No matter who you are, if you’re a baseball fan and have a heart, you likely had a cloud hanging over you Monday when you heard the sad news of Tyler Skaggs’ passing.
I had this deep pit sitting in my stomach thinking about how young he was and how his newlywed wife, family and teammates are coping right now.
The countless tributes on Twitter and elsewhere were touching. For a brief moment, it reminds us of how precious life is and how we should cherish every minute. Everyone says it, but that’s easier said than done.
Life is hard. It’s filled with extreme ups and downs. We see tragic news like this and the cloud hovers over us for a couple of days, but then we get back into our daily routines, stressing about shit. It’s difficult to stay cheery and positive all the time. It’s just not realistic.
For most of us it doesn’t effect change, but these sad and sobering moments can indeed enact actual change where we step back and re-assess whether a thing we are pulling our hair out over truly deserves the added stress in the grand scheme of things.
We can’t bury our heads in the sand and avoid stressful situations but can learn how to handle them more calmly when we step out of the moment and recognize that these curveballs are inevitable and simply a part of life.
In my opinion, learning how to properly manage stress and go through difficult times is important to our overall wellness as humans and can lead to healthier, more enjoyable lives.
It’s the only one we’ve got.
From all accounts, the baseball community lost a terrific human being. His wife, his family, his teammates – they’ve all been rocked to the core and this is a tragedy that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
People always use these situations to say ‘you should live life to the fullest’ but those moments are usually fleeting. Take a second in your life each and every day to remind yourself of this, not just after we hear about such a tragedy.
Hard to pivot from this into the hitting coach column, but here we go. I’m wishing his family, friends and teammates all the strength in the world in both the immediate and distant future.
Today’s slate is a full one. Fifteen games on the docket and it certainly looks like the hottest day across the country so far this season. You’ll see some cities hit upwards of low- to mid-90’s and we should certainly expect a barrage of home runs.
On GPP slate’s like today’s, you’re either going to have to hit on that nut cheap stack that matches or beats some of the pricier ones or have to pay down for pitching in order to get those pricey bats.
One fun matchup today will be the Astros and Rockies where a red-hot rookie will be making his MLB debut – at Coors Field of all places! Jose Urquidy (formerly Jose Hernandez) started the season in Double-A but actually stepped his game up a notch in Triple-A where he currently sports a 2.89 ERA with a 37% strikeout rate. He’s a surefire fireballer with a high flyball rate (47% in those eight Triple-A starts) and could have a tough time with the rookie nerves and the Denver elevation. Hoping for the best for him, but it could be a rough few innings.
Plenty of good pitching today so you’ll likely see much of the chalkiness across just a few spots. In addition to the Astros and Rockies, it’s fair to expect the Rays to be popular as they boast an implied run line of around 6.0. Same with both Los Angeles teams as I’m sure the Angels will have an extra kick in their step against Mike Minor.
Several teams have IRL’s over 5.0 but one that sticks out to me today that I hope falls in under 10% owned is the Indians stack against Jake Junis.
The Yankees are implied for under 5.0 runs for the first time in a while since they face Zack Wheeler but this one can go off the rails just as easy as it could go well for him. They’re another under-10% stack I’d be interested in today.
Finally, the Tigers are intriguing as well even though Reynaldo Lopez’s best start of the season (14 K’s) came against them earlier this year. Lopez has allowed a home run in 13 of his 17 starts this season and 11 in his last seven.
Chalky Stacks: Rays, Rockies, Astros, Reds
Sneaky Stacks: Indians, Yankees, Tigers
Chalk Home Run: Mike Trout
Sneaky Home Run: Tyler Naquin
Core 4: Choi (TBR) + Yandy (TBR) + Dahl (COL) + Hampson (COL)
Others for cash: Trout, Blackmon, Lindor, Abreu, Murphy, Brantley, Wendle, JoMart, Eloy, O’Neill, Davis, Naquin
CASH: Robinson Chirinos (RH/HOU), Tony Wolters (LH/COL), Francisco Mejia (SW/SDP)
GPP: Jorge Alfaro (RH/MIA), Yasmani Grandal (SW/MLW), Omar Narvaez (LH/SEA)
Both Coors catchers are on the radar today, well, because it’s Coors.
