DFS players won’t want to cut corners on their Wednesday pitching staffs. Chris Sale and Zack Greinke lead a four-game afternoon slate robbed of more star power by shunning a Mets-Braves showdown featuring Jacob deGrom. In the evening, Gerrit Cole takes a back seat to a rival working his way into elite territory.
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Go ahead and splurge for Sale against the meandering Orioles in the early slate. I didn’t want to spend too many words on “Sale good, Baltimore bad”, so let’s advance to the evening. After amassing 36 strikeouts in his last three starts, Trevor Bauer boasts a 30.3 K% that ranks ninth among qualified starters. His 2.48 FIP ranks fifth. Although far from a pushover offense, the White Sox reside among the bottom 10 in strikeout rate (24.4 %) against righties after Carlos Carrasco fanned 11 over seven scoreless frames on Monday. Look for Bauer–who is $3,800 cheaper than his former UCLA teammate, Cole–to register another double-digit strikeout gem.
Honorable Mentions: Chris Sale ($26,800) at BAL; Jose Berrios ($21,500) at DET
Chase Field’s humidor was all the rage back in March. Now it’s seldom discussed despite the Diamondbacks possessing the fifth-worst home wOBA. Yet Paul Goldschmidt has stopped pressing the snooze button, and they have thus scored at least eight runs in each of their last five games. That includes a trip to Coors Field, so I still see a potential bargain in Jameson Taillon, who has collected 27 strikeouts to four walks (one in each start) over his last four outings. He touts a 3.61 FIP and 51.2 % ground-ball rate ahead of his clash with Greinke, so consider the Pittsburgh righty an interesting pivot to accompany Sale and/or differentiate from the pack in tournament tilts. Given Arizona’s hot streak and Taillon’s propensity for blowup outings, there’s definitely immense risk attached to this choice.
The Red Sox represent the afternoon’s best stacking option against Andrew Cashner, who has relinquished a 4.98 ERA and .387 wOBA. Good luck affording Sale and their hitters. Of the elite options, Mitch Moreland is the most reasonably priced at $9,000. (Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Andrew Benintendi each cost at least $10,600). And yes, the first baseman qualifies as elite when facing a vulnerably righty, as he entered Tuesday sporting a pristine .415 wOBA against them. He hasn’t gone yard since June 3, but a date with Cashner at Camden Yards is the perfect setting to snap that drought. Or at least notch his first extra-base hit since Thursday. Baltimore will want to see Lessland after this bout.
Remember when the Dodgers took Matt Kemp as a salary dump with plans of subsequently trading or cutting him? He’s now partying like it’s 2011, a year in which Jacoby Ellsbury nearly won AL MVP while Jered Weaver, Doug Fister, and C.J. Wilson each posted a sub-3.00 ERA. Cole Hamels was also a stud back in those days. Now he’s a meh pitcher with a 3.86 ERA, but 5.37 FIP and 44.8 % hard-hit rate. Kemp, meanwhile, is a career .321/.381/.546 hitter against southpaws who has spent all season swimming in the Fountain of Youth. This is far from a nostalgia play.
Rhys Hoskins alleviated any concerns of rust by homering in his return from a broken jaw. While he has failed to match last year’s Ruthian power arrival, the 25-year-old has reached base 27 times in 60 plate appearances against lefties. Throw in last year’s memorable debut, and he boasts a .398 wOBA versus southpaws despite a .224 batting average. And although I never expected a proper encore, a .379 xwOBA suggests he’s not doomed to suffer a substantial sophomore slump. Tyler Anderson is on the hook for a career .472 slugging % against righties, so enjoy Hoskins at Wednesday’s $7,200 price before the market corrects course.
On May 11, the Cardinals crushed four home runs in 2.1 innings against Eric Lauer, who has now allowed 57 hits, 24 walks, and 30 runs in 39.1 ugly frames. A 2.06 WHIP and 41.4 % hard-hit rate puts a giant target on the lefty’s back for the Cardinals and DFS players. Although the red-hot Jose Martinez ($10,300) has recorded all five of his homers in the last six games versus righties, he enters Wednesday night with a whopping .470 wOBA against southpaws. While he’s a costly option, two teammates present better bargains. Marcell Ozuna ($7,600) has buried a slow start with a sizzling June (16-for-41, 4 HRs). He has increased his slugging % from .337 to .405 in just 11 games. Jedd Gyorko ($6,300) has embellished his career success against southpaws (.354 wOBA) by reaching base 15 times (with three homers) in 31 plate appearances. Through his ups and downs, Tommy Pham ($9,000) is still sporting a .343 wOBA with nine homers and steals apiece. Those who have the salary space should invite him to the St. Louis stack party. And keep an eye on their other starting outfielder, as Harrison Bader (11-for-35, 2 2B, 1 3B, and 2 HR vs. LHP) took Lauer deep last month.
Honorable Mentions: Red Sox at Orioles (Cashner); Yankees vs. Nationals (Fedde)