MLB-Tiers-Analysis

With some of the best lineups in baseball facing bad starting pitchers, scoring might not be that hard to come by for Wednesday’s eight-game Tiers slate. In particular, both the Astros and Yankees are in favorable spots to score in bunches. Let’s dive into a few of the tiers and break down the options.

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TIERS ANALYSIS

Tier 1

1B/OF Cody Bellinger, LAD at TB
1B Josh Bell, PIT vs. COL
OF Charlie Blackmon, COL at PIT
C Gary Sanchez, NYY at BAL

With injuries taking a toll on their starting rotation, the Pirates will use Montana DuRapau as their opener for this matchup with the Rockies. The most recent time he opened for them, he recorded four strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Following him likely will be left-hander Steven Brault, who allowed two runs across 3 1/3 innings following DuRapau last time. Brault has a 5.34 xFIP for the season, so he hasn’t exactly been pitching well. Blackmon might not be the most popular choice in this tier, but he does have significant upside.

Staying in that same game brings us a matchup with Bell against Jon Gray. Bell has been about as hot as it gets, hitting 25-for-63 (.397) with eight home runs and five doubles over his past 16 games. Gray’s 4.73 ERA might not look great, but his 3.66 xFIP is promising when added to his 26.5% strikeout rate. He has the ability to put forth a dominant performance whenever he pitches on the road, so while Bell has a ton of power upside, he might be the riskiest option in this tier.

The Rays also will be deploying the opener strategy with Ryne Stanek set to start against the Dodgers. He likely will be followed by Yonny Chirinos, who has done a great job of limiting baserunners with his 0.92 WHIP. However, he has been aided by an abnormally low .211 BABIP allowed. He also has allowed eight home runs across 47 innings, which could be spell trouble against Bellinger and his .380 ISO.

As good as the hitters are in this tier, none of them might have as favorable of a matchup as Sanchez does against Dan Straily. Not only does he have a 7.23 xFIP, but Straily has allowed 10 home runs across only 30 2/3 innings. Sanchez already has gone deep in both of the first two games of this series, giving him eight home runs in nine games against the Orioles this season. Don’t be surprised if he leaves the yard again.


Tier 2

3B Anthony Rendon, WAS at NYM
3B/OF Kris Bryant, CHC vs. PHI
3B Alex Bregman, HOU vs. CWS
1B Luke Voit, NYY at BAL
2B/SS Gleyber Torres, NYY at BAL

Let’s rule out Rendon since he’s facing the best pitcher of anyone in this tier in Jacob deGrom. Bryant has hit well of late and will be facing an inexperienced pitcher in Cole Irvin, so he could be in line for a valuable performance. However, it should be noted Irvin was great at keeping hitters inside the ballpark in Triple-A last year, allowing 11 home runs across 161 1/3 innings.

The two Yankees in this tier also stand out as great options against Straily. Voit brings a ton of power to the plate and is 11-for-24 (.458) with a home run and three doubles across his last six games. Torres has been just as destructive as Sanchez has been against the Orioles this season, hitting 18-for-38 (.474) with eight home runs. He likely will be the more popular Yankee in this tier based on those numbers.

It’s hard to argue against stacking Yankees against Straily, but Bregman also has a stellar matchup against Ivan Nova. Nova has allowed a ton of baserunners with his 1.80 WHIP and has given up 10 home runs across 47 1/3 innings. Bregman has what would be a career-high .289 ISO out of the gate, making him a great option if you decide to fade the Yankees.


Tier 4

OF Austin Meadows, TB vs. LAD
SS Trevor Story, COL at PIT
OF J.D. Martinez, BOS at TOR
SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS at TOR
1B/OF Trey Mancini, BAL vs. NYY
3B Rafael Devers, BOS at TOR
1B Mitch Moreland, BOS at TOR

With a lot of options in this tier, let’s quickly try to narrow things down. Meadows has a tough matchup against Rich Hill, who has allowed a .302 wOBA against left-handed hitters for his career. Martinez has missed the past two days with an illness, so even if he does return, he might not be at full strength. While Story has homered in back-to-back games, he’s risky since he’s just 8-for-38 (.211) with a 31.6% strikeout rate across his past eight games. Avoiding these three could be a wise move.

Mancini might not be the best option here, either, despite his .309 batting average and .381 wOBA. He’s been aided by his .352 BABIP and already has started to show signs of regression by hitting 14-for-56 (.250) with a .283 OBP over his past 14 games. He’ll be facing CC Sabathia, who manages to grind his way to a good outing more often than not.

With all of that being said, we’re down to the trio of Bogaerts, Devers and Moreland against Aaron Sanchez. If you want to take a big swing on a player with the most power upside, that’s Moreland with his .348 ISO. Bogaerts and Devers hit for higher averages, and Devers might be the option to go with here if you don’t want to rely on Moreland to hit a home run. Devers is 24-for-71 (.338) with five home runs across his past 17 games.


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