May the Fourth be with you. Who do you think would be the best baseball player in the Star Wars universe? I feel like the easy answer would be Chewbacca, as he’s got real Aaron Judge vibes standing at eight-feet tall, but how would you ever throw a strike to Yoda? His OBP would be 1.000, because even if the ump was generous to the pitcher, he’d just do a Jedi mind trick, right?
Anyway, I need some hobbies. Also, here are some studs and values for tonight’s seven-game featured slate.
Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds, $8,900 - I could almost take everything I wrote yesterday about Brandon Woodruff and apply it to Peralta. Heck, the RHP is the exact same price as his teammate. Also like Woodruff, Peralta comes into this start with much better advanced statistics than surface numbers. The 25-year-old’s 2.74 FIP is far more appealing than a 5.00 ERA, while a 29.5% strikeout rate is reminiscent of Peralta’s 33.6% mark from 2021. In short, he’s much better than some early season struggles suggest, and he should eviscerate a Reds lineup that currently ranks dead-last in wRC+ (68) and first in strikeout rate (26.1%).
Garrett Whitlock, Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels, $7,800 - This honestly might be a slate where you’re spending up twice at pitcher, because things look pretty bleak below Whitlock and the Red Sox RHP comes with his own set of concerns. Well, just one big concern from a DFS perspective. Whitlock’s been dominant since stepping on an MLB mound, with a 1.70 ERA and a 27.9% strikeout rate across the first 90.0 innings of his career. However, after throwing just 61 pitches against the Blue Jays back on Apr. 28, how long can we reasonably expect Whitlock to work on Wednesday? I’d assume somewhere between 70 and 80 pitches. That’s enough for the sophomore to be viable, but you might be better served simply finding the salary to pair Peralta with Lucas Giolito ($9,500).
C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals, $5,600 - Since joining the Rockies last season, Cron has been able to put up some absolutely incredible numbers against left-handed pitching. Across 172 plate appearances within the split, the veteran is slashing .316/.395/.625 with a .309 ISO and a 156 wRC+. Also, as you’d expect, things only get better when you specifically isolate Cron’s PAs versus LHPs in Colorado. In those conditions, Cron is sporting an eye-popping .844 slugging percentage. Considering how ineffective Patrick Corbin ($5,900) has been the past couple of years, I’d expect Cron to dominate this matchup.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels, $4,900 - If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Bogaerts is a man possessed when hitting at Fenway Park. The All-Star has registered a 183 wRC+ over his first eight home games of 2022, while last year he was able to post a .937 OPS and a .237 ISO within the split. That should all make Reid Detmers ($8,000) sweat, as the lefty comes into tonight’s outing in slightly shaky form. Detmers has had his issues retiring RHBs, surrendering 2.08 home runs per nine to the 56 he’s faced so far this season.
Rowdy Tellez, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds, $3,900 - If you want to talk about someone having a sneaky amazing season, let’s bring Tellez to centerstage. The hulking first baseman is generally a platoon specialist, yet among qualified players, Tellez currently sits in the 98th percentile in expected slugging percentage and the 97th percentile in expected wOBA. He’s tearing the cover off the baseball and he’ll get a chance to continue that success on Wednesday against Vladimir Gutierrez ($5,300). The Reds’ RHP has faced 45 lefty opponents in 2022. Those men are slashing .303/.467/.667. Yikes.
Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals, $3,500 - It’s difficult to comprehend just how bad Rodgers has been to begin the season. In 66 plate appearances, the former third-overall pick boasts a -15 wRC+. That’s not a typo. Anyway, with that in mind, we’re banking on the larger samples and trends to come through on Wednesday. Rodgers crushed left-handed pitching in 2021, hitting .317 with a .317 ISO and .411 wOBA within the split. Adding in Rodgers’ opponent and the fact this game is being played at Coors Field, I’m willing to cross my fingers and hope tonight’s the night the infielder’s luck starts to change.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, $5,900 - Anytime Judge is facing a left-handed pitcher — particularly one like Yusei Kikuchi ($6,300) — you need to at least consider the outfielder in your lineup. Going back to the beginning of 2021, Judge owns the highest xwOBA among qualified hitters against southpaw pitching (.457). If you need some more recent stats, Judge sits in the 99th percentile in both expected slugging percentage and expected wOBA in 2022. Kikuchi has his 6.62 FIP don’t stand a chance.
Connor Joe, Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals, $5,700 - We’re obviously dealing with small sample sizes this time of year, but Joe has been phenomenal against LHPs in 2022. The 29-year-old has had 31 plate appearances within the split and he’s posted a .393 average with a 175 wRC+. You might even say his success versus southpaws is the reason he’s now the Rockies’ primary leadoff man. In a contest where Colorado’s implied team total is hovering around six runs, you don’t have to feel guilty paying up for an asset like Joe.
Gavin Sheets, Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs, $3,500 - Sheets has been far from effective in the batter’s box in 2022, but this is all about handedness, matchup and price tag. Among pitchers who have faced at least 300 LHBs going back to the beginning of last season, Kyle Hendricks ($7,400) has surrendered the highest wOBA within the split at .376. If Sheets is hitting in the middle of the White Sox lineup tonight, he’ll be difficult to ignore.
Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins, $2,900 - I’m not going to say the Santander “breakout” is finally happening, but let’s just say I’ve always been intrigued by the switch-hitting outfielder. Over his first 99 plate appearances of the season, Santander has managed a .380 xwOBA to go along with a 140 wRC+, numbers that would be impressive for anyone, let alone an asset priced below $3K. Toss in the fact that Santander is locked into a top-three slot in the Orioles’ order and there’s a lot to like about the 27-year-old.
TEAMS TO STACK
Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals - I’m but a man. Is stacking the Rockies at Coors Field an obvious thing to do on Wednesday? Of course. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. In 2022, Colorado leads baseball in batting average (.330), wOBA (.387) and wRC+ (141) against left-handed pitching and those figures only get better in the altitude. Joe, Cron and Randal Grichuk ($5,100) have been particularly dangerous within the split.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds - Couple things to consider here. First and foremost, the Brewers have so, so many left-handed bats to throw at Gutierrez, including Tellez, Christian Yelich ($4,200), Kolten Wong ($4,100) and Omar Narvaez ($3,700). They’re all relatively inexpensive, too. On top of that, Cincinnati’s bullpen owns the second-worst xFIP in the league (4.57), which means the good times won’t stop once Gutierrez is driven from the game.
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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.
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