MLB-Showdown

Tuesday’s Showdown slate features a choice between four games: Mets at Yankees Game 1 (1:05 p.m. ET), Mets at Yankees Game 2 (7:05 p.m. ET), Cubs at Rockies (8:40 p.m. ET) and Dodgers at Angels (10:07 p.m. ET). This article will focus on the largest Showdown contest, which is Game 1 of the Mets-Yankees game at 1:05 p.m. ET. The Big Apple Showdown contest pays out $10,000 to first place.

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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

New York Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka ($10,000) takes the mound for the Yankees. After being scheduled to pitch Sunday, Tanaka has not pitched in seven days due to paternity leave combined with Monday’s rainout. Tanaka carries good numbers into the start, posting a 3.42 ERA, 4.09 FIP and contact quality derived expected wOBA against of .309, all better than average. The downside is Tanaka’s swing-and-miss numbers are down this year. Tanaka has struck out 21% of batters while generating a swing and a miss on 11% of his total pitches, declines from 25% and 14% last season, respectively.

Digging deeper, Tanaka’s splitter — his go-to swing-and miss-pitch — has not been as effective this year, which has contributed to the decline in bat-missing. Tanaka has generated a swing and a miss on just 9% of his splitters this year, a huge decline from 22% last season and his career mark of 21%. Tanaka has been less successful at getting batters to chase his splitter out of the strike zone. Batters have chased 48% of Tanaka’s splitters located outside of the strike zone this season, a drop from 56% last season and his career mark of 54%. Tanaka’s splitter also has been hit hard, with batters posting a .917 OPS against the pitch, up from just .623 last season and his career mark of .566.

Tanaka faces a Mets offense that has better-than-average park- and league-adjusted numbers, which is notable given the Mets will be receiving both a park and league upgrade in Yankee Stadium in the AL. The good news is injuries to LHBs Robinson Cano (quad) and Brandon Nimmo (neck) have left the Mets fairly right-handed in their lineup, with seven of their eight position players batting right-handed the most recent time they faced a right-handed pitcher and six of eight position players batting right-handed the time they faced a RHP before that. Tanaka has struck out 24% of RHBs this year, compared to 19% of LHBs, and has better numbers against righties.

Yankees batters have a matchup against hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler ($10,600). Wheeler has sat 97.2 mph with his four-seam fastball, the second fastest average four-seam velocity among qualified SPs. For a deep approach into a fantasy target against Wheeler, Luke Voit ($8,400) has impressive numbers against high velocity since joining the Yankees last season. Voit has produced a contact quality expected wOBA of .450 based on the exit velocities and angles of his batted balls against pitches of 97 mph or faster since joining the Yankees, significantly better than the league average of .291. His actual wOBA of .475 against pitches in that velocity range is also significantly better than the league average of .294. Voit has been batting third in the order and has strong overall numbers on the season, making him a fantasy option.

Gary Sanchez ($10,200) carries fantasy upside with his ridiculous power. Sanchez has 19 home runs in just 192 plate appearances and has produced an explosive isolated power of .364. Sanchez has among the best raw power in the game by batted ball exit speed, ranking third on the max exit velocity leaderboard at 118.3 mph, per the league’s tracking system. Other options in the Yankees’ lineup include DJ LeMahieu ($9,200), Gleyber Torres ($7,200), Aaron Hicks ($8,000), Didi Gregorius ($6,600) and Clint Frazier ($6,800).


New York Mets

The aforementioned Zack Wheeler ($10,600) takes the mound for the Mets. Wheeler’s 4.61 ERA is worse than the league average of 4.39, but his peripheral statistics indicate a better pitching performance. Wheeler has held batters to a contact quality derived expected wOBA of .293 based on the exit velocities and angles of their batted balls, better than the league average of .321. Wheeler’s .141 isolated power allowed to opponents is better than the league average of .177, as is his 3.56 FIP. Wheeler’s hard fastball velocity and breaking ball combination has him striking out 26% of batters and generating a swing and a miss on 11% of his pitches, both better than average. The downside is Wheeler is getting a park and league downgrade in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium against the designated hitter. The Yankees’ lineup has been strong, ranking eighth best on the season by wOBA and seventh best over the past 30 days. The park and opponent puts Wheeler in a tough spot, but he has the pure stuff to dominate when everything is clicking.

While Wheeler gets a park downgrade, Mets batters get a park upgrade. Like Gary Sanchez, Pete Alonso ($9,400) carries fantasy upside with his extreme power. Alonso is tied with Sanchez on the max exit velocity leaderboard at 118.3 mph and has hit 21 home runs in 264 plate appearances, producing an excellent .339 isolated power. Michael Conforto ($8,800), Dominic Smith ($7,400) and Jeff McNeil ($6,200) are options from the left side, the handedness Tanaka has been less effective against. Tanaka’s strikeout rate, wOBA allowed and isolated power allowed to LHBs all are worse than average, and Yankee Stadium is one of the best parks for left-handed hitting power.

THE OUTCOME

Both Tanaka ($15,000 CP) and Wheeler ($15,900 CP) are good choices as the Captain’s Pick, with Voit ($12,600 CP), Sanchez ($15,300 CP) and Alonso ($14,100 CP) options as hitters.

The starting pitching matchup is not lopsided in either direction, as both Tanaka and Wheeler are quality starting pitchers, but the Yankees have the significant edge in the bullpen, which could be the difference as the game goes into the late innings. The Yankees rank in the top seven in both bullpen ERA and FIP, while the Mets rank seventh worst by bullpen ERA and 13th worst by FIP.

Final score: Yankees 6, Mets 4


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