Chris Sale or Jacob deGrom? How about neither? Let’s examine Wednesday night’s 11-game slate stocked with upper-echelon pitchers.
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Top SP: Freddy Peralta ($19,600) at Miami Marlins
It seems blasphemous to recommend a rookie making his seventh start in a slate with two legitimate Cy Young candidates. Yet an evening with two mediocre pitchers at Coors Field requires a more affordable ace than Sale ($25,000) or deGrom ($22,900). While the erratic Freddy Peralta offers no such peace of mind as those consistent stars, he has produced an impeccable 2.14 ERA and 46 strikeouts over 33.2 frames. He should toss another gem against the lackluster Marlins, who rank No. 27 in wOBA (.299) and are slugging .352 at home. A sky-high ceiling makes him a particularly enticing tournament proposition.
Honorable Mentions: Chris Sale ($25,000) vs. TEX; Jacob deGrom ($22,900) vs. PHI
Value SP: Kenta Maeda ($17,900) at San Diego Padres
You’re telling me a pitcher with a 3.24 ERA and 28.7 K % is available for $17,900 at Petco Park? Shut up and take my money. Sure, Kenta Maeda possesses an alarmingly high hard-hit rate (37.1 %) and career-worst 9.1 walk %, but he has also ceded 10 earned runs in his last eight turns and stockpiled nine punchouts in each of his last three outings Maeda will be well worth the price of admission if he can last at least six frames, which is hardly a certainty from someone averaging 5.7 IPS.
Honorable Mentions: Carlos Carrasco ($18,400) vs. CIN; Marco Gonzales ($14,100) at LAA
OF David Peralta ($9,400) at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez)
German Marquez has a 7.92 ERA and .332/.415/.576 opposing slash line in nine home starts. He was most recently roughed up for 10 combined runs by the Mets and Marlins. Think you might want some Diamondbacks in your lineup? Yeah, I thought so. I could have highlighted them as an obvious stack, and I nearly made David Peralta share this space with the identically priced Jake Lamb. But Peralta, three days removed from a five-hit flurry, is the far superior play considering his .402 wOBA against righties. He’s also a career .359/.398/.543 hitter at Coors who has the benefit of batting leadoff or cleanup. In light of this season’s power progress, he’d be worth playing against a weak righty outside of Coors for $9,400.
Honorable Mention: J.D. Martinez ($10,400) vs. TEX (Bartolo Colon); A.J. Pollock ($9,600) at COL (Marquez)
IF Travis Shaw ($8,000) at Miami Marlins (RHP Dan Straily)
Let’s look at the prices for Milwaukee’s lefties against Dan Straily, who has yielded a .357 wOBA to opposite-handed batters in 2018. See if something does not compute.
- Eric Thames: $9,400, .393 wOBA vs. RHP
- Christian Yelich: $9,100, .374 wOBA vs. RHP
- Travis Shaw: $8,000, .374 wOBA vs. RHP
- Brad Miller: $6,700, .335 wOBA vs. RHP
If your takeaway is that Miller is a great value, well … Yeah, that’s a good point. Yet so is Shaw, who is slugging .530 against righties since joining the Brewers last year. A pedestrian .242/.341/.468 slash line deceives because of his .243 wOBA vs. southpaws. All of his 16 homers came at a righty’s expense, and he has split those long balls at home and on the road after circling the bases at Marlins Park last night. Shaw is a superb buy after snapping out of June’s funk.
Honorable Mentions: Carlos Gonzalez ($8,100) vs. ARI (Shelby Miller); Mitch Moreland ($8,000) at BOS (Colon); Matt Kemp ($8,000) at SD (Joey Lucchesi)
Value: OF Marcell Ozuna ($6,500) at Chicago White Sox (LHP Carlos Rodon)
Marcell Ozuna has not touched them all since June 16. He has one extra-base hit (a double) over his last dozen games. So yeah, that’s why a career .295/.345/.479 hitter against southpaws costs $6,500 against Carlos Rodon, a lefty with a 5.62 FIP and career-worst 8.6 % swinging-strike rate. Despite his eroding power, the St. Louis outfielder still sports a .327 wOBA in 81 plate appearances against lefties this season, so this is too temping a bargain too ignore despite his rough patch.
Honorable Mentions: Brad Miller ($6,700) at MIA (Straily); Wilmer Flores ($6,600) vs. PHI (Vince Velasquez); Enrique Hernandez ($6,500) at SD (Lucchesi)
Stack: Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (RHP Sonny Gray)
Most contestants will stack the Diamondbacks or Rockies, and I want exposure to both offenses as well. Yet the Orioles stand out as a cost-effective alternative who may fly under the radar because of the Coors Field matchup. Clearly off his game, Sonny Gray has surrendered 32 hits and 21 runs in his past five starts. Manny Machado still evades the five-digit club ($9,700) following a two-homer evening against a possible future employer. Mark Trumbo ($8,000) has blasted four homers in 10 June games, and Jonathan Schoop ($7,300) already has more hits this month (16) than last (14) through nine contests. The best value of them all, Tim Beckham costs a microscopic $5,800 despite batting leadoff and having Gray’s number (7-for-16, 1 2B, 2 HR) in a limited sample size.
Honorable Mentions: Diamondbacks at Rockies (Marquez); Red Sox vs. Rangers (Colon); Brewers at Marlins (Straily)