Happy Ohtani day to all those who observe. The playoff picture is rounding into form as we near the end of August. There’s a big series in Milwaukee as the Reds try to keep their division hopes alive against the Brewers. The Padres play host to the Dodgers as they try to keep their playoff bid alive. We’ll also get a MLB pitching debut along with a handful of aces, both past and present.
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Brandon Woodruff, SP: $10,300 – He has given up 2 ERs and struck out 12 in 11.2 IP against the Reds this year. All in all, he has 3.02 FIP along with a 29.3% K rate in his career against them across 47 IP. A small sample to be sure but this is a big game for both teams and the Brewers ace often shines when it matters most.
Zach Plesac, SP: $7,900 – The Rangers own the worst wRC+ in baseball since July 1 and since then they traded their best hitter. Plesac has struggled mightily this year, noticeably his k rate has dropped from 27.7% to 16.3%. YIKES, but not all is bad as his swinging strike rate is still a couple of points about league average at 11.3%. His command has been very good and his strand rate is slightly below league average. Plenty of signs point to some positive regression and the lowly Rangers might just be what the doctor ordered.
Jared Walsh, C/1B: $3,000 – It’s going to be another hot and humid night in Baltimore. It’s unclear who the O’s will be sending to the mound in this but attacking Orioles pitching in Camden during August is always a good idea.
Brandon Belt, C/1B: $3,100 – The wheels have officially come off for Taijuan Walker. He’s given up at least 3 runs in 6 of his late 7 starts. Belt currently has .911 OPS and has quietly been a very productive hitter when healthy.
Jorge Polanco, 2B: $3,500 – He has quietly put together an incredible fantasy season. 23 homers, 10 steals, 148 R + RBI, and a .825 OPS. Nick Pivetta had a strong start to the season but has given up 4 ERs in 4 of his last 7 starts.
Josh Rojas, 2B: $3,000 – Mitch Keller was a highly regarded prospect but judging by his big-league performance to this point you’d never know. Control has been his big issue, 11% BB rate across 136.1 IP, on his way to a 6.07 ERA.
Josh Donaldson, 3B: $2,900 – He has 2 homers in the last 3 games and has collected hits in 8 of his last 10 games. A 2–3-man Twins stack is as far as I’d go due to their overall lack of depth after injuries and trades.
Rafael Devers, 3B: $4,000 – The Red Sox face Bailey Ober tonight. Ober doesn’t have anything resembling a secondary pitch. Sure, he throws a slider, change, and curveball, but all three of those pitches have a wOBA of at least .383 against. That’s… not great.
My advice here is to take whose left of Polanco or Rojas. Tatis has tough match-up against Walker Buehler. Trea Turner will garner a lot of ownership against Blake Snell. The Blue Jays pair of Semien and Bichette are out of the hitter-friendly park in Buffalo and face a tough match-up against Giolito. IF you’re hard-pressed not to play Polanco or Rojas, Brandon Crawford ($3,300) would be next in line for me.
Justin Upton, OF: $2,900 – Price and opportunity. He has been dealing with a calf issue so make sure he’s in the line-up. However, you can’t beat a $2.9k 3-hole hitter in a great spot.
Kyle Schwarber, OF: $3,500 – The big man loves his 4 seamers. Since 2018 his low wOBA against that pitch vs RHP is .367. Bailey Ober throws his nearly 60% of the time and as I mentioned, doesn’t have great offerings to get people off that pitch.
Franmil Reyes, OF: $3,200 – Jake Latz is scheduled to make his MLB debut tonight. The 25-year-old doesn’t have a prospect pedigree. He’s only racked up 9 IP in AAA so far. His BB% has hovered around 10% in his last couple stops. His k-rates have been good but he has also been old in comparison to the level he has pitched at to this point. I don’t think his debut is going to go well as he dreamed as kid.
Bryce Harper, OF: $4,100 – If you’re playing the chalk then this is your leverage play. His ownership numbers are going to be low with a LHP on the mound and he is still one of the games best regardless of who is on the mound.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Minimal chance of rain across the slate tonight. It shouldn’t impact any games.
Doing Lines In Vegas
Nationals (Josiah Gray) at Marlins (Edward Cabrera) O/U 7 runs scored – take the over. Cabrera will his major league debut tonight. He started at A ball this year and worked his way through AAA. His “stuff” is ahead of his command as he’s struck out 37.2% at AAA while walking 14.7%. Washington has the 3rd best walk rate since August 1st. Gray is a prime regression candidate, currently has .202 BABIP against with a 100% left on base rate while only generating groundballs 24.3% of the time.