Things are happening in the world of baseball. We’ve got eight days left in the season, but seven teams have already secured their ticket to the playoffs, including both the Yankees and the Cardinals, who both clinched on Tuesday night. This evening, the Blue Jays can have their own champagne party, so long as they win and the Red Sox beat the Orioles.
Does any of that impact tonight’s 12-game featured slate? Let’s dive in.
Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $10,000 - Before we start speculating, let’s start with the facts. Woodruff is dealing at the moment. The right-hander comes into Wednesday’s action with a 1.67 ERA across his past four starts, a stretch of time that’s seen him rack up 37 strikeouts in 27.0 innings of work. Needless to say, he’s viable in any situation. However, tonight’s situation could be extra comfortable. After a locker room celebration on Tuesday, I’d expect to not see Paul Goldschmidt ($5,900), Nolan Arenado ($5,100) or Albert Pujols ($3,000) in St. Louis’ lineup. The Cardinals are locked into the three-seed. There’s not much left to play for.
Michael Lorenzen, Los Angeles Angeles vs. Oakland Athletics, $6,200 - Lorenzen’s been perfectly fine since returning from a lengthy IL stint earlier this month, maintaining a 4.02 ERA and a 24.2% strikeout rate in his last three outings. Still, as you’ve probably guessed, this isn’t really about Lorenzen, it’s about the Athletics. Oakland’s .630 OPS and .279 wOBA against right-handed pitching are both the second-lowest marks in baseball in 2022. Heck, Lorenzen’s faced the Athletics twice this season, allowing just a single earned run over 13.0 innings. I would anticipate a similar performance on Wednesday.
Joey Meneses, Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves, $5,100 - To suggest that Jake Odorizzi ($5,400) has been underwhelming lately would be an understatement. The veteran has posted a 6.52 ERA in his last six starts, specifically allowing the 52 RHBs he’s seen in that span to combine for a .646 slugging percentage and a .432 wOBA. Well, the Nationals might not have many great right-handed hitters on their roster, but they do have Meneses. The journeyman has registered an eye-popping 158 wRC+ in his 208 plate appearances in 2022.
Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, $4,500 - It’s difficult to predict who’s going to be in the Yankees’ lineup aside from Aaron Judge ($6,300), but allow me to use Torres as a proxy for all of New York’s bats. Mitch White ($7,000) has struggled considerably since joining the Blue Jays, pitching to a 7.39 ERA across 35.1 innings. He’s specifically struggled with RHBs, conceding a .359 average and a .513 slugging percentage within the split. Meanwhile, in 99 plate appearances in September, Torres owns a 182 wRC+. Someone has to play tonight and if Torres is in there, he’s a great option.
Nick Gordon, Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox, $2,800 - The Johnny Cueto ($7,100) magic was fun while it lasted, but the veteran RHP appears to have hit a wall in the last month of the season. Dating back to August 26, Cueto’s pitched to a 5.67 ERA. His biggest issue in this stretch has been left-handed opponents, as LHBs have combined to slash .379/.426/.569. Enter Gordon, who has been dabbling as the Twins’ clean-up hitting in recent weeks. The former first-round pick doesn’t have crazy power, yet in 326 plate appearances against righties in 2022, Gordon is batting .292 with a 129 wRC+.
Mike Ford, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics, $2,000 - While I don’t have much to say about Ford, the nature of the Angels’ lineup is that the Quad-A first baseman has generally been hitting fifth for the team in September. That’s a pretty high leverage spot in the order, particularly when opposed by Adrian Martinez ($6,000). Not only has Martinez surrendered 2.22 home runs per nine across his 10 MLB starts, but he’s allowed opponents to slash .387/.443/.758 with a .500 wOBA in his most recent three trips to the mound. Woof.
Joc Pederson, San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies, $5,300 - It’s been a little ignored during the course of the Giants’ lost season, but Pederson’s been crushing RHPs all year long. In 352 plate appearances within the split, the veteran has posted a .260 ISO and a 144 wRC+ — the exact type of raw power we’ve come to expect from Pederson. Tonight he draws Jose Urena ($5,100), who has conceded a whopping .402 wOBA to opposing LHBs in 2022. Seems like a match made in heaven, no?
Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals, $4,900 - Let’s just agree that Harris is viable any time he’s facing RHP for less than $5K, alright? Especially now that’s he’s worked his way up to the Braves’ clean-up spot. The rookie is hitting .330 with a 168 wRC+ against right-handers. .330! The righty in question on Wednesday? Josiah Gray ($7,300), who has surrendered an insane 3.34 home runs per nine to left-handed batters this season.
Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox, $3,300 - After a combined 22 runs on Tuesday, it’s probably smart to get a piece of this contest. Hays isn’t nearly as hot as Anthony Santander ($4,500), if we’re ranking options, but the outfielder is slashing .326/.404/.478 in the 52 plate appearances he’s taken since September 11. He’ll also have the platoon advantage against Rich Hill ($5,700), then get to face a Red Sox bullpen that owns the highest ERA in the league since the All-Star break (5.61).
Sam Haggerty, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers, $2,300 - Haggerty is the dictionary definition of a platoon bat. In 69 plate appearances against LHPs this season, Haggerty is hitting .383 with a .317 ISO and a 230 wRC+. If the Mariners are smart, they’ll lead him off against Martin Perez ($8,700) tonight with Julio Rodriguez (back) on the IL. But even if they don’t, he’ll be viable.
TEAMS TO STACK
Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics - One of the few nice things you can say about the Angels at this point of the season is that they’re easy to stack. Yes, Shohei Ohtani ($6,200) and Mike Trout ($6,000) are expensive, but aside from them, there’s nothing but value. Ford, Jo Adell ($2,500), Matt Duffy ($2,300) or maybe even Logan O’Hoppe ($2,000) in his MLB debut? They’re all worth a look against Martinez.
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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.