- Strong storms expected in Baltimore, probably best to avoid Orioles and Rangers tonight
- Los Angeles Dodgers visiting LHP Franklin Morales
- Oakland Athletics hosting RHP R.A. Dickey
- Los Angeles Angels hosting LHP Brett Oberholtzer
Longshot stack: Pittsburgh Pirates hosting RHP Brandon McCarthy
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Even if all things were equal, I'd still prefer Tanaka over Yu Darvish by a wide margin tonight. Yet Darvish is pitching in a game with serious weather concerns, costs $900 more, and is facing a much more dangerous offense, so this is a no-brainer. Tanaka was at his best when the Yanks hosted the Twins on Memorial Day, allowing just an unearned run over 8 IP while striking out 9 for a total of 36.4 DK points. Now he'll face a Minnesota squad that is without their sparkplug (Danny Santana), and their most proven hitter in Joe Mauer. Tanaka's Achilles heel has been the long ball, as he's given up 13 HR and just 27 ER (2.10 ERA) all year. However, the Twins have hit the 5th fewest homers in the MLB (61), and Target Field is a much easier place to pitch than cramped Yankee Stadium, so there aren't many reasons to worry about spending on the Japanese Import tonight.
Scherzer is a relative value tonight that is also a superior option to Darvish in my opinion. As the Astros learned last Saturday, once the Tigers RHP gets into a groove, he's near untouchable. Houston managed to produce 2 runs in the first inning with three singles up the middle, but Scherzer put them to bed afterwards with 13 Ks over 7 strong IP as he produced 33 DK points. That was his 3rd dominant performance in his last 4 starts, and his stuff has looked as electric as it did last year. The Tigers offense should offer some run support against elderly LHP Erik Bedard, and Scherzer has been able to work through the Rays lineup in the past as he's 3-0 with a 2.88 ERA and .176 BAA in his last 4 starts against Tampa. Have faith in his ability.
Two Duds (Value Plays):
Zack Greinke (LAD) @ COL: $9500 – Facing LHP Franklin Morales
Grienke rebounded from a rough month to shut down the Cardinals over 7 innings and post 35.4 DK points in his last start. He's not the greatest option as he pitches at Coors Field, where he has some below-average numbers throughout his career, but the fact that his adversary (Morales) is very unlikely to post a Quality Start could give ZG all the leeway he needs to earn his 11th W of the season.
Vance Worley (PIT) vs. ARI: $7000 – Facing RHP Brandon McCarthy
The Diamondbacks offense is in a funk, as they're batting a collective .225 with just 4 XBH over the last week, and are hitting .238 over the last month. Arizona has put up 3 or fewer runs in 7 of their last 8 games, and Worley's value should be found in his ability to limit damage. The Vanimal has been rock solid in 3 starts for the Pirates this year, giving up a total of 4 ER while producing an average of 19.3 DK points per game. Aside from a horribly failed experiment as an A.L. pitcher last season, Worley's track record has been rock solid over the last 4 years, and he's dominated in two starts against Arizona (.188 BAA, 8.00 K/BB ratio in 9 IP). As he faces off with inconsistent RHP Brandon McCarthy tonight, the Vanimal has a solid chance to earn his 3rd W as the newest member of the Bucs rotation.
Chris Iannetta (LAA) vs. HOU: $3500 – Facing LHP Brett Oberholtzer
Catching options are pretty barren on tonight's 7-game slate, so a mid-tier value play may be the way to go. Iannetta has performed well in a platooning role for the Angels, and after hitting a single last night he's averaging 6.58 DK points over his last 12 starts. Essentially all of his power comes against LHP, as his .261 ISO against lefties is significantly better than his .072 ISO against RHP this season. Iannetta has a .399 wOBA against LHP, and is 2 for 4 with a HR off tonight's left-handed starter, Brett Oberholtzer. The Astros young hurler pitched well in his return to the rotation last weekend, but the Angels have chewed up lefties all season: They're 3rd in slugging, 6th in average, 5th in runs scored, and got to veteran lefty John Danks last night, so Oberholtzer has his work cut out for him this evening.
Dionner Navarro (TOR) is another value play with upside since A's starter Sonny Gray has been too aggressive lately and could give up some XBH to the slugging Blue Jays.
Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) @ COL: $4800 – Facing LHP Franklin Morales
Gonzo isn't necessarily the sexiest play in this matchup, but could be the first part of a fantastic Dodgers stack as they start a series at Coors Field tonight. The LHB is known for crushing weak righties, and while the power is certainly lacking in his reverse-platoon splits, he's a career .274 against LHP, and actually hits for a higher average (.295) against LH starters. There's no guarantees that Morales, a long reliever by trade, pitches more than 5 innings anyways, as his last start came on May 31- a disastrous outing, after which he was yanked from the rotation. Gonzo enjoys playing in the thin Colorado air, where he's batting .306 with 17 HR in 248 career at bats. Gonzalez and his teammates should be able to chase Morales from the game early in the series opener.
Note:Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) is on fire, and represents a higher upside choice at 1B tonight, but he also carries risk as he faces a quality SP in Sonny Gray.
