Wednesday’s eight-game Tiers slate is filled with games that have the potential for a lot of offense, including the Diamondbacks and Rockies facing off at Coors Field. With so many hitters set up to thrive, it might make narrowing down the choices a little more difficult than usual.
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OF Austin Meadows, TB vs. TOR
3B/SS Eduardo Escobar, ARI at COL
2B/OF Ketel Marte, ARI at COL
OF Jarrod Dyson, ARI at COL
With Jeff Hoffman starting for the Rockies, it’s no surprise there are three Diamondbacks in this tier. He wasn’t even pitching well at Triple-A earlier this season, recording a 5.28 xFIP and a 1.54 WHIP. Dyson might be the first player to rule out here just because he doesn’t have the same power upside the rest of the options do. It’s hard to argue against Escobar or Marte, but Escobar might have the slight edge right now since he is 20-for-63 (.317) with six home runs and a whopping 21 RBI over his past 14 games.
If it wasn’t for the Coors Field bump the Diamondbacks are receiving, Meadows might be the clear top choice for this tier. He’s having a breakout campaign with a 197 wRC+ and is 22-for-61 (.361) with six home runs, four doubles and three steals across 16 games after being activated from the IL. The Blue Jays will start Trent Thornton, who has allowed a wOBA to left-handed hitters nearly 70 points higher than his mark against righties. If you decide to fade the Diamondbacks, Meadows carries tremendous upside.
SS Trevor Story, COL vs. ARI
1B Freddie Freeman, ATL vs. WAS
2B/OF Whit Merrifield, KC at CWS
OF Juan Soto, WAS at ATL
1B/3B Hunter Dozier, KC at CWS
1B Renato Nunez, BAL vs. DET
It might have taken some time for him to hit his stride, but Soto is 20-for-45 (.444) with two home runs and six doubles during his current 12-game hitting streak. While he won’t exactly be facing an overwhelming force in Kevin Gausman, it’s important to note Gausman has allowed just 10 home runs across 113 2/3 innings since joining the Braves last year. Soto might not have the same upside as some of the others in this tier.
Freeman has been swinging a hot bat in the power department by going deep six times across his past 12 games. The Nationals are expected to activate Anibal Sanchez (hamstring) off the IL for this contest, which works in Freeman’s favor since Sanchez posted a bloated 1.68 WHIP before he was injured. The only concern with Freeman is he has an excellent eye at the plate and Sanchez has issued 5.3 BB/9, so he might have the bat taken out of his hands a time or two.
Of the hitters in this tier, Story is probably facing the toughest opponent in Robbie Ray. However, Story has a career 145 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers, so he’s in a spot to potentially thrive at home. If you decide to stack Rockies, he’s a must.
Merrifield and Dozier will have the benefit of facing Reynaldo Lopez, who has been awful with his 5.82 xFIP and 1.56 WHIP. He also has allowed 14 home runs in 59 2/3 innings. Merrifield is the bigger name, but Dozier has the higher power upside. If you’re looking to differentiate yourself in tournament play, Dozier is a viable option to pursue.
Maybe the best tournament play option is Nunez for his matchup against left-hander Ryan Carpenter, who has allowed 13 home runs across 36 1/3 innings for his career. While his .233 batting average this season isn’t anything to write home about, Nunez has a ton of power and has mashed left-handed pitchers to the tune of a 146 wRC+.
OF Marcell Ozuna, STL at PHI
1B Rhys Hoskins, PHI vs. STL
OF Alex Gordon, KC at CWS
1B/OF Trey Mancini, BAL vs. DET
1B Jose Abreu, CWS vs. KC
2B/SS Jonathan Villar, BAL vs. DET
1B/3B Howie Kendrick, WAS at ATL
There are a lot of options here, so let’s quickly thin the herd. Even though his numbers have regressed, Aaron Nola will be on the mound for the Phillies, leaving Ozuna with arguably the most difficult matchup within this tier. Kendrick won’t face as intimidating of a foe, but Gausman’s ability to keep hitters inside the ball park since joining the Braves makes Kendrick less appealing. Let’s also rule out Abreu, who is 17-for-85 (.200) over his past 22 games. With the other quality options available, it’s hard to justify rolling with a player mired in that prolonged of a slump. It might also be best to avoid Gordon, who has only a .709 OPS over his past 15 contests.
Now that we’ve narrowed things down a bit, let’s discuss the hitters who are worth considering. Villar has the excellent matchup against Carpenter, who also has allowed a 1.57 WHIP this year. Villar also has started to heat up in the power department, slugging two home runs and four doubles over his past seven games. With that being said, it’s going to be hard to pass up Mancini if you are stacking Orioles. He’s in the midst of the best season of his career, including in the power department with his .237 ISO.
The player who might actually be the best to deploy is Hoskins. He has an extremely favorable matchup against left-handed pitcher Genesis Cabrera, who will be making his big league debut. He wasn’t exactly thriving at Triple-A, posting a 6.35 xFIP and a 1.56 WHIP. Hoskins has destroyed lefties this season by recording a 161 wRC+ against them, so look for him to have a big night.
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