Panda's Bears and Bulls: MLB 9/6 Slate Breakdown

It’s Sunday, so we’re looking at afternoon baseball with an early lock at 1:05 EST and 9 games before us. Due to the early start we’re going to really condense today’s blog down. Hopefully It can stay equally informative, as we cut some corners. The most obvious way to do this is just for me to only focus on my Bulls for today, and approach to the slate. I’m not going to waste time with OK plays or pointing out what I don’t like. We’re just sticking to the best plays and how to put it together.

It’s the all Bulls edition!

The first thing I noticed, and you may have noticed, is we have some definitive aces up top.

The 2nd thing you may have noticed is the Royals are still trotting out Matt Harvey. Yay us.

The 3rd thing you may have noticed, as you scrolled through the pitchers, is it gets a little thin, really quick.

So, I can say this, on DK I don’t see myself going any lower than Masahiro Tanaka, except maybe, possibly one name we will get to later. On FD, it’s probably the same, but Trevor Rogers is interesting and we’ll get to him in a bit.

With our pitching options thinning out quite quickly it is pretty important that we take advantage of the upside at the top.

BULLS:

The Aces-

Let’s just line them up and see the stats from this season:

Shane Bieber – 1.95 xFIP, 42.4% K’s. 6.6% BB’s, 49% GB’s, 33% HC
Jacob DeGrom – 2.50 xFIP, 36.3% K’s, 5.6% BB’s, 49.5% GB’s. 43% HC
Aaron Nola – 2.39 xFIP, 34.3% K’s, 7.2% BB’s, 55.8% GB’s, 39.7% HC
Tyler Glasnow – 2.73 xFIP, 39.6% K’s, 10.4% BB’s, 40.3% GB’s, 45.8% HC

I’m throwing out Patrick Corbin, not to be rude or wasteful, but his numbers this year just don’t compete here. These are our top 4, and they’re priced in this order on both DK and FD. You really can’t argue with how they’re priced.

None of these guys have significant splits, so to further define them, let’s look at their opponent versus the pitchers handedness on the season (K% will be for projected starting lineup):

Brewers: 25.5 K%, .144 ISO, .287 wOBA, .648 OPS, 75 wRC+
Phillies: 21.6 K%, .172 ISO, .332 wOBA, .772 OPS, 105 wRC+
Mets: 24.1 K%, .172 ISO (yes, same as Phils), .346 wOBA, .804 OPS, 120 wRC+
Marlins: 26.7 K%,.124 ISO, .302 wOBA, .681 OPS, 90 wRC+

Alright, well, if you see what I see, two of these things are not like the other. Clearly, Glasnow and Bieber have the better match up. Their opponents also have the two lowest implied run totals on the board, and based on everything we’ve looked through that shouldn’t surprise us.

I can safely say, Bieber and Glasnow is my preferred pitching duo on DK.

Yes, I like all 4 of these pitchers. How can’t you? I will use all 4 pitchers. Pairing any of these 4 is viable, but for salary purposes, I have a slight preference to move down a bit to Glasnow, from DeGrom and Nola. We’ve seen Glasnow get 38.15 and 33.7 DK points in his last two starts. His ceiling is comparable to the other 3 aces here, so we may as well use the savings.

Basically it’s like this:

Bieber and DeGrom leaves $3,562 per bat
Bieber and Nola leaves $3,587 per bat
Bieber and Glasnow leaves $3,787 per bat

So, really it’s not a huge difference when you’re spreading out over 8 bats, but every dollar adds up, as you stack up.

The Next Tier

Really, on FD I don’t see a reason to move off those top 4. Over there ranking them with price in mind, I’d go Bieber, Glasnow, DeGrom, Nola. Actually that’s how I’d rank them on DK, too.

Going down a little further though, for the stacks you feel you have to have on DK, that absolutely need the savings I see two options worth mulling over:

Masahiro Tanaka and Trevor Rogers

First, let’s go over the more unknown Rogers. I wouldn’t blame you if you were nervous spending 8K on a pitcher making his 3rd career start, and playing the Rays. Maybe we should be, but let’s look at Rogers’ background first.

He was the 13th pick in the 2017 amateur draft.

He earned a promotion to double-A ball last year for his final 5 starts and notched a 3.56 xFIP and 9.69 K/9.

He’s the Marlins 9th rated prospect and has a 45+ future values grade at fangraphs, which is above average.

So, this isn’t just anybody, but we’re not likely looking at the next Justin Verlander or anything, and he’s not as highly regarded as Sixto Sanchez, who’s been very successful so far.

In two big league starts thus far, both against the Mets, these are the numbers:

3.98 xFIP, 27.5% K’s, 17.5% BB’s (WHOA), 66.7% GB rate, 40% HC.

Outside of the gross walk rate, we’re looking at some good numbers.

Let’s look at the Rays versus LHP:

.203 ISO, 118 wRC+, .784 OPS, and really why we’re here, because these numbers I just listed are actually pretty decent, their projected lineup has a 39.8% K-rate between this season and last season against LHP.

