While Anthony DeSclafani did struggle against the Dodgers this year (22 of his 61 runs allowed), he did toss quality starts in two of his last three starts against them and finished the season strong with a 2.25 ERA and 2.58 FIP over his last six starts (32 IP). DeSclafani rode good control (6.2 BB%) and a league average strikeout rate (22.5%) to estimators ranging from a 3.59 DRA to a 4.10 SIERA, but only exceeded five innings pitched in three of his last 11 starts and also has not pitched since October 1st. The Dodgers had a 117 wRC+ at home and 107 wRC+ vs RHP this year with only one batter in the projected lineup above a 20.1 K% vs RHP. DeSclafani is the cheapest currently confirmed pitcher on DraftKings though ($7.6K) with his team in a position to end the series tonight and Dodger Stadium is likely the most pitcher friendly park on the slate with the help of some cooler temperatures, though not nearly as pitcher friendly as last night with the wind holding everything in the air up.
As usual, DeSclafani exhibited a substantial split this year (LHBs .301 wOBA, .335 xwOBA) – RHBs .252 wOBA, .271 xwOBA). Luckily for him, the Dodgers are light on quality LHBs at the moment with Muncy injured and Cody Bellinger (61 wRC+, .166 ISO vs RHP) falling off a cliff. In fact, Corey Seager (147 wRC+, .214 ISO) and Matt Beaty (111 wRC+, .130 ISO) the only other LHBs projected, although every RHB exceeds a 120 wRC+ vs RHP this year with at least a .170 ISO.
While Tony Gonsolin actually increased his rookie season strikeout rate a full point this year (27.2%), he also nearly quadrupled his walk rate (14.2%), resulting in the Dodgers allowing him to record sixth inning outs in only two outings this year. An 86.2 LOB% generated a 3.23 ERA that was well below estimators, although a 3.68 xERA was also more than half a run below any other estimator. After missing the month of August, Gonsolin did return to walk eight of his last 81 batters in September, but has not pitched yet in the month of October. Gonsolin would be the cheapest pitcher on the board once the Dodgers confirm him, but the Giants have a 110 wRC+ vs RHP. As far as strikeouts go, half the lineup exceeded a 22.5 K% vs RHP this year.
Every batter in the projected San Francisco lineup has at least a 99 wRC+ and .169 ISO vs RHP this season. Mike Yastrzemski (125 wRC+, .278 ISO) could be the most interesting bat here, should he bat second again. Brandon Crawford (156 wRC+, .241 ISO) and LaMonte Wade (130 wRC+, .251 ISO) have also displayed great power numbers with a platoon advantage this year. The Giants (3.39) are the only team on the board below four implied runs though.
Eric Lauer firmly established himself as a capable back end of the rotation starter this year. In fact, his 23.9 K% has helped project estimators in a tight range between 3.92 (xERA) and 4.26 (xFIP) that suggest even a league average pitcher. The actual ERA was quite a bit lower (3.19), due to a .249 BABIP and 79.4 LOB%. It has been 11 days since he last pitched though. With the Braves owning a 93 wRC+ vs LHP, Lauer could be considered an option today, especially on DraftKings for less than $8K. However, the leash is sure to be short with the Brewers facing elimination and only three batters in the projected Atlanta lineup exceed a 20.7 K% vs LHP this year.
While RHBs had a .278 wOBA and .300 xwOBA against Lauer this year, LHBs were actually better (.285, .309), although Freddie Freeman (103 wRC+, .170 ISO vs LHP) is the only projected LHB in the Atlanta lineup tonight. The Braves are the only team to reach 4.5 implied runs tonight in the most naturally positive run environment on the slate. Freeman and Ozzie Albies (144 wRC+, .262 ISO) may be two of the top bats on the slate, while Jorge Soler (126 wRC+, .287 ISO) costs less than $4K on DraftKings. Travis d’Arnaud (127 wRC+, .179 ISO) is barely more than the minimum on FanDuel.
