MLB Around the Horn: July 15 DFS Plays with Pitcherlist

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Cleveland gets to enjoy a Bauer Surge in their final game before the All-Star break.

Early Slate (1:05 PM ET)

Must Play SP: Trevor Bauer, CLE ($23,400) vs. NYY

Before you discredit anything I say from here on out because I called a pitcher going against the Yankees a must play, hear me out. Bauer’s QS % this year is 78.95%, and he’s recorded 10+ Ks in two of the four outings that were not QS. Since June, Bauer has a 1.89 ERA, 12.9 K/9, and a pristine 1.00 WHIP. His K% is second only to Chris Sale since the beginning of June, and fifth best on the season. Look at the GIFs of his slider, which has a whopping 11.3 pVAL this year, and you’ll be convinced I’m not so crazy after all.
Honorable Mention: Justin Verlander ($26,400)

Value SP: Enyel De Los Santos, PHI ($8,000) @ MIA

Looking at a recent Fangraphs chart that showed the top 75 pitchers prospect projections based solely on statistics, Enyel ranked #16 on that list, right behind Jamie Barria and the highly touted Michael Kopech. His fastball was working really well in his MLB debut, and although his secondaries were a bit shaky, he mixed his arsenal well for a QS in his first game. It was against the Mets, so may need to be taken with a grain of salt, but he’s facing the Marlins, so maybe hold off on the salt grain for another week.
Honorable Mention: Lucas Giolito ($9,000)

IF: Justin Smoak, TOR ($9,500) @ BOS (Brian Johnson)

Johnson only has three starts on the year, and none have gone past the fifth inning. His numbers are pretty average as well, so if he’s grinding early in the game it will bode well for Toronto. Smoak has four homers and three doubles this week, making 70% of his hits for 2+ bases. Prior to last night’s game, he’d gotten at least one hit per game since Independence Day.
Honorable Mentions: Jesus Aguilar ($9,700), Daniel Murphy ($7,400)

OF: Mookie Betts, BOS ($8,300) vs. TOR (Marcus Stroman)

Mookie provides the highest floor of all hitters in this slate, averaging a full point more per game than #2 Jose Ramirez. It sounds ridiculous to say that Mookie’s been on a tear lately, because his whole season has essentially been a tear. He’s batting .552 this week with 7 extra base hits, and the crowd at Fenway really seems to be rallying behind him. The only concern here is that Betts has struggled against Stroman during his career (.577 career OPS), but the sample size is only 26 at bats.
Honorable Mention: Juan Soto ($8,200)

Value Hitter: Marcell Ozuna, STL ($6,300) vs. CIN (Anthony DeSclafani)

Scrolling through player prices can be really weird sometimes. For example, David Wright, who hasn’t played a game in the majors since 2016, is $5,800, which is more than Trey Mancini will cost you. More surprising than that is finding Marcell Ozuna in the low $6,000’s. His average exit velocity has fallen from June, but it’s still sitting above 90 mph. Someone who hits the ball that hard consistently is worth taking a gamble on every time, especially when it costs this little.
Honorable Mention: Colin Moran ($6,600)

Stack: Colorado Rockies vs. Seattle Mariners (Mike Leake)

The Rockies are leading baseball in R, HR, AVG, and OPS over the last five days. Of course, there’s a Coors premium you’re gonna pay for them, but if they’re producing on the whole at 50% better than league average, isn’t it worth it? Leake allowed 12 hits in his last outing, and if he hasn’t plugged up the holes in his game, the runs will pour in for Colorado.
Honorable Mention:  Minnesota Twins vs. Tampa Bay Rays

 

Late Slate (4:05 PM ET)

 SP: Jon Lester, CHC ($17,800) @ SD

Five of six pitchers in this slate are lefties, so team performance against LHP is crucial in the evaluation for this slate. Here’s how each team ranks:
10th: Cubs
18th: A’s
21st: Giants
23rd: Padres
24th: Angels
I’m out on Eric Lauer, but anyone remaining would be a pretty viable play. Given his knack for run suppression this season (one game of 4 ER since June), I like Jon Lester most out of the bunch. Kershaw’s upside is limited if they’re still monitoring his pitch count like they were the first few starts back, but even still he’s a great play as well because, well, he’s Clayton Kershaw. I prefer Lester because of the $7,000 price gap.
Honorable Mention: Clayton Kershaw ($24,900)

IF: Kris Bryant, CHC ($10,500) @ SDP (Eric Lauer)

I know he’s only three games removed from a DL stint for a shoulder issue, but Kris Bryant is the best hitter in this entire slate against LHP. He mashes them (.796 SLG), and his recent trips to the plate have resulted in some extra base hits, so it appears the shoulder isn’t affecting his power. He’s playing in a pitcher friendly park, but there’s too much success this year to not take him.
Villaneuva is a virtual must play as well, as he has 12 home runs in 88 AB against lefties this year.
Honorable Mention: Christian Villanueva ($8,100)

OF: Wil Myers, SD ($9,900) vs. CHC (Jon Lester)

Myers had a prolific power surge last weekend against Arizona, and continued his power hitting through the series against the Dodgers (6 home runs in 4 games). Of the 6 home runs he’s hit, 5 of them were against lefties. On the season, he has a 1.103 OPS against LHP, which is elite, yet it’s lower than the 1.526 OPS he’s posted over the last week. Only Bryant and Trout have better OPS against lefties this season, so this is a no-brainer.
Honorable Mention: Mike Trout ($11,300)

Value Hitter: Manuel Margot, SD ($6,300) vs. CHC (Jon Lester)

With only three games in this slate, the pickings get slim real fast. I almost said the most valuable hitter was “Not Starting Kershaw,” ANY (-$7,100) because that extra money is the most likely to take you furthest. Figured that was a cop out though, so onto Margot. He’s been a below average hitter for his career, but against lefties, he has an OPS of .750. That’s not particularly attractive, but paired with his speed, he could steal a couple extra base hits and bags against the bounce passer Lester.
Honorable Mention
: Ian Kinsler ($6,400)

Stack: Chicago Cubs @ San Diego Padres (Eric Lauer)

They’ve scored 16 runs in the two games so far against San Diego, and are the best offense against LHP in this slate by a solid margin. The Cubs don’t come cheap, but if you can get at least the pair of Bryant and Baez into your lineup, you should be primed for a victory. May the odds be in your favor.
Honorable Mention: Oakland Athletics @ San Francisco Giants

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