After a hellish final week of May as it pertained to weather, we’ve got nothing but clear skies as we all welcome some June baseball this evening. It’s hard to imagine that we’ve already watched two full months of MLB action — essentially the equivalent of the entire 2020 season — but that’s pretty much the case as we enter tonight’s massive 14-game slate.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down what you need to know.
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Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees, $9,800 - For the first time since Apr. 6, Glasnow is priced below $10K on a slate. I wish I could say I understand the decision, but I really do not. Yes, by reputation, the Yankees are not an ideal matchup. However, to anyone who has paid attention the past few weeks, it’s clear this isn’t the New York lineup we’re all used to seeing. Across the past 14 days, the Yankees rank dead-last in the league by a wide margin in ISO (.085), while the team’s 27.8% strikeout rate is the second-highest mark within that same span. Meanwhile, Glasnow possesses a sterling 2.64 xERA in 2021, and the right-hander has struck out at least 10 opponents in five of his last seven outings. He should be the most expensive pitcher available this evening. No questions asked.
Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers at Milwaukee Brewers, $6,500 - It’s been a weird year for Boyd. Though he’s pitched to a more than respectable 3.21 FIP over his first 57.2 innings of 2021, his once great strikeout rate has dried up. Still, there are a few positive signs in that specific regard. Coming into his scheduled start on Tuesday, Boyd’s still managed to induce a 38.3% chase rate — the highest mark of any qualified AL pitcher. At some point, you’d have to assume that the whiffs are arriving soon, and maybe that’s where a matchup with the Brewers comes into play. Milwaukee has struggled to make contact recently, with the team’s 27.8% strikeout rate across the past two weeks sitting as the highest figure among all NL squads. The Brewers are also batting .199 with a 75 wRC+ within that stretch, so it’s not like this projects to be an incredibly difficult spot for Boyd.
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Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Angels, $4,300 - It shouldn’t be too much of a shock that Posey’s hit left-handed pitching as well as he has in 2021. For his career — consisting of over 1,500 plate appearances within the split — the backstop owns a .322 average versus LHPs. Well, so far this season, Posey’s sporting a .400 ISO and a 269 wRC+ when he faces a lefty. It’s unsustainable production, but certainly rooted in past trends. With Andrew Heaney ($7,700) struggling throughout May, Posey’s in a nice spot to thrive.
Yan Gomes, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves, $3,200 - Another veteran catcher, another man who has hit left-handed pitching well throughout his career. Gomes has once again been fantastic within the split in 2021, hitting .379 with a 146 wRC+ in his 29 plate appearances. Tonight’s lefty is Max Fried ($7,500). He’s pitched well since being activated from the IL, but beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to punting at backstop.
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Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres, $5,400 - Few players have hit left-handed pitching as well as Bryant so far in 2021. In fact, the veteran’s numbers within the split are staggering, as he comes into Tuesday in possession of a .432 average, a .599 wOBA and a 286 wRC+ in 51 plate appearances. Granted, there’s been little success stacking against Ryan Weathers ($5,500) this season; however, the rookie’s 4.71 xERA is nearly four-times higher than his 1.31 ERA. Regression is on the horizon and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Bryant doing the damage.
Carlos Santana, Kansas City Royals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $3,900 - It’s been a rough go for Wil Crowe ($5,000) since the right-hander joined the Pirates’ rotation. In fact, in the month of May alone, Crowe allowed 2.01 home runs per nine to opponents, all while maintaining an ugly 6.04 ERA. It’s the main reason that the Royals are one of only three teams on tonight’s slate that have an implied team total of at least five runs. Santana should play a big role in that offensive success.
Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $4,800 - Merrifield struggled at the dish throughout May, yet a new month brings new opportunity. As mentioned above, the Royals are in an advantageous spot this evening against the struggling Crowe, a man who has surrendered a whopping .414 wOBA to the 72 RHBs he’s faced so far in 2021. Merrifield has tended to be at his best when squaring-off with a lefty, yet Crowe’s reverse-splits should play right into the leadoff hitter’s hands. Merrifield also leads baseball with 15 steals, so he has many different avenues to reaching value.
Donovan Solano, San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Angels, $3,000 - As we’ve seen the past few seasons, Solano can hit left-handed pitching. This year, that’s meant a 121 wRC+ in his 44 plate appearances within the split. It’s also meant that Solano hits in the top-third of the Giants’ order when the team draws a southpaw like Heaney. Considering that San Francisco ranks top five in the league in ISO (.190) and wRC+ (115) against LHPs, I think that the Giants can put up some crooked numbers this evening.
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles, $4,500 - It’s been a bit of a weird year for Donaldson, especially with his .331 wOBA significantly lower than his .375 expected wOBA. I mean, he’s been fine at the plate, but not nearly as good as the numbers suggest he should be. Well, maybe all the positive regression we’ve been waiting for will come tonight against Bruce Zimmermann ($5,500). The Orioles’ LHP has been awful in 2021, pitching to a 6.09 xERA and conceding 2.06 home runs per nine. Donaldson, who has a 142 wRC+ versus lefties, should be in a prime spot to break out on Tuesday.
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers at Milwaukee Brewers, $3,100 - There’s a few very interesting splits to consider when pondering Candelario’s viability this evening. First, the infielder has simply been on fire as of late, slashing .313/.394/.490 with a 149 wRC+ throughout the month of May. On top of that, Candelario has been at his best away from the spacious confines of Comerica Park, as he’s managed a .378 wOBA and a 145 wRC+ on the road in 2021. Then, with Eric Lauer ($8,400) taking the mound for the Brewers, we should lastly note that the switch-hitting Candelario has a .384 wOBA as an RHB this season. Everything’s lining up for a big performance.
Trea Turner, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves, $5,600 - In general, the Nationals have been sneaky good against left-handed pitching all season, as the team ranks inside the top 10 in both wOBA (.332) and wRC+ (108) within the split. Turner, as you might expect, has been the leader in this regard, with the shortstop having crushed LHPs to the tune of a .405 average and a 207 wRC+ in 48 plate appearances. If Turner can rack up five PAs tonight and maybe steal a base, he’ll have little issue bringing back value at his robust salary.
Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $3,500 - He’s only taken 26 plate appearances since returning from the IL, but in that short time, Mondesi has showed off his tantalizing skill-set with five extra-base hits and a stolen base. Sure, he’s struck out 10 times and hasn’t walked once in that span, but hyper-aggressiveness is a much more palatable trait in DFS than in season-long. Really, the only thing to be nervous about here is the possibility of injury. Mondesi left Monday’s game with a hamstring issue, so it’s up in the air if he’ll be in the lineup this evening.
Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies, $4,500 - This is simply a huge discount on Winker, who was as expensive as $5.8K just last week. I understand that Aaron Nola ($10,200) is a good pitcher, but that seems a little extreme, especially considering Nola’s surrendered 1.59 home runs per nine to LHBs so far this season. Winker comes into tonight’s game ranking fourth in the MLB in slugging percentage (.635) and fifth in wOBA (.446). The man can hit and any RHP, even Nola, should tread carefully.
Kyle Garlick, Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles, $3,000 - In 49 plate appearances against left-handed pitching in 2021, Garlick is slashing .304/.327/.565 with a 143 wRC+. It’s the reason that the 29-year-old hit leadoff for the Twins the last time they faced an LHP. With Minnesota sporting the slate’s highest implied team total, Garlick is almost a must-play if he’s once against atop the team’s batting order against Zimmermann and the Orioles.
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