I hope everyone had a safe and restful (and winning) Fourth of July! I did a lot better on the early slate considering the top two pitchers at night were the two starters in Coors (go figure). Today we have an eight-game Thursday slate with no Coors, and we’ll be building down from Verlander who blows away the field at SP. I’ll be in chat later on helping our subs cash out, and follow me on twitter @jac3600.
Justin Verlander, HOU ($12,200)
Over the past few days, I’ve been finding ways to avoid paying for the top SPs given the intense heat around the country (which amplifies offense a great deal). Tonight is different. It’s still hot, but there is NO ONE after Verlander that is remotely cash viable (SP2 is going to be tricky on DK). The price tag is hefty and you’re going to pass on some top hitters as a result, but Verlander has a 2.12 ERA and a 31.4% K rate. He’s a -300 favorite with a 2.9 IRTA, and the White Sox have the fourth highest K rate against RHP. I wouldn’t overthink this one.
Other options – None
Luke Weaver, STL ($6200)
Weaver has been bad this year, but he still has a lot of raw talent and will be pitching in San Francisco which is one of the best pitching environments on the slate (especially this time of year where the rest of the country is very humid). San Francisco has struck out against RHP a lot more this year than in past seasons, and Weaver had a 29% K rate last season. He’s a GPP-only play that will let you stack Astros (the top offense).
Other options – Marco Gonzales, Shelby Miller, Matt Boyd, Max Fried
Paul Goldschmidt, ARI ($4300)
Goldy is in a prime spot tonight against a bad lefty in Eric Lauer. This season, Lauer has allowed a .380 wOBA and .185 ISO to RHB, and Goldy has been a monster with the platoon edge. Since the beginning of last season, he’s posted a .413 wOBA and .301 ISO against LHP, and Arizona is still an above-average hitting environment despite the humidor being installed.
Other options – Freddie Freeman, Brandon Belt, Jesus Aguilar, J.T. Realmuto
Justin Bour, MIA ($2600)
Bour is a solid value, and a necessary play with the top priority on Verlander. His price is down due to his massive slump right now (a paltry 4% hard hit rate over the last 15 games), but it’s hot in Washington and he’s facing Jeremy Hellickson who has allowed a .236 ISO to LHB since the beginning of last year. There are other cheap first basemen too, and the UTIL position makes using two of them a smart play.
Other options – Eric Hosmer, Daniel Murphy, Yuli Gurriel, Logan Morrison, Joe Mauer
Catcher values – Evan Gattis, Robinson Chirinos, JR Murphy, Max Stassi, Victor Martinez
Jose Altuve, HOU ($4200)
Second base is going to be tricky again tonight. Altuve is really the only good play on the slate, and fitting him in will be difficult alongside Verlander. I’d still like to try, as Altuve has a .400 wOBA against LHP since the beginning of 2015 and he’s running a lot more lately. Carlos Rodon is technically the White Sox best pitcher, but he’s been very shaky since returning from the DL (5.54 xFIP, 1.82 HR/9 allowed). The Astros IRT of 5.1 runs us currently the highest on the slate.
Other options – Ozzie Albies, Brian Dozier
Jonathan Villar, MIL ($2500)
If you can’t afford Altuve (and it’s possible you won’t), Villar represents a lukewarm drop-down value. He hits near the bottom of the order, but he has incredible speed and is still only two years removed from a season where he had 81 combined homers and steals. Villar also has a .167 ISO against LHP since the beginning of 2016, and he’s cheap.
Other options – Dee Gordon, Jurickson Profar, Alen Hanson
Alex Bregman, HOU ($4400)
I’m curious what Bregman’s ownership will be tonight. I would assume he’s the highest owned hitter, but he’s tricky to fit in with Verlander. Bregman has been a beast lately with a 35.7% hard hit rate over the last 15 games with eight homers. Since the beginning of last year, Bregman has a .395 wOBA and .243 ISO against LHP. If you can get him in, do it, but don’t sacrifice Verlander.
Other options – Anthony Rendon, Travis Shaw
Tim Beckham, BAL ($2300)
Fading Bregman is OK on this slate due to the presence of Beckham. At near minimum price tags, Beckham is a solid cash choice alongside Verlander as he’s been leading off for the O’s as of late. Aaron Slegers is making a spot start for the Twins, and he only has a 16% K rate at the AAA level. Beckham would be better against a lefty, but this just a smart price play.
Other options – Kyle Seager, Adrian Beltre, Eduardo Escobar, Jeimer Candelario, Cory Spangenberg
Manny Machado, BAL ($4500)
Along these same lines, Machado is the top SS play, but he’s unreachable in cash. Machado gets the same matchup I mentioned in Beckham’s blurb, is a MUCH better hitter than Beckham, and has a 31% hard hit rate over the last 15 games. Machado is also a reverse-split hitter, with a .372 wOBA and .235 ISO against RHP since the beginning of 2015.
Other options – Jean Segura, Trea Turner
Nick Ahmed, ARI ($2600)
Ahmed is Goldy-lite on the Diamondbacks, and he’s a great cash value at $2600. Ahmed generally hits second against lefties, and he has a .395 wOBA and .235 ISO against LHP since beginning of last season. If you want Verlander and at least one big Astros bat, you need salary relief like this.
Other options – Elvis Andrus, Jorge Polanco, Marwin Gonzalez
George Springer, HOU ($3700)
Springer is once again the best top option, and he’s a really solid price tag as well. Springer has a 10% hard hit rate over his last ten games which is a little scary, but he’s been a monster against LHP with a .404 wOBA and .257 ISO since the beginning of last season. Springer is a cornerstone of an Astros stack, but he’s also viable in cash.
Other options – Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, Nick Castellanos, Eddie Rosario, Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz, Christian Yelich, AJ Pollock
Ryan Braun, MIL ($3200)
Braun is a great value today. Max Fried lit it up for 11 strikeouts last time out, but he’s allowed a .210 ISO to RHB since the beginning of last season, and Braun has a .341 wOBA and .228 ISO against LHP in that span (with better numbers over a larger sample size). He fits into any lineups at his price tag, and he’s one I’ll be taking advantage of.