Charlie Morton struck out nine of 23 Brewers in Game One, but is on three days rest and was a late announcement to start Game Four instead of Huascar Ynoa. It’s fair to question how far the Braves will let a 37 year old pitcher go in this spot, but they’re looking to lay the hammer down with a chance to clinch and then rest for an extra few days. Morton is also just the fourth most expensive pitcher on DraftKings ($7.8K) in a favorable spot (Brewers 92 wRC+ vs RHP), although only three batters in the projected Milwaukee lineup exceed a 21.3 K% vs RHP this season.
Brewer bats are tough to roster here with batters from either side of the plate between a .255 and .281 wOBA and xwOBA against Morton this season. However, Rowdy Tellez is the only projected batter below a 105 wRC+ vs RHP this season. Willy Adames (124 wRC+, .221 ISO) is the best Milwaukee bat. Kolten Wong (108 wRC+, .182 ISO) may be the best value. One positive we can say about Milwaukee bats here is that they are cheap.
Lance McCullers pitched exactly six innings in six straight starts to end the season. Positives include a 27 K%, 56.4 GB%, 5.8% Barrels/BBE and second best defense in the league behind him ( at home and 108 wRC+ vs RHP with actual lineup strikeout rates ranging from 20.1% to 25.1% vs RHP this year. McCullers should probably be considered the top pitcher tonight, working on regular rest with his team in position to put the series away, although weather conditions (12 mph wind out to LF) may turn this into a more hitter friendly environment.
Should you not choose to employ McCullers in your lineups, the White Sox are actually tied for the second highest implied run line on the board (4.25) with LHBs (.311 wOBA, .306 xwOBA) faring much better than RHBs (.256 wOBA, .261 xwOBA) against him. Each of the first seven in the Chicago order today exceeded a 115 wRC+ vs RHP this season. Yasmani Grandal (150 wRC+, .279 ISO) had the best season, but drops a spot to fifth in the order today. Luis Robert (135 wRC+, .179 ISO) might be the most interesting RHB with Gavin Sheets (143 wRC+, .289 ISO) costing just $3.1K or less on either site.
Aside from 117 wRC+ (18.3 K%) vs LHP this year (113 wRC+ on the road) we have to be concerned about the sore shoulder that Carlos Rodon has been dealing with. He missed a couple of weeks in August and then was used more sparingly in September, but did have a 27.2 K% (20.7 K-BB%) after returning. However, he hasn’t reached the 90 pitch mark since his first start after the All-Star break. The leash certainly won’t be long today in an elimination game, but if we get the early season, healthy version of Rodon, it could be a dominant five innings, which would have made him a somewhat interesting GPP play on DraftKings ($8.8K), where you have to select two of the six pitchers. A 3.17 xFIP was his only estimator above three this year. Six batters in the projected Houston lineup have a strikeout rate below 15% vs LHP this year, but two of the remaining three exceed 30%.
Batters from either side of the plate were between a .231 and .260 wOBA and xwOBA against Rodon this year. Martin Maldonado (86 wRC+) and Michael Brantley (59 wRC+) are the only two projected batters below a 115 wRC+ vs LHP this season for Houston. Jake Meyers (144 wRC+, .268 ISO) is just above the minimum on either site. The Astros are tied with the White Sox for the second highest team total on the board (4.25 runs).
We can probably consider both environment and umpiring (Ted Barrett) to be neutral at Dodger Stadium tonight. Winds are expected to be nearly 20 mph, but blowing from left to right, rather than in or out. This actually may make it the most pitcher friendly environment on the slate. Alex Wood finished the season strong with no more than two runs in any of his last six starts, but just two quality starts, as he was held under 82 pitches in each of his last four. It’s hard to quantify the season as anything other than a major success, striking out 26% of batters (19.3 K-BB%) with 50.8% of his contact on the ground. Despite the great defense ( vs LHP, but a 117 wRC+ and 17.3 HR/FB at home. Nobody in the projected lineup exceeds a 21.1 K% vs LHP this season. This is a tough spot for Wood, but considering you essentially have to select 40% of the reasonably usable pitchers on DraftKings today, he’s fine at $7.8K.
