Anyone who can’t get enough baseball will love Wednesday. Sixteen games are on the schedule with the Mets and Marlins playing a doubleheader. Unfortunately for those looking to cash in on Zack Wheeler, neither matchup is part of FantasyDraft’s four-game afternoon slate and eight-game evening tilt. While the smaller contest is jammed with aces, the night games contain a wide division of stars and scrubs.
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Carlos Carrasco is cheaper than Gerrit Cole ($23,100) and Blake Snell ($20,500) despite registering 34 strikeouts in his last three outings. He boasts a 2.31 ERA and the fourth-highest K-BB % (29.4) after the All-Star break, so save some dough on the undervalued ace. Since Ross Stripling is only slated to last no more than three innings or 45 innings in his rotation return, Jameson Taillon is the only palatable alternative to paying two of those three top arms. Sporting a 2.79 ERA since the start of June, he’s no mere consolation prize at a mid-level cost.
Aaron Nola is great, but I want to leave as much budget for hitting as possible in a slate with the Red Sox, Yankees, pinata pitchers, and a Coors Field matchup. So let’s instead hope to get the good Luis Severino for a $17,700 discount. He appeared to turn a corner before relinquishing six runs against Oakland, and he still carries a 3.05 FIP despite a disastrous second half. Also, look at the lineup Minnesota fielded yesterday. As for Chase Anderson, I like him as much as you can like a starter with a 5.26 FIP. Aside from his basement-level cost–the main reason to play him on this slate– a few other points work in his favor. The Milwaukee starter possesses a 2.89 ERA away from Miller Park. He has yielded three combined runs in as many starts against the Cubs, who have struck out one-fourth of the time with a .306 wOBA over the last 30 days. Did I mention he’s cheap?
So many awesome elite options. Nolan Arenado ($9,700) and Trevor Story ($10,000) get a lefty at Coors, albeit a great one in Patrick Corbin. Mike Trout ($10,500) opposes Yovani Gallardo, and Boston’s stud bats–particularly J.D. Martinez for $10,200–are fine choices against Aaron Sanchez. Now that I’ve cheated by mentioning all of them, David Peralta is my official pick. He boasts a .407 wOBA against righties after taking Antonio Senzatela deep last night. The sudden slugger has now belted 11 second-half home runs, only three short of matching last season’s overall tally. Jon Gray teased another heel turn (4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K) in his last outing, so the cards are aligning perfectly for Peralta to make Jake and the Nine-Nine proud.
This matchup has all the makings of a major price markup. Focused exclusively on hitting, Shohei Ohtani has gone 11-for-26 with four walks, two doubles, a triple, four home runs, and three stolen bases in his last seven games. He’s now batting .321/.398/.674 with a 43.2 % hard-hit rate against righties. Perhaps he only costs $8,000 because Gallardo has allowed a .331/.405/.565 slash line to fellow righties while limiting lefties to a .318 wOBA. If you’re scared off by those splits, Justin Upton is the pivot for $200 more. This is a pitcher with a 6.22 ERA and 2.1 K-BB%, so I’d recommend making room for both. Adding Trout to a star-studded stack wouldn’t be a bad idea either for those fine with limited Coors exposure.
You may think signing Matt Holliday in 2018 is dumb, but the Rockies are going to keep playing him against lefties anyway. It has paid off handsomely so far, as he’s batting a preposterous .375/.474/.625 in 38 plate appearances since joining the team in late August. While Corbin is an unheralded ace capable of combatting Coors, he was far from spectacular (4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K) in his last visit. It’s a cheap way to dip your feet into the matchup while playing other studs such as Peralta, Arenado, Trout, and/or Martinez.
Honorable Mentions: Kole Calhoun ($7,200) vs. TEX (Gallardo); Edwin Encarnacion ($6,900) at TB (Blake Snell); Colin Moran ($6,700) at STL (Daniel Poncedeleon): Welington Castillo ($6,400) at KC (Skoglund)
Lineup Stack: Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris)
It seems like I always recommend an Astros stack when they face the lefties. After all, no team is better at battering southpaws. Although righties are batting .188 against Daniel Norris, 24.2 innings is too small a sample size to read into his splits. He has actually shown some promise in recent starts, but that progress will likely halt against a formidable lineup. Just about everyone is in play. For the sake of brevity, here are three in particular to start:
- Alex Bregman ($10,200): He crushes lefties (.411 wOBA) and is hitting .333 with 30 walks and 24 strikeouts since the start of August. Bregman is worth the five-digit investment in an afternoon slate without as many superstars.
- Jose Altuve ($9,200): Following a sluggish return from the DL, Altuve has hit safely in each of his last six games while homering twice in his last three bouts. The reigning MVP is a career .339/.393/.494 hitter against southpaws. [UPDATE: Altuve is not in Houston’s lineup, but George Springer is leading off and available at the same price.]
- Marwin Gonzalez ($6,500): He’s awfully cheap despite batting .272/.348/.517 in the second half.
Honorable Mentions: Angels vs. Rangers (Gallardo); Dodgers at Reds (DeSclafani); White Sox at Royals (Skoglund)