Happy Thursday! But more importantly, Happy Yu Darvish ($9,900) Day! After being listed as the Padres’ probable pitcher for three-straight days on DraftKings, the former All-Star will finally take the mound this evening against the Dodgers. Should we celebrate Yu Darvish Day by, well, playing Yu Darvish? Probably not. Though everyone’s traditions are different for an event this widely acknowledged. Do whatever your heart tells you to do.
Let’s break down the rest of tonight’s nine-game featured MLB slate position-by-position.
Max Scherzer, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres, $10,400 - Arguing on behalf of Scherzer’s viability is an easy task under most circumstances, but when it comes to Thursday’s slate, I truly believe he’s a necessity. Let’s start with this: Of the four most expensive pitchers on tonight’s pricing list, Scherzer is the only one without serious pitch limit concerns. In fact, with the Dodgers winning a 16-inning marathon last night, I assume Scherzer will be leaned on more heavily than usual by Dave Roberts. That’s enticing, as is the veteran’s success so far in a Los Angeles uniform. In four starts with the Dodgers, Scherzer is in possession of a 2.11 ERA, a 2.18 FIP and a 34.8% strikeout rate.
Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies, $7,200 - It would be insane to expect Gallen to repeat his last performance — a 31.4 DKFP effort in Colorado — but as was the case on Saturday, the right-hander presents an unusual amount of upside at this modest price point. Gallen’s 2021 campaign has been rocky since originally hitting the IL back in May, yet a 3.86 xERA and a 10.76 K/9 are pretty tantalizing figures when push comes to shove. The fact that Philadelphia is only hitting .192 with a 70 wRC+ across the past two weeks also doesn’t hurt Gallen’s case on Thursday.
Sal Perez, Kansas City Royals at Seattle Mariners, $5,500 - This is a hefty price to pay for a backstop, but Perez has been worth it against left-handed pitching all season long. The veteran has taken 140 plate appearances within the split so far in 2021 and he’s hit .328 with a .359 ISO and a 179 wRC+. This isn’t just any lefty pitcher, either. Yusei Kikuchi ($7,300) has struggled immensely the past two months, surrendering a whopping .400 opponent wOBA since the beginning of July.
Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies, $3,900 - It’ll be interesting to see if Varsho’s in tonight’s lineup after catching Wednesday, but if the 25-year-old is good to go, he deserves a look. Basically, Varsho just hasn’t stopped hitting since the All-Star break. In 103 plate appearances, the rookie is slashing .307/.402/.670 with a 174 wRC+. With Zach Eflin ($9,300) set to make his first MLB start since mid-July, I’d wouldn’t be shocked to see Varsho have a decent performance.
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Pete Alonso, New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants, $4,900 - Alonso has been swinging a hot bat recently, as he comes into tonight’s matchup with Alex Wood ($8,700) on a 10-game hitting streak. Alonso has also posted some pretty ridiculous power numbers against LHPs all season long, registering a .323 ISO within the split in his 148 plate appearances. That’s a lot of raw upside, especially with Wood sporting an ugly 5.74 ERA across his past five outings.
Editor’s Note: Giants 1B Brandon Belt is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Mets.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants at New York Mets, $4,200 - It has been a struggle for Carlos Carrasco ($7,500) since being activated from the IL, as the veteran right-hander has conceded a .625 slugging percentage and a .411 wOBA to opponents in his five appearances. Well, things won’t get easier going up against a stacked Giants’ lineup on Thursday. Belt, in particular, stands out as a solid asset, as the 33-year-old is currently sporting a career-best .304 ISO. He’ll also likely be hitting second in this evening’s batting order.
Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres, $5,400 - Who knows what version of Darvish we’ll see on the mound this evening, but prior to going on the IL, the right-hander was being crushed by opposing RHBs. In fact, the past 64 righty hitters that Darvish has faced have combined for a .712 slugging percentage and a .441 wOBA. Yikes. That opens the door for Turner, who is one home run away from becoming the third member of the 20/20 club in 2021. The infielder is absolutely dripping with talent and DFS value.
Josh Harrison, Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankees, $3,100 - While Harrison has been better against left-handed pitching so far in 2021, handedness really hasn’t mattered for the veteran since the All-Star break. In his past 117 plate appearances, Harrison is slashing .330/.393/.547 with a .402 wOBA and a 155 wRC+. He’s also hit fifth the past few times the A’s have faced a right-handed opponent, which is what they’ll draw on Thursday in the form of Jameson Taillon ($7,800). That’s all pretty enticing for a bat priced just above $3K.
Kris Bryant, San Francisco Giants at New York Mets, $5,300 - Bryant has righted the ship since a nightmarish month of June, slashing .281/.363/.525 with a 138 wRC+ since the beginning of July. He’ll have the opportunity to improve those numbers on Thursday, when the Giants square-off with the aforementioned Carrasco. The veteran right-hander has faced 43 RHBs so far in 2021, with those hitters combining for a mind-numbing .469 wOBA. Needless to say, the split has been an issue for Carrasco.
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins at Boston Red Sox, $3,300 - Alright, there’s a couple things you need to know here. First, this is likely the cheapest Donaldson has been on DraftKings since, like, 2013. Second, Donaldson can still really hit, as evidenced by a .915 OPS and a .282 ISO across his past nine games. Third, there’s some history of success for the former MVP against Chris Sale ($10,200). As always, take BvP stats with a grain of salt, but in 35 career plate appearances versus the lefty, Donaldson has five home runs and a .758 slugging percentage.
Editor’s Note: Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Twins.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins, $5,800 - We’ve probably reached the point where I don’t need to bring it up anymore, but for the uniformed: Xander Bogaerts really likes hitting at Fenway Park. So far this season, the shortstop has registered a .241 ISO, a .401 wOBA and a 149 wRC+ when hitting in sight of the Green Monster. I doubt those numbers will fall off on Thursday night, as the Red Sox draw a matchup with John Gant ($5,500) and own easily the slate’s highest implied team total.
Miguel Rojas, Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals, $4,200 - It has been a rough season for Patrick Corbin ($8,200). The lefty has been rocked all year long, and nothing about that has changed in his past seven outings, with RHBs slashing .295/.336/.639 and hitting 3.4 home runs per nine within that span of time. Rojas should be the perfect guy to take advantage, too. The infielder is serving as Miami’s primary leadoff man and he’s managed to hit .339 with a 152 wRC+ versus LHPs in 2021.
Kyle Schwarber, Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins, $4,800 - Remember when everyone was sort of shocked that the Red Sox didn’t want to send Schwarber down for a quick rehab assignment when he was coming off the IL? Well, in the 37 plate appearances Schwarber has taken for the Sox, he’s posted an insane 201 wRC+. I guess he wasn’t all that rusty after all. With the veteran red-hot and likely set to bat second this evening in an opposite-hand matchup, he’s well worth some consideration for your lineups.
Alex Dickerson, San Francisco Giants at New York Mets, $2,600 - With Carrasco’s issues now well documented, let’s focus on what makes Dickerson a fantastic value asset on Thursday. First and foremost, he’s a left-handed power bat that’s likely to bat clean-up for the Giants, and he’s somehow only $2.6K. More over, Dickerson is slashing .340/.407/.585 with a .417 wOBA so far in August. Hard to beat that.
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