Ironically, with similarly expected conditions to Yankee Stadium tonight (temperatures in the mid-60s and negligible wind effects), Weather Edge is showing a run and power decline in such games, which makes quite a bit more sense. Overall, this park has been a positive run environment, though not as much of a power haven as Yankee Stadium.
Dakota Hudson is the low man on the pitching pole today. His 18 K% is more than 10 points below any other pitcher today with a 5.08 SIERA that’s the only mark above four and a .335 xwOBA that’s more than 30 points higher than anyone else. What he does do is keep the ball on the ground for the most part (56.9%) with that mark jumping to 63.9% against RHBs, who had a .285 wOBA and .302 xwOBA against him this year. It makes one wonder if either Asdrubal Cabrera (99 wRC+, .194 ISO vs RHP) or Matt Adams (89 wRC+, .138 ISO) could see the field over Howie Kendrick (136 wRC+, .221 ISO) or Ryan Zimmerman (65 wRC+, .148 ISO) tonight, as LHBs had a .347 wOBA (.369 xwOBA) with a 49.6 GB% against Hudson, but why fix what’s not broken? Juan Soto (155 wRC+, .303 ISO) may be the top overall bat on the slate. Adam Eaton (108 wRC+, .152 ISO) may be your top value. The Nationals top the board with 4.23 implied runs.
On the brink of elimination, a lineup shuffle for the Cardinals in game three had no effect, and there’s probably not much more they could do in game four either. With a 3-0 series lead, Patrick Corbin likely has the longest leash tonight and costs less than $10K on either site. His 28.5 K%, 3.88 SIERA, 3.09 DRA and .303 xwOBA hardly stand out on a four man board that includes Gerrit Cole or even his own rotation, though he was likely one of the top 10 pitchers in the National League. Corbin did have that awful relief outing against the Dodgers, but still struck out 14 of the 41 he faced in the series. Corbin does have the highest aEV (88.9 mph) and Barrels/BBE (9.4%) on the board, so it’s the strikeout rate that really gives him value and it does make some middle of the order St Louis bats interesting here. Paul Goldschmidt (148 wRC+), Marcell Ozuna (92 wRC+), Jose Martinez (160 wRC+) and Tommy Edman (151 wRC+) all exceeded a .260 ISO vs LHP this year, while Yadier Molina (130 wRC+, .147 ISO) had a .382 xwOBA with the platoon advantage, but has the disadvantage of having the speed of a 37 year-old catcher.
The ALCS moves on to Yankee Stadium tonight, the more hitter friendly run environment on the board tonight. While certainly much more power friendly, in a vacuum, it’s not really a much higher run scoring environment than Washington overall. However, with temperatures expected to be in the mid-60s and negligible winds, according to the RG Weather Page, Weather Edge is showing a sizable run and power boost with more than a 50 game sample, surprisingly.
Gerrit Cole was simply lights out against the Rays, striking out 25 of the 54 batters he saw, while allowing a single solo HR over 15.2 innings. It’s certainly a tougher lineup he’ll face tonight, but his 39.9 K%, 2.62 SIERA, 2.36 DRA, 77.1 Z-Contact% and .238 xwOBA are all easily best on the board today. This, of course, also easily makes him the most expensive pitcher on the board by around $2K on either site, but he’s one of two pitchers we should be confident might get some length tonight. He was the best pitcher in baseball this year and not someone the Astros will look to remove at the first sign of trouble. A 3.38 implied run line for the Yankees is second lowest on the board and likely the lowest we’ve seen for this team in a home game in quite some time. Didi Gregorius (85 wRC+, .186 ISO) is the only batter in the Yankee lineup below a 115 wRC+ vs RHP this year and DJ LeMahieu (119 wRC+, .167 ISO) and Giovanny Urshela (135 wRC+, .210 ISO) are the only other ones below a .250 ISO. This is not going to be an easy lineup to navigate and anyone’s playable on a two game slate, but batters from either side of the plate are below a .250 wOBA and xwOBA against Cole this year. Aaron Judge had a 50.9 Hard% vs RHP this year.
