I’m feeling really creative right now and want to craft a Haiku to show it, so here goes nothing people.
Bats hitting balls out
Balls fired past batters’ bats
Baseball is the best
Call me the next Shel Silverstein why don’t you? I am a poet and I know it.
The listed prices are from DraftKings.
There is a handful of ace-quality pitching at the top of the board tonight. Gerrit Cole ($11,000) is the priciest of the bunch as the Yankees take on the Red Sox for the first time this year. While his strikeout rate of 29.3% is sky-high against Boston, their .380 xwOBA is even higher across the combined 140 plate appearances they have against him. I’d save that money and look elsewhere for pitching. If you’re trying to spend up, the other top-tier options are Cristian Javier ($10,800), Shohei Ohtani ($10,400), and Luis Castillo ($9,800).
Javier is in as pristine a matchup as you can get facing the Guardians. They have been miserable at the dish all year with the second-lowest wRC+ (79) against righties. With that being said, they hardly ever strike out, and Javier hasn’t replicated the elite xERA/xwOBA he had from last season. If I were to spend up, it would be for Ohtani-san who draws a Seattle squad slumping as of late. Over the last two weeks, they are 26th in wRC+ (73) and have the third-highest strikeout rate (28.7%) against right-handed pitching.
Castillo has been dealing recently and is coming off a fantastic outing against the Rangers where he hurled seven innings of one-run ball while striking out six. The Halos are hitting the ball well as of late with a 119 wRC+ vs RHP over the last two weeks, but the same could be said about Texas, so fire away on Castillo if you are so inclined.
Of the lower-priced options, the best value comes from the Orioles right-hander, Tyler Wells ($8,300). He is on a heater over his last five starts, particularly in the punchout department. He has a K log of eight, seven, eight, seven, and nine across this span. Now, he faces a Kansas City side that is 28th in wRC+ (79) with the sixth-highest strikeout percentage (25.3%) against righties over the last 30 days.
A couple of final true bargains are Garrett Whitlock ($6,500) and AJ Smith-Shawver ($6,500). Without Aaron Judge around, Whitlock should be able to dance around the rest of the Bronx bats. It’s a small sample, but the Yankees roster has a .210 xwOBA in 37 combined plate appearances against him.
As for Smith-Shawver, he makes his first career start against the Nationals who are 26th in wRC+ (86) vs RHP this year. Smith-Shawver started the year at High-A and progressed through the minors quickly thanks to his 1.09 ERA and 45 strikeouts through 33 innings. It’s bold to be taking anyone in their first career start, but in this matchup, it could be worth the risk for AJSS.
Picking what bats to target is always a struggle in my opinion. There’s so much variance around batters. They can hit one on the screws and it will lead to nothing, and that’s why I tend to stay away from wagering on batter props.
As for which lineups to stack this Friday, the most obvious stack is the Padres in Coors Field. Austin Gomber is on the bump for the Rockies, and Ha-Seong Kim ($4,200) has five doubles in ten at-bats against him. Gary Sánchez ($3,900) has also been on fire since joining the Friars and is 10-28 with two doubles and four homers across eight starts. Fernando Tatis Jr. ($6,400) is one of the priciest outfielders out there, but he’s also mashing the ball and should continue to do so in Coors.
Another stellar starter to target is Josiah Gray facing the Atlanta Braves. He has a 4.96 xFIP and they pummelled him back on opening day. Ronald Acuña Jr. ($6,500) is the obvious play here, but a better value is Eddie Rosario ($3,100). He is 7-21 with three homers and a double over the last week. Ozzie Albies ($4,400) has also been performing well and is 4-9 with a homer against Gray.
The final fade I’ll mention is of 43-year-old Southpaw Rich Hill. He ranks in the bottom 15% in xERA/xwOBA, 13% in whiff%, and 16% in chase rate. The Mets just teed off on Spencer Strider, and despite their inefficiencies at the plate shouldn’t have any trouble knocking Hill around. Tommy Pham ($2,900) doesn’t start very often but has done damage lately in the lineup. He is 7-15 with two doubles, three home runs, two stolen bases, five runs, and ten RBIs over his last four starts. He has also hit a dinger off Hill before, so I’d imagine he’s in the lineup tomorrow.
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)