Today brings us an eight-game slate with unspectacular run totals. Interestingly, Vegas has the Red Sox scoring almost a run less than their runs/game. The Indians have the highest implied total whereas the Padres sit at 3.27. As for pitching, we have a few high priced hurlers and some decent mid-range pitchers that we could use. I like the Indians a lot and the Giants offer some nice value tonight. Let’s look at today’s picks.
Carlos Carrasco ($9,700)
Carrasco has been frustrating to roster this year, but he gets a good matchup against the White Sox. So far, Carrasco’s ability to earn fantasy points really depends on the number of strikeouts. The White Sox strikeout at around 24% since the start of last year. Jose Abreu doesn’t have a good history against him (0-10 last year) and the rest of the lineup doesn’t have daunting numbers against him. Moncada and Anderson worry me a little, but I would still roll with Carrasco. It’s hard to envision him not getting a win when Giolito is pitching on the other side.
Joe Musgrove ($7,500)
I’m going to go with the Musgrove hype. I figured he would have a breakout season with the Astros some year, and now, at least so far, it looks like it’s going to happen with the Pirates. The Diamondbacks (namely Goldschmidt), have been on fire, but they just returned from playing at Coors. Yes, Goldschmidt has decimated baseballs lately, but let me notify you that his last six games have been away, at AT&T Park (kills the Giants) and Coors. At home, he has an average of .160. The Dbacks lineup has a .691 OPS at home and strike out the seventh most at home. He’s not the safest pick, but I’m willing to gamble on Musgrove
Jose Quintana, Jack Flaherty
Edwin Encarnacion ($4,100)
Assuming he plays, Encarnacion would be a great bet to destroy a baseball. He prefers right-handed pitching and is stepping to the plate with a 1.2 OPS and six home runs in his last fourteen games. Giolito doesn’t have the highest hard contact rating, but he hurts himself badly with so many walks. With protection behind him, Encarnacion is probably going to see some pitches to drive. You also have that average bullpen to look forward to. If he can’t go, I would look for Jose Martinez, Mitch Moreland, or even Yonder Alonso.
Buster Posey ($2,900)
As a big Giants fan, I get irritated with Posey’s lack of power these days. Sure he’ll always hit for average, but his ISO has been diminishing for the last few years. For you non-Giants fans, just look at how he is hitting second these days. Despite this, I think he is a good play today. He has crushed lefties in the past, and the only reason he hasn’t this year is because he’s seen southpaws like Kershaw and Corbin more times than he’d like. Wei-Yen Chen has been pretty bad and serves up a .340 xwOBA to righties. Posey has a safe floor tonight with the possibility of getting some extra-base hits.
Jose Martinez, Kendrys Morales
Starlin Castro ($3,200)
Castro has been hitting with a .900 OPS in the last seven games and squares up against Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner is obviously a good pitcher, but he’s still working his way back from a lengthy DL stint and, quite frankly, isn’t the same guy that he was a few years ago in my opinion. He struck nine I believe in one of his two rehab starts and then came up and only had three Ks against the free-swinging Dbacks. I will believe differently when I see it. Castro has owned Bum with a fourteen for thirty (.467) clip and is hitting leadoff.
Ben Zobrist ($3,000)
There’s a lot of value at second base tonight, but I don’t see any great spots for any of them. If you need to save salary, though, look at this position. Zobrist is in the midst of a slump and hasn’t fared well against Junior Guerra. Guerra is having a good year, but he still walks batters at a decent rate. Zobrist is likely hitting in front of Anthony Rizzo and will see pitches to hit. But if he doesn’t he will likely walk in this game. Zobrist has always had a good eye and he is working with a .376 OBP this year. Guerra is also allowing a .349 xwOBA to lefties.
Ian Kinsler, Jace Peterson
Rafael Devers ($2,900)
I don’t think I’ve ever rostered Devers, but tonight could be the night for it. If you’re unable to snag Jose Ramirez, Devers could produce at a way cheaper price. Bundy has been very good over the course of the season, but we’ve seen him get hit hard too. He is also giving up a .387 xwOBA to lefties. Devers has actually been hitting as of late, shown by his .300 average in his last seven games. He’s not a flashy play, but he is still in the Red Sox lineup and has good splits and a decent history against Bundy.
Evan Longoria ($2,600)
Longoria has been in a little funk, but he is hitting in the heart of the order against a pitcher who is simply just bad this year. Chen’s FIP is actually higher than his 5.86 ERA. Even with his recent struggles, Longo is too cheap in a great spot. Chen throws his 90 MPH fastball over half the time and opponents are hitting a .339 wOBA against it. Longoria is hitting a .398 wOBA against fastballs of that velocity. Maybe returning to Florida may play a part in tonight as well.
Kris Bryant, Luis Valbuena
Francisco Lindor ($4,400)
I’m going to declare that Lindor is probably my favorite play of the night. Some might turn him away due to a relative slump at the plate. I look at Giolito’s .430 xwOBA against lefties (!), his fastball which hitters have torched, and Cleveland’s run total, the highest on the slate as reasons to pay for Lindor.
Brandon Crawford ($3,100)
If you can’t spend up to at least Segura at shortstop, there’s not much there to roster tonight. Brock Holt could end up being a decent play, but I’m going to recommend Crawford tonight. I don’t think I need to elaborate on his hitting…. Ok he homered against Scherzer in DC, wowza!! But Crawford is going to be low-owned tonight since he is batting against a lefty. He somehow has a higher OPS against lefties so far this year. Chen has been good against lefties in the last couple of years, but these are not big sample sizes. Chen has gone an average of four and a third innings in his last six starts, opening the golden bullpen door of Miami relievers. I like Crawford a bunch tonight.
Jean Segura, Brock Holt
Michael Brantley ($4,300)
It makes my heart happy to see Brantley upping pitchers’ ERA again. He is such a great player and the Indians really have been needing him healthy the last couple seasons. Sadly, he is quite expensive these days, but if you can afford him, he’s batting against the aforementioned Lucas Giolito, who allows a .430 xwOBA against lefties. Brantley has a .443 wOBA against fastballs of Giolito’s velocity.
Andrew McCutchen ($3,000)
Cutch is way too cheap tonight. The man is hitting a 1.1 OPS in his last seven games, and I believe it was Strasburg he hit a home run against? The point is that he’s pretty dialed in right now. Against lefties, he has a .407 wOBA and .292 ISO. He’ll be in the middle of the order against Chen. He’s a great value play to save some money to use elsewhere.
Randal Grichuk ($2,500)
He’s gonna be chalky, but Grichuk has some advantages tonight. He admittedly hasn’t done great against lefties, but he is hot as can be right now and is facing Ryan Yarbrough, who is giving up a .333 xwOBA to righties. His favorite pitch, a sinker, is getting hit hard and Grichuk has the highest hard contact percentage against it in the lineup at 39.3%.
Andrew Benintendi, Tommy Pham, Jason Heyward