Scouting The MLB - July 22

Tuesday's MLB slate is filled with solid options, Our DFS writer breaks down the top plays

Weather Report

  • Storms are likely to delay the game in Atlanta
  • Scattered Storms could affect both games in Chicago

Stackable Menu

  1. Oakland A's (righties) hosting LHP Brett Oberholtzer
  2. Washington Nationals visiting LHP Yohan Flande
  3. Boston Red Sox visiting LHP J.A. Happ
  4. Baltimore Orioles (righties) visiting LHP Hector Santiago
  5. Chicago Cubs hosting LHP Eric Stults

Longshot stack:New York Yankees hosting RHP Nick Martinez

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Two Studs:

Scott Kazmir (OAK) vs. HOU: $9100 – Facing LHP Brett Oberholtzer

The top two SP options tonight are pretty clear-cut, but if you’re looking for upside over consistency, Kazmir may be a superior option than Cardinals Ace Adam Wainwright. After sputtering in consecutive starts against the Tigers and Mets (possibly injury-related), Kazmir picked up plenty of momentum before the break with consecutive 7-inning, 3-hit shutouts where he produced an average of 33.1 DK points. While Wainwright (0.91) joins Kazmir (0.98) on the short list of 7 qualified SP with a WHIP under 1, he hasn’t touched 30 DK points since May 25. The primary reason is that Kazmir has a higher K-rate (23.4%), and has the good fortune of pitching in spacious Oakland Coliseum. The confines of the A’s ballpark should negate the Astros’ boom or bust offense, and if they’re not going yard, the young ‘Stros are striking out as they lead the A.L. with 878 Ks this season. Wainwright may be a little safer, but Kazmir could wind up looking the part of a stud.

Jacob deGrom (NYM) @ SEA: $8600 – Facing RHP Erasmo Ramirez

DeGrom has come out of nowhere to become a strikeout-dynamo, as his 12.79 K/9 ratio is best amongst all N.L. starters this month. His track record isn’t exactly extensive, as he’s dominated the strikeout-prone Braves (twice) and Marlins in his last 3 starts, but the Mariners are another free-swinging squad that actually has the 3rd highest K-rate (21.2%) in the American League. With an uptick in velocity, deGrom’s above-average changeup has become that much more effective as he’s struck out 19 to average 33.6 DK PPG over his last 2 starts (14 IP). His struggles on the road (in a small sample size), combined with the difficulties presented by facing a lineup with a DH makes him a risky play, but if the upside generated by his sudden strikeout ability makes him worth it.

Value Play:

Jake Peavy (BOS) @ TOR: $7000 – Facing LHP J.A. Happ

Peavy seems to have defined the phrase “hard luck no-decision,” as his record sits at 1-8 despite the fact that he’s been Quality in 12 of his 19 starts this season. The primary reason for this trend is the fact that Peavy has the lowest Run Support of any A.L. pitcher (3.16 per game), but with the Red Sox offense going off for 14 runs last night, he should come into tonight’s start with plenty of optimism. This is a completely different team in the post-Pierzynski era, as the Sox have scored 6.3 runs per game to win 8 of their last 9 contests. Peavy’s averaging 18.4 DK PPG over his last 3 starts, and has retired long stretches of batters to offset some solo homers. Boston (-117) is a road favorite in the 2nd game of the series and Peavy seems like a good bet to earn that elusive 2nd Win of the season.

Longshot Pitcher:

Jimmy Nelson (MIL) vs. CIN: $6700 – Facing RHP Homer Bailey

Nelson’s return to the rotation couldn’t have gone any worse as he gave up 8 runs (6 ER) before getting pulled in the 4th inning. After most of the damage was done, the young RHP did settle down in time to record 5 strikeouts and finish with positive, if minimal DK points. With 10 days to study the tape, and discuss adjustments with the coaching staff, there’s a chance the uber-talented prospect comes back strongly in a home start against a depleted Reds squad. Cincy is hitting .189 over the past week, and .232 over the past 14 days as they’re dealing with several slumps and injuries. If he can limit this struggling offense, Nelson could pile up DK points based on his shown ability to pile up strikeouts at every level. He was dominating at AAA with a 10-2 record, 1.46 ERA, and 9.24 K/9 ratio this season, so it may just take a few key adjustments to succeed at the Major League level.