Chirinos has the tougher matchup with German Marquez but Marquez has allowed a .314 average and has a 5.70 ERA at home and Chirinos is one of the few catchers with power.
Wolters doesn’t offer the same pop, but is much less likely to give you a zero – that works in cash.
Mejia is cheap and is someone I plan on using while he remains this underpriced.
Speaking of backstops with pop, Alfaro is another one. He smashed one out of the park over the weekend and is back after a quick 7-day IL stint.
Grandal is always on the radar for us, but he’ll cost a pretty penny.
Narvaez has had his way with right-handed pitchers this year, smashing nine of his 11 homers against them.
CASH: Jose Abreu (RH/CHW), Ji-Man Choi (LH/TBR), Daniel Murphy (LH/COL)
GPP: Matt Olson (LH/OAK), Carlos Santana (SW/CLE), Joey Votto (LH/CIN), Edwin Encarnacion (RH/NYY)
PUNT: Miguel Cabrera (RH/DET)
Tigers’ starter Matthew Boyd has come back down to earth lately and Abreu has owned him over the course of their careers (12-for-24 with 2 HR).
Choi is a lower-priced play with some pop against Orioles’ veteran Asher Wojciechowski who has allowed 34 homers over the past season-and-a-half at Triple-A (169 IP).
Murphy is your Coors stack inclusion and Miggy the punt as he’s just $3400 on DK.
Olson, Santana, Votto and E5 round out the first base options today, all of whom are solid plays for tournaments. Olson has three dingers in his last four games but since it’s Jake Odorizzi on the mound (0.84 HR/9), he won’t see much ownership.
CASH: Ryan McMahon (LH/COL), Keston Hiura (RH/MLW), Jason Kipnis (LH/CLE), Jose Altuve (RH/HOU)
GPP: Max Muncy (LH/LAD), Brandon Lowe (LH/TBR), Mike Moustakas (LH/MLW)
PUNT: Garrett Hampson 2B/OF on DK (RH/COL)
The second base position has been loaded for offense all season long. It feels like a trustworthy position for us all year. Both Rockies are cheap, particularly Hampson who is just $3300 on DK ($2800 on FD as a shortstop).
Hiura is back where he deserves to be (in the big leagues, after a month-long stint in Triple-A where he smashed). Hiura went deep in yesterday’s game and Great American is a fantastic park for offense. Especially since we’ll be seeing temperatures around 90 degrees.
Lowe is listed as a GPP play despite the Rays’ big implied total and that’s because he’s been truly struggling of late, hitting just .162 with a .279 OBP over his last 10.
Moustakas and Muncy are expensive but that’s because of their insane power, good matchups and 2019 success. I’d give the edge to Muncy today since rookie RHP Taylor Clarke is averaging 2.11 HR/9 in his eight starts this season.
CASH: Nolan Arenado (RH/COL), Yandy Diaz (RH/TBR), Eugenio Suarez (RH/CIN)
GPP: Rafael Devers (LH/BOS), Jose Ramirez (SW/CLE), DJ LeMahieu (RH/NYY)
PUNT: Joey Wendle (LH/TBR)
Arenado gets top billing in cash facing a rookie at home.
Devers is my top GPP play as he continues to smash. Do you believe he only had no homers and just 8 RBI in April? He’s hit 12 HR with 42 RBI since and is hitting over .400 in the past 10 days.
Yandy is a streaky hitter and has warmed up again with six hits (four doubles) in his last three and is now in Baltimore. Believe I’d play him or Devers in my main GPP lineup over the rest of the field today.
Wendle hasn’t done much yet this year, but he was one of the finalists for AL Rookie of the Year last year where he hit .300. At only $2600 and eligible at 2B or 3B, Wendle helps you get some pricey pitching in.
