Today is a day that serves multiple purposes. It is simultaneously the final day of July and the MLB’s Trade Deadline. Now, as of writing this, not much has happened in terms of jaw-dropping transactions. However, if last year’s deadline was a precursor of anything — a day when Chris Archer, Jonathan Schoop and Tommy Pham all swapped clubs — something is coming down the pipeline. I want to get ahead of that something with a coping mechanism on the off chance you’re unhappy with what you favorite team ends up doing. Here’s what I was able to come up with:
Scenario No. 1: Didn’t like the moves your front office made this afternoon? You’re a better GM than those fools. Prove it by playing DraftKings.
Scenario No.2: Can’t wait to see your new-look squad in action? Ease the wait time by building your own dream lineups on DraftKings.
I swear, I should be a therapist. Let’s get into tonight’s eight-game featured slate.
StudMike Minor, TEX vs. SEA, $9,900 – There are a few things working against Minor this evening. For one, he might be traded before he physically is able to make this start. However, in the realm of things within his own control, Minor’s most recent outing was against these very same Mariners and he got rocked. Still, the numbers suggest this should be a fantastic matchup for the lefty. Not only has he pitched better in Texas, but consider the amount of LHBs in Seattle’s lineup that have struggled in left-on-left situations so far this season. Mallex Smith, J.P. Crawford, Daniel Vogelbach and Kyle Seager all have at least 60 plate appearances under these conditions in 2019 and each possesses a wRC+ below 85. Not to mention the four have a combined strikeout rate of 24.6% within the split. If Minor can’t take advantage of a batting order this peppered with left-handed bats, teams were probably right to not overpay for his services. Other Option: Jacob deGrom ($11,800)
ValueMiles Mikolas, STL vs. CHC, $7,700 – The pitching options on tonight’s slate are awful, which is about the only conditions where you’d be able to find a starter of Mikolas’ archetype attractive. Still, despite the RHP’s total lack of strikeout upside, Mikolas has thrived toeing the rubber in St. Louis since the beginning of May. Within that span, the 30-year-old owns a pristine 1.31 ERA across 48 innings of work; a figure he pairs with a 0.94 WHIP and a 2.62 FIP. It also doesn’t hurt matters that the Cubs have mustered just a modest 68 wRC+ over the past two weeks.
Other Option: Vince Velasquez ($7,500)
StudTravis d’Arnaud, TB at BOS, $4,800 – The Rays have an implied team total of more than five runs and are facing a pitcher in Rick Porcello ($6,700) that has surrendered a whopping .398 wOBA to opponents so far in July. I’m not sure I quite understand what’s happening with d’Arnaud, but he’s one of baseball’s hottest hitters and he owns a .282 ISO away from Tropicana. Proceed appropriately. Other Option: Yasmani Grandal ($4,100)
ValueTom Murphy, SEA at TEX, $3,700 – It’s unclear if Seattle will roll Murphy out over Omar Narvaez ($4,200) for a third straight contest, but the numbers dictate they should. Murphy is slashing .319/.355/.625 with a massive .403 wOBA against left-handed pitching in 2019, the result of six home runs within the split in just 76 plate appearances. I’m a fan of Minor on this slate, but if you decide to go with the more expensive Jacob deGrom ($11,800), here’s how you save some salary at catcher.
Other Option: Matt Wieters ($3,500)
StudMatt Olson, OAK vs. MIL, $4,300 – To say Jordan Lyles ($6,100) has had his issues with LHBs this season would be an understatement. Dating back to the start of June, Lyles has surrendered an insane .554 wOBA to the 60 left-handed hitters he’s faced — the product for 14 extra-base hits and a 51.3% hard contact rate. Olson’s generally a more desirable DFS piece when the Athletics are away from Oakland, but I’ll make an exception for Lyles’ Brewers debut. Other Option: Anthony Rizzo ($4,500)
ValueAustin Nola, SEA at TEX, $3,800 – Another high-ceiling, low-floor option from the Mariners. Nola’s been tearing the cover off the ball since being promoted to the majors, and that whole-heartedly includes his opportunities against left-handed pitching. In 28 plate appearances within the split, Nola has posted a .400 ISO with a 206 wRC+. The sample size is almost non-existent, but it’s hard to ask for more obvious upside below $4K.
