Thursday brings us an eight-game slate headlined by a couple of top options at pitcher in Lance Lynn versus the Tigers and Yu Darvish versus the Mets.
Top SP: Lance Lynn CWS ($9,700 DK, $11,000 FD) vs. DET
Lance Lynn (19.8% K-BB%, 27.1% CSW 2021) and the White Sox will be hosting the Detroit Tigers whom we’ve been targeting all season and there’s no reason to stop tonight as their team K rate vs RHP of 27% is just behind the Giants at 27.7% for the worst in the league. Lynn has firmly established himself as one of baseball’s workhorses. Since 2019, he’s recorded a 3.23 ERA and 1.14 WHIP backed by a 20.5% K-BB% across 345 innings. The veteran has gone past the 100 pitch mark in four of his nine starts this year giving him the floor and ceiling we’re looking for at the top tier. The White Sox are the biggest favorites on the board (-198).
The Mets did get Pete Alonso back but they are still missing Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, and J.D. Davis. In the interim, Jonathan Villar has been a key contributor, and he too might be unavailable tonight after tweaking his hamstring. The point being, this is not a bad spot at all for Yu Darvish who leads the slate with a 24.5% K-BB% through his first 11 starts. Overall the Mets have produced just a .295 team wOBA against RHP, 22nd just behind the Tigers. The Padres are the second-biggest favorite on the board (-175). Between Lynn and Darvish, Lynn might be more popular considering he’s coming in at a discount on both sites in addition to being a slightly bigger favorite, something to keep in mind for tournaments.
Griffin Canning (15.5% K-BB%, 28.2% CSW 2021) doesn’t quite have the pitch count upside as Lynn as the Angels seem content capping him in the low 90s. But he has shown well-above-average K upside, peaking with nine against these same Mariners back on May 1st. With that matchup back on tap tonight, Canning is definitely on the board as another solid option in the top tier. The Mariners’ lineup lost one of their key bats, Kyle Lewis, to a meniscus tear.
Honorable Mentions: Yu Darvish, SD ($10,700 DK, $11,500 FD) vs NYM, Griffin Canning, LAA ($9,400 DK, $8,400 FD) vs SEA.
Value SP: Tyler Anderson, PIT ($8,200 DK, $7,200 FD) vs MIA
I’m a little interested in Elieser Hernandez who was excellent last year with a 27.4% K-BB% across six starts, but given that this is his first start after such a long layoff, it’s definitely best to take a wait and see approach. The other pitcher in this game, Tyler Anderson, is a decent option though. His 16.1% K-BB% on the year is a career-best and the visiting Marlins present a positive matchup evinced by their team K rate of 28.5% against LHP (fourth-worst). He’s shown some strikeout ability this season collecting seven K’s in four of his ten starts so far.
Honorable Mention: Anthony DeSclafani, SF ($7,100 DK, $7,700 FD) vs CHC.
OF Christian Yelich, MIL ($5,200 DK, $3,900 FD) vs ARI
This looks like a tough slate for offense. The Brewers get a favorable matchup against the Diamondbacks’ unproven righty Jon Duplantier, who is making just his second appearance of the year so we don’t have much to go by. In 2019, he did make 15 appearances with a 4.42 ERA and 1.55 WHIP backed by an underwhelming 9.5% K-BB%. Although the Brewers stand out with an implied total of just under five runs tonight, their offense overall is pretty anemic considering their .287 team OBP vs RHP, which is tied for second from the bottom with Baltimore. Not surprisingly, Christian Yelich stands out as the top option as he owns a representative .381 wOBA against RHP for his career. Kolten Wong, who has a career .319 wOBA against RHP, isn’t a bad option too considering he should be hitting leadoff.
Honorable Mentions: Yoán Moncada, 3B ($5,400 DK, $3,900 FD) vs DET; Salvador Pérez, C ($5,100 DK, $2,900 FD) vs. MIN; Paul Goldschmidt, 1B ($4,600 DK, $3,000 FD) vs CIN; Kolten Wong, 2B ($4,200 DK, $3,000 FD) vs ARI. Fernando Tatís Jr, SS ($5,800 DK, $4,700 FD) vs NYM.
