Trust me when I tell you that I prefer a smaller slate whenever possible, but the fact that tonight’s featured MLB contests have just 12 games is pretty odd. It’s Tuesday. That’s supposed to mean a giant 15-game monstrosity. Why are three games starting at 6 o’clock? I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m getting old.
Anyway, let’s go position-by-position with the ones that get started past 7:00 p.m. ET, so you know who to use in your lineups.
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Angels, $9,200 - The algorithm is finally showing Snell some respect, as he’s priced above $9K for the first time in seemingly forever. The left-hander deserves the promotion, as he was beyond dominant in August. In 36.2 innings in the month, Snell pitched to a 1.72 ERA and a 2.62 FIP, as he leaned heavily on a jaw-dropping 38.8% strikeout rate. So, what changed? Well, the former Cy Young winner basically scrapped his change-up, instead choosing to up his slider and fastball usage. Considering said slider has produced a 26.2% whiff rate across his past six outings, I can’t say I blame Snell for making that call. With the Angels sporting an underwhelming 86 wRC+ over the last two weeks, I expect the good times to keep rolling for Snell on Tuesday.
Jackson Kowar, Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles, $5,300 - Kowar looked great in his last start against Cleveland on Sept. 1, allowing only two earned runs over six innings of work while racking up six strikeouts. It was an outing that was much more in line with what we’ve seen from the top prospect at the Triple-A level, as Kowar’s pitched to a 3.05 FIP with a 34.0% strikeout rate in the minors so far in 2021. The potential and upside is clearly there with the right-hander and I assume it will all be on display tonight versus the Orioles. Baltimore has had its way with LHPs this season, but the team has mustered just a .298 wOBA and an 88 wRC+ when opposed by RHPs. Honestly, aside from this contest taking place at Camden, everything is setting up perfectly for Kowar.
Sal Perez, Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles, $5,800 - The aforementioned Kowar is going to need some run support, and his battery mate is likely the man for the job. Perez has been hitting everything in sight since the All-Star break, posting a .360 ISO and a 160 wRC+ within that span of time. Perez’s numbers against left-handed pitchers are even more enticing, as the backstop is slashing .313/.350/.673 versus southpaws for the season as a whole. Alexander Wells ($5,000) would be wise to pitch with caution.
Austin Nola, San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Angels, $3,000 - The power numbers haven’t really been there for Nola since he returned from a lengthy IL stint back on July 22, but the catcher is hitting .325 versus left-handed pitching since his injury. With the Padres in possession of an implied team total of over five runs on Tuesday, I’ll take my chances with Nola in a matchup against the contact-oriented Packy Naughton ($5,900).
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Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics vs. Chicago White Sox, 5,200 - With so, so, so many injuries to their pitching staff, the White Sox will once again turn to Jimmy Lambert ($5,500) on Tuesday night. The right-hander has been roughed up in his three MLB appearances in 2021, surrendering eight earned runs in eight innings of work and pitching to a 9.50 xERA. Obviously the sample is small, but it’s not like his Triple-A numbers are all that great, either. Anyway, look for Olson to take advantage, as his 150 wRC+ for the season is the third-best qualified mark in the American League.
Frank Schwindel, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, $3,500 - At some point, the legend of Frank Schwindel will come to an end, but I’ll keep riding the wave just a little longer. The 29-year-old has been hitting like a machine the past month, particularly when he’s opposed by a left-handed pitcher. In fact, in 48 plate appearances in 2021, Schwindel is slashing .375/.479/.775 with a 225 wRC+ within the split. With Wade Miley ($8,200) on the heels of an awful outing versus the Cardinals, look for Schwindel to do some damage.
Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals, $4,900 - I’ve had to triple-check this price tag to make sure I’m not imagining things. Turner, who had a salary of more than $6K less than two weeks ago, is now down below $5K. On top of that, Turner is facing J.A. Happ ($7,100), a left-handed pitcher who conceded seven earned runs in just a single inning of work in his most recent outing. This season, Turner is slashing .386/.434/.659 with a 188 wRC+ against LHPs. He’s also currently riding 13-game hitting streak. Again, why is he this cheap?
Freddy Galvis, Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers, $3,600 - Since making his 2021 debut for the Phillies, Galvis has often found himself leading off for the club against left-handed starters. It’s not difficult to see why that’s been the case, either, as Galvis is hitting .293 with a 128 wRC+ within the split so far this season. Eric Lauer ($8,800) has been pretty solid recently, but if Galvis is batting in the one-slot, that’s a lot of implied value at a modest salary.
Kris Bryant, San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies, $5,300 - Bryant was removed from Monday’s win over the Rockies, but I’d expect the former NL MVP to be back in the lineup this evening. I mean, he’ll want to get his plate appearances against Chi Chi Gonzalez ($5,100) at Coors Field. It’s stat padding time. Gonzalez has been abysmal in his last five outings, particularly when facing right-handed hitters. In fact, the 44 RHBs Gonzalez has seen since July 16 have combined for a .459 average and a .613 wOBA. Yikes.
Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals, $4,100 - While I understand that Turner has been slumping since the beginning of August, this is still an asset that owns a .215 ISO and an .819 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2021 — not to mention all the other great splits from seasons past. He should never be this inexpensive when opposed by a southpaw, especially when said lefty is sporting a 6.20 ERA across 25 starts. I’ll buy the dip.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners, $4,800 - Let’s discuss Logan Gilbert ($8,000) for a second. The rookie is about to face the Astros for the third time in his past four starts. That’s a level of familiarity that I’m not comfortable with, especially considering how poorly Gilbert’s been pitching since Aug. 15. Within that span, the righty has been crushed by opposing RHBs, as the 58 he’s seen have combined for a .696 slugging percentage. Correa, an elite right-handed bat who’s registered a 177 wRC+ in his last 19 games, should be in a great situation on Tuesday.
Josh Harrison, Oakland Athletics vs. Chicago White Sox, $4,000 - Harrison has settled into Oakland’s leadoff spot since being traded from Washington, and it’s not difficult to see why Bob Melvin likes the veteran hitting atop his lineup. Over Harrison’s past 38 games — a span of 157 plate appearances — the utility man is slashing .336/.382/.527 with a .390 wOBA and a 149 wRC+. That’s a lot of production for an asset priced at $4K that’s also going up against a struggling rookie starter.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays, $5,800 - Judge has cooled off a little the past three games, yet he still owns the highest expected wOBA of any American League player with at least 100 at-bats against left-handed pitching in 2021 (.440). Steven Matz ($8,400) is pitching better than you’d probably believe, but between his handedness and an always never-wracking Toronto bullpen, I’ll take my chances with the power of Judge.
LaMonte Wade, San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies, $3,800 - It’s unclear where exactly Wade will be hitting this evening in the Giants’ lineup — it will likely come down to the health of Bryant and Mike Yastrzemski ($4,100; illness) — but I’d assume he ends up in the top-half of the order. At this price, at Coors Field, that’s more than enough to be viable. Wade has crushed right-handed pitching this season, with a .290 ISO and a 138 wRC+ in his 258 plate appearances within the split.
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