There’s so, so many baseball games in a season that sometimes you forget to stand back and admire the good ones. Well, in an attempt to get ahead of this issue, allow me to set the stage for tonight’s surprisingly crucial slate of matchups. Mets-Braves? Rays-Yankees? Astros-White Sox? Dodgers-Brewers? All four of those could be previews of the upcoming ALCS or NLCS. Get yourself in front of a television this evening, is what I’m trying to say.
In the meantime, here are some studs and values for Wednesday’s nine-game featured slate.
Carlos Rodon, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $10,800 - Rodon has been ridiculously good at pitching in San Francisco in 2022. Coming into tonight’s matchup with the Diamondbacks, the left-hander has maintained a 1.89 ERA and a 34.8% strikeout rate when having the fortune of throwing in front of friendly fans. That success should continue on Wednesday, as Arizona has struggled to just a 91 wRC+ against LHPs for the season as a whole. The Diamondbacks also might be without their most dangerous hitter, with Ketel Marte ($4,800; hamstring) having missed the team’s past two contests. Basically, it’s all lining up for another dominant outing from Rodon.
Cal Quantrill, Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers, $7,000 - Quantrill’s been a difficult pitcher to love in a DFS capacity, despite a 3.67 ERA across 22 starts. First and foremost, his ERA indicators aren’t anything special and, on top of that, he sits in just the 10th percentile of qualified starters in strikeout rate (16.0%). Not exactly a dream combination for fantasy. However, after 13 scoreless innings against the Astros and the Blue Jays in his last two outings — with a season-high seven strikeouts versus Toronto — I think we have to take notice. It also doesn’t hurt that the Tigers rank dead-last in the league in ISO (.100), wOBA (.262) and wRC+ (68) against RHPs.
Amed Rosario, Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers, $4,600 - It took a couple months to shake off the rust, but Rosario has been fantastic for the Guardians since the beginning of June. In that span of time, the shortstop is slashing .311/.340/.473 with a 131 wRC+. The numbers get even more impressive when you isolate his plate appearances against LHPs, where Rosario owns a .311 ISO and a 200 wRC+ in his last 66 PAs within the split. Daniel Norris ($5,100), who was recently designated for assignment by the Cubs, should tread carefully.
Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers, $4,500 - Let’s go back to the well with Murphy, who hit a 450-foot bomb in yesterday’s victory over the Rangers. The backstop has been red-hot since the calendar flipped to July, batting .301 with a 159 wRC+ in his last 154 plate appearances. For the season as a whole, Murphy also owns a .227 ISO and a 154 wRC+ when facing left-handed pitching. That’s bad news for Cole Ragans ($5,400). Texas’ rookie southpaw has struggled since making it to the bigs, registering an ugly 7.29 FIP across his two starts.
Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Boston Red Sox, $3,200 - While Rich Hill ($6,100) has undoubtedly been better away from Fenway Park in 2022, he remains a 42-year-old man with a 4.70 xERA. Just a little underwhelming. That’s why Newman is so appealing tonight. Not only will he likely be hitting leadoff for the Pirates, but Newman has also had his way with left-handers this season, posting a .350 batting average and a 145 wRC+ in 66 plate appearances within the split.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $2,900 - This is an absurdly low price for Belt. Yes, the veteran has struggled with injuries in 2022, yet he’s still hit right-handed pitching well, sporting a 114 wRC+ within the split. Zach Davies ($6,400) isn’t just any RHP, either. Davies has barely survived his past five outings, pitching to a 5.09 ERA and a 6.29 FIP within that span of time. Davies has also surrendered 2.0 opponent home runs per nine during this stretch. I could certainly see a scenario where Belt and the Giants put up some crooked numbers on Wednesday.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers, $6,100 - Betts has been on fire as of late, but it’s specifically his numbers against LHPs that make him viable on Wednesday. For the season, Betts is hitting .315 with a 173 wRC+ against southpaws. Take note, Eric Lauer ($9,400). In fact, maybe do a little bit more than just take note. Lauer’s scuffled across his last 11 starts, registering an underwhelming 5.61 FIP and serving up 2.0 opponent home runs per nine. I doubt Betts passing on a chance to make those stats even worse.
Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees, $4,800 - Don’t look now, but Arozarena appears to be starting one of his famous hot streaks. In 52 plate appearances in August, the outfielder is sporting a .319 ISO and a 172 wRC+. Even more specifically, Arozarena’s clubbed four home runs in his past six games. Considering Domingo German ($6,500) has conceded a .399 wOBA to the RHBs he’s faced this season, I’d say Arozarena has a good opportunity to stay hot this evening.
Trayce Thompson, Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers, $3,100 - I’m going to assume the right-handed Thompson draws a start tonight against Lauer. Thompson has flashed power against LHPs throughout his career, owning a noteworthy .217 ISO within the split. Klay’s brother has also just been really good in 2022, with a .376 xwOBA and a 139 wRC+ in his 136 plate appearances with the Dodgers. At this price, that’s a lot of upside.
Leody Taveras, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics, $2,600 - Taveras has been better against left-handed pitching than right-handed pitching in 2022, but I don’t think that matters too much in a matchup with Adam Oller ($5,700). The RHP has struggled immensely as a starter, pitching to a 8.10 ERA across 40.0 innings and allowing opponents to slash a combined .309/.383/.636. For the season as a whole, LHBs are also hitting 3.06 home runs per nine off Oller. Yikes.
TEAMS TO STACK
Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics - On a slate full of underwhelming starters, Oller might just be the least imposing. I mean, we’re talking about a man who has allowed multiple home runs in five of his nine starts in 2022. The Rangers have a ton of cheap LHBs to throw at Oller, including the likes of Taveras, Johan Heim ($3,600) and Nathaniel Lowe ($3,000). Obviously, Corey Seager ($5,100), Adolis Garcia ($4,300) and Marcus Semien ($4,200) are viable options, as well.
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