There might be a little rain this evening in Baltimore, Minnesota and New York, but the big weather news for tonight’s 14-game MLB slate dropped late last night. Due to an approaching tropical storm, there will be no game between Tampa Bay and Cleveland, despite the domed nature of Tropicana Field.
However, we’ve still got a jam-packed schedule with tough roster decisions at each and every position. Allow me to help break it all down.
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Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds at Kansas City Royals, $8,500 - I’ve probably sworn off using Castillo three different times in 2021, but the right-hander has finally started to look like himself in recent outings. Castillo has pitched to a 1.71 ERA and a 2.43 FIP across his past four starts, a span of 26.1 innings where the veteran has also registered 26 strikeouts. The big difference between now and early April? Fastball velocity. Back in his first appearance of the season, Castillo’s average four-seam velocity sat at just 94.8 mph. In his most recent game against the Padres, that number was up to 98.0 mph. Add in a Royals lineup that sports the AL’s lowest wRC+ over the last 30 days (87), and you’ve got yourself a reasonably priced SP1 on Tuesday.
Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks, $7,300 - While Gray technically has better numbers at the Coors in 2021, trust me when I tell you that you’d rather him be pitching on the road. The RHP’s 3.66 FIP away from Colorado is far superior to his mark in the altitude, as a .378 BABIP within the split has done a number on his less appealing surface statistics. Gray has also been a soft-contact savant so far in 2021, as only 2.9% of his opponents’ plate appearances have ended with a barrel — the fifth-lowest mark in all of baseball. With Arizona owning the league’s lowest ISO across the last 30 days (.109), I’d anticipate Gray having a solid performance this evening.
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Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners, $5,100 - Sanchez has been a killer in the batter’s box going back to May 27, a span of 114 plate appearances where the catcher has slashed .290/.377/.630 with a .340 ISO and a 168 wRC+. I’d expect the good times to continue on Tuesday night, as Sanchez draws an opposite-hand matchup with the struggling Justus Sheffield ($6,800). The lefty conceded a whopping .439 wOBA to opponents during his five starts in June. That’s not great.
James McCann, New York Mets vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $3,600 - All McCann does is hit left-handed pitching. It’s the reason he was primarily a platoon backstop with the White Sox and it’s the reason he should be in your lineups tonight. This season, in 61 plate appearances within the split, McCann is sporting a 141 wRC+ and a .500 slugging percentage. It should also help matters that the lefty McCann will be facing is Brett Anderson ($6,400), who happens to possess an ugly 7.20 xERA through 12 starts.
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Pete Alonso, New York Mets vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $5,600 - As mentioned above, the Mets should be able to score some runs off of Anderson this evening, as an insane 49.4% of the batted ball events the lefty has conceded in 2021 have had an exit velocity of at least 95.0 mph. Meanwhile, Alonso’s posted some pretty impressive numbers against left-handed pitching all season long, with a .300 ISO and a 140 wRC+ within the split.
Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays, $3,900 - Mountcastle must have games against the Blue Jays circled on his calendar. The rookie has absolutely destroyed Toronto pitching so far in 2021, slashing .417/.517/.917 with four home runs in the seven games he’s played against MLB’s lone Canadian team. To be fair, Mountcastle was simply hitting everything in sight in June, as the 24-year-old finished the month with an eye-popping 175 wRC+. Look for him to carry that success over in an opposite-hand matchup against a scuffling Steven Matz ($7,800).
Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles, $5,600 - Someone named Spenser Watkins ($4,000) will be making this start for the Orioles, but if we’re being honest, the Jays’ implied team total would still be well over five funs regardless of who Baltimore turned to. That’s where Semien’s value kicks in. The All-Star — and Toronto’s leadoff hitter — is one of just four players with at least 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 2021. The other three? Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuna. That’s some pretty impressive company.
Jean Segura, Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs, $3,300 - I simply don’t understand Segura’s salary. The veteran is currently sporting career-highs in batting average (.321), OBP (.376) and wRC+ (126), all while hitting second in the Phillies’ lineup each and every day. What more could you want from a middle-infielder? Also, with the ball flying out of Wrigley on Monday, it shouldn’t come as a shock that Philadelphia has one of this slate’s highest implied team totals.
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels, $5,900 - When Shohei Ohtani ($8,300) struggles on the mound, it’s usually due to left-handed batters. Lefties have registered five of the six home runs the All-Star has surrendered so far this season, while Ohtani’s strikeout rate plummets from 39.8% against RHBs to 26.8% against LHBs. Devers is one of the league’s best left-handed hitters and he’s posted a 1.044 OPS when getting the opportunity to face a right-handed pitcher in 2021. He’s expensive, but the sky is the limit for the 24-year-old.
Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds at Kansas City Royals, $3,900 - It’s pretty much “home run or bust” when it comes to Suarez, but that’s not a bad gamble to take with Kris Bubic ($5,600) on the mound for the Royals. The left-hander has surrendered a massive 2.06 home runs per nine in 2021, while opponents are slugging a jaw-dropping .724 off of the 23-year-old dating back to the beginning of June. Suarez, who owns a career .231 ISO against LHPs, is in a good spot to do something special this evening.
Editor’s Note: Nationals SP Erick Fedde will start tonight’s game vs. the Padres.
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres vs. Washington Nationals, $6,200 - Going back to Jun. 12, Tatis has basically been unstoppable at the dish. In that span, the shortstop has slashed .359/.451/.833 across 91 plate appearances with a .474 ISO and a 240 wRC+. Now, do you think Jefry Rodriguez ($4,000) is finally going to be the pitcher that brings this all to an end? Yeah. I didn’t think so, either.
J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees, $3,900 - Seattle as a whole could be a cheap contrarian stacking opportunity this evening, as the Mariners have a boatload of left-handed bats to throw at Jameson Taillon ($7,200). The RHP hasn’t been great with the Yankees and it’s been specifically LHBs that have given him issue, with the 144 he’s faced combining for a .375 wOBA and 2.59 home runs per nine. So while Crawford and his .352 averaging since the beginning of June are target No. 1, don’t be afraid to take a look at the likes of Kyle Seager ($3,800), Jake Fraley ($3,500) and Jake Bauers ($2,100).
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners, $5,400 - Judge’s season has sort of flown under the radar with the emergence of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Ohtani, but rest assured, the man can still hit a baseball. In fact, Judge’s .434 expected wOBA is the third-highest qualified mark in the league. The outfielder is also slashing .318/.404/.588 against left-handed pitching in 2021. Needless to say, he’s in a great spot on Tuesday against the struggling Sheffield, a pitcher that has surrendered 15 barrels in his past six starts. Yikes.
Aristides Aquino, Cincinnati Reds at Kansas City Royals, $3,300 - You can basically copy and paste everything I said about Suarez and apply it to Aquino. The 27-year-old has big, big power, as evidenced by his .444 ISO in a limited sample so far in 2021. With Bubic having been very susceptible to the long ball the past five weeks, I wouldn’t be shocked if Aquino sends a ball into orbit this evening.
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