Should you not choose that patch, the Dodgers have a 4.46 implied run line that’s tied for third on an eight team board, while Wood had virtually no split this year with batters from either side of the plate between a .296 and .304 wOBA and xwOBA against him. Trea Turner (201 wRC+, .320 ISO vs LHP) is your top Dodger bat. Corey Seager (147 wRC+, .217 ISO) hit LHP very well and may be a contrarian play here. Albert Pujols (146 wRC+, .309 ISO) costs $2.1K on either site.
Max Scherzer had a 34.1 K% (15.9 SwStr%) this year and probably has the longest of leashes today. Everyone, absolutely EVERY ONE, will likely have him in their lineups tonight, especially on DraftKings, for less than $10K. There is no question that he’s the top pitcher on the board. However, we can find some merit for a fade, starting with those ridiculous expected ownership rates. Scherzer also did allow 11 runs (10 earned) over his last two regular season starts (10.1 IP) and was not extraordinarily sharp in the wild card game. In fact, he’s struck out just 14 of his last 70 batters (exactly 20%) including the wild card game. With a .247 BABIP and 84.3 LOB%, his 2.46 ERA this season was about half a run below estimators ranging from a 2.88 DRA to a 3.24 xFIP. Unlike his opponent, Scherzer does not benefit from a great defense behind him (-3 Runs Prevented).
That the Giants have a 3.04 run team total that’s a full run below any other team on the board is no surprise, but as mentioned, Scherzer hasn’t been his sharpest recently and the reward from a San Francisco lineup explosion would probably be worth the risk in GPPs, though batters from either side of the plate were below a .280 wOBA and xwOBA against Scherzer this year. Nobody in the projected San Francisco lineup was below a 99 wRC+ or .169 ISO vs RHP this season and if you’re stacking Giants, you’re probably not concerned with price because you’re also foregoing the only really expensive pitcher. Brandon Crawford (156 wRC+, .241 ISO vs RHP) is the top bat here with LaMonte Wade (130 wRC+, .251 ISO) and Mike Yastrzemski (125 wRC+, .278 ISO) holding a large power advantage over the rest of the lineup.
Despite a slight negative weather effect, according to Weather Edge, Fenway Park is still the most hitter friendly run environment on the board, although Ron Kulpa is considered the most pitcher friendly umpire on the slate.
The Rays are throwing the bullpen at the Red Sox in an elimination game today. It will begin with Collin McHugh, who reached a maximum three innings pitched seven times this year, none in his seven starts. Boston is tied with Tampa Bay atop the board with a team total of 4.75 runs, probably more due to the environment than anything else, as Tampa Bay has an elite bullpen and defense. That said, Kyle Schwarber (157 wRC+, .359 ISO vs RHP) and Rafael Devers (152 wRC+, .341 ISO) are the top bats here, though Kike Hernandez (99 wRC+, .179 ISO) has been a hitting machine in this series.
The .363 BABIP (.380 at home) and 68.9 LOB% notwithstanding, Eduardo Rodriguez finished with a 4.74 ERA that was nearly a run above his worst estimator (3.80 DRA) behind a 20.4 K-BB% and 86.5 mph EV. He will be going on short rest (three days), but only faced nine batters in Game One, striking out just one. Alex Cora has shown the ability to be aggressive and creative with his pitching in this series, which doesn’t portend well for Rodriguez’s workload in this game. There’s also the fact that the Rays had a 107 wRC+ vs LHP this year and that may even understates it with Wander Franco and Nelson Cruz joining the team after the All-Star break. That said, ERod costs just $6.5K on DraftKings and you may only have five realistic choices, should the forecast in Chicago be accurate. Five batters in the projected Tampa Bay lineup exceed a 25 K% vs LHP.
While Rodriguez had exactly a 20 point split with RHBs owning a .334 wOBA against him this year, Statcast brought both sides down to within a single point of a .290 xwOBA. Tampa Bay bats look really strong here, especially considering their affordability. Wander Franco smashed LHP after being called up (181 wRC+, .245 ISO), while Mike Zunino put up video game numbers (243 wRC+, .526 ISO). Randy Arozarena (153 wRC+, .233 ISO) is the most expensive batter in the lineup, but is still reasonably priced.
