Despite spending most of the season pulling for the upstart and exciting Padres, San Diego has become somewhat of a headache for anyone trying to write about DFS baseball slates so far in these playoffs. You’re just never sure who’s going to be healthy enough to take the mound and Tuesday is another example of just that. In fact, manager Jayce Tingler suggested on Sunday that the Padres wouldn’t even name their official roster — let alone a Game 1 starter — right up until the morning of Oct. 6.
So, with that in mind, let’s go position-by-position and break down this four-game slate.
Editor’s Note: Padres SP Mike Clevinger will start tonight’s game vs. the Dodgers.
Tyler Glasnow, TB vs. NYY, $9,300 - It’s sort of insane to say this is a slate that lacks top-end pitching talent, but I’m pretty sure the best strategy on Tuesday will involve paying down for a pair of starters. That said, Glasnow’s always at least somewhat viable with his massive strikeout upside. To wit, of the 81 starters that threw at least 50 innings in 2020, Glasnow’s 38.2% strikeout rate trailed only Shane Bieber and Jacob deGrom. However, he also sported a 0.61 GB/FB ratio and 25.8% HR/FB ratio against RHBs. That led to Glasnow surrendering 2.45 home runs per nine within the split and no team possesses more right-handed pop than New York. He’s got a high ceiling, but I’m not looking for heavy exposure.
Other Option: Framber Valdez ($8,900)
Max Fried, ATL vs. MIA, $7,700 - Between Glasnow’s matchup, Walker Buehler’s ($8,500) blister and the general mystery of San Diego’s roster, I’m thinking that Fried ends up as the highest-owned pitcher on Tuesday’s slate. To me, I think it’s chalk you’re going to have to eat. No one was better at keeping the ball in the park than Fried this year and the left-handed followed up a spectacular regular season by throwing seven scoreless innings against the Reds in the Wild Card round. The Marlins were actually pretty decent against southpaw pitching in 2020, but I’m still not overly scared of this lineup — especially if it’s going to continue to lack Starling Marte (finger).
Gary Sanchez, NYY at TB, $4,200 - Might as well shoot for some upside with Sanchez, who still managed to hit a home run once for every 15.6 at-bats during a nightmarish regular season. Honestly, the man is basically a three-outcomes asset at this point. He might’ve struck out in 36.0% of his plate appearances in 2020, but he also registered the eighth-highest barrel per batted ball event rate in the majors (17.4%) and the sixth-highest exit velocity on line drives and fly balls (98.9 mph). If he can manage to make contact, he’ll do damage.
Other Option: Will Smith ($4,400)
Sean Murphy, OAK vs. HOU, $3,900 - In terms of catching options below $4K, no one has more upside than Murphy, who has been absolutely destroying baseballs dating back to Sept. 1. In that span of time — not including the playoffs where he already has two home runs — Murphy’s slashed .277/.424/.638 with a .362 ISO and a 189 wRC+. While you’d love to see him moved out of the nine-spot, there’s no denying that the 25-year-old is red-hot.
Freddie Freeman, ATL vs. MIA, $5,400 - You have to attack Sandy Alcantara ($7,300) with left-handed bats. Though the RHP limited righties to a jaw-dropping .215 wOBA in 2020, LHBs were able to compile a far more palatable mark .369 — with the difference in Alcantara’s launch angle between the two splits proving to be huge. For his part, Freeman’s also just mashed any RHP he’s faced so far this season, with a .499 wOBA and a 216 wRC+ in 200 plate appearances.
Other Option: Luke Voit ($5,000)
Garrett Cooper, MIA at ATL, $3,500 - As much as I do love Fried, Cooper is one of the few Marlins’ bats that could hurt him on Tuesday. In 43 plate appearances against LHPs during the regular season, Cooper slashed .350/.395/.775 with a .425 ISO and a 208 wRC+. It’s obviously a small sample size, but that matters a lot less when we’re talking about an asset this inexpensive, especially one that hits in a premium lineup spot, too.
