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  • Gabe Vincent

    Miami Heat

    Gabe Vincent (knee) ruled out Sunday

    Gabe Vincent (knee) ruled out Sunday

    As reported by Ira Winderman via Twitter

    By: breves228
    Bob Reeves

    • mlb
    • nba
    • injury
    • breaking-news
  • Nestor Cortes

    New York Yankees

    The start of Astros-Yankees Game 4 will be delayed Sunday due to rain

    Game update: The start of Astros-Yankees Game 4 will be delayed Sunday due to rain

    As reported by MLB Communications via Twitter

    By: breves228
    Bob Reeves

    • mlb
    • breaking-news
  • Justin Verlander

    New York Mets

    Rebound Expected for Top Projected Pitcher on the Board

    The likely AL Cy Young winner was blown up by the Mariners in the first game of the divisional round (4 IP – 6 ER – 1 HR – 1 BB – 3 K – 21 BF) and struck out a similar number of Yankees in his only start against them, but with much better overall results (7 IP – 1 ER – 1 HR – 1 BB – 3 K – 27 BF). The strikeout rate increased late in the season, finishing at 27.8% (23.4 K-BB%) to go along with an excellent contact profile that included a 19.7 IFFB%, 6.3% Barrels/BBE and just a 34.8% hard hit rate. His 1.77 ERA was well below estimators ranging from a 2.49 FIP to a 3.23 xFIP. He was breaking estimators with a .240 BABIP and 80.5 LOB% that weren’t even career bests until running into the Mariners, but has had a full week to contemplate his failures in that effort. All of Verlander’s pitches grade extremely strongly by Statcast measures (RV) with the Yankees struggling only with the slider (-0.17 wSL/C) among those in the second half. Verlander also has one of the top defenses in the league behind him (25 Runs Prevented, .268 BABIP allowed). The most expensive pitcher on the board is also the top projected one. Verlander projects as the second best value on either site, but with just 0.2 P/$ separating first from third on DraftKings and even less (0.02 P/$) separating the top three projected FanDuel values. The closed roof in Houston makes the park a slightly negative run environment, though it’s also slightly negative if open.

    The Yankees own the lowest team run total on the board (2.97) by half a run, while RHBs (.243 wOBA, .276 xwOBA) at least stood a chance against Verlander, while he dominated LHBs (.201 wOBA, .235 xwOBA), of which the Yankees have very few anyway. Aaron Judge (217 wRC+, .384 ISO vs RHP this season) is still the second best projected bat on the board, but is also the only Yankee projecting among the top 10. No Yankee projects among the top 10 FanDuel values, though you’ll find three among the top 10 projected DraftKings value. Harrison Bader (90 wRC+, .117 ISO), Marwin Gonzalez (60 wRC+, .143 ISO) and Jose Trevino (74 wRC+, .120 ISO), the expected bottom of the Yankee order, all cost $2.5K or less.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Yordan Alvarez

    Houston Astros

    Top Projected Bat in the Top Offense

    Jameson Taillon has faced just three batters since the regular season ended, one in which he finished with a 3.91 ERA that was within one-third of a run of all estimators, a 4.20 xERA the only one above four. Striking out batters at a near average rate (20.7%), it was really the elite control (4.4 BB%) that was the star of his season. On June 23rd, Taillon was blown up by a Houston offense (5.2 IP – 6 ER – 2 HR – 0 BB – 3 K – 28 BF) that had a 107 wRC+ and 20.4 K% vs RHP, but a 123 wRC+ and 14.4 HR/FB at home this year. Taillon threw a number of pitches (five) more than 10% of the time, but only his four-seam more than 20%. He did have a couple of marginally graded pitches by Statcast measures (slider, cutter) that the Astros did have some issues with in the second half of the season (-0.15 SL/C, -1.33 wFC/C), though the sample size on the latter is much smaller than the former. Three of the four teams left in the post-season had great defenses and while the Yankees are just third among that group (16 Runs Prevented), they’ve added Harrison Bader on top of that. Taillon is the least expensive, but also worst projected pitcher on the board and also easily the worst projected value on either site. The roof is expected to be closed in Houston, which makes it a slightly negative run environment.

