ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?! It has been a hectic 48 hours in the world of baseball, with big name trades and rumors flying around at a seemingly unprecedented pace. However, we’ve still got a few hours till the 4:00 p.m. ET trade deadline has officially passed. Somehow, there could still be another large domino to fall.
Make sure to keep an eye on the ticker all afternoon long, but in the meantime, let’s go position-by-position and break down Friday’s 15-game slate on DraftKings.
Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Guardians, $10,300 - There are a couple expensive pitchers that have my interest — Corbin Burnes ($10,200) and Chris Bassitt ($9,600) are deserving of their hefty salaries — but it’s Lynn and his amazing matchup that wins out. In July, Cleveland has had just two qualified hitters with a wRC+ of even 110: Franmil Reyes ($4,300) and Cesar Hernandez, who the team just traded to the White Sox on Thursday. Awkward. That’s a huge loss to what was already an underwhelming lineup, a collection of hitters that’s registered the league’s highest strikeout rate going back to July 1 (25.9%). With Lynn owning a 1.50 ERA at home in 2021, a setting where he’s limited opponents to a modest .226 wOBA, I’m having a hard time seeing how he doesn’t eventually bring back value this evening.
Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers, $7,200 - While Gilbert has certainly had a few clunkers in his rookie campaign, some of the numbers he’s been able to put up in his past eight outings are eye-popping. The 24-year-old has pitched to a 2.93 ERA and 2.63 FIP in that span of time, leaning heavily on an impressive 31.9% strikeout rate. That type of upside doesn’t usually appear this close to the $7K mark, let alone this type of strikeout upside in a matchup with a free-falling Rangers squad. Texas ranks dead-last in ISO (.092), wOBA (.226) and wRC+ (40) since the All-Star break, and most of those stats include new Yankee Joey Gallo’s contributions. Gilbert should be able to thrive on Friday, and the win expectancy will almost never be higher.
J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates, $5,300 - Obviously Realmuto is deserving of being the most-expensive catcher on the slate by his own merit, but tonight’s matchup with Wil Crowe ($5,300) is really helping the veteran’s cause. Crowe has been plagued by right-handed bats all season long, with opponents slashing an insane .322/.381/.596 within the split with a .414 wOBA. Between that and a Pirates’ bullpen that might be missing their best reliever by day’s end, this is a great spot for all Phillies RHBs.
Christian Vazquez, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays, $3,600 - Though Vazquez hasn’t been hitting that well in 2021, he’ll draw a tantalizing opposite-hand matchup this evening with the struggling Josh Fleming ($6,400). How bad has it been for the LHP? Well, in Fleming’s past four starts, he’s pitched to an ugly 8.31 ERA, allowing opponents to muster a .396 wOBA, while also registering a microscopic 9.0% strikeout rate. Boston should be able to score some runs early on Friday and that puts Vazquez in a position to succeed.
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Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers, $4,800 - This is a rather reasonable price for Mancini, who has made it his mission to destroy every single left-handed pitcher he’s come across so far in 2021. In fact, in 139 plate appearances within the split, Mancini is slashing .295/.374/.590 with a .295 ISO and a 158 wRC+. Also, though Tarik Skubal ($7,500) has definitely improved as the season’s gone along, he’s still surrendering 2.34 home runs per nine to right-handed hitters. That’s a huge number.
Rowdy Tellez, Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves, $2,600 - If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Yesterday, I suggested using Tellez in your lineups, as the former Toronto prospect had been on fire since July 23. Well, Tellez then proceeded to register another three hits — including a towering home run — all good for 28.0 DKFP. That means Tellez is now 12-for-24 (.500) with a .583 ISO in his past 27 plate appearances. He’s going to cool off eventually, but at this price point, why not keep riding the wave?
Enrique Hernandez, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays, $4,500 - Hernandez is far from the perfect leadoff hitter, but he’s certainly the best man for the job when the Red Sox happen to be facing a left-handed starter like Fleming. Heck, Hernandez comes into tonight’s contest with a .326 ISO and a 157 wRC+ in July, with those figures jumping to a .500 ISO and a 219 wRC+ in the 46 plate appearances he’s specifically taken against southpaws. The term “red-hot” might be an understatement when it comes to Boston’s utility man.
Cesar Hernandez, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Guardians, $3,500 - Ah, the immediate revenge game. It’s not a scenario we see all that often, but it feels good to exploit it. Alright, so maybe you’re not a narrative person, but you don’t have to be to love Hernandez in this spot. The switch-hitter has been amazing so far in July, with a .293 ISO and a 139 wRC+. He’ll also be facing J.C. Mejia ($5,800), who just should not be starting games under normal circumstances. To wit, Mejia is sporting an 8.58 ERA across his nine starts in 2021, with opponents averaging 2.27 home runs per nine. Hernandez has a chance to make some people regret their decisions this evening.
Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Guardians, $4,500 - As mentioned above, Mejia has struggled in his opportunity to start games for Cleveland this season. The main cause of his woes? Left-handed batters. Mejia has faced 109 lefties in his nine starts this season, and that group of hitters has combined to slash .316/.380/.643 with a .429 wOBA. Knowing this, Gavin Sheets ($3,300) is another asset that likely deserves a look in a White Sox stack, depending on where he ends up in tonight’s batting order.
Abraham Toro, Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers, $3,100 - Is Toro going to continue to hit a home run every single night? Probably not. However, we do know that Toro hit fifth in his first start with the Mariners on Wednesday, and that alone makes him appealing at this price tag. The fact that Kolby Allard ($5,100) has allowed opponents to post a .600 slugging percentage across his past three starts doesn’t hurt Toro’s viability, either.
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals, $5,500 - Someone in a Blue Jays uniform is going to do something cool tonight, right? Friday will mark the first game in Toronto in two years and there will be 15,000 screaming fans in the Rogers Centre waiting to welcome this team home. Bichette would be a good bet to have a huge performance, as the shortstop is slashing .333/.388/.492 with a 142 wRC+ since the beginning of June. Also, the Jays have an implied team total well above six runs. That’s nice, too.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros at San Francisco Giants, $4,200 - This isn’t about Kevin Gausman ($9,400), though the All-Star’s past two starts have been terrible. No, it’s simply about a salary dip that’s gone too far. This is Correa’s second-cheapest price tag of the season, with his usual salary sitting at or above $5K. I understand that’s he’s been slumping throughout July, but this is someone with a 137 wRC+ in his 407 plate appearances for the season. He’s also starting to come alive again, with seven hits and six runs scored in his last four games.
George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals, $5,200 - It’s taken Springer some time to get back into a rhythm at the plate following a lengthy IL stint, but it seems like the former World Series MVP has finally found his footing. Since July 18, Springer is slashing .341/.426/.732 with a .390 ISO and a 208 wRC+. Is that a relatively small sample? Sure. But those concerns are sort of offset by Springer’s long track record and the fact he’s hitting atop one of the most dangerous lineups in the league. Daniel Lynch ($5,200) will need to tread carefully on Friday.
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros at San Francisco Giants, $3,500 - Here is a list of players who have a higher wRC+ than Kyle Tucker going back to May 9: Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Max Muncy. That’s it. That’s the whole list. In that span, Tucker is slashing .327/.376/.619 with a .292 ISO. He could literally be facing the ghost of Cy Young and there would still be no good reason for his salary being this low.
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