MLB Around the Horn: August 4 DFS Plays with Pitcherlist

Must Play SP: Jose Berrios, MIN ($21,300) vs. KC

Toronto has been playing too well of late and doesn’t have a glaringly weak enough track record to recommend The Big Maple for tonight’s slate. The most recent news on Mike Trout is that he will take the field for the Angels for tonight; if he’s ruled out, Corey Kluber has a much more appealing matchup that would give him the edge as the “Must Play.” As for Berrios, he seemed to be alternating good/bad starts for the entire month of July. His most recent bad start came against Boston, so I put less stock into that when weighing how he’ll do against a team whose best hitter is Whit Merrifield. In both of his recent rough outings, Berrios’s FIP has been 3.50 or lower, suggesting that it’s more bad luck than skill decline as the cause.
Honorable Mention: Zack Wheeler ($16,400)

Value SP: Jose Urena, MIA ($12,600) @ PHI

If you can believe it, the Phillies offense is ranked lower than the Mets by wRC+ in the last week. It’s not even like the Mets have been good lately (74 wRC+); the Phillies have just been worse. You can look at Urena’s game log and point out that two of his three most recent starts have been duds where he’s allowed five earned runs in less than five innings pitched, but the explanation for that is in the batted ball profile. Over the course of the season, Urena has induced 52% of his balls in play as ground balls. In his start against Atlanta where he allowed five earned runs, only 28% of balls in play were ground balls. He was able to get back to his norm last game, and the Phillies have been struggling offensively because of weak contact. Weak contact + ground balls = outs.
Honorable Mention: Burch Smith ($9,100)

IF: Rougned Odor, TEX ($9,600) vs. BAL (Dylan Bundy)

Apparently Odor walks now? Someone with as much power as Odor increasing his plate discipline only bodes well, as the results over the last week have shown. His soft contact percentage is at zero this week, and since he’s pulling the ball a lot the power is manifesting as home runs. Bundy looked solid the last time he took the mound, but he’s also leading qualified starters in HR/9.
Honorable Mention: Daniel Murphy ($8,000)

OF: Christian Yelich, MIL ($10,400) vs. COL (Tyler Anderson)

It’s been a week since I last recommended Yelich, but he still leads all batters in wOBA since the All-Star break, although he’s “slumped” a bit over the last week with his .507. I saw the lefty/lefty matchup and almost shied away, but when I looked into season splits I discovered that Yelich has a higher wOBA against lefties than he does against righties this year (sample size of 121 plate appearances, so relatively stable). I also don’t buy Tyler Anderson’s production of late, as his ERA is nearly 2 full runs better than his xFIP in July. Typically, pitchers with Coors as their home ballpark have the opposite. I know they won’t be playing this game in Coors, but negative regression should hit Anderson, and Yelich will take full advantage if it does.
Honorable Mentions: Charlie Blackmon ($9,500), Yasiel Puig ($9,000)

Value Hitter: Russell Martin, TOR ($5,800) @ SEA (James Paxton)

Yes, I do know he’s facing Paxton. Yes, I know he’s had two off days in the past week. Yes, he has been that good in his last 20 plate appearances where I’d still recommend him despite that. Four walks to three strikeouts, five extra base hits to three singles, and 38.5% hard contact to 7.7% soft contact. When paired with Toronto’s lineup, which has been 20% better than league average this week, I think there’s opportunity to extract a lot of value with Martin. Just make sure he’s in the starting lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Austin Jackson ($6,700), Mike Zunino ($6,600)

Stack: Washington Nationals @ Cincinnati Reds (Matt Harvey)

The teams that have been performing well and have favorable matchups are priced really high tonight. Arizona has been the fourth best team by wRC+ this week, and guys like Jon Jay and Nick Ahmed who are usually in the $7,000 range are priced at $8,100+. Usual cheap studs for the Rangers are also in the $8,000+ price range. The Nationals prices, however, are lower than I expected. Maybe it’s because this will be their second game of the day, but Matt Harvey isn’t an unfavorable matchup for anybody except Bryce Harper. I trust Rendon and Murphy a lot more than I trust most players in the under $8,500, and guys like Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds have hit really well and have modest price tags. Keep an eye on the first game of the double-header and possible lineup change announcements because of it.
Honorable Mention:  Baltimore Orioles @ Texas Rangers

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