Major League Baseball has a light, three-game schedule on Thursday night, but there are still some great contests to jump into on DraftKings, where the night slate locks at 6:45 p.m. ET when the Marlins and Phillies get underway in Philadelphia. The Twins visiting the Yankees is the middle game of the set, with the Athletics and White Sox closing out the evening with a matchup by the Bay.
There are some interesting storylines and lineup decisions lined up for each team, so be sure to keep a close eye on lineups and the latest player news by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the season continues.
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics ($9,600) – Cease is in a great spot on this slate vs. the Athletics and is coming off a one-hit complete game vs. the Twins, which resulted in an impressive 41.5 DKFP. Cease has been good all season, working to a 13-6 record backed up by a 2.13 ERA, 3.02 FIP and 11.37 K/9. He has been even better since June 1, posting just a 1.32 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 102 1/3 innings since. Cease posted 26.5 DKFP in his previous start vs. the Athletics and has produced over 20 DKFP in nine of his past 11 outings. Oakland’s offense has been a little better in the second half, but they are still a good matchup for Cease, who brings the highest ceiling of any of the arms on the slate with the only slight hesitation being the fear of a possible hangover from his near-miss at the no-no.
Other Option – Nestor Cortes ($8,800)
Kyle Gibson, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins ($5,700) – With mini-slates like this, sometimes you’re forced to pick a starter against a tough lineup, but that is definitely not the case on this slate, where the Marlins join the A’s and Twins as good matchups to go up against. Gibson doesn’t have the strikeout upside that Cease brings and is coming off an ugly start vs. the Giants, in which he gave up seven runs and only got five outs on his way to -11.7 DKFP. Before that start, though, Gibson was actually on a nice role, going 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA and 3.22 FIP, along with 34 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings, over his previous six starts. One of his starts during that stretch did come vs. the Marlins, and he allowed two earned runs over six innings in a tough-luck loss. He will hope for more run support in this contest and has a good shot at returning value with a bounce-back outing at home, where he has been significantly better this season.
Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees ($5,200) – Correa has battled a few injuries but has been right around his career norms in most categories in his first year with the Twins. His power numbers are a little down, but it seems he’s trying to change that, hitting a pair of homers in his past four games. He has gone 15-for-46 (.326) with a .430 wOBA over his past 12 games and looks to be heating up coming down the stretch. Correa usually does well against lefties, too, so he’s in a good spot to target him against Nestor Cortes ($8,800) coming off the IL.
José Abreu, Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics ($4,100) – Abreu has also been heating up lately and is on the favorable side of the splits in his matchup against lefty JP Sears ($5,300). Abreu is a .305 career hitter against southpaws with a .390 wOBA against them, so even though his numbers are a little down against lefties this season, I like the matchup. Abreu comes in on a nice roll, carrying an 11-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 14-for-43 (.326) with three doubles. He hasn’t homered in 33 games and his power has been down this season overall, but he is still worth a look as a reliable mid-range contributor on this slate.
Other Options – Alec Bohm ($4,800), Sean Murphy ($4,400)
Jose Miranda, Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees ($3,300) – Miranda homered in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, giving him 14 homers in his 98 games in the Majors the season. The rookie took a while to find his footing but has taken off since the All-Star break, hitting .299 with 6 of those 14 homers, a .359 wOBA and 139 wRC+. Eight of those homers have come against lefties like Cortes, giving him a .347 wOBA against southpaws on the year.
Edmundo Sosa, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins ($2,300) – The Phillies will probably find a way to keep Sosa in the lineup after he went 5-for-5 with two homers and a total of 49 DKFP in the first two games of this series. He has driven in over half the team’s runs in a pair of one-run wins vs. Miami and usually brings excellent defensive play, as well. He is a bargain who has a high ceiling when called upon, going 15-for-42 (.357) with seven doubles, two homers and three stolen bases in his 21 games since being acquired by the Phillies at the trade deadline. Make sure he’s in the lineup, but if he is, he’ll be a great value.
