The big news on tonight’s 11-game featured MLB slate is, well, that it’s no longer an 11-game featured MLB slate. No one playing in this evening’s tilt between the Royals and White Sox will accrue DKFP as it’s now the second game of a doubleheader. Truth be told, I had little interest in writing about either of those teams, anyway.
Let’s dive into the 10 games that do count, shall we?
Justin Verlander, Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics, $10,700 - Aside from one absolute stinker against the Yankees, Verlander has been quite good as of late, surrendering one earned run or fewer in three of his past four outings. In fact, since the All-Star break, the 40-year-old is in possession of a 2.85 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP across 66.1 innings of work. Same old, same old for a man on his way to Cooperstown someday. Really, the only red flag in 2023 has been Verlander’s diminished strikeout rate, but on Tuesday, that’s where matchup comes into play. In September, only one team has a higher strikeout rate than the Athletics’ mark of 26.6%. They’ll provide the ceiling. Verlander will provide his own floor.
Bryan Woo, Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels, $7,900 - Woo appears to be the best option on tonight’s slate below $8K, though I do have at least a little interest in Carlos Rodon ($7,300). The difference between the two? One, Woo’s actually had success in 2023, with a 3.39 xERA in the majors and a 34.3% strikeout rate in the minors. Two, Woo will be facing what basically amounts to a Quad-A lineup this evening, especially if Shohei Ohtani ($6,700; oblique) is once again unavailable for the Angels. Over the last 30 days, Los Angeles’ .294 wOBA ranks second-worst in all of baseball. Yikes.
Dansby Swanson, Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies, $5,500 - Swanson was ice-cold throughout the month of August, but things have been better in September. Not only is the veteran shortstop hitting .304 with a 123 wRC+, but he’ll now get to call Coors Field home for the next couple of days. He’ll also get to face Chris Flexen ($5,000). To be clear, Flexen has struggled in any split imaginable so far in 2023, but especially so against RHBs. Righties have combined to hit .332 with a .427 wOBA off of the right-hander, which means Swanson should be licking his chops heading into the batter’s box.
Mitch Garver, Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays, $4,300 - With Adolis Garcia (knee) on the IL, Garver is now the Rangers’ clean-up hitter. He’s been doing a pretty good job filling in. In 40 plate appearances in September, Garver has managed a .357 ISO and a 243 wRC+. Those are video game numbers. I like the backstop’s chances of keeping his hot streak going on Tuesday, as he and Texas will be opposed by Hyun-Jin Ryu ($8,600). The veteran LHP has looked decent since coming back from Tommy John, yet he’s allowed four home runs in his last three starts. Meanwhile, Garver owns a 174 wRC+ off lefties in 2023.
Jose Abreu, Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics, $3,800 - Remember Abreu’s insanely poor start to 2023? Well, he’s been a lot better since the beginning of June, posting a 106 wRC+ in 301 plate appearances. However, Abreu’s been especially amazing when facing LHPs within this span, slashing .305/.356/.561 with a .256 ISO. All of this aligns with Abreu’s career dominance within the split, so I’m inclined to believe it’s real. JP Sears ($7,100) should proceed with caution.
DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, $3,700 - While LeMahieu is now clearly on the downswing of his career, the 35-year-old has looked healthy since the All-Star break, which has led to some nice production. In 189 plate appearances, LeMahieu has posted a .359 wOBA and a 131 wRC+. He’s also back to being the Yankees’ primary leadoff hitter. Considering Kutter Crawford ($5,700) has registered a ghastly 6.51 ERA when pitching at Fenway in 2023, LeMahieu is not only viable, but one of the better values on the whole slate.
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies, $6,800 - I’m aware that Bellinger is the most expensive positional asset on tonight’s slate, but I’m only human. In his 238 plate appearances since the All-Star Game, Bellinger is slashing .336/.366/.609 with a 158 wRC+. Heck, Bellinger’s managed a .273 ISO in that span with just a 13.9% strikeout rate. He almost looks better than he did in his MVP season. At Coors Field? I can’t ignore him.
Teoscar Hernandez, Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels, $4,400 - In retrospect, it’s sort of crazy that the Mariners almost traded Hernandez at the deadline, right? The former Silver Slugger award winner has been a monster dating back to August 1, posting a 172 wRC+ in 159 plate appearances. Hernandez also sports a career 140 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, so it’s pretty easy to see why I’d like him at this price in a matchup with the always inconsistent Patrick Sandoval ($7,500).
Pete Crow-Armstrong, Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies, $3,000 - Even if Crow-Armstrong wasn’t one of the top prospects in all of baseball, you’d have to give him a look based solely on his $3K salary in Colorado. But he is in fact one of the top prospects in baseball. Across two minor league levels in 2023, the 21-year-old racked up 20 home runs and 37 stolen bases. If he finds his way into the lineup against Flexen, he’s a threat for a huge performance.
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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.