We almost reached the unofficial halfway point of the MLB season. The All-Star break starts on Monday, but Sunday features a full day of baseball action. That includes an 11-game main slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET on DraftKings.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
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Woodruff is the most expensive option on the slate. He owns a tough matchup vs. the Reds – they rank sixth in wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers – but he still leads all pitchers with an opponent implied team total of 3.2 runs. Woodruff has also pitched to a 10.48 K/9 this season, so he has significant strikeout upside as well.
Other Options – Robbie Ray ($9,400), Framber Valdez ($8,700)
Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves ($7,300) – Given the lack of stud pitchers to choose from, there are unsurprisingly plenty of quality value options. Lopez stands out as one of the best. His opponent implied team total of 3.4 runs trails only Woodruff’s among today’s starters, and he has ample strikeout upside vs. the Braves. They own the eighth-highest strikeout rate against right-handers this season, and Lopez has averaged more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings when pitching at home. He also owns a 2.03 ERA and 2.81 FIP when pitching in Miami this season, so he’s significantly underpriced for Sunday’s matchup.
Other Options – Ian Anderson ($8,300), Jose Berrios ($8,000), Adam Wainwright ($7,800)
J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies @ Boston Red Sox ($4,700) – Realmuto has had another quality season at the dish for the Phillies, posting a 123 wRC+ through his first 68 games. He hasn’t hit for as much power as he did last season, but he’s on pace to set a new career-high in on-base percentage.
The Phillies are implied for 4.7 runs vs. Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta ($8,200), who has started to show signs of regression. He came out of the gates red hot, pitching to a 2.81 ERA in March and April, but that number ballooned to 5.40 in June. He allowed a ridiculous nine homers over just 31 2/3 innings, so the Phillies have the opportunity to swat some balls over the fence on Sunday.
Other Options – Omar Narvaez ($4,400), Sean Murphy ($4,200)
Kevin Plawecki, Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($2,000) – The Red Sox have a tough matchup on paper vs. Aaron Nola ($9,800) but don’t tell that to Vegas. They’re currently implied for 4.9 runs, which is the third-highest mark on the slate. That makes Plawecki an interesting option at catcher. Punting the catcher spot is always viable, and getting a player at the absolute minimum for an offense as good as the Red Sox’s is appealing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Red Sox C Kevin Plawecki is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Phillies.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Phillies SP Aaron Nola (health protocols) has been scratched from his start today vs. the Red Sox.
Other Options – Zack Collins ($3,400), Ben Rortvedt ($2,400)
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox @ Baltimore Orioles ($5,900) – The White Sox stand out as the clear top target on today’s slate. They lead all teams with an implied team total of 6.0 runs, and no other team is currently implied for more than 5.5.
They’re taking on Orioles right-hander Spenser Watkins ($4,000), who will be making just his second MLB start. He’s pitched six innings at the major league level, and he’s posted a pedestrian 5.48 xFIP. Abreu has historically been more effective vs. left-handers than right-handers, but he can still find success in this matchup.
Other Options – Yuli Gurriel ($4,800), Trey Mancini ($4,400)
Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,400) – The Twins are the other offense that stands out on Sunday. They’re taking on Wily Peralta ($4,600), who has actually pitched well through 21 innings this season. That said, he has gotten extremely lucky. He’s not striking out many batters – he owns a 6.00 K/9 – which means that plenty of balls are being put in play. However, opposing batters have managed just a .182 batting average in those situations. That screams regression moving forward.
Kirilloff entered the season as the Twins’ top prospect, and he has done nothing to hurt his ranking as a rookie. He’s posted a .396 xwOBA, which suggests he’s a future star at the big-league level. He’s underpriced at $3,400.
Other Options – Ryan Mountcastle ($3,500), Frank Schwindel ($2,000)
Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals @ Cleveland Indians ($4,800) – Second base is one of the weaker positions on today’s slate, but Merrifield has an appealing matchup. He’s taking on Eli Morgan ($7,700) , who has pitched to a dreadful 8.44 ERA and 6.69 FIP through 21 1/3 innings. He’s also allowed 3.38 HRs per nine innings, and he’s been especially poor in righty-righty matchups. That bodes well for Merrifield on Sunday.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s Cleveland-Royals game has been postponed due to inclement weather.
Other Options – Jose Altuve ($5,200), Cesar Hernandez ($4,000)
Luis Arraez, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,100) – Arraez is my favorite target for the Twins on Sunday. He doesn’t provide much from a power perspective, but he’s still posted a 115 wRC+ vs. right-handers this season. That makes him an excellent target as the projected leadoff hitter.
Other Options – Jed Lowrie ($4,000), Jean Segura ($3,400)
Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates @ New York Mets ($4,600) – The Mets have yet to announce a starter for Sunday, but whoever gets the call is going to be a subpar pitcher. They’re dealing with a host of injuries at the moment, and they just don’t have many quality options available. Hayes is a bonafide stud at just 24 years old, so I like his chances regardless of who he’s facing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ke’Bryan Hayes is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Mets.
Other Options – Yoan Moncada ($5,600), Josh Donaldson ($4,900)
Brock Holt, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics ($3,100) – Holt is another cheap projected leadoff hitter on Sunday’s slate. The Rangers’ offense doesn’t stand out as a particularly appealing target against Chris Bassitt ($8,800), but Holt has been a roughly league-average hitter against right-handers this season. That’s all it takes for a leadoff batter to be relevant at Holt’s current price tag.
Other Options – Abraham Toro ($3,100), Hunter Dozier ($2,900)
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays @ Tampa Bay Rays ($5,200) – Bichette has been a bit overshadowed by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($6,000) this season, but he’s been pretty darn good in his own right. He’s been at his best against southpaws, posting a 168 wRC+, and he’ll be on the positive side of his splits Sunday vs. Rich Hill ($8,900). Hill has seen some regression this season, pitching to a 4.52 FIP, so this isn’t as scary of a matchup as it would’ve been in the past.
Other Options – Tim Anderson ($6,000), Xander Bogaerts ($5,300)
Elvis Andrus, Oakland Athletics @ Texas Rangers ($3,500) – Andrus isn’t even close to the same player that he was in his prime, but he has some appeal in a matchup at his old stadium. He’s taking on left-hander Kolby Allard ($7,100), whose biggest flaw has been his inability against right-handed batters this season. He’s pitched a 4.00 FIP in those matchups, and while that’s not dreadful, it does mean that Andrus can have success in this matchup.
Other Options – Jorge Polanco ($4,100), Francisco Lindor ($4,000)
Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers ($5,200) – Cruz just continues to rake. He just turned 41 years old, but he’s still posted a 144 wRC+ in 2021. He’s also gone deep 18 times this season, which gives him a chance to hit at least 37 homers for the seventh straight full season. Cruz is simply too cheap for a matchup vs. a mediocre pitcher like Peralta.
Other Options – Ramon Laureano ($4,900), Brian Goodwin ($4,400)
Trevor Larnach, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,300) – Let’s finish things up with another Twins outfielder. Larnach is expected to bat in the crucial third spot in the lineup, which makes him an amazing bargain at just $3,300. Larnach has earned that spot through his excellent performances this season, particularly his 142 wRC+ vs. right-handers.
Other Options – Cedric Mullins ($3,500), Adam Engel ($3,400), Myles Straw ($2,300)
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