On the other side, Luis Severino’s results were fine through three starts this year (35.4 K%, 1.50 ERA), but he did this in just 12 innings with a 10.1 SwStr%, 3.80 SIERA and 4.05 DRA. He struck out four of the 17 Twins he faced in his lone post-season start. However, if the Yankees were willing to pull James Paxton at the first sign of trouble, that doesn’t speak confidently for Severino, who’s not made it through more than 19 batters in any of his outings this year. The good news is that he’s just $6.9K on DraftKings. The bad news is that the Astros had a 123 wRC+ vs RHP this year and a 4.12 implied run line that’s second highest on the board. The projected lineup has just a 17 K% vs RHP this year. While the Astros will be facing one of the best bullpens in baseball behind Severino, most of those guys pitched two nights ago and it’s hard to match up with an offense that hits pitchers from either side of the plate well nearly all the way through. Each of the first seven batters in the projected order, who are the same as the first two games of this series, were above a 120 wRC+ and .210 ISO vs RHP this year.
Zack Greinke gets the ball for the Astros tonight coming off a disappointing outing vs. the Rays on 10/7 that saw him allow 6 earned on 3 and 2/3 innings, with 3 home runs allowed. Greinke has a 4.58 ERA / 4.29 FIP in the postseason with a 1.53 HR/9 over 70 and 2/3 innings. He had a 3.02 ERA / 3.28 FIP, 17.3 % K-BB and .276 xwOBA allowed over 68 and 2/3 regular season innings after being traded to Houston. His home/away and lefty/righty splits are very even over the past 5 years, so no advantage or disadvantage to be had there. He’ll face a Yankees lineup tonight that posted a 3rd best 114 wRC+ during the regular season with a 23.1% K rate.
The Yankees come into this game with a postseason-best .363 xwOBA as a team, but only have an implied total of 4.01 vs. Greinke tonight. Their projected lineup: 1. DJ LeMahieu (.364 xwOBA vs. RHP this year), 2. Aaron Judge (.383), 3. Brett Gardner (.312), 4. Edwin Encarnacion (.339), 5. Giancarlo Stanton (.370), 6. Gleyber Torres (.330), 7. Gary Sanchez (.379), 8. Didi Gregorius (.291), 9. Gio Urshela (.363). Not much of a sample size here, but Aaron Judge has swung it well with a .528 xwOBA over 14 PA in the playoffs thus far. Gleyber Torres is right behind him with a .472 mark in 13 PA. Once Greinke is chased from the game, The Yankees will face a tough Astros ‘pen that has allowed just a .288 xwOBA over the past 30 days.
Masahiro Tanaka gets the nod for the Yankees and has his work cut out for him as his opposition has the highest implied total (4.99) on the slate by about a full run. Tanaka last pitched on 10/5, so he’ll be pitching on full rest. Tanaka posted a decent 4.45 ERA / 4.29 xFIP over 182 regular season innings but saw his K% shrink to a career-low 19.6%. He does have a 1.54 ERA / 3.61 xFIP in the postseason, but in a small sample of 35 innings. In terms of xwOBA allowed, Tanaka has been a bit better at home (.279 allowed at home, .317 away since 2015) but nothing too crazy. The Astros led all of baseball with a 123 wRC+ vs. RHP and also had the lowest K rate in the league vs. RHP at 18.4%
The Astros come into this game with just a .291 xwOBA over 177 plate appearances in the postseason, though we have a much larger sample of regular season stats to tell us that this is probably the most dangerous offense in baseball. Their projected lineup for tonight: 1. Springer (.389 xwOBA v. RHP this year), 2. Brantley (.377), 3. Altuve (.325), 4. Bregman (.370), 5. Alvarez (.414), 6. Gurriel (.318), 7. Correa (.363), 8. Chirinos (.284), 9. Reddick (.309). Though the Astros have mostly been cold so far in the postseason, Jose Altuve and Robinson Chirinos both have xwOBAs over .425, and Michael Brantley has a decent .385 mark as well. The coldest Astro has been Correa with a .186 xwOBA, which isn’t too much of a surprise given that he played just 3 regular season games over the final 6 weeks of the regular season. Once Tanaka is chased, the Astros will face a Yanks’ bullpen that has allowed a .312 xwOBA over the past month.
