Wednesday gives us our first full, 15-game slate of the week, with three of the 15 games beginning this afternoon. Even if you can’t get your lineups set until the evening’s festivities begin, you’ll have 12 games to choose from, and those games include most of the day’s big arms, including Stephen Strasburg and Carlos Carrasco.
Starting pitcher: Stephen Strasburg ($11,300) vs. Atlanta and Jerad Eickhoff ($7,900) vs. San Diego
Strasburg has the luxury of making his first two starts this season against the Braves. The first time out, he allowed one run on three hits with four strikeouts in six innings, and that should be seen as a floor for this outing. The Braves have already found their way to the bottom of most team offense stats, ranking 29th in the league with a .264 wOBA. They’ve also fanned in 24.2% of their plate appearances and have all of three home runs. Strasburg’s in for a great day.
Eickhoff, meanwhile, has plenty of strikeout upside, which is why you’ll always want to at least consider him as a cheap option on the mound. His matchup with the Padres on Wednesday puts him over the top. They’re 20th in wOBA, but even that is inflated thanks to three early games at Coors Field in which they scored 15 runs. They’ve crossed the plate just four times in their five other games.
Catcher: Miguel Montero ($3,200) vs. Cincinnati, Alfredo Simon
Montero has five hits in his first 18 at-bats this season, including a homer and three doubles. He gets the platoon advantage with Alfredo Simon on the mound for the Reds, good news for a hitter who has slashed .270/.355/.438 against righties in his career. He should slot behind Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler in the Cubs order.
First base: David Ortiz ($4,600) vs. Baltimore, Ubaldo Jimenez
He may be 40, but he’s also among the hottest hitters in baseball. Ortiz already has three homers and four doubles among his nine hits, to go along with four runs and nine RBI. Surprisingly, he has struggled against Jimenez in their respective careers, but the sample is far too small to take with more than a grain of salt. Ortiz fits the budget better than some of the other mashing first basemen, and is always a strong play with a righty on the mound.
Second base: Rougned Odor ($3,600) @ Seattle, Taijuan Walker
Odor has just one multi-hit game in his first eight starts, but it’s just a matter of time before the talented Texas second baseman gets going. He has three hits, including a pair of doubles, and three RBI in his last two games, a sign that he could be coming out of the week-long funk he was in to start the season. He also got the better of Walker last year, going 5-for-8 with a homer, though that’s nowhere near a predictable sample size.
Third base: Miguel Sano ($4,100) vs. Chicago, Carlos Rodon
Apparently this is the “it has to happen eventually” team. Like Odor, Sano has gotten off to a bad start this year, going 3-for-22 with 13 strikeouts. The whiffs are always going to be part of his game, but all the weak contact he has made (11.1% hard-hit rate) has been truly concerning. He’s too good to be this bad for this long, though. It only makes sense to bet on him when his price is depressed, fitting our budget with a five-figure pitcher in tow, and he gets to face a left-handed starter.
Shortstop: Addison Russell ($3,400) vs. Cincinnati, Alfredo Simon
The last time we saw Russell, he was hitting a game-winning three-run homer off Jumbo Diaz in the Cubs home opener. The Cubs may not need those heroics from him on Wednesday, but a player with his talent hitting in an offense like Chicago’s is always going to be attractive at just $3,400.
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez ($4,800) vs. San Franciso, Jake Peavy; J.D. Martinez ($4,100) @ Pittsburgh, Ryan Vogelsong; and Nomar Mazara ($3,000) @ Seattle, Taijuan Walker
It feels wrong to neglect both teams in a Coors Field game, so we begin our outfield with Gonzalez, who has three home runs this season and enjoys a platoon advantage against Peavy. Martinez checks in at just $4,100 despite the fact that he’s 11-for-27 this year and has a great matchup with Vogelsong, who last pitched to an ERA of less than 4.00 back in 2012. Finally, Mazara rounds out a mini-Rangers stack. All he has done in the first three games of his career is go 6-for-13 with a homer and two RBI What’s more, he seems to have locked down the No. 2 spot in the Texas order.