- Detroit Tigers visiting LHP Brett Oberholtzer
- Oakland Athletics visiting RHP Nathan Eovaldi
- Washington Nationals visiting RHP Dallas Beeler
- Milwaukee Brewers hosting RHP Jhouyls Chacin
- Los Angeles Angels visiting RHP Yordano Ventura
Longshot stack: Baltimore Orioles hosting LHP Erik Bedard
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Honestly, 12K is a lot to pay for any pitcher, but the man that leads the MLB with an 11.02 K/9 ratio is worth the money. Darvish hasn't been dominant in his last two starts, and his ground ball rates have plummeted this season. That's created some troublesome contact, especially off the dangerous Angels' and Athletics' bats, but it seems doubtful that any fly balls will leave Globe Life Park today with early forecasts reporting that 22 MPH winds will blow into the stadium from RF. Darvish has been stellar at home this season, and will be pitching against a team that he's owned in his short career. Current Twins are 10 for 51 (.196) against the RHP with 17 strikeouts and just 2 XBH. He should be able to hold them in check and pile up enough Ks to meet the value of his lofty price tag.
Max Scherzer (DET) @ HOU: $10,200 – Facing LHP Brett Oberholtzer
Scherzer seems to have caught some of what plagues Justin Verlander- a lack of concentration (maybe with Kate Upton around)- and he's been rocked a few times in recent weeks. Now the Tigers' ace is available for a very reasonable price, and he's absolutely worth deploying in this matchup. The Astros have the 2nd lowest batting average (.222), and 3rd fewest runs scored against RHP in the MLB, while also striking out the 2nd most times (498) against righties among A.L. teams. Their young, trigger-happy hitters made the woebegone Verlander look decent last night as he struck out 8 over 6 innings to post 19.3 DK points. That's the same Verlander that is somehow sporting just a 6.91 K/9 ratio this season (8.39 career K/9). Scherzer's had a few meltdowns, but he's still striking out 10.27 batters per 9 innings and his stuff is every bit as filthy as it was during last year's CY Young campaign- he just needs to concentrate.
Two Duds (Value Plays):
Phil Hughes (MIN) @ TEX: $8600 – Facing RHP Yu Darvish
Hughes is the type of aggressive pitcher that dares hitters to beat him, and this year at least, Texas doesn't seem capable of doing that. The bottom of the Rangers lineup is usually filled with fringe MLB players, and Hughes, who leads the MLB with a 0.85 BB/9 ratio, is going to pound the zone against those hitters. He's been excellent on the road this season with a 2.06 ERA and 86.4% strand rate, and is actually averaging 22.6 DK PPG compared to the 14.7 he's averaging at home this season. The unusually strong winds that are blowing in from the South played a role in Rick Porcello's shutout of the Rangers on Thursday night, and could also assist Hughes this Saturday afternoon, but he's solid enough to warrant consideration without Mother Nature's aid.
Note: Sonny Gray is an even safer play in my opinion at $8400 as he faces a Marlins team that leads the league in strikeouts in their massive stadium.
Marcus Stroman (TOR) vs. CWS: $7300 – Facing LHP Chris Sale
Stroman is a value play with tons of upside because he has filthy stuff, and the White Sox strike out at the 3rdhighest rate in the Majors. Granted it's a different level of competition, but Stroman posted a K/9 over 10 in each of his last three seasons in the Minor Leagues. He proved he can pitch in the MLB as he allowed 3 H, 1 ER, and struck out 7 Yankees over 8 IP to lead all SP with 31.6 DK points on Monday night, and he actually posted similar lines in home starts against the Cardinals and Royals to start the month. The young RHP comes with plenty of risk, but is worth consideration in GPP formats.
John Jaso (OAK) @ MIA: $3600 – Facing RHP Nathan Eovaldi
You'll have to wait for Bob Melvin's lineup card to be sure, but either Jaso or Steven Vogt should be behind the plate as the A's play a day game after last night's comeback win. If it's Vogt, save even more, but Jaso remains a great play based on his price tag as well. He's averaging 8.3 DK points over his last 6 starts, and appears to be past his mid-June slump. Jaso and the rest of the A's LHB will take on Eovaldi, who has allowed lefties to post a .361 wOBA while limiting RHB to a .245 wOBA. He pitched well during his last outing in Philadelphia, but this A's lineup has a tendency to wear a pitcher down and it wouldn't be surprising if a stack of Oakland lefties pays off today.
There should be plenty of replacement catchers during Saturday's day games, and if Vogt (OAK) isn't in the lineup, I'd consider Gerald Laird (ATL), who should get the start for Evan Gattis and costs just $2900.
Jose Abreu (CWS) @ TOR: $4800 – Facing RHP Marcus Stroman
He couldn't possibly go deep again after launching two homers last night? Perhaps not, but of all the first base options that went OFF last night, Abreu's probably the best play best on price. He's simply been en fuego since coming off the DL at the start of June, as he's launched 6 HR during his current 12-game hitting streak. Abreu has the 3rd highest wOBA against RHP in the Majors (at .420) and his .364 ISO against righties is absurdly 44 points better than the current runner-up in that category (Edwin Encarnacion). Stroman has a chance to post a Quality Start, but he has to be extremely careful with the White Sox slugger. Either Abreu reaches base on a couple of walks, or he makes the young RHP pay with yet another XBH.