Derek Norris (OAK) vs. HOU: $3600 – Facing LHP Brett Oberholtzer

The A’s haven’t faced a LH starter in 9 games (Madison Bumgarner), and it’s been much longer since they faced a below-average lefty. So Bob Melvin is likely licking his chops at the opportunity to pencil his platooning all-star into the middle of the lineup as Oakland welcomes Oberholtzer to the Coliseum tonight. It’s not that Norris can’t hit RHP (.347 wOBA), he’s just that much more dangerous with a stellar .452 wOBA against lefties. The Astros LHP has been knocked around for 20 H and 7 ER in his last two starts, and will have a tough time navigating the A’s dangerous lineup. Stack their RHB liberally, and consider Norris a solid mid-tier option in all formats.

Potential Value:

With two hits in a tougher matchup last night, Travis d’Arnaud ($2600) remains a solid punt play. The Mets young catcher is averaging 7.4 DK points over his last 10 games and faces a vulnerable RHP in Erasmo Ramirez.


Brian McCann ($3700) has actually hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games for the Yankees. He’s a long shot stack option against RHP Nick Martinez, who has been absolutely horrible against lefties.

First Base:

Mike Napoli (BOS) @ TOR: $4500 – Facing LHP J.A. Happ

Nap seems to go as the rest of the Red Sox offense goes, so it makes sense that the hefty 1B has caught fire with 47 DK points in his last 2 games. You can’t necessarily expect him to homer for a 3rd straight game, but he’s a good bet to hit value against a LHP that he’s 3 for 6 against in his career. Happ depends on getting hitters to chase pitches below the zone, but Napoli is a disciplined hitter that has a superb 20.6% walk rate when facing lefties this season. He also has a .426 wOBA against LHP, and could take advantage of any mistakes left up in the zone. Happ could get knocked out of this game early if the Red Sox batters stay locked in.

Potential Value:

Lucas Duda ($3800) is one of several cheap Mets that are solid value options against terrible RHP Erasmo Ramirez.


The Yankees have somehow scored the 2nd fewest runs at home of any MLB team this season, so despite the plus matchup, their LHB are part of a longshot stack. Mark Teixera ($4500) comes into tonight’s contest slumping, but has a great chance to go yard off Nick Martinez.

Second Base:

Arismendy Alcantara (CHC) vs. SD: $3900 – Facing LHP Eric Stults

The Cubs switch-hitting prospect has poor MLB splits as a RHB, but that comes in a very small sample size. However, in 99 at bats at the AAA level this season, Alcantara hit .374 with 16 XBH against LHP, so a matchup with mediocre lefty Eric Stults does not diminish his upside. The Padres southpaw has been consistently poor away from spacious Petco Park, as he’s allowing opposing batters to sport a .382 wOBA in away games. Stults has a 5.44 ERA and 2.28 HR/9 ratio in 10 road starts, and the Cubs actually tagged him for 5 runs in 4.2 IP in San Diego two months ago. If the forecast looks decent in Chicago, feel free to stack the Cubs suddenly dynamic top of the order as Chris Coghlan and Alcantara look to continue their hot-hitting ways.

Potential Value:

Skip Schumaker ($3300) seems to be locked in to the 2-spot in the Reds depleted lineup. He could certainly produce against rookie Jimmy Nelson and won’t need much to hit value.


Brian Dozier (MIN) went hitless for the 3rd straight game last night, but he’s always been a boom or bust option. At $4700, I’d consider him in GPP formats against homer-prone RHP Danny Salazar.

Third Base:

Josh Donaldson (OAK) vs. HOU: $4500 – Facing LHP Brett Oberholtzer

Donaldson is making the most of a new start in the 2nd half of the season as he went 4 for 12 at the dish and averaged 16.3 DK PPG over the weekend. What he lacks in average (.241 on the season), he makes up for with power, especially against left-handers. Donaldson’s .414 ISO against LHP is the 2nd best mark in the Majors this season, and he happens to be 4 for 8 with 2 doubles and a HR in his career against tonight’s lefty starter. If you’re looking for a 3B with a great chance to go yard, look no further than the A’s moderately priced slugger.

