Well, I think I can say with confidence that tonight’s slate is very weird. It’s only five games, it gets underway at 6:40 p.m. ET and, of course, there’s some potential for rain in Baltimore. Obviously I’m not complaining about the opportunity to watch live baseball all afternoon, but, you know, keep your head on a swivel.
Let’s break down some studs and values.
Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins, $8,900 - There’s no need to get cute off the top. Castillo has been in fine form as of late, with his last four trips to the mound serving as a particularly poignant reminder of why the RHP has so much trade value. In that stretch, Castillo has maintained a 1.00 ERA and a 2.27 FIP over 27.0 innings. The veteran has also managed an eye-popping strikeout rate of 30.8%. Now he’ll face a Marlins lineup that is without Jazz Chisholm (back), Jon Berti (groin), Jorge Soler (back) and Garrett Cooper (wrist). There’s a reason Miami has mustered just a pathetic .054 ISO across the past two weeks of the season. The team is in dire straits.
Tyler Wells, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays, $5,800 - I also wouldn’t be opposed to some Braxton Garrett ($7,900) exposure, but there’s really just no reason for Wells to be this cheap. The 27-year-old has made 19 starts for the Orioles in 2022, and while his strikeout numbers have dipped since leaving the bullpen, Wells owns an incredibly respectable 3.66 xERA for the season. The RHP is also in possession of some pretty severe reserve-splits, as he’s held opposing LHBs to a .197 average and a .244 wOBA. Against a Rays team with platoons at almost every conceivable position, that quirk could work in Wells’ favor on Wednesday.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $5,200 - I’m not sure what magic spell Adam Wainwright ($7,700) conjured to pitch forever, but it clearly only works within the confines of St. Louis. As has often been the case this past half-decade, Wainwright’s numbers on the road in 2022 are underwhelming, particularly so the last four times he’s taken the mound away from Busch Stadium. In that stretch, the veteran RHP has conceded a .300/.351/.600 slash line to opposing hitters, which pretty much explains an ugly 7.77 ERA. With the Jays red-hot and Guerrero owning a 152 wRC+ since the start of June, there should be some crooked numbers north of the border.
Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees at New York Mets, $5,200 - There’s a lot of reasons to like Torres on tonight’s slate. First and foremost, he’s crushed left-handed pitching throughout 2022, registering a .337 ISO and a 168 wRC+ in his 96 plate appearances within the split. He’s also just been surging in general in July, hitting .311 with an .845 OPS in the month. David Peterson ($8,500) is a solid arm, but it’s hard to ignore Torres in an opposite-hand matchup like this.
Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $4,000 - It feels like Chapman hasn’t quite been himself since 2020, but that might be starting to change. Here’s what the former All-Star has slashed in his past 39 games: .286/.340/.565. That translates out to a .904 OPS and a 148 wRC+. Chapman’s DFS value is hurt slightly by the fact he seems locked into a spot in the bottom-third of Toronto’s order, yet at the same time, that’s also his greatest source of upside. A full-strength Chapman in this potent a lineup is a really tantalizing combination.
Josh Naylor, Cleveland Guardians at Boston Red Sox, $3,900 - Even before last Friday’s historically bad performance, Nathan Eovaldi ($8,200) was struggling to pitch at Fenway in 2022. In fact, Eovaldi owns a disastrous 6.98 ERA in Boston this season, with opposing hitters combining to a .600 slugging percentage within the split. Yikes. That’s where Naylor comes in. The 25-year-old is in the midst of a breakout season and he’s been at his best when facing a right-handed opponent. Naylor comes into Wednesday sporting a .901 OPS and a 150 wRC+ in his 202 plate appearances versus RHPs.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at New York Mets, $6,300 - At this point, I’m almost afraid to not use Judge. You can basically pull any statistic from the All-Star’s season and be impressed, but here’s a capsule of Judge’s past eight games. In 36 plate appearances, the 30-year-old is hitting .552 with seven home runs. That’s a 1.984 OPS, for anyone curious. Considering Judge also owns a career 159 wRC+ against lefties, I’m inclined to say he’s in another viable spot on Wednesday night.
Starling Marte, New York Mets vs. New York Yankees, $4,900 - Generally, you want to be using Marte in a matchup with a left-handed pitcher, but on a small slate like this, I’m willing to overlook that rule. To be honest, Marte’s been hitting everybody well so far in July, posting a .381 average and a 191 wRC+ in his 115 plate appearances this month. Also, while I don’t think Domingo German ($6,700) is as bad as his outing was last Thursday, he’s clearly not in his best form at the moment. Look for the Mets and Marte to take advantage.
Editor’s Note: Blue Jays OF Lourdes Gurriel is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Cardinals.
Lourdes Gurriel, Toronto Blue Jays vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $3,900 - It’s a little insane that Gurriel remains consistent less than $4K on these slates. How insane? Well, since June 1, the outfielder’s .379 average is the highest mark among all qualified players in baseball. That’s pretty good, as is a 161 wRC+ that happens to rank 13th. With Wainwright struggling on the road and the Jays owning this slate’s largest implied team total, Gurriel is in a perfect spot.
Steven Kwan, Cleveland Guardians at Boston Red Sox, $3,700 - Is it April again? Because Kwan is hitting the cover off the baseball right now. Going back to July 6 — a span of 81 plate appearances — Kwan is hitting .373 with a 161 wRC+. So if you’re wondering why he was moved into the team’s leadoff spot a month ago, now you know.
TEAMS TO STACK
Toronto Blue Jays vs. St. Louis Cardinals - After 10 runs on Tuesday, why not go back to the well? The Jays are hotter than the sun at the moment, having won seven straight games coming into play on Wednesday. Heck, since June 1, Toronto leads the league in slugging percentage (.490), wOBA (.365) and wRC+ (135) — and it’s not particularly close. All the usual names are in play here, but keep an eye Raimel Tapia ($2,500), who is hitting .339 with a 154 wRC+ in his last 119 plate appearances. If Tapia is in the lineup, he’s an amazing value asset.
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