Twelve of Wednesday’s 14 MLB take place in the evening, so FantasyDraft gamers have plenty of options despite missing Corey Kluber‘s day bout against the Royals. There are few front-line starters, but a fair share of above-average options at affordable rates. Let’s pair the two enjoying the easiest matchups with some oddly cheap offensive studs.
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Top SP: Hyun-Jin Ryu ($17,800) vs. New York Mets
Zack Wheeler has posted a Jacob deGrom-esque 1.19 ERA in eight second-half starts. Yet the Dodgers have led the NL in home runs and walk rate since the All-Star break, and his opponent gets a better matchup at a lower cost. While the surging Mets starter has won seven of his last nine starts, I’d rather see if his lineup serves up a deGrom deFeat–a term I just made up for a pitcher who suffers a 2-1 loss–against Hyun Jin Ryu. They possess an NL-worst .284 wOBA against lefties, and Ryu has quietly posted a 2.24 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 10 excellent starts spanning 52.1 frames. He has lowered his career home ERA to 3.02 by ceding six earned runs in as many starts at Dodger Stadium, so you’re getting more value for your dollar than by riding Wheeler’s scorching hand.
Honorable Mentions: Zack Wheeler ($20,200) at LAD; Jameson Taillon ($19,600) vs. CIN
Value SP: Nick Pivetta ($16,100) at Miami Marlins
Nick Pivetta‘s inconsistencies can’t get easily explained by matchups. This is a guy who got tagged for six runs by the Mets after tossing six strong innings against the Red Sox. Some days he’s an ace. Other days, he’s definitely not. That’s how someone gets saddled with a 4.66 ERA exactly a full run higher than his FIP. Still, come on. This is a pitcher with a 21.3 K-BB% facing the Marlins (third-worst in wOBA against righties as of Tuesday) at their spacious park. It’s also one opponent against which the predictable outcome has prevailed; he has limited them to two runs in a pair of starts while stockpiling 16 strikeouts. He’s not a safe play, but the circumstances are too good to forgo a high-upside gem at a mid-tier price.
Honorable Mention: Michael Kopech ($18,100) vs. DET
IF Nolan Arenado ($9,600) vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Andrew Suarez)
Nolan Arenado carries the same cost as Charlie Blackmon against southpaw Andrew Suarez. Like the Chewbacca Defense, this does not make sense. The star third baseman is baseball’s best hitter against lefties and is also pretty darn good at home. He’s facing a lefty who has allowed 17 homers and a .351 wOBA to righties. While he hasn’t gone yard since August 24, there’s little reason to worry about a stud who has sprayed two doubles in four September contests. It’s rare for a $9,600 player to qualify as a major discount, but it’s at least one grand too cheap. Trevor Story ($10,600) and D.J. LeMahieu ($10,000) cost more, and Ian Desmond isn’t far behind ($9,200) despite his .275 second-half wOBA and middling production at Coors.
Honorable Mentions: Gregory Polanco ($9,600) vs. CIN (Homer Bailey); Mitch Haniger ($9,000) vs. BAL (Andrew Cashner)
IF Matt Carpenter ($8,900) at Washington Nationals (RHP Tanner Roark)
There’s a dizzying amount of offensive studs available for under $9,000, so I had a hard time deciding which one to highlight. I felt like a kid at a candy store or an adult trying to decide what to watch on Netflix. After considerable deliberation, I have my answer: Watch Great News. It was already cancelled, but it’s one of those absurd and underrated comedy gems destine to receive more deserved recognition after its premature demise. Oh yeah, the baseball part. This is the cheapest I can remember seeing Matt Carpenter against a righty, or anyone for that matter, since his April funk. Is his price lighter because he has gone hitless in four of his last seven games? He has also drawn 10 walks during that stretch, so hopefully not. Maybe it’s out of deference to Tanner Roark, who has registered a 2.13 ERA after the All-Star break. The hittable righty served up three homers in his last turn, so don’t avoid someone with a 4.03 ERA. Actually, I’m going to cheat and pick a second player, because the same game features Bryce Harper available for $8,700 against Miles Mikolas, another veteran righty falling back to earth after allowing 41 hits allowed in August. Lefties are hitting .288 against him, and Harper has reached base in each of his last 10 games.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Belt ($8,900) at COL (Antonio Senzatela); Lorenzo Cain ($8,700) vs. CHC (Jose Quintana; Kole Calhoun ($8,200) at TEX (Bartolo Colon)
Value: IF/OF Brandon Lowe ($6,500) at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Aaron Sanchez)
Brandon Lowe is batting .264/.371/.491 against righties this season. He has homered three times in his last 20 plate appearances and reached base 23 times in his last 15 games. Aaron Sanchez, meanwhile, has relinquished 23 baserunners (18 hits, five walks) and 11 runs in two starts since returning from a finger injury. Lefties have decimated the 26-year-old to a .313/.427/.484 slash line. Mallex Smith ($9,200) and Joey Wendle ($8,400) also wield the platoon advantage with higher batting-order residency, but Lowe’s price is too low to pass up.
Honorable Mentions: Joe Panik ($7,500) at COL (Senzatela); Nick Williams ($7,500) at MIA (Sandy Alcantara); Matt Holliday ($7,200) vs. SF (Suarez); Gregor Blanco ($6,700) at COL (Senzatela)
Lineup Stack: New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics (RHP Mike Fiers)
Mike Fiers has posted a 3.38 ERA with the fifth-lowest walk rate (4.8 %) of all qualified starters. Yet facing the Yankees still smells catastrophic for an extreme fly-ball hurler who has still yielded 26 homers in a bounce-back campaign. A lower velocity and 38.3 % hard-hit rate also don’t inspire confidence in the 33-year-old continuing to outrun a 4.57 FIP. Stacking the Yankees is usually an expensive overture, but no active hitter costs more than $8,700, the going rate for Giancarlo Stanton. Although his splits favor left-handed opponents, this is a fierce slugger who hits a lot of fly balls facing a pitcher who gives up a lot of fly balls. Aaron Hicks ($8,300), Miguel Andujar ($8,100), and Gleyber Torres ($8,400) have fared just fine against fellow righties, wielding respective wOBAs of .369, .364, and .354 wOBA. Acquired exclusively to handle lefties, Luke Voit ($7,300) has already taken six righties deep in 45 plate appearances. Brett Gardner and Andrew McCutchen are hardly rolling, but they’re each available for $7,200. The former has the platoon advantage, and the latter has received prominent lineup placement since getting acquired from San Francisco.
Honorable Mentions: Giants at Rockies (Senzatela); Mariners vs. Orioles (Cashner); Rays at Blue Jays (Sanchez)
The Yankees are going to Oakland