There are plenty of early start times across the majors Wednesday, but we still have seven games that will make up the featured evening Tiers contest. There are a lot of big names to choose from, which might make narrowing down the options a little tricky. Let’s dive into the matchups and see which ones stand out.
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Tier 1SS Javier Baez, CHC at SEA
1B Rhys Hoskins, PHI vs. DET
1B Pete Alonso, NYM vs. CIN
SS Trevor Story, COL at MIL
This tier carries a ton of power upside throughout. Maybe the first player to shy away from is Story. He doesn’t necessarily have a bad matchup against Chase Anderson, but this game is being played in Miller Park. Story has a career 98 wRC+ on the road compared to a 123 wRC+ at Coors Field.
It’s hard to make a case against any of the other three players in this tier. Baez is certainly swinging a hot bat by hitting 22-for-60 (.367) with five home runs and six doubles across his last 14 games. However, he may have the toughest opponent of the remaining trio with Marco Gonzales on the mound for the Mariners.
While Gonzales isn’t an overpowering force, he has a 1.20 WHIP through his first seven starts and has allowed just 20 home runs across his last 211 2/3 innings dating back to the start of last season.
As good as Gonzales has been at keeping hitters inside the ballpark, Anthony DeSclafani allowed 1.9 HR/9 last year for the Reds. He’s already given up five long balls across 25 1/3 innings this season, which could be a recipe for disaster for his matchup against the powerful Alonso.
The player who might be the most highly owned out of this quartet is Hoskins. He has a stellar matchup against Daniel Norris, who has a bloated 1.46 WHIP for his career. After hitting 14-for-42 (.333) with three home runs over his last 11 games, look for Hoskins to have another productive evening.
1B Freddie Freeman, ATL vs. SD
1B Daniel Vogelbach, SEA vs. CHC
2B Ozzie Albies, ATL vs. SD
3B Nolan Arenado, COL at MIL
OF Charlie Blackmon, COL at MIL
Vogelbach is someone to rule out right off the bat. He has a tough matchup against Jon Lester, who has limited left-handed hitters to a .295 wOBA for his carrier. Arenado and Blackmon are also risky based on their struggles away from Coors Field. Last year, Arenado had a .327 wOBA on the road compared to a .457 wOBA at home. Blackmon had a .332 wOBA on the road and a .406 wOBA at home.
Freeman and Albies will be facing Cal Quantrill, who will be major his MLB debut. One of the top prospects in the Padres organization, Quantrill didn’t exactly shine at Triple-A last year with a 4.21 xFIP and a 16.1 percent strikeout rate. Even though his strikeout rate increased to 22 percent across his first five starts this year, his 4.80 xFIP still left a lot to be desired.
Both Braves’ hitters have plenty of upside with Freeman maybe being the better choice. Albies mashes left-handed pitching, but he only had a .299 wOBA versus righties last year. Freeman, on the other hand, is an on-base machine who provided a robust .371 wOBA against righties in 2018.
Tier 4SS Paul DeJong, STL at WAS
C Willson Contreras, CHC at SEA
OF Michael Conforto, NYM vs. CIN
SS Jean Segura, PHI vs. DET
OF Ronald Acuña Jr., ATL vs. SD
2B/3B Mike Moustakas, MIL vs. COL
OF David Dahl, COL at MIL
DeJong stands out as someone to keep out of your entry. He’s facing Max Scherzer. Need I say more? Dahl also might be someone to shy away from based on extreme home and road splits like the rest of his teammates. Contreras is off to an excellent start, but he has a career-high 28.6 percent strikeout rate and has been aided by a .356 BABIP. He’s risky, to say the least.
Segura figures to be a popular option for those stacking against Norris. He’s certainly had plenty of success against lefties, recording a wOBA of at least .345 against them in back-to-back seasons. The one downside with him is that his career .118 ISO doesn’t leave him with the same power upside that some of the other players in this tier have.
While it might have seemed like an odd fit, Moustakas is making his time at second base work.
It hasn’t impacted him on the offensive side of things with him recording a .289 ISO and a .382 wOBA. He doesn’t have the toughest of matchups against Antonio Senzatela, who has only recorded a 17.7 percent strikeout rate for his career. The only downside is that Senzatela has allowed just 1.1 HR/9 for his career.
If you decide to roll with Alonso in the first tier, stacking him with Conforto could be a wise move. He also has plenty of power upside with his career .227 ISO and his current 22.5 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his time in the big leagues. His current 17.1 percent walk rate is almost four percentage points higher than last season.
For a Braves stack, you can’t go wrong with Acuña.
He hasn’t experienced a sophomore slump with his 135 wRC+ and he’s improved his eye at the plate by only swinging at 23.1 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone. That mark was 27.5 percent for him last season. Don’t worry that he doesn’t have the platoon advantage against Quantrill since Acuña recorded a .377 wOBA versus righties during his rookie campaign.
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