By my count, this will be my 108th “On the Hill” article this season. It will also be my last one for the 2018 season as we are shifting all of our focus over to football starting next week. It has been a fun season but does become a grind at times. I have had a fair amount of success this season ranking 4th out of 19 experts on the hitting leaderboard and 7th out of 18 on the pitching leaderboard as we entered the final week of grading.
Friday’s final MLB write-up features a big 14-game slate that is loaded with strong pitching options. As such finding my top stacks also proved to be fairly straightforward as there are only a few pitchers that I want to pick on. Hopefully, we can end the season with a bang!
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Let’s mow down the competition 3 Up and 3 Down…
Blake Snell (FD-$10,700 / DK-$12,400)
There are a variety of top-flight pitching options to consider on the slate. I gave serious consideration to both Aaron Nola and Carlos Carrasco for this top spot but it is too hard to ignore what Blake Snell has done. Snell has allowed a total of three runs over his last five starts that have included outings against the Indians, Red Sox and Yankees. He’ll get a much easier matchup on Friday against an Orioles team that has the ninth highest strikeout rate (24.7%) with the third lowest wOBA (.256) and wRC+ (57) against lefties over the last 30 days. Snell is a huge home favorite and has been lights out at home this season with a 1.06 ERA and .236 wOBA allowed. Cash with Snell in Cash game lineups.
Chris Archer (FD-$7,400 / DK-$7,300)
Chris Archer hasn’t been anything special since being acquired by the Pirates but he may have turned a corner in his last start allowing just one run over six innings with five strikeouts against the Braves. He has reportedly simplified his delivery by pitching exclusively out of the stretch which seemed to work for him. Archer comes in as a big home favorite over the Marlins on Friday night. The Marlins haven’t struck out a lot recently, but they haven’t hit very well either ranking in the bottom three in wOBA (.279), ISO (.105) and wRC+ (76) over the last 30 days against righties. Archer is the perfect match to pair with Snell in Cash games on two-pitcher sites.
Felix Pena (FD-$6,800 / DK-$6,300)
Felix Pena has been solid in his last four starts posting a 2.88 ERA with a 27.0% strikeout rate. He’ll face the strikeout-prone White Sox who have the 2nd highest strikeout rate (25.1%) against righties over the last 30 days. Pena is a small underdog pitching on the road but with cooler temps and the winds blowing in at about 15 mph, he is worth a shot as a cheap option in GPPs.
Indians vs. Marco Estrada
Marco Estrada has had a bad year and he has been really bad recently allowing at least three runs in each of his last five starts while giving up nine home runs during that stretch. The last thing he wants to see is the powerful Indians lineup who has scored nine runs in two of their last three games.
Jose Ramirez (FD-$4,900 / DK-$5,300) – Ramirez has crushed righties this season with a .426 wOBA and .337 ISO.
Francisco Lindor (FD-$4,700 / DK-$5,400) – Lindor is coming off a four-hit, two-homer night and has a .363 wOBA and .258 ISO against righties this season.
Edwin Encarnacion (FD-$4,000 / DK-$4,700) – Encarnacion has a double and a homer in four career at-bats against Estrada and has five hits over his last two games.
Michael Brantley (FD-$4,200 / DK-$4,600) – Brantley has hits in six straight games, has posted .373 wOBA against righties this season and has homered off Estrada once in six career at-bats.
Athletics vs. Yovani Gallardo
Gallardo allows a lot of contact with a low 13.7% strikeout rate this season. He has been crushed by righties this year with a .393 wOBA and 1.34 HR/9. Gallardo has also been worse on the road this year allowing a .378 wOBA.
Khris Davis (FD-$4,000 / DK-$4,500) – Davis has a 3-for-10 mark with three homers against Gallardo in his career and has inflicted immense damage to Rangers pitching this season with nine homers and 24 RBI in 16 games.
Matt Chapman (FD-$3,900 / DK-$4,500) – Chapman has reverse splits with a .387 wOBA and .276 ISO against righties this season.
Matt Olson (FD-$3,300 / DK-$4,100) – Olson has 20 of his 24 homers off righties this year with a .238 ISO.
Ramon Laureano (FD-$2,700 / DK-$3,800) – Laureano collected two doubles in their last game while hitting leadoff and has a .367 wOBA and .235 ISO against righties this season.
Nationals vs. Jon Lester
Lester got bombed by the Nationals the last time he faced them, giving up eight runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings during a mid-August start. With rain in the forecast and Lester on the hill, I’m expecting Nationals ownership to be low. Now we just need the game to play and them to repeat their previous success against the lefty.
Ryan Zimmerman (FD-$3,400 / DK-$4,600) – Zimmerman clubbed two of the homers off Lester in the previous meeting.
Anthony Rendon (FD-$4,100 / DK-$4,700) – Rendon has seven hits including four doubles over his last four games and has posted a .368 wOBA and .235 ISO against southpaws this season.
Trea Turner (FD-$3,700 / DK-$4,800) – Turner is 3-for-5 with three steals off Lester in his career and his riding an eight-game hitting streak.
Bryce Harper (FD-$4,600 / DK-$4,900) – Harper collected two hits in three at-bats against Lester in the previous matchup and has a solid .368 wOBA and .243 ISO against lefties at home this season.
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