After a couple of days that had just dreadful starting pitching options, we have cycled back to some aces taking the mound for a few teams across the league. Let's highlight Wednesday's nine-game evening slate on Yahoo and discuss some of the better players to target for your entry.
The Yankees series against the Phillies was postponed because the Phillies had just played the Marlins, who had an outbreak of COVID-19. They will now play the Orioles in what will be a great matchup for Gerrit Cole ($53). Cole had a rain-shortened season debut against the Nationals, allowing one run and one hit across five innings while also recording five strikeouts. With his strikeout upside and the Orioles' depleted lineup, it's going to be difficult to resist paying up for his services.
Another pitcher set to take the mound who has significant strikeout upside is Brandon Woodruff ($40), who recorded a 29 percent strikeout rate in 2019. He started out on a similar path in his season debut against the Cubs, recording five strikeouts over five innings. As far as favorable matchups go, he has one here against the Pirates, who have a lineup with a few holes in it despite Gregory Polanco coming back from COVID-19.
Mike Trout ($23) is off to a bit of a quiet start, hitting just 4-for-19 with one home run through his first five games. Don't expect that to last long. He could be set up to breakout in this matchup against the Mariners and Justin Dunn ($25). The good news with Dunn is that he had a 3.43 FIP and a 28.6 percent strikeout rate in the minors last year. The problem is that was at Double-A. He has never pitched at the Triple-A level and posted a 5.76 FIP across four appearances with the Mariners last year.
Whit Merrifield ($18) is locked in for the Royals. He's hit a home run in back-to-back games, has at least one hit in each of his five games and has already recorded seven RBI. He only had 74 RBI across 162 games last season. Given his career .363 wOBA against left-handed pitchers, he could be a handful for Tigers starter Matthew Boyd ($34). Boyd did not look good in his season opener against the Reds, allowing four runs and recording only two strikeouts across five innings.
As we continue to try and capitalize on the Angels facing Dunn and the weak Mariners' bullpen, Brian Goodwin ($8) is someone to consider. He should be in the lineup with the righty on the mound and is 3-for-9 with two runs scored out of the gate. He surprised with 17 home runs and 29 doubles last season and should remain a regular in the Angels' outfield until they make the move to play promising prospect Jo Adell.
Jonathan Schoop ($9) was one of the key veterans that the Tigers added this offseason to help them at least have a respectable lineup. He got on the board with his first home run of the season Tuesday and has a favorable opportunity to keep things rolling against Danny Duffy ($30). Right-handed pitchers held Schoop to a .305 wOBA last year, but he had a .376 wOBA versus southpaws.
Stacks to Consider
Although Wojciechowski had his moments with the Orioles last year, he largely struggled with a 4.92 ERA and an even worse 5.30 FIP. He allowed 1.9 HR/9, which is a recipe for disaster against the Yankees. Stanton is red hot out of the gate, hitting two home runs and a double across three games. Urshela could also prove to be a tough out given he has just an 18.1 percent strikeout rate for his career. His breakout 21-homer campaign in 2019 has made him the Yankees everyday third baseman for the foreseeable future.
The Astros' starting rotation is in shambles. With Cole now on the Yankees, Justin Verlander (forearm) out for at least two weeks and Jose Urquidy (undisclosed) still not ready to rejoin the rotation, they'll be forced to have Javier make this start. He's only pitched a total of 11 innings at Triple-A in his career, so making this start against the Dodgers is going to be a monumental task considering his lack of experience. This is a powerful trio to pursue with Pederson potentially providing value at a more reasonable price tag. He's posted a wOBA of at least .374 against right-handed pitchers in three of the last four seasons.
The Cardinals were dealt a difficult blow Tuesday with the news that Miles Mikolas (forearm) will miss the remainder of the season. Ponce de Leon will now step into the starting rotation, and he's not a bad injury replacement given his career 3.97 FIP across 82 innings. However, facing the Twins is a tough task for just about any pitcher. Arraez is not the flashiest name in their lineup, but he shouldn't be overlooked after posting a .360 wOBA last year. He's carried over that success into this season, starting out 5-for-12 with two runs scored and three RBI across three games.