We’re officially down to the last Monday of the regular season, which means playoff baseball is right around the corner. Playoff atmosphere is being felt in quite a few spots with wild card spots very much in flux, especially in cities like San Francisco and St. Louis that seem to be perennial playoff teams. Ten games are on tonight’s schedule, and if you’re looking for a distraction from MNF, the MLB is a perfect pivot.
J.A. Happ ($8,900) – I don’t have any issues with paying up for Corey Kluber, but it’s tough to recommend him when he’s priced at $11K on FanDuel and traveling to face one of the hottest offenses in the league, not to mention a team that desperately needs a win. The Yankees don’t strike out much and Gary Sanchez may never stop hitting, but Happy has a nice shot at the win as a -185 favorite and New York boasts little power against LHP. Happ’s 10.1 SwStr% is a solid mark, and he did strikeout nine Yankees the last time these teams met.
Tanner Roark ($8,500) – Much like Happ, Roark isn’t a terribly exciting guy to roster, yet he rarely leaves you in a big hole even when he isn’t on. He doesn’t miss bats at an elite rate, but he does have very strong contact rates (1.0 Hd-Sft%) which keeps his floor very high considering his price. I almost never consider him in tournaments given that his ceiling isn’t all that strong, although with the limited options on this slate I’d be fine with him in any format. Arizona is not nearly as strong offensively away from home and Roark is a sizeable favorite (-185 on the MLB odds board).
Russell Martin ($3,000) – The Jays are still fully locked in with their playoff hopes not secured yet, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t hang a crooked number on Luis Severino. He’s been better on the road this year, but it’s not like Rogers Centre is a pitcher’s park and his struggles with RHBs isn’t going to bode well against the heart of the Jays order. Severino has allowed a 1.67 HR/9 rate to RH bats with a 34.3 hard% (compared to 25.0% against LHBs), so expect Toronto – who could likely have a RHB in the 1-6 slots in the order – to meet their Vegas team total.
Edwin Encarnacion ($4,200) – Encarnacion is at his best when he’s facing RHP at home. He’s boasting a .407 wOBA, .291 ISO and 157 wRC+ (39.3 hard%) in that split and with Luis Severino coming to town, he’s in a nice spot to leave the yard in what is an important game to the Blue Jays playoff standing. Severino is coming back from a stint in the bullpen which could lead to a decreased pitch count, although the Jays wouldn’t have to deal with the back of the Yankees pen unless New York is able to build a lead.
Jason Kipnis ($3,800) – Matt Carpenter’s current cold streak makes me a little wary of him despite an excellent matchup with Tim Adleman, so I’ll be looking primarily in Jason Kipnis’ direction. Tigers starter Buck Farmer hasn’t had much experience at the big league level – he’s allowed a .438 wOBA and 2.18 HR/9 rate to LH bats in his 74 career IP – which doesn’t set up well for Detroit. Kipnis is the owner of a .350 wOBA, .196 ISO and 38.4 hard% against RHP on the season and should get a decent bump on those numbers considering Farmer’s struggles with lefties. The Indians are typically a stronger stack at home, but they are squarely in play today on the road.
Evan Longoria ($3,500) – I don’t want to write up the entire Blue Jays offense, but know that Josh Donaldson is my top target at the 3B spot. If you aren’t on the Jays offense, Longoria is a really nice pivot against the HR prone James Shields. Longo gets a decent park bump shifting over to Chicago, and he’s actually been a better hitter against his same-handed counterparts in 2016. He’s sporting a .363 wOBA, .264 ISO and 37.5 hard% against them thus far, and ranks near the top of the league in terms of HRs with 32 (36 total). Meanwhile, Shields has allowed a .393 wOBA, 2.38 HR/9 and 39.4 hard% to RHBs on the season.
Brad Miller ($3,700) – It’s going to be hard to avoid picking on Shields heavily given his dreadful 2016 season. He’s not only a sieve in terms of home runs, but he allows a ton of hard contact and continues to walk too many hitters. Shields has allowed a .372 wOBA, 1.65 HR/9 and 13.1 Hd-Sft% to LHs, and while those numbers aren’t as bad as his marks against RHBs, it still makes him well worth targeting. Mille has slugged 27 HRs off RHs already this year and his .268 ISO against RHP makes him a very appealing target at a usually underwhelming SS spot.
Mike Trout ($4,500) – This one is a little too obvious, but if you’re going to spend up in the outfield, make an effort to pay all the way up for Trout. He’s been red-hot of late over his last ten games and draws a nice matchup with Sean Manaea, who can be very effective at home but tends to struggle more on the road. Manaea’s ERA is nearly twice as high on the road and despite the Angels not being a terribly powerful offense, they are still at worst an average offense against LHP (101 wRC+). On a night where you don’t need to spend upwards of $10K on a SP, Trout is well worth your cap space.
Khris Davis ($3,500) – Davis tends to do one of two things against RHP – he either leaves the yard or walks straight back to the dugout. Strikeouts shouldn’t be much of an issue tonight with Jered Weaver, who owns a dreadful 13.3 K% on the year, on the hill for the Angels. Weaver has allowed 22 HRs to RH bats already this season and although his home park is generally pitcher-friendly, he hasn’t had any more success pitching in LA. Expect Davis, the owner of a .268 ISO against RHP, to hit the ball hard in his handful of ABs against Weaver.