If Rogers can get the walks under control (5 in his debut, 2 in his 2nd start), and take advantage of the K’s in this Rays lineup we could have something here.

Although, I may mix in a little Rogers into my line ups, I’ll admit it’s not for the faint of heart.

Now, let’s look at Masahiro Tanaka:

We’re going to combine his numbers this year with last, as he was limited out the gate this season and is just now building to a full pitch count.

4.22 xFIP, 20.4% K’s, 5% BB’s, 46.4% GB’s, 38.% HC

The numbers are nothing special. They’re decent though. Tanaka is one of those guys though, that when he’s on, he’s on, and when he’s off, he’s off. Those numbers aren’t a true representation of his full capabilities.

Looking a little deeper, Tanaka has traditional splits, and gives up more power to LHB’s:

.219 ISO vs. .140 ISO.

The O’s just don’t have a lot of left-handed power of consequence to make us nervous here with Anthony Santander on the IL and Chance Sisco most likely out of the line up after starting last night.

The Bottom Tier

OK, so you need even more savings, I have one arm that I have some interest in at 6.4K and it’s Tejay Antone of the Reds.

Antone is a young arm that came into the season as the Reds 13th ranked prospect on fangraphs and projects as a back of the rotation arm. Unlike some other young arms I’ve discussed we have a bit more relevant sample size here.

Antone made 13 starts in AAA last year with a 4.36 xFIP, 52% GB rate and 8.79 K/9. Nothing special, but at least AAA is a better representation of big league ball than AA.

He’s pitched 20 ⅓ innings so far for the Reds this year and here’s the numbers:

3.77 xFIP, 34.6% K’s, 11.5% BB’s, 46.5% GB’s, 30% HC.

Pretty good. I will say though that his K-rate doesn’t represent what the minor league numbers show, and his 12% swinging strike rate suggests it may be a bit inflated as well.

The Pirates though are literally the worst offense in baseball against RHP. I know, I know, I recommended them last night against a RHP, but DeSclafani had a track record of awfulness against LHB’s.

Antone doesn’t have much of a track record to go off, but in 36 plate appears against them Antone has done this to LHB’s:

28% K’s, 54.5% GB’s, and 27.3% HC

RECAP

My goal is to stay on Bieber, Glasnow, DeGrom, and Nola. The upside is just too much to ignore. With a lean to Biber and Glasnow. They’re worth their prices and having to punt a bat or two to get to. Some very enticing stacks for today’s slate though are not cheap, that carry immense upside themselves. In those scenarios I feel comfortable going to Tanaka or Antone to make it work, ideally paired with one of the top 4, and may even take a run or two at Rogers as the K upside is just staring at me too hard not to take notice. The reality though is at only $700 less than Glasnow on DK, it probably makes sense to just get to him every time.

I want to reiterate this one more time, the top 4 is 100% where it’s at, and I would only stray from there when you absolutely must.

BATS

The key here is going to be able to find the right value to fit in these elite pitchers. So, although we can still build 5×3 and 4×4 stacks, it might be necessary to stray from the traditional to take advantage of some of the random cheap bats to make our line ups stronger as a whole. So, today I’m still going to go through my favorite offenses, in a somewhat condensed manner, due to time, while also highlighting the cheap bats that’ll help out our builds.

BULLS

White Sox

OK, the White Sox are expensive and I’ve got quite the streak going of mentioning the Sox, but come on. Matt Harvey!

On FD where the elite pitchers leave 2.9K or more per pat, they’re a bit more palatable pricing wise. Yoan Moncada, Edwin Encarnacion, and Yasmani Grandal are all priced between 3.2 and 2.8K respectively so they’re right in the wheelhouse.

On DK they’re a lot harder to fit, and you’re most likely setting yourself up for one ace and then going down to a cheaper pitcher like Tanaka or Antone, while still needing the value bats to go deep here. Due to this, I’ll probably keep my Sox stacks smaller, in the 3-4 range, and hope I capture the goodness that may ensue in that group. Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, and Luis Robert are the ideal expensive targets, while doing down to Encarnacion from Abreu feels like a sacrifice, but may be necessary and Nomar Mazara and his cheap 2.4K tag will fit in nicely.

Victor Robles

Going through my notes from last night, bit by bit, I originally listed the Nationals as a potential stack, but there’s just other spots I like more as a whole, but I have to point out Robles here. This is exactly the type of one-off bat that’ll help us get to more expensive stacks on DK, while getting in the aces. On FD there is zero reason to use him, but on DK that 2.4K tag, if he is hitting lead off is too helpful to ignore. Robles doesn’t smash RHP, but Tomlin has historically been a reverse splits RHP.

If Robles isn’t leading-off and is back down to the bottom of the order, I won’t have anywhere near as much interest, but his ability to get on base, combined with his ability to steal a bag and the bats behind him, he can definitely manufacture points for us.

