- High likelihood of rain in Philadelphia
- High likelihood of rain in Baltimore
- Chance of storms in Kansas City, New York (Mets) could result in delays
- Seattle Mariners hosting RHP Clay Buchholz
- Detroit Tigers visiting LHP Joe Saunders
- Cincinnati Reds visiting RHP Edwin Jackson
- Cleveland Indians visiting RHP Chase Anderson
- New York Yankees visiting RHP Drew Hutchison
Longshot stack: Kansas City Royals hosting RHP Dan Haren
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There are no expensive SP options tonight, but two names stand out to me based on their price and upside. Richards has been incredibly consistent for such a young pitcher, as 11 of his 15 outings could be considered Quality Starts, and he's given up just 4 H, while allowing 1 or 0 ER in all 4 starts this month. He'll also be pitching in southern California, one of the few regions across the MLB that is not expected to get scattered storms tonight, and is taking on a Twins team that has struck out the 3rd most times in the A.L. (628).
Richards has not given up a HR at home all year, and his 0.19 HR/9 ratio is best in baseball. That's incredibly impressive for a strikeout pitcher that throws incredibly hard, as the average speed of his four-seam fastball is 96 MPH. He can mix in a 2-seamer and a cut fastball at that speed, and has a great slider that he uses as an out pitch 25% of the time, which explains why he has a stellar K-rate of 24.6% this season. Richards has been even more effective against LHB (.192 BAA), so the Twins left-handed lineup shouldn't give him too many issues at home.
Corey Kluber (CLE) @ ARI: $8600 – Facing RHP Chase Anderson
Based on the circumstances, I'd consider Kluber the best option available at SP this Wednesday. His price has plummeted nearly 2K due to a rough four-game stretch during which he ran into some bad luck (errors, weather, late-game HR) that affected his DK-point totals, but the numbers indicate Kluber is still one of the best arms in baseball. His K/9 ratio of 9.90 is 6th best in the MLB, and his FIP- an indicator of pitching performance based on the type of contact elicited rather than earned runs allowed- is 2.77, which ties him with Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka for the 7th best mark in the league. He'll be pitching at spacious Chase Field tonight, opposite a young RHP, and will be facing a N.L. lineup that doesn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of SP, so I expect a return to form for the Indians' ace.
Two Duds (Value Plays)
James Shields (KC) vs. LAD: $8200 – Facing RHP Dan Haren
I have a much higher opinion of Shields than his adversary, Dan Haren, and think he has a great chance to come away with a Win at home tonight. Some storms are expected to pass through Kansas City, but the forecast looks like it will clear up around an hour after game time and we may just be looking at a delay. If Shields can get into a normal rhythm, he could have a very productive outing against a Dodgers lineup that is pretty banged up right now. Yasiel Puig (hip) is hobbled, Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) may sit out, and Carl Crawford remains on the DL. Shields ran into some trouble in his last home start against a Mariners' squad that has owned him recently, but he usually performs well in front of Royals' fans and has much more control (6.40 K/BB ratio at home vs. 2.94 on the road) at Kauffman Stadium.
Yohan Pino (MIN) @ LAA: $7400 – Facing RHP Garrett Richards
One start isn't nearly enough to go on, but the Twins' young RHP is clearly talented enough to warrant GPP consideration on a relatively short slate. Pino held the White Sox to 2 ER and struck out 7 in his Major League debut, producing 22.2 DK points in the process. He'll try to replicate that success on the road tonight, and he has the stuff to do it. He doesn't have much velocity, in fact his four-seam fastball is his worst pitch, but Pino does have great movement on his breaking pitches, all of which receive a plus rating according to data gathered by Brooks Baseball. That movement explains how he can post a 9.00 K/9 throughout 8 years at the Minor League level, and strike out 7 Major League batters in his debut. The Twins certainly hope it's enough to keep the Angels' sluggers off balance tonight.
Devin Mesoraco (CIN) @ CHC: $4700 – Facing RHP Edwin Jackson
With no expensive pitchers on the board, you're free to spend on batters, and the top catcher available won't come cheap. Mesoraco homered in three straight games, took Sunday off, and proceeded to homer in two more games to start the week. The man is absolutely locked in, and is demolishing the Cubs with a .617 batting average while producing 18.4 DK points over 5 games against the division rivals. Tonight he'll face Edwin Jackson, who has never been able to keep fly balls in the yard, and could be stacked against as he tosses at hitter-friendly Wrigley Field tonight. It's tough to find guaranteed production at catcher, but Mesoraco has produced double-digit DK points in 7 straight and has a great chance to make it 8 this evening.
Mike Zunino (SEA) is averaging 15.25 DK points and has homered in 3 of his last 4 appearances. He'll face Clay Buchholz tonight, and this season that's meant an opportunity to join a slugfest.
I thought the White Sox would hit a couple of dongs off straight-line RHP Miguel Gonzalez last night, but they did their damage in the field of play and posted just 4 runs. Tonight's contest has an O/U of 9, and there could be fireworks from both teams. Abreu has not faced hard-throwing righty Ubaldo Jimenez yet, but could certainly launch his 23rd homer of the year off of him. Jimenez has been awful at Camden Yards this season with a 6.28 ERA and 1.47 HR/9, and 0-6 record through 7 starts at home. Righties are hitting and slugging slightly higher against him this season, and Abreu already has 16 HR off RHP this year. If the weather holds, I like the Cuban phenom in GPP formats.
