MLB Grind Down: Saturday, August 17th - SEA @ TOR
Seattle at Toronto – 3:07 PM ET
Reggie McClain is slated to open for the Mariners today before giving way to Erik Swanson. Swanson hasn’t topped 40 pitches in an outing in exactly a month, so it seems unlikely that he’ll give the Mariners much length today. The right-hander has a strikeout rate right at 20% on the year, and his 4.50 SIERA is quite a bit better than his 7.34 ERA. The Jays have improved their lineup as the season has progressed, and considering Swanson doesn’t seem likely to pitch more than 4 innings (maximum) I don’t really see the point in playing him.
Quick Breakdown: McClain and Swanson are both easy fades.
Trent Thornton has a below-average 21.6% strikeout rate this year with a 9.2% walk rate. His 4.95 SIERA looks better than his 5.34 ERA, but a 4.95 SIERA is nothing to write home about. The rookie has had his fair share of meltdown starts this season, but he’s in a good spot this afternoon against this watered down version of the Mariners. Seattle’s projected lineup has a 24.7% strikeout rate this season against right-handed pitching. The problem is that Thornton is likely to face 6 lefties, and lefty power has been a problem for him. This is an ugly pitching slate, though, and he’s cheap enough to where I don’t mind taking some stabs at him as an SP2 in tournaments.
Quick Breakdown: Thornton is in play as a cheap SP2 in GPPs thanks to a matchup with the strikeout-happy Mariners.
Batter Grind Down
While I do have interest in Thornton, he has still allowed a .337 wOBA with 11 home runs this season to left-handed hitters. If nothing else, Daniel Vogelbach, Kyle Seager and Omar Narvaez will all hit from the left side, and they’ve all posted decent power numbers this season. J.P. Crawford, Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon have very little power, but they’re all lefties and they do have the ability to contribute with speed. Most of the Mariners are cheap and they’re getting a sizable park upgrade today. The stack has a super low floor considering most of these guys aren’t good hitters, but targeting Thornton with power makes plenty of sense.
Stackability – YELLOW
Swanson has yielded a .394 wOBA to lefties with a .338 mark against righties so far this season. He has also allowed 15 homers across just 13 major league appearances. The Blue Jays make for a nice inexpensive stack with loads of power upside against Swanson and the rest of the Mariners’ weak bullpen. Whoever starts at first base (Rowdy Tellez / Justin Smoak) makes for an inexpensive power option, while Derek Fisher, Cavan Biggio and Billy McKinney will all hold the platoon edge against the Seattle long reliever. Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Randal Grichuk and Danny Jansen are all strong options at their respective positions, too. The price tags and power potential make Toronto one of my favorite stacking options on the slate.
Stackability – BLUE