Tampa Bay Rays v Texas Rangers

With the baseball season coming down to the wire, so too is our opportunity to play the Tiers contest. There is a full slate of action Wednesday, leaving plenty of options for us to choose from. Let’s discuss how a few of the tiers might play out based on the matchups.

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Tier 1

OF Christian Yelich, MIL at MIA
3B Anthony Rendon, WAS at MIN
OF Yordan Alvarez, HOU vs. OAK
OF Austin Meadows, TB at TEX

The obvious player to ignore here is Yelich, who is out for the season after fracturing his right kneecap Tuesday night. Alvarez might also be someone to avoid against Brett Anderson, who has allowed only 1.1 HR/9 and has held left-handed hitters to a .257 wOBA.

The other two options here are about as good as it gets. Rendon has a stellar matchup against Martin Perez, who doesn’t strike out many hitters and has registered a 1.46 WHIP. Rendon also has a 169 wRC+ versus lefties, so his upside is through the roof.

Meadows has come on strong with the Rays pushing for a playoff spot, hitting 29-for-82 (.354) with nine home runs and nine doubles over his past 21 games. He posted just a 15.6% strikeout rate during that stretch, which is a vast improvement over his season mark of 23%. The Rangers will try to slow him down with Ariel Jurado, who comes into this game with a 5.08 FIP and a 1.46 WHIP. As appealing as Rendon is, it’s difficult to argue against Meadows, either.

Tier 2

OF George Springer, HOU vs. OAK
1B/OF Cody Bellinger, LAD at BAL
OF Juan Soto, WAS at MIN
3B/SS Alex Bregman, HOU vs. OAK
2B/3B Tommy Edman, STL at COL

Narrowing this tier down won’t be easy. With so many talented hitters and excellent matchups, the best route to take might just be whichever game you prefer to stack. As crazy as this might sound, Bellinger stands out as the one player to potentially avoid. He’s only 13-for-63 (.206) with two home runs across his past 19 games and will take his hacks against John Means, who has limited lefties to a .225 wOBA.

The matchup between Springer and Anderson is intriguing. Although Anderson has done a good job of limiting home runs, Springer is one of the most dangerous hitters in the league. He’s also in the midst of a power surge that has seen him belt six home runs over his past 11 games. With that being said, Bregman has destroyed lefties to the tune of a 186 wRC+, so he could be the better Astro to pursue.

If you deploy Rendon in the first tier, pairing him with Soto isn’t the worst idea. He certainly hasn’t struggled against southpaws, recording a .365 wOBA against them for his career. He’s having a spectacular season, overall, with 33 home runs, 101 RBI and 98 runs scored, making him one of the most lethal fantasy options.

While he isn’t the biggest name in this tier, Edman isn’t someone to overlook for his matchup against the Rockies at Coors Field. Antonio Senzatela has not pitched well for the Rockies, posting a career 5.00 FIP and 1.51 WHIP at Coors Field. Edman has worked his way into an everyday role by hitting 30-for-96 (.313) with three home runs, seven doubles and four steals over his past 25 contests.

Tier 5

3B Rafael Devers, BOS at TOR
SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS at TOR
SS Francisco Lindor, CLE at LAA
2B Jose Altuve, HOU vs. OAK
3B Nolan Arenado, COL vs. STL
SS Marcus Semien, OAK at HOU
1B Matt Olson, OAK at HOU
C Will Smith, LAD at BAL

There are a lot of options to digest here, so let’s try to quickly eliminate some players. Bogaerts is 4-for-26 (.154) over his past seven games, which makes him fairly risky. Smith also has cooled off after a hot start, hitting 8-for-45 (.178) with only one home run across his past 15 contests.

Normally, Arenado playing at Coors Field is a match made in heaven. He has a .411 wOBA there for his career compared to a .336 wOBA on the road. The problem is Dakota Hudson not only has been pitching well lately, he also has held righties to a .286 wOBA for the season. Arenado still could be a risk worth taking, although there are several other players here with juicy matchups.

It’s not often Devers find himself in the fifth tier, so this could be an opportunity to pounce on. He went 2-for-5 with a double against the Blue Jays on Tuesday and is having a fantastic season with a .250 ISO and a 136 wRC+. Slowing him down will be no easy feat for Trent Thornton, who has allowed a .355 wOBA to left-handed hitters.

For those looking to deploy an Astros stack, rolling with Altuve here could be crucial. He’s heating up with an eye on the playoffs, hitting 24-for-68 (.353) with three home runs, six doubles and two triples across his past 17 games.

Staying in that same game, we have a couple of appealing options on the A’s side in Semien and Olson, who will be facing young right-handed pitcher Jose Urquidy. Both are viable targets, but Olson might be the better choice. He’s 21-for-56 (.375) with five home runs and six doubles across his past 15 games, and he has a 154 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers for the season.

And then there was one. Lindor is the final hitter to consider within this tier, and I saved arguably the best for last. He’s gone on a power tear as we’ve hit the home stretch, slugging seven home runs and six doubles over his past 15 games. He also has three steals during that stretch, giving him 21 for the season. The recent power numbers are incredibly encouraging for this matchup against Dillon Peters, who has allowed 11 home runs over just 56 2/3 innings.

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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.