Scouting The MLB - July 31

We've got an 8-game slate tonight and plenty of enticing options on the stackable menu.

Stackable Menu

  1. Seattle Mariners hosting RHP Zach McAllister
  2. Kansas City Royals hosting RHP Kevin Correia
  3. Cleveland Indians hosting RHP Chris Young
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates visiting RHP Josh Collmenter
  5. Baltimore Orioles hosting LHP Tyler Skaggs

Longshot stack:Houston Astros hosting RHP Drew Hutchison

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Two Studs:

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs. ATL: $13,800 – Facing RHP Julio Teheran

At this price, you can probably only consider Kershaw in 50/50 and H2H formats, as he’ll essentially need to throw a no-hitter to provide enough value in GPPs. That’s not out of the question as he faces a boom-or-bust Atlanta offense that remains 3rd in the N.L. in strikeouts. Current Braves are hitting just .164 with 21 Ks in 61 at bats against Kershaw, who should be able to cruise through this lineup at home tonight. He has an unbelievable 0.72 WHIP in 7 home starts this season, which is a huge reason he’s averaging a whopping 36.7 DK PPG in Dodgers Stadium. Paying up for the best SP in baseball will cripple your flexibility, but it’s hard to turn down a nearly guaranteed 30-40 DK points.

Johnny Cueto (CIN) @ MIA: $9300 – Facing RHP Tom Koehler

Cueto is the top SP on the board tonight based on price and matchup. He’s facing a lineup that leads the MLB in strikeouts in a ballpark with the 4th lowest HR Factor in the N.L., and is priced a whopping 4.5K below the aforementioned Kershaw. Cueto’s recent starts have been uninspiring from a DFS perspective, but he’s still sporting a 2.87 ERA and .229 BAA this month. His K/9 ratio has increased to 10.05 in 5 July starts, and he’s certainly capable of racking up some strikeouts against the free-swinging Marlins. Most of the damage against Cueto has come in the early innings, so if he can gain some momentum with a couple of scoreless frames, he has a great chance to exceed value with a stellar start.

Value Play:

Yordano Ventura (KC) vs. MIN: $6400 – Facing RHP Kevin Correia

We usually target a good candidate for 50/50 and H2H formats with a value SP, but Ventura is also a GPP option due to his upside. The rookie RHP is under priced due to some consistency issues, and may be overlooked because he gave up 4 ER and 4 BB in just 4 IP in his only start against Minnesota. That outing came all the way back on April 20, however, and we’re looking at a more experienced pitcher at this point in the season. Ventura may be undervalued because he had a horrendous debut at Fenway Park, and ran into the buzzsaw that is the Rays offense in 2 of his last 3 starts. Yet the young hurler is at home, where he’s sporting a 7.84 K/9 ratio and holding opposing batters to a .307 wOBA this season. He’s facing a Twins team with the 3rd highest K-rate (21.6%) in the A.L., and he should be able to post a Quality Start at the very least.

Longshot Pitcher:

Cliff Lee (PHI) @ WAS: $8400 – Facing LHP Gio Gonzalez

Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg has given Lee a vote of confidence after some positive bullpen sessions, and he expects that improvement to display itself on the field as the LHP looks to regain his rhythm. Lee's been a bit unlucky with a .361 BABIP over his 12 starts this season, but his peripheral stats are better than his mediocre 3.78 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. The southpaw’s greatest asset is his control (1.37 BB/9), and he's done an excellent job pounding the zone against Washington with a career 8.57 K/BB ratio against Nationals hitters. There's a 27% decrease in HR Factor going from Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park to Nationals Park, and Lee will face a lineup that is cooling off lately, putting him in great position to bounce back.



Devin Mesoraco (CIN) @ MIA: $4200 – Facing RHP Tom Koehler

He’s pretty much all the Reds have on offense right now, and Mesoraco has been coming through as their usual cleanup hitter with 6 H, 2 HR, and 6 RBI over his last 4 starts. I wouldn’t necessarily target Koehler, who is sporting an impressive .195 BAA at home this season, but gambling on the Reds most dangerous hitter should pay off. Koehler is giving up 1.34 HR/9 and allowing RHB to sport a .337 wOBA, while Mesoraco also has great reverse-platoon splits with a .326 ISO against right-handers this season. Cincy’s backstop is a good bet for an XBH at some point during tonight’s contest.

Potential Value:

Dioner Navarro (TOR) is a relatively safe value play at $3900. He’s hitting .362 over his last 10 games and should be in the heart of a dangerous Blue Jays lineup tonight.


Mike Zunino ($3200) produced 20+ DK points as he homered on Monday and Tuesday night. He was shut down along with the rest of the Mariners last night, but remains a boom-or-bust option against mediocre RHP Zach McAllister tonight.

First Base:

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) vs. PIT: $5600 – Facing LHP Jeff Locke

Goldy has been quiet the past couple weeks, but homered last night and should be worth paying up for this evening. He’s made the most of the platoon advantage all season with a .475 wOBA (6th in MLB), and he leads the Majors with a .532 OBP against LHP. His 24% BB rate against lefties should come into play as he faces a southpaw that tries to get RHB to chase balls below the zone. Locke should be careful with Goldschmidt, who is 4 for 6 against him with a BB and a SB in his career, and that creates a high floor for tonight’s most expensive 1B. If you have the money to spend, Goldy should be able to provide double-digit DK points one way or another.

Potential Value:

Kendrys Morales ($3600) is really struggling, but if he’s batting cleanup for the Mariners again, he’s in play against weak RHP Zach McAllister.