Steve Pearce (BAL) is a preferred play in 50/50 and H2H formats as he's averaging 16 DK points over his last 7 games and is hitting .407 at home this season. He's been outstanding as the Orioles' 2-hitter and will get a crack at lackluster RHP Hector Noesi tonight.
Ian Kinsler (DET) @ TEX: $4700 – Facing LHP Joe Saunders
Kinsler proved that the #oldteamtheory does have some stock in the MLB as he homered in his first at bat last night and waved to his former teammates in the Rangers' dugout on his way around the bases. That may lead to him getting plunked tonight, but fantasy owners will take the 2 points for a HBP and hope he can continue producing in his other at bats. There isn't a hotter hitting 2B in the Majors right now as Kinsler is averaging 13.2 DK points over his last 10 games and has produced around 20 in 3 straight. He's batting .308 in his career against LHP, and .333 with 4 HR in 36 at bats against Saunders, who is starting to regress after a couple of Quality Starts. The Tigers are always in play as a stack, and Kinsler has tons of upside as their usual 2-hitter.
The Phillies-Marlins game seems like it could get rained out tonight, but if it clears up, Derek Dietrich (MIA) has a great matchup against RHP A.J. Burnett and costs just $3200.
Carlos Santana (CLE) @ ARI: $4200 – Facing RHP Chase Anderson
As we saw with that unpronounceable SP (Despaigne) in San Diego, sometimes a young pitcher comes out of the Minors and pitches above his ability for a stretch. Chase Anderson has been great for Arizona with a solid 3.18 ERA and good platoon splits in a small sample size, but it could be mostly smoke and mirrors. He'll face one of the most dangerous left-handed lineups in the MLB tonight, and a red-hot Carlos Santana will be in the middle of the order. After starting the year in an absolute tailspin, Santana is hitting .371 in June, and .450 over the last week. He's averaging 13.7 DK points over his last 10 games, and went OFF for 33 DK points in last night's extra innings contest. Anderson hasn't given up many XBH this season, but he posted a 1.12 HR/9 in his last stint in AAA and could get knocked around tonight. Santana and company are definitely in play against the inexperienced right-hander.
Lonnie Chisenhall (CLE) is a safer LHB that has found a groove at the plate after a brief slump. He's hitting .353 on the season and should produce something for lineups in 50/50 and H2H games.
Reyes' .250 batting average isn't very becoming of a leadoff hitter, but he is slashing .297/.453/.821 at home this year and is averaging an even 10 DK points at Rogers Centre. He's had tremendous success in his career against Hiroki Kuroda, as Reyes is 9 for 20 with 4 XBH and a SB off the veteran right-hander. He went 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored last night, so it appears the knee scare that caused him to exit Sunday's game is behind him, and he should be back atop the Blue Jays lineup as he does some damage tonight.
Alexei Ramirez (CWS) is 4 for his last 11 and seems to be heating up after a month-long slump. He could be part of a mini-stack of White Sox as they attack Ubaldo Jimenez tonight.
Billy Hamilton (CIN) @ CHC: $4900 – Facing RHP Edwin Jackson
Of course Hamilton is eligible at SS as well, and probably has more upside than Reyes tonight, but he's also worth a recommendation this evening. The speedster is proving to be an actual ballplayer as he's batting .325, and even has 3 HR this month. He's 3 for 7 in limited at bats against Jackson, who is a pretty good pitcher to target tonight, and Hamilton has been able to steal a bag twice off the RHP. He's much more dangerous from the left side of the plate as he is capable of beating out ground balls more easily, so I'd take a chance on Hamilton wreaking havoc on the base paths tonight.
Brett Gardner (NYY) vs. TOR: $4400 – Facing RHP Drew Hutchison
It's tough to choose between Gardner and fellow speedster Jacoby Ellsbury, but for $200 less, I'll take the more consistent performer. Both outfielders were able to get to Jays starter Drew Hutchison when he faced the Yankees last week, and Gardner even took him deep earlier this season. New York's leadoff hitter has been outstanding this year, and has enjoyed playing at Toronto's Rogers Centre for years, as he's batting .362 (24 for 69) and is 8 for 10 on SB attempts in the dome since 2011.
Rajai Davis (DET) @ TEX: $3800 – Facing LHP Joe Saunders
Davis is another speedster that has plenty of upside, and should have even more value as a leadoff man that could see at least 5 at bats tonight. He was very productive in last night's series opener as he went 3 for 5 with a SB, and will likely lead off against Joe Saunders tonight. He's batting 12 for 39 (.308) and is 6 for 6 on SB off the soft-throwing lefty, and could be part of a Tigers stack that pays off yet again.
Of course you can't sleep on J.D. Martinez (DET), who has 5 HR over the last 8 days and is still a value play at $3700.
Logan Morrison's (SEA) price tag rose to $3300, but he's starting to produce consistently and is a great bet against RHP Clay Buchholz, who he happens to be 4 for 6 against with 2 doubles and 2 HR.
If Endy Chavez is leading off again for the Mariners I don't mind punting with him at $2600. He's 5 for 9 with 2 triples and 4 RBI through the first two games of this series and Buchholz hasn't earned any respect this year.
I will answer any lineup questions on Twitter: @nweitzer7
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