Since today is a split slate, I decided to do my MLB GPP Breakdown “Healy style.” Today, I’ll be covering both the five-game early slate, beginning at 1:10 pm ET, and the six-game main slate, beginning at 7:05 pm ET.
If you’re not familiar with this piece, it will be broken down into four sections:
- A cheat sheet with my favorite players at each position and in each tier.
- My top pitchers to target on today’s slate.
- My favorite stacks to target and which players I really want to include in them.
- The “Today’s Edge” section, which covers my favorite play (or fade) on the slate, HR predictions, and the players I expect to be the top performers.
Jacob deGrom – The best pitcher in the game will take on a team that currently ranks 26th in wOBA overall and just 18th in xwOBA versus right-handed pitching (RHP) specifically this year. In the friendly confines of home, deGrom owns a 2.57 FIP and 2.91 xFIP since the start of 2019, including a 34.9-percent K rate and 29.1-percent K/BB rate. As a -270 favorite in a game with a 7.0-run over/under, deGrom will be the starting pitcher who the entire field targets, but he rarely fails to reach 100-pitches and features the highest ceiling on the entire slate.
Michael Pineda – If feeling lucky, and trying to stack multiple expensive offenses together, Michael Pineda features legitimate strikeout upside. deGrom faders are simply looking for a comparable per-dollar option and Pineda could get there against a Mariners offense that has struck out at a 29.0-percent rate overall to this point and 28.1-percent K rate versus RHP. Pineda is always a risk to give up power along the way but a quality start with seven-plus Ks would put a lineup in contention to compete with deGrom iterations if the bats were to produce in a big way.
Carlos Martinez – Speaking of strikeout potential, the Brewers have struck out at a 28.9-percent rate versus righties to this point after striking out at a 25.5-percent rate in the split a season ago. After producing a 5.97 xERA through five starts last year, his xERA sits over 10.00 after one start this year, so he is a lot riskier than the other two. However, the opponent certainly enhances this matchup as the Brewers rank dead last in the league in wRC+, wOBA and WAR.
Cardinals – Adrian Houser has allowed well over a homer per nine innings for his career and is coming off a career-worst season in terms of xERA (4.74). Things did not exactly drastically for him in his first start of 2021 as Houser finished with a 6.31 xERA and allowed two homers along the way (at home versus the Twins). Busch Stadium does not play as hitter-friendly as Miller Park but Houser has long struggled in the matchup versus left-handed hitters (LHHs); over the course of the past two seasons, lefties had posted a .377 wOBA, 1.58 HR/9 rate, .301/.382/.508 slash line and 23.9-percent hard hit rate against him. Since there are not a ton of lefties in the lineup, this team could fall by the wayside, but I love names like Tommy Edman, Matt Carpenter and even Dylan Carlson in this spot. Add in a righty or two and, if Houser does not pitch into the game (as he rarely does), this entire stack has a chance to blast off.
Yankees – Chris Archer has fallen steeply from grace over the course of the past two seasons and he flirted with a 2.00 HR/9 rate in his last full season (2019 with the Pirates). Archer’s first appearance came out of the bullpen and was a disaster (over 20 xERA) so how is he supposed to fare well in Yankee Stadium? Both sides of the plate have hit him well in recent years so give me all the Yankees power bats please and thank you.
White Sox – Even sans Eloy Jimenez/Tim Anderson, the White Sox are loaded with right-handed power who will own the platoon advantage versus Mike Minor. Typically, Minor relies heavily on fly ball outs and that often leads to the ball leaving the ballpark against him (1.75 HR/9 rate and a 35.9-percent GB rate last year). Pitching at Kauffman Stadium is a great fit for his skill set but the same cannot be said for Guaranteed Rate Field. In a much more unforgiving park, power righties like Luis Robert, Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal and Yermin Mercedes all profile well. Lefties have produced the occasional power against Minor too so it is not like Adam Eaton is unplayable either.
With the White Sox rained out, I would replace them with the Tampa Bay Rays, who will be the lower-owned side of the Yankee Stadium game. Power bats like Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows fit the stadium perfectly and those lefties would be the focus of my attention.
Twins – Presumably the chalk of the slate, the Twins will face a left-hander at home, which means the public will almost assuredly be on Nelson Cruz (for good reason). Since the start of 2019, Cruz owns .497 wOBA, .440 ISO and 219 wRC+ in the split against lefties, which are all just insane numbers. He is the clear top target in this lineup but Byron Buxton, Mitch Garver and Miguel Sano are great options too against Yusei Kikuchi. This year, Kikuchi is throwing even harder than he did last year, and in 2020, he had improved his velocity from 2019 by nearly 3.0mph. Since Kikuchi’s skills have improved, I worry a bit about this stack, and prefer to just attack bits and pieces.
Home Run Predictions
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Nelson Cruz
My Highest-Owned Guys
- Highest Scoring Hitter: Giancarlo Stanton
- Highest Scoring Pitcher: Jacob deGrom
- Top Value Play: Matt Carpenter/Tommy Edman
- Player to Fade: Randy Arozarena
- Slate Edge: Tommy Edman
Hit me up on Twitter @RSandersDFS or visit the MLB Chat Room with any lineup questions!