Clayton Kershaw turned the clock back to 2017 with his highest strikeout rate (28.1%) and K-BB (24.4%) since that year, while setting a career high 53 GB%. So while his 17.4 HR/FB was the second highest mark of his career, next to last year’s 18.5 HR/FB, it was a bit less of a problem with more than half of his contact on the ground. Kershaw still allowed eight HRs and 12 Barrels (8.0% Barrels/BBE), despite an 87.8 mph EV that’s near average though. Estimators were about a run above his 2.16 ERA due to a .232 BABIP and 82.5 LOB%. While the Kershaw of half a decade ago is not returning, this is still a nice rebound, proving he’s still one of the best pitchers in the league. The Brewers were more potent against LHP this year (105 wRC+, 17 HR/FB), though still striking out a quarter of the time (24.9%). You’re really only looking at three bats in the projected lineup above a .180 ISO vs LHP since 2019 though, and one of them, Ryan Braun, left last night’s game with back issues. At $9.8K, Kershaw is just the third most expensive pitcher on the board and a strong pivot against higher priced arms in one of the most negative run environments in baseball in a matchup with some upside.
While we’re not yet sure what the A’s decide to do, Tim Anderson is likely to be one of the top overall bats on the board either way. If they go with the right-handed Mike Fiers, RHBs have a .321 wOBA and .351 xwOBA against him, while Anderson has a 120 wRC+ and .152 ISO against same handed pitching since 2019. If they decide to go with the lefty, Sean Manaea, while RHBs have just a .279 wOBA and .299 xwOBA against him since last season, Anderson has destroyed southpaws over that same span (171 wRC+, .264 ISO). Either way the A’s decide to go, Anderson has an advantage and projects well. He isn’t cheap ($4K on FanDuel), but should be worth the pay up.
Adam Wainwright has a 20.6 K% that’s second worst on the board, but with just a 5.7 BB%, while completing six innings in eight of 10 starts. His 3.15 ERA was about a run below estimators due to a .247 BABIP, but Wainwright was only supposed to be a back of the rotation piece this year. The Cardinals certainly would have signed for estimators in the low fours. However, with plenty of tough pitching across the board, Wainwright’s .344 wOBA/.366 xwOBA against LHBs since 2019 is the worst split on the board and makes him one of the pitching candidates to attack. The top LHB for the Padres has been Trent Grisham, projected to be in the leadoff spot. Grisham has a 112 wRC+ and .204 ISO vs RHP since last season and costs a reasonable $3.4K on FanDuel. While quite a few Padres struggled through September, Grisham had a 124 wRC+ over the last 30 days of the season and Barreled 11.1% of his contact this year.
Yu Darvish tops the board with a 31.3 K% and has completed six innings in 11 straight starts Luckily, only five of his 12 Barrels have left the yard (he’s made a few starts with the wind blowing in at Wrigley), but even his worst estimators (3.26 DRA) put his ERA right around three. The Marlins had just an 89 wRC+, 25.1 K% and 11.4 HR/FB vs RHP, as they have very little LH power and do most of their damage against LHP. In fact, they have very little power at all, as only three batters in a projected lineup that includes just two LHBs are above a .165 ISO vs RHP since 2019. Meanwhile, RHBs have a wOBA and xwOBA below .260 against Darvish since last season. The potential absence or limitation of Starling Marte further enhances Darvish’s prospects today. The most expensive pitcher on the board ($11K on FanDuel) is the top pitcher with the top matchup.