With the All-Star break just around the corner, Major League Baseball has four games lined up for prime time on Saturday night following a busy afternoon of action. The four showcased games make up the night slate on DraftKings main slate. The matchups include a showdown between the teams with the two best records in the majors, an AL West divisional contest and Game 2 of the latest series in the rivalry between the two teams from Los Angeles.
As we approach the first pitch, be sure to keep up with the latest player news and lineups. You can do that by installing the DK Live app and following DraftKings Network on Twitter (@DKNetwork). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the dog days of summer continue.
Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves at Tampa Bay Rays ($12,900) – If the season ended today, the Rays and Braves would have the No. 1 seeds in the playoffs and could be on their way to a World Series matchup. The Braves took the first game of the series, 2-1, and they’ll look to get another win in Tampa when they send Strider to the mound Saturday night.
Strider leads the majors in strikeouts and strikeout rate by a wide margin and has gone an impressive 10-2 with a 3.66 ERA and 2.98 FIP across his 17 starts. His 155 strikeouts in 98 1⁄3 innings have helped him average 24.9 DKFP per start. He has over 28 DKFP with at least nine strikeouts in each of his three most recent starts and has found his footing after a blip in early June. He’s in a tough matchup against the Rays, but his upside is unmatched due to his punchout potential. If you can find a way to make his salary work with your lineup Saturday night, he’s the right starting pitcher to pay up for.
Other Options – Framber Valdez ($9,800), Blake Snell ($8,800)
Bryan Woo, Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros ($7,500) – Woo and Reid Detmers ($8,400) are both young starters on the rise with plenty of momentum and high ceilings. I really like both of them on Saturday’s slate, and you could build a lineup around the two mid-range options while passing on Strider in order to allow you to stack up some big bats. Ultimately, though, Woo is cheaper and a safer play since he has a more favorable matchup, while Detmers has to tangle with the Dodgers.
Woo has been exceptional since joining the Mariners early in June. He was knocked around back in his MLB debut but since then has gone 1-0 with a 2.36 ERA and 3.40 FIP while piling up 35 strikeouts in 26 2⁄3 innings in five starts. He has averaged 21 DKFP per start and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of those five starts but hasn’t gotten much run support or help from the bullpen, earning four no-decisions and just one win. Woo has at least seven strikeouts in four of his past five starts and went a career-high six innings in his most recent appearance. The 23-year-old will try to help Seattle get its third straight win over Houston. The Astros only managed two runs on 12 hits in the first two games of the series, and Woo will look to keep their bats quiet headed into the break.
Other Options – Reid Detmers ($8,400), David Peterson ($5,900)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels ($6,100) – Betts is eligible at both middle infield spots on this slate and can be a great place to start your build while still offering flexibility. Betts had a double and two homers for 39 DKFP as one of my building-block picks last night and has been scorching hot over the past few weeks. He has gone 16-for-33 (.485) over his past 10 games with eight doubles, six homers and an insane 18.9 DKFP per game average. He has a .428 wOBA on the season against southpaws, so his matchup with Detmers will play to the strong side of his splits. Betts has also done most of his damage at home this season, so all signs point to another big night for Mookie at the top of the Dodgers' productive batting order.
Francisco Lindor, New York Mets at San Diego Padres ($4,600) – Lindor has also been heading up after a dismal start to the season. He’s hitting .349 over his past 18 games after hitting just .211 in his first 70 games of the season. The recent turnaround has also included a power surge. Lindor has gone 23-for-66 with three doubles, two triples, seven home runs and tacked on seven stolen bases in those 18 games while averaging 14.5 DKFP per contest. Lindor has gone 8-for-10 (.800) in his past two games with a total of 78 DKFP. He is on the strong side of his career splits against lefty Blake Snell ($8,800) and will look to stay classy in San Diego.
Other Options – Matt Olson ($6,200), Manny Machado ($4,700)
Jose Abreu, Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners ($2,600) – Like Lindor, Abreu has turned things around after a slow start. In his first 54 games, he hit just .211 with a single home run. Since June 1, though, he has hit .285 in 31 games with six homers and a .340 wOBA. He has hit safely in 11 of his past 14 games and is still remarkably cheap after his early-season slump. If you’re paying up for Betts, Lindor and Strider, Abreu is a great way to still have a good ceiling with minimal investment.
José Caballero, Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros ($2,500) – Caballero has been platooning with Kolten Wong ($2,000) but is expected to get the start against lefty Framber Valdez on Saturday. Cabellero is hitting .280 on the season against lefties with a .383 wOBA. He also has 13 stolen bases on the season, offering potential upside if he gets on the bases. If you decide to go cheap at either 2B or SS, he’s one of the punt plays with the best ceiling.
Other Options – Eugenio Suarez ($2,900), Eduardo Escobar ($2,400), Yonny Hernandez ($2,000)
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves at Tampa Bay Rays ($6,300) – Acuña was quiet in the series opener, going 0-for-4 with zero DKFP. He still got credit for three hard-hit balls, though, including one with an exit velocity of over 100 mph. He should be able to bounce back just fine on Saturday night against Taj Bradley ($6,700), who has given up 12 runs on 17 hits in 7 1⁄3 innings over his past two starts. Before yesterday’s letdown, Acuña was on a 16-game hitting streak. During that run, he hit .379 (25-for-66) with a .318 ISO and .490 wOBA. He had 11 stolen bases in those 16 games while also smashing six home runs and three doubles. With multiple ways to have a monster game and lost time to make up for after last night, look for a big bounce-back from Acuña Saturday night.
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets ($5,800) – Like Acuña, Tatis can put up big nights in multiple categories. Since June 1, Tatis is hitting .336 with seven homers, nine stolen bases and a .426 wOBA. He has been crushing lefties all season with a .313 average and .446 wOBA, and he also has hit much better at home than on the road. Tatis has multiple hits and has posted at least 16 DKFP in four of his six most recent contests, so this matchup against David Peterson ($5,900) at Petco should put him in a place to succeed.
Other Options – Shohei Ohtani ($6,000), Julio Rodriguez ($4,600), Michael Harris II ($4,200)
Mickey Moniak, Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,400) – Moniak crushed his 10th homer of the season last night in the Angels’ loss and is hitting .310 in his 37 games this season. He has a clear path to playing time with Mike Trout (wrist) sidelined, and Moniak seems ready to make the most of his chance. Moniak was the No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 MLB Draft but has struggled to stick in the majors until this season. Moniak needs to step up with Trout sidelined since the Angels don’t have much lineup depth behind Shohei Ohtani ($6,000). Moniak is hitting .333 with a .441 wOBA against righties and is hitting .413 with a .508 wOBA on the road. Facing righty Michael Grove ($5,300) at Dodgers Stadium makes him a good value to consider Saturday night.
Corey Julks, Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners ($2,100) – Julks is barely more than the minimum salary on Saturday, but he has been hitting the ball well lately. He had four straight games with multiple hits before going 0-for-3 on Friday and has hit .407 (22-for-54) with four doubles and a home run over his past 15 games. He also brings some speed upside, as shown by his five stolen bases during that span. Julks is my favorite cheap play of the night and can help you build around big bats if you slide him into one of your OF spots.
Other Options – Starling Marte ($3,600), Teoscar Hernandez ($3,300), Jo Adell ($2,700)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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 skills 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.