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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings DFS Targets for 2023 MLB All-Star Game Showdown

Garion Thorne gives his top picks for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game Showdown contest on DraftKings, which starts at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Gatorade All-Star Workout Day Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

Look, I’m not generally a “trends that span a decade” sort of person, but the American League’s dominance over the National League in the All-Star Game is getting a little silly. The AL comes into tonight’s rendition in Seattle having won nine straight Midsummer Classics, and are 21-3-1 in the event dating all the way back to 1997. So, when it comes to betting, maybe just back the junior circuit.

DFS is a little more complex. Let’s break it all down.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $250K Showdown of the Week [$50K to 1st] (NL vs AL)


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SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Ronald Acuna Jr. ($15,600 CP) - He’s the most expensive asset on the board, yet in a unique setting like this, I wouldn’t worry too much about salary management. My thinking here isn’t too complex. While Acuna does play a position with many reserves waiting in the wings, he’s been the star of National League in 2023. In 409 plate appearances, the 25-year-old is posting career-highs in batting average (.331), expected wOBA (.456) and wRC+ (164). Heck, he’s already set his career-high in stolen bases, as he leads the NL with 41. If he gets on base, don’t expect him to be shy, even in a game that doesn’t mean squat in the standings.

Marcus Semien ($12,900 CP) - Semien’s actually been in a pretty significant slump since the beginning of June, slashing just .236/.297/.369 with an 85 wRC+ in his last 172 plate appearances. Still, the veteran is batting leadoff for the American League and he inhabits a roster with just one other second baseman on it — Whit Merrifield ($4,000). If anyone has a realistic shot at three PAs in this exhibition, it’s Semien. It’s also worth noting that 10 of the infielder’s 11 long balls this season have been hit off of RHPs, so you shouldn’t necessarily fear a matchup with Zac Gallen ($5,000).


UTIL Plays

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,000) - Let’s dip back into the positional scarcity well, shall we? It’s not been the best season from a surface statistics perspective from Guerrero in 2023 — there’s a case to be made that he shouldn’t even be an All-Star — yet first base in the American League has sort of been a black hole the past three months. So not only did Vladdy make his third All-Star team, but he’s one of just two 1Bs representing the AL. He’ll get his at-bats and, for all his perceived struggles, Guerrero still sits in the 97th percentile or better in expected batting average, expected wOBA and average exit velocity. I mean, the man won the Home Run Derby on Monday, there’s obvious upside here.

Luis Arraez ($5,000) - A couple things to consider with Arraez. First and foremost, the man is hitting .383 at the All-Star break and is starting in this contest for the NL. Maybe he shouldn’t be the 14th-most expensive asset on the National League’s roster. Let’s show a little respect to our slap-hitting king. Second, despite being left-handed, Arraez has been split-proof in 2023. He possesses a 152 wRC+ against RHPs and a 137 wRC+ versus southpaws. That’s important in a tilt where the matchups are a complete mystery.

Felix Bautista ($4,000) - While it’s sometimes difficult to predict which starters might end up pitching in the All-Star Game, I think relievers are a little easier to make sense of. The best closer in each respective league will appear at some point, and for the AL, I truly believe that’s Bautista. Though Jordan Romano ($4,000) and Emmanuel Clase ($4,000) technically have more saves than the Orioles’ stopper, Bautista has registered an eye-popping 1.07 ERA and 1.64 FIP through 42.0 innings of work. Also, he’s striking out an insane 50.9% of the opponents he’s faced in 2023. He has the type of stuff that can make a huge DFS impact even in a small sample.


Fades

Gerrit Cole ($5,200) - Here’s the thing about pitching in the All-Star Game in recent years: You don’t last long. In 2000, getting the starting nod might have meant two innings for Cole, but in the last three Midsummer Classics, only one man (Corbin Burnes in 2021) has thrown multiple frames. Cole should be chalky because he’s guaranteed to appear tonight and, on top of that, he’s the most expensive pitcher on this slate. He’s amazing, but he’ll also have to face the aforementioned Acuna, Freddie Freeman ($9,600) and Mookie Betts ($10,000) in the first. The NL lineup is undoubtedly superior to the AL. There’s simply cheaper arms that are more appealing.


THE OUTCOME

Who cares? But if you’re telling me I have to make a selection, I’ll side with the National League. Several players have dropped out of this event in recent weeks, but the losses of Aaron Judge, Yordan Alvarez and Mike Trout are very noticeable for the AL. The NL has the clear talent advantage, and I’d expect them to finally pick up a win.

Final Score: National League 5, American League 3

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $250K Showdown of the Week [$50K to 1st] (NL vs AL)


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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.