Back again, for another massive 15-game slate that stats at 7:05 EST. Now, even with a slate this enormous, the top-end arms are lacking a little. Don’t get me wrong, there are some dynamic pitchers, but outside of Mad Max, there is no true essence of ace. However, lots of games typically introduce a wide variety of value bats. Therein lies where we can find a path to winning. Also, as usual, there is problematic weather for the northeastern games – [email protected], [email protected], and, everyone’s favorite rivalry, [email protected] So, you know what that means; double and triple-check your lineups leading up to lock. Good luck!
Top SP: Zack Wheeler, PHI ($10,700 DK, 11,500 FD) vs WAS
There are only two standout pitchers that should take the top SP spot, and they’ve both been rock solid as of late. We save a slight amount of salary going Wheeler over Scherzer, but that is not the main reason for his selection. A slight recency bias creeps in because Wheeler has double-digit strikeouts in each of his previous three starts. The recent success has sent his K/9 soaring to 11.04 over 75 innings pitched. On top of the rise in strikeouts, Wheeler sports a WHIP south of 1.00. To sum all things up, Wheeler looks dialed in, and there is not a reason to doubt he will be dominant on the mound today.
Furthermore, his matchup against Washington looks favorable. Glancing at the Nationals lineup, you wouldn’t think to say that, but in the last two weeks, the Nats carry a 68 wRC+ vs. RHP. That low score is a product of a .090 ISO and 23.4% K-rate.
Honorable Mentions: Max Scherzer, ($11,400 DK, $11,200 FD) at PHI.
Value SP: Nathan Eovaldi, BOS ($8,500 DK, $7,300 FD) at NYY
Speaking of scuffling offenses, the Yankees has been disastrous. In the previous two weeks, the pinstripes have struck out 28.3% of the time. And, while strikeouts are elevated around the MLB this year, it comes with a .117 ISO and .347 SLG%. Sure, they still walk slightly, but this squad will also be without Luke Voit and Aaron Hicks due to injury.
On the flip side, Eovaldi has been better than the numbers are showing. A 2.33 FIP and 3.74 SIERA backs his 4.01 ERA. Additionally, the walks are down for Eovaldi this season. Furthermore, he showcases a meager 5.5% BB rate that pairs nicely with his 22.8% K-rate. Lastly, one reason people doubted Eovaldi in the past was that he gave up far too much hard contact. However, maybe we see a more polished version this year as the barrel% against him is well below league average at 5.1%.
1B Matt Olson, OAK ($5,300 DK, $4,100 FD) at COL
If we search for someone to break a slate, Matt Olson swinging a bat in Coors Field is our play. First, let’s state the obvious, Coors Field is the mecca for scoring runs and smashing HRs. Okay, there. Next, Olson is doing what he does best—destroying fly balls and being that middle of the lineup thumper to drive in runs. Additionally, this year comes with a new wrinkle in his game-better plate discipline. Not only is Olson in the 92nd percentile in xwOBA and barreling the ball at a 14.4% clip, but he is striking out less than 17% of the time. He is becoming a monster and any day he hits inside of Coors Field is a must-start game.
OF Nick Castellanos, CIN ($3,900 DK, $4,100 FD) at STL
Another Statcast darling that is far too under-priced to pass up. I realize that the sportsbooks love to price up the players in Coors Field, which can sometimes suppress the salaries of the others, but wow, this looks like an oversight. Castellanos holds the 97th percentile in xwOBA and the 100th percentile in xBA. Furthermore, he is striking out much less than his 23.1% rate. And, because his BB% is the usual 8% that means we get more balls in play from Castellanos. As Statcast can attest, more balls in play are exactly what we want from Castellanos. His .500 xwOBAcon is in the top 3% of all MLB hitters!
Honorable Mentions: Staling Marte, OF ($5,100 DK, $3,700 FD) at PIT; Austin Meadows, OF ($5,900 DK, $4,300 FD) at TEX.
Value Batter: 2B Willi Castro, DET ($2,700 DK, $2,800 FD) at CWS
The second base position can be less desirable at times. The position’s salary tends not to live up to the production on a game-by-game basis. So, I wanted to grab a higher upside bat in Castro to offer a massive return on investment. This value bat takes a much more giant leap of faith than usual, mainly because Statcast doesn’t back up his year, and the overall metrics are a little underwhelming. However, Castro has been riding a heater that can’t go overlooked – especially when considering the position and price. Castro has put up double-digit point totals in each of his last four games started. Sometimes, even on a punt play, you have to plug in the hot hand and hope for the best!
Top Stack: Kansas City Royals vs MIN (RHP Matt Shoemaker)
The field loves to chase Coors Field, so we want to get a little different in our stack. The Royals have been a productive squad over the previous two weeks. Against RHP, they are way down in K% at only 21.6%-which is a vast improvement since 2020. Additionally, they are a 105 wRC+ vs. RHP(6th best in MLB) and carry a .740 OPS. While these don’t blow you out of the water numbers, they are great to put against a favorable pitching matchup. That leads us to chat about Matt Shoemaker, who has been dreadful for the past four games starts. He has allowed 13 earned runs and nine walks in that time. Furthermore, he has only struck out 14 batters in that timeframe. Even if he gets an early hook, the Twins bullpen is well-known for imploded all season; and giving up HRs at any time.
The Royals also fit into our build somewhat favorably. We are already grabbing a 1B, OF, and 2B, so my suggestion is to look at Salvador Perez(C), Whit Merrifield(OF), Hunter Dozier(3B) and get a little different with the next player or two. Jorge Soler(OF) has been a total slug but harnesses the potential to take one deep. The implied run total for the Royals is 4.88, which, outside of Coors Field, is one of the higher totals on the slate.
Honorable Mentions: CWS vs. DET (Turnbull), STL vs. CIN (Castillo), OAK at COL (Coors Field).
Featured image by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)