MLB Grind Down: Thursday, June 20th - PHI @ WAS
Philadelphia at Washington – 7:05 PM ET
The season numbers for Nick Pivetta aren’t pretty (5.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 40.6% hard hit rate), but he’s been much better since returning from Triple-A. In his last four starts, he’s pitched 26.2 innings while striking out 27 batters. He owns a 2.00 HR/9 ratio so the longball continues to be an issue, but he’s clearly been a different pitcher since being demoted. I can’t endorse Pivetta for cash games, but on a slate where there’s no clear cut ace, I absolutely will have some shares of Pivetta in GPPs. The Nationals have a 23.6 K% against right-handed pitching this season, 10th in the Majors, so there is strikeout upside here for Pivetta.
Quick Breakdown: Home runs have been an issue for Pivetta so he carries some risk. I wouldn’t use him in cash games, but the strikeout upside is tantalizing enough for me to chase it in GPPs.
Fedde has been respectable as a starter this season, but he boasts a low 13.9 K% and a concerning 9.3 BB%. He’s also allowed a home run in three straight games and continues to struggle against lefties. The Phillies don’t have many lefties, but the ones they do have are full of power (Bryce Harper, Jay Bruce). With Fedde striking out batters at a below-average rate, I’m passing on him.
Quick Breakdown: While the matchup sets up well for Fedde considering he struggles against lefties and the Phillies are a right-handed heavy team, Fedde’s low strikeout rate is just unappealing for me.
Batter Grind Down
As mentioned above, you’ll want to prioritize the lefties against Fedde. This season, lefties have a .380 wOBA against Fedde while righties have a .261 wOBA. This puts Bryce Harper and Jay Bruce as my top targets on the Phillies. I know Harper hasn’t been amazing this season, but he remains relatively cheap around the industry, and I like him in all formats. At $4,400 on DraftKings, he’s a strong cash game play at that price. This also sets up well for lefty Cesar Hernandez, but he’s been pushed to the bottom half of the lineup, so he’s more of a secondary play for me.
Scott Kingery has come alive lately and leads the team with a 179 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, making him a fine GPP target. Rhys Hoskins has also crushed right-handed pitching, and while I’m not looking at him for cash games, he’s also someone you can look at in tournaments.
I wish the Phillies were more left-handed, as that would push them up my stack list, and for that reason I’m only listing them with a Yellow stack rating. My priorities on the Phillies would be the Harper/Bruce pairing and I’m fine with them as a mini-stack, while the Harper/Bruce/Kingery/Hoskins stack is viable if you think they can get to Fedde. I would also throw in one of Jean Segura or J.T. Realmuto in that stack to round it out.
Stackability – YELLOW
Update – Howie Kendrick is in the lineup as is Suzuki, with no Parra or Gomes. Going to add Kendrick as a secondary play as he has hit right-handed pitching well over his career and would be a fine addition to a Nats stack
Over his career, Pivetta has actually shown signs of being a reverse-splits pitcher, meaning right-handers have hit him better. Righties own a .355 wOBA against Pivetta, compared to a .327 wOBA by lefties. This puts Anthony Rendon at the top of my Christmas wish list, followed by Trea Turner. Rendon leads this team with a .325 ISO against righties, making this a prime matchup to attack. Turner has also hit right-handed pitching well this season and would be a priority for me in all formats. If righty Kurt Suzuki drew the start, he’d also be someone I’d want tournament exposure to. If Yan Gomes drew the start, that’d be a huge downgrade, as he’s struggled mightily this season against right-handed pitching and I’d have less interest.
The lefties of Juan Soto and Matt Adams are also viable, and you can even consider Gerardo Parra if he cracks the lineup, but I’m more focused on them in Nats stacks as opposed to one-offs. Overall, the Nats have plenty of pieces you can target despite the fact I think Pivetta has tournament appeal. This sets up well for some of the power bats and at the very least, I have no problems hunting for homers here.
Stackability – GREEN / YELLOW