    It should be no surprise that the Astros are the top offense on the board by half a run with a 4.03 team run total. LHBs (.309 wOBA, .335 xwOBA) were slightly better than RHBs (.307 wOBA, .303 xwOBA) against Snell this season. Also no surprise that Yordan Alvarez (186 wRC+, .328 ISO vs RHP this season) is the top projected bat on the board. He is also joined among the top 10 by Kyle Tucker (142 wRC+, .216 ISO), Jose Altuve (148 wRC+, .202 ISO) and Alex Bregman (151 wRC+, .227 ISO). Bregman also serves as a top 10 projected value on FanDuel ($3.3K). Trey Mancini (111 wRC+, .170 ISO) and Chas McCormick (88 wRC+, .137 ISO) project as top values on both sites for less than $3K. Yuli Gurriel (74 wRC+, .091 ISO) also projects as the third best DraftKings value for $2.4K.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Matt Vierling

    Detroit Tigers

    Projections Suggest This Lineup is Loaded with Value

    Blake Snell allowed a run or less in 13 of his last 17 regular season starts and did so with a 35.1 K% and 26.6 K-BB%. An 8.4 BB% over that span wouldn’t stand out to most people, but it represented substantial improvement for Snell, who had become accustomed to double digit walk rates for most of his Padre tenure. He finished the season with a 32.0 K%, 9.5 BB% and estimators ranging from a 2.68 DRA to a 3.21 xFIP a bit below his 3.38 ERA. Then the post-season came and he was the only San Diego dark spot of the Wild Card series, walking six of 19 Mets, a number he hit only once this season (at Coors), while striking out five and failing to make it out of the fourth inning. It was a different story against the Dodgers though. He struck out six of 23 with just two walks over 5.1 innings with only a single run allowed. Unfortunately for him, the Phillies mashed LHP this year (115 wRC+, 22.8 K%, 11.9 HR/FB), including Snell in his two starts against him (9.1 IP – 7 ER – 2 HR – 5 BB – 9 K – 42 BF), though both came before July. He will have one of the best defenses in baseball behind him (25 Runs Prevented), though the Phillies struggled against neither fastballs (0.4 wFB/C), nor sliders (0.32 wSL/C) in the second half, which makes up nearly 80% of Snell’s arsenal. Snell is the third most expensive and third best projected pitcher on the board. He’s also the top projected DraftKings value, but third best projected FanDuel value, just 0.02 P/$ from the top though as the top three projected FD values are as close as can be without being tied.

    Both offenses in this game are tied at 3.5 implied runs in the middle of the board. He will face a predominantly right-handed lineup, but had virtually no split this season with batters from either side of the plate between a .274 and .285 wOBA and xwOBA. Bryce Harper (117 wRC+, .171 ISO vs LHP this season), Kyle Schwarber (94 wRC+, .193 ISO), Rhys Hoskins (162 wRC+, .272 ISO) and J.T. Realmuto (125 wRC+, .191 ISO) all project as top 10 bats. Hoskins also projects as the top FanDuel value today ($3.1K) with Nick Castellanos (99 wRC+, .082 ISO) right behind him ($2.7K). Realmuto ($3.4K) and Jean Segura (137 wRC+, .194 ISO) also project among the top 10 FD values. Matt Vierling (110 wRC+, .131 ISO) is the only Phillie projecting as a top 10 value on both sites for $2.1K or less. In fact, he is the top projected DraftKings value with Alec Bohm (158 wRC+, .189 ISO) joining him among the top 10 DK values for $3.3K.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Austin Nola

