Cardinals and Guardians are the best leverages for Friday

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Optimal stack probabilities are calculated using each team’s six best projected hitters.

Team stacks with the most leverage: Cardinals, Guardians

The St. Louis Cardinals’ team pile sits atop the leverage chart heading into their pivotal game against Eric Lauer and the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals have surged lately as they enter a series with serious implications atop NL Central and for the NL Wild Card race. They peak at the right time, and for August they lead the league in wOBA and wRC+ with the third best ISO. Their strikeouts have been very limited to a league-best 16.3% clip this month, but they’re also walking at the highest pace in baseball during the same streak at 11.1% .

Lauer is a solid pitcher with flashes of great tricks but can be pretty dreadful at times. His batting production is average at around 24%, although he struggles to give up power. Tonight will be his third time against the Cardinals, and he hasn’t done well in his first two meetings, allowing seven earned runs in 11 innings. The low property we see on this stack is partly due to its cost, but you do get an increasing attack against a caster that they’ve already defeated, making this a stack well worth the cost.

The Cleveland Guardians team pile joins the Cardinals near the top of the leverage chart as they prepare to face Jose Berrios and the Toronto Blue Jays. Berrios was a disappointment for the Blue Jays as we saw a regression with his strikeout production and the relinquishment of significant power. His Expected ERA, Barrel % Allowed, and HardHit % Allowed are among the worst ratings among any pitcher in baseball, so it’s hard to find a silver lining in his performance.

Cleveland didn’t have a good August, struggling at home plate. For the month so far, we see them near the bottom of the league in ISO, wOBA and wRC+ even though their low strikeout rate has remained stable. They’ll have a great opportunity to break their slump against a struggling pitcher who can’t do anything for himself. We see that the Guardian stack should be minimally held when it might be a bit more expensive than it should be. However, if you’re looking for high upside down play, then fading a distressed pitcher is still valuable.