The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Sunday features a single-game Showdown slate, starting at 7:38 pm ET. We will be using Bales Model to highlight some of the top options to consider.
After a late scratch from Saturday’s game, Max Scherzer is set to pitch in Game 2 against the Atlanta Braves. Scherzer is the highest priced player today for good reason. This is his fourth appearance in the 2021 postseason as he has thrown a total of 12.1 innings and allowed only two earned runs. Although he hasn’t collected a win in October, he has been dominant on the mound and kept his team in every game he has played.
The Braves are projected for an implied runs total of 3.3 as a wind blowing out to center field should help batters in this one. Of course, the wind is only helpful to batters if they are making contact on the ball. Scherzer has done a great of avoiding contact as he has struck out 16 in 12.1 innings so far this postseason.
Starting for the Atlanta Braves will be Ian Anderson. Although he has only appeared in one postseason game, Anderson performed excellent. In five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, Anderson allowed only three hits against while striking out six. Anderson has been credited as the winning pitcher in five of his last seven starts and has been great on the mound since the end of August.
Anderson has a tough task today facing the stacked Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, however he will hope to follow in his teammates footsteps as the Braves pitching allowed only two runs in Saturday’s game.
Mookie Betts has been stellar throughout the 2021 postseason. Betts has more games in which he has collected extra base hits (four) compared to games where he hasn’t reached base (two) overall. After going 4 for 4, he was due for a poor game, but an 0-for-4 performance was somewhat of a surprise. Betts will look to get back on track, as he’s projected to bat leadoff.
Speaking of Game 1, a player that was a bright spot for the Dodgers was Will Smith. Smith accounted for one of his teams’ runs as he hit a long ball off Max Fried in the fourth inning. Smith has been fairly boom or bust this postseason, but does lead the team with three home runs this postseason in seven games.
Although he went 0-4 in game one, Freddie Freeman is always a tough out for pitchers. Freeman is the highest-rated batter on Bales Model today as he is normally the reliable portion of the Braves offense. Game one was the first game this postseason that Freeman failed to reach base, look for the Braves first baseman to be a focal point of offense.
Besides for a wild pitch in the first inning, all of the Braves scoring yesterday came from Austin Riley. Riley has collected a hit in each of the Braves five games these 2021 playoffs, including two home runs. Not only did he hit a game tying home run in game one, he also walked-off the game with a single to left. It is extremely impressive that Riley is only 24 years of age and batting cleanup for a team in the NLCS. I will be very curious to see if Scherzer brings Riley’s game back to Earth, as he has looked unstoppable.
Value & Punts
The highest projected points/salary player on Bales Model is Eddie Rosario from the Braves. Rosario is projected to bat leadoff as he will be tasked with trying to get on base for the power hitters in the order behind him. Like Riley, Rosario has collected a hit in each of the Braves five postseason games this year and will hope to continue this trend.
Rosario is priced at the minimum for a batter on DraftKings ($4,000) which makes him even more valuable leading off. Ownership is expected to be high on the Braves outfielder, but it’s hard to fade Rosario and his hot October bat.
The last punt we will mention is Gavin Lux from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lux is only 23 and has been a bright spot in the Dodgers’ offense. Although he is not an everyday starter, he has made the most of his opportunities given as he has collected three hits in his last six at bats. Lux is priced at $6,600 on DraftKings which makes him an interesting play. He is projected to bat sixth in the Dodgers’ lineup as they are projected for an implied runs total of 4.3 in this game.