Todd Frazier ($4400) is finally showing signs of life since the ASB, and could break out with a big game against Tom Koehler, who is worse against RHB.

Second Base:

Neil Walker (PIT) @ ARI: $4400 – Facing RHP Josh Collmenter

Walker is batting .308, and has reached base safely in all but one game this month. The switch-hitter’s power is almost non-existent from the right side of the plate, but he will bat left-handed against Collmenter tonight, and has a .207 ISO and .370 wOBA as a LHB. Collmenter isn’t guaranteed to implode in consecutive starts, but stacking Pirates lefties against him is a solid option. LHB are hitting .301 with a .346 wOBA against the D’Backs right-hander, and Walker is a modest 2 for 5 against Collmenter. He should be safe to deploy in 50/50 and H2H formats, and worth stacking in GPP contests.

Potential Value:

Enrique Hernandez (HOU) singled and scored yesterday and remains a solid punt play at $2800.


Kyle Seager ($4200) has great splits against McAllister as he’s 6 for 14 with 3 doubles off the right-hander. Consider him in a Mariners stack tonight.

Third Base:

Josh Harrison (PIT) @ ARI: $4100 – Facing RHP Josh Collmenter

Bet against a man that has homered in 4 straight contests at your own risk. Harrison should be locked into the leadoff spot for the Pirates as they move from massive AT&T Park to Chase Field, which has the 4th highest HR Factor in the N.L. Harrison has a slightly higher wOBA (.353) against right-handers, and Collmenter has looked very hittable in his last few starts. The RHP was lit up for 11 H, 6 ER, and 2 HR in just 2.2 IP during his last outing, and while you can’t necessarily expect another homer from Harrison, he has a versatile skill set that should allow him to produce one way or another.

Potential Value:

Marwin Gonzalez (HOU) received the day off yesterday, but should be back in the lineup with a platoon advantage against RHP Drew Hutchison. At $2900, he’s a great value option if he’s batting behind Altuve in the 2-hole tonight.


Mike Moustakas ($3700) is a boom-or-bust option that could go yard off RHP Kevin Correia. He’s hitting .263 over his last 10 games and the Royals offense should be productive at home in this matchup.


Jose Reyes (TOR) @ HOU: $5000 – Facing RHP Jarred Cosart

You should get what you pay for with the highest priced SS on the board tonight, as Reyes will continue to set the table for the red-hot Blue Jays offense. He’s batting just .267, but averaging 8.6 DK PPG over his last 10 games because he’s scored 9 runs during that span. While the switch-hitting leadoff man has been much better at home this season, Minute Maid Park has a similar artificial surface that would potentially help him reach base more easily when he puts the ball in play. Cosart is far from an elite pitcher, and LHB have a .358 OBP against him this season, making Reyes a very safe play if you can afford him.

Potential Value:

Chris Taylor ($2400) did in fact get the day off yesterday, but he should be back in the Mariners lineup tonight. The rookie is 4 for 11 so far in his MLB career, and could be the cheapest member of a Seattle stack.


Jordy Mercer ($3700) has homered and walked in 2 at bats against RHP Josh Collmenter. The Pirates SS is averaging nearly 10 DK PPG over his last 5 contests and is a stacking option.


Adam Jones (BAL) vs. LAA: $4700 – Facing LHP Tyler Skaggs

When AJ10 faces a LH starter, you have to consider him. He leads all American League hitters with a .504 wOBA against LHP, and has hit 7 HR in just over 100 at bats against southpaws this season. Skaggs isn’t a left-hander that gives up HRs too often, but he has given up 31 H and 15 ER over his last 4 starts. With 2 doubles and 2 HR in his last 3 games, Jones is heating up again and deserves consideration in all formats tonight.

Matt Kemp (LAD) vs. ATL: $4600 – Facing RHP Julio Teheran

Because he’s facing an excellent young right-hander, Kemp is a bit of a longshot to continue his hot streak, but he’s hitting like the man that SHOULD’VE won the 2011 N.L. MVP. Kemp has reached base in 10 of his last 11 at bats, logging 8 H, 3 HR, 6 RBI, and producing 23 DK PPG during that span. He’s been much better against RHP this season (.384 wOBA), and Teheran tends to struggle on the road, so you shouldn’t overlook the red-hot Kemp in this matchup.

Kole Calhoun (LAA) @ BAL: $4300 – Facing RHP Bud Norris

Calhoun had one of the biggest base knocks of the night for the Angels as they fell 4-3, and he’ll face a much older (and probably less talented) RHP in Bud Norris tonight. The big RHP held the Angels in check 2 starts ago, but Calhoun logged 2 singles and scored a run to produce 8 DK points in that contest. I don’t think Norris navigates this lineup as easily after they’ve seen him so recently, and his troubles begin with a leadoff man that is sporting a .374 wOBA against RHP this season.

Potential Values:

Gregory Polanco ($4400) and Travis Snider ($3500) are both worth consideration depending on where they’re slotted in the Pirates order. Collmenter is vulnerable against LHB and both these lefties are longshots to produce big DK point totals.

Mariners starter Chris Young has the highest flyball rate in the Majors and tends to struggle on the road. That puts most power-hitting Indians in play, and Nick Swisher ($3800) has homered and double twice in 12 career at bats against Young.

Perhaps the Mariners saw Dustin Ackley ($3400) batting leadoff as a failed experiment, but if he’s high in the order against RHP Zach McAllister he’s worth a look considering he was 8 for his last 14 before last night’s debacle.

I will answer any lineup questions on Twitter: @nweitzer7

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