The most important thing to say about this game is that it stands a decent chance of not even being played today and currently seems a near lock for some sort of interruption, according to the weather forecast. Otherwise, there’s the small matter of near 20 mph winds blasting in from right field. Weather Edge does not currently see that as a hindrance to overall offense, but the sample size is extremely small. In the interest of being complete anyway…
Jose Urquidy missed the entire months of July and August, registering only a 20 K% (15 K-BB%) after returning for six starts in September. With a .237 BABIP this year, he ran a 3.62 ERA that was quite a bit below estimators ranging from a 3.87 to a 4.53 DRA, but that’s also partially the product of a great defense ( vs RHP this year, but a 118 wRC+ with a 11.5 K-BB% and 17 HR/FB at home. Everyone in the projected Chicago lineup exceeds a 20 K% vs RHP, but none are above 25.1% this year.
Urquidy had a 61 point reverse split this year, 28 points by xwOBA (RHBs .308 wOBA, .314 xwOBA). While every RHB in the projected Chicago lineup exceeds a 100 wRC+, none exceed a .200 ISO. Consider Luis Robert (135 wRC+, .179 ISO), who had a 178 wRC+ since the start of September through the end of the regular season, one of the top bats on the board. Yasmani Grandal (150 wRC+, .279 ISO) homered last night and costs $2.7K on FanDuel.
Aside from 117 wRC+ (18.3 K%) vs LHP this year (113 wRC+ on the road) we have to be concerned about the sore shoulder that Carlos Rodon has been dealing with. He missed a couple of weeks in August and then was used more sparingly in September, but did have a 27.2 K% (20.7 K-BB%) after returning. However, he hasn’t reached the 90 pitch mark since his first start after the All-Star break. The leash certainly won’t be long today, in an elimination game, but if we get the early season, healthy version of Rodon, it could be a dominant five innings, which would have made him a somewhat interesting GPP play on DraftKings ($8.8K), had weather not been such a concern. A 3.17 xFIP was his only estimator above three this year. Six batters in the projected Houston lineup have a strikeout rate below 15% vs LHP this year, but two of the remaining three exceed 30%.
Batters from either side of the plate were between a .231 and .260 wOBA and xwOBA against Rodon this year. Martin Maldonado (86 wRC+) and Michael Brantley (59 wRC+) are the only two projected batters below a 115 wRC+ vs LHP this season for Houston. Jake Meyers (144 wRC+, .268 ISO) is just above the minimum on either site.
We kick off the last four game slate of the MLB season in the second most positive run environment on the board in Atlanta, but the most hitter friendly umpire in Alfonso Marquez. The series between the Brewers and Braves is tied at one apiece. Freddy Peralta has struck out one-third of the batters he’s faced this year (33.6%), but almost as impressively, cut his walk rate down to 6.5% over his last 11 starts (9.7% season), though he did struggle a bit with a .301 BABIP and 70.2 LOB% over that span that left him with a 3.86 ERA that was a bit higher than estimators. His season ERA (2.81) matches his 2.72 xERA (86.6 mph EV, 6% Barrels/BBE) and 2.94 DRA with his xFIP a bit higher (3.66). Atlanta is a park downgrade for Peralta and, of course, in a pivotal game three in a tied series, Crag Counsel probably won’t allow him to get into too much trouble, but considering the available pitchers on this slate, that certainly does nothing to preclude him today, especially on DraftKings. The Braves had a 99 wRC+ at home, 100 wRC+ (16.3 HR/FB) vs RHP. The actual lineup includes four batters above a 24.5 K% vs RHP. With a top three price tag on either site, we can probably consider Peralta the second best pitcher on the slate.
Batters from either side of the plate had a wOBA and xwOBA between .244 and .261 against Peralta this season, while the Braves have an implied run line of exactly four, placing them on the lower half of the board. Freddie Freeman (148 wRC+, .217 ISO vs RHP) and Austin Riley (146 wRC+, .248 ISO) are the most attractive batters here. Eddie Rosario (107 wRC+, .211 ISO) costs less than $3K on either site.
