We’ve reached what is usually the slowest time of the year in sports: MLB All-Star Week. However, with leagues still adjusting their schedules due to the pandemic, this actually isn’t shaping up as the barren wasteland it tends to be.
The Home Run Derby was awesome, Game 4 of the NBA Finals is Wednesday and the British Open gets underway in less than 48 hours. Dare I say that the Midsummer Classic isn’t the only game in town anymore?
Either way, with both rosters bursting at the seems with star power, this should be a fun affair. Let’s break it down from a Showdown perspective.
Tuesday's (7/13) MLB All Star Game (AL vs NL) Ohtani is draftable as a hitter and will only accrue hitting stats. Please be sure to check over your lineups!— DraftKings CX Team (@DK_Assist) July 12, 2021
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($13,800 CP) - To say that strategy is unique for the All-Star format would be an understatement. With roster moves aplenty in store for tonight’s contest, picking a Captain with both a high-floor and a high-ceiling is vital. Thankfully, Guerrero Jr. checks every box and does so at just the sixth-most expensive price point on the slate. Here’s the thing you have to understand about Vladdy: Aside from leading baseball in wOBA (.453), wRC+ (189) and OPS+ (193), he was also the leading vote-getter among fans for this evening’s event. To me, that matters. It says that Guerrero will stick longer in this game than the average player. The 22-year-old is batting second in the AL’s lineup and he should be one of few assets that gets three plate appearances this evening. He’s also hit two home runs off of Max Scherzer ($5,000) in 2021, if that’s your thing.
Max Muncy ($8,700 CP) - Though he wasn’t voted as a All-Star starter, Muncy will get the nod as Dave Roberts’ DH in Tuesday’s contest. He will also bat second for the National League. Needless to say, his current price point does not reflect that reality. Despite leading the NL in expected wOBA in the first half of the season (.436), Muncy just isn’t getting the respect he deserves here. Yes, I highly doubt he’ll garner a third plate appearance starting at the position where we’ll likely see the most in-game turnover, but two PAs will probably be the going rate for 90% of these assets, anyway. Also, I’d rather those at-bats come against Shohei Ohtani and Kyle Gibson ($4,200) early in the contest, as opposed to off Aroldis Chapman ($4,000) and Liam Hendriks ($4,000) late.
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UTIL Value Plays
Nolan Arenado ($6,600) - Here’s another scenario where narrative might be more important than raw statistics. As much as German Marquez ($4,200) is the Rockies’ lone All-Star in 2021 — he’s really not. Arenado was traded this offseason after eight years with Colorado. He didn’t demand to be moved, either. It was a clear cost-cutting move by the Rockies’ front office, which means Arenado will still have the full-support of the home crowd this evening. Roberts will be inclined to give said fans what they want, which could translate into three plate appearances for a man who has slashed .322/.376/.609 for his career at Coors Field. I think it also helps that Justin Turner ($4,800) and Manny Machado ($7,400) were late additions to the player pool, so there’s less pressure to get the duo at-bats.
Corbin Burnes/Zack Wheeler ($4,800) - Honestly, you might as well add Freddy Peralta ($4,600) to this list, too. While the downside to rostering the cheap pitching in this contest is the uncertainty that your pitcher will actually appear, I think these three arms fit the archetype of player that ends up toeing the rubber on Tuesday night. What’s the thing that’s tying these three men together? The fact that they’re first-time All-Stars who will be more inclined to want to pitch. It certainly doesn’t hurt that all three also have a strikeout rate above 30%, which will help maximize their DFS impact in a shorter stint on the mound. Still, I would rank Burnes and Wheeler slightly above Peralta, as the latter started a game for the Brewers on Saturday. Conversely, Burnes and Wheeler haven’t pitched since Wednesday. Full rest in an exhibition setting is key.
Trea Turner ($9,600) - In general, it’s easy to single out Turner as the most-expensive bench player in the game. Why is someone who isn’t even starting this contest more costly than the likes of Rafael Devers ($9,400), Aaron Judge ($8,800) and the aforementioned Guerrero? However, for me, the decision on Turner’s viability doesn’t just come down to the fact that he isn’t starting, it’s about who’s starting ahead of him. If this is truly a showcase for the fans, the fans want to see Fernando Tatis Jr. ($10,200). The Padres’ SS is leading off for the National League and I fully believe that he will be one of the few people given three plate appearances in this contest. If that’s the case, Turner’s upside is limited, and that’s before we even really factor in the absurd price tag.
It’s sort of insane that the American League has won seven All-Star Games in a row. Like, how does that happen in an exhibition contest where the rosters are changing every single season? It just doesn’t seem plausible. Anyway, I think tonight is the night where that streak comes to an end.
The National League, even without the presence of Jacob deGrom and Yu Darvish, is simply stacked in the pitching department. You could legitimately make the case that the NL’s roster contains eight or nine of the best 10 pitchers at Coors Field this week. Maybe that won’t end up mattering in the altitude, but I’ll be backing the side with a bullpen full of studs.
Final Score: National League 6, American League 3
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $250K All-Star Showdown [$50K to 1st] (AL vs NL)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.
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