We’ve got a full 15-game slate on our hands Tuesday night and, tentatively, we’re not supposed to get enough rain to threaten any of them. That means 30 starting pitchers, 30 lineups and a whole lot of roster decisions.
That’s where I come in. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups for this behemoth.
Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs, $11,000 - While it might be pretty basic to extol the virtues of the most expensive pitcher on the slate, you have to understand that Woodruff is worth his price this evening. The right-hander comes into his matchup with the Cubs in possession of a 1.89 ERA and a 31.0% strikeout rate, while Woodruff also sits in the 95th percentile in expected wOBA and expected ERA. Simply put, he’s been amazing in 2021. Chicago can not make the same claim these past few weeks. Across the past 14 days, the Cubs not only sport the league’s lowest wRC+ (63), but they’ve also registered a 33.7% strikeout rate. For comparison’s sake, in that same span, Seattle has the second highest strikeout rate in baseball at 26.7%. Chicago is slumping to an incredible degree and Woodruff is good enough to take advantage.
Editor’s Note: Padres SP Blake Snell (illness) has been scratched from tonight’s game vs. the Reds.
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds , $7,600 - Snell is far from a perfect pitcher — he doesn’t have enough innings to qualify as a league leader despite having made 15 starts — yet those red flags are mitigated when his price point falls this low. Actually, it’s never fallen this low. Prior to Tuesday’s scheduled outing against the Reds, Snell’s cheapest price tag in 2021 had been $8.4K, now he’s just $7.6K. It’s an opportunity to buy-low on a pitcher that possesses both a 5.29 ERA and a 3.66 xFIP. It’s an opportunity to shoot for some upside with a man that’s managed 12.2 opponent strikeouts per nine innings this season. It’s also worth noting that Cincinnati has just an 84 wRC+ versus LHPs — the third-worst mark in MLB.
Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins, $5,000 - Grandal has been fantastic so far in June, registering a .400 wOBA and a 158 wRC+ in 83 plate appearances. Those numbers are actually identical to his output from May; however, where the veteran needed an insane 38.7% walk rate that month to reach these thresholds, Grandal’s produced way more batted ball events in the last 28 days. BBEs are always the preferred result in the DFS. Grandal should be able to keep his bat hot tonight against Kenta Maeda ($7,000), who has allowed LHBs to hit 2.00 home runs per nine.
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,600 - In truth, I sort of think Caleb Smith ($6,600) is a viable pitching option on tonight’s slate; however, if you wanted to play Molina on an island, I also wouldn’t have an issue with that. While no one on the Cardinals has been hitting much the past month, Molina has continued to crush left-handed pitching all season long. In fact, the veteran comes into Tuesday slashing .344/.400/.719 with a 202 wRC+ within the split. Not bad at all.
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Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers, $5,900 - Last week, Mike Foltynewicz ($5,200) was able to survive a matchup with this same Oakland lineup. My guess is he isn’t able to do it in consecutive starts. In particular, Olson should have a field day in this spot, as left-handed bats have given Foltynewicz fits all season long. To wit, the veteran has surrendered a .433 wOBA to LHBs along with 2.97 home runs per nine. Those are the opposite of video game numbers.
Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees, $4,400 - Walsh just doesn’t seem to get the respect he deserves from the DraftKings pricing algorithm. Yes, his expected numbers are lower than his actual results, but at the end of the day, Walsh owns a .326 ISO and a 190 wRC+ when batting against right-handed pitching in 2021. Conversely, Jameson Taillon ($7,400) has struggled with LHBs, conceding a .280/.356/.517 slash line to the 133 he’s faced so far this season. Add in Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right, and Walsh is in an incredible spot.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles, $5,900 - It’s looking like lefty Alexander Wells ($4,000) is going to open this game for the Orioles, which basically means the Astros are in for the full Baltimore bullpen experience. That’s great news, as Orioles’ relievers have combined to produce an ugly 4.95 ERA so far this season. Meanwhile, it doesn’t really matter if Altuve is facing an RHP or an LHP lately, he’s just raking. The former All-Star is slashing .260/.383/.604 with a 166 wRC+ in June.
Enrique Hernandez, Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals, $3,800 - While it is sort of hilarious that Alex Cora insists on batting Hernandez leadoff, I’m not complaining from a fantasy perspective, especially in a matchup like this. Boston will draw Brad Keller ($5,800) this evening, a man who currently owns a dismal 6.88 xERA. Not surprisingly, Keller’s presence means the Red Sox have the highest implied team total on the slate, which should translate to DFS success for Hernandez. If he can muster five plate appearances in this contest, it’s difficult to see him not bringing back value.
Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $5,200 - McMahon’s production has fallen off a cliff since a scorching hot April, but he’s back at Coors Field this evening, which is all that matters. In 2021, McMahon owns a .991 OPS and a .333 ISO when facing a right-handed pitcher in Colorado. Chase De Jong ($5,300) isn’t just any random RHP, either. Among all pitchers who have thrown at least 18.0 innings to this point in June, De Jong’s 26.3% ground ball rate in the lowest. No one wants to be pitching at altitude, but multiply that attitude by 100 when it comes to extreme fly ball starters. This could get ugly.
Abraham Toro, Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles, $3,600 - I’d assume that Toro gets the nod at third base this evening — particularly if the lefty-handed Wells gets the start for the Orioles. The samples aren’y massive for the infielder; however, since getting recalled from the minor leagues due to Alex Bregman’s injury, Toro has posted a 144 wRC+. Considering Houston has scored 33 runs in its four games against Baltimore so far this season, getting any piece of this lineup for less than $4K is a steal.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals, $5,400 - I probably point this out in this space at least once every three weeks, but Bogaerts really likes hitting at Fenway. In 155 plate appearances within the split so far in 2021, the shortstop is slashing .345/.400/.604 with a 1.004 OPS and a 164 wRC+. Now he’ll get to face the struggling Keller, who has surrendered a massive .396 wOBA to RHBs this season. He’s very bad and Bogaerts is very good. This is an easy call if you can afford it.
Josh Rojas, Arizona Diamondbacks at St. Louis Cardinals, $3,200 - While I certainly understand the inclination to assume all Diamondbacks assets are awful, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around Rojas’ price tag. The infielder is Arizona’s current leadoff hitter, he’s managed a respectable 115 wRC+ for the season and, recently, he’s produced four multi-hit performances in his past five contests. Rojas will also get the pleasure of facing Carlos Martinez ($7,000) this evening, someone who has a 13.73 ERA so far in June. That’s not a typo. Martinez has allowed 30 earned runs in his last 19.2 innings. Yuck.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees, $4,900 - It took very little time for Ohtani to make his presence known at Yankee Stadium on Monday, and I could see a similar situation play out on Tuesday. Not only has the aforementioned Taillon had his issues with left-handed bats so far in 2021, but Ohtani is on absolute fire. The 26-year-old has posted a .547 ISO and a 232 wRC+ in June and, for the season as a whole, Ohtani leads baseball in barrels per batted ball event rate (25.1%). He should be priced over $6K, yet he’s somehow still less than $5K. Take advantage of the discount.
Yonathan Daza, Colorado Rockies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $3,100 - Daza doesn’t have a lot of power and a .400 BABIP does suggest so regression down the line, but the outfielder is also priced just above $3K and he’s likely to be hitting second in Colorado’s lineup tonight. I’ll take that trade-off. De Jong is simply not the archetype of pitcher that survives Coors, and the fact he’s conceded a .406 wOBA to opponents in his past four starts is concerning. Look for Daza, who is hitting .375 at home, to do some damage.
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