In three of Ian Anderson’s last six starts, he struck out two or fewer, but seven or more in the other three. The bigger concern this year has been a 9.9 BB%, that, along with a league average strikeout rate (23.2%), generates estimators ranging from a 3.80 DRA to a 4.38 SIERA, all above his 3.58 ERA (79.1 LOB%). The Brewers had a 95 wRC+ on the road, 92 wRC+ vs RHP. However, today’s actual lineup includes just two batters above a 22.3 K% vs RHP this year and the offense did improve later in the season. That said, considering today’s board, Anderson may be the ideal SP2 on DraftKings for just $7.1K.
While Anderson had nearly a 30 point reverse split this year (.279 and .306 wOBA), Statcast narrows that to three points (.318 and .315 xwOBA). Rowdy Tellez (86 wRC+) is the only batter in the lineup below a 100 wRC+ vs RHP this year. Willy Adames (124 wRC+, .221 ISO) is the top Milwaukee bat. Kolten Wong (108 wRC+, .182 ISO) costs just $2.8K on FanDuel. Avisail Garcia (105 wRC+, .221 ISO) even less. The Brewers also have a team total of exactly four runs.
After getting some work in yesterday during a Saturday (a rarity for a team playing on Sunday), Mixon is expected to play today against the Green Bay Packers. Mixon has been dealing with an ankle issue that he suffered during last week’s game. Rapoport said that “he won’t be 100%, but Mixon is slated to go”. This ends up being the murkiest situation; when the injured player projects to play, but not be fully healthy or get all the work. Assuming he ends up being officially active, it’s tough to play the backups (Samaje Perine and Chris Evans), knowing they may not get the work. But it’s also tough to pay an elevated price tag for Mixon, with his workload iffy. Overall, this situation is one to stay away, as there are better options with more certainty.
Walker Buehler completed six innings in each of his first 27 starts, failing to produce a quality start just once over that span, but struggled a bit down the stretch with just three quality starts in his last six efforts (4.83 ERA) with his strikeout rate dropping to 22% (27% on the year). His season estimators are all more than half a run above his 2.47 ERA, ranging from a 3.08 xERA to a 3.73 SIERA. However, unlike some other pitchers on this slate, this is not necessarily due to great defense (Dodgers -3 Runs Prevented), but a high strand rate (80.9%). San Francisco has been less of a negative run environment the last couple of years, after some alterations, but it’s still a fine place to pitch. It’s also the only outdoor environment on the slate and a quick consultation of Weather Edge suggests this will favor pitchers tonight. The Giants did quite well at home though (114 wRC+) and had a 15.4 HR/FB (110 wRC+) vs RHP. The projected lineup does include three batters above a 25 K% vs RHP this year. Buehler is a tough roster in a post-season game if his strikeout rate is not going to be well above average against a quality offense.
Nobody in the projected lineup for San Francisco is below a 99 wRC+ or .169 ISO vs RHP this year. At 3.5 implied runs, the Giants are tied with the Dodgers for fifth on an eight team board. Batters from either side of the plate are below a .275 wOBA and xwOBA against Buehler though, so this is a tough matchup from either side for daily fantasy purposes. LaMonte Wade (130 wRC+, .251 ISO) seems like a strong value though. He’s within $200 of $3K on either site.
The only negative on Logan Webb’s resume was that he started just 26 games (148.1 IP). Otherwise, he was simply the best pitcher on the best team in baseball. Webb did attempt to make up for some of that lost workload, by completing seven innings in six of his last 10 starts, but the Giants probably won’t allow him to get into too much trouble against the Dodgers. Webb struck out 26.5% of the batters he faced (20.5 K-BB%) with 60.9% of his contact on the ground and just 5.6% Barrels/BBE. His 3.03 ERA is justified by all estimators being within one-third of a run. You may notice a theme that five of the six teams above vs RHP), who are without Max Muncy, who, if nothing else, works to extend the pitch counts of the pitchers he faces. He is a difficult bat to replace, even with the Dodgers’ depth. Webb seems a marginal value on this board within $300 of $8.5K on either site.
