For the first day back in action after the All-Star break, every team in baseball is active. In fact two of them are active twice. If you find yourself drafting for an an All-Day contest, and you want to play with any White Sox or Royals, make sure you pay attention to which game you are choosing. And even without the day game, there are still plenty of options left to sift through for the evening contests. Here are a few players to consider in an effort to help you narrow it down, at every position and price range. Good luck!
Jose Fernandez @ PHI ($10,200) – It was a quick rise to the top for a guy who will be working on his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery, but the numbers speak for themselves: 13 innings, 13 hits, 15 K’s and zero walks. Both of his first two starts were at home, but this is about as good a way to ease into those road starts as any.
Sonny Gray vs. MIN ($9,600) – I don’t normally love to just suggest the two most expensive guys on the list, but I am doing it here with a purpose: these two guys are clearly the best options available in these contests, and aren’t even priced out of reach. Forget about ownership percentages, at least one of these guys should be in your lineup or you will be more likely than not be starting from behind.
Trevor Bauer @ CIN ($8,500) – He has gone more than six innings in each of his last three starts, averaging just about six strikeouts per game over that stretch. And while Cincinnati can hit, they also like to strike out, so the fantasy value could be there even if he gives up a few runs. And with Leake on the mound opposite, you like he chances of getting at least some run support.
Kyle Hendricks @ ATL ($7,600) – The Braves have the second highest strikeout percentage against righties in the majors (22.7%, behind only the Astros). Oh yeah, and then there is the 20-inning scoreless streak Hendricks is working on. That’s fun, huh? Those 20 innings span his last three starts, in which he has gone at least six innings and averaged just about 23 fantasy points per outing.
Buster Posey @ Ray ($4,100) – He hit .314 and slugged .498 in 303 at-bats before the All-Star break. Those numbers are more than solid enough for you to use him at 1B – but why would you?
John Jaso @ Hutchison ($3,900) – The way he has been hitting, you really just wish there was more of a sample size, so you could trust it completely. But be careful what you wish for, because if you could completely trust .417/.594/.625, he’d probably cost about two grand more than he does right now.
Salvador Perez @ Danks ($3,900) – He is likely only going to play in one game today, so make sure to check the lineup before you make this call. I would expect him to go in this game against Danks, though, since he does have two home runs off him already in his career (in 19 at-bats).
Francisco Cervelli @ Fiers ($3,300) – He’s 1-for-2 lifetime against Fiers, with a double and a strikeout, but it is probably a bad idea to extrapolate anything from two at-bats. So instead be encouraged by the .294 average he’s maintained through 235 at-bats this season – more consistency than you usually find at this price.
Anthony Rizzo @ Teheran ($4,800) – He only has two hits in twelve at-bats against Teheran, but those two went for a double and a home run. That’s been the story of his whole season so far – all the production you want as a fantasy owner can come almost unexpectedly, in a single at-bat.
Victor Martinzez vs. Jiminez ($4,500) – He is 8-for-24 (.333) against Jimenez for his career, with a double and three home runs. So clearly the potential is there, and when you consider the tear he was on lading up to the break, your only fear is that a few days off cooled him down some.
Michael Cuddyer @ Lynn ($3,700) – He had five hits in three games leading up to the break, which was encouraging because he was finally starting to look like the stellar fantasy option he was pre-injury again. Let’s hope he keeps it up heading into the second half.
James Loney @ Hutchison ($3,500) – Loney has been getting regular at-bats at cleanup when the Rays are facing right-handed starters, which is more opportunity for fantasy production than you usually get for $3,500.
Jose Altuve vs. Perez ($4,400) – A useful fantasy option more often than not, he sees all of his numbers spike up when he is facing a lefty (all of a sudden he slugs more than .450), so tonight is as good a time to trust him as any.
Jason Kipnis @ Leake ($4,200) – Anytime you can grab Kipnis and feel like you’re getting a value, you probably should, and then just forget about it. You could take a minute and say thank you to DraftKings for putting a half-dozen guys in front of him in terms of prices – makes it feel almost like stealing.
Rougned Odor @ McHugh ($3,700) – Heading into the break, he had hit safely in 11 of 13 games (19 hits over that span), but even in one of the two where he didn’t record at least one hit, he walked and scored a run. That’s the benefit of not only getting a consistent player, but one in a consistent spot, in a consistent lineup. Hitting leadoff for the Rangers qualifies.
