Quite a few big bats in interesting spots on Friday. Let’s figure out where to focus your attention for this 12-game MLB slate.
For additional picks across all MLB games, find me on Twitter @Nick_Friar.
Editor’s Note: Tonight’s CWS/NYY and NYM/COL games have been postponed due to inclement weather.
Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Guardians ($9,500) - There’s a chance Jose Ramirez ($5,400) doesn’t suit up on Friday, which would make Skubal an even better option than he already is. Regardless, the left-hander has been tough this season, averaging over a strikeout per inning to go with his 2.50 ERA while allowing just two home runs and eight walks over 39 2/3 innings. Now he faces a Cleveland lineup that’s bottom 10 in OPS, ISO and wOBA against lefties, thanks in part to having the second-highest soft-contact rate against lefties in baseball.
Other Options – Hyun Jin Ryu ($8,300), Sean Manaea ($10,200)
Chase Silseth, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics ($7,800) – When pitchers face the same offense in consecutive starts, I usually lean toward the offense in the given matchup. But these are the A’s we’re talking about here. They have the lowest OPS and wOBA against right-handed pitching, and the Tigers are the only ones with a worse ISO against righties. Also, with their 23.8% strikeout rate, the A’s could easily strike out a few more times against Silseth again than last time (four).
Other Options – Martin Perez ($7,000)
Pete Alonso, New York Mets at Colorado Rockies ($5,400) – I do not understand how Alonso isn’t the most expensive first baseman on Friday’s slate. He’s up there, but there are still three others ahead of him. Not sure how that’s the case when the Mets are at Coors Field, Alonso is on a heater and Colorado’s starter has given up seven home runs in 28 1/3 innings at Coors this season. Between his 38.9% hard-contact rate against righties and his 44.4% fly-ball rate — not to mention righties’ 39.7% hard-contact rate against German Marquez ($6,200) — Alonso should have some fun Friday.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers ($5,400) – Altuve is only hitting .238 against lefties, but he does have three home runs against them in 21 at-bats. That’s led to .420 ISO against left-handed pitching. However, he has a .154 BABIP against lefties. That’s going to improve — never mind the fact he has a 37.5% hard-contact rate against lefties. Given he has seven doubles in 45 plate appearances against Martin Perez ($7,000), Friday is set up to be a day where Houston’s second baseman gets back to crushing lefty pitching while also extending his hitting streak.
Other Options – Trevor Story ($4,400), Eugenio Suarez ($4,200)
Eduardo Escobar, New York Mets at Colorado Rockies ($3,700) – Escobar hasn’t been hitting right-handed pitching as well as he usually does. However, Marquez is someone he’s always done well against. He’s 12-for-23 with two doubles, one triple and one home run against the Colorado right-hander. Additionally, lefties have a 36.8% hard-contact rate against Marquez and only an 8.8% soft-contact rate.
Harold Castro, Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Guardians ($2,400) – With Aaron Civale ($5,800) on the mound for Cleveland, the Tigers become a great option for value plays. Castro is my No. 1 option of the bunch because of his price and the fact he’s in a run-producing spot in the order. Three of his five extra-base hits have come against right-handed pitching, and Civale has a rough 37.5% hard-contact rate against left-handed hitters.
Other Options – Jeimer Candelario ($3,100)
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox ($6,100) – Any time a lefty is opposite Judge, you have to consider this Yankees outfielder. Pitchers are dancing around Judge as much as they ever have, but mistakes are still being made. Dallas Keuchel ($6,000) has made his share of those against Judge, but the big bat hasn’t taken the Chicago left-hander deep before. That has to change at some point.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies ($5,600) – Betts has been rolling against left-handed pitching. Since the calendar turned over to May, he has taken lefties deep three times while hitting .345. This is the first time Betts will face Ranger Suarez ($7,200) this season, but the two have met a few times before, resulting in a couple home runs.
Other Options –
Giancarlo Stanton ($5,700), Hunter Dozier ($4,400)
Kole Calhoun, Texas Rangers at Houston Astros ($2,600) – It took long enough. After his slow start to 2022, Calhoun is finally in a groove. And his timing is perfect for Friday. Calhoun will see a right-hander he’s done well against in the past, having previously drilled two home runs and a double off of Christian Javier ($8,800). Speaking of timing, Javier is coming off a seven-run showing.
Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals ($3,500) – This is definitely a play that could slip under the radar because of the lefty-on-lefty matchup. However, Kepler has made a lot of hard contact against lefties (43.8%), leading to a home run and three doubles. Opposing lefties have a .143 BABIP against Daniel Lynch ($6,700) despite their 42.9% hard-contact rate, so he’s due for regression.
Other Options –
Joey Gallo ($3,500), Mark Canha ($3,500)
TEAM TO STACK
New York Mets at Colorado Rockies – Shockingly, Coors has played host to some high-scoring games recently. The Mets come in red-hot, and they’re facing Marquez, who has not been good at home to start 2022. Alonso (listed above) is where your stack should start, and Escobar (listed above) provides you a cheap bat with pop. Mark Canha ($3,500) is in a groove right now and hitting two spots ahead of Alonso. Jeff McNeil ($4,500) also provides a quality mid-range option from the No. 5 spot.
Other Options –
New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox
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