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What you need to know for Wednesday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
An already busy Wednesday is now even busier with the addition of the makeup for Tuesday's rainout in Yankee Stadium added to the schedule. That means there will be a pair of doubleheaders, one in Pittsburgh between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets with the other in the Bronx with the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees playing a pair. The slate begins at 12:35 PM ET with the Mets and Pirates opener.
Mets hitters should be productive facing a pair of vulnerable righties in Bryse Wilson and Johan Oviedo while the Pirates batters are likely looking at a long day with Jacob deGrom and Chris Bassitt slated to work for the Mets. Most of the Mets' left-handed hitters are rostered in ESPN leagues with Daniel Vogelbach (5% rostered) having the best chance to play in both contests. Twins hitters are in a tough spot with Gerrit Cole and Domingo German expected to work the twin bill but Yankees hitters should be in a favorable spot, although the chances of someone like Oswald Peraza (3%) playing two games is slim.
Minnesota will reportedly promote Louie Varland to make his MLB debut in one of the games. Varland is a 24-year-old right-hander whose development was delayed by the pandemic. He began the season with Double-A Wichita before moving up to Triple-A St. Paul for a month. Given, Varland was older than most of the prospects at each level, but he still fanned a combined 146 hitters in 126 1/3 total frames. On paper, the Yankees are an imposing lineup, but they've struggled since the break. It's not clear how the DFS sites will treat the doubleheader, but taking a chance on Varland is an intriguing play. With his strikeout prowess, Varland is a viable streamer for traditional fantasy purposes.
One reason Varland is in play as a spot-starter is that the rest of the card lacks options. Two starters with roster levels approaching 50% square off in Tropicana Field with Nick Pivetta (47%) and the Boston Red Sox taking on Jeffrey Springs (49%) and the Tampa Bay Rays. An under-the-radar candidate is Bailey Falter (5%), getting the ball at home against the Miami Marlins. Falter has given the Philadelphia Phillies a second-half boost, posting a 3.38 ERA and an 0.92 WHIP since the break, fanning 28 in 29 1/3 stanzas. Falter has also strung together four straight quality starts.
Hopefully, your offense has a few hitters who are earmarked to play two but, if not, there's a Coors Field game on the docket. Randal Grichuk (51%), Jose Iglesias (16%), Michael Toglia (1%) and Sean Bouchard (0%) all benefit from the platoon edge on Eric Lauer while Andrew McCutchen (52%) and Luis Urias benefit with left-hander Kyle Freeland on the hill. Chicago Cubs hitters like Franmil Reyes (56%) and Nick Madrigal (25%) are in a good spot facing Mike Minor while Mike Ford (0%) of the Los Angeles Angels also could be an interesting play.
Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Wednesday
Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more.
Eduardo Escobar (NYM, 2B -- 50%) at Oviedo and Wilson
Ben Gamel (PIT, LF -- 2%) vs. Bassitt and deGrom
Oswaldo Cabrera (NYY, 2B -- 1%) vs. Ryan and Varland
Gio Urshela (MIN, 3B -- 21%) at German and Cole
Josh Naylor (CLE, RF -- 50%) at Zack Greinke
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Wednesday
Eloy Jimenez (CHW, LF -- 87%) at Castillo
Luis Robert (CHW, CF -- 97%) at Castillo
Andrew Vaughn (CHW, LF -- 77%) at Castillo
Jose Abreu (CHW, 1B -- 98%) at Castillo
J.P. Crawford (SEA, SS -- 67%) vs. Kopech
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Jeffrey Springs Strikeouts: Over/Under 5.5 (+100/-125)
THE BAT sees Springs putting up 6.4 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 60.6% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $21.28.
Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
THE BAT projects Jeffrey Springs in the 90th percentile when estimating his strikeout talent.
Mike Estabrook profiles as an "extreme pitchers umpire" and is expected to be calling pitches in this game.
Tropicana Field profiles as the No. 3 field in the game for strikeouts, according to THE BAT projection system.
The Tropicana Field roof projects to be closed today, making the temperature in this match-up seven degrees colder than the average outdoor game on the slate - favorable for pitching.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Boston Red Sox have six bats in the projected batting order that will have the handedness advantage over Springs in this game.
Springs has been lucky with his strikeouts this year, compiling a 9.87 K/9 despite THE BAT estimating his true talent level to be 9.29 - a 0.58 K/9 discrepancy.