C.J. Cron (LAA) actually matched Abreu's output last night with 30 DK points, for $1200 cheaper. He's still $3600, and while he doesn't have the track record of the White Sox rookie, he has 5 HR over his last 6 games and could turn around a Yordana Ventura fastball today.
Scooter Gennett (MIL) vs. COL: $4000 – Facing RHP Jhouyls Chacin
Assuming Gennett hasn't lost his rhythm after sitting out while his teammates pounded the Rockies LHP, he should be ready to roll as their leadoff man against RHP Jhouyls Chacin today. Gennett is hitting .410 over the last 4 weeks and .338 against RHP on the season. He's produced DK points in each of his last 22 starts, but remains a relative value because he platoons with Rickie Weeks. Chacin has a 5.14 ERA on the road and is allowing LHB to post a .325 wOBA against him this season, so I'd feel very comfortable rolling with Gennett as long as he's back atop the Brewers lineup.
Aramis Ramirez (MIL) vs. COL: $5000 – Facing RHP Jhouyls Chacin
Tyler Matzek was understandably cautious with Ramirez (who homered off him a couple weeks ago) last night, and the Brewers 3B was only able to slap a single as he failed to hit value with 3 DK points. However, the way he's swinging the bat lately, I wouldn't expect a repeat disappointment. He's batting .396 since June 11 to raise his season average to .295, and has an OPS of 1.060 this month. He may not be as dangerous against RHP, but Chacin has certainly had some issues with Ramirez, as the RHB is 6 for 15 (.400) with 2 doubles and a HR in his career against the Rockies starter. Amongst the top-tier options at 3B tonight, Ramirez seems to have the most upside.
Danny Valencia (KC) is incredibly cheap at $2800 and represents a safe punt play at 2B or 3B this afternoon as he faces the Angels Hector Santiago, who has struggled as a starter all season.
Ian Desmond (WAS) @ CHC: $4400 – Facing RHP Dallas Beeler
With most of the most expensive SS options facing top-tier pitchers tonight, I'd gamble on Desmond taking on a RHP making his Major League debut. Dallas Beeler comes out of the Cubs farm system to face a dangerous Nationals lineup, and Desmond is a dual threat that could cause problems for him out of the 6th or 7th spot. Looking through Beeler's numbers in the Minors, he can only be described as…average (6.41 K/9, 4.03 ERA in 10 starts at the AAA level this year). He doesn't seem particularly vulnerable to the long ball, but facing MLB hitters when 15 MPH winds are blowing out to LF at cramped Wrigley Field could change that scouting report. Desmond has always had strong reverse-platoon splits, and could crush this unproven right-hander today.
Jordy Mercer (PIT) isn't producing a ton of DK points, but he's reached base in 9 of his last 10 games and his conservative approach should help him against soft-throwing LHP Jon Niese today.
Mike Trout (LAA) @ KC: $5900 – Facing RHP Yordano Ventura
When Trout is on, there isn't a more versatile threat in the Majors, and with 65 DK points over his last 4 games, it's safe to say he's on. His price tag isn't as high as it's been, and I have a hunch that he can turn around some of Ventura's fastballs for an XBH or two today. Trout has an incredible plus rating against two-seamers and changeups, which have been Ventura's out pitches in his rookie season. Winds are also blowing out hard to LF in Kansas City Today, which played a role in last night's combined 14-run total and could result in double-digit DK points for several players again today.
Adam Jones (BAL) vs. TB: $5100 – Facing LHP Erik Bedard
There's good platoon splits, and then there's what Jones has done to lefties. He's slashing .420/.778/1.262 with as many strikeouts (8) as walks in 81 at bats against LHP this season. Nearly half of his 34 hits against southpaws have gone for extra bases, and he's had plenty of success against Rays starter Erik Bedard (6 for 13 lifetime). Jones actually leads the MLB with 26 wRC (runs created) against LHP, and his bash brother Nelson Cruz isn't far behind with 22, so both sluggers should be in play as the Orioles host an old lefty this afternoon.
Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) @ CHC: $4500 – Facing RHP Dallas Beeler
There's really no reason to fade any Nationals hitters against this rookie starter, and Zimmerman has been hitting legit Major League pitching lately, as he's 5 for 17 with 2 BB over his last four games. Zim is hitting .293 at Wrigley Field over the last three seasons, but should be able to boost his slugging average with strong winds blowing out today. Like his teammate, Desmond, he has solid reverse-platoon splits and shouldn't have many issues against this unproven RHP. The Nationals could be a sneaky stack today.
When Trout produces, he's usually driving in leadoff man Kole Calhoun. The platooning outfielder has scored 6 runs and produced 55 DK points over his last 4 starts, and is a good value at $3700.
Brandon Guyer was on fire in the first half of the Rays doubleheader yesterday (3 for 3 with a HBP to produce 19 DK points), and should be in the lineup against LHP Wei-Yin Chen this afternoon. He's an extreme value at $2900.
I will answer any lineup questions on Twitter: @nweitzer7
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