Scouting The MLB: Today's Top Plays

Our expert helps with your Daily Baseball lineup at Draftkings

Weather Report:

  • Scattered storms in Atlanta that look like small cloudbursts, nothing major to report across the MLB

Stackable Menu:

  1. Detroit Tigers hosting LHP Jason Vargas
  2. Oakland A's hosting RHP Colby Lewis
  3. Boston Red Sox hosting RHP Kevin Correia
  4. Milwaukee Brewers visiting RHP Brandon McCarthy
  5. Cleveland Indians (lefties) hosting RHP Jered Weaver

Longshot stack: Colorado Rockies visiting LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu


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Pitchers

Two Studs:

Cole Hamels (PHI) vs. ATL: $11,200 – Facing RHP Julio Teheran

Hamels is the highest priced pitcher on the board tonight for good reason, as he's allowed just 1 ER and struck out 26 over his last 22.2 IP. While his hot streak may end soon, it's hard to picture it ending at the hands of a Braves team that has scored the 3rd fewest runs in the MLB while striking out the 6th most times. This is a great matchup for Hamels since Atlanta's most consistent hitters as of late (Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, and rookie Tommy La Stella) are lefties, and Cole has struck out 26.8% of LHB he faced in the last three seasons. Current Braves are batting a collective .202 against the southpaw, and Heyward/Freeman have combined for just 15 hits and 20 strikeouts in 60 at bats. Hamels should be worth paying up for on the road tonight.

Tyson Ross (SD) @ SEA: $8800 – Facing RHP Chris Young

For a reasonable price, Ross could be a great SP to pair with the high-priced Hamels. The Padres young RHP has been outstanding at home this season (20.5 DK ppg, 2.33 ERA) but had struggled away from Petco Park, until recently. In his last two starts as the visitor, Ross elicited 23 ground ball outs, struck out 12, and allowed just 1 ER over 13 IP for an average of 23.75 DK points. For a pitcher with a below average HR/FB ratio (12.7%) pitching away from the spacious confines of Petco seemed to have a negative mental effect, but now his groundball rate is up to 61.1%, he's allowing a career low 22.5% fly ball rate, and he's got an 8.59 K/9 ratio. The Mariners, despite having a slew of LHB, has struggled against RHP this season as their .234 average against righties in 2nd worst in the A.L. Seattle is scoring 3.3 runs at home compared to 4.7 on the road this season, and could continue to struggle against the hard-throwing Ross.

Two Young Guns (Value Plays):

Rubby De La Rosa (BOS) vs. MIN: $7000 – Facing RHP Kevin Correia

Don't be fooled by Kevin Correia holding the Blue Jays scoreless over 6 IP during his last start- he's still a terrible pitcher. The Red Sox shellacked Correia for 9 hits and 5 ER in just 4 IP earlier this season, and should be able to do some damage against the RHP in Fenway tonight. That would give De La Rosa some much-needed confidence, as the rookie has received essentially no run support in his last two starts (both on the road). He made a couple of early mistakes in Detroit and Baltimore, but his stuff is electric with a 97 MPH fastball and filthy changeup that allowed him to strike out 12 batters over those two appearances. Twins' batters have struck out the 3rd most times (401) against RHP in the A.L. and they may add to Rubby's impressive K/9 ratio through his first three starts.

Carlos Martinez (STL) vs. NYM: $5700 – Facing RHP Jacob DeGrom

Martinez is another young hurler that routinely hits 97 MPH on the radar gun, and could become a staple of the Cardinals rotation for years to come. His Major League numbers are primarily based on relief appearances, and he hasn't struck many batters out in those late game situations. However, his K-rate at the Minor League level was pretty incredible and he clearly has enough gas to blow it by some of the Mets' lackluster hitters in Busch Stadium tonight. Of course the Mets have struck out the 5th most times in the N.L. against RHP, and have the 2nd worst batting average (.231) of any team in the Majors. Martinez is an extreme value play that I'm comfortable using in most formats on this relatively short slate.


