Projecting hitters over the course of the day can be a volatile undertaking. Starting lineups & batting orders aren’t typically announced until 90+ minutes before first pitch, and actual lineups can be very different from what is expected hours before game time. Batting order can have a major impact on projectability, so top plays (particularly hitters) which are highlighted in the afternoon can become weaker plays closer to lock if lineups, weather, or pitching matchups change over the course of the day. When in doubt, refer to the top projections table at the bottom of this article which will be updated periodically as projections change.
Editor’s Note: Jacob deGrom has been ruled out tonight.
Jacob deGrom (1x) – It is rare that we’re super high on a floor multiplier player. But deGrom is unhittable right now. There isn’t much to dissect on the deGrom side. Excellent swing-and-miss (whiff rate over the last two years & in 2021 are bests on the slate), the contact he allows isn’t particularly good contact considering how hard he throws. Just a flat out dominant pitcher. The matchup is good, not great, but there is some nuance that has us bullish on deGrom. The Cardinals’ projected lineup average xwOBA is 2nd lowest on the slate, so they don’t make particularly good contact. Their average contact rate is above average, however, the current projected lineup (and some of their best hitters) is very right-hand dominant. The average contact rate of the current projected lineup is 76.6% (well above above average), however against right-handed pitchers, the current projected lineup has an average contact rate of only 73.5% (about average for the slate).
Aaron Nola (1.35x) – Nola is simply put, a solid pitcher. He has above average whiff numbers, below average xwOBA allowed numbers, low walk rates, and usually piles on innings. The Brewers are a good matchup for Nola, they have a below average contact rate and the third lowest average xwOBA (behind Bauer, 7-inning game, and Lamet, not available in the player pool). With deGrom ruled out & Bauer in a 7-inning game, Nola has emerged as maybe the most trustworthy arm on tonight’s slate.
Mariners Stacks (Kyle Lewis, 1.85x + Ty France, 1.7x) – Lewis should be a household name if you were following baseball closely last year – the AL Rookie of the Year put up a 126 wRC+ in his rookie year (top-50 in the league among qualified hitters). He has been off to a slow start this year, but we’re willing to take the long form on Lewis at a near-max 1.85x multiplier. Ty France on the other hand might not be a household name yet, but if he keeps hitting the way he is it won’t be long. In a short 2020 season between Seattle & San Diego, France put up an impressive 132 wRC+, he’s at a similar 130 clip so far this year. Opposing pitcher Jorge Lopez is not particularly good at missing bats (20% whiff rate over past two years, 4th lowest on the slate), and the contact he allows tends to be good contact (11.8% two-year barrel rate, 2nd highest on the slate). As a whole the Seattle lineup can be a productive one, they have above average combined xwOBA, but a very low average contact rate. If we trust that Lopez will struggle to miss bats, the lineup power could play up tonight. For tournament purposes you’ll probably want to add another hitter or two to the Lewis/France Seattle core. Mitch Haniger (1.35x) makes for a strong option that fits nicely as a 1-2-4 stack. Sam Haggerty (1.75x) makes for a fine play with good stolen base equity, although a 2-4-6 stack could be considered a little sparse by some.
This article expresses the personal views of the writer and does not reflect the view(s) of SuperDraft in any way.
Featured Image Source: Seattle Mariners