    San Diego Padres

    Dominant in His Only Regular Season Start Against this Team

    If anyone stands a decent chance of taking the NL Cy Young out of Sandy Alcantara’s hands, it’s probably Aaron Nola. He did not always excel at run prevention, but a lot of that can be blamed on the worst defense to make the post-season, which was also the second worst unit in baseball (-31 Runs Prevented). Nola recorded at least two seventh inning outs in 17 of his 32 starts this season, striking out 29.1% of the batters he faced, while walking just 3.6% with a 28.4 Z-O-Swing% and 31.6% hard hit rate. His 3.25 ERA was well above estimators ranging from a 2.58 FIP to a 2.80 SIERA. Nola has continued to excel in the post-season, striking out 12 of 51 batters faced with just three walks and a single unearned run over 12.2 innings. He was similarly dominant (7 IP – 1 R – 0 HR – 2 BB – 10 K – 28 BF) in his lone start against the Padres in June. Nola will likely be facing a balanced San Diego lineup with a 101 wRC+, 22.0 K% and 9.6 HR/FB vs RHP this season. Nola had three above average pitches by Statcast measures that he threw more than 18% of the time (four-seam, sinker, curveball). The only pitch the Padres graded negatively against in the second half was the slider (-0.19 wSL/C), a pitch Nola does not have in his repertoire. San Diego is the more negative run environment today, though the weather appears to be hitter friendly earlier in the day. Nola is the second most expensive pitcher and second best projected pitcher on either site. Pricing is such that the first and third projected FanDuel values are separated by 0.02 P/$ in LineupHQ today with Nola in the lead. The margin between first and third on DraftKings is a mear 0.2 P/$ with Nola coming in third there.

    Both teams in this game have a 3.5 team run total, which sits in the middle of a four team board. RHBs (.281 wOBA, .258 xwOBA) had slightly more success than LHBs (.246 wOBA, .260 xwOBA) against Nola, though Statcast suggests he has no real split. As was the case yesterday, Juan Soto (166 wRC+, .249 ISO vs RHP this season) is the only Padre to project among the top 10 bats on either site. Soto also projects as a top 10 FanDuel value, along with Josh Bell (121 wRC+, .143 ISO), who projects as a top 10 value on both sites within $200 of $3K. Trent Grisham (83 wRC+, .156 ISO) is a top DraftKings value for $2.6K.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Yu Darvish

    San Diego Padres

    Today's Top Projected Pitcher Has Top Defense on the Board Behind HIm

    Though he only struck out four of 28 batters, Yu Darvish shut the Mets down over seven innings (six hits, one run) in the Wild Card series. He followed up by striking out seven of 23 Dodgers, but with three runs over five innings against the Dodgers. Darvish allowed 22 home runs during the regular season (771 BF), but already four this post-season. He failed to go at least six innings just twice this year, once in his second start and again early in the season by a single out. The second half strikeout rate (28.8%) was much higher than the first (23%). He did allow 9.0% Barrels/BBE, but with the increasing strikeout rate and 4.8 BB%, it wasn’t too big a problem. The San Diego defense is the best on the board today (25 Runs Prevented was second best in the league). Every pitcher that Darvish threw this year (and there were several of them) grade better than average by Statcast. The one he threw most frequently was the cutter (35.3%, -0.6 RV/100, 25.6 Whiff%) was one of only two pitches (curveball being the other) that the Phillies were below average against in the second half (-0.56 wFC/C). Two caveats being that the it wasn’t a very large sample for the Phillies and that Darvish’s cutter had both a wOBA and xwOBA against above .350. Four of nine in the projected Phillies’ lineup have at least a 24.5 K% vs RHP this year, via PlateIQ, but none of the other five reach 20%. The top four all exceed a 100 wRC+ and .150 ISO vs RHP this year, though Brandon Marsh is the only bottom half batter exceeding those marks. Darvish is the most expensive pitcher on either site (tied on DraftKIngs). He is also the top projected arm and value on either site.

    The Phillies have a 3.17 team run total that’s second from the bottom today, while RHBs (.284 wOBA, .312 xwOBA) were a bit better than LHBs (.239 wOBA, .277 xwOBA) against Darvish this season. The four guys exceeding a 100 wRC+ and .150 ISO for the Phillies are all top 10 projected bats tonight: Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins in that order. For less than $3K, Marsh (105 wRC+, .159 ISO) is a top 10 projected value on either site. He’s joined on FanDuel by a $2.7K Nick Castellanos (92 wRC+, .139 ISO).

