MLB Grind Down: Thursday, June 20th
The RotoGrinders MLB Grind Down will give you an in-depth analysis into the upcoming MLB schedule. This article will break down the numbers for every single game and give you analysis on which trends you can exploit. While matchups are a major factor in daily fantasy baseball, there are plenty of other factors to consider such as injuries, weather, and salaries.
The analysis should point you in the right direction, but it is still up to you to decipher the information and make your own selections. No sport has more variance than baseball. The best choice is not always the right choice but following the trends will win you money over time.
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BLUE – One of the top stacks of the slate.
GREEN – A full stack is viable in GPPs.
YELLOW – Not the best stack, but hitters are in play.
ORANGE – Tread lightly, but potentially target a hitter or two.
RED – Fade this offense in all formats.
Cleveland at Texas – 2:05 PM ET
Hello Grinders. Noto is taking a much-deserved vacation for the rest of the week, so I’ll be covering the Grind Down for the next two days. We have a two-game early slate followed by a 10-game main slate. Let’s dive in.
Shane Bieber headlines the pitching on the early slate. From a talent perspective, it’s hard to ignore his elite 31.1 K%. Add in the fact the Rangers strikeout at a 24.8% rate against right-handed pitching this season, 7th most in the Majors, and there’s some big upside here with Bieber. The downside with Bieber’s matchup is that this game takes place in Arlington where it’s likely going to be 90+ degrees at first pitch, making this some of the best hitting weather. Additionally, Bieber has a concerning 42% hard hit rate and a 1.69 HR/9 ratio. It would not shock me if he served up a homer or two here, but he has the ability to make up for those lost points through his strikeout upside.
Quick Breakdown: Bieber is prone to the longball but I Don’t Care, as his 31.1 K% can cover up those blemishes. I am more than fine with Bieber in all formats given his upside and the matchup against a strikeout-prone Rangers team.
I’ll be curious to see how much ownership Mike Minor gets as the Indians bats have been hot lately. The Indians are averaging 8.6 runs per game over their last six games, a span where they’ve gone 5-1. Before getting too carried away, let’s review which starting pitchers they’ve faced in that six-game stretch:
Joe Palumbo – pretty sure he’s a tv detective?
Adrian Sampson – someone must’ve cut his long hair because he’s lost all his power lately
Lance Lynn – the Indians lost this game
Gregory Soto – he’s a 24 year old rookie
Ryan Carpenter – he’s arguably one of the worst starting pitchers in the Majors
Outside of Lynn and Turnbull, this list just isn’t very impressive. So while I do think this Indians offense is hot and firing on all cylinders, they have been doing it against awful pitching lately. I don’t consider Mike Minor an awful pitcher. He has a solid 25.5 K% with a career-high 12.1 SwStr% this season. The matchup itself isn’t a great one for strikeouts as the Indians rank in the bottom half of the league in K% against lefties, but they also have just a team wRC+ of 84 against southpaws. If I’m chasing the strikeout upside I’d rather take shots on Shane Bieber, but Minor’s matchup isn’t an awful one on paper.
Quick Breakdown: The Indians have been hot lately and that may scare some people off Minor, but the numbers suggest this is a matchup he can win. I’m expecting Robbie Ray to be the highest owned pitcher on the early slate so if you want to gain some leverage on the field, using Minor instead of Ray is a viable strategy in large-field tournaments.
Batter Grind Down
While I like Bieber, we can absolutely hunt for home runs against him as he’s already allowed 16 in just 85 innings. Lefties have hit him better this season to the tune of a .328 wOBA, compared to a .268 wOBA by righties. This means I would prioritize the left-handed bats of Shin-Soo Choo, Willie Calhoun (if he cracks the lineup), Nomar Mazara, Asdrubal Cabrera, Rougned Odor, Danny Santana and Ronald Guzman. I’m lukewarm on the stack because Bieber generally isn’t someone who gets blown up, but I’m fine with the idea of a full Rangers lefty stack in tournaments if you just want to chase those home runs instead of using the Rangers lefties as one-offs and hoping your guy is the one who leaves the yard.
Elite Plays – Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera
Stackability – YELLOW
Minor has been solid against both sides of the plate, but nine of his 11 home runs have come against right-handed batters so I’m more inclined to just focus on the Indians who will hold the platoon-advantage. As crazy as it sounds, Jordan Luplow and Roberto Perez have mashed left-handed pitching this season and lead the team in ISO and wRC+ against southpaws. Both are elite plays here and they would be my priorities in an Indians stack or as one-offs. Francisco Lindor will likely be a popular play on the early slate so I’m fine with him if you want to play the block in cash games or tournaments at likely high ownership. Oscar Mercado and Jose Ramirez will also hold the platoon advantage but I’m viewing them more as secondary plays as Minor isn’t someone I’m thrilled about attacking.
I’m fine with other options like Carlos Santana and a cheap Jason Kipnis, but Santana hasn’t shown as much power from the right side this season and Kipnis will be in a tough lefty-on-lefty matchup. I’m more inclined to use them in Indians stacks as opposed to one-offs
Stackability – YELLOW / ORANGE