It's a theme we continue to harp on in the 2023 season, but it is hard to ignore the success of teams with payrolls that are dwarfed by the big spenders in baseball. Arizona (21st), Miami (22nd), Cincinnati (24th), Tampa Bay (28th), and Baltimore (29th) are all bottom ten teams in terms of payroll but currently reside in playoff position or within a game of that status with less than two weeks until the All-Star Break. These numbers are courtesy of Spotrac.
MLB’s hottest team, the Atlanta Braves, is 8th in payroll and has thrived in a system where their highest-paid player earns just over 10% of the team’s total salary allotment. Other organizations with bigger payrolls can range as high as 15-16% to their highest earners, with a steep drop-off from the top players to the rest of the clubhouse. Money does help win championships, but several teams are out to disprove that in 2023.
It was nice to post a winning record last week, with our plays finishing a combined 4-3 on Wednesday and Thursday. Wagers on Geraldo Perdomo, Blake Snell, and Billy McKinney cashed on Thursday to end on a high note. Our Tuesday prop card is dialed in for a full nighttime slate of baseball, brought to you by Underdog.
The rookie phenom has accumulated 0.8 offensive WAR in just 80 plate appearances and has been a sparkplug for the Reds' offense in an impressive offensive stretch.
Beyond the hype and some of his more outsized box scores, de la Cruz is still a first-year player in the big leagues and continues to make that adjustment from the minors.
He’s striking out 30% of the time and has a .435 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), numbers well above league average (22.7% K-rate and .297 BABIP). This means he’s not getting the chance to use his speed nearly a third of the time due to strikeouts, and he’s reaching base safely almost 1.5x times the league average when he puts the ball in between the baselines.
His speed and power combo can explain some of this, but we also expect him to be a public favorite on most nights and are fading him on Tuesday.
Vladdy Jr. ripped six hits over Toronto’s three-game weekend series, including two doubles and two home runs. We do think it’s worth mentioning that those impressive numbers came against the Oakland A’s, and the Giants will pose a different challenge this week.
San Francisco looks set to deploy their opener strategy against the Jays, with Ryan Walker starting tonight. He’s got a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings this season, and the constant bullpen changes throughout the night could make it difficult for Guerrero to post multiple hits.
The reigning Cy Young winner’s struggles have been covered extensively to this point of the season, but it’s worth highlighting how those are magnified on the road.
Alcantara allowed opposing batters to post a .649 OPS in 16 road starts last season while striking out 8.2 batters per nine innings. In 2023, hitters have a .767 OPS and strike out just 6.9 times per nine innings when Alcantara isn’t at his home ballpark.
Add in that Boston strikes out at the sixth-lowest rate in the bigs this season, and we will wager against a big punchout night for Alcantara at Fenway Park.