Batters

Catcher:

Johnathan LuCroy (MIL) @ ARI: $4700 – Facing RHP Brandon McCarthy

There are few catchers that you feel truly confident about, but LuCroy (and his .336 batting average) can be a security blanket in 50/50 and H2H formats. The Brewers' backstop has reached base in 33 (yes, 33) consecutive starts, and hasn't lacked power with 5 HR and 23 RBI during that span. He's actually hitting .339 against righties this season and gets a great matchup tonight. Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy has coughed up 18 ER and allowed 5 HR over his last four starts, has a 5.23 ERA at home this year, and has neutral splits when it comes to facing RHB. With power-hitting catchers such as Evan Gattis or Wilson Rosario, you're hoping for a bomb, but LuCroy has the entire offensive package and is worth the $ tonight.

Potential Value: Steven Vogt (OAK) has been coming on for the Athletics with John Jaso and Derek Norris slowing down, he could be in the lineup as another LHB against Colby Lewis- who has really struggled against lefties this season.

First Base:

Victor Martinez (DET) vs. KC: $4800 – Facing LHP Jason Vargas

Jason Vargas has been able to post four straight quality starts in late May/early June, but absolutely fell apart the last time he faced the Tigers as he allowed 11 H and 7 ER on May 4. That start came at home, and now Vargas will travel to Comerica Park tonight to take on a dangerous lineup full of RHB that seem to have his number. Martinez is a switch-hitter that loses a bit of power as a righty, but still has 5 HR, and is hitting .413 in 67 at bats from the right side of the plate this season. He has as many HR (17), and 8 more walks (25) than strikeouts this season, so his ability to get on base makes him a valuable part of what could be a great Tigers stack tonight. After being shutout twice last week, Detroit bounced back with 16 runs in their last two games, and should be able to keep rolling against Vargas.

Potential Value: At this point, it would be surprising if Justin Verlander managed to dominate any Major League competition, so playing Eric Hosmer (KC) against him at $3,400 seems like a pretty safe bet for at least a base hit.

Second Base:

Ian Kinsler (DET) vs. KC: $4400 – Facing LHP Jason Vargas

If you're going to stack Tigers, don't ignore their power-hitting second basemen and usual leadoff hitter, who happens to crush LHP. Kinsler has seen plenty of Vargas throughout his career, and is 16 for 50 (.320) with 2 HR and just 2 strikeouts. He's hitting .306 against lefties over the last three seasons, and has had some huge performances against LH starters this year. The fact that the Tigers' leadoff man went 5 for 10 as they scored 16 runs in the last two games is no coincidence, and Kinsler's performance will be crucial again this evening. He's also cheaper than he's been in weeks at $4,400.

Potential Value: If you fall just short of affording Kinsler, Brock Holt is a GREAT safe play as he's reached base in 31 of 35 MLB appearances to this point. He's just $4K and should be leading off against the weak Kevin Correia.

Luis Valbuena is more of an extreme value play at $3100. He's facing the Marlins Tom Koehler, who has been consistently inconsistent this season and could get hurt by a veteran like Valbuena.

Third Base:

Carlos Santana (CLE) vs. LAA: $4000 – Facing RHP Jered Weaver

Usually Batter vs. Pitcher statistics aren't the most accurate predictor of future performance, but considering Santana is 9 for 17 (.529) with 4 BB and just 1 strikeout against Weaver, I'd be willing to use him in GPP formats tonight. Weaver found his rhythm briefly during May, but has now given up a HR in six straight starts and allowed 9 ER over his last three. Santana, who is also eligible at catcher, has turned his season around with 10 straight productive outings, and is averaging an impressive 12.67 DK points per game over his last three starts. While the power-hitting switch hitter is more of a gamble (considering his average is still .190 this season), his teammate Lonnie Chisenhall is more advisable in 50/50 and H2H formats as he's also done well against Weaver and is batting an incredible .371 this year. Overall, Weaver is much worse against lefties and the Indians have plenty of dangerous hitters from that side of the plate.