The Dodgers are expected to produce a lineup where Cody Bellinger (61 wRC+) is the only batter below a 110 wRC+ vs RHP this year. Corey Seager (147 wRC+, .214 ISO), Trea Turner (121 wRC+, .170 ISO), A.J. Pollock (140 wRC+, .247 ISO) and Matt Beaty (111 wRC+, .130 ISO) all exceed a 175 wRC+ since the start of September, but Webb has about a 50 point split with LHBs owning a .299 wOBA (.298 xwOBA) against him and RHBs just a .251 wOBA (.255 xwOBA).
Chris Sale registered a strong 21.8 K-BB% in nine starts this year against marginal opposition. A 47.4 GB% was his highest mark in a decade in addition to an 84.6 mph EV and just 3.5% Barrels/BBE. Sale’s 3.14 ERA was below all estimators, but only a 4.08 DRA was much more than half a run higher. Two of Sale’s starts were against the Rays and while they put up seven runs in 9.2 innings, only three were earned. He did strike out just nine of 48 though. The Rays finished with a 107 wRC+ vs LHP this year (114 at home). This is a solidly negative and weather controlled environment in Tampa Bay, but Sale does have one of the worst defenses in baseball behind him though (-30 Runs Prevented).
This combination of factors actually gives the Rays the second highest implied run line on the board (4.01) behind only the Astros. Sale had a massive split by wOBA this year (over 200 points) and still a 53 point one by xwOBA, but Statcast did bring RHBs down to a .295 xwOBA. Wander Franco (181 wRC+, .245 ISO) and Mike Zunino (243 wRC+, .526 ISO) punished LHP this year and yes, those Zunino numbers are real over 114 PAs. Randy Arozarena (153 wRC+, .233 ISO) has already begun re-establishing his October presence this year.
Shane Baz may have just 13.1 innings and 49 major league batters under his resume and the Rays aren’t likely to let him get too deep into this game, but he’s struck out 18 (16.2 SwStr%) with just three walks and a 36 K% at AAA this year too (46 innings). He did allow three home runs (six at AAA), but that encompassed all of the barrels he allowed too (10.7%). With a strikeout rate that high, a barely double digit barrel rate on contact is less of an issue. The Red Sox had a 109 wRC+ vs LHP this year, but Baz has one of the best defenses in baseball behind him (+27 Runs Prevented) in a great park. His cost is low enough that he’s an interesting SP2 on DraftKings ($6.3K) even if we suspect he gets through the order twice and with a one game lead, perhaps Kevin Cash is more lenient.
Considering Baz’s small sample dominance, the bullpen, defense and environment, it’s difficult to push too hard for Boston bats, especially with speculation that Rafael Devers (152 wRC+, .341 ISO vs RHP), along with J.D. Martinez (135 wRC+, .246 ISO), may be playing while compromised, but Kyle Schwarber’s production (157 wRC+, .359 ISO) can’t be ignored.
Charlie Morton not only bounced back and proved that he could be something more than the twice through the order guy the Rays treated him like for most of the last two years, he emphasized it. Morton authored 19 quality starts this year, completing seven innings seven times with a 21.9 K-BB% and above average ground ball rate (47.8%), allowing just 4.9% Barrels/BBE. A 2.93 DRA was his only estimator more than one-quarter of a run removed from a 3.34 ERA. A neutral run environment in Milwaukee is a park upgrade and while the Brewers had just a 92 wRC+ vs RHP, this was a lineup with quite a bit of turnover this year and most of it for the better. However, half the projected lineup (four) exceed a 23 K% vs RHP this season. With a normal workload expectation in a controlled, neutral run environment with a potentially pitcher friendly umpire (Mike Estabrook), Morton may be one of the top values on the board, especially at less than $8K on DraftKings, assuming a near standard workload.
Batters from either side of the plate were below a .285 wOBA and xwOBA against Morton this season with less than a 20 point split, though RHBs were slightly better (.271, .281). Willy Adames is the top batter in the projected lineup by wRC+ (124) or ISO (.221) vs RHP this year. The Astros are fourth on the board with a 3.85 run team total.
