The MLB Trade Deadline is almost upon, and some chaos has already ensued. But, we’ve got one more full Friday slate before the added drama infects another weekend filled with early slates.
For additional picks across all MLB games, find me on Twitter @Nick_Friar.
Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels ($9,400) – The Toronto right-hander clearly has the best matchup among Friday’s high-priced arms. Against right-handed pitching in July, the Tigers have a 24.3% strikeout rate, .103 ISO, 47.9% ground-ball rate and a 27.1% hard-contact rate. Even if Manoah was riding a rough stretch coming into Friday, he’d still be an appealing option.
And the thing is, he’s rolling. The right-hander has logged 20-plus DKFP in 13 of his 19 starts this season, and three of those performances have come in his last three outings. That level of consistency combined with the opponent he’ll see on Friday gives him 30-plus-DKFP potential.
Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics ($6,800) – After struggling in his season debut on June 13, Lynn went for 15-plus DKFP in three straight outings. Then he went for 7.1 or less in three straight. But he bounced back in his last outing for a season-high 23.1 DKFP — without the help of a win.
There’s a bit of trend chasing here, but he also has a good matchup. Although the A’s have a solid team .171 ISO against righties this month, they have a whopping 25% strikeout rate. They’re also hitting a below-average amount of line drives and not making much hard contact, despite their solid ISO.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners ($5,200) – Altuve has smoked Robbie Ray ($9,300) in the past, going 11-for-19 with two home runs, three doubles and a triple. More importantly, Houston’s second baseman continues to demolish left-handed pitching. Over his last 44 plate appearances opposite left-handed pitchers, Altuve has a 50% hard-contact rate and 48.1% fly-ball rate. That’s led to four home runs, four doubles and a .432 ISO during that stretch.
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics ($5,100) – Abreu has hit righties well this month, but not for a whole lot of power. Through 88 July plate appearances, he only has one home run off a right-hander, to go with six doubles. He’s been hitting a good amount of line drives but not enough fly balls. Enter James Kaprielian ($5,400). Righty bats have an absurd 62.1% fly-ball rate against him this month. What’s even wilder is they have a 44.8% hard-contact rate against Kaprielian in July, too.
Gary Sanchez, Minnesota Twins at San Diego Padres ($3,300) – Typically, batter-vs.-pitcher numbers are more of an accent than a driving force behind backing a player. But there are always exceptions, like Sanchez vs. Blake Snell ($8,300).
Sanchez is 6-for-20 against San Diego’s lefty, and all of those hits have been for extra bases — five being home runs. Sanchez hasn’t done a lot against lefties this season, but he’s still hitting a lot of fly balls (47.6%) and making a good amount of hard contact (35.7%) in those matchups. Meanwhile, the last 104 righties Snell has seen have a 23.6% line-drive rate and a 39.3% hard-contact rate.
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies ($3,900) – Muncy has made too much quality contact lately for his struggles against right-handers to persist. In his last 58 plate appearances against righties, he has a .231 BABIP despite a 55.6% hard-contact rate, 51.9% fly-ball rate and 22.2% line-drive rate. He’s due to bust out, and Chad Kuhl ($5,500) can help with that. In his last five home starts, the Colorado right-hander has given up a 43.5% hard-contact rate, 43.5% fly-ball rate and 23.9% line drive rate.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals ($6,200) – He’s worth every penny. Judge against left-handed pitching is about as chalky as it gets, but he has come out of the break on fire, logging 19-plus DKFP in six of his last seven. Across his last 48 plate appearances against lefties, he has a 61.5% hard-contact rate and 46.2% fly-ball rate; what else really needs to be said?
Kris Bubic ($6,400) has been surviving on a .241 BABIP against the last 84 righties he’s seen, despite giving up a 23.3% line-drive rate. He’s asking for trouble.
Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers at Boston Red Sox ($4,500) – Yelich’s .188 ISO against righties across his last 63 plate appearances isn’t enough to excite anyone on its own at his price point, even though it’s a good number. But, the Milwaukee OF continues to hit a lot of line drives against righties, has some momentum and is facing a rookie right-hander who has struggled.
Left-handed hitters have an absurd 29.2% line-drive rate against Brayan Bello ($4,800) so far, which plays directly into Yelich’s approach. That quality contact has helped lead to lefties posting a .435 wOBA against the Red Sox rookie.
Brendan Donovan, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals ($3,000) – Donovan’s surface numbers make him easy to overlook despite being matched up against Anibal Sanchez ($5,200). Heck, Sanchez’s numbers against lefties through his first two starts make Donovan easy to pass on, too.
Why I want to do the exact opposite: Donovan has a 29% line drive rate and 35.5% fly-ball rate against righties this month, but his BABIP is only .253. Moreover, lefties have a .188 BABIP against Sanchez. The Washington right-hander only made the two starts, and they haven’t been pretty, but things can definitely get worse for him against lefty bats.
Joc Pederson, San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago Cubs ($3,900) – It wasn’t too long ago that Pederson was consistently in the$5K range. Yet he’s somehow sub-$4K against a pitcher he’s thrived against in the past — albeit in limited opportunities (3-for-9 with 3 doubles). Marcus Stroman ($8,100) can make for a tough matchup for lefty hitters with his repertoire, but his month-long run of stinginess against lefties has to end at some point. Given their past, Pederson could be the one to bring that forth — especially when considering he’s homerless against righties this month despite having a 60.5% fly-ball rate and 33.3% hard-contact rate against them throughout July.
TEAM TO STACK
Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks – With a lefty on the mound against Atlanta, Austin Riley ($5,600) is automatically in play. With Ronald Acuna ($4,900) at sub-$5K, he’s also in play. While the Atlanta outfielder’s decreased price tag is understandable, Acuna still has a .200 ISO and 39.5% hard-contact rate against left-handed pitching this season. That should play well against Madison Bumgarner ($7,000), who has surrendered a 39.1% hard-contact rate and 40.9% fly-ball rate to righty bats this season. Dansby Swanson ($5,000) also makes for a strong stud play in this matchup.
Orlando Arcia ($3,100) only has a .109 ISO against left-handers this season, but he’s made a lot of quality contact (42.9% hard-contact rate). On the month, Marcell Ozuna ($3,500) has a .188 BABIP against lefties despite a 25% line-drive rate and 56.3% fly-ball rate. Both make for strong breakout value options against Bumgarner.
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