Adam Wainwright is starting for the Cardinals this afternoon and has quietly been an effective pitcher in his age 38 season despite appearing to be in decline in 2017 and 2018. Wainwright posted a 4.19 ERA / 4.39 xFIP / 4.70 SIERA with a 1.43 WHIP, 12% K-BB, .327 xwOBA allowed and 6.9% barrel rate over 171 and 2/3 innings this year. It’s worth noting that Wainwright has been a much better pitcher at home: since 2015, Wainwright has posted a 3.06 ERA / 3.44 FIP, 12.7% K-BB and .311 xwOBA allowed at home compared to a 6.09 ERA / 4.83 FIP, 10.2% K-BB and .341 xwOBA allowed on the road. Wainwright has also been a bit more vulnerable to lefties, posting a .343 xwOBA vs. LHB compared to a .309 xwOBA allowed vs. RHP since 2015. Wainwright last pitched on 10/6 (7 and 2/3 innings, no runs, 8 Ks) so he is pitching on full rest.
The Nationals had just a 100 wRC+ vs. RHP during the regular season, but do have a league-leading .350 xwOBA vs. RHP over the past 30 days. They currently have an implied total of just 3.75 vs. Wainwright. Here’s their projected order: 1. Turner (.339 xwOBA vs. RHP this year), 2. Eaton (.348), 3. Rendon (.410), 4. Soto (.422), 5. Kendrick (.413), 6. Zimmerman (.327), 7. Taylor (.254), 8. Gomes (.268). Rendon and Kendrick have been the Nats’ most productive hitters this postseason with xwOBAs over .425. Taylor (.189), Gomes (.203) and Turner (.261) have struggled a bit. If BVP is your thing, it’s worth nothing that Ryan Zimmerman has an other-worldly .833 xwOBA vs. Wainwright over 40 PA since 2015. Once Wainwright is out of the game, they’ll face a Cardinals ‘pen that has allowed a .320 xwOBA over the past 30 days, regular season and postseason included.
Max Scherzer gets the nod for the Nationals and last pitched on 10/7 versus the Dodgers, allowing just 1 earned run over 7 innings with a 7/3 K/BB ratio. 35 year old Scherzer is coming off another great regular season and actually set career bests in K%, K-BB%, FIP and SwStr%. Scherzer is a bit more vulnerable vs. lefties (.279 xwOBA vs. LHB, .224 xwOBA vs. RHP since 2015) but the Cardinals project to have just four lefties in their lineup today. Overall, the Cardinals had a 93 wRC+ and 23.2% K rate vs. RHP on the year. The Cardinals currently have just a 3.25 implied line vs. Scherzer.
Here’s the Cardinals projected lineup: 1. Fowler (.338 xwOBA vs. RHP this year), 2. Wong (.308), 3. Goldschmidt (.343), 4. Ozuna (.380), 5. Molina (.305), 6. Carpenter (.325), 7. Edman (.324), 8. DeJong (.328). Marcell Ozuna has been their hottest hitter in the playoffs with a .456 xwOBA, followed by Paul Goldschmidt at .408. The rest of the projected lineup has been held under a .285 xwOBA thus far. The coldest bats are Paul DeJong (.169) and Yadi Molina (.217). When / if the Cardinals chase Scherzer from the game, they will face a Nationals bullpen that has allowed a .323 xwOBA over the past 30 days.
Although each of the games tonight are double elimination, meaning any pitchers are candidates for a quick hook, Stephen Strasburg may have the longest leash of the four, simply because the Washington bullpen has been in shambles all season. Patrick Corbin should be ready for an extended outing if necessary, but if Strasburg pitches anything like he has in his previous two outings though, he may take care of the entire thing by himself. He’s struck out 14 of the 31 batters he’s faced, allowing just five hits and a single run without a walk. For the season, he’s tied for the top strikeout rate on the board (29.9%) and in sole position of the top SIERA (3.49), DRA (2.13), Z-O-Swing (25.6%), GB rate (51.1%) and xwOBA (.263). The problem, of course, is that he has the worst park neutral matchup on the board (Dodgers 115 wRC+, 21 K%, 17.9 HR/FB vs RHP). The lineup is expected to feature a front five all with at least a .365 wOBA against RHP this year with only Justin Turner (.182 ISO) below a .239 ISO. Fortunately for Strasburg, this is not a neutral park. It’s a very negative run environment, but that also goes to establish how difficult the Dodger offense really is as well. Strasburg was elite against batters from either side of the plate this year (both below a .280 wOBA and xwOBA). While he and Buehler rate very closely overall tonight, Strasburg may be the better value (and perhaps the top value) at $300 less on FanDuel (exactly $10K).
