Scouting The MLB - July 18

Scouting The MLB - July 18

MLB action returns after the All-Star Break and our DFS expert broke down the first slate of the second half

Stackable Menu

  1. Oakland A's hosting RHP Chris Tillman
  2. Chicago White Sox hosting RHP Scott Feldman
  3. Colorado Rockies visiting LHP Francisco Liriano
  4. Chicago Cubs visiting RHP Trevor Cahill
  5. Tampa Rays visiting RHP Kyle Gibson

Longshot stack:St. Louis Cardinals hosting RHP Dan Haren


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Pitchers

Two Studs:

Jeff Samardzija (OAK) vs. BAL: $8600 – Facing RHP Chris Tillman

There are plenty of issues that you could pick out with each of the highest priced pitching options tonight. Tough matchups, consistent struggles, and nagging injuries make several Aces unappealing, but Samardzija is in a great position to post his 3rd straight Quality Start for his new squad. He was lights in his first start at Oakland Coliseum, holding the red-hot Blue Jays to 1 run over 7 IP, and held his own against King Felix in Seattle last week, so a home start against Tillman shouldn’t present nearly as many challenges. The A’s offense should be all over a RHP with the 4th worst xFIP (4.79) in the Majors, while Samardzija, who is holding RHB to a mediocre .270 wOBA this season, should be able to hold the Orioles’ righty-heavy lineup in check. Based on price, he may be the safest option on the board this evening.

Ian Kennedy (SD) vs. NYM: $8600 – Facing RHP Bartolo Colon

Few SP came into the break hotter than Kennedy, as he went 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and held batters to a .244 wOBA in 3 July starts. Normally, facing the lowly Mets in spacious Petco Park would be a huge boost to a pitchers’ value, but that usually inept offense actually leads the N.L. with 60 runs scored this month. While the Mets lineup has a number of dangerous lefties, Kennedy is holding LHB to a .245 wOBA with an 11.62 K/9 ratio at home this