Despite a full 15-game slate on the docket for this evening, the pitching options on Tuesday night leave a lot to be desired. We’ve got guys coming off the IL, we’ve got guys who are transitioning from the bullpen and aren’t fully stretched out, we’ve got guys who just aren’t all that good taking the mound.
How does this scarcity effect you lineups? Let’s go position-by-position and break it all down.
Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals, $10,000 - Though he’s the most-expensive pitcher on the slate, I think it’s going to be another night where Rogers is rather popular. While a lot of his appeal stems from a 2.56 FIP and a 29.8% strikeout rate, Rogers’ matchup is also doing it’s fair share of the heavy lifting. After a fantastic month of May, the Cardinals are falling down the NL Central standings, and they mostly have their offense to blame. In fact, across the past two weeks, St. Louis has mustered just a .124 ISO and a .287 wOBA — both the fourth-lowest marks in the league during that span of time. With the Cardinals’ bats ice cold, Rogers should roll.
Sammy Long, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $6,200 - While there are still some huge question marks when it comes to Long’s long-term value, a price tag of just over $6K is the key to his viability on Tuesday. Basically, when you’re this cheap, a lot of your red flags can be overlooked. It doesn’t hurt that the rookie will be facing the Diamondbacks, either. Over the past 14 days, Arizona ranks second-last in baseball in ISO (.121) and wRC+ (70), so it’s not all that farfetched to believe that Long will be able to carry over the success he had last week against the Rangers. That was an appearance where the LHP struck out 50% of the 14 batters he faced and maintained a 13.0% swinging strike rate. He also only threw 69 pitches, so optimistic owners can likely expect 75-80 pitches from Long this evening.
Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers, $4,400 - The last time the Reds saw Brett Anderson ($6,900) they wasted very little time in scoring five runs in three innings of work. It makes sense, as Anderson comes into tonight’s start the owner of a ghastly 8.28 xERA. I don’t see why Cincinnati won’t enjoy a similar level of success on Tuesday, and I’d expect Stephenson to be at the center of it all. Not only will the catcher likely be batting clean-up tonight, but this season he sports a 1.014 OPS in his 44 plate appearance versus lefties.
Tom Murphy, Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins, $3,700 - Murphy certainly has his issues making consistent contact, but the power-hitting catcher has always had notable handedness splits, and his numbers against left-handed pitchers are pretty good. To wit, he comes into tonight’s contest with a .281 ISO and a 125 wRC+ when facing a southpaw so far in 2021. It’s also a boost when the lefty in question is J.A. Happ ($6,700), who has allowed an opponent barrel in a league-worst 9.1% of plate appearances this season. Yuck.
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Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies, $5,600 - Oddly enough, Chi Chi Gonzalez ($5,600) has actually pitched far better at home in 2021 than on the road, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Padres’ implied total is well over six runs this evening. Gonzalez has also been atrocious in his past two starts, allowing opponents to register a .750 combined slugging percentage and a .489 wOBA. In an opposite-hand matchup, Cronenworth should be able to do some serious damage in the altitude.
Bobby Bradley, Cleveland Baseball Team vs. Baltimore Orioles, $4,000 - I truly don’t think you can comprehend how poorly Matt Harvey ($6,000) has pitched the past six weeks without seeing the stats. Since May 1, the right-hander has allowed opponents to slash .351/.405/.627 with 2.5 home runs per nine. Think about that. That essentially means every hitter that’s faced Harvey in that stretch has been better than the career output of Mike Trout. Meanwhile, Bradley has been tearing the cover off the ball since his recall from Triple-A, as he owns a 247 wRC+ in his 23 plate appearances.
Jonathan Schoop, Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals, $5,000 - Two months ago, I honestly didn’t think that I’d ever be paying $5K for the services of Schoop, but things have changed with the veteran infielder. Not only has he been seemingly hitting everything in sight the past five weeks, but his numbers against left-handed pitchers are elite. So far this season, in 66 plate appearances, Schoop is slashing .306/.348/.581 with a 152 wRC+ within the split. Mike Minor ($9,200) would be wise to to use some caution when Schoop’s in the batter’s box.
Dylan Moore, Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins, $2,600 - The great thing about stacking the Mariners on Tuesday is that it’s super cost-effective. Obviously, you’ll want Mitch Haniger ($5,200; knee) in some lineups if he’s able to play, but aside from him, you can have anyone in Seattle’s batting order for less than $4K. One of the best value plays on the roster appears to be Moore, who is just a few days removed from an IL stint. So far this season, Moore possesses a .212 ISO and a 123 wRC+ versus lefties like Happ, while he also hit fifth for the Mariners in Monday’s contest.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals, $4,600 - At this point, you know the story with Hayes. He’s one of the most-highly touted prospects in baseball and all he’s done is have incredible amounts of success in his brief time in the majors. Who am I to argue with his results? Anyway, Hayes will draw the left-handed Patrick Corbin ($7,000) this evening, a man currently sporting an ugly 6.54 xERA for the season. Hayes has destroyed southpaws throughout his short career, as he’s registered an eye-popping 249 wRC+ in 36 plate appearances. As long as he makes sure to touch first base, I think he’s in store for some fireworks tonight.
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals, $3,100 - Candelario hasn’t played since June 6, but he’s expected to return to the lineup this evening after clearing the COVID-19 intake protocols. The switch-hitter has thrived so far in 2021 as a right-hander, coming into tonight’s matchup with Minor hitting .321 within in the split with a .350 wOBA. Candelario doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the world, but at just over $3K, he’s viable.
Trea Turner, Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $5,500 - There are several great options at the top of the shortstop position on Tuesday, but Turner might be the best of the bunch. We’ve basically reached the point where you have to play Turner if he’s facing a left-handed opponent. To wit, in 67 plate appearances within the split in 2021, the infielder is slashing .367/.418/.583 with a 171 wRC+. He also leads the National League in stolen bases (13), so there’s a few different ways he can make a mark on the scoresheet.
Amed Rosario, Cleveland Baseball Team vs. Baltimore Orioles, $3,900 - Generally, you’re looking to use Rosario against a lefty pitcher, but Matt Harvey’s struggles are enough to supersede tradition. Anyway, Rosario’s been crushing pretty much anyone he’s faced dating back to May 12, regardless of handedness. In that span of time, the shortstop is slashing .349/.395/.472 with a .378 wOBA and a 140 wRC+. The fact he’s done that as Cleveland’s primary No. 2 hitter is also a plus for his DFS viability. Rosario could be one of the better value plays on the slate going up against Harvey and Baltimore’s underwhelming bullpen.
Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers, $4,900 - “If DraftKings is going to keep pricing Castellanos below $5K in matchups with left-handed starters, I’m going to keep having massive amounts of exposure to the veteran outfielder.” I wrote that on Friday. Castellanos proceeded to hit a home run in his first plate appearance of the game. Am I a magical warlock with the power to see the future? Not that I’m aware of. However, I can read a webpage, and there are several that tell me Castellanos is dangerous when facing a lefty. The outfielder has a 210 wRC+ within the split so far in 2021. You know what to do.
Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals, $3,200 - As crazy as it feels to write up a bunch of Pirates, Mariners and Tigers for Tuesday’s slate, it really seems that that’s where the value lies this evening. Specific to Reynolds, his salary just doesn’t make any sense at all. For 2021 as a whole, the outfielder sports a well-above average 146 wRC+, and his numbers only get better when you isolate his plate appearances versus southpaws. Reynolds is slashing .338/.405/.606 with a 1.011 OPS within the split. How is he this cheap?
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