For today’s Friday slate, we at MLB Mayhem have decided to give our readers some more information that usual for the full thirty team slate. We will start by taking a look at the poor pitcher we are looking to expose: Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles. Gausman has had a horrible start to his 2017 campaign, and we don’t expect him to turn it around tonight. In the past, Gausman has been a solid pitcher, but has always pitched with reverse splits. In 2017, he has struggled mightily to both sides of the plate, posting a 7.50 ERA and a 5.72 FIP. When looking at his RHB and LHB splits, the only real difference is that he’s been decent in striking out righties, but has struck out less than 10% of the lefties he’s faced. While lefties are making more contact against him this year, righties are hitting for more power, with a slugging difference of .49 (.475 to .524). Gausman pitches four-seam fastballs on 61% of his pitches, while using splitters 22% and sliders 16% of the time. Last year, his fastball and splitter were above league average while his slider was not. This year, all of his pitches are below league average, with his splitter and slider both rating near the bottom of the league. The key to finding the top Bronx Bombers tonight will be to target his pitches, as we are not worried about what side of the plate he is facing, as long as the batter himself excels against RHP.
Our first play of the stack and the batter we are most excited about is switch hitting third baseman Chase Headley ($3500). First of all, Headley is having a fantastic year against RHP. Headley is currently posting a slash line of .352/.453/.593 against RHP, with an ISO of .241 and a wRC+ of 199 to top it off. At Yankee Stadium his ISO sits at .318, as the park certainly favors the bats more than the arms with its short fences and notorious short porch in right. Moving on to pitch values, Headley is the top fastball hitter on the Yankees with a pitch f/x value /100 of 4.08. Headley is currently posting a negative value against splitters, but in the past he has shown success against them, so we can expect some regression to the mean here. Along with being the best fastball hitter, Headley has also had the best year against sliders out of the rest of his teammates. He currently has a 7.01 pitch f/x value /100 against what has always been Gausman’s weakest pitch, giving us a little bonus in what makes Headley the top Yankee bat today.
Moving to the outfield, the next player we are putting in our stack is Matt Holliday ($2800). Holliday has not had the greatest start against righties this year, with a wRC+ of only 87. We believe he is due for some regression, as he has had even splits for all of his career. Much like Headley, Holliday certainly benefits from the short fences of Yankee Stadium. When looking at Holliday, three out of his top four pitches for his career are the three pitches Gausman throws, with Holliday being a well known fastball killer in particular. We’re excited to get Matt tonight on projected low ownership due to his struggles at the beginning of the season.
Our next and final player in the stack is Jacoby Ellsbury ($3500). Ellsbury, like the rest of the stack, excels against right handed pitching at home. Ellsbury is not a typical cleanup hitter, as he is more of a stolen base threat than a power guy. His ISO comes in at around league average against RHP, and he is always a threat to steal 25 bases in a season. Ellsbury is currently hitting .321 against RHP with a wRC+ of 141. Ellsbury has hit fastballs well this year with a pitch f/x value /100 of 1.98. He has negative pitch values for sliders and splitters, but with Gausman’s career lack of success with his sliders and mediocre results with his splitter, we aren’t too worried about this detail.
These three hitters make up the 2-4 part of the Yankees lineup tonight. If you wanted to make a full four man stack, Brett Gardner and Starlin Castro are both acceptable plays. Castro has reverse splits with great success against RHP, but he has never been a fastball hitter in his career. Although, he is currently on the positive side of fastballs for 2017. Gardner is a good fastball hitter, but he has had huge struggles to start his 2017 campaign, making him tough to trust. If you are playing cash games, then we suggest playing Castro over Gardner, but for GPP games, we suggest playing Gardner. Of course, it is perfectly fine to play only the three guys listed, as they are all in great spots for the game tonight. If you’d like to see more articles like this, let us know either in the comments under the article or on Facebook and Twitter. Tweet @mlbmayhem and @wess719 tonight if you are able to win big with our stack of the day!