Thursday’s main slate got even shorter with last night’s Detroit game being turned into a day/night doubleheader, leaving us with only four games to try and pick apart.
Top SP: Trevor Bauer, LAD ($11,300 DK, $11,000 FD) at MIL
Trevor Bauer (30.7% K-BB%, 31.3% CSW 2020-21) is the lone option for tonight’s short slate. Milwaukee is a favorable matchup, too. Still without Christian Yelich, the Brewers have thus far mustered a .299 team wOBA (20th) while striking out at a robust 28.3% clip (3rd worst). The Brewers’ lineup is the definition of patchwork right now. Travis Shaw had a few moments early on but the wheels are falling off, as his K rate has spiked back up to over 30%. Meanwhile, Keston Hiura’s K rate has continued to be a sticking point at 36.7%. There are plenty of strikeouts lurking here.
Honorable Mentions: If only we had choices.
Value SP: Luke Weaver, ARI ($7,700 DK, $7,600 FD) vs COL
Is it cheating to pick on the road Rockies again? It is? Ok, let’s do it anyway. Luke Weaver (18.1% K-BB%, 27% CSW 2019-21) gets that coveted matchup. So far, the Rockies have managed a .243 team wOBA on the road, second-last to the Royals. Weaver’s walk rate of just 5.5% on the year and pitch count of at least 94 in three of his four starts should give him a reasonable chance to pitch deep into this game. The Diamondbacks are the second-biggest favorite on the board (-150) this evening to Bauer and the Dodgers.
Honorable Mention: Martín Pérez, BOS ($5,700 DK, $6,000 FD) at TEX.
3B Rafael Devers, BOS ($5,200 DK, $3,300 FD) at TEX
Through his first five starts, Kyle Gibson (13.1% K-BB%, 28% CSW 2019-21) owns a 2.30 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. So, what gives? Mostly excellent command. To his credit, the man has pounded his slider glove side against righties. Likewise with a cutter that he’s added, jamming lefties inside. But, from a bat-missing standpoint, his current K rate of 20.7% is fairly close to his career mark of 19.2%. That is to say, I suspect we’ll see some regression eventually. After all, this is a veteran pitcher with a career 4.52 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. In that case, Rafael Devers makes sense here, as going back to 2019, Gibson has shown a significantly lower K rate to LHB at 18.4%, as opposed to 24.8% vs RHB. For his career, Devers has a .363 wOBA vs RHB.
Honorable Mentions: Freddie Freeman 1B ($5,300 DK, $4,100 FD) vs CHC.
1B Anthony Rizzo, CHC ($4,000 DK, $3,300 FD) at ATL
The Braves will be very popular tonight and rightfully so. But there could be some value in targeting the Cubs tonight as well. Bryse Wilson (7.2% K-BB%, 27.3% CSW 2020-21) will get the nominal start tonight, but he should be limited to just a few innings after having pitched on Sunday. Going back to 2019, Wilson has allowed a .431 wOBA to LHB so this is an exploitable matchup for Anthony Rizzo, who was recently moved to the leadoff spot.
Honorable Mentions: Justin Turner, 3B ($5,100 DK, $4,100 FD) at MIL.
Value Batter: 1B/OF Pavin Smith, ARI ($3,900 DK, $3,100 FD) vs COL
Among all starters going back to 2019 (min 150 IP), Antonio Senzatela’s 4.9% K-BB% ranks dead last. Granted, pitching half of your games at Coors doesn’t help matters. Regardless, this is an exploitable matchup for Arizona. Pavin Smith, who has been filling in at first base for the injured Christian Walker, showed some strong numbers in Double-A Amarillo back in 2019 with a .378 wOBA, 11.6% BB%, and 12% K rate. He has been hitting leadoff and will have the platoon advantage against the righty Senzatela, who has allowed a .356 wOBA to LHB going back to 2019.
Kole Calhoun left last night’s game with a hamstring strain and was placed on the IL shortly thereafter. This presents more potential value in Arizona with Josh Rojas or Josh VanMeter. Neither has distinguished themselves in limited major league action, but Rojas showed some strong numbers with Triple-A Round Rock back in 2019 (.410 wOBA) and has some power/speed potential. Daulton Varsho was also recalled following Calhoun’s injury and could be a punt option at catcher should he crack the lineup.
Joey Gallo’s price has fallen after an ugly start. Yes, it is a left-on-left matchup with Martín Pérez (8.5% K-BB%, 25.8% CSW 2019-21) but given Perez’s well below-average ability to get swings and misses, Gallo should at least be on the radar for tournaments.
Honorable Mentions: Joey Gallo, OF ($3,600 DK, $2,800 FD) vs BOS; A.J. Pollock, OF ($3,100 DK, $2,600 FD) at MIL; Dansby Swanson, SS ($3,600 DK, $2,800 FD) vs CHC; Marcell Ozuna, OF ($2,600 FD) vs CHC; Wyatt Mathisen, 3B/OF ($3,000 DK, $2,000 FD) vs COL.
Top Stack: ATL vs CHC (RHP Adbert Alzolay)
There’s no denying Adbert Alzolay (21.1% K-BB%, 32.9% CSW 2021) has an excellent slider. So far, it’s returned a 19.2% swinging K rate (18.9% last year). However, the lack of any sort of third pitch and shaky fastball command make this a potential blow-up spot against the Braves, whose .355 team wOBA led baseball last season. And while the strikeouts have been there, all three of his starts to date have been against a suspect Brewers offense. As far as splits go, Alzolay’s K rate drops from 36.1% to RHB to just 22.4% against LHB. Freddie Freeman (.396 career wOBA vs RHP) and Ozzie Albies (.318) profile well in that respect. Dansby Swanson‘s (.348 wOBA last season) salary has dropped off on both sites, making him a potential value here. On that note, FanDuel continues to give away Marcell Ozuna (.444 wOBA last year) at just $2,600. We’d be remiss to not end with Ronald Acuña Jr and his…checks notes...508 wOBA and .503 xwOBA this year.
Honorable Mentions: LAD at MIL (Lauer).
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