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Juan Soto

    San Diego Padres

    Second Highest Team Run Total Projects Only a Single Top 10 Bat

    Zack Wheeler will be starting Game One of the NLCS on six days rest. While San Diego is the more negative run environment in play today, the weather is expected to be extremely hitter friendly with a neutral umpiring assignment (Brian Knight). Wheeler struck out just four of the 22 Cardinals he faced in the Wild Card round with a single walk, a HBP and four hits over 6.2 shutout innings. He then struck out five of 24 Braves, but did allow three runs in less than six innings in Atlanta in the Division Series. Wheeler missed a month near the end of the season, but came back to strike out 15 of his final 52 batters. The discouraging part of that is that his swinging strike rate did not exceed 8.1% in any start since his return and averages at 5.6%. However, his velocity was intact with 63.9% of his contact on the ground and an 85.4 mph EV. Striking out a healthy 26.9% of batters (21.3 K-BB%), he’s the rare Phillies’ pitcher with all estimators above his 2.82 ERA, though they only extend to a 3.19 SIERA. That’s said because the Phillies are the only post-season team with a below average defense. In fact, -31 Runs Prevented is second worst in the majors, though Realmuto remains a top catcher (11.3 CDA is seventh) and they did improve the defense with some trade deadline acquisitions. The Padres had 101 wRC+, 22.0 K% and 9.6 HR/FB vs RHP this year with four of the top five in the projected lineup below an 18 K% vs RHP this year. Wheeler did dominate the Padres on a May 18th start in Philadelphia (7 IP – 4 H – 0 R – 0 BB – 9 K – 24 BF). Wheeler’s two best pitches by Statcast Run Values were both of his fastballs (four-seam and sinker), which make up about 60% of his pitches. The Padres were exactly neutral (0.00 wFB/C) against fastballs in the second half of the season, but did struggle against sliders (-0.19 wSL/C), which was Wheeler’s third best pitch (26.8%, -0.4 RV/100, 24.4 Whiff%, .272 wOBA, .262 xwOBA). The second most expensive pitcher on either site (tied on FanDuel), Wheeler is the second best projected pitcher and value on either site.

    A 3.33 implied run line for the Padres is second best on the board, but still more than half a run below the Yankees. Wheeler has very little split with batters from either side of the plate between a .262 and .290 wOBA and xwOBA this year, though despite Manny Machado (158 wRC+, .226 ISO vs RHP this year) smashing RHP nearly as well as Juan Soto (166 wRC+, .249 ISO), the latter is the only San Diego bat projecting among the top 10 today. He is also the only top 10 projecting value among Padres on FanDuel ($3.5K). However, within $300 of $3K each, Josh Bell (121 wRC+, .143 ISO) and Trent Grisham (83 wRC+, .156 ISO) project as top 10 DraftKings values. The latter’s bat has really come alive in the post-season.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Nestor Cortes

    New York Yankees

    Three Days Rest Makes This Pitcher the Worst Projected Value

    The decision to pitch Nestor Cortes on three days’ rest could be justified by Cleveland’s 84 wRC+ (20.7 K%, 6.9 HR/FB) vs LHP this year, which is about 20 points less than their performance against RHP, though he wasn’t extremely impressive in the Game Two against them, striking out and walking three each of 23 batters. Not being a pitcher who generally pitches deep into games anyway, it could be just twice through the order on short rest or even much less should he experience similar traffic on the bases to that last start. Cortes finished up his season with 13.1 shutout innings, striking out 15 of 45 batters. On the season, he struck out 26.5% (20.3 K-BB%) of batters with an 11.1 SwStr% and only allowed 5.3% Barrels/BBE, despite a 33.5 GB% because batters only made hard contact 34.7% of the time against him. That put his 2.44 ERA most in line with, but still well below a 2.70 xERA with contact neutral estimators around three and a half. A Yankee defense with 16 Runs Prevented and a .268 BABIP allowed helped and Harrison Bader will only make It better, but a .232 BABIP and 82.8 LOB% still merit some regression concerns. Jose Trevino was also the best defensive catcher in the game this year (20.5 CDA) by a pretty fair margin. Cortes did get in two starts against Cleveland this year (12.1 IP – 3 ER – 2 HR – 2 BB – 14 K – 42 BF), both prior to the break. While the cutter was a strong offering for Cortes too, the four-seamer was his best pitch (44%, -2.2 RV/100, 25.4 Whiff%, .205 wOBA, .239 xwOBA), while the Guardians were the fifth worst offense against fastballs in the second half (-0.5 wFB/C). The projected Cleveland lineup includes just three batters above a 100 wRC+ vs LHP this year and one of them was the left-handed Andres Gimenez, while batters from that side of the plate had just a .161 wOBA and .226 xwOBA against Cortes this season. He and fellow ex-Met Amed Rosario (one of the other two above a 100 wRC+ against LHP this year) did drive in the only two runs against Cortes in Game Two, the latter with a fifth inning home run. Nobody in the projected Cleveland lineup exceeded a .180 ISO vs LHP this year. None the less, Cortes is essentially tied for the worst projection on the board tonight, but is alone as the worst projected value on either site. He is tied for the most expensive price tag on DraftKings and second most on FanDuel.

