Monday features a nine-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.
Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers at New York Mets ($10,400) — The Mets have a weak offense against right-handed pitching (92 wRC+, .297 wOBA, .138 ISO and a 24% K rate), they played a doubleheader yesterday, and now they have to face one of the best pitchers in baseball (2.91 xFIP and a 31% K rate). The concern with all of the elite pitchers is whether they have benefited from the sticky stuff and will their numbers come crashing back to Earth. Woodruff has looked great in his last two starts (1.38 ERA and a 33.3% K rate), but it is worth noting that his spin rates are down significantly since their peak in late May.
Other Option: Rich Hill ($9,100)
Tylor Megill, New York Mets vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($7,200) — If the sticky stuff is a concern and trust in the elite pitchers has vanished, then there are plenty of midrange and value plays on tonight’s slate. After striking out hitters at every level of the minors (12.0 K/9), Megill was called up on June 23. In two outings, Megill has a 30% K rate, and he took a major step forward in his second start against the Braves (36.4% K rate and a 14.1% SwStr). The Brewers strike out 25% of the time against right-handed pitchers — that’s the second-highest strike out rate on the slate. Much of the Brewers’ offensive struggles are the result of their inability to hit sliders. They rank last against the slider, and so far, Megill’s slider has been electric — .105 wOBA, 47.4% whiff rate, 20.9% SwStr. It’s a small sample size, but a double digit strike out performance seems plausible.
Other Option: Kolby Allard ($7,900)
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Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($4,800) — Is Matt Moore ($6,000) fixed or did he benefit from an easy matchup coming off of the IL? Before going on the IL, Moore’s return from Japanese baseball did not go well in the spring (.422 wOBA, .312 ISO, 2.5 HR/9, 18% K rate, 11% BB rate and a 47% hard contact rate to right-handed batters). It’s hard to imagine that a journeyman pitcher suddenly fixed all of those holes. Contreras has a .402 wOBA, .286 ISO, 157 wRC+ and a 38% hard contact rate against left-handed pitching. Once again, he should be the popular pay-up option at catcher.
Other Option: Salvador Perez ($5,000)
Mike Zunino, Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians ($4,400) — DraftKings is on to us. Zunino is no longer a free square at this price, but he’s still affordable given his splits against left-handed pitching (.511 wOBA, .500 ISO and a 232 wRC+). He’s facing a left-handed prospect that is still getting acclimating to the big leagues. Logan Allen ($4,800) is allowing a .415 wOBA, .348 ISO, 43% hard contact, 3.8 HR/9, 18% K rate and a 12% BB rate to right-handed batters.
Other Option: Kevan Smith ($3,000)
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates ($5,800) — He’s been locked in all season, but he’s been slightly unlucky (.411 xwOBA vs. .362 wOBA). In June, the baseball gods smiled down upon Freddie and his hard hits turned into actual hits (.372 wOBA and a 135 wRC+). Most of his damage has been against right-handed pitching (.387 wOBA, .222 ISO, 144 wRC+ and a 42% hard contact rate), and tonight he faces the worst right-handed pitcher on the slate. Chase De Jong ($5,600) has struggled mightily with right-handed batters in his six appearances — .351 wOBA, .215 ISO and a 42% hard contact rate.
Other Option: Nate Lowe ($4,700)
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers ($3,500) — He’s one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the last week (.417 wOBA and a .304 ISO), and this isn’t a flash in the pan — he’s been hitting for the last month (.346 wOBA). Kolby Allard ($7,900) has been a solid starting pitcher, but he is still transitioning into this role and can make mistakes. He has allowed three or more earned runs in his last two starts.
Other Option: Alex Kirilloff ($3,800)
Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals vs. Cincinnati Reds ($5,200) — Stolen bases are an overlooked but significant scoring category. Whitt Merrifield's salary is a constant reminder that stolen bases matter (23 SB). Vladimir Gutierrez ($6,900) looked good in his first four starts, but the wheels have come off in his last three. Against right-handed batters, he is allowing a .382 wOBA, .259 ISO, 44% hard contact rate and 2.3 HR/9. Merrifield doesn't have the greatest numbers against right-handed pitching (.331 wOBA and a 14% BB rate), but he can get on base do some damage.