If number of innings pitched weren’t a factor, Corbin Burnes would be your runaway Cy Young winner. He finished the season with a 30.4 K-BB%, nearly half his contact on the ground (48.8%), 85.5 mph EV and just 3.1% Barrels/BBE. His 2.43 ERA was within half a run of all non-FIP estimators. His FIP (1.63) was actually much lower. Burnes actually competed seven innings seven times this year and fewer than six eight times in 28 starts. He faces an average offense (100 wRC+ vs RHP) with power (16.3 HR/FB vs RHP), but five batters in the projected lineup above a 25 K% vs RHP this year. This is your highest upside spot on the board. Craig Counsel will pull a pitcher quickly if he needs to, but that shouldn’t be the case here. Corbin Burns is the most expensive pitcher on the board, but may still be the top value.
While LHBs had a .248 wOBA against Burnes this year, batters from either side were below a .220 xwOBA against him. Freddie Freeman (148 wRC+, .217 ISO vs RHP) and Austin Riley (146 wRC+, .248 ISO) may be the only bats worth considering here, though everyone in the projected lineup had at least a .165 ISO vs RHP this season.
Lucas Giolito has competed six innings in just one of his last five starts, but it was six shutout innings on exactly 100 pitches in his next to last start. He missed the first half of September and struck out just 13 of his last 65 with an 11.9 SwStr% that’s more than three points below his season rate. His full season numbers included a 27.9 K% (20.2 K-BB%) with just 33.2% of his contact on the ground, but still allowing only 6.7% Barrels/BBE on an 87.7 mph EV. A 3.79 FIP was his furthest removed estimator from a 3.53 ERA. Strong numbers, but only 15 of his 31 starts were quality starts. He will occasionally throw in a stinker with four runs or more allowed six times this year. He’s in a very tough spot, facing an offense with a 116 wRC+ and 10.8 K-BB% vs RHP in a neutral, domed environment. Four of the first five batters in the Houston lineup are below a 15.5 K% vs RHP this season, although the bottom two are above 31%. There’s not a bad pitcher on the board today, but Giolito’s matchup and the fact that his team is down in the series makes him one of the tougher rosters.
Giolito has a slight reverse split, although batters from either side of the plate were below a .300 wOBA & xwOBA against him this year. Each of the first eight batters in the Houston lineup exceed a 100 wRC+ vs RHP this season. Jose Altuve (136 wRC+, .227 ISO vs RHP) might be the top second baseman on the board, while Michael Brantley (158 wRC+, .143 ISO) is a top value for $3.4K on DraftKings and a full $1K less on FanDuel. No Houston batter costs more than $4.6K on DraftKings. Houston tops the board with a team total of 4.1 runs.
Framber Valdez finished the season with a 70.3 GB% in 134.2 innings. As impressive as that is, he backed it with just a 21.9 K% and 10.1 BB% that aren’t very daily fantasy friendly, so what you are dependent upon when rostering him is the workload. He recorded seventh inning starts in 12 of his 22 starts. That workload is less guaranteed in the post-season, but the sense of urgency should be less after a first game victory, especially with an old school manager. Valdez’s 3.14 ERA is about half a run less than estimators ranging from a 3.58 xFIP to a 4.01 FIP and DRA, but Houston also had the second best defense in baseball this year, according to Statcast’s Runs Prevented ( and 15.7 HR/FB vs LHP this season. The first three in the Chicago lineup are all below a 20 K% vs LHP, but the middle three are all above 24%. Framber is interesting for $7.5K on DraftKings ($1.8K more on FanDuel) with the longer leash expectation.
That said, the White Sox will stack up entirely right-handed. Batters from that side had a .281 wOBA and .296 xwOBA against Valdez this season. Luis Robert smashed LHP in 121 PAs this year (231 wRC+, .397 ISO), as did Yasmani Grandal (184 wRC+, .281 ISO), Jose Abreu (161 wRC+, .309 ISO) and Andrew Vaughn (156 wRC+, .286 ISO). Nobody else in the lineup exceeds a .180 ISO vs LHP. Tim Anderson is the only other batter above a 99 wRC+ (125). The White Sox are third on the board at 3.9 implied runs.