Jon Singleton (HOU) teed off on Angels starter Matt Shoemaker for a HR in their only meeting. The young LHB isn't hitting for average (.184) but he has a high walk rate and plenty of power to warrant GPP consideration.
Ian Kinsler (DET) vs. TB: $5000 – Facing LHP Erik Bedard
Kinsler has modest splits against Bedard, as he's 12 for 41 (.293) in his career, but he does have the platoon advantage and has made the most of those opportunities in the past. Over the last 3 seasons, Kinsler has 63 BB and just 51 strikeouts against lefties, and over a third of his hits off LHP have gone for extra bases. His splits are more neutral this season, mainly because he's crushing everyone as he's hitting .437 with 10 XBH over his last 16 starts. Bedard's been a dangerous SP to target this year, but he's started to show some cracks with 4 HR, and 10 ER allowed over his last 3 starts. It will be tough for him to come into Comerica Park and dominate this lineup with Kinsler batting first or second.
Neil Walker (PIT) is steadily producing behind the Pirates' speedy outfielders and is a safe play with upside at $3700.
Josh Donaldson (OAK) vs. TOR: $4500 – Facing RHP R.A. Dickey
Donaldson has been inconsistent over the last couple months and his average has plummeted to .245, but he's still worth using in the right matchup. The A's will host knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tonight, who has been struggling to keep the ball in the yard as he posted a horrific 2.93 HR/9 ratio in the month of June. Donaldson is 3 for 7 with 2 BB off the Blue Jays right-hander, and has a great chance to continue his run of success against Dickey because his greatest quality as a hitter is his ability to STAY BACK on the ball. When you wait on Dickey's knuckler, you can let it fall harmlessly out of the strike zone, or smoke it over the fence, and Donaldson is more than capable of exercising that option this evening.
Josh Harrison ($3500) could also be a part of a Pirates stack against Brandon McCarthy tonight. The D'Backs RHP has the worst HR/FB ratio in the Majors and is worth targeting despite his recent success in San Diego.
Jed Lowrie (OAK) vs. TOR: $3500 – Facing RHP R.A. Dickey
If you want to use Tanaka and/or Max Scherzer tonight, you'll have to save elsewhere, and Lowrie has a decent amount of upside for this price. The A's SS broke out of a lengthy slump to log 7 H over 4 games before going 0 for 4 against a resurgent Justin Verlander yesterday. The point is, Lowrie's confidence should be rising and he'll likely be placed prominently in the MLB's highest scoring offense tonight. Like his teammate Donaldson, Lowrie excels at staying back on off-speed pitches, which is why he's 4 for 12 in his career against Dickey. He's shown patience at home this season (23 BB to 20 Ks) and should have men on base in front of him as well as productive hitters behind him, which leads to inflated production.
Introducing Enrique "Kike" Hernandez (HOU) to DraftKings. The prospect would've produced 24 DK points (3 for 5 with a double, and a HR) in his first two MLB appearances if he was eligible, and comes into play at the minimum price in a decent matchup against RHP Matt Shoemaker tonight.
Jose Bautista (TOR) @ OAK: $5000 – Facing RHP Sonny Gray
Don't get me wrong. Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig, and Andrew McCutchen are all fantastic choices tonight, but if you can't afford those top-tier options, Bautista is not a bad consolation. The Blue Jays slugger showed no rust after coming off the DL, as he's homered in his last two games. He'll face a young RHP in Sonny Gray that has never managed to get him, as he's 3 for 3 with a HR in limited plate appearances against the A's starter. Gray has been too aggressive over the last month, as his K/9 ratio increased in June, but so did his opponents average. If he tries to blow anything by Bautista tonight, it may end up as a souvenir.
George Springer (HOU) @ LAA: $4200 – Facing RHP Matt Shoemaker
Springer is a GPP play because his power is offset by his inexperience. The young RHB hasn't had a multi-hit game since June 17, but he's slugged 4 HR and stole two bases to provide plenty of upside on nights where he's productive. Springer is a microcosm of the young Astros, as they are an aggressive bunch that can pile up strikeouts or leave the yard in a hurry. That could be a problem for Shoemaker, who posted a 1.73 HR/9 ratio last month. Springer has strong reverse-platoon splits early in his career and this seems like a good matchup to use him in.
Gregory Polanco (PIT) vs. ARI: $4000 – Facing RHP Brandon McCarthy
Pittsburgh has been the 4th highest scoring team in the N.L. over the last month, and most of it is due to their super-prospect, Polanco, who got back to form last night with a double, HR, and a BB as he finished with 25 DK points in a 5-1 win. McCarthy has allowed LHB to post a .362 wOBA this season, and lefties have a stunningly high .388 BABIP, which indicates they are able to place the ball in their terms. Polanco has a .451 OBP, and is 4 for 4 on SB attempts against RHP at this point in his career, and he should be able to get the best of McCarthy tonight.
Scott Van Slyke (LAD) is a lefty-killer that should definitely be considered as the Dodgers face Franklin Morales at Coors Field. For $3300, he could be a solid part of that stack.
Ender Inciarte ($2500) could be an extreme value if he's still leading off for the Diamondbacks. He doesn't carry much upside, but had hit safely in 7 straight before dropping a goose egg last night.
I will answer any lineup questions on Twitter: @nweitzer7
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