Potential Value:

Brock Holt ($4200) is a requisite part of a Red Sox stack against LHP J.A. Happ. Holt is hitting .339 against LHP and almost never fails to get on base throughout a game.


Willie Bloomquist ($2800) was all over the base paths as the Mariners leadoff hitter last night. If he’s atop the order again, he’s a longshot to approach the 22 DK points he produced on Monday.


Ian Desmond (WAS) @ COL: $4600 – Facing LHP Yohan Flande

Nationals batters are almost too expensive for a stack to be possible, but they have an outstanding chance to succeed individually as the face another terrible LHP at Coors Field tonight. Flande has a 7.36 ERA in 3 starts this season, and is allowing opposing batters to hit .375 at home. Choosing Desmond to attack this vulnerable LHP may seem a bit reactionary (considering he went 5-5 and produced 32 DK points last night), but he’s batting .357 throughout July and seems to be returning to his 2012-13 form. Desmond is now a .438 career hitter at Coors Field, and should get plenty of opportunities to hit with RISP in the 6th or 7th spot tonight. He should be considered in all formats while he’s hot.

Potential Value:

Reds RHP Homer Bailey is awful against LHB. Despite his recent improvements he could struggle against, Scooter Gennett (MIL), who is worth a look at $3800 as one of the Brewers’ few lefties.


Danny Santana ($3400) returned to a leadoff role for the Twins and produced with a double and a run. He has a decent chance to knock off some more rust against an equally rusty SP in Danny Salazar.


Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) vs. TEX: $4700 – Facing RHP Nick Martinez

The Rangers will send Nick Martinez to the bump tonight as the rookie pitches in Yankee Stadium for the first time. While he’s been awful with a 7.40 ERA and 2.18 HR/9 at home this season, there is an 80% bump in HR factor going from Arlington to the Bronx. The Yanks will also stack lefties against a SP that has a horrific 6.62 FIP, and very problematic 13.9% walk rate against LHB this season. Ellsbury is locked in as he’s 6 for his last 8, and once he almost certainly reaches base against Martinez, he’ll look to add to his SB totals.

Adam Jones (BAL) @ LAA: $4700 – Facing LHP Hector Santiago

Jones continued to crush baseballs as he launched two HRs last night to produce 30+ DK points for the 2nd time in 3 games. That performance came without the platoon advantage, so he’s likely to approach that production as he faces a weak LHP in Hector Santiago tonight. Jones has the 2nd best wOBA (.520) against LHP in the MLB, and is 3 for 8 with a HR off this particular southpaw. Based on the upside he’s flashed recently, he’s a huge bargain at his current price tag.

Kole Calhoun (LAA) vs. BAL: $4400 – Facing RHP Miguel Gonzalez

Avoid Calhoun in 50/50 and H2H formats at your own risk. The Angels leadoff man against RHP has basically been the best in the business since June 1, with 8 HR and 36 runs scored during that span. He’s 5 for his last 10 after a brief slump, and would’ve been more productive had Mike Trout not laid a bagel out of the 2-spot last night. That is highly unlikely to happen two nights in a row, so use Calhoun as the cheapest outfielder in the Angels dangerous lineup.

Potential Values:

Mark Trumbo (ARI) is a longshot play at $4200. He has limitless power and could turn around a Rick Porcello fastball for his first HR since coming off the DL.

Shane Victorino ($3700) and Johnny Gomes ($3200) are value options that could be part of a productive Red Sox stack. Victorino is far safer for several reasons- mostly because Gomes could end up getting pinch hit for after LHP J.A. Happ is pulled.

Grady Sizemore ($3200) is leading off for the Phillies these days and has produced DK points in 10 straight games. He’s a relatively safe play against RHP Yusmeiro Petit.

I will answer any lineup questions on Twitter: @nweitzer7

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