There’s just something about a 15-game MLB slate that gets my blood pumping. Not to mention, it’s the first such slate of the season with no basketball and no hockey going on elsewhere. Add in the fact that there are zero weather concerns on Tuesday night, and you’ve pretty much got the ideal scenario for baseball lovers everywhere.
Let’s pick out some studs and value plays for tonight’s festivities.
Carlos Rodon, San Francisco Giants vs. Detroit Tigers, $10,400 - Rodon has almost been unhittable in June, posting a 1.20 ERA and a 1.90 FIP across the five starts he’s already made in the month. Well, things shouldn’t get any more difficult for the left-hander on Tuesday. The Tigers will visit San Francisco, and it’s hard to put into words just how awful the team has been in the batter’s box in 2022. Detroit comes into tonight’s slate in possession of the league’s lowest 76 wRC+, while it also has posted MLB’s worst ISO in June by a wide margin (.108). Rodon, equipped with a 31.3% strikeout rate, should be everyone’s No. 1 pitching option.
Ross Stripling, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox, $5,100 - While I will fully acknowledge that the Red Sox are a potent opponent, I simply do not understand this price point for Stripling. The veteran has done everything asked of him so far in 2022, and he’s thrived in the nine opportunities he’s had to start. To wit, as a starter, Stripling owns a 2.81 ERA and a 2.58 FIP, holding opposing hitters to a pristine .223/.247/.306 slash line in the process. Much of this success — which includes a career-best 53.2% ground ball rate — can be attributed to a shift in pitch mix. Not only is Stripling featuring his change-up more than ever before, but his four-seam fastball usage has fallen from 50.9% in 2021 to 32.0% in 2022. He should be at least $7K on this slate. No doubt.
Editor’s Note: Dodgers C Will Smith is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Rockies.
Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies , $5,700 - It’s not often I write up a catcher in this space, so you know Smith is in a smash spot. The 27-year-old has flourished in June, slashing .299/.347/.563 with a 153 wRC+ in his 95 plate appearances in the month. He’s also just been hot against left-handed opponents all season long, hitting .300 with a 167 wRC+ within the split. So, with the combination of Kyle Freeland ($6,200) and Coors Field on the horizon, getting some exposure to Smith on this slate is a must.
Corey Seager, Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals, $5,600 - It’s been a weird season for Seager. While the surface results haven’t been amazing, the veteran remains in the 89th percentile in expected slugging percentage and the 88th percentile in expected wOBA. He’s also still managed 15 home runs despite the lack of luck on his batted ball events. Thankfully for Seager, a matchup with Jonathan Heasley ($5,500) should help turn the tide. Heasley has been absolutely destroyed by LHBs in 2022, surrendering 3.32 home runs per nine and a .413 wOBA within the split. That’s gross.
Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox, $3,700 - Generally speaking, you want to be using Chapman against a left-handed opponent, but seeing as the Jays never face a lefty, tonight’s matchup with Michael Wacha ($7,800) will have to do. That’s not really a slight against Wacha, who has been quite good in 2022, it’s simply an acknowledgment that Chapman is starting to look like the 2019 version of himself. In 83 plate appearances in June, the former All-Star has registered a .280 ISO and a 147 wRC+. Crucially, he’s also struck out in only 22.9% of those PAs. When you’re in the 94th percentile of hard hit rate, contact is usually a good thing.
Michael Chavis, Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals, $2,000 - Here’s the asset that’s going to help you afford all those expensive pieces in your lineup tonight. Chavis has been a platoon savant in 2022, posting a .300 average and a 142 wRC+ in his 87 plate appearances against southpaws. Because of that, he’s tended to hit third in the Pirates’ lineup when the team is opposed by a lefty. The LHP in question on Tuesday? Patrick Corbin ($5,300), who has conceded an eye-popping .656 slugging percentage to opponents going back to June 1. The only downside with Chavis is that you can’t somehow use him twice.
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians, $6,000 - You knew that Buxton wasn’t going to play both legs of today’s doubleheader, so with the news that he’s sitting in Game 1, we’ll write him up for Game 2. Basically, you just want to get a piece of the outfielder whenever he’s facing a lefty — particularly when the lefty is fly ball oriented like Konnor Pilkington ($5,900). In 63 plate appearances versus southpaws in 2022, Buxton sports a .414 ISO and a 176 wRC+. Talk about upside.
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros at New York Mets, $5,300 - I’m a little surprised to see Carlos Carrasco ($8,300) starting tonight, after the veteran had to leave his last outing with a back issue. That contest was also against the Astros, and Carrasco surrendered three home runs in 2.1 innings. The RHP now owns a 5.81 ERA over his last six appearances. That’s all good news for Tucker, who has been red-hot at the dish. In fact, in June, the LHB has registered a .284 ISO and a 172 wRC+. He’s also stolen 14 bases in 2022, so Tucker can contribute to your lineup in a wide variety of ways.
Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins, $3,400 - With a 120 wRC+ within the split, the Cardinals rank as the second-best lineup against left-handed pitching among National League teams. A big reason for that has been the switch-hitting Carlson, who is miles and miles better when facing a southpaw. In fact, going back to the beginning of last season, Carlson is slashing .339/.390/.539 with a 155 wRC+ in his 183 plate appearances as a right-handed batter. Braxton Garrett ($5,700) should tread carefully.
Gavin Sheets, Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels, $2,300 - Sheets comes into Tuesday’s slate on a heater, with multiple hits in each of his past three games. Still, this is mostly about his handedness and a matchup with Chase Silseth ($6,400). The RHP has only faced 29 left-handed batters at the MLB-level in 2022, yet Silseth has somehow managed to give up four home runs in that limited sample. The White Sox don’t have a lot of healthy LHBs to take advantage of this flaw, but Sheets is one of them.
TEAMS TO STACK
Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals - This is a unique stacking circumstance. Both Chavis and Diego Castillo ($2,100) are going to be in the middle of the Pirates’ order this evening — likely hitting back-to-back — and you can have them both for a total of $4,100. Obviously, feel free to add Bryan Reynolds ($4,400) and Ke’Bryan Hayes ($4,500) to the mix, particularly with Hayes owning a 148 wRC+ against LHPs in 2022, but Chavis and Castillo specifically open the door to a world of lineup building possibilities. Also, Patrick Corbin is washed. That’s key, too.
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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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