Walker Buehler has the highest aEV on the board tonight (88.6 mph), but has the top FIP (3.01) and allowed the lowest rate of Barrels/BBE (5.4%), while comparing very favorably with Strasburg and Flaherty in terms of strikeout rate (29.2%), SIERA (3.50), DRA (2.89) and xwOBA (.275). While he’s facing a nearly neutral offense vs RHP (100 wRC+) in a very negative run environment, the Nationals had just a 21 K% vs RHP that matches the Dodgers for the lowest mark on the board. In fact, tonight’s projected lineup features only two batters above a 20.5 K% vs RHP this year, neither in the top half of the lineup. Batters from either side of the plate were within a .260-.280 wOBA & xwOBA range against Buehler this season, making Anthony Rendon (153 wRC+, .271 ISO vs RHP) and Juan Soto (155 wRC+, .303 ISO) easily the top plays here, even if it’s incredibly obvious. Adam Eaton (108 wRC+, .152 ISO) is fairly cheap though. When including price tags, the margins favoring one pitcher over another tonight are extremely close. It’s really going to matter which way the ball bounces, though Buehler has been a bit prone to blowups, especially in the second half (four ERs or more four times in 13 starts). However, he dominated the Nationals, striking out eight of 21 batters with three walks, a hit and no runs in the first game of this series and is the most rested starter on the board.
Wednesday’s MLB slate features two elimination games in the National League. This means that no starting pitcher is safe from the quick hook, although the Cardinals certainly have their best pitcher on the mound. Jack Flaherty struck out eight of the 29 Braves he faced, walking just one with a single HR and three earned runs despite keeping 60% of his contact on the ground. He ties for the slate lead with a 29.9 K% this year and his 2.75 ERA tops the board by more than a full half run, though his estimators are more in line with the two pitchers in Los Angeles tonight. Flaherty’s 80.6 Z-Contact% is best on the board by nearly four full points and his 86.1 mph aEV is best on the board by more than a mile per hour. At Flaherty’s $7.4K price tag on DraftKings, he may be the best value there. The Braves had a 23.2 K% vs RHP this year, although today’s specific lineup features just four batters below a 17 K%.
Offensively, it’s a very tight board with only the Nationals outside a 3.75 to 4.0 implied run range. Atlanta is the much more hitter friendly run environment here too. The surprise in this lineup is Adam Duvall (91 wRC+, .247 ISO vs RHP this year), who’s had some big hits in this series, replacing Matt Joyce. While Flaherty had just 18 points separating his wOBA between RH and LH batters this season (both below .270), his xwOBA pushed that past 60 points (LHBs .306), making this a questionable decision. A healthy Freddie Freeman (154 wRC+, .280 ISO) would be the top bat in this spot, but there’s some question about how healthy he really is. Ozzie Albies (98 wRC+, .177 ISO) and Nick Markakis (112 wRC+, .147 ISO) are more league average bats against RHP, while Brian McCann (97 wRC+, .178 ISO) is certainly viable behind the plate here.
Mike Foltynewicz has the worst season numbers on the board. His 21.4 K% is the only mark below 29% and his estimators (all above four) are the only ones above four. In fact, he owns the only DRA above three and his .325 xwOBA is worst on the board by exactly 50 points. That said, he struck out seven of 24 Cardinals, allowing just three hits without a run in his first start of the series and finished up on quite the run. After being recalled to the majors in August, he has a 2.65 ERA and 3.77 FIP with a 16.5 K-BB% in 10 starts. With the top park neutral matchup on the board (Cardinals 93 wRC+, 23.2 K% vs RHP), Folty is at least viable in a secondary DraftKings spot at the lowest price on the board ($6K). Dexter Fowler (107 wRC+, .179 ISO vs RHP) is the lowest priced Cardinal on DraftKings ($3.7K) and potentially the top value bat in this game (also below $3K on FanDuel). Marcell Ozuna (113 wRC+, .224 ISO) has been heating up in this series. Paul DeJong (104 wRC+, .228 ISO) is the only other batter in the lineup above a .200 ISO vs RHP this year. Yadiers Molina (77 wRC+) is the only batter in the lineup outside a 97-113 wRC+ range vs RHP this year.
