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The hottest lineups will be fueled by Cole in the early slate, and Wood in the late slate.
Early Slate (2:10 PM ET)
Must Play SP: Gerrit Cole, HOU ($22,900) vs. DET
Patron Saint of Pitcher List Aaron Nola has been extremely dominant over his last four starts, averaging nearly 7 IP per start with a 1.30 ERA. Cole has not been able to last as long (5.5 IP/start), nor keep runs suppressed as well as Nola (2.45 ERA in last four outings). However, when looking into the game logs, Cole had one bad outing against the Rangers, and the rest were strong, especially his most recent against Oakland.
I could see choosing Nola over Cole because of the consistency, and he’s playing Miami, but over the last week the Marlins have the lowest K% in baseball and a wRC+ of 115. The Detroit Tigers have the third highest K% and a wRC+ of 75 in the same time frame, so I’m going with Cole.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Nola ($21,900)
Value SP: Danny Duffy, KC ($10,900) @ CWS
The Cardinals have the 24th best offense by wRC+ over the last week, but it’s still not enough for me to trust Luis Castillo. The only reason for selecting him is his FantasyDraft game log alternates between double digits and four pointers in the last eight starts, and last time he put up a four. Duffy, however, has provided one dud outing against Cleveland and three of 1 ER or less. His fastball velocity was averaging 95.4 last game, which where it was at when he was dominant back in 2016.
Honorable Mention: Michael Fulmer ($10,900)
This is a name everyone’s probably tired of hearing at this point, but he just doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Keep riding the hot bat, and hope that he faces Fulmer in the 6th or 7th inning when he tends to implode.
Honorable Mentions: Brian Dozier ($8,100), Ozzie Albies ($9,900)
I’ve grown enamored with Winker over the past few weeks. His eye for the strike zone would be the best on most other teams, but he plays alongside Joey Votto, the equivalent of Michelangelo at the art of batting. This week, Winker leads the MLB in batting average, and Flaherty has struggled a bit of late, so I expect him to keep getting on base better than anyone else. However, as Andy Patton mentioned earlier this week, you can’t rely on him for power or steals, so keep that in mind.
Honorable Mention: Robbie Grossman ($7,700)
Rosario has finally been allowed to unleash his speed this week, and it’s paying dividends. He has two steals, three doubles and three triples (!) this week, and is facing Voth in his MLB debut. Justin Bour is another hitter who’s been on a tear lately, with his price deflated because he’s facing Nola, so if you want power potential I understand going that route. I prefer the volume of extra base hits that are more likely for Rosario today though.
Honorable Mention: Justin Bour ($6,600)
Stack: Minnesota Twins vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer)
The Twins offense has been surging lately, and Archer had a very meh outing in his first start back from the DL, which was against the Tigers’ offense that meows way more than it roars. Robbie Grossman and Brian Dozier have each put up 200+ wRC+ and are available for $7,700 and $8,100 respectively, while Joe Mauer and Max Kepler have been 35% better than average and are both priced lower than $8,200.
Honorable Mention: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Atlanta Braves
Late Slate (7:15 PM ET)
SP: Alex Wood, LAD ($18,000) vs. LAA
The Angels have the 2nd lowest batting average against LHP this season. Yes, Wood only got you 11 points last week when he faced the Angels, and the Angels offense is 6th best so far this week, but that was the first time Wood allowed more than 2 earned runs since June 3rd. Andrew Heaney has dominated his last two starts with 10 Ks in each, so I could see him being the best play in this slate as well.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Heaney ($18,600)
Ramirez already has four home runs this week, and Sabathia is the anti-Sonny Gray, where he’s great at home and not so great on the road (he’s not 7+ ERA bad, but his ERA is almost 2 runs higher on the road than at home). JoRam hits for more power against righties than he does against lefties, but that’s not a reason to be dissuaded since he’s still 22% better than league average against LHP.
Honorable Mention: Miguel Andujar ($7,600)
Jon Gray is a bit of a wild card, as his peripherals are some of the best in the majors, but he has a ton of starts where he lets up 4 ER or more. It’s his first start back in the majors since being optioned to AAA, but it seems to be more out of need with guys landing on the DL than him figuring out whatever mechanical flaw was ailing him. Either way, Haniger has an OPS over 1.000 this week and Coors is the best hitters park in baseball, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Mitch blasts one into the Rockpile.
Honorable Mention: Charlie Blackmon ($10,500)
Strange that two straight Saturdays my late slate value hitter is Austin Hedges, but he’s 11th in wRC+ this week, and aside from Hendricks’ last 8.1 inning gem, he had four pretty bad starts. Hedges is a bit more expensive than he was last week, but this is still a great price for someone who could give you 20+ points.
Honorable Mention: Austin Romine ($5,400)
Stack: New York Yankees @ Cleveland Indians (Mike Clevinger)
It looks like we’re finally seeing the Greg Bird Yankees fans have been lauding for the past three years. We’ll see how long it takes before he hits the DL again, but he’s been mashing opposing pitchers this week when he’s not striking out (.778 SLG, 36.4% K rate). Miguel Andujar and the Greglorius Didi have also been on a tear lately, both are cheaper than Brett Gardner, whom they’ve performed better than.
Honorable Mention: Seattle Mariners @ Colorado Rockies