Somehow, we are less than a week from the All-Star Game, which we all know unofficially coincides with the slowest four days of the sporting calendar. So, I say this as a warning: Enjoy the next few days of MLB DFS. Because when next Wednesday rolls around, it’s going to be back to those YouTube marble races for us all.
Let’s break down some studs and values for tonight’s 14-game slate.
Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees vs. Cincinnati Reds, $10,500 - Well, I tripled checked. Rafael Devers ($5,300) hasn’t been traded to Cincinnati in the past few days, so I think we’re safe to roll with Cole. Joking aside, home runs have been a huge issue for the RHP in recent weeks, as Cole’s surrendered a whopping 2.6 opponent long balls per nine dating back to June 9. He’s also struck out 30.7% of opponents within that span — and 32.3% of opponents in his past 14 outings — so it’s not hard to see the upside in the somewhat struggling ace. Matchup is crucial, too. The Reds lead all NL teams with a 30.3% strikeout rate in the month of July, while the lineup has only produced a .123 ISO. I’d look for Cole to get back on track.
Jordan Lyles, Baltimore Orioles at Chicago Cubs, $7,300 - This is an exceedingly top-heavy slate, which means you’ll have to settle for a flawed asset if you’re looking to save some salary. Mitch White ($7,800) is an option, as is Glenn Otto ($5,700) in his matchup with Oakland, but I think Lyles is my favorite on the board. Like all members of the Orioles, Lyles is red-hot right now, pitching to a 2.81 ERA and a 3.46 FIP across his past four starts. The veteran RHP doesn’t provide a lot of internal strikeout upside; however, the Cubs have been known to swing and miss at time or two. In fact, Chicago’s 25.5% strikeout rate over the last 14 days is the fourth-highest mark in baseball within that span. So, if Lyles can go at least six innings in his fifth-straight appearance, he should be able to rack up some whiffs.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets, $5,500 - There might not be a hotter hitter in baseball than Riley, who comes into Tuesday slashing .469/.509/.939 in his past 12 games. That stretch includes six home runs in just 53 plate appearances, which translates to an insane .605 wOBA. Now, will this streak last forever? Of course not. Yet it’s hard to see the good times coming to an end against the left-handed David Peterson ($8,200). In his 100 PAs versus southpaws in 2022, Riley owns a 196 wRC+ within the split.
Luis Arraez, Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $4,800 - If you’re trying to figure out why Arrarez was named an All-Star on Sunday, look no further than his numbers against RHPs in 2022. Across 260 plate appearances within the split, Arraez is slashing .378/.446/.491 with a 172 wRC+. Sure, the infielder doesn’t have the power potential of many of the names priced around $5K, but he does have multiple hits in eight of his last 16 games. Then there’s Jason Alexander ($6,300). The 29-year-old has surrendered a .412 wOBA to the LHBs he’s faced this season and, overall, he owns a putrid 92.9% zone contact rate.
Ha-Seong Kim, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies, $2,900 - Kim’s been dealing with a thumb issue the past few days, but he’s almost a must-play if he’s back in the Padres’ lineup this evening. The former KBO star has thrived against LHPs in 2022, posting an .845 OPS and a 147 wRC+ in his 106 plate appearances within the split. This isn’t just any lefty he’s facing tonight, either. It’s Austin Gomber ($6,200) at Coors Field. Gomber’s conceded a massive .444 wOBA to opposing RHBs in Colorado. Yikes.
Darin Ruf, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $2,800 - I’d hope by this point in his career, we all understand what Ruf is: An elite platoon bat. The 35-year-old has had 73 plate appearances against left-handers since the beginning of May and in those opportunities he’s managed a .917 OPS and a 159 wRC+. That’s pretty damn good. With the struggling Dallas Keuchel ($5,800) on the mound for Arizona — he’s pitched to a 7.63 ERA across 11 starts — Ruf should be in a position to succeed on Tuesday.
Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays, $6,200 - Schwarber and the Phillies catch a break on Tuesday, with Jose Berrios ($8,500) filling in for the still ailing Kevin Gausman (ankle). Berrios has had his struggles this season, evidenced best by the fact he’s surrendered 33 opponent barrels — the second-most of any qualified pitcher. Many of these barrels have come against LHBs, as Berrios has allowed an eye-popping 2.25 home runs per nine within the split in 2022. That’s bad news when facing Schwarber, who this morning accepted his rightful invite to the Home Run Derby. He might get to practice that uppercut swing on Tuesday in Toronto.
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $5,700 - Buxton only has five hits in his past 50 or so plate appearances, but the good news is four of those have been home runs. Again, there are obvious holes in the outfielder’s swing, yet the upside is always enticing, particularly when Buxton’s going up against a contact-oriented starter. In fact, Buxton still owns a .504 expected wOBA on his batted ball events in 2022. Considering Alexander is in the bottom one percent of strikeout rate among qualified pitchers, Buxton should be able to generate a few BBEs and do some damage.
A.J. Pollock, Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians, $3,400 - Well, I had to find a way to get some exposure to the White Sox lineup against a lefty. Pollock has been awful when opposed by an RHP in 2022, but like most of his teammates, he thrives when facing a southpaw. To wit, Pollock’s slashing .309/.333/.600 with a 163 wRC+ in his 57 plate appearances within the split. Konnor Pilkington ($6,700) is nothing special, so if Pollock starts Game 2 of this doubleheader, feel free to get him in a couple lineups.
Austin Slater, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,000 - Slater will likely be leading off for the Giants on Tuesday, which makes sense, as the outfielder possesses a 144 wRC+ against LHPs in 2022. Still, Slater’s value is mostly about the presence of Keuchel, who has allowed 25 earned runs over his past five outings. That’s insanely bad.
TEAMS TO STACK
Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers - It’s hard not to get excited about the Twins’ run-scoring potential on Tuesday. Alexander is a 29-year-old rookie pitcher with a 5.70 xERA and the inability to generate swings and misses. Not only will he have to face the likes of Buxton and Carlos Correa ($4,600), but the man who’s given up a .349 average to opposing LHBs will have to face a bunch of very talented left-handed hitters. Arraez, Jorge Polanco ($4,700) and Max Kepler ($4,600) should draw a lot of buzz, yet I’d also recommend keeping an eye on Alex Kirilloff ($3,000).
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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