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Porcello and Junis will make Kansas City continue to look like a Royal disaster this afternoon.
Must Play SP: Rick Porcello, BOS ($19,300) @ KC
I thought about putting Shane Bieber here, but he allowed too many hits in his last outing and the A’s have been the 6th best offense by wRC+ this week. They’ve also had the 3rd lowest K%, and Bieber’s arsenal isn’t electric, so I would advise against choosing the soft contact manager today. Porcello on the other hand, is facing a team with the 3rd worst offense by wRC+ in the same time frame, who have also been striking out way more than they usually do (28.1% this week compared to 20.4% on the season). If he can keep the ball in the yard, Porcello is the best bet for a 20+ point performance.
Honorable Mention: Dallas Keuchel ($18,000)
Value SP: Michael Fulmer, DET ($13,700) vs. TEX
Beyond Nick Kingham, the list of starting pitchers started to trigger my acid reflux. I almost recommended Alex Cobb as the best value here: you’d have the most leftover money to spend elsewhere, and outside of Fulmer he has the highest ceiling of pitchers in what’s considered the “value” range. But, the number of times Nick has mentioned “Roasted Cobb” this season is far too high to legitimize him as the best play in this range. Once the 5th inning rolls around, enjoy the game of “Will Fulmer lose his Quality Start this inning?”, which continues every inning thereafter until he’s relieved or the game ends.
Honorable Mention: Alex Cobb ($8,400)
IF: Yuli Gurriel, HOU ($9,200) vs. CWS (Lucas Giolito)
In his last 24 plate appearances, Gurriel has walked just as often as he’s struck out, and has just as many extra base hits as he has singles. He’s 8th best in wRC+ over the last five days, but is the only batter in the top 10 to have more than 20 plate appearances. The Astros will face Lucas Giolito today, who’s given up at least one homer per game since June 5th and had his worst outing of the season against the Astros back in late April.
Honorable Mentions: Starlin Castro ($8,400), Asdrubal Cabrera ($8,500)
OF: Starling Marte, PIT ($8,500) vs. PHI (Zach Eflin)
Marte is on a three game multi-hit streak. Over the course of his career, Marte has had a sharp fluctuation of peaks and valleys in his rolling-wOBA. On July 3rd, his 10 day rolling-wOBA was .157. Today, he’s up around his career reference line of .336. If past performance correlates with future performance, then Marte will continue his rise up towards another peak today and in the days to come. Marte’s point total might be capped a bit by Eflin’s penchant for holding base runners, but I still like him to keep rolling.
Honorable Mentions: Dustin Fowler ($7,700), Andrew Benintendi ($8,900)
Value Hitter: Scott Kingery, PHI ($5,900) @ PIT (Nick Kingham)
If the Pirates play poor defense behind Kingham like they did on Tuesday, Philadelphia could go on a hit parade. I’m not expecting Kingham to have a 3.67 WHIP again, but I can see another outing where he’s knocked around from pitching in so many high leverage situations early in the game. Kingery has put up three goose eggs this week, but has reached base safely in three consecutive games. He has the pop in his bat and speed on the bases to explode for 20+ point performances on a given day, and at $5,900 it’s worth a shot in the dark.
Honorable Mentions: Billy Hamilton ($6,300), Eduardo Nunez ($6,400)
Stack: Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester)
At some point, Lester has to regress to the mean. I understand outperforming your peripherals, but usually it’s not a difference of 2.32 between SIERA and ERA, especially in sample size that’s half a season. The Reds are the 8th best hitting team against LHP this season, and most of the team is priced at $8,200 or lower for today. There are some juicier match-ups, like Houston against homer prone Giolito and Boston against Jakob Junis (who has the worst HR/9 among qualified starters), but you’re paying a heftier price for those batters.
Honorable Mention: Boston Red Sox @ Kansas City Royals