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A handful of aces will work Tuesday night, and five of them cost over $10,000 on DraftKings. While it’s tempting to play one of them, particularly Aaron Nola at Detroit, two great matchups give gamers the option to fade the entire top tier. Let’s ride down that path.
Top SP: Yu Darvish, CHC ($9,200) at SF
Ironically enough, I’m choosing Darvish over Nola because the latter has issued far more walks (13) in four July starts. Darvish, who couldn’t find the plate for two months, has permitted just six free passes in his last seven outings. He lasted six innings in a pair of two-hit shutouts against the Pirates and Reds, collecting 15 strikeouts with help from an improved cutter. The volatile righty now gets one of the best matchups a hurler can ask for in a trip to San Francisco. While the Giants are hot, the offense quickly cooled off after returning from Coors Field to Oracle Park. As of Monday, they’re 28th in wOBA and are slugging .354 at home. The circumstances are factored into his cost, but Darvish is still $900 cheaper than Nola as the slate’s ninth-most expensive starter.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Nola ($10,100) at DET.
Value SP: Merrill Kelly, ARI ($7,300) vs. BAL
A bland pairing to the unpredictable Darvish, Kelly has quietly etched out a 3.77 ERA in his first major league campaign. Although hardly an exciting upside play, everything is working in his favor for a quality start. He’s had six of them in his last nine outings, working at least five innings in each turn while only once ceding more than three earned runs. He’ll operate at Chase Field, where a humidor has helped him post a 2.83 ERA with 55 strikeouts and six walks in 57.1 innings. Oh yeah, and he’s facing the Orioles. Prior to Monday night, they composited a .288 wOBA and 25.2% strikeout rate on the road. He’s a superb value play in a slate with few notable mid-tier choices.
This evening could lend itself to a double-stack on the hitting front. Cleveland missed the cut, but there’s plenty to like from its matchup. Sanchez has gotten tattooed to a 6.26 ERA and .365 wOBA. While righties have reached base at a far higher frequency (.423 OBP), lefties have generated more power (.467 SLG). The switch-hitting Santana has handled all takers, but he’s accrued 17 of his 21 homers off righties. He’s a bit cheaper than Oscar Mercado ($5,000) and Francisco Lindor ($4,900) while boasting better year-long results than Jose Ramirez ($4,500). As a result, Santana offers the best bang for your buck with a tremendous mix of floor and ceiling.
Cole is the opener for Peña, who enters the inner-state showdown with stark splits. While he has carved up righties to a .246 wOBA via a devastating slider, lefties have fared much better (.371 wOBA). Also carrying massive splits, Seager owns a .376 wOBA against righties during a down season. That’s right in line with his career .379 clip. It’d actually behoove the shortstop to bat in the bottom half of the Dodgers’ lineup so he can face Peña twice.
One more time? Davis went 0-for-4 when recommended here last week, but he then went 5-for-16 with a double, walk, and five RBIs over the next four games. Baby steps. He still wields a 114 wRC+ against lefties, and taking the low-cost gambit would open up so much more room for activities when formulating a lineup. Davis is a better play for someone spending five digits on Nola or one of the other expensive aces.
Vargas has been OK this season. A 4.25 ERA is about all the Mets should have hoped for when signing him to a two-year contract prior to 2018, but he has also surrendered eight home runs in his last six starts, a stretch that includes a six-run pounding at Miami on July 12. The 36-year-old lefty is still an exploitable opponent given the favorable prices on some San Diego sluggers.
Manny Machado at $4,600 is a lock in all formats. Hitting an unreal .386/.463/.871 with 10 homers in 80 plate appearances against lefties, the superstar should cost $5,400 like teammate Fernando Tatis Jr. Those with the available funds can play both, as Machado is eligible at third base and shortstop. I’d rather pair Machado with at least two Padres outfielders. Slugging .739 against southpaws, Hunter Renfroe is another easy call for $4,500. After that, it depends on the lineup card. Franmil Reyes has recorded 23 of his 26 home runs against righties, but the $3,900 price tag makes him a feasible tournament play. While Wil Myers has whiffed his way to the bench, a 113 wRC+ off lefties could give him the nod. If so, give him a look for $3,600. Then again, a red-hot Manuel Margot ($4,100) also should start given his 186 wRC+ with the platoon advantage.
By the way, the recently recalled Luis Urias only costs $3,000. Ian Kinsler may get the start because of his success against Vargas (1.050 OPS in 71 plate appearance). If that’s the case, give him a look for $2,900. With two homers since the All-Star break, Francisco Mejia is a reasonable catcher punt at $3,300.
Honorable Mentions: Indians at Blue Jays (Sanchez); Dodgers vs. Angels (Cole/Pena).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is akgould4) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings, and 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 nonpublic information.
Graphic by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter).