This is a big week for baseball, right? Not only is today officially the first day of summer (which seems crucial for baseball to be played in the dog days of said season), but with the NBA Championship wrapping up last Thursday, there really isn’t much left in the way of competition for eyeballs. Which is good! Watch baseball, people! Enjoy it!
Maybe you should also build a couple lineups, too. Possibly using some of the players listed below? Yeah? You’re too kind.
Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants, $8,600 - It’s difficult to avoid Strider at this point, particularly as his price point hasn’t quite yet caught up to his massive ceiling. The right-hander has been dominant at the MLB level as both a starter and a reliever, with Strider striking out 11 opponents and tossing a career-high 106 pitches in his last outing versus the Nationals. In four total starts, the rookie has maintained a 2.75 ERA and a 2.82 FIP, utilizing an insane 38.3% strikeout rate to keep opponents at bay. I think Strider will find a similar amount of success on Tuesday with the Giants in town. San Francisco is a good team, but over the past two weeks its struggled to an underwhelming .293 wOBA. The Giants have also struck out in 25.3% of their plate appearances in that span — the fifth-highest mark in MLB.
Rich Hill, Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers, $7,200 - There’s a mini-tier on this slate that includes two names: Hill and Marco Gonzales ($7,100). Both are middle-of-the-road left-handers, yet each draws a fantastic matchup in the form of the Tigers and the Athletics, respectively. So why lean towards Hill? Well, first and foremost, I believe Hill to possess the higher strikeout upside, as Gonzales’ 13.7% strikeout rate is among the lowest qualified marks in the league. Then there’s the matter of Detroit. The Tigers rank dead-last in baseball in both wRC+ (75) and ISO (.099), giving Hill the slightly easier path to victory.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers , $5,400 - By wRC+, Goldschmidt is the best hitter in the National League with a mark of 189. He’s obviously not someone who is only viable because of his matchup, but it definitely doesn’t hurt his upside when the Cardinals are facing a gas can like Chi Chi Gonzalez ($6,700) . With Aaron Ashby placed on the IL yesterday, Gonzalez will make an emergency start, just his third of 2022. It’s not hard to see why that is. Since the beginning of 2021, Gonzalez has allowed opposing RHBs to slash .327/.372/.644 with a .423 wOBA. Yikes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Cardinals 1B Paul Goldschmidt is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Brewers.
Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, $4,000 - This is a really nice price for Torres, who has been unbelievably hot since the beginning of May. In fact, in his last 162 plate appearances, Torres boasts a .285 ISO and a 153 wRC+. He’s also done exceedingly well when specifically facing an LHP in 2022, with a 1.001 OPS within the split. It’s unclear how long Josh Fleming ($6,800) and his 6.38 ERA with pitch in this game, but Torres should get a couple cracks at the lefty.
Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals, $3,900 - Few players have hit as well as Mountcastle in June. The former top prospect shook off a slow start to the season and has posted a .379 ISO and a 180 wRC+ in the month so far, showing how dangerous a bat he can truly be. Mountcastle will have a great opportunity to add to his numbers tonight against Erick Fedde ($5,700) and a Nationals bullpen that owns the second-highest FIP in all of baseball (4.47).
J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics, $3,900 - Crawford’s production has dipped since the start of the season, yet he’s still crushing RHPs every chance he gets. To wit, in 194 plate appearances within the split, Crawford is slashing .327/.418/.435 with a 158 wRC+. He should absolutely thrive in a matchup with the struggling James Kaprielian ($5,500), who has had some serious issues with LHBs in 2022. Lefties have combined for a staggering .417 wOBA against the A’s starter.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals, $5,600 - If you think Ohtani’s fallen off from his MVP season in 2021, you’re wrong. In fact, Ohtani’s .393xwOBA in 2022 is identical to his actual wOBA from last year. He’s still very, very dangerous with a bat in his hand, particularly when facing a pitcher like Jonathan Heasley ($6,100). Left-handed bats have punished Kansas City’s starter, hitting 2.76 home runs per nine and combining for an eye-popping .407 wOBA. Ohtani should have a field day.
Juan Soto, Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles, $5,200 - Soto has certainly underachieved so far in 2022, but this is a very tempting matchup against Jordan Lyles ($6,000). Lyles has looked terrible in his past three outings, pitching to a 8.22 ERA and allowing opponents to hit .333 with a .405 OBP. He’s also right-handed, and even with Soto struggling by his own standards, the outfielder has posted a 151 wRC+ within the split this season.
Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays, $3,600 - This is simply too cheap for Vaughn, even in a difficult matchup. Not only does the sophomore sport a 156 wRC+ for the season as a whole, but he’s hitting .389 with a 177 wRC+ so far in June. Also, as it pertains to Kevin Gausman ($10,200), the RHP has struggled as of late and, of the two home runs he’s surrendered in 2022, Vaughn has one.
Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers, $2,400 - Obviously this play is mostly about the aforementioned Gonzalez, but let’s not sell Carlson short. Beyond his huge amount of prospect pedigree, Carlson has looked good since returning from the IL earlier this month. In 29 plate appearances, Carlson is hitting .276 with a 1.003 OPS and a 182 wRC+. We’re dealing with super small samples here, yet we’re also dealing with a super small price point. It all sort of evens out.
TEAMS TO STACK
St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers - Gonzalez has had so, so many issues retiring right-handed batters going back to the start of last season, which is bad news against the Cardinals. St. Louis sits third in baseball in right-on-right plate appearances (1,342) and they’ve tended to be quality at-bats with the likes of Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado ($4,800) leading the charge. Still, feel free to use affordable left-handed options like Tommy Edman ($4,800), Nolan Gorman ($3,900) and Brendan Donovan ($3,700), as well.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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