jackson. Jackson enters this matchup giving up a little over three homers per game during his time with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier and Alex Gordon are all plays that make sense for a middle of the order stack.  Keeping my eye on Ryan O’Hearn at just 2.8K can be a great value for someone trying to play Walker Buehler.  

It’s simple, Edwin Jackson is a powderkeg and the low cost of the Kansas City Bats makes a lot of sense. 

Potential one off plays-

Justin Upton- Los Angeles Angels

Most will look to Mike Trout in the Angels matchup with Brian Johnson.  I would prefer the cost of Justin Upton who will most likely be batting cleanup holds a career .365 wOBA against lefties. Johnson only strikes out 16% of batters.  Upton at 3.8K is a value with monstorous upside. 

Xander Bogaerts- Boston Red Sox

Bogaerts is not cheap so this as a one off has to be well planned out.  Angels starter Jaime Barria gives up a lot of hard contact, 43.4% to right handed hitters.  Xander excels at home with a .680 slugging percentage in Fenway.

Aaron Judge- New York Yankees

Aaron Judge is way to cheap. He’s struggling right now but with his potential power against Sean Reid-Foley, worth the shot.

P: Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs, $9,200

P: Drew Smyly, Philadelphia Phillies, $5,800

C: Kyle Higashioka, New York Yankees, $3,500

1B: Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros, $5,000

2B: Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals, $4,500

3B: Hunter Dozier, Kansas City Royals, $4,400

SS: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $5,000

OF: Jorge Solar, Kansas City Royals, $4,600

OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, $4,200

OF: Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals, $3,800

ALCS Preview and Pick

It’s not often in sports that the two best teams actually have a chance to meet.  We are lucky enough to have our baseball dreams come true as the defending World Champions the Houston Astros will meet the best team in baseball in 2018 the Boston Red Sox.  No matter who wins this the victor will come out as the favorite in the fall classic.  Let’s break it down.

Starting Pitching- Advantage Houston Astros

The Boston Red Sox are no slouches when it comes to the starting rotation.  Sporting a stud like Chris Sale, former Cy Young winner David Price as well as proven winner Rick Porcello can make any team formidable.  Assuming Porcello stays in the bullpen the Sox can also trot out the talented but inconsistent Nathan Eovaldi or strikeout stud Eduardo Rodriguez.  All are formidable starters for any contending team sporting a combined 3.42 ERA in one of the most offensively gifted divisions in baseball.  In most cases this rotation would be an advantage for any team. But they aren’t playing just any team, they are playing the Houston Astros.

The Astros feature a rotation of All Stars Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton.  Each of them could be a candidate to start Game 1 or Game 4.  Both Verlander and Cole went through the season with sub three ERA’s while Charlie Morton was just on the other side at 3.13, in a time of offense Astros starting pitching has been as dominant as any we have seen in the game.

Both teams have their strengths in the rotation especially with the strikeouts per nine innings ranking first and third.  Houston will look for more from their starters and most likely get more.  The Stros don’t have as many question marks behind their ace as the Red Sox do, that’ why we have to give the rotation advantage to the defending world champs.

Bullpen- Advantage Houston Astros

The Houston Astros will rely more on the ability of their starters.  But the bullpen is no push over Colin McHugh, Tony Sipp, mid season addition Roberto Osuna all have proven themselves as reliable pitchers to say the least.  New weapon Ryan Pressly was a force in the ALDS, establishing himself as a stopper in the middle innings.  The Astros have multiple option to finish games, look for someone to establish themselves as this series goes on.  My money would be on Osuna but it wouldn’t shock me to see Colin McHugh get a few chances to finish off games.

The Red Sox have a few more question marks in their bullpen outside of Closer Craig Kimbrel. To their advantage they sport a bullpen of mostly righties against a lineup that is heavier on the right side.  Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier will play big roles in transitioning the starters to Kimbrel in the 9th.

Both bullpens have strikeout pitchers but the Astros seem more versatile.  They also will mostly likely not ask for nearly as much out of there bullpen, that’s why you have to give the slight advantage to the Astros.

Lineup- Advantage Boston Red Sox

When you have the two best lineups in baseball going against each other it’s pretty hard to pick the best.  Both have speed, power and clutch from the top to the bottom.

The Red Sox may have arguably the best all around player in baseball leading off in Mookie Betts.  His success though is predicated on the fact that you really can’t pitch around him.  Putting him on base is an automatic risk with his speed on the base paths.  Manager Alex Cora will give him the green light to run in almost any count.  Following Betts is a litany of heavy hitters headlined by offseason signing JD Martinez whom has proven himself to be worth every penny he was paid.  The bounce back season for shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been a huge boost to a lineup that already had great depth.  The key for the Reed Sox may be at first base in this series, Steve Pearce has been great since being picked up in the mid season but his specialty is against left handed pitching.  Veteran Mitch Moreland, known more for his glove work, quietly had a solid season.  Cora will be forced to utilize Moreland against the heavy right handed rotation of the Astros.  This lineup has role players that have played their parts to perfection during the regular season and I see no reason they won’t do the same in the ALCS.

The Astros are deep, Alex Bregman has emerged as the star of the team perhaps sooner than what was expected. Bregman lead the Astros in homers, RBI’s, hits and OBP during the regular season and has brought that success into the playoffs.  George Springer continued his post season heroics in the ALDS clubbing three homers off of Indians pitching.  The surprise of the division series was the bat of Marwin Gonzalez.  Gonzalez was a constant headache for the Indians hitting .538 in the series in 13 at bats.  If Gonzalez can continue to hit he will take pressure off of stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.  Until game three of the NLDS Correa had been on a cold streak that forced AJ Hinch to move him down to sixth in the order,  perhaps the three run homer he hit could be the jolt he needs to get back on track.  The Astros will have to go with defensive specialist Martin Maldonado in the lineup rather then the offensive minded veteran Brian McCann due to the speed and aggressive nature of the Boston lineup.

The Astros have a solid offense, especially against lefties were they mash to a team average of .270 and a .803 OPS.  The Red Sox would be smart to counter their efficiencies by moving up Eovaldi and Porcello in the rotation.  That would me having David Price potentially in the bullpen or just getting one start.  On the other hand the Red Sox were able to contain a the second best lineup against left handed pitching the New York Yankees.

Both offenses are good but the edge has to go to the Red Sox lineup because they have to true MVP candidates in the lineup along with great pieces all around them.  They have the ability to bring more speed and power off the bench in roles that they are comfortable with.  This one is close but gotta go with the Sox for a lineup advantage.

 

Who wins?

This series can go either way.  The Red Sox have been the best team in baseball all year but the Astros are built for the post season with dominant pitching and stellar defense at multiple positions.  My heart says Boston but my head says Astros.

Astros in 6.