As much as I love the theory of September baseball, it presents much of the same problems weather-wise as baseball in April and May. Rain is coming. Cold conditions in the northeast are coming, too. For the purposes of tonight, it appears the only real red flag is at Yankee Stadium, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on as we finish up the regular season.
Let’s break down some studs and values.
Kyle Wright, Atlanta Braves at Oakland Athletics, $9,700 - Wright’s been about as consistent as possible the past couple of months. In fact, he’s worked at least six innings in each of his last eight outings, limiting the opponent to two earned runs or fewer in seven of those games. In specifically his last two starts, Wright’s thrown 14.0 scoreless innings and has racked up 14 strikeouts. His 24.0% strikeout rate for the season won’t blow you away, but between the volume and the high win expectancy, Wright’s more than worth in salary in a cupcake matchup against the Athletics.
Mike Mayers, Los Angeles Angels vs. Detroit Tigers, $4,800 - Let me start by assuring you that I’m not insane. There’s nothing particularly impressive about Mayers. He’s a reliever transitioning to the Angels’ rotation out of desperation and he was beat-up in his last appearance against the Yankees. His 12.2% swinging strike rate is intriguing, but again, he’s quite deserving of a price tag below $5K in a vacuum. However, for all the underwhelming traits Mayers brings to the table, the Tigers are equally disappointing. Detroit owns a league-worst 71 wRC+ when facing a right-handed opponent and the team’s 26.7% strikeout rate across the past 30 days is the highest mark in the American League. It won’t take much for Mayers to bring back value in this spot.
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals, $6,100 - We’d be talking about Arenado’s season so, so much more if not for Paul Goldschmidt ($6,200). The third baseman has been a force at the plate throughout 2022, but his exploits since the All-Star Game have been particularly noteworthy, as Arenado’s managed an eye-popping 10 home runs and a 181 wRC+. The good times should continue tonight against Paolo Espino ($5,200), who’s surrendered 2.9 home runs per nine to opposing RHBs across his last 12 starts. Yikes.
Joey Meneses, Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals, $4,700 - Meneses, who had been toiling away in the minor leagues since 2011, is currently one of the best stories in all of baseball. In the 124 plate appearances he’s received since his call-up, Meneses is slashing .339/.371/.568 with a .404 wOBA. His advanced stats aren’t quite as appealing, but either way, he’s been crushing the ball. Most of that success has been at the hands of LHPs, as the 30-year-old sports a 237 wRC+ in his 46 PAs within the split. I like his chances to do some damage versus the contact-oriented Jose Quintana ($7,500).
Editor’s Note: Angels 2B/3B Luis Rengifo is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Tigers.
Luis Rengifo, Los Angeles Angels vs. Detroit Tigers, $3,900 - For as much as we all joke that the Angels’ lineup is currently two Hall of Fame caliber players and a bunch of scrubs, Rengifo is in the midst of a breakout campaign. The switch-hitter owns a 121 wRC+ since the Midsummer Classic, and he’s been absolutely destroying southpaw pitching all season long. In 128 plate appearances within the split, Rengifo has posted a .246 ISO and a 167 wRC+. It’s not like he has to fear Eduardo Rodriguez ($7,400) , either, as the veteran has been underwhelming all season long in Detroit.
Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs, $3,600 - Farmer has been a completely different player when getting the opportunity to hit against a lefty in 2022. To wit, the infielder has managed a .901 OPS and a 144 wRC+ in his 142 plate appearances within the split. The left-handed in question on Tuesday? Wade Miley ($6,100), who is set to come off the 60-day IL and make his first start since early June this evening. Honestly, the only downside here is that the wind isn’t supposed to be blowing out at Wrigley. Alas.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, $6,500 - We’re not 100% sure who’s starting this contest for the Giants. Wei-Chieh Huang ($5,000) is a possibility. There’s also a chance San Francisco just goes with a full-out bullpen game. Either way, it’s not difficult to see why the Dodgers own this slate’s highest non-Coors implied team total at almost six runs. The presence of Betts helps, too. Mookie’s been red-hot since the All-Star Game, hitting .311 with a 180 wRC+ in his 196 plate appearances. If you can afford him, congratulations.
Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies, $4,400 - In general, the Brewers’ bats aren’t expensive enough for a game at Coors Field, so it goes without saying that the whole team will be popular in contests on Tuesday. Of particular interest is Yelich. It’s been an underwhelming season for the former MVP, yet he’s turned things around since mid-August, slashing .308/.375/.462 with a 133 wRC+ over his past 72 plate appearances. This could be a very long night for Chad Kuhl ($5,600) and his 5.26 FIP.
Lars Nootbar, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals, $3,300 - Nootbar’s production has cooled in the first week of September — though his one hit is a home run — but the 24-year-old has still been one of St. Louis’ better bats the past couple of months. Since the beginning of July, Nootbar has had 139 plate appearances against RHPs, and in those opportunities, he’s managed a .315 ISO and a 180 wRC+. He’ll likely be hitting leadoff tonight against Espino, which easily makes him one of the better values on the slate.
Lane Thomas, Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals, $2,300 - We’ve written up one leadoff hitter in this contest, why not both? There’s a couple reason to like Thomas this evening outside of his advantageous position in the Nationals’ lineup. First and foremost, Thomas is sporting a 141 wRC+ since the All-Star break. Thomas is also a career .280 hitter of left-handed pitching. He owns a 123 wRC+ in his 268 plate appearances within the split. At this price? That’s crazy levels of upside.
TEAMS TO STACK
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals - In Espino’s past 12 starts, he’s pitched to a 5.69 ERA and a 5.43 FIP. Opponents are hitting .303 off the journeyman arm, and averaging a massive 2.3 home runs per nine innings. Goldschmidt, Arenado, Nootbar, Tyler O’Neill ($5,300), Dylan Carlson ($4,600), Nolan Gorman ($4,100) — the list goes on and on. If they’re wearing red tonight in St. Louis, they’re viable in DFS.
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