Monday features a seven-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Wade Miley, Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs ($8,600) — It’s time to accept the fact that Wade Miley is a good pitcher. In 52 innings at Great American Ball Park, Miley has a 3.71 xFIP and is allowing 0.68 HR/9. The wind can be blowing out at Wrigley on Monday night and it won’t compare to pitching in Cincinnati. Miley’s biggest adjustment this season is that he has limited hard contact to 25.6% (fourth-best in baseball). His break-though seems to be the result of increased changeup usage. The pitch is average in terms of run prevention, but his reliance on his changeup as his main off-speed pitch has increased his fastball’s value — the 1.77 wFB/C ranks sixth in run prevention despite an average velocity of 90.1 mph. The Cubs have been average against right-handed pitching (98 wRC+, .318 wOBA and a .162 ISO), but they strike out a lot (25% K rate).
Other Option: Luis Garcia ($10,400)
Spencer Howard, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals ($6,400) — It’s a small slate with limited options, so the bar has to be lowered. The biggest concern with Howard is his pitch limit. In early July, Howard told a reporter that he believed his pitch count would be stretched to 100 pitches soon, but in his last start, Howard was allowed to throw 42 pitches despite surrendering one hit to the Yankees. He’ll face a Nationals team that has been middle-of-the-road against right-handed pitching (95 wRC+, .316 wOBA and .154 ISO). If Howard can navigate the big bats in the Nationals lineup, then he’ll be fine, but getting by Juan Soto ($6,300) is a big if.
Other Option: Dallas Keuchel ($7,500)
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Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox ($5,200) — There aren’t many great options at the top of the catcher position. That’s fairly common in DFS, but today the plays seem even more sparse and Perez is almost a default pick. His status is deserved because no other catcher is close to his 40 barrels and 153 HardHits. Perez has a .448 wOBA, .354 ISO and a 187 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, and Dallas Keuchel ($7,500) is nowhere near the Cy Young pitcher that he once was (4.49 xFIP vs. RHB).
Other Option: Mitch Garver ($4,800)
Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,400) — With Mitch Garver on the Paternity List, Ryan Jeffers got another opportunity to impress the Twins’ front office. He doubled twice but struck out seven times over the weekend. Garver just off the IL last week, and unfortunately, Jeffers didn’t do anything to impress management during that opportunity. His numbers are bad, but he’s cheap and the probable pitcher is Matt Manning ($5,800). In 14 innings, Manning has a 5.18 xFIP against right-handed batters. Garver is back on Monday, but there is a possibility that he could DH and Jeffers catches with the recent trades and injuries that have shuffled the regular lineup.
Other Option: Tucker Barnhart ($2,500)
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Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox ($6,000) — This is repetitive, but it’s worth repeating — Vlad is the best hitter against right-handed pitching in all of baseball (.473 wOBA, .375 ISO, 203 wRC+ and a 45% hard contact rate). Nick Pivetta ($8,700) allows too many fly balls (44%) and hard contact to right-handed batters (33%). These two faced off last week, and Pivetta survived. Vlad struck out in his first at-bat, got under a ball and flied out to center (92 mph EV), and scorched a fielders choice (104 mph EV). Squaring pitches up is never the problem with Vlad, it’s his career 6.6-degree launch angle. If he tweaks his swing in order to generate consistent loft, then he could become a Hall of Fame player.
Other Option: José Abreu ($5,200)
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers ($4,300) — It appears that Sano has peaked, but he’s a decent hitter with an affordable price tag in a good matchup. Matt Manning has a .353 wOBA, .176 ISO, 42% hard contact rate and 1.3 HR/9 against right-handed pitching. Most importantly, Manning does not strike out right-handed batters (12% K rate), and that’s Sano biggest weakness (40% K rate vs. RHP). Sano will likely never develop into a great player because of his strikeout rate, but he could look like a great player in this matchup.
