Braves and Orioles top leverage for Friday

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Optimal stack probabilities are calculated using each team’s top 6 projected hitters. The team cost is the average cost of the top six optimal probability players on that team.

Team stacks with the most leverage: Braves, Orioles

The Atlanta Braves find themselves near the top of the optimal board for tonight’s slate, but they’re also the most leveraged stack heading into their showdown with Shohei Ohtani. The Braves’ offense has been nothing short of brilliant since the start of June, ranking in the top four in ISO, wOBA and wRC+ ever since. They’ve consistently struggled to strike out, which certainly won’t help Ohtani on the mound, as he has the second-highest strikeout rate in baseball of any pitcher with a minimum of 80 innings pitched.

Ohtani has been the only thing left for an Angels team on a downward spiral, responsible for six of the 12 wins the Angels have won since May 25. His xERA and xFIP trail only Shane McClanahan, which is all you need to know to quantify Ohtani’s standing among baseball’s elite pitchers. Ohtani’s presence opens the leverage window for the Braves’ stack, which is the most expensive stack on the slate by a decent margin. The computer seems to like the Braves’ chances in this game as they are near the top of the optimal board, but Ohtani’s fade, especially at the cost of the Braves’ stack, makes it look like you could be playing with fire.

What about the Baltimore Orioles? The O’s caught fire heading into the All-Star break with a 10-game winning streak en route to a .500 record, a victory in itself for Baltimore. They find themselves near the top of the leverage chart ahead of their clash against Jameson Taillon, looking to hold on to the success they found at the start of the month. Taillon put together a great season for the Yankees as his ERA, xERA, FIP and xFIP are all below 4.00 without the insane outing numbers that come with it.

Tonight the O’s will see Taillon for the fourth time this season, and they’ve seen the ball away from his hand so far. In 14.1 combined innings, Taillon allowed seven earned runs, which could excite the Orioles, who ranked outside the top ten in July in ISO, wOBA and wRC+. The Orioles’ stack is still very cheaply priced, so there’s an advantage in a leveraged situation against a pitcher they’ve already performed well against.