Potential Values: Sure Manny Machado has had his fair share of duds this season, but he's only $3400 and has the potential for 10-20 DK points against Jake Odorozzi, an inconsistent young RHP for the Rays.

Shortstop:

Troy Tulowitzki (COL) @ LAD: $5400 – Facing LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

I have plenty of respect for Dodgers starter Ryu, but I don't know how you can ignore Tulo when he takes on a lefty starter. The MVP candidate is hitting .441 with an insane .457 ISO (Slugging minus average) against LHP this season, and just touched up one of the top lefties in the game in Madison Bumgarner yesterday. Ryu has been solid this season, yet he has a 5.73 ERA in two starts against the Rockies this season, and Colorado's current roster is hitting .343 against him. It's simple, if you can afford the highest-priced shortstop on the board tonight, don't think twice.

Potential Values: Scooter Gennett is on quite a hot streak and may lead off again for the Brewers- He's a steal at $3500.

Nick Punto is a nice extreme value at $2700 that would be worth a look if he's in the lineup against Colby Lewis.

Outfielders:

Nelson Cruz (BAL) vs. TB: $4800 – Facing RHP Jake Odorozzi

If you believe that a power hitter can be "due" for a bomb, Cruz should be on your radar tonight. The league's leader in HR hasn't hit a dong since June 3, but he did reach base 4 times during yesterday's loss and his still seeing the ball well. Cruz will face a young RHP in Odorozzi that has a terrible 37.4% ground ball rate, and depends on strikeouts (10.52 K/9) to keep runners off base. He may get the better of Cruz once or twice, but his average 90.5 MPH heater could get turned on by the Orioles slugger, and nothing about the conditions in the dome of Tropicana Field could keep that ball from flying into the seats.

Coco Crisp (OAK) vs. TEX: $4400 – Facing RHP Colby Lewis

The Rangers have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball, and are accomplishing this dubious feat with Yu Darvish, a legit CY Young candidate, in their rotation. Well, players like Colby Lewis deserve plenty of credit for bringing the team down, as the big righty has a 5.74 ERA and an even more problematic 1.81 WHIP. When you allow a couple of Athletics to reach base, the floodgates have opened this season, and Crisp will likely be leading off in an attempt to get things going this evening. Lefties have a .931 OPS against Lewis this year, and he seems to be getting worse and worse with each passing week. With Crisp, you're paying for a consistent producer that has tons of upside due to his ability as a base runner and his surprising power. I'd pay for him at home, where he averages 9.7 DK points per game, as long as he's leading off tonight.

Drew Stubbs (COL) @ LAD: $3600 – Facing LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

I'm not necessarily advocating a Rockies stack, but Stubbs is a great mid-tier value play that you should feel safe deploying in all formats depending on his placement in tonight's lineup. If he's batting 2nd, ahead of lefty-killer Troy Tulowitzki, he's a virtual lock for 5+ DK points as he could easily get on base and get drive in. He's also a threat to steal bases and slap some XBH of his own, and happens to be 2 for 3 with a homer off Ryu this season. He'll likely be in all my lineups if he's batting between the 2-6 spots in the Rockies order.

Potential Values: Daniel Nava (BOS) is a decent conservative play at $3400 as he will probably get on base against Kevin Correia tonight.

With injuries to their outfielders, the Rockies have been giving Brandon Barnes playing time, and it's worked out great so far. At $3200 he's a dangerous RHB that usually gets a chance against lefties.

Scott Van Slyke (LAD) is an absolute lefty-killer that produced 2 HR the last time he drew a start against a LHP. He'll probably be in the lineup against unproven lefty Tyler Matzek tonight and is definitely worth a look at $3000.


Will answer any lineup questions on twitter @nweitzer7

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