CASH: Francisco Lindor (SW/CLE), Alex Bregman (RH/HOU), Jorge Polanco (SW/MIN), Garrett Hampson on FD (RH/COL)
GPP: Didi Gregorius (LH/NYY), Fernando Tatis Jr (RH/SDP), Jean Segura (RH/PHI)
Lindor and the aforementioned Abreu are the primary two hitters we could potentially lean on something like Batter v Pitcher for. He has 10 hits in 20 plate appearances (3 HR) against him. Bregman in Coors? Yes, please.
Polanco rarely gives you zeroes and has a hit in nine of his last 10.
Didi is cheap on both sites (3.6 DK, 3.3 FD) and will come in under 5% owned in the LvR matchup against Wheeler.
Tatis is looking like a first-round fantasy pick for next season if he can keep up this pace. He can’t of course because he’s human, but it’ll be a great season nevertheless. Could consider for cash too, he’s just very expensive.
EXPENSIVE: Charlie Blackmon + David Dahl (LH’s/COL), Mike Trout (RH/LAA), Cody Bellinger (LH/LAD), Christian Yelich (LH/MLW), Mookie Betts (RH/BOS), George Springer (RH/HOU)
My first leans are the Rockies’ lefty bats against the rookie Urquidy in his debut. Blackmon has a higher wOBA by over 50 points over the second best in baseball in June (.519 to Tatis’s .469).
Trout should put the team on his back in the wake of the horrific news of their teammate. It might be a tough start for the lately-invincible Mike Minor as these Angels should fly with all the emotion mixed in.
Bellinger, Yelich, Betts (teammate JDM of course) and Springer round out the rest of the pricey OF’s. I’d lean with Trout or the Rockies lefties but my next favorite one-off tonight is Belli against Clarke (2.11 HR/9) at home.
MIDRANGE: Austin Meadows (LH/TBR) + Tommy Pham (RH/TBR), Michael Brantley (LH/HOU), Nick Castellanos (RH/DET), Kevin Kiermaier (LH/TBR), Jesse Winker (LH/CIN), Max Kepler (LH/MIN)
Meadows had an incredibly poor June (.206 – 0 HR – 6 RBI) after two scorching months (.351 – 6 – 19 April, .356 – 6 – 16). Expect him to get back onto that hitting horse swiftly now that the new month is here. Facing these Orioles should help.
His teammates (Pham, Kiermamier and Avisail Garcia) are viable options for a stack as well. Garcia is my least favorite of these four today.
Brantley with the LvR in Coors is a good play. Rarely puts up a goose egg and has been hitting over .300 all year and is the only hitter outside of Andrelton Simmons to have a strikeout rate under 10% since the beginning of last year.
CHEAP: Khris Davis (RH/OAK), Tyler Naquin (LH/CLE), Eloy Jimenez (RH/CHW), Christin Stewart (LH/DET), Randal Grichuk (RH/TOR), Jose Martinez (RH/STL), Tyler O’Neill on FD (RH/STL)
Davis is just $3500 on DK and will be popular if he’s in the lineup. If he’s in the lineup, it also means that his dinged-up hand is feeling better. With only 16 HR this year, you know there’s some positive regression with dingers coming his way.
Naquin is $3300 DK / $2600 FD and had two homers in the previous series against the Royals last week.
Eloy continues to be underpriced and we don’t really care who he faces.
Stewart is the sneaky under-the-radar pick against Lopez who is arguably the worst starting pitcher on this slate.
Grichuk is heating up, going 4-for-5 yesterday. David Price is less reliable as a pitcher on the road this year averaging 15 DKP there compared to 20.5 at home.
Jo-Mart against the lefty (bulk-innings guy Wade LeBlanc) is in play too considering the price. Just not much pop or chance of a homer from his bat.
Teammate O’Neill is a viable punt at minimal salary on FD.