    RHBs had only a bit more success against Cortes this season, within two points of a .260 wOBA and xwOBA. Despite not being one of the three in the projected lineup exceeding a 100 wRC+ vs LHP this year, Jose Ramirez (97 wRC+, .178 ISO vs LHP this year) is the only top 10 projected Cleveland bat with the offense pulling up the rear today at a 3.04 run team total. However, Josh Naylor (53 wRC+, .064 ISO) projects as a top 10 value on either site and could face a couple of RHPs later in the game. Oscar Gonzalez (107 wRC+, .174 ISO) projects as a top FD value ($2.5K). Owen Miller (77 wRC+, .117 ISO) projects as a top DraftKings value ($2.4K).

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Aaron Judge

    New York Yankees

    All Hands on Deck Against Top Offense Today

    A well-handled PPD by MLB in New York last night leads to an impromptu two game slate on Tuesday, which includes an ALDS and NLCS game. It would seem the most important thing to note here is that the ALDS game being a finale means an all hands on deck situation, whereas we can probably trust the pitchers in the NLCS game to have quite a bit more leeway. Aaron Civale will remain the starting pitcher for the Guardians. He is the cheapest pitcher on either site, but in addition to this being an elimination game, he hasn’t pitched in two weeks. That said, Civale was tremendous over his last 10 outings, striking out 26.8% of batters with just seven walks (23.2 K-BB%) and an 86.7 mph EV, allowing just five barrels (3.7%). Civale had a 3.00 ERA and FIP and 3.02 xFIP over this span. He allowed eight home runs and 16 barrels over his first 10 starts. Perhaps a great outing gets him through the order twice. There are some strikeouts in the top two-thirds of the Yankee order, which has been confirmed, with five of the first six with a 23% or higher strikeout rate vs RHP this year, while none of the bottom third reach a 100 wRC+ vs RHP this year. Civale, like just about every post-season team except the Phillies, has a great defense behind him today (14 Runs Prevented) and one of the top defensive catchers in baseball because we know Austin Hedges (11.4 CDA) isn’t in there for his offense (though Nestor Cortes did walk him twice in Game Two). In terms of pitch mix, Civale had an above average curveball and sinker via Statcast measures, which made up about half of his pitches, though the Yankees were above average against both pitches in the second half of the season. The park may be power friendly, but actually slightly run negative, though Alan Porter is a hitter friendly umpire who tends to squeeze the strike zone. Winds are expected to be blowing out to center at near 10 mph, but effects could be counteracted by temperatures in the high 50s. No surprise that Civale is essentially tied for the worst projection on the board, but actually projects as a better value than Cortes, who is going on three days rest.

    On the offensive side of things, the Yankees top the board at 3.96 implied runs, despite the Cleveland pen owning a 2.92 FIP and 3.06 SIERA over the last 30 days of the season and everyone being available, even starters. Civale, himself, had virtually no split this year with batters from either side of the plate between a .297 and .317 wOBA and xwOBA against him. Yet, three of the top five projected batters and four of the top 10 on either site are Yankees. We know who the top projected bat on the board is: Aaron Judge (217 wRC+, .384 ISO vs RHP this season). He is closely followed by Giancarlo Stanton (124 wRC+, .271 ISO) and Anthony Rizzo (125 wRC+, .235 ISO) with Gleyber Torres (110 wRC+, .165 ISO) projecting in the latter half of the top 10 out of the leadoff spot today. The top four projected FanDuel values and four of the top six on DraftKings are also Yankees. On FD, five Yankees project as top 10 values overall with Stanton the only one also a top 10 projected bats. This includes the bottom five minus just Jose Trevino, all costing less than $3K, the only one of the five below a 90 wRC+ vs RHP this year. On DK, each of the bottom five project as top 10 values. That means that every single bat in the Yankee order projects as either a top 10 bat and/or value on at least one of the big two. Yankee stackers have some decisions to make.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • James Conner

