New Blood For Red Sox, But Are They Over-Priced? Our Expert Makes The Call

Jason Lake

Friday, September 2, 2016 6:54 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 2, 2016 6:54 PM UTC

The baseball odds have hit the board for Friday's game between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics. Guess what: The A's are giant underdogs at the Coliseum.

September is here, folks, and change is in the air. Major League Baseball rosters have just expanded from 25 to 40 players; some of those spots are taken up by guys on the 15-day DL, others by players on “optional” assignment to the minors. But that still leaves plenty of room for teams to call up their top prospects and see what they can do at the major-league level. It has to be worth it, though – starting the clock on their MLB careers now means paying them more money, sooner rather than later.

It's worth it for the Boston Red Sox (74-59, –3.37 units). They're two games back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East, and two games ahead in the Wild Card race. So the Red Sox are promoting their No. 1 prospect, 2B Yoan Moncada, and he'll make his big-league debut this Friday (10:05 p.m. ET) when Boston visit the Oakland Athletics in the first of three games at the Coliseum. The Sox opened as –160 favorites on the MLB odds board with a total of 7.5 runs; they're already up to –170 at press time.

Give Me Hope, Yoan
Moncada isn't just the top prospect in the Red Sox organization – he might be the best in the business. The 21-year-old Cuban native has been hitting up a storm this year in Single-A (.923 OPS) and Double-A ball (.910 OPS), using his blazing speed to steal 45 bases and turn ground balls into base hits. Moncada's defense isn't pretty, not yet at least, but the overall package might be enough to convince Boston to start him at third base ahead of Travis Shaw (.746 OPS).

If Moncada does start Friday, Andrew Triggs (3.23 FIP) will be the first guy he faces. Triggs was released by the Baltimore Orioles in March, and they probably wish they hadn't; the rookie northpaw has made back-to-back quality starts for Oakland, but this being Oakland (57-76, –13.66 units), they're down 2.89 units at 1-4 with Triggs on the mound. Boston responds with David Price (3.46 FIP), who hasn't exactly been a bust since joining his newest team, but hasn't been worth that $217-million sticker, either. The Sox are 15-13 behind Price for a loss of 6.41 units, although they have won his last four starts.

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Fantasy Corner
We're still going to go contrarian, as we do, and recommend the A's for your MLB picks. FiveThirtyEight's projections back us up, with Boston as the equivalent of –117 favorites. This also looks like a fine time to plug Oakland 3B/1B/OF Danny Valencia (.809 OPS) into your fantasy lineup – if you can't get Moncada, that is. Valencia has gone 12-for-20 lifetime against Price with four walks and a 1.417 OPS, and he's owned in just 53.7 percent of ESPN leagues at press time. Happy hunting, and may the sphere be with you.


Free MLB Pick: A's +141
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Record: 22-20 ML, 8-5-1 Totals (+6.66 units)

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