Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians

With the playoff picture starting to come more into focus, we have another packed schedule Wednesday. This will be one of the last opportunities to play the Tiers contest during the regular season, so let’s break things down to see how this particular slate might play out.

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Tier 1

OF Ronald Acuña Jr., ATL at KC
OF Mookie Betts, BOS at TEX
3B Rafael Devers, BOS at TEX
1B/OF Danny Santana, TEX vs. BOS

Our job of narrowing down the choices here might be a little easier with Betts leaving Tuesday’s game against the Rangers with a sore foot. He missed some time earlier this month with a foot issue and the Red Sox are out of the playoff chase, so it seems unlikely he’ll play in this contest. Acuña left Tuesday’s game against the Royals with hip soreness, so he might not play, either, with the Braves already having locked up a playoff spot.

Devers has started to show some signs of life again after being stuck in a slump by hitting 11-for-39 (.282) with two home runs over his past eight games. However, this matchup against Kolby Allard might not be the right time to deploy him since Devers only has a 90 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers compared to a 150 wRC+ against righties.

That leaves us with Santana for his matchup against Rick Porcello. At least it’s a favorable one since Porcello has posted a 1.41 WHIP and has allowed 1.7 HR/9 this season. Santana is also swinging a hot bat right now, hitting 10-for-33 (.303) with two home runs and a double across his past 10 games.

Tier 2

3B Anthony Rendon, WAS vs. PHI
SS Trea Turner, WAS vs. PHI
SS Francisco Lindor, CLE at CWS
OF Oscar Mercado, CLE at CWS
1B/2B Howie Kendrick, WAS vs. PHI

We have another tricky group of players here considering three of them are on the Nationals, who just played a doubleheader yesterday. They clinched a playoff spot in the process, so this could be a day in which they rest several of their regulars. If they do, Rendon and Turner likely would be two players who sit since they played both games of the doubleheader. Kendrick might still be in the lineup and is a viable option if he does play. Drew Smyly has struggled with a 6.51 FIP and Kendrick has a .420 wOBA against lefties.

The duo of Lindor and Mercado are extremely appealing for their matchup against Ross Detwiler, who has allowed 26 runs over his past 25 2/3 innings. Lindor is the bigger name and is having a spectacular season, so he figures to be included in more entries than Mercado. That means if you’re looking to go the contrarian route in tournament play, Mercado might be your man. He’s been excellent for the Indians down the stretch, hitting 26-for-75 (.347) with five home runs and six doubles over his past 18 games.

Tier 5

3B Yoan Moncada, CWS vs. CLE
2B/OF Jeff McNeil, NYM vs. MIA
OF Shin-Soo Choo, TEX vs. BOS
OF Willie Calhoun, TEX vs. BOS
C Willson Contreras, CHC at PIT
C Christian Vazquez, BOS at TEX
OF Jordan Luplow, CLE at CWS
OF Adam Duvall, ATL at KC

There are plenty of options here, so let’s try to narrow down the field. Moncada has been great for the White Sox, but avoiding him might be prudent since he’ll have to take his hacks against Shane Bieber. Duvall has home run upside and probably will play in the event Acuña sits, but he’s extremely risky based on his 29.4% strikeout rate. Contreras has gone cold with the Cubs falling behind in the playoff race, hitting 5-for-30 (.167) over his past nine games. Vazquez has hit well lately and does have a favorable matchup versus a lefty. The issue is his upside isn’t as high as some of the other choices we have in this tier.

The Mets continue to cling to their faint playoff chances in a matchup against Robert Dugger, who they roughed up for six runs in a previous meeting this season. Their lineup could be in for another big night, and if that’s the case, McNeil is likely to be right in the thick of the action. He has at least two hits in four of his past eight games and has shown plenty of power with his .213 ISO, making him one of the most appealing options among this group.

Both Choo and Calhoun are viable targets against Porcello, especially if you deployed Santana in the first tier. It’s difficult to argue against either option, although Calhoun might be the player to focus on of the two. He’s played well now that he finally has received regular playing time, pairing his .351 wOBA with a .258 ISO. It’s also impressive he has just a 16% strikeout rate.

With all of that being said, deploying Luplow might be the route to take in this tier. Considering how poorly Detwiler has pitched, the Indians could be in line for plenty of runs. Luplow isn’t the most well-known name in their lineup, but his 190 wRC+ against lefties shouldn’t be overlooked.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.