With Wednesday’s slate of action in the majors bringing us mostly day baseball, only five games will make up the evening Tiers contest. Even with such a limited schedule, there is no shortage of big names in positions to thrive. Let’s dive into the matchups and discuss how the night might play out.
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OF Christian Yelich, MIL at PIT
3B Rafael Devers, BOS vs. KC
2B/3B DJ LeMahieu, NYY at BAL
OF Starling Marte, PIT vs. MIL
The top tier usually has some exciting options, and this night is no different. LeMahieu is having a monster season for the Yankees, and his ability to play multiple positions around the infield has proven to be key with all of their injuries. Normally, a matchup against the Orioles would have those playing in this contest salivating. However, they will be deploying their best starter in John Means (shoulder), who is set to be activated off the IL. This might be one of the rare instances where passing on LeMahieu makes sense.
With the Brewers running out of starting pitchers, they will deploy a bullpen game for their matchup with the Pirates. Drew Pomeranz will take the ball first, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to pitch more than a few innings. That makes projecting things for Marte difficult because he could be facing a different pitcher each time he steps into the batter’s box. However, with him hitting 25-for-72 (.347) with four home runs and seven doubles over his past 17 games, he’s on the type of hot streak that at least makes him worth considering for your entry.
It’s not hard to make a case for deploying Yelich every night. He certainly has a favorable matchup here against Trevor Williams, who has allowed a .380 wOBA against left-handed hitters. The question is, will Yelich be in the lineup? He received the night off Tuesday and there has been some speculation he might sit Wednesday as well to provide added rest for his back. However, if he’s in the lineup, his upside is off the charts.
Of all the options here, Devers might be the most appealing. He’s had a monstrous season for the Red Sox, recording a .385 wOBA and a .247 ISO. Even with his power numbers on the rise, he’s decreased his strikeout rate from 24.7% last season to 15.7% in 2019. It doesn’t get much better than his matchup against Glenn Sparkman, who has a 5.58 ERA and 5.94 FIP.
SS Fernando Tatis Jr., SD at SEA
SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS vs. KC
2B/OF Ketel Marte, ARI vs. PHI
OF Andrew Benintendi, BOS vs. KC
2B/SS Gleyber Torres, NYY at BAL
After leaving Tuesday’s game with another core injury, I want no part of Torres even if he miraculously is in the Yankees’ lineup. Despite their rash of injuries, it seems unlikely the Yankees will push Torres to play in this contest considering this is the second time in three days he’s exited with a core issue.
Deploying a Red Sox stack is likely going to be one of the more popular options for this slate based on how poorly Sparkman has been pitching. When factoring in his numbers against left-handed hitters, Benintendi initially sticks out as the Red Sox player to use in Tier 2. He also is swinging a hot bat, hitting 28-for-69 (.406) with five home runs and nine doubles over his past 16 games. Still, don’t sleep on Bogaerts just because he doesn’t have the platoon advantage. He actually has better numbers against righties (146 wRC+) than he does lefties (135 wRC+).
Marte and the Diamondbacks will be facing Jason Vargas, who will be making his second start since coming over from the Mets. That could be good news for Marte considering he has a 147 wRC+ against lefties. If you’re looking to differentiate yourself in tournament play, he does have significant upside and likely won’t be included in as many lineups as Benintendi and Bogaerts will.
As appealing as the Red Sox might be, Tatis could be in line for a monster night. He has a great matchup against Yusei Kikuchi, who has a 5.95 FIP and has allowed 2.1 HR/9. Tatis already went deep in the first game of this series Tuesday and has destroyed lefties to the tune of a 191 wRC+.
2B/3B Eduardo Escobar, ARI vs. PHI
2B Keston Hiura, MIL at PIT
1B/OF Trey Mancini, BAL vs. NYY
3B/OF Scott Kingery, PHI at ARI
OF Brett Gardner, NYY at BAL
1B/2B Michael Chavis, BOS vs. KC
OF Cameron Maybin, NYY at BAL
With a lot of options to sift through, let’s quickly narrow down some of the field. Hiura is in a significant slump right now, hitting 4-for-32 (.125) with one double and no home runs over his past nine games. Gardner’s matchup versus Means won’t be easy considering Means has held left-handed hitters to a .232 wOBA. Kingery also will face a tough foe in Zac Gallen, who has a 3.57 FIP and a 28.5% strikeout during his first stint in the majors.
Mancini carries a lot of power into his matchup against James Paxton, so he might be an intriguing option with Paxton allowing 1.7 HR/9. However, Paxton has the ability to dominate a lineup whenever he steps onto the mound and still misses plenty of bats with his 29.5% strikeout rate. Based on some of the other options available, deploying Mancini might not be a risk worth taking.
For those stacking Red Sox, Chavis might be the way to go here. He was spectacular with a .350 ISO in Triple-A and has followed that up with 18 home runs across 91 games in the majors. The one issue with him is his 32.8% strikeout rate, although that might not be much of a concern against Sparkman since he only has a 13% strikeout rate.
To me, this tier comes down to Escobar and Maybin. As tough as Means has been this year, righties have had more success against him. Maybin also has picked up right where he left off, hitting 8-for-27 (.296) with a home run and four doubles across eight games since being activated from the IL. He might be the best route to go with in tournament play since he likely won’t be included in a ton of lineups. However, the player with the higher floor might be Escobar, who has gone deep three times over his past four games and has a 153 wRC+ against southpaws.
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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.