Other Option: Ozzie Albies ($5,800)
Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds at Kansas City Royals ($4,400) — One of the most peculiar stats of the 2021 season is the rookie’s home/away splits. A Cincinnati player should have better stats at home in one of the most hitter friendly parks, but that’s not the case for India. At home, he has a .301 wOBA and a .084 ISO; but on the road, he has a .402 wOBA and a .196 ISO. Jonathan India is the Road Warrior.
Other Option: Leury García ($2,900)
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres vs. Washington Nationals ($5,400) — The Padres crushed the Phillies yesterday, thanks to Machado’s two home runs. Since the beginning of June, Machado has looked like the superstar that DFS players expect (.404 wOBA, .298 ISO and a 160 wRC+). It’s unlikely that Jon Lester ($6,700) is going to cool off Machado — the veteran lefty is struggling with right-handed batters (.409 wOBA, .244 ISO, 2.2 HR/9 and a 13% K rate). Lester has allowed five or more runs in his last two starts, so the Padres stack will be one of the most popular on the slate. With all of the value options available at pitching, it’s not hard to fit in all of the elite Padres.
Other Option: Yoán Moncada ($4,600)
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates ($4,200) — The Braves have a 5.25 implied team total and should be a very popular stack against Chase De Jong. Austin Riley’s price makes the stack easier to fit, but his price is secondary in importance to what he can do against right-handed pitching (.363 wOBA, .194 ISO, 129 wRC+ and a 38% hard contact rate).
Other Option: Brock Holt ($3,200)
Javier Báez, Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($4,600) — Shortstop is a fun position today. Báez and Fernando Tatis Jr. ($6,100) both draw extremely favorable matchups, but Báez is significantly cheaper and makes it easier for DFS players to fit Brandon Woodruff ($10,400) on to the their teams. Báez has a .333 wOBA, .283 ISO and a 111 wRC+ against left-handed pitching and he’s facing Matt Moore (5.80 xFIP against right-handed batters).
Other Option: Fernando Tatis Jr. ($6,100)
Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals vs. Cincinnati Reds ($2,900) — It’s mentioned everyday, but frugality at shortstop is a risky move. Over the last three weeks, Lopez has been hot and is underpriced (.369 wOBA, 113 wRC+, three stolen bases and eight runs). This play can work, but it’s a bet that Fernando Tatis Jr. and Javier Báez fail. From a leverage perspective, the DFS players that consider Lopez might also want to consider rostering Jon Lester or Matt Moore.
Other Option: José Iglesias ($3,800)
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates ($5,900) — Every DFS blurb heaps praise on Acuña, and rightfully so — his numbers are staggering (.410 wOBA, .319 ISO and a 163 wRC+). Let’s do something different and try to talk ourselves out of playing him. Tonight's game is in a pitcher friendly park in Pittsburgh, and that’s where that discussion ends. There aren’t any more negatives. Acuña is facing a terrible starting pitcher and a below average bullpen.
Other Option: Shohei Ohtani ($6,200)
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers ($4,700) — He’s a little pricey, but he’s significantly cheaper than Ronald Acuña Jr. and has just as good of a chance of hitting a home run. Gallo squares off against Wily Peralta ($5,200). The veteran resurfaced with the Tigers and in four games he’s allowed a .450 wOBA, .474 ISO, 47% hard contact rate, 3.9 HR/9, 9% K rate and a 9% walk rate. The most appealing stat in this matchup is that Peralta is waking more lefties than he strikes out. This bodes well for the infamous strikeout victim that is Joey Gallo. If Gallo isn’t striking out, he’s mashing home runs and that’s exactly what he’s been doing over the last seven games (.696 wOBA and a .913 ISO).
Other Option: Gavin Sheets ($2,600)
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