Other Option: Bobby Dalbec ($2,600)
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Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox ($5,300) — Nick Pivetta struggles at home against right-handed batters. Since his days with the Phillies, Pivetta has always had home run issues. He’s mitigated most of those issues, but at Fenway Park, right-handed batters are able to sneak home runs over the Green Monster against the fly ball pitcher (2.3 HR/9 at home). His home 5.62 ERA is nearly double his away 3.21 ERA, and the same can be said of his 5.24 FIP. This ugly statistical increase points in one direction: home runs. At home, he’s allowed eight home runs to right-handed batters, but on the road, he allows 0.28 HR/9 to right-handed batters. The game is in Boston, so play Semien (.374 wOBA, .258 ISO and a 137 wRC+ vs. RHP).
Other Option: Jose Altuve ($5,000)
Harold Castro, Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins ($2,300) — On small slates, the value plays get pretty dicey. Castro has not been a great offensive option this season, but he has been hot in July. He’s collected a hit in nine of 11 games for a .357 wOBA and has six multi-hit games over that span. Not only is he trending in the right direction, but he draws a favorable matchup — Michael Pineda ($6,900) has a 4.77 xFIP vs. left-handed batters.
Other Option: Max Schrock ($4,300)
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers ($4,700) — If Donaldson wants to finish the season with a contender, then he needs to keep hitting right-handed pitching (.339 wOBA, .220 ISO, 115 wRC+ and a 40% hard contact rate). Matt Manning has struggled in 14 innings against right-handed batters (5.18 xFIP) and he presents a great opportunity for Donaldson to attract trade attention.
Other Option: Rafael Devers ($5,700)
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins ($3,700) — Stacking the Tigers is never advisable, but they have been playing well lately; at the very least, the lefties are great one-offs against Michael Pineda (.334 wOBA, .246 ISO, 2.0 HR/9 and a 48% fly ball rate). The back of Candelario’s baseball card is nothing special, but he has been slightly better than the average major league hitter this season (.329 wOBA and a 107 wRC+ against right-handed pitching).
Other Option: Patrick Wisdom ($4,000)
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($5,400) — Somehow the AL East leading Red Sox have flown under the radar this season. Their stars are having great seasons, but are treated like yeomen. Xander Bogaerts has a .382 wOBA and 142 wRC+, he simply produces runs. Thomas Hatch ($5,200) will be making his first major league start of the season and second of his career. In 2020, he ranked as the Blue Jays No. 24 prospect and projected to be a middle reliever. This season at Triple-A, he has a 2.15 ERA but his BABIP is .225 — His 4.88 xFIP is likely a better indicator of his talent level.
Other Option: Trea Turner ($)
Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs ($3,400) — This one takes a little bit of mental gymnastics. Kyle Hendricks ($9,700) struggles with lefties, but Farmer is not a lefty. However, the Reds lineup features several strong lefties that form a solid stack. Farmer slides into that stack as a value option. He won’t be the driving force in this stack, but there will be opportunities for runs and RBIs at a discount price.
Other Option: Andrelton Simmons ($2,700)
Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs ($4,600) — As mentioned above, Kyle Hendrick struggles with left-handed batters — .368 wOBA, .223 ISO, 1.8 HR/9 and a 40% hard contact rate. Even with Winker’s recent slump, his numbers against right-handed pitching are impressive — .428 wOBA, .280 ISO, 167 wRC+, 36% hard contact rate and a 14% K rate.
Other Option: Bryce Harper ($5,900)
Brent Rooker, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,200) — Nelson Cruz got traded and Luis Arraez went on the IL; this is Rooker’s chance to establish himself with the club. He went 0-for-4 on Friday, doubled on Saturday and homered on Sunday. DFS players will likely gravitate towards an affordable Twins stack against Matt Manning and the below-average Tigers’ bullpen (4.52 xFIP, 11% BB rate and a 67% strand rate).
Other Option: Aristides Aquino ($2,200), Randal Grichuk ($3,900)
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