StudJose Altuve, HOU at CLE, $5,100 – If you wanted to make the case Zach Plesac ($7,300) has had the recent good fortune of a cupcake schedule, you definitely could back that claim up. In fact, here is a list of the rookie’s past six opponents: Kansas City, Kansas City, Detroit, Kansas City, Baltimore, Detroit. I’m here to suggest the Astros might just be a little bit more daunting a task — especially the red-hot Altuve. In 101 plate appearances in July, the veteran is slashing .389/.426/.663 with a 191 wRC+. He also has collected multiple hits in seven of his past nine games. Good luck, Zach. Other Option: Danny Santana ($5,300)
ValueTommy Edman, STL vs. CHC, $3,900 – Edman’s stats as a left-handed hitter and a right-handed hitter have been pretty similar since getting the call to the majors; but, from a launch angle perspective, it’s clear you want him at the plate as an LHB. While Edman possesses an underwhelming 2.00 GB/FB ratio when facing southpaws, that number sits at a far more inviting 1.12 against RHPs. Add in that he’s likely to be batting leadoff once again this evening and you’ve got a decent value play versus Kyle Hendricks ($9,000) — a pitcher with drastic home/road splits.
Other Option: Jurickson Profar ($3,400)
StudAlex Bregman, HOU at CLE, $5,200 – Houston possesses tonight’s third-highest implied team total and it’s not hard to see why. While Plesac has skated through some easy recent matchups, the Astros are a different animal. Not only are they just simply good at hitting the baseball, Houston is extremely right-heavy in its roster construct, including top-of-the-order bats like Bregman. For Plesac, who has allowed a 43.0% hard contact rate to RHBs, this doesn’t bode well. For instance, consider righties are slugging .524 off of Plesac’s primary offering: his four-seam fastball. Bregman and Co. should be able to take advantage. Other Options: Yuli Gurriel ($4,900), Matt Chapman ($4,100)
ValueMatt Duffy, TB at BOS, $3,700 – Against the right-handed Porcello, it’s unlikely Duffy will maintain his leadoff spot from Tuesday night, but, at the very least, he still should find himself in the meat of Tampa Bay’s order. That fact, combined with an 8-for-25 start to his 2019 campaign, makes Duffy an intriguing option at his minuscule price point. I mean, if he doesn’t get to the struggling Porcello early, he’s also have a few cracks at a Red Sox bullpen that owns a 5.18 ERA in July. Not too shabby.
StudXander Bogaerts, BOS vs. TB, $5,100 – Is anyone in baseball as good at producing in their home park as Bogaerts? Honestly, it sometimes feels like Fenway is transported a mile above sea level as soon as the All-Star steps into the batter’s box. Since the beginning of May, Bogaerts is slashing an eye-popping .386/.463/.699 with a 193 wRC+ in his 177 plate appearances in Boston. So, unless this game somehow gets moved to Maine before first pitch, I’d suggest finding a spot in your lineups for Bogaerts. Other Options: Carlos Correa ($4,900), Elvis Andrus ($4,300)
ValueBrandon Crawford, SF at PHI, $3,400 – Aside from a .211 ISO and 120 wRC+ in the month of July, Crawford’s been at his best in 2019 when facing a right-handed pitcher away from the spacious confines of Oracle Park. In fact, while Crawford’s ISO sits at an embarrassing .077 at home so far this season, that figure jumps up to .203 in his 193 plate appearances on the road. It’s unlikely the combination of Velasquez (5.48 FIP) and the Philadelphia bullpen (5.07 FIP) will be able to suppress Crawford all evening long.
StudMookie Betts, BOS vs. TB, $5,200 – Betts has been on fire in the month of July, specifically when tasked with facing a left-handed pitcher. Now, his first at-bat of the game will come against the right-handed Andrew Kittredge ($4,000), but, after that, Betts should get at least two opportunities against Ryan Yarbrough ($7,100). This is great news. Within the month, Betts sports a 1.166 OPS and a 198 wRC+ in his 38 plate appearances versus southpaws. When an All-Star talent is rolling like this, you always want to grab a piece. Other Options: J.D. Martinez ($4,900), Hunter Pence ($4,700)
ValueLorenzo Cain, MIL at OAK, $3,800 – Cain does appear in the midst of a pretty precipitous drop in his level of production; however, at the very least, he’s regained his role as Milwaukee’s everyday leadoff hitter. There’s value in that. There’s also value in Cain’s career numbers against left-handed pitching. We’re talking about someone with a .308 average and a .361 wOBA in more than 1,100 plate appearances within the split. Cain’s recent success against southpaws doesn’t hurt, either. Going back to the beginning of July, the veteran owns a massive .443 expected wOBA off of LHPs. That’s fantastic.
Other Options: Jason Heyward ($3,800), Dexter Fowler ($3,500)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (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 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.