Perhaps a surprising thing about Minnesota is that it is considered a positive run environment. However, with temperatures potentially below 60 degrees at game time tonight, that may not really be the case tonight. That said, it’s still virtually impossible to side with Jake Odorizzi tonight, especially in an elimination spot (though anyone expected to go through the order more than once is GPP viable on a four game slate). His overall numbers are fine this year (27.1 K%, 4.14 SIERA, 3.36 FIP, 4.23 DRA, 78.8 Z-Contact%, .296 xwOBA). Even his board high 7.8% Barrels/BBE is not too bad and he ended the season on quite the run, striking out 26 of his last 66 batters, but 44 of those batters were White Sox and Tigers. Here, he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher (35 GB%) with a career reverse split in a park that generally favors RH power, facing a lineup loaded with such. The good news for Twins fans is that he exhibited a more normal split this year (RHBs .255 wOBA, LHBs .324). Unfortunately, Statcast doesn’t agree (RHBs .309 xwOBA, RHBs .282). Again, that’s not a poor number, but this is the Yankees against whom he experienced his worst start of the season (9 ER, 2 HR, 4 IP) in July. They’re expected to send out six batters above a .200 ISO vs RHP this year and two of the three below that mark are DJ LeMahieu (119 wRC+ vs RHP) and Giancarlo Stanton (128 wRC+). What order the Yankees send those batters out in is a more complicated matter because virtually any order makes some sense, but LeMahieu and Aaron Judge (121 wRC+, .251 ISO) are virtual locks at the top of the order, while Edwin Encarnacion (121 wRC+, .266 ISO), Gary Sanchez (123 wRC+, .302 ISO) and Gleyber Torres (121 wRC+, .256 ISO) are additional premium bats against RHP.
Normally, Max Scherzer is the very definition of a safe daily fantasy pitcher and let’s not infer for a minute that he’s not the top pitcher on the board tonight, even under difficult circumstances. Those circumstances are outside of tonight’s two negative run environments and against one of the most difficult offenses against RHP in baseball (115 wRC+, 11.1 K-BB%, 17.9 HR/FB, 26.2 Hard-Soft%). The Dodgers seem to sprout quality LH bats with power. In fact, among those in the projected lineup tonight, each of the first four LHBs (Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager) are above a .360 wOBA and .230 ISO vs RHP this year. There’s also the prospect of an elimination game hanging over Scherzer’s head. The good news is that he’ll likely get a longer leash than most pitchers do in such a game, not only because he’s Max Freakin Scherzer, but also because the Nationals don’t have an arm to bring out of the bullpen that they’d trust. Strasburg can’t pitch every day and Corbin got lit up last night in relief. Among those with more than three starts, Scherzer tops the board with a 35.1 K%, 16.4 SwStr%, 2.93 SIERA, 2.48 DRA, 78.2 Z-Contact%, and .251 xwOBA plus he costs less than $10K on DraftKings, which may make him that site’s top value despite still being the most expensive pitcher on the board.
The game in St Louis features the two highest ground ball rates in baseball this year (more than 100 IP), but also the only two strikeout rates on the board lower than 23% in Dallas Keuchel (18.7 K%, 60.1 GB%) and Dakota Hudson (18 K%, 56.9 GB%). They are also the only pitchers on the board above a .300 wOBA (both are above .330) and above 35.5% 95+ mph EV (both are above 38%). While these are clearly the bottom two pitchers on the board from a daily fantasy standpoint and further burdened by the prospect of elimination (in Hudson’s case) or working on just three days rest (in Keuchel’s case), none the less, either must be considered in a secondary role on DraftKings, where they’re the two lowest priced pitchers on the board. One reason is the favorable environment in St Louis, a clear pitcher’s park in the cooler months of the season. Another is the fact that it’s hard to call any pitcher really safe today. Even Max Scherzer fails to fit that description in an elimination game against the Dodgers.
All that said, this is certainly not a spot to avoid batters either. RHBs were right around a .340 wOBA and xwOBA against Keuchel this season, still with a 59.3 GB%, but much lower than LHBs (.277 wOBA, 70 GB%). The frightening thing here though, is that this St Louis lineup features just three batters above a .150 ISO vs LHP this year and also just three above a 97 wRC+. Tommy Edman (151 wRC+, .262 ISO) is just one of two above both and he’s batting seventh. The other, and clearly the most coveted batter in this lineup, is Paul Goldschmidt (148 wRC+, .298 ISO).
For the road team, Hudson’s splits have been even worse. LHBs are above a .350 wOBA and xwOBA this year with a ground ball rate (50.2%) nearly 15 points lower. This makes Freddie Freeman (154 wRC+, .280 ISO vs RHP) the clear top bat here, but also adds value to cheaper bats in Nick Markakis (112 wRC+, .147 ISO), Matt Joyce (131 wRC+, .163 ISO) and Brian McCann (97 wRC+, .178 ISO), who has very similar numbers to Ozzie Albies against RHP (98 wRC+, .177 ISO) this year.
Charlie Morton is just third best on the board with a 30.4 K%, but also keeps the ball on the ground at a decent rate (48.2%). His 5.0% Barrels/BBE is only third best on the board, but the two pitchers ahead of him made just a combined 16 starts this year. He did have his worst start of the season against the Astros near the end of August (4 IP – 6 ER – 4 K), but then allowed a total of nine runs over five September starts after that. Saying that you’d rather be a RHP facing the Astros than a LHP is like saying you’d rather be stabbed than shot. This is still and offense with a 123 wRC+, 18.4 K% and 17.8 HR/FB vs RHP. The negative run environment in Tampa Bay helps somewhat. Considering park, cost (less than $9.5K), potential ownership and upside, Morton should be usable in GPPs, but he’s certainly not the safe play. Dangerous is the fact each of the first seven batters in the Houston lineup are at or above a 125 wRC+ and .219 ISO vs RHP this year and Jose Altuve owns those “low” numbers in both instances. While Morton has a bit of platoon split, LHBs are still below a .300 wOBA and xwOBA against him. It probably makes Michael Brantley (146 wRC+, .226 ISO vs RHP) and Yordan Alvarez (181 wRC+, .342 ISO) two of the more interesting plays in this lineup. The former is within $100 of $3.5K on either site. The thing to keep in mind in an elimination game is that the leash is going to be fairly short, almost no matter who’s on the mound.
This matchup between the Rays and Astros has just a 7.5 O/U with two aces taking the mound in Minute Maid Park.
The Astros currently have a solid 4.98 implied total ahead of facing Blake Snell, whose had a bit of an up and down season that ultimately ended with a 4.29 ERA, 3.31 xFIP and 3.56 SIERA, 24.3% K-BB and 1.27 WHIP. Snell is a huge question mark coming into this game as he just recently returned from a two month absence (elbow surgery) on 9-17 and has made 3 starts since, failing to reach 3 innings pitched in any start. It really wouldn’t be surprising for Snell to show rust versus a stacked Astros lineup in this spot and get yanked relatively early. He also has the talent to shut them down. The Rays do have a league-best 3.21 SIERA from their bullpen over the past 30 days, and Snell will likely be on a very short leash. Carlos Correa (.436 xwOBA vs. LHP this year), Jose Altuve (.421), George Springer (.397), Yordan Alvarez (.390), Alex Bregman (.382), Yuli Gurriel (.322), Michael Brantley (.316), Martin Maldonado (.272) and Jake Marisnick (.235) are all in the Astros projected lineup for tonight. Bregman and Springer have been the ‘Stros hottest bats with xwOBAs over .400 over the past 2 weeks. Gurriel (.179) and Alvarez (.251) have been their coldest bats.
The Rays have just a 2.52 implied total vs. Gerrit Cole, who has been insanely good all year and has posted an otherworldly 1.07 ERA / 1.50 FIP / 1.64 xFIP, 48.7% K rate, 4.6% BB rate and 0.64 WHIP over the past 30 days in 42 innings pitched. It is worth noting that those numbers came against terrible offenses (Seattle twice, Kansas City, Texas and LAA without Trout). The Rays faced Cole as recently on 8/28 in Minute Maid Park and Cole did give up 4 earned runs over 6 and 2/3 innings, though he also posted a 14/1 K/BB ratio and 0.66 xFIP in that game. If/when Cole is chased from the game, the Rays will face an Astros bullpen that has a 5th best 3.49 SIERA over the past 30 days. Austin Meadows (.388 xwOBA vs. RHP this year), Ji-Man Choi (.375), Brandon Lowe (.365), Tommy Pham (.348), Yandy Diaz (.338), Willy Adames (.328), Travis D’Arnaud (.310 since joining TB), Joey Wendle (.295) and Kevin Kiermaier (.293) make up the projected lineup for the Rays tonight. Meadows, Choi and Lowe all have xwOBAs over .440 over the past 2 weeks, while Pham, d’Arnaud and Wendle have been cold with xwOBAs under .260. Most Rays bats are dirt cheap across the industry for this matchup.
WeatherEdge is projecting a decrease in home runs, and to a lesser degree a decrease in total runs for this matchup between the Twins and Yanks in New York. Still, the game currently has a healthy 9.5 O/U, two runs higher than Rays @ Astros game.
The Yankees will face off versus right-handed Randy Dobnak, who was called up late in the year for the Twins and provided a solid 1.59 ERA / 2.90 FIP / 3.77 SIERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 15.3% K-BB over 28 and 1/3 innings between the bullpen and rotation. Though it’s a small sample, Dobnak has been more effective vs. lefties (.261 xwOBA allowed in 59 PA) than righties (.316 xwOBA allowed in 59 PA). Once Dobnak is done, the Yankees will face a Twins bullpen that has the 3rd best SIERA (3.24) over the past month. Gary Sanchez (.381 xwOBA vs. RHP this year), Aaron Judge (.380), Gio Urshela (.365), DJ LeMahieu (.364), Giancarlo Stanton (.362), Edwin Encarnacion (.356), Gleyber Torres (.327), Brett Gardner (.312) and Didi Gregorius (.286) make up all nine options in the Yanks’ projected order. Stanton and Judge have been the Yankees hottest hitters over the past 2 weeks with xwOBAs over .440, while Gregorius and Torres have been cold, each having an xwOBA below .200.
The Twins will matchup with Masahiro Tanaka and currently have a 4.07 implied total which feels a bit low given how stacked this Twins lineup is. Tanaka posted a middling 4.45 ERA / 4.27 FIP / 4.29 xFIP this year, and a similar 4.32 ERA / 3.97 FIP / 4.20 xFIP over the past 30 days. By xwOBA, Tanaka has been mostly platoon neutral over the past 3 years. When Tanaka is chased from the game, the Twins will face a Yanks bullpen that has an 8th best 3.68 SIERA over the past 30 days. Nelson Cruz (.405 xwOBA vs. RHP this year), Jason Castro (.386), Jorge Polanco (.355), Jake Cave (.355), Miguel Sano (.350), Luis Arraez (.342), Max Kepler (.340), Eddie Rosario (.326) and Marwin Gonzalez (.313) are all options in the Twins projected order. Cave, Cruz and Sano all have an xwOBA over .425 over the past 2 weeks. Luis Arraez is the only aforementioned name with an xwOBA below .320 over the past 2 weeks. Jake Cave stands out as a very nice value on both major sites, especially given his recent success.
Stephen Strasburg just finished up perhaps the best season of his career by peripherals (29.9 K%, 3.32 ERA, 2.13 DRA, .263 xwOBA), numbers that make him seem merely average on this board though. An added attraction is that he transitions to one of the most negative run environments in baseball tonight. A detraction is that the Dodger offense (115 wRC+, 17.9 HR/FB vs RHP) resides in that environment. It’s tough to side with a RHP against this offense with a projected lineup that includes five batters (Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Will Smith) above a .360 wOBA and .230 ISO vs RHP this year. However, it’s tough to stack up this offense against a pitcher who held batters from either side of the plate below a .280 wOBA and .150 ISO this season as well. Anything goes on a four game slate, but this may be the least attractive spot on the board today.
Clayton Kershaw showed signs of his former perennial Cy Young candidate form this year, but also struggled down the stretch, allowing 13 of his 28 HRs this season over his last seven starts. He did finish up the season with six shutout innings in San Diego and another scoreless relief inning in San Francisco, but still had a 6.00 FIP over this span and a dangerous proposition against a Washington team with a 111 wRC+ vs LHP this year without even regarding his familiar post-season narrative. While Kershaw’s post-season failures have been emphasized, he’s also had many quality playoff outings as well. However, players will still probably want to look at Anthony Rendon (.429 wOBA, .301 ISO) and Howie Kendrick (.431 wOBA, .239 ISO), who both hammered LHP this year. Considering that Kershaw had virtually no split this year (LHBs .269 wOBA, .174 ISO), Juan Soto (.355 wOBA, .195 ISO) is just a quality bat, who could be a bit under-valued here. This too is not one of the betters spots on the board for either side today.
Temperatures are expected to be over 30 degrees cooler in New York than Atlanta today and while there appears to be a strong wind, it seems to be blowing across the field, according to weather edge. This still may be the game players want to target for offense tonight. Jose Berrios has both the second lowest strikeout rate (23.2%) and aEV (86.5 mph) on the board today. His 3.68 ERA and 3.85 FIP are quality marks as well, but his 4.44 DRA is actually worst on the board. And while it’s still a better than average mark, his .303 xwOBA is also just one of two above .300 today. In fact, batters from either side of the plate had a .303 xwOBA against him this year with an actual wOBA within three points. Though he seemed to straighten himself out in September (two runs or less in three of his last four starts), Berrios did allow at least three runs in each of his previous six starts. This Yankee lineup is completely stacked. Virtually anyone in it could bat third or eighth. Among those projected, only Didi Gregorius (83 wRC+, .187 ISO) was below a 118 wRC+ vs RHP this year and only Giancarlo Stanton (.156) and DJ LeMahieu (.166) along with Gregorius were below a .200 ISO against RHP this year.
James Paxton gets the ball for the Yankees to start this series. He had an amazing September (1.05 ERA, 2.20 FIP, .245 xwOBA, 30.6 K%), but he also left his last start of the season after a single inning due to glute tightness. He calls it a non-issue and could have amazing upside for just $6.9K in this spot, but the Twins had a 126 wRC+ vs LHP that’s the highest split on the board today. Paxton at less than 100% could be a problem here. The projected lineup for the Twins features four batters above a .400 wOBA and .300 ISO vs LHP this year, all with more than 120 PAs: Mitch Garver, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano and C.J. Cron. Beware that the Yankees do have an abundance of quality right-handers they can bring out of the pen if need be here, but these Twins bats were also very strong against RHP as well.
Temperatures in the mid to upper 90s for the second straight day should make Atlanta the most positive run environment on the board again today, though these are projected to be two middle of the board offenses, each within a quarter of a run of four implied runs. Jack Flaherty finished the season with a second half as hot as the weather in Atlanta today. Over his last 16 starts, he had a 0.98 ERA with a 2.32 FIP, 3.27 xFIP and 27.2 K-BB%. His 86.1 mph aEV this season is lowest on the board. Considering that both teams emptied the bullpen last night and the Cardinals have a one game lead, St Louis may be more incentivized to push him deeper into this game. Flaherty is the second most expensive arm on FanDuel, but possibly a strong value on DraftKings for $8.2K, despite the unfriendly conditions. The Atlanta lineup has just a 19.3 combined K% vs RHP this year, according to PlateIQ with only three non-pitcher bats above a 20 K%, so it’s not going to be easy.
Mike Foltynewicz is worst on the board in terms of strikeout rate (21.4%), Z-O-Swing (44.9%), SIERA (4.71), FIP (4.97) and 95+ mph EV (39.5%), many of those stats by a wide margin. However, since returning to the majors in August, he generated a 2.65 ERA and 3.77 FIP with a 23.8 K% over his final 10 starts. He also faces the worst offense on the board (Cardinals 93 wRC+, 23.2 K%, 13.9 HR/FB vs RHP). Folty is certainly a useful secondary arm on DraftKings at the lowest price point on the board ($6.2K). This is also a spot to look at some St Louis bats as well. Dexter Fowler (109 wRC+, .183 ISO) and Marcell Ozuna (114 wRC+, .228 ISO) may have the most value. RHBs (.328 wOBA, .337 xwOBA) actually performed better against Foltynewicz than LHBs (.307 wRC+, .311 xwOBA) this year.
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