FantasyDraft divides a packed Wednesday schedule into two slates, but the four-game afternoon tilt may offers more frustration than profit. Let’s focus on the 10-game evening tilt.
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Top SP: Clay Buchholz ($19,500) vs. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels typically make a poor target because of their low strikeout rate. That changes with Justin Upton joining Mike Trout on the DL. Playing under NL rules at Arizona also takes Shohei Ohtani out of the equation for Clay Buchholz, who enters Wednesday wielding a 2.47 ERA with two or fewer runs relinquished in 10 of 12 starts. The streaking 34-year-old gets the nod with Noah Syndergaard struggling, Carlos Carrasco at Boston, and Stephen Strasburg a DLH liability.
Honorable Mention: Noah Syndergaard ($19,900) at SF
Value SP: Jon Gray ($15,300) vs. San Diego Padres
Nope, that header isn’t suppose to say “at San Diego Padres.” Starting the erratic Jon Gray at Coors Field could be the equivalent of burning money. Or it might be crazy enough to work. He has recently avoided blow-up outings by posting a 2.55 ERA in six starts since returning from a minor league demotion. He has a lower ERA (4.73) and FIP (3.11) at home, where he faces a Padres lineup last in wOBA (.288) and tied for last in strikeout rate (25.8 %) against righties. In peak Gray fashion, the righty has twice shut out the NL West foe but yielded seven runs the other time. So yeah, this pick is playing with fire, but at least the risk is factored into his mid-range price.
Honorable Mentions: Julio Teheran ($15,900) at PIT; Lance Lynn ($15,100) at MIA
IF Javier Baez ($9,900) at Detroit Tigers (LHP Francisco Liriano)
Javier Baez doesn’t like taking strikes and Francisco Liriano isn’t crazy about throwing them, so there’s a chance he goes down swinging three times instead of delivering any positive value. It’s a risk worth taking for a star with a .383 wOBA against lefties facing a washed-up veteran who has surrendered a .371 wOBA and 14 homers to righties.
Honorable Mentions: Nolan Arenado ($10,700) vs. SD (Jacob Nix); David Peralta ($10,200) vs. LAA (Odrisamer Despaigne); David Dahl ($9,600) vs. SD (Nix)
OF Michael Conforto ($8,500) vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Casey Kelly)
The Mets are trying this new thing where they score runs. They have plating 5.6 runs per game in August with an assist from Michael Conforto’s .288/.363/.525 second-half slash line. After homering on Tuesday night, he holsters a 48.8 % hard-hit rate in those 31 games. Now that he finally looks unencumbered by a shoulder injury, the outfielder is a strong play against righty Casey Kelly, who poses a 5.70 career ERA and 45 strikeouts in 75.2 innings. Consider upgrading to a value stack by playing Wilmer Flores ($7,600) and Jeff McNeil ($7,400) as well.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Carpenter ($8,600) at LAD (Walker Buehler); Mallex Smith ($8,500) vs. KC (Jakob Junis)
Value: IF Jake Bauers ($6,300) vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jakob Junis)
Jake Bauers was the toast of the town three weeks ago. Now he costs $6,300 against Jakob Junis, a righty with a 4.76 ERA, 5.00 FIP, and 40.5 % hard-hit rate. The Rays rookie has crashed hard from a promising start; his average dropped to .208 following his eight hitless start in nine games. He still boasts a 14.5 % walk and 41.4 % hard-hit rate, so don’t abandon hope at a basement-level price because of one drought.
Honorable Mentions: Joey Wendle ($7,600) vs. KC (Junis); Jeimer Candelario ($7,200) vs. CHC (Jon Lester)
Lineup Stack: Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Zach Eflin)
Sorry, Zach Eflin. Don’t take this personally. You’re good, but not good enough for Washington’s lineup to cost this little. While Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams aren’t around to join the party, plenty of studs remain in place to stack:
- Bryce Harper ($9,900): It’s reasonable to prefer Baez, David Peralta, Freddie Freeman and/or a Rockies stud, but Harper has accrued a .452 wOBA and seven dingers in 29 games since winning the Home Run Derby. Lefties are slugging .500 against Eflin.
- Adam Eaton ($8,400): Eaton’s a leadoff hitter with a .378 OBP and platoon advantage against a pitcher who struggles against lefties. He has reached base in each of his last six starts with six hits (two doubles and a homer) in his last four bouts. Eflin has a 5.02 ERA in his last five starts.
- Juan Soto ($8,200): Sheesh, Ronald Acuna goes on a tear and everyone forgets about the other NL East wonderkid batting .289/.413/.518. His price has dipped a tad too much because of an August funk in which he has still maintained a .332 wOBA. Eflin’s last three starts were against the Marlins, Padres, and Mets.
- Ryan Zimmerman ($7,400): Zimmerman should be assured the starting nod with Adams jettisoned to St. Louis, and he’s scorching hot (.319/.405/.681) since returning from the disabled list last month. Cavernous platoon splits nevertheless keep him cheap against the righty. Eflin has allowed nine homers in his last seven outings.
- Anthony Rendon ($7,300): Rendon is a .293/.353/.500 hitter with a .353 wOBA against righties and .313 batting average (21-for-66) in August. Seems like too good a deal to pass up. I’m out of Eflin facts.
Honorable Mentions: Rays vs. Royals (Junis); Mets vs. Giants (Kelly)