Justin Turner @ Zimmerman ($3,400) – If you don’t want to trust his first half numbers (.308/.377/.538), then trust his numbers against Zimmerman: 4-for-6 with a double and a home run. For $3,400, I would be happy just looking at either of those sets of numbers and going with it.
Nolan Arenado @ Shields ($4,600) – Maybe the biggest no-brainer of the day, Arenado tore up the first half of the season, slashing .293/.329/.598, but that’s nothing compared to what he’s done to Shields in his career: 7-for-11 with a double and three home runs. Worst case scenario here is what, three walks?
Xander Bogaerts @ Wilson ($4,000) – Bogaerts hasn’t had any success against Wilson in the past, but he wasn’t hitting as well as he has been lately back then either. But for a player whose average and slugging both jump by almost 20 against lefties, there is at least a chance he breaks through with a big contribution in this one.
Nick Castellanos vs. Jiminez ($3,700) – Someone has to step up to replace Cabrera’s production, and based on recent results, there are no better candidates than Castellanos and Martinez. At least nine fantasy points in six of his last nine games.
Jonathan Schoop @ Sanchez ($3,200) – Sanchez isn’t the greatest matchup, but this is a reminder to, well, remember this guy. You probably have at least a little while left with his price reduced based on the fact that he’s just returning from injury, but if he produces at all like he did before he went down, this cost is going up in a hurry.
Hanley Ramirez @ Wilson ($4,900) – The hope is that he didn’t cool over over the break, because he was finally starting to get back into the groove over the past 2-3 weeks. One of the few Red Sox with a history of success against Wilson (3-for-9 lifetime, 1 HR), you hope there are guys on base around him at least occasionally, but if not, his upside could be limited.
Carlos Correa vs. Perez ($4,100) – Just making sure you didn’t forget. While you were watching the All-Star game, the actual best short stop in the AL may very well have been resting up, ready to take on the second half with a vengeance.
Erick Aybar vs. Miley ($3,500) – In three games against Boston this year, Aybar has scored 44 fantasy points, going 4-for-12 with five runs scored, a couple of RBI, a steal and home run and a double. Of course, many hitters could probably say the same about this years’ Red Sox, but that doesn’t make it less true.
Yunel Escobar vs. Bolsinger ($3,200) – Sometimes when a hitter has never faced a pitcher before, I feel like that favors the pitcher and I shy away. But with the way Bolsinger has been pitching lately, I feel like it is just a fresh new opportunity for Escobar to boost his season long averages.
Bryce Harper vs. Bolsinger ($5,400) – The best player in the first half of the season is hoping this post-All Star break run is nothing but Act II. After hitting .329/.464/.704 for the first half, it’s unreasonable to expect improvement – but for a guy sitting .001 behind the leader in batting average, one home run behind the leader in that category, and only nine out in RBI (good for 4th in the NL), improvement is required.
Jacoby Elsbury vs. Montgomery ($4,800) – The break was really perfectly timed for Ellsbury. He came back, got a few games under his belt, and then got to sit back down and see where his knee was in terms of recovery. Assuming that went well, he can now hit the ground running in the second half. And for whatever it is worth, in those “few games under his belt,” he had six hits in 22 at-bats (.272).
Carlos Gonzalez @ Shields ($4,500) – Another Rockie with a great history against Shields, based on history, you’d think Gonzalez and Arenado would be enough to win this one by themselves. Gonzaelez’ numbers: 6-for-14 (.429), a double and two home runs.
Alex Rios @ Danks ($3,900) – I feel like I have done a disservice by not including enough Royals from the night game on this list. Sorry Mr. Danks, but let me rectify that situation. Rios had six hits in the four games leading up to the break, and will be looking to pick up right where he left off.
Jason Heyward vs. Syndergaard ($3,800) – This was one of those weird games where I love what the pitcher has been doing lately, but it’s obviously a great matchup. I end up not recommending the pitcher OR any of the hitters he is facing. But Heyward has been much more consistent at home this season, where his OBP is .075 points higher than on the road, so if the Cardinals are going to do anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was involved.
Josh Hamilton @ McHugh ($3,600) – Another guy who was able to come off the DL, get his feet wet, and then rest up for a bit in preparation for the long conclusion to the season, he should be healthy and refreshed for the second half (knock on wood). He is a player who’s value in retrospect could be obvious when you go to select him a week from now and he costs $4,200.