Between a smaller slate, strong pitching depth, and this year's dip in offense, figuring out who to stack will be even trickier than usual tonight. Not a single team is anywhere close to a five-run implied total.
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Pablo Lopez ($10,500): Lopez comes in with the slate's highest salary, and it's likely well-deserved against a woeful Diamondbacks lineup. Arizona's active roster performed poorly in 2021, and that's carried over into this season, where they rank 29th in wRC+ (80) and 23rd in strikeout rate (24.6%). Unsurprisingly, they have a pitiful 2.93 implied total against a tough customer like Lopez.
Lopez has allowed one earned run all season, amassing a 2.76 SIERA, 27.1% strikeout rate, and 4.7% walk rate over four starts. He should be able to keep the momentum going against a team like the D-backs, particularly at pitcher-friendly loanDepot Park.
Instead, we can hop down to Gallen, who's also looked good so far and is in a better spot against the Marlins.
Although Miami is hitting well to begin the year, their active roster was a below-average offense last season, so it's unlikely they keep this up. Additionally, this team is whiffing like crazy, sitting second-to-last in strikeout rate (25.2%). Throw in loanDepot Park, and we see Miami with a mere 3.57 implied total.
Arizona has been slowly upping Gallen's workload, and after reaching 90 pitches in his last outing, he should be a full go moving forward. He's shown an uptick in velocity while posting a 3.45 SIERA, 25.0% strikeout rate, and 7.1% walk rate across three starts.
Chris Paddack ($7,800): Following back-to-back disappointing campaigns, Paddack has a fresh start in Minnesota and is back on the radar. A 21.7% strikeout rate won't blow you away, but he isn't issuing walks (1.7%) and has upped his ground-ball rate (51.2%). A 2.88 SIERA suggests he's performed even better than his 3.68 ERA, too.
Of course, the real draw here is his matchup versus the Orioles (3.48 implied total). Expectations weren't high for Baltimore going into the season, and that's how things have played out, with the Orioles' active roster sitting at 26th in wRC+ (85) and 27th in strikeout rate (25.1%).
Paddack is another player who had lower pitch counts earlier in the season, but he got up to 87 in his most recent start. He isn't the easiest guy to trust after bottoming out in 2021, but this is the right salary to take a shot.
You can also consider Drew Rasmussen ($8,200) as another potential value against a lackluster Oakland offense. Although he logged 84 pitches last week, it's always hard to trust Tampa Bay when it comes to pitch counts, so keep that in mind.
Offense has fallen off a cliff in 2022, and that's abundantly clear when looking at tonight's implied totals. The Houston Astros are up top at 4.45, a mark we might find in the mid-range in years past. Only four other teams crack four implied runs.
Houston's bats have performed just below league average so far, but we ought to see them turn things around after being one of the league's best lineups in 2021.
Left-hander Marco Gonzales has put up solid marks throughout his career, but he doesn't get a ton of strikeouts or ground balls. While he avoided getting hurt by the home run ball for much of his career, that all changed in 2021, as he allowed a whopping 1.82 per nine innings.
It's looking like a lot of the same for Gonzales so far this season, as he's already allowed four dingers in 14 innings and has a middling 20.9% strikeout rate.
The Astros are well-equipped to attack a southpaw with Alex Bregman ($3,900) playing well andJose Altuve ($3,000), Yuli Gurriel ($2,900), and Chas McCormick ($2,900) at value salaries. Lefties Yordan Alvarez ($4,100) and Kyle Tucker ($3,400) hit left-handed pitching well, too, and Gonzales had roughly the same strikeout rate against both sides of the plate in 2021.
While Odorizzi finally bounced back with a quality start last week, his 2022 numbers remain dreadful as shown by a 5.69 SIERA, 13.0% strikeout rate, 11.6% walk rate, and 28.0% ground-ball rate.
The right-hander owned a 5.20 xFIP against lefties last year, so Jesse Winker ($2,600) immediately stands out despite his early-season struggles, and Adam Frazier ($2,700) and J.P. Crawford ($3,500) will also enjoy the platoon advantage. The latter two aren't known for their power but benefit from batting first and fifth, respectively.
Odorizzi actually coughed up more dingers to righties last year, so Eugenio Suarez ($3,500) is one of the better bets for a home run. He's sporting a double-digit barrel rate as usual (13.5%). Fellow righty Ty France ($3,900) has a silly salary due to his hot start, but he's an above-average hitter out of the two-hole if you can find the cap space.
The New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays don't have particularly exciting matchups against one another, but given the league-wide power outage, they're on the map pretty much by default. At the very least, it might be worth targeting one-offs from either team with the hopes of guessing correctly on a dinger.
Wells was a competent relief pitcher last season, but he's found less success in the rotation this year. He's showing a 17.5% strikeout rate and 41.5% fly-ball rate in 13 innings so far, and even with the dead ball, he's already given up three bombs. He also had home run issues in 2021, allowing 1.42 per nine innings.
Byron Buxton ($3,900) is naturally an elite choice, boasting a 28.6% barrel rate so far. Despite missing some games due to injury, he's tied for the third-most home runs this season (7).