In terms of MLB weather, tonight sort of seems like a classic monkey paw scenario. While it doesn’t appear that rain will effect any of the eight games on tonight’s featured slate, it’s really, really cold on the East Coast, meaning the contests in New York, Minnesota and Washington might suffer due to the players wearing parkas on the field. Just something to keep in mind while constructing lineups.
Let’s dive into some studs and values.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels vs. Cleveland Guardians, $9,000 - If you’d like to know how Fielding Independant Pitching (FIP) works as a stat, look no further than Ohtani’s first three starts of 2022. The right-hander has struck out an insane 44.1% of the 59 batters he’s faced; however, thanks primarily to a 58.8% strand rate, Ohtani’s 4.40 ERA and his 1.19 FIP are on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Well, I’m here to tell you the latter is far more indicative of Ohtani’s talent. The reigning AL MVP should have little issue dicing up a Guardians lineup that’s gone ice cold the past seven days, as the team has posted an underwhelming 75 wRC+ within that span. Cleveland’s also registered a 25.1% strikeout rate.
Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles, $7,500 - While the strikeout numbers haven’t been there so far this season, I’m here to validate Montgomery as a trustworthy arm. Going back to Jul. 22 — a span of 15 starts — the left-hander has maintained a 3.10 ERA and a 3.48 FIP across 72.2 innings. It’s a stretch where Montgomery has also held opponents to a modest .297 wOBA and struck out 23.9% of the 310 batters he’s faced. Simply put, he’s a solid major league starter, and someone who deserves consideration in a plus matchup like he’s getting on Wednesday night. The Orioles currently sport the American League’s lowest ISO (.091) and its highest strikeout rate (26.3%). It doesn’t get much better than that.
Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals, $5,300 - Chisholm has been red-hot to start the season, specifically when it comes to hitting right-handed pitching. To wit, in the 46 plate appearances the sophomore has had against RHPs, he’s slashing .317/.370/.756 with a 217 wRC+. It’s obviously a small sample and there’s still a lot of swing-and-miss in the infielder’s game, but the massive upside is difficult to ignore. Chisholm also draws a fantastic matchup this evening, as Erick Fedde ($7,800) has struggled with LHBs dating back to the beginning of last year. In Fedde’s last 32 starts, lefties have combined for a robust .359 wOBA.
Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs, $5,000 - There’s no kind way to say that Mark Leiter Jr. ($5,800) just shouldn’t be starting MLB games, so allow me to regurgitate some stats. In his first two starts of 2022, Leiter has surrendered nine earned runs in 7.1 innings. He’s also walked six batters and posted a zone contact rate of 91.2%. The man simply doesn’t have what it takes to survive at this level, which is a lesson the Braves will gladly teach him again on Wednesday. Olson, in particular, has a .244 ISO and a 210 wRC+ when facing RHPs this season. He’s thrived in opposite-hand matchups like this one.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs, $4,100 - It’s been a weird couple of weeks as it pertains to the Braves’ pricing on DraftKings, and while things are mostly back to normal, Riley remains at least a couple hundred dollars too cheap. It’s not like the 25-year-old is off to a cold start, either. Riley’s managed a 166 wRC+ through his first 75 plate appearances of 2022, while his .458 xwOBA is in the 99th percentile of all qualified players. In a matchup against a Quad-A pitcher, Riley should be able to do some serious damage.
Sheldon Neuse, Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants, $3,200 - While I’m fully aware that the Giants have already sprinkled their magic pitcher dust on Jakob Junis ($6,000), we are talking about a man who has allowed 1.75 home runs per nine to RHBs for his career. That’s a sample size of over 500 innings. Neuse has also been outperforming this modest price tag all season. The 27-year-old appears locked in to the two-spot in the Athletic’s batting order and he’s produced a 149 wRC+ over his first 58 plate appearances of 2022. Add in some multi-position eligibility, and there’s a lot to like here.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles, $5,400 - There’s an odd perception that Judge has started the season slowly, yet in no way do that stats back up that gut feeling. Judge is 99th percentile in barrel rate (24.4%) and average exit velocity (95.4 mph), while he also sits 98th percentile for expected slugging percentage (.681) and 96th percentile in expected wOBA (.445). In short, he’s an absolute machine and he’s one of the major reasons the Yankees own an implied team total of more than five runs on Wednesday against Tyler Wells ($5,500).
J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays, $4,500 - Since returning to the Red Sox lineup on Monday, Martinez has slugged a pair of extra-base hits, signifying his health. That’s good news. The other piece of good news for Martinez — and the rest of Boston’s cavalcade of RHBs — is that Ross Stripling ($6,200) is set to take the mound for Toronto this evening. Dating back to the beginning of 2020, Stripling has conceded 2.3 home runs per nine and a .368 wOBA to opposing right-handed bats. Those are huge figures.
Jesus Sanchez, Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals, $3,600 - As long as Sanchez continues to be priced below $4K, I’m going to keep writing him up as a value in his matchups against RHPs. In his 49 plate appearances within the split in 2022, Sanchez has hit .341 with a .341 ISO and a 215 wRC+. Considering Fedde somehow surrendered six earned runs to the lowly Diamondbacks in his last outing, I’m willing to take my chances with the powerful Marlins bat.
Lourdes Gurriel, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox, $3,300 - While Gurriel is currently dealing with a slight hamstring issue, the historically streaky outfielder is also riding a heater coming into Wednesday’s matchup with Michael Wacha ($9,400). Since Apr. 15, Gurriel is slashing .359/.372/.615 with a 180 wRC+ in 43 plate appearances. Not bad for an asset priced just above $3K. As for Wacha, the man is due for some serious regression. The veteran has only allowed three earned runs across his first three starts of 2022, yet a .114 BABIP and a 98.0% strand rate aren’t exactly stable.
TEAMS TO STACK
Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs - With Mark Leiter Jr. taking the bump for the Cubs, the Braves own this slate’s highest implied team total at well over five runs. Olson, Riley and Ozzie Albies ($5,100) will be justifiably popular plays on Wednesday, yet the truly exciting aspect of this stack is the value. Marcell Ozuna ($3,500), Travis d’Arnaud ($3,300) and Alex Dickerson ($2,100) are all super cheap and should be hitting in the middle of Atlanta’s lineup.
Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - While I would mainly focus on Miami’s trio of left-handed bats — Chisholm, Sanchez and Joey Wendle ($4,100) — the Marlins have an incredible amount of cheap power up and down their lineup. Jorge Soler ($4,000), Avisail Garcia ($3,800) and Jesus Aguilar ($3,700) all have the potential to go deep at any time, while Fedde has struggled with the long ball throughout his career. At least that’s what a 1.56 HR/9 and a 20.0% HR/FB suggest.
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