Other Options – Joey Wendle ($3,700), Seth Brown ($3,000), Elvis Andrus ($2,800)
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins ($6,400) – Judge homered Wednesday afternoon to give him 55 round-trippers on the season, and in the nightcap, he walked three times and stole a base to produce 11 DKFP, despite going hitless. He has double-digit DKFP in five straight games and in seven of his past nine. He has been outstanding all season, with his .301 average, .382 ISO and .450 wOBA all pacing to be new personal bests by wide margins. He has been especially potent at home, where he has 29 home runs, a .451 wOBA and a 204 wRC+. Especially on a small slate, his high ceiling due to his power potential makes him easy to build around.
Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins ($5,800) – Harper has hit safely in nine of his 11 games since returning from the IL, going 11-for-38 (.289) with three doubles and a .341 wOBA. He hasn’t homered since returning, but he’s in a matchup that could change that against Sandy Alcantara ($9,900). Harper has gone 10-for-27 (.370) in his career against Alcantara with eight walks and a home run. Throughout this injury-plagued season, Harper has hit well against righties, leading to his .335 average, .420 wOBA and 172 wRC+. While I’m not ready to regularly consider him against lefties at this point, on this limited slate against a righty, he’s a nice bat to pay up for.
Other Options – Kyle Schwarber ($5,400), Eloy Jiménez ($4,200)
Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics ($4,000) – Vaughn has been a regular in these picks and in my lineups this season as a value play. His salary is starting to climb a little bit, but he’s still worth a look in this spot against a lefty. On the season, the 24-year-old righty is hitting .330 against southpaws with a .351 wOBA. He has hit five home runs over the past 30 days while going 27-for-106 (.255) with a solid .327 wOBA. If he’s hitting second in the order, I like his run production potential. Hopefully, he returns to that spot after dropping to sixth in the order Wednesday.
Estevan Florial, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins ($2,000) – Dealing with multiple injuries, the Yankees started Florial in both games of their Wednesday doubleheader against the Twins. After a quiet day game, Florial went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and 15 DKFP in the night game. He’s still hitting just .111 in his 12 games with a pair of stolen bases. At Triple-A, he stole 34 bases in his 95 games while hitting .290 with a .381 wOBA. While he hasn’t shown much in the Majors yet, the 24-year-old is worth a play at the minimum salary if he gets another start in CF, especially due to his speed upside.
Other Options – AJ Pollock ($3,100), Matt Vierling ($2,500)
TEAMS TO STACK
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins – Stacking against the most expensive pitcher on the slate is usually something to avoid, but I’m actually liking the Phillies’ value against Alcantara. While he’s had a great season, Alcantara has struggled recently, giving up four runs or more in four of his past seven starts and going just 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA, 3.97 FIP and 7.19 K/9 over that span. One start during that span came against the Phils, who got to him for four runs on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings. He has been pounded in his past three road starts, giving up 16 runs in 15 1/3 innings.
Harper has a good history against Alcantara, as highlighted above, and several other Phillies also have good BvP history — Kyle Schwarber ($5,400) is also 7-for-20 (.350), J.T. Realmuto ($5,700) is 9-for-27 (.333) with a home run and Jean Segura ($4,200) is 7-for-21 (.333). There are also cheap plays like Sosa, Matt Vierling ($2,500) and Bryson Stott ($3,600) who can help fill in your roster with solid production if the Phillies put a big number up against Alcantara.
Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics – Sears has been decent for the A’s, but he has pitched to a lot of contact and given up 27 hits in 27 1/3 innings over his five starts with Oakland. His 2.63 ERA is supported by an above-average 83.0% LOB%, which is why his 3.56 FIP indicates he has been a little fortunate. Even though they’re not quite setting the league on fire, the White Sox are 6-2 over their past eight games and have some hitters you can build around against lefties.
Abreu and Vaughn are solid mid-range options, and Eloy Jiménez ($4,200) brings solid power potential without an elite salary. AJ Pollock ($3,100) and former-Athletic Elvis Andrus ($2,800) are even cheaper and can also be very solid pieces to build around in the late game.
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