Yankees

EDIT- OK, I’m going to leave what I wrote here, but Dean Kremer is getting the start for the O’s and this is his debut. He’s an OK prospect with a 40+ future value on fangraphs and is this O’s 13th ranked prospect. The Yanks also don’t have Hicks or Torres in their line up today. Blah. Really don’t know what to do here, but there’s still appeal to me with the Yankees bats. Tauchman and Frazier who I mentioned below, and Brent Garnder is hitting 3rd and cheap, as well as Mike Ford.

The Yanks get Asher Wojciechowski and his high fly ball rate and 2.3 HR/9 allowed. Aaron Hicks (.242 ISO), Clint Frazier (.236 ISO), Gleyber Torres (.232 ISO), and Mike Tauchman (.212 ISO) are all reasonably priced on both sites. Those ISO numbers are this year and last combined against RHP. Their 5.4 implied run total is tied for 4th on the board and we don’t need to sacrifice our pitchers to get them in. If you want and have the cash to burn you could certainly spread the stack to the more expensive bats of DJ or Voit, but I prefer higher priced bats in other spots.

Tigers

There’s value on the Tigers today. I wouldn’t go nuts here, but a random bat or mini 2-3 man stack can open things up.

Rich Hill has struggled a bit this year with a 5.36 xFIP and 44% HC. The K’s haven’t really been there either, sitting at just 15%. It’s a small sample, but worth noting.

On the other hand, the Tigers have been one of the better offenses against LHP on the year. They’re 11th in ISO, and 3rd in wRC+, wOBA, and OPS.

Victor Reyes, Jeimer Candelario, and Grayson Greiner (punt catcher), all are cheap and have upside. Candelario specifically has been on a tear and produced points in 17, yes 17 straight games. Reyes has contributed points in 15 of his last 16 games. While Greiner has a .220 ISO against LHP, between this season and last.

You can stray further down the order to more bargain bin bats or work in the more expensive Jonathan Schoop and his .259 ISO, but the 3 above are the primary targets.

Alright, pause.

The later this blog finishes and gets posted the less useful it becomes (although having official line ups is helpful), and I’m still filtering through potentially writing up Twins, Braves, Reds, Rays, Jays, and Red Sox. So bear with me as, I try to touch on all of them in more condensed manners.

Reds

Chad Kuhl has really struggled with LHB’s, but the Reds aren’t cheap at all on DK. On FD however, Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas are both below that 2.9K threshold, with Jesse Winker right there.

On DK, Brian Goodwin is decent value, and I’m not opposed to Winker there, or getting shares of Castellanos or Suarez, but if getting this high up on bats, I’d rather just move to more expensive stacks.

Twins
I was originally going to write up the Twins, but looking over all our options today, and now seeing their line up, I’ve completely lost interest, and will most likely be avoiding them. Incoming onslaught.

Rays

I know I wrote up Rogers, but like I mentioned when doing so, the Rays are pretty decent against LHP. As a whole they’re just too cheap to ignore. On DK, Randy Arozarena, is batting 2nd at 2.7K and is a legit prospect with some pop, that can hit LHP. I also can’t ignore Hunter Renfroe and his .308 ISO against LHP.

Blue Jays

Andrew Triggs has bounced around, and never been good enough to stick anywhere, so naturally he’s on the Red Sox now. 2018 was the last time he pitched in the majors and even then the sample size is somewhat small. He’s basically average K’s, splits neutral (not especially good to either side), and 40%+ hard contact.

I have no hesitancy to load up on Jays where I can. They’re not cheap, but worth fitting in what you can, where you can with Biggio, Gurriel, and Tellez being the preferred building blocks.

Red Sox

Robbie Ray is with the Jays now, and this could go any and every way imaginable. In fact, I almost wrote Ray up in my pitching section and not even completely opposed to using him, and really as far as riskiness, when taking price into account he might make more sense than Rogers.

Anyway, that’s just all occurring to me now somehow, so, yeah Ray always has lots of upside, but walks everybody and gives up a bunch of hard contact so he’s really hard to trust. That’s why we’re interested in Red Sox.

I wouldn’t go nuts, but obviously JD Martinez, Xander Bogaearts, Christian Vazaquez and even Michael Chavis have strong numbers against LHP. They’re not cheap, but the Red Sox have been hitting well, and nothing would surprise. The line up just came in and Yairo Munez is hitting lead off at just 2.7K on DK, which is useful too.

RECAP

Alright, that’s where I’m going to wrap this up. If you see anything you like that I didn’t mention, go for it. With the pitching so good up top, but thinning out quickly, as I mentioned up top, there’s no shortage of strong stacking spots today.

I also wanted to add to the cheap bat pile, Ryan McBroom is hitting clean up and for the Royals, has good power numbers against LHP, and is only 2.3K. Problem being there’s no shortage of decent cheap 1st base options, but this is a good one.

Hope this helped with any of your building today, and good luck!

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