Matt Carpenter (FDraft: $7,200 DK: $3,700 FDuel: $3,900): Our first Must-Have of the slate comes from St. Louis where Matt Carpenter and the Cardinals will take on right-hander Trevor Cahill and the Kansas City Royals.
While the Royals brought Cahill aboard prior to the trade deadline to add depth and stability to their rotation, Cahill has brought anything but so far. In two starts with the Royals spanning 8.2 innings, Cahill has surrendered 14 hits, four walks, seven earned runs and four home runs. He pitched to a 5.86 FIP in his first start as a Royal and a 5.43 FIP in his second, giving the Royals nothing of what they hoped for when they acquired him. Cahill is a guy who induces plenty of ground-balls thanks to his sinker that he has thrown 46.6% of the time to lefties this season. Well, here is a graphic that shows his pitch value/100 on the sinker over his last four starts:
Simply put, his sinker is being obliterated lately and that is not good for a guy that uses this pitch on almost half of his offerings to left-handed bats. Over the last month, Cahill has allowed a .273 ISO and a .411 wOBA to left-handed hitters like Carpenter and has allowed a .383 wOBA overall on the season.
Enter Carpenter who has checked off just about every box in our research today. Carpenter enters play sporting a .229 ISO, .885 OPS and a .377 wOBA on the season against right-handed pitching. He also brings with him a large 44.1% hard contact clip against righties while walking almost as much as he strikes out against righties with a 16.5% walk rate and a 18.4% strikeout rate. While we certainly don’t focus solely on pitch values at DFI, it’s hard to ignore the immense success Carpenter has had against the sinker this season, especially when we consider how poorly the pitch has worked for Cahill as of late. On the season, Carpenter sports a .727 ISO and .679 wOBA against the sinker from right-handers with a minuscule 3.37% whiff rate against this offering. This could very well be the reason that Carpenter is a career .417 hitter (5 for 12) with two doubles against Cahill. This BvP isn’t surprising considering Carpenter does his best work, by far, against ground-ball pitching. He sports a career .932 OPS against the ground-ball pitching split. When we compare this to his .814 OPS against fly-ball pitchers and .800 OPS against neutral FB/GB pitchers, we see that he clearly does his best work against ground-ball hurlers like Cahill.
With all of this in mind, we will be locking Carpenter into our lineups across all sites and formats tonight as our first Must-Have of the slate. However, don’t take our word for it. Check out Carpenter vs. the sinker for yourself!
Jose Pirela (FDraft: $7,200 DK: $3,700 FDuel: $2,700): Our second Must-Have of the slate comes from Cincinnati where Jose Pirela and the Padres take on right-hander Adrian Wojciechowski and the Reds.
On the surface it appears that Wojciechowski is having a pretty good season for the Reds. He sports wOBAs under 3.00 to both sides of the plate at home and has yet to allow a home run to a right-hander hitter at home across 13 innings. While that is all well and good, it is almost certain not to last much longer. The reason we believe he is in for some home run and wOBA regression at home lies in his 49% fly-ball rate and 32.7% hard contact rate to righties on the season. While the hard contact rate isn’t massive, it is still elevated and the fact that he is yielding fly-balls almost half the time to righties leads us to believe that his 0.0% HR/FB rate at home against righties is due to increase, especially in the home run-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. To emphasize this point, Wojciechowski has surrendered three homers in six innings on the road against righties for a 4.50 HR/9 clip. The fly-balls have bit him, they just haven’t bitten him at home, yet.
Pirela is a good candidate to be the first right-hander to take Wojciechowski deep at home tonight as he has been on a tear as of late. Over the last seven days, Pirela sports a .579 ISO, 1.402 OPS and a .556 wOBA. Those numbers have helped push his numbers against right-handed pitching to a .242 ISO, .891 OPS and a .373 wOBA for the season. That OPS and wOBA are tops on the Padres among players with at least 40 plate appearances against a right-hander this season. It’s also worth noting that Pirela has been a little bit better away from the pitching-friendly confines of Petco Park this season as he sports a .911 OPS and a .383 wOBA on the road against righties this season. While Wojciechowski hasn’t allowed many stolen bases this season, Pirela does sport some stolen base upside with three swipes against right-handed pitching this season.
Add it all up and we are thrilled to lock Pirela into our lineups across all sites and formats as our second and final Must-Have of the slate.