Braves Stack 18: Ozzie Albies 4K vs. a lefty...and Reynaldo?
Welcome to Fanatical Stacks, the award-winning Rotogrinders blog that is home to daily Atlanta Braves stacks. Stacking my favorite team allows me to reduce my player pool while still utilizing the knowledge I have of daily fantasy sports. I operate each day as if the Braves will smash. That means I’m only searching for two pitchers and three hitters to make my lineups work. I get to root for my favorite team, while also waiting for variance to strike in my favor. You know, like that one time we put 12 runs on Jose Berrios and the Twins. Too bad I didn’t play that day…
Stack No. 17 was a letdown, as the Braves flopped. Some other plays were great, though (Moose with 41 FDP stands out in my brain). But still, a failure. That brings the rate of green screens to 8-for-17, for those keeping track at home. Again, GPPs only for me. Not a horrible rate of cashing, not for me at least.
The Opponent: LHP Steven Matz
The 28-year-old Matz is 8-7 with a 4.18 ERA this year, and 116 strikeouts over his 122.2 innings. He’s on a hot stretch of late, with a 2.81 ERA over his last seven games, as well as a 38:8 K:BB ratio over those 41.2 innings. That’s an 8.20 K/9 and 1.72 BB/9 over his last seven starts, FYI. Pretty darn good. Braves should be sneaky today, as many may look to Matz and his hot streak as a viable option against the top-heavy Atlanta lineup.
“Top-heavy” is certainly what the Braves look like right now, with Dansby Swanson, Nick Markakis, Austin Riley, and Ender Inciarte all shelved due to various maladies. However, recent additions of Billy Hamilton and Francisco Cervelli have given the bottom of the order a new leash on life—so maybe there is a sneaky value play to be had in the coming days. Cervelli rapped out three hits in his Atlanta debut last night, including a pair of doubles. Hamilton has shown heads up base-running, using his blazing speed last night to score from first on an Acuña single and the indifference of J.D. Davis. Today though, we should see Tyler Flowers instead of Cervelli, and if Hamilton started it would be a surprise. Flowers has been garbage against lefties all year, though. Long story short, give me the top four hitters, and I MIGHT consider Adam Duvall since there is a lefty on the mound for the Mets. But Duvall has done a great Houdini impression since his hot start. This team really misses Austin Riley against lefties. Just sayin’.
As for the top four, last night was a good night. Albies, Donaldson, and Freeman all homered. Acuña was a mere 1-for-5 with an RBI, but it was the game-winning single in the 8th inning. The boys are coming in hot today and are winners of seven in a row. Albies is an easy call today at his 4K price point. He is still bashing lefties, slashing .384/.405/.672 with a .288 ISO and 173 wRC+. He also has a whopping 48.6% hard contact rate in this split. Wowzers.
Given that Atlanta bats are generally expensive, I always try to offer a few value plays who leap off the page at me. And I get pretty disgusting with starting pitching, so buckle up padres.
Reynaldo Lopez (7600) vs. Texas Rangers – Lopez is the epitome of a GPP pitcher. He is as risky as they come, but he does have upside against a Rangers squad that knows how to strike out. Lopez tweaked his delivery over the All-Star break and is now throwing the hardest he has thrown all season. I’m just saying, if Lopez spins a gem today we have something tangible we can point to—and it’s the right sort of matchup as the Rangers strike out 25.6% of the time in this split—the fourth-highest rate in the MLB.
The Phillies have a .172 ISO against right-handed pitching, ranking 22nd in the MLB. And they may still be without the services of Bryce Harper (17 homers in this split), who is on the paternity list. With Jay Bruce also shelved (18 homers in this split) this is not a powerful-looking team against right-handed pitching. Given that Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez has mainly struggled with the home run, the locale in Marlins Park and the Philly matchup is at least intriguing—especially given the $6,300 price point of Hernandez. Yes, Aaron Nola is on the flip side of the coin, but you are all but guaranteed minuscule ownership on Hernandez as your SP2. I like it quite a bit today. Hernandez has been far better against right-handed hitters, allowing a .304 wOBA and .415 SLG with a 29.9% strikeout rate. He could theoretically nullify the scariest Philly bats, including Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Scott Kingery. Lefty bats have roasted Hernandez, with a .420 wOBA and .667 SLG…and the Hernandez K-rate drops to 17.4% to lefties. But the bats from that side of the plate are not as threatening, in Cesar Hernandez, Corey Dickerson, Brad Miller, and Adam Haseley. I’ll take a shot on him today.
If you don’t consider Elieser, then you can consider C-Dick at only $4,200 today. Hate the park, but that’s a cheap price and Hernandez has been lit up by lefty bats. That, and Dickerson is fresh off of a 4-for-5 outing last night, totaling 28 FDP. Of course we’ll have to see if Bryce Harper returns today, but hopefully he comes back on Monday…
Minnesota outfielder Jake Cave (3500) is red-hot, and opposing starter Matthew Boyd is not. This is a LvL matchup, but I am merely riding the hot hand here. And for what it is worth, Cave has a .385 batting average against lefties this year, as well as two of his five homers. He also has 10 strikeouts against only one walk, but hey, he’s only 3500! And point totals of 25 and 32 in his last two games is nice.
Justin Upton (4100) has been garbage against lefties in his return from injury, slashing .132/.262/.302 with a 38.5% strikeout rate. However, he’s a run-producer for an Angels lineup that should tee off against lefty Framber Valdez today, who has been horrible in the MLB this year. I won’t overthink it. Upton has been a smidgeon better in the RvL split over the course of his career, with a .231 ISO and .263/.364/.494 slash—compared to .203 and a .268/.341/.470 slash against right-handers. I’ll bite.
Last but not least, if I don’t do Jake Cave in the outfield I could insert my fifth Brave in Adam Duvall. I don’t like it, but it’s the same strategy as waiting on Upton. Duvall has three homers and a .409 ISO against southpaws in limited duty this season…so there’s a chance, at least. He is slashing .364/.400/.773 in his 22 at-bats against lefties in 2019, and making hard contact 50.0% of the time. Small sample applies, but we know this is the calling card of Duvall. I suppose I’ll take a shot…
Who are your most disgusting plays today? Can you top Reynaldo?