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Top SP: Justin Verlander, HOU ($11,300) vs. MIL
Rolling with the most expensive starter on the slate isn’t always the right play, but Verlander is easily the best option at starting pitcher on Wednesday. With no other aces from which to choose, Verlander blows away the field with his 30.9% strikeout rate and an elite 2.55 deserved run average. He’s got lots of strikeout upside against a Brewers lineup that has the fourth-highest strikeout rate in baseball versus righties with their 25.1% mark. Verlander is looking for his seventh quality start in a row and is a strong investment in all contests.
Value SP: Miles Mikolas, STL ($7,200) at MIA
If you toss out his meltdown against the Rangers, Mikolas has actually been pitching very well since the beginning of May, posting a 2.37 ERA with five quality starts in that span. He’s got a fantastic matchup against the feeble Marlins lineup, whose .281 wOBA against right-handed pitching is the lowest in the league. Mikolas also gets to face Miami in their pitcher-friendly home ballpark. He’s an outstanding value play at this price.
1B C.J. Cron, MIN ($4,500) vs. SEA (LHP Tommy Milone)
Cron has always hit lefties well throughout his career, and he’s absolutely obliterating them this year with a 205 wRC+. The Mariners are expected to use an opener, but Cron will still get his chance at a southpaw in Tommy Milone, whose success in a small sample shouldn’t be trusted. Cron has been awesome over the past month, batting .315 with a .986 OPS. He is a fantastic power option, slugging .540 this year, and is a great source of RBI batting fifth in the loaded Twins lineup.
Peralta has been torching right-handed pitching this year with a .320/.358/.601 line, and he should have a productive day against Phillies starter Zach Eflin. Eflin is a clear regression candidate, as he’s got just an 18.9% strikeout rate with a 4.42 FIP and a 4.64 SIERA. Peralta already went deep once on Monday in Philadelphia’s extremely hitter-friendly environment and is in a spot to drive in runs batting fourth for Arizona.
This is an egregiously low price for Harper, especially considering how hot he’s been lately. Harper has a .928 OPS over the past two weeks, and while he hasn’t played up to his standards this year, he should still be viewed as an elite hitter with his track record. Opposing starter Merrill Kelly is only striking out 18.4% of the batters he faces, so Harper is at a lower risk to strike out, which has been his main issue this season. There’s no reason to miss out on Harper at this price.
Lineup Stack: Blue Jays at Orioles (RHP David Hess)
The Blue Jays are an easy call against David Hess, who has an abysmal 7.08 ERA with a 2.95 HR/9 for the Orioles. Toronto’s bats should tee off on this pitching staff in a hitters’ park in Baltimore, and many of them are quite affordable. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,200) and Randal Grichuk ($4,200) are both power upside plays, and Rowdy Tellez ($3,500) will be a steal if he cracks the lineup. Justin Smoak ($4,800) is the only guy you’ll have to pay up for, but he’s well worth the price.
Honorable Mentions: Indians vs. Reds (DeSclafani); Phillies vs. Diamondbacks (Kelly).
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Graphic by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter).