Many were high on Aaron Nola coming into this season. Even out of those backers, few could have expected this kind of ceiling performance. The control has always been there; the bankable consistency is a new feature. If you’re going early at starting pitcher on Draft, you want that trust factor. Nola’s showing it. Who else can you put your trust in? It’s like Charlie Daniels said, you have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.
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Aaron Nola, SP: Early. Only twice this season has Nola given up more than 3 earned runs (twice at 3 exactly, as well). That’s out of 20 games started. All the ratios are golden. He’s even had a fair amount of elevated strikeout totals this season. With the risk of James Paxton with a bad back, I’ll favor Nola and the safety he offers.
Carlos Rodon, SP: Middle. I’m not sure the White Sock is on enough people’s radar since coming back. A strikeout pitcher, Rodon offers a decent K floor most games. It’s not without risk of some runs, but that’s why he’s a middle-round option. The Angels are also surprisingly bad against lefties, with a .290 team wOBA vs LHP.
Zack Wheeler, SP: Late. Wheeler makes a nice plan C. The Padres are a bottom 5 team in wRC+ in pretty much any split you choose. Wheeler is also potentially auditioning for trade candidates. Is there any greater motivation than to no longer be a Met?
Alex Bregman, IF: Early. The young Astro showed off why he’s a great play any day of the week at the All-Star Game. While he doesn’t possess mammoth power, plenty of his lower-launched balls have cleared the fences. Facing lefty Tyler Anderson is a cherry on top (.423 wOBA vs LHP).
Nelson Cruz, IF: Middle. While we’re on lefty killers, Cruz is worth a mention. He’s always raked against southpaws and this year is no different, as evidenced by a .368 ISO vs LHP. At home facing Andrew Suarez is a pretty decent spot for a mid-round pick.
Marcus Semien, IF: Late. Good hitters should mop the floor with Mike Minor at this point. He’s usually good for at least a homer or two. If I’m picking an A’s hitter to target him with, I’ll take their lead-off man, with the best chance to get 3 cracks at him. Semien also has slightly better splits against lefties.
Charlie Blackmon, OF: Early. Getting back to consistency here. Blackmon may not be showing the plus power of last year, but he’s a solid bet from production any time he’s at home. Floor with ceiling is always the way to go.
Tommy Pham, OF: Middle. Our old friend Homer Bailey comes back from the DL today. He was sporting an ERA of almost 10 in his 7 starts prior to landing there. Maybe the break will help get his ERA back to its normal area in the 5s. Pham also seems to be seeing the ball pretty well since the break. He has 4 BBs with a .545 OBP since last week.
Juan Soto, OF: Late. Soto’s pace cooled some going into the All-Star break, but he’s come back from it rejuvenated. Through 3 games, he has a homer and 2 doubles with a .571 average. Buy back in while you can afford it.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
The Mid-Atlantic is in the midst of a week-long thunderstorm wave. It’s going to be hard to have full confidence in the games playing in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Cleveland. Just know that going in.
Doing Lines In Vegas