    Arizona Cardinals

    ARI RBs James Conner (ribs) and Darrel Williams (knee) ruled out for Week 6.

    ARI RBs James Conner (ribs) and Darrel Williams (knee) ruled out for Week 6.

    As reported by Josh Weinfuss

    By: MrTuttle05
    Dan Gaspar

    • nfl
    • mlb
  • Brandon Marsh

    Philadelphia Phillies

    Top Hitting Environment Contains a Lot of Projected Value

    Not only do the Dodgers dominate hitter projections in terms of raw point totals, despite a 3.59 implied run total that still tops a six team board today, but the top three projected values on either site are also Dodgers. Batters from either side of the plate were between a .274 and .285 wOBA and xwOBA against him this year and Austin Barnes (103 wRC+, .182 ISO vs LHP this year) is a top two projected value on either site for less than $2.5K. Costing exactly $2.6K on either site, Chris Taylor (73 wRC+, .126 ISO) is the top projected DraftKings value, but also the sixth best projected FanDuel value. Trayce Thompson (78 wRC+, .186 ISO) rounds out the top three DraftKings values for $2.4K. Justin Turner (109 wRC+, .115 ISO) and Will Smith (154 wRC+, .217 ISO) also project as top 10 DK values between $3.5K and $4K. Both are also among the top three FanDuel values, just below Barnes, for $3.1K or less.

    The Phillies are the other offense that comes up large in terms of projected value on FanDuel. We don’t know what to expect out of Spencer Strider today. Perhaps it’s just one time through the lineup, but batters from either side of the plate were below a .250 wOBA and .270 xwOBA against him this season. None the less, costing $3.3K or in a couple of cases much, much less, Brandon Marsh (105 wRC+, .159 ISO), Nick Castellanos (92 wRC+, .139 ISO), Rhys Hoskins (108 wRC+, .197 ISO) and J.T. Castellanos (129 wRC+, .207 ISO) all project as top 10 FanDuel values. Marsh, less than $3K on both sites, is the only Phillie to project as a top 10 DraftKings value.

    DraftKings projections do like a trio of cheap (< $3K) Braves as top value tonight though. Batters from either side of the plate are between a .246 and .281 wOBA and xwOBA against Aaron Nola this year, but Eddie Rosario (64 wRC+, .122 ISO), Orlando Arcia (119 wRC+, .203 ISO) and Marcell Ozuna (108 wRC+, .248 ISO) are cheap in the top hitting environment on the board.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Mookie Betts

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    This Offense Still Dominates Projections Below a Four Run Team Total

    Fairly surprising, even on a six team board, no offense even comes close to four implied runs on Friday with the Dodgers topping the board with a 3.59 run team total. It’s not a surprise to find four Dodger bats among the top six projected on either site tonight. Blake Snell is volatile enough arm that he’s probably worth rostering in GPP lineups, but also worth attacking with premium Dodger bats where you’re not using him. Batters from either side of the plate were between a .274 and .285 wOBA and xwOBA against him this year. Of course, we’re looking at the top half of the Dodger order here, which will consist of Mookie Betts (174 wRC+, .301 ISO vs RHP this year), Freddie Freeman (135 wRC+, .167 ISO, Trea Turner (146 wRC+, .244 ISO) and Will Smith (154 wRC+, .217 ISO).

    Aaron Judge (217 wRC+, .384 ISO) is the top projected bat on the board against one of the top projected pitchers in Shane Bieber, whom RHBs had a .277 wOBA and .287 xwOBA against this year. With a 3.29 implied run line that sits in the middle of the board, no other Yankees project among the top 10 bats tonight, but Giancarlo Stanton (124 wRC+, .271 ISO) and Anthony Rizzo (125 wRC+, .235 ISO) project among the top 15.