Other Option: Jesus Aguilar ($3,600)
Ozzie Albies, ATL vs. MIA, $4,900 - Again, you’re going to want to exploit lefties against Alcantara and that’s specifically good news for Albies, as he far preferred batting from the left-hand side in 2020. In fact, while the former top prospect managed just a putrid .036 ISO as an RHB, that number jumped up to .244 in his 95 plate appearances versus a right-handed opponent. Albies is also on the heels of a hot month of September, on that saw the 23-year-old post a .403 wOBA with a 152 wRC+.
Other Options: DJ LeMahieu ($5,100), Chris Taylor ($4,200)
Jon Berti, MIA at ATL, $3,300 - This is more of a desperation play than anything else. Berti isn’t quite what I would consider a high-ceiling asset, but he did hit second in Miami’s batting order in their Game 2 win over the Cubs with Marte sidelined. At this price, if he’s pencilled in that slot again, he’s viable.
Alex Bregman, HOU at OAK, $4,500 - I understand using Astros’ stats from the past few seasons is a bit of a risky move, but Bregman’s a bit of a special case. It’s hard to glean too much from an injury-plagued 2020 and, as a former second-overall pick, I don’t think the talent is really in question. Anyway, going back to the beginning of 2018, Bregman is hitting .330 with a 182 wRC+ against left-handed pitching in a sample of 459 plate appearances. Cans or no cans, I’ll take my chances with him in a matchup with Sean Manaea ($6,900).
Other Option: Manny Machado ($5,300)
Editor’s Note: Rays 3B Yandy Diaz is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Yankees.
Yandy Diaz, TB vs. NYY, $3,100 - It’s a little concerning that Diaz has taken less than 10 plate appearances since the end of August, but, if he’s batting leadoff for a second-straight game, I’m willing to look past that red flag. Diaz has also thrived in his opportunities against RHPs in 2020, managing a .325 average and a 141 wRC+ within the split. That should be more than enough in a matchup versus Deivi Garcia ($7,200), who will be making his playoff debut on Tuesday and has been roughed up in four of his last five starts.
Carlos Correa, HOU at OAK, $4,500 - Correa is sure to be a popular play on this slate after knocking out a pair of home runs in Monday’s win over Oakland, and his career numbers against southpaw pitching should only incentivize more people to find some salary for the shortstop. In fact, in 301 plate appearances across 2017, 2018 and 2019, Correa mustered a .329 average with a .398 wOBA within the split. Considering Manaea’s struggles pitching away from home this season — he registered a 5.02 ERA — Correa could be a useful piece in an Astros stack.
Other Options: Corey Seager ($5,200), Gleyber Torres ($4,300)
Marcus Semien, OAK vs. HOU, $3,900 - It was far from an MVP-caliber season for Semien, but on the rare occasion he did look like the 2019 version of himself in 2020, it was while he was facing a lefty. Actually, you could even make the case that Semien’s .265 ISO and 114 wRC+ against LHPs could have been better if not for an unlucky .226 BABIP within the split. I’ll get some exposure to this high-ceiling asset with a high-leverage lineup spot.
Other Option: Miguel Rojas ($3,600)
Mookie Betts, LAD vs. SD, $5,700 - One of the best things about potentially paying down at pitcher? You can get someone like Betts into your lineup. Plus, while we don’t really know who’s going to be taking the hill for the Padres, all of the options — whether it be Zach Davies or Mike Clevinger or Chris Paddack — are right-handed. In 2020, Betts is slashing .323/.385/.677 with a 181 wRC+ against RHPs. Whoever ends up getting the call suits Mookie just fine.
Other Options: George Springer ($5,100), Giancarlo Stanton ($4,600)
Randy Arozarena, TB vs. NYY, $3,600 - Say what you will about small samples, but Arozarena has been tearing the cover off the baseball since getting his chance with Tampa Bay. The rookie maintained a .359 ISO and a 176 wRC+ across 76 regular season plate appearances and has followed that up with a home run, a triple and two doubles in his first three playoff starts. With Garcia having surrendered 2.41 home runs per nine to RHBs, it’s difficult to ignore the value of Arozarena.
Other Options: Nick Markakis ($3,400), Tommy Pham ($3,300)
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