The Mets are reasoning that fatigue has been the reason for Tylor Megill’s recent ineffectiveness, giving him extra days between starts (just four in September), although he’s thrown just 125 combined innings this year. The key piece of evidence being 12 home runs and 15 barrels allowed over his last 28.2 innings and now only five strikeouts with six walks over his last two starts. However, his velocity hasn’t declined and he still carries an 18.5 K-BB% with all non-FIP estimators more than half a run below his 4.78 ERA, including a 4.06 xERA that includes the 10.4% Barrels/BBE and 90.2 mph EV he’s allowed. Never the less, he’s now exhibiting a tremendous platoon split with LHBs (.432 wOBA, .361 xwOBA) over 100 points higher than RHBs by either metric. The Braves don’t generally utilize a lot of LHBs in their starting lineup and they did clinch the division last night, so who knows what they’ll do tonight, but in one of the few positive run environments on the slate tonight, players will probably want some exposure to any LHBs they throw out there. Currently, that’s projected to be Freddie Freeman (147 wRC+, .220 ISO vs RHP), Ozzie Albies (93 wRC+, .217 ISO) and Eddie Rosario (103 wRC+, .203 ISO). Who knows, but with smaller September rosters this year, the Braves can’t really deviate too much. Still, the Braves sit in the middle of the board with a 4.37 implied run line that looks a bit too low here.
Looking for value bats tonight? One lineup really stands out. Or at least part of one lineup. John Heasley will get his third start for the Royals tonight, striking out just five of 37 with two walks and homers in his first two. He did have a 19.9 K-BB% at AA, but that’s quite the jump and oddsmakers agree, gracing the Twins with the sixth highest team total on the board (4.75 runs). The most interesting thing here is that there are some very affordable bats in the projected Minnesota lineup. We can’t pay much attention to splits attained from 37 batters, but LHBs (.407 wOBA, .398 xwOBA) are far ahead of RHBs (.270 wOBA, .312 xwOBA), which really makes us like cheap, left-handed Twins like projected leadoff man Luis Arraez (107 wRC+, .087 ISO, .351 xwOBA vs RHP), who may have to rely on the batters behind him to drive him in and supply maximum value, but we can pay a little more for Jorge Polanco (126 wRC+, .238 ISO) because Arraez barely costs the minimum on FanDuel and then save some more with Max Kepler (117 wRC+, .243 ISO).
When browsing controversial BvP information, the one thing that can stick out is home runs and that’s certainly the case today. Whether you filter by xwOBA or home runs you’ll notice two names at the top of the board tonight. They are Alex Bregman (138 wRC+, .147 ISO vs LHP) with three home runs and a .426 xwOBA (91.6 mph EV) in 43 PAs and Kyle Tucker (134 wRC+, .270 ISO) with four home runs, a double and a .484 xwOBA (97.3 mph EV) against Sean Manaea. The latter is the larger surprise here, as RHBs have a .328 wOBA (.320 xwOBA) against Manaea this year, but LHBs have just a .250 wOBA (.270 xwOBA). Manaea has been great at times this season, but has been hit or miss. He has thrown seven innings of two run ball or better with at least eight strikeouts in three of his last five starts, but has allowed nine runs in 10 innings with just six strikeouts in the other two. On the season, he owns a 20.3 K-BB% with a 3.94 ERA that’s above all estimators except for a 4.11 ERA that takes his 90.4 mph EV into account. This will be his sixth start against Houston this year, so they’ve seen him quite a bit. A 4.48 implied run line lands Houston somewhere on the middle of the board. The Astros are an interesting contrarian play tonight as a high priced Manaea is probably not a pitcher a lot of players are going to attack. Another surprising factor in favor of Houston bats is that the A’s have one of the worst bullpens in baseball over the last 30 days (6.37 ERA/5.12 FIP/4.91 xFIP/4.22 SIERA).