Thursday’s action features no less than six elite pitchers on a seven-game slate, which likely means that players will need to spend up on at least one hurler. With so many hitters facing quality competition, stacking against a few of the weaker arms seems like an attractive option.
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Ross Stripling, LAD at SD ($9,100): Stripling seems like a bargain at anything less than a five-figure salary, as the 28-year-old has posted a 2.22 ERA and a 28.7 percent strikeout rate in 89.1 innings this season. He has issued just 13 free passes over that span. All of this should serve him well in a matchup against the Padres, who hold the lowest wOBA in the league against right-handed pitching to go along with the highest strikeout rate (26.1 percent).
Cheap GPP Consideration: Jameson Taillon, PIT vs. MIL ($5,700) Taillon’s 4.05 ERA doesn’t seem like anything to get too excited about but there is a lot to like about the former top prospect’s peripherals, as he has kept a 50 percent groundball rate and a career-best 10 percent swinging strike rate in 100 innings. The Brewers have performed well against righties in 2018 but hold a top-5 groundball rate (46.4 percent) against right-handed pitching while striking out more than 25 percent of the time.
GPP Fade: J.A. Happ, TOR at BOS ($7,400) Happ has been hit hard in his last four starts, allowing 20 runs and six homers in 22.2 innings over that span. While the Red Sox haven’t been the same force against left-handed pitching that they have been against righties, they have enough big right-handed bats to potentially create an issue for Happ, which makes me want to look elsewhere in what is a loaded slate for pitchers.
Elias Diaz, PIT vs. MIL ($3,600): Diaz remains one of the best-kept secrets against southpaw pitching, having tallied a .277 ISO and a .453 wOBA against his opposite hand in 47 at-bats. Wade Miley threw just 6.1 innings prior to being placed on the disabled list this season but he remains a potential stack target thanks to the .490 slugging percentage and .374 wOBA he surrendered to right-handed hitters in 129.1 innings last year.
Cody Bellinger, LAD at SD ($4,600): Bellinger kept his power through some early struggles in 2018 and now owns a .249 ISO and .352 wOBA against right-handed pitching in 221 at-bats. Meanwhile, opposing starter Tyson Ross has allowed a .505 slugging percentage and a .381 wOBA against lefty hitters in 46.2 innings.
Yangervis Solarte, TOR at BOS ($4,300): Solarte has found his power stroke against lefties so far this season, as evidenced by the .237 ISO he has tallied in 118 at-bats. David Price’s roller-coaster season has shown no signs of leveling off. He has allowed 12 runs over his last eight innings (two starts) and has surrendered a .440 slugging percentage in 85.1 frames against right-handed hitters.
Matt Duffy, TB at MIN ($4,100): Duffy has done well against same-handed opposition in 2018, as evidenced by the .357 wOBA he has tallied in 214 at-bats. He holds a 9.9 RAA against the fastball in 76 games. Kyle Gibson may be in the midst of a breakout season but still possesses a heater that has yielded a negative RAA in 18 starts. It is also worth noting that the 30-year-old has allowed a 36 percent hard contact rate against right-handed batters.
Jordy Mercer, PIT vs. MIL ($3,200): Mercer could fit in nicely as part of a right-handed stack against Miley due to the solid .151 ISO and 35.5 percent hard contact rate he has notched in 73 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season. With so many high-priced arms and bats to choose from, Mercer can provide a tremendous amount of salary relief against a hurler who is surrounded by question marks.
J.D. Martinez, BOS vs. TOR ($5,900): Martinez is a prime candidate to take advantage of Happ’s recent struggles, as he has logged a .220 ISO and a .392 wOBA against his opposite hand in 82 at-bats. The 30-year-old has struck the ball well against righties and lefties this season, notching a 49.4 percent hard contact rate in 88 games.
Eric Thames, MIL at PIT ($4,700): Those who aren’t sold on Taillon might want to consider Thames, who has tallied a .328 ISO against right-handed pitching in 134 at-bats. He is also one of the few Brewers who shouldn’t be hampered by Taillon’s groundball rate, as he has hit the ball in the air at a 45.7 percent clip.
Teoscar Hernandez, TOR at BOS ($4,500): Hernandez has shown big power against lefty pitching this season, posting a .275 ISO in 91 at-bats. He may be a decent bet to leave the yard against Price, who has kept a 1.4 HR/9 rate against his opposite hand.