    The Philadelphia Phillies are the only offense besides the Dodgers projecting multiple top 10 bats tonight, despite a 3.25 run team total. Problematically, we really have no idea what to expect out of Spencer Strider tonight, except that he’s almost certain to run well short of a full workload, but LHBs had just a .244 wOBA and .267 xwOBA against him this year. Bryce Harper (148 wRC+, .253 ISO) and Kyle Schwarber (146 wRC+, .334 ISO) are just that good in the most hitter friendly environment on the board today.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Volatile Arm Projects For Solid Value

    The bottom half of the pitching board includes a competent, but frequently over-valued arm, a highly volatile one and one who’s faced just nine batters over the last month and a half. Nestor Cortes finished up his season with 13.1 shutout innings, striking out 15 of 45 batters. On the season, he struck out 26.5% (20.3 K-BB%) of batters with an 11.1 SwStr% and only allowed 5.3% Barrels/BBE, despite a 33.5 GB% because batters only made hard contact 34.7% of the time against him. That put his 2.44 ERA most in line with, but still well below a 2.70 xERA with contact neutral estimators around three and a half. A Yankee defense with 16 Runs Prevented and a .268 BABIP allowed helped and Harrison Bader will only make It better, but a .232 BABIP and 82.8 LOB% still merit some regression concerns. Jose Trevino was also the best defensive catcher in the game this year (20.5 CDA) by a pretty fair margin. Cortes did get in two starts against Cleveland this year (12.1 IP – 3 ER – 2 HR – 2 BB – 14 K – 42 BF), both prior to the break. The Guardians were measurably worse against LHP this year (84 wRC+, 20.7 K%, 6.9 HR/FB). While the cutter was a strong offering for Cortes too, the four-seamer was his best pitch (44%, -2.2 RV/100, 25.4 Whiff%, .205 wOBA, .239 xwOBA), while the Guardians were the fifth worst offense against fastballs in the second half (-0.5 wFB/C). He’s just below $10K on FanDuel (fourth most expensive), but third most expensive on DraftKings, but currently the second worst projected pitcher and value on the board (though that could change with a Spencer Strider adjustment).

    Second cheapest on the board, Blake Snell allowed a run or less in 13 of his last 17 regular season starts and did so with a 35.1 K% and 26.6 K-BB%. An 8.4 BB% over that span wouldn’t stand out to most people, but it represented substantial improvement for Snell, who had become accustomed to double digit walk rates for most of his Padre tenure. He finished the season with a 32.0 K%, 9.5 BB% and estimators ranging from a 2.68 DRA to a 3.21 xFIP a bit below his 3.38 ERA. Then the post-season game and he was the only San Diego dark spot of the Wild Card series, walking six of 19 Mets, a number he hit only once this season (at Coors), while striking out five and failing to make it out of the fourth inning. Which Snell will we see against the Dodgers (113 wRC+, 22.9 K%, 9.0 BB% vs LHP)? All three of his starts this season fit into that 17 start window mentioned above, but with mixed results (14 IP – 6 ER – 1 HR – 10 BB – 23 BF – 63 BF). He currently projects as the fourth best arm on the board and third best value, but again, this is probably assuming a workload on the larger side for Strider. An adjustment there could make Snell the second best projected value on either site. Currently ownership expectations for Snell are very low, which would make this highly volatile arm more interesting in GPPs.

    A .207 BABIP and 83.8 LOB% rightfully get a lot of the credit for Tony Gonsolin’s 2.14 ERA being around a run or more below estimators ranging from a 3.12 xERA to a 3.74 SIERA, which is a bit of a shame because it’s not like he pitched poorly at all. A 23.9 K%, 7.0 BB% and just 5.6% Barrels/BBE are certainly nothing to scoff at. However, he also missed the entire month of September, returning only over the last weekend to face nine batters (40 pitches) and now has had another 11 days off. How much could we possibly expect out of him? Gonsolin did do some of his best work against the Padres (12.2 IP – 1 ER – 1 HR – 1 BB – 14 K – 46 BF), who had just a 101 wRC+, 22.0 K% and 9.6 HR/FB vs RHP this year. He is the worst projected pitcher and value on the board with a very low workload expectation.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb
  • Aaron Nola

    Philadelphia Phillies

    Top Projected Pitcher in Dangerous, But High Upside Spot

    If anyone stands a decent chance of taking the NL Cy Young out of Sandy Alcantara’s hands, it’s probably Aaron Nola. He did not always excel at run prevention, but a lot of that can be blamed on the worst defense to make the post-season, which was also the second worst unit in baseball (-31 Runs Prevented). Nola recorded at least two seventh inning outs in 17 of his 32 starts this season, striking out 29.1% of the batters he faced, while walking just 3.6% with a 28.4 Z-O-Swing% and 31.6% hard hit rate. His 3.25 ERA was well above estimators ranging from a 2.58 FIP to a 2.80 SIERA. Ironically, he allowed at least four runs in three of his five starts against the Braves, but a total of just one in the other two. Nearly one-quarter (seven) of his 29 season walks were issued to them, along with five of his 19 home runs, though he also struck out 41 of 140 Braves and completed at least six innings in all three starts. A lot of strikeouts and home runs sounds like what the Braves have done to most right-handed pitching this year (108 wRC+, 25.1 K%, 16.0 HR/FB). Nola struck out six of 25 Cardinals with a single walk over 6.2 shutout innings in the Wild Card round. Nola is the most expensive pitcher on either site by $400. He is the top projected pitcher on the board and assuming the top projected value gets a pitch count adjustment, Nola would be the top projected value on either site.

    You probably haven’t heard much about Shane Bieber’s velocity since April because it hasn’t been a problem. It’s even risen since early in the season, but remaining below previous years, he just reduced his fastball usage (it was his worst graded pitch via Statcast at 0.1 RV/100) and everything has worked out fine. Bieber finished the season allowing more than two runs in just two of his last 13 starts with at least seven outings in eight of those. He failed to produce six innings, only in his last start. Striking out exactly one-quarter of the batters he faced and walking just 4.6% with nearly half his contact on the ground (48.2%), an 89.9 mph EV didn’t hurt so much. There was a bit of a falter over the last month of the season, but a 13.0 SwStr% and .303 xwOBA suggest he pitched much better than results. His 2.88 ERA was a near perfect match for his FIP (2.87), but only more than one-third of a run below a 3.51 xERA. Two additional facets in his favor are that the Cleveland defense was fifth best in the league this year (14 Runs Prevented) and Austin Hedges was the fifth best defensive catcher (11.4 CDA, which is a counting stat). Bieber dominated the Rays, striking out eight of 26, allowing a single run and walk in his Wild Card start. The Yankees (114 wRC+, 22.4 K%, 9.9 BB% vs RHP, 119 wRC+, 16.8 HR/FB at home) are a different animal, though it’s not necessarily a park downgrade in terms of pure run environment. Bieber is the second most expensive pitcher on either site and assuming a major adjustment to Spencer Strider’s pitch count coming, would likely be the second best projected pitcher on the board, but a middle of the board (third or fourth) projected value.

    Spencer Strider is great. He struck out an insane 38.3% of batters faced with a 79.1 Z-Contact% and allowed just 6.1% Barrels/BBE. All estimators were more than a quarter run below his 2.67 ERA, but he also hasn’t pitched since September 18th. What could we reasonably expect? Perhaps three innings? In three starts plus one relief appearance against the Phillies, Strider excelled (21.1 IP – 3 ER – 2 HR – 7 BB – 34 K – 79 BF), despite the fact that they pummeled sliders in the second half (0.32 wSL/C). Strider is third most expensive FanDuel pitcher ($10K), but only $6.5K on DraftKings, which almost makes him sort of interesting. Perhaps he’s been doing enough bullpen work to go four to five innings? We really don’t know yet. Projections which probably assuming nearly a full work load have him as the second best pitcher and top value on the board, but Strider is an enormous wild card today, while expectations probably need to be tempered.

    By: MTro86
    Matt Trollo

    • mlb