Chalk Stack(s)

[ EARLY ] Houston Astros vs. Marco Gonzales

With there only being three games on the early slate, the Astros are going to be the chalk of all chalk. Knowing how well they hit left-handed pitching last year is going to be on everyone’s mind. Only the Tigers were better against lefties last year, and this year they’re a top-10 offense in most major categories against southpaws.

We haven’t even gotten to the fact that Marco Gonzales is on the bump for Seattle. Gonzales has been down right atrocious this year. He’s allowed 12 earned runs in 12 innings pitched and bolsters a 8.25 ERA. He’s been equally bad against righties and lefties this year as he’s allowed a .381 and .536 wOBA to RHH and LHH respectively.

This isn’t a new thing, however. Both sides of the dish smacked Gonzales around last year, especially from the right-side as they slashed .346/.388/.566 with a .402 wOBA and a 33-percent hard hit rate. So stacking against Gonzales has to start with George Springer . He’s already taken southpaws deep four times this year and has a .497 wOBA against them. Carlos Correa is also hitting them at a .350 tune and a really nice value option at the catcher position would be Max Stassi . Brian McCann has played two games in a row behind the dish and could give way to Stassi facing the lefty as the backup’s hitting .300 against LHP on the year. Stassi also provides us with the necessary salary relief we need if we’re planning on using an entire Astros stack.

Alex Bregman and José Altuve are two guys that historically destroyed southpaws that have struggled thus far this season. Will that depress their ownership? Maybe, but even if it doesn’t, they’re really good plays. I forgot to mention Yulieski Gurriel who is tuning up lefties to a .333 AVG with a homer and a .452 wOBA.

Primary Play(s): George Springer , Carlos Correa , Max Stassi , Yulieski Gurriel

Secondary Play(s): José Altuve , Alex Bregman


Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Ty Blach

When you watch Ty Blach pitch, sometimes you wonder how he ever records any outs. His fastball has averaged 90.2 MPH this year and he throws it 65.7-percent of the time, which is far too much for someone who can’t throw it by anybody, hence the 4.9-percent swinging strike rate.

Blach has been really poor at allowing line drives as his opponents are hitting liners at an elite clip of 26.1-percent. Not only that, but the base paths have been more clogged than a toilet that hasn’t been flushed for a week. 33 opposing batters have reached base via a hit or a walk in just 20.1 innings. THAT IS BAD. Right-handers have been a detriment to his success as they’ve slashed .340/.407/.396 with a .362 wOBA this year which is right in line with last year’s .350 wOBA to RHH.

Paul Goldschmidt is obviously the guy we look directly at. He had a 1.013 OPS and a .407 wOBA against southpaws last season and has begun this year white hot against them posting an OPS of 1.411 with a .581 wOBA attached. He could be the best play on the slate and could be the highest owned as well. Get him into your cash game lineups. I don’t love the DK price tag on A.J. Pollack, but on this small five-game slate, I’m going to find a way to get the D’Backs stud outfielder into my lines. Last season he managed an .854 OPS against southpaws and posted a 22.2-percent line drive rate which correlates perfectly with Blach.

As long as Ketel Marte is hitting near the top of the lineup he’s a really excellent play, especially when you factor in he’s batting .323 versus LHP on the year. Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings are also intriguing as they hit from the right side and I’ve made sure to document how bad Blach truly is against RHH.

Primary Option(s): Paul Goldschmidt , A.J. Pollock , Ketel Marte

Secondary Option(s): Chris Owings , Nick Ahmed , John Ryan Murphy


Contrarian Stack(s)

[ EARLY ] Seattle Mariners vs. Charlie Morton

So the numbers early on suggest that Morton is going to have another great season just like he did in 2017. That said, we’re talking contrarian plays and it doesn’t get more contrarian than targeting the top arm on the slate. Although Morton was flat out dominant against lefty bats last year, he showed some weakness against right-handers. He allowed a .172 AVG to lefties but that jumped 100 points to .272 against right-handed bats. Not only that, but righties notched a very respectable .345 wOBA against him.

This years sample size is small, sure, but they’re already shaping out a bit like ‘17. Both home runs he’s allowed came against RHH and righties are slugging .410 compared to .143 on the left side. The Mariners have some really big boppers from the right side, mainly Nelson Cruz , Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger . All three of the aforementioned Mariners bats have wOBA’s higher than .342 versus right-handed pitching on the year. Vegas projecting them with the lowest implied total on the board only shows me that the ownership on these guys will be very depressed.

Primary Play(s): Nelson Cruz , Mitch Haniger , Jean Segura

Secondary Play(s): Guillermo Heredia , Mike Marjama


Los Angeles Angels vs. Eduardo Rodríguez

Eduardo Rodríguez is a good pitcher and Boston has run all over the Angels in the first couple of games this series but I’m not sure that continues on Thursday evening. Here are a few of the Angels everyday players wOBA’s against left-handed pitching last season;

Justin Upton - .472

Zack Cozart - .440

Mike Trout - .387

Ian Kinsler - .374

That’s four of the top-six in the Angels lineup and boy is that scary. It’s primarily scary because there were TWO hitters BETTER than Mike Trout against the handedness last season! The Angels, according to Vegas, are 110 underdogs and are only implied for 3.54 runs in this one.

It’s a small sample size for E-Rod this year, but righties have done all of the damage despite the fact left-handed hitters have given him more problems than righties throughout his career. This year however, lefty’s have yet to get a hit and righties have slashed .313/.371/452. The fly ball rate that approaches 50-percent each year is scary as heck in this matchup, especially seeing how many 20-plus home run hitting players are in the Angels lineup.

Primary Play(s): Mike Trout , Justin Upton , Zack Cozart , Ian Kinsler

Secondary Plays: Jefry Marte , Martin Maldonado