3B Anthony Rendon, LAA ($4,900 DK, $3,300 FD) vs SEA
Justus Sheffield is near the bottom tonight with just a 6.8% K-BB% on the year to go along with a .372 xwOBA making the Angels another offense worth targeting. Sans Mike Trout, the best option here looks to be Anthony Rendon. The veteran third baseman is off to a dreadful start with just a .290 wOBA on the year but we know he’s much better than that as his career wOBA of .372 can attest to. Considering Sheffield’s low K rate of 15.9%, Shohei Ohtani is definitely on the board here too as an excellent tournament option in spite of the lefty vs lefty matchup.
The bane of Father Time’s existence, Nelson Cruz (.371 xwOBA this year), is another standout option tonight too. Royals’ prospect Kris Bubic has pitched well so far with a 1.52 ERA and 1.11 WHIP but I’d definitely lean on Cruz here and his .400 career wOBA against LHB. Josh Donaldson isn’t a bad gamble here either.
Honorable Mentions: Shohei Ohtani, 1B/OF ($5,600 DK, $4,000 FD) vs SEA; Nelson Cruz, OF ($4,800 DK, $3,400 FD) at KC; Josh Donaldson, 3B ($4,600 DK, $3,200 FD) at KC.
Value Batter: 3B/OF Hunter Dozier, KC ($3,100 DK, $2,100 FD) vs MIN
Let’s pick on J.A. Happ. The veteran lefty’s K rate sits at just 17.9% on the year, the lowest it’s been since way back in 2009. In 2019, his first full season of action, Hunter Dozier put up a .243 ISO so we know he’s got power. Happ’s HR/FB rate sits at 7.5% on the year but we know that’s going to go up considering he’s coughed up 47 home runs going back to 2019. Edward Olivares, a recent call-up, has shown some serious power/speed upside in the minors and would be another strong value play to consider if he’s starting. Jorge Soler, who has been mired in a season-long slump and is dealing with an injury, still has tremendous power that could swing tournaments, especially at his current salary.
Honorable Mentions: Edward Olivares, OF ($2,300 DK, $2,000 FD) vs MIN; Jorge Soler, OF ($3,100 DK, $2,100 FD) vs MIN; Dylan Carlson, OF ($3,800 DK, $2,600 FD) vs CIN; Alex Dickerson, OF ($3,000 DK, $2,300 FD) vs. CHC; Justin Upton, OF ($3,500 DK, $3,000 FD) vs SEA; Dan Vogelbach, 1B ($2,600 DK, $2,100 FD) vs ARI; Kyle Garlick, OF ($2,800 DK, $2,600 FD) at KC.
Top Stack: KC vs MIN (LHP Happ)
It’s kind of a tricky slate in terms of bats. The Padres are arguably the best lineup on the board but they get a tough draw in Taijuan Walker who has held both lefties and righties to under a .250 wOBA this year. So I’m going back to the Royals who have one of the better implied totals of the night at just under five runs. As mentioned earlier, Happ looks to be on the downslope of his career. Going back to 2019, the lanky lefty has allowed a .340 wOBA and .234 ISO to RHB as opposed to marks of .268 and .120 respectively to LHB so that leaves Andrew Benintendi as more of a tournament dart throw.
Otherwise, there are quite a few quality righties here to pick from starting at the top with Whit Merrifield (career .333 wOBA). Carlos Santana (.351 career wOBA) has been productive so far this season with ten home runs on the year to go along with his usual stalwart .387 OBP. Salvador Pérez (career .312 wOBA) has also hit well so far this season with a .280 average and .374 xwOBA, he looks to be the top option at catcher tonight. Hopefully, Adalberto Mondesí (career .300 wOBA) is able to return tonight (hamstring) as his speed would provide an excellent upside option at shortstop. And as mentioned earlier, Dozier, Olivares, and Soler are all high ceiling value plays tonight.
Honorable Mentions: MIL vs ARI (Duplantier); CWS vs DET (Mize); MIN at KC (Bubic).
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)