Dinelson Lamet has run hot and cold this year. This inconsistency stems from command. The rookie has held opposing right-handed hitters to an amazingly low .114 BA. To give you a feel of just how incredible this is, consider that right-handed batters have hit Clayton Kershaw at a .184 clip. Yes, he is a southpaw, and opposing lefties hit Kershaw at a .245 clip. Any way you slice it, to this point Lamet has been elite vs. RHB. LHB are another story, hitting .301 and leaving the yard six times in just 79 at-bats. Lamet might work as a GPP pivot away from chalky Chris Sale, but the risk is there, and considering the other side brings us to an interesting contrarian play, taking Cleveland left-handed hitters with a little pop. Before quality starts in the last two outings, the Padres youngster yielded six homers and 17 earned runs over a span of 14 innings. When Lamet’s slider flattens out against a lefty with power, it’s not much more than a big cookie sitting out there that will travel a long ways if it’s barreled. I think most people, understandably, won’t want to attack a pitcher that’s been so effective recently, meaning Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall and Bradley Zimmer will have low ownership levels, especially Chisenhall batting down in the lineup. My two favorite Indian plays are Ramirez and Chisenhall.
Francisco Liriano has been better at home than on the road, but he hasn’t been good anywhere. All right-handed Astros are in play, but in particular, George Springer (.333/.731/1.166) is your best bet.
Mike Foltynewicz seemed to solve his lefty problem in 2016, but those struggles have returned this year. That puts Brian Goodwin, Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper, Adam Lind and Stephen Drew in play.
The only completely safe pitching play in cash games is Chris Sale. A good argument could be made for Lance McCullers and Robbie Ray. The former doesn’t always go deep into games and has a slightly lower K-rate on the road. The latter has struggled over his last three starts, giving up five home runs and walking 13. The Diamondback is still very much in the cash game conversation, but I will be looking elsewhere. If you watched him early in the season, yes the former Tiger was dominant, but I lost count of how many fly balls died deep on the warning track. Some are starting to find their way over the fence. Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger just might help continue that trend.
Jacob Faria will be a popular option and understandably so. You can’t argue with the results. The production per fantasy dollar has been excellent. Having said that, I will be fading him again. He doesn’t pass the eye test. A lot of people that I respect tremendously rave about him. They love his stuff. The two times I’ve watched him, his fastball has been straight as an arrow, and he’s had trouble commanding his off-speed stuff. He doesn’t bring tremendous velocity or movement to the table. So many big fat matzah balls hanging over the plate that, for some reason, nobody can make good contact with. Maybe there’s deception in his delivery. He does seem to hide the ball well, but I need more than just that. I’m likely the only one saying this in the industry, but I’m afraid a blowup is overdue.
Sam Gaviglio is my GPP Hail Mary. Keep in mind, Hail Marys aren’t completed very often. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be called Hail Marys. They’d be called "Safe Screen Passes." The finesse hurler has been very effective at home. Here you’re just shooting for 35 points with a quality start and victory while Chris Sale posts a more modest point total (45-ish). Outside of Boston’s lefty, there’s not a lot of chalk at the top to overcome in order for a shot if you load up on bats and they go off.
So to summarize:
Cash Pitcher – Chris Sale
GPP Pitcher – eat chalk with Chris Sale, or pivot to Dinelson Lamet (risky), or punt with Sam Gaviglio. Wouldn’t argue with Rich Hill either.
Stacks I like – Nationals, Astros.
Contrarian stacks (some risk, meaning you could crash and burn here) – Indians, Dodgers.