Thursday night brings us an eight-game slate to look at. Let’s dive right in!
The Top Tier
Walker Buehler is the guy tonight in terms of floor as he’s the biggest home favorite on the board (-167). The visiting Giants have the lowest implied team total of the evening at 3.3 runs. He dazzled at Coors Field his last time out, going seven innings and collecting eight strikeouts, which was backed by a 34.4% CSW.
Sean Manaea isn’t far behind. We’ve been picking on the Mariners all year and the lefty has already dominated them once this year, a complete game shutout back on June 2nd. Excluding 2019 (just 29.2 IP), Manaea’s K rate this year of 25.3% is a career-best. Manaea is coming at a discount relative to Buehler on DraftKings, which certainly adds to the appeal.
Kenta Maeda is slowly but surely finding his groove. He’s coming off of two impressive outings against the Tigers including a 38.1% CSW performance back on the 9th. This current Angels lineup doesn’t offer much resistance outside of Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh. Maeda is an upside tournament option that comes at a solid discount relative to both Buehler and Manaea.
My favorite value pitcher is Luis Patiño. If you follow prospects, he’s no secret. In his last start for Triple-A Durham on the 16th, he threw 90 pitches, so a similar total tonight seems like a reasonable guess. He’s flashed an impressive 33.1% K rate in Triple-A this year and at his current salary, he’s an easy play as an SP2 on DraftKings. If he pitches to his ability, there’s a good chance his salary climbs from here. The Rays are strong road favorites (-140) tonight at Cleveland.
Philadelphia has been just about middle of the pack offensively with a .312 team wOBA (14th). And they’ve struck out a bit too, racking up a 24.6% K rate as a team, seventh highest in baseball. There’s still value to be had in Charlie Morton’s salary on both sites.
Adbert Alzolay has some of the widest splits you’ll see. Against righties, he’s shown a 29.4% K rate while holding them to a .274 xwOBA. Lefties have killed him, with just a 19.9% K rate and .395 xwOBA allowed. Alzolay has strikeout upside and could take advantage here, as the Cardinals are a lineup that leans right-handed.
Kwang Hyun Kim would be a smart play against the Cubs as they’ve struggled with strikeouts this year (26.2% K rate, third highest) and could be without Kris Bryant (hamstring). Kim has already had a productive outing against them, back on July 10th (six IP, seven K’s, 31.2% CSW).
I’m a sucker for pitchers with strikeout upside, so Andrew Heaney has torched me more times than I can count. His 20.6% K-BB% is one of the better marks of the slate and at his current salary, he’s a boom/bust SP2 for tournaments on DraftKings. He gets the Twins, who have the third-most home runs in baseball, so it would only make sense for him to pitch a gem here.
Tanner Houck is a thin play tonight since he’s making just his third start and his first since way back on April 18th against the White Sox. He’s someone to keep an eye on, as he’s shown some strikeout ability and could turn into an option later in the year.
Bats and Stacks
- Where should you go for offense tonight? The Red Sox lead with an implied team total of 5.3 runs. But, even still, I’m not excited to pick on Jordan Montgomery, who has been effective overall with a 16.8% K-BB% and has limited hitters to a respectable .313 xwOBA. Jarren Duran is a potential punt play while Hunter Renfroe is probably too cheap on DraftKings ($3,000).
- How about the Rays? They get Cal Quantrill and have an implied team total of just under five runs. Through nine starts this year (66.1 IP), he’s allowed a .352 xwOBA to opposing batters to go along with just a 16.6% K rate (bottom 8%). Austin Meadows is affordable on both sites and gets the platoon advantage here. If you’re on FanDuel, be sure to take advantage of Wander Franco’s $2,700 salary. Randy Arozarena ($2,800) and Brandon Lowe ($3,100) are easy to fit on FanDuel too. Ji-Man Choi has a .352 career wOBA against RHP and is on the board here too.
- Can you pick on Matt Moore? Absolutely, and you probably should. He’s allowed a .363 xwOBA to opposing lefties so this is not a bad spot for Freddie Freeman and Joc Pederson too, who’s been their leadoff man since being traded. This is a lovely spot for Ozzie Albies who has a career .402 wOBA against lefties. This year? He’s crushing them to the tune of a .382 xwOBA.
- Kudos to Chris Flexen. He’s done an outstanding job limiting lefties to just a .286 xwOBA. Still, Matt Olson needs to be on your list every time he faces a non-elite RHP. This year he has a .406 xwOBA against RHP along with a 13.1% K rate.
- Don Mattingly and the Marlins have yet to announce an official starter for tonight’s contest against the Padres. It might be Zach Thompson. He’s shown off a 29.2% K rate so far. Still, he’s an inexperienced starter and the Padres have the sort of power upside that we’re looking for in tournaments.
- Nelson Cruz and Josh Donaldson make sense if you want to pick on Andrew Heaney and his penchant for long balls. But, he probably hasn’t been as bad as his 5.56 ERA would indicate (.316 xwOBA, 4.24 xERA, and 20.6% K-BB%).
- I’m past the point where I’d rather take bats against Blake Snell than consider playing him. Unfortunately, the Marlins recently lost Jazz Chisholm and Garrett Cooper to the IL. Still, Adam Duvall, Jesús Aguilar, and Starling Marte are potential tournament darts.
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)