MLB Grind Down: Thursday, June 20th - HOU @ NYY
Houston at NY Yankees – 7:05 PM ET
On to the main slate we go. Before diving into the main slate, I just want to discuss it from a macro view. The main slate is really interesting in that we don’t have any true, must-play ace on this slate. We have guys like Charlie Morton and Jake Odorizzi headlining the main slate, but they typically aren’t the types of pitchers we go all-in on. Given the nature of this slate, I have no problem expanding your pitcher player pool more than normal.
Framber Valdez has been excellent in his last two starts, allowing just three earned runs over 13 innings while striking out 15 batters. He’s now reached 82 and 84 pitches in those two starts, meaning he’s still being stretched out. The Yankees actually have a 26.2 K% against lefties this season, 6th highest in the Majors, but after watching them destroy Blake Snell on Wednesday, I have some concerns here. The additions of Giancarlo Stanton and Edwin Encarnacion are enough to scare me off Valdez.
Quick Breakdown: Valdez has been good in his last two starts but that was against the Orioles and Blue Jays. This Yankees offense boasts a ton of right-handed power and it’s enough for me to pass on Valdez.
Chad Green is expected to open for the Yankees but hasn’t topped 35 pitches in a game this season, meaning I have no interest in using him. I have not seen any confirmation as to who will follow him, but it has been Nestor Cortes in Green’s last two starts. Cortes is coming off a 75-pitch, seven strikeout performance against the White Sox but this matchup against the Astros profiles as a much tougher task. The Astros have the second lowest strikeout rate in the Majors against lefties, meaning if it is Cortes, this isn’t a juicy matchup to attack.
Quick Breakdown: Green isn’t on my radar considering he’s just an opener. While we don’t have confirmation yet who will follow Green, the matchup against a contact-heavy Astros team is enough for me to look elsewhere even if it is someone like Nestor Cortes, who is coming off a good outing.
Batter Grind Down
These bullpen games are hard to attack because it’s easy for batters to lose their platoon-advantage early in the game. Even though I’m a bit hesitant to stack against this good Yankees bullpen, the Astros did get Jose Altuve back on Wednesday and are starting to get healthy. Altuve is only $3,800 on DraftKings, which is way too cheap. He hasn’t been below $4,200 on DraftKings this season, meaning he’s at a season-low. I like him in all formats and consider him an elite cash game play at that price. Alex Bregman and Air Yordan Alvarez are also elite plays here, as both have crushed right-handed pitching this season. Even if the Yankees turn to the lefty Cortes after Chad Green, both Bregman and Alvarez have good numbers this season versus lefties as well. If you rolled out a full Astros stack, I would round it out with Michael Brantley and Robinson Chirinos.
Stackability – GREEN
The Yankees at home against a young lefty should be a popular stack, and I have no problems with that. As expected, Valdez has struggled more against righties, meaning I’m prioritizing Gary Sanchez, Edwin Encarnacion and Giancarlo Stanton. Sanchez is my favorite target on the Yankees and I’m even fine with paying up for him in cash games if you have the funds. If using a five-man stack, I would also include Gleyber Torres and D.J. LeMahieu. I’m not thrilled that both Edwin and Luke Voit are 1st Base eligible meaning you have to play just one on sites that don’t allow that flexibility, but I love the idea of pairing EE and Voit if you have that ability. Voit has a .212 ISO and a wRC+ of 118 against left-handed pitching on the season.
Stackability – BLUE