Thursday evening’s DFS slate features seven All-Star starters preparing for the Midsummer Classic. Wait, Blake Snell, James Paxton, and Ross Stripling didn’t make the cut? Yikes. Proponents of the Revenge Game may gravitate to one of those difficult exclusions, especially since Corey Kluber and Luis Severino cannibalize each other’s appeal with a marquee showdown in Cleveland.
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By his standards, Max Scherzer is enduring a horrid rough patch. Washington’s ace has accrued just 16 strikeouts to eight walks over his last three starts, noticeably poor numbers for someone sporting an NL-best 29.0 strikeout % this season. Last week he served up three homers in a single game (to the Marlins!) for the first time since July 27, 2017. This is still Scherzer, and he’s facing the Mets. Jose Reyes and Matt den Dekker started for them last night. Don’t overthink this. His mini-slump might have even saved FantasyDraft contestants $1,000-$2,000.
Honorable Mention: Blake Snell ($22,900) at MIN
Where’s the respect for a starter brandishing a 3.63 FIP, 22.2 K%, and 50,0 % ground-ball rate? If you’re thinking I must be conveniently omitting a 5.50 ERA, Jameson Taillon’s ERA resides at a passable 4.05 heading into Thursday’s tilt against a Brewers offense with a better reputation than results. The NL Central leaders have filed MLB’s fifth-worst strikeout % (24.3) with a 93 wRC+, so they hardly represent a “run away at all cost” adversary. A solid pitcher given a solid matchup is available for a basement-level cost, and anyone riding Scherzer can use the savings to salvage a decent budget for hitters.
Honorable Mention: Ross Stripling ($17,800) at SD
Tyson Ross’s comeback crashed in a hurry. The 31-year-old righty left June with a 3.32 ERA that has since torpedoed to 4.41 after surrendering 14 hits and 15 runs in his last two turns. He was burdened with more walks (five) and home runs (four) than strikeouts (two) during those disastrous seven frames against the Pirates and Diamondbacks. Max Muncy is having a bit more fun in July, prolonging his improbable breakout with four more dingers. The lefty is actually faring better against same-handed pitchers; he only has a .414 wOBA versus righties. Are we supposed to wait for his 50th homer to start believing? He’s a stud facing a reeling adversary, so $9,000 seems like a generous price.
Mark Reynolds has raked (.297/.370/.595, 10 HRs in 127 PAs) when slotted into Washington’s starting lineup. While he has clobbered everyone, the righty is almost ensured a starting spot against lefty Steven Matz, whom he has scattered three doubles against in eight tries. This slate is so stacked with starters that Matz possesses the third-worst wOBA (.312) while garnering a 3.31 ERA, so it’s comparatively a strong matchup.
Wade Miley, who ceded a .374 wOBA to righties last season, will return from an oblique injury that has sidelined him since May 8. He’s hardly trustworthy at 100 percent following two seasons with a plus-5.00 ERA, so he’s especially vulnerable when adding DLH potential. Starling Marte ($8,7000) is averaging more FantasyDraft points per game (8.82) than Muncy, Bryce Harper, and Giancarlo Stanton. Both available for $7,600, Josh Harrison and Francisco Cervelli have fared well against southpaws in their careers before struggling this season. They also batted leadoff and cleanup, respectively, against lefty Gio Gonzalez last night. Austin Meadows ($8,000), meanwhile, has gone 16-for-53 with a .400 wOBA versus lefties. Although he has disappointed mightily in the power department, Josh Bell could pay off a $6,900 cost by reaching base.