Wednesday evening’s slate is loaded with too many terrible pitchers to cash without fielding a strong lineup. It’s going to take a plethora of hitting points, which justifies the albeit risky strategy of fading the pricey Clayton Kershaw ($24,800) and reeling Luis Severino ($23,000) for two imperfect pitchers given tremendous matchups.
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Top SP: Jose Quintana ($16,100) at Kansas City Royals
I don’t know what to make of Jose Quintana decaying from an underrated ace to a middling mid-level starter with a 4.16 ERA, 4.61 FIP and career-low 10.0 % K-BB rate. This pick is all about the Royals, who have recorded the fourth-worst wOBA (.293) and eighth-highest strikeout rate (23.3 %) against lefties. He proved competent enough to contain the feeble Padres on Friday, allowing one run and cementing his first start of the season without a walk. Since the matchup is great and the price is fairly low, I’m tepidly giving Quintana another chance.
Honorable Mention: Mike Clevinger ($18,900) vs MIN
Value SP: Jhoulys Chacin ($14,900) vs. San Diego Padres
Jhoulys Chacin got demolished in his last turn, capitulating nine runs (eight earned) with as many home runs as strikeouts (three) and one more walk. Not the best confidence-booster, but that was against a Dodgers squad fortified by pre-deadline moves. He now faces the Padres, who wield baseball’s second-lowest wOBA (.285) and highest strikeout % (25.8) against righties and recently lost Wil Myers to a foot injury. While his home-road splits aren’t nearly as defined as last year, he has notched a 3.54 ERA and 23.2 % strikeout rate at Miller Park. He had allowed one earned run in each of his three prior starts before getting decimated by the defending NL champs.
Honorable Mention: John Gant ($12,700) at MIA; Jacob Faria ($11,300) at BAL
OF J.D. Martinez ($10,300) at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Mike Hauschild)
The Blue Jays are pulling a sick, cruel prank of Mike Hauschild by having him make his second career big league outing against the Red Sox. It’s technically his first career start, as he tossed six scoreless frames on Thursday after Tyler Clippard opened the first inning. While he impressed enough in his debut to earn this spotlight, he previously posted a 4.88 ERA for Houston’s Triple-A affiliate. J.D. Martinez leads the majors in slugging % against righties (.693), so a $10,300 price tag—cheaper than teammates Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi—is more than fair.
Honorable Mentions: Bryce Harper ($9,600) vs. ATL (Mike Foltynewicz); Didi Gregorius ($9,500) at CHW (Lucas Giolito); Manny Machado ($9,400) at OAK (Mike Fiers)
INF Johan Comargo ($8,300) vs. Washington Nationals (LHP Tommy Milone)
Tommy Milone has looked sharped in two starts, submitting 15 strikeouts to no walks in a dozen frames. They were against the Marlins and Mets, and he posted a 7.63 ERA last year, so let’s not get carried away. Johan Camargo has carved up southpaws to a .389 wOBA. The 24-year-old third baseman has also laced three doubles and homers apiece over Atlanta’s last 13 games, and righties still went 10-for-33 against Milone in those strong turns.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Moustakas ($8,400) vs. SD (Brett Kennedy); Joey Wendle ($8,300) vs. BAL (Andrew Cashner); Cody Bellinger ($8,200) at OAK (Fiers); Mitch Moreland ($8,200) at TOR (Hauschild)
Value: INF Greg Bird ($7,300) at Chicago White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito)
Greg Bird is still searching for his first August hit. Who better to help him find it than Lucas Giolito? Even after one of his best performances of the year (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) on Friday night, the 24-year-old has relinquished a .376 wOBA to lefties. His .379 xwOBA is the highest of Wednesday night’s starters behind Hauschild, who has only faced 23 batters. It’s the perfect time for Bird, who has gone yard 22 times in 449 plate appearances against righties, to snap out of his funk. The patient batter should at least reach base against Giolito, who has surrendered a 14.3 walk % to left-handed hitters.
Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Villar ($7,400) at TB (Faria); Justin Smoak ($7,300) vs. BOS (Brian Johnson); Adam Duvall ($7,200) at WAS (Milone)
Lineup Stack: Chicago Cubs at Kansas City Royals (RHP Heath Fillmyer)
Did I just want to tell readers to Fillmyer their lineup with Cubs? Maybe, but the righty’s odd early splits present some buying opportunities. So far he has flummoxed lefties (.258 wOBA) but faltered against righties (.376 wOBA), leading Anthony Rizzo to cost $8,700 against a rookie who recorded 5.75 ERA in Triple-A. We’re only talking about 30.1 innings, and another small sample size shows the first baseman batting .347 (26-for-75) in 20 second-half games. Don’t overthink this. Those who think Fillmyer’s early splits will stick will want to pony up $10,000 for Javier Baez, who sports a .380 wOBA against same-handed pitchers. As long as they’re starting, Kyle Schwarber ($8,300), Jason Heyward ($8,200), and Ian Happ ($7,300) all make solid investments. And if Joe Maddon Fillsmyer his lineup with righties, Albert Almora Jr. ($6,300) becomes a strong value. At least be sure to play Rizzo.
Honorable Mentions: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Hauschild); Dodgers at A’s (Fiers); Rays vs. Orioles (Cashner)