A near-full main slate after a busy day of afternoon games on Thursday takes us into the weekend. For additional picks across all MLB games, find me on Twitter @Nick_Friar.
For the latest lineup and injury updates all season long, follow @dklive on Twitter.
Dylan Bundy, Minnesota Twins @ Tampa Bay Rays ($8,300) - Adam Wainwright ($9,400) is in a good spot vs. Arizona, but let’s spend a little time with Bundy. He’s dealt through his first three starts — and against lineups that were supposed to be problematic for pitchers coming into 2022. Not only does he have a 0.59 ERA and 1.70 FIP in the early going, but Bundy is also generating a lot of soft contact (22.2%) while limiting the hard contact (13.3%).
The Rays are just below average in terms of hard contact against righties, but they also don’t make a lot of soft contact. But they’re not just middling in terms of contact quality against righties. Tampa is also middle of the pack in OPS, ISO and wOBA against righties. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the Rays have the fourth-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.
Other Options – Adam Wainwright ($9,400), Alex Wood ($8,700)
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs @ Milwaukee Brewers ($7,400) – Milwaukee has seen a lot of Hendricks over the years, but Kolten Wong ($3,900) is really the only one who’s had sustained success against the right-hander. More importantly, this lineup plays right into Hendricks’ hand. Not being a strikeout pitcher, the Chicago right-hander relies on hitters getting themselves out. Well, the Brewers have one of the six lowest hard-contact rates (26%) and one of the 10 highest soft-contact rates (20.3%) against righties. Also, they have the 10th-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching — Hendricks managed to punch out 7 over 5 1/3 vs. Milwaukee on Opening Day.
Other Options – Tyler Anderson ($7,700)
Pete Alonso, New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($4,800) – Alonso hits Aaron Nola ($8,500) well, plain and simple. He’s 11-for-31 with three home runs and three doubles against the Philadelphia right-hander. Last time they met up, he smacked a double before Nola got pulled after just 3 1/3 innings, then Alonso went on to finish with 34 DKFP. His numbers against right-handed pitching aren’t great enough to make him a top target against a high-end righty daily, but Alonso clearly has Nola’s number.
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees ($5,100) – Nestor Cortes ($10,000) has been dealing, and the Royals have not hit left-handed pitching well to start 2022. Of course, that’s excluding Perez. In a mere 13 plate appearance against left-handed pitching, the Kansas City catcher has three doubles and a home run. He has not registered any soft contact in those plate appearances and has a strong 37.5% hard-contact rate. Not to mention, two of the four meetings between these two have resulted in home runs.
Other Options – Paul Goldschmidt ($4,700), DJ LeMahieu ($4,400)
Brandon Drury, Cincinnati Reds @ Colorado Rockies ($2,900) – Not a lot to like about the Reds these days, but their low prices at Colorado make them a potential source of value Friday. With Antonio Senzatela ($5,000) getting smoked by right-handed hitters early (62.5% hard-contact rate), Drury comes into play. He has a 45% hard-contact rate against righties and a .348 ISO. Additionally, his .111 BABIP against right-handers indicates he’s due to build on his 3-for-9 series vs. San Diego, during which he homered and doubled.
Kolten Wong, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs ($3,900) – As much as Hendricks is one of my value pitching options for Friday, Wong has a good track record against the Chicago righty. Milwaukee’s second baseman is 18-for-50 (.360) with four doubles and two homers against Hendricks, so Wong has seen all he has to offer. Sometimes, batter-vs.-hitter splits are a complementary set of stats to consider. But like Alonso and Nola, Wong and Hendricks have seen each other enough for us to get a good idea of what to expect.
Other Options – Dansby Swanson ($2,800)
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins @ Tampa Bay Rays ($6,100) – It’s going to take a lot more than a couple 0-for-4 performances to scare us off Buxton. After taking Thursday off, the righty is set for a meeting with Corey Kluber ($9,200), who’s not generating a ton of hard or soft contact from right-handed hitters. However, Kluber isn’t striking out many righties, nor is he walking them. Buxton should get plenty of opportunities in the zone, giving him a chance to build on his impressive 42.9% hard-contact rate against right-handers.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals ($5,200) – Not only is Judge rolling, but he’s facing Kris Bubic ($5,600) on Friday. To put in politely, the Kansas City lefty has not been good to start 2022. On top of that, Judge is up to his usual antics against left-handed pitching. He has three homers and two doubles in 22 plate appearances against lefties, generating a 50% hard-contact rate in the process.
Other Options – Yordan Alvarez ($4,800), Ronald Acuna ($5,500)
Travis Demeritte, Atlanta Braves @ Texas Rangers ($2,000) – Everyone is excited about Acuna’s return, but how about what Demeritte has been doing in his return to the bigs? After spending 2021 in the minors, the 27-year-old is doing everything he can to stay put. Through five games, he’s 5-for-14 with a double and a home run. And he’s made a lot of quality contact in this short burst (45.5% hard-contact rate). Neither Garrett Richards ($4,000) nor Spencer Howard ($4,800) has done well against right-handed hitters to start the season, and the Texas bullpen coming in behind them is far from elite.
Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers vs. Atlanta Braves ($3,900) – Garcia’s .655 OPS can easily push you away, but the Texas OF has a hit in nine of his last 11 games. Half of the hits he’s accrued during this stretch have been for extra bases. He’s also posted a 39.5% hard-contact rate against righties to start the year, which could help Ian Anderson’s ($8,900) .174 BABIP regress to the mean a bit.
Other Options – Tim Locastro ($2,000)
TEAM TO STACK
Atlanta Braves @ Texas Rangers – Texas pitched better over the last couple series, but both the Astros and A’s lineups have been slow out the gates. Plus, Richards and Howard aren’t exactly the most intimidating tandem. Righties have especially been potent against them, posting hard-contact rates of plus-40% against each. Demeritte (see above) is an excellent salary saver, and Acuna is a good high-end option to roll with after a solid showing in his return. Travis d’Arnaud ($4,000) and Austin Riley ($4,500) have also put up good numbers against righties to start the year, generating a solid amount of hard contact in the process.
Other Options – New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals
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