If Tuesday was any indication, this 14-game slate is going to be wild. Expect weird lineups. Expect short outings from good pitchers. Expect “go out there and eat some innings” outings from not-so-good pitchers. Basically, just expect madness.
It’s the final day of the MLB regular season. So, one more time, let’s find some studs and values.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics, $10,900 - While the Angels don’t really have anything to play for on Wednesday, Ohtani does. He needs a couple of innings of work to qualify for the ERA title and — in theory — he needs to continue to juice his numbers for a possible run at the AL MVP. I suspect Los Angeles as an organization will still be hesitant to push their All-Star asset too far, though it’s not like the team has been showing crazy restraint across the season’s final month. To wit, Ohtani’s surpassed the 100-pitch mark in five of his past six outings, including 108 pitches in eight shutout innings last Thursday against this same Oakland lineup. For 2022 as a whole, Ohtani owns a 2.43 FIP and a 33.1% strikeout rate. As always, he’s an alien.
Johan Oviedo, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $5,700 - Oviedo threw six very strong innings against the Cardinals in his last outing, yet his price somehow drops $300 heading into the season’s final game. It’s not a mystery that calls for Sherlock Holmes by any means, but it does ignore just how good the 24-year-old has looked since moving into the Pirates’ rotation. Since the beginning of September, Oviedo owns a 3.06 ERA and a 3.60 FIP. He’s also struck out 27 opponents in 26.2 innings, utilizing a devastating slider and a fastball that sits in the upper 90s. At this price, Oviedo’s very viable, particularly if we get a C+ version of St. Louis’ lineup.
Josh Naylor, Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals, $4,700 - As you would expect from a left-handed power bat, Naylor’s had a really nice season when it comes to hitting right-handed opponents. In 366 plate appearances against RHPs, the Canadian has managed a .519 slugging percentage with a 137 wRC+. Jonathan Heasley ($7,200) isn’t just any old pitcher, either. Kansas City’s starter has been plagued by LHBs in 2022, surrendering an eye-popping 2.19 home runs per nine within the split. Yikes.
Editor’s Note: Mariners 3B Eugenio Suarez is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Tigers.
Eugenio Suarez, Seattle Mariners vs. Detroit Tigers , $4,500 - It’s unclear how many regulars will start this game for Seattle — especially after a doubleheader on Tuesday — but if Suarez is in the lineup, he needs to be in your lineup. The veteran has had a magical season against LHPs, posting a .278 ISO and a 171 wRC+ in his 149 plate appearances within the split. Considering Tyler Alexander ($4,800) owns a paltry 13.9% strikeout rate and a 5.27 xERA, Suarez should have little issue finishing 2022 with a bang.
Javier Baez, Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners, $3,900 - If there has been one redeeming quality of Baez’s first season with the Tigers, it’s been his ability to hit left-handed pitching. In 141 plate appearances within the split, the veteran shortstop is sporting a .301 average with a .211 ISO and a 134 wRC+. Obviously strikeouts and pitch selection are always an issue with Baez, but those red flags are somewhat mitigated in a match with the extremely contact-oriented Marco Gonzales ($7,900).
Rodolfo Castro, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $3,300 - Count me among those surprised by the amount of power Castro as shown as a right-handed batter in 2022. It’s only an 80 plate appearance sample, but the infielder possesses a .355 ISO and a 143 wRC+ within the split. In general, Castro’s also just been good since the All-Star break, posting a 118 wRC+ overall. With Matthew Liberatore ($6,100) and his 5.38 xERA expected to start on Wednesday for the Cardinals, I’m all over Castro at this price.
Editor’s Note: Braves OF Michael Harris II is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Marlins.
Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins , $5,100 - I don’t think Harris needs anymore plate appearances to lock up NL Rookie of the Year, but I’d expect to see him patrolling the Braves’ outfield on Wednesday afternoon. That’s bad news for Elieser Hernandez ($6,300) , who has been destroyed by LHBs in 2022. In fact, lefties have managed 3.64 home runs per nine off Hernandez, which has translated into an ugly .424 opponent wOBA within the split. Meanwhile, Harris has crushed RHPs to the tune of a 160 wRC+. It’s a matchup made in heaven.
Editor’s Note: White Sox Eloy Jimenez is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Twins.
Eloy Jimenez, Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins , $4,700 - Regardless of matchup, Jimenez is just too cheap to ignore on Wednesday. Since the All-Star break, the 25-year-old has been a rare bright spot for the White Sox, as he’s slashed .323/.389/.556 with a 169 wRC+ in 252 plate appearances. General rule of thumb: An asset with that type of potential should never be below $5K. Add in Louie Varland ($6,800) early struggles with RHBs, and there’s no reason to not give Jimenez a serious look.
Mark Canha, New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals, $3,700 - To say Erick Fedde ($6,500) has been struggling to close out the season would be a massive understatement. In Fedde’s past six starts, the RHP has allowed opposing right-handed batters to slash .368/.394/.632 with a .439 wOBA. Woof. Considering Canha’s actually been better versus righties than lefties in 2022 — he owns a 133 wRC+ within the split — he makes for a perfect play.
Editor’s Note: Astros OF Chas McCormick is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Phillies.
Chas McCormick, Houston Astros vs. Philadelphia Phillies , $2,200 - McCormick entered Tuesday’s matchup with Ranger Suarez in possession of a .404 wOBA and a 169 wRC+ in his 110 plate appearances against LHPs. He was viable then, and he’s viable now against Bailey Falter ($8,300) . In fact, he might be in an even better spot. Not only is he $100 cheaper, but with the Astros likely to run out an irregular lineup on Wednesday, there’s a chance McCormick moves up in the batting order.
TEAMS TO STACK
Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals - Though I will admit it’s an expensive stack, it’s hard to not feel good about the Guardians’ chances to put up some big numbers against Heasley. They just have so many good left-handed bats. Obviously, it begins and ends with Jose Ramirez ($6,300). However, you’ve also got Naylor, Andres Gimenez ($6,200), Steven Kwan ($6,100), Nolan Jones ($3,000) and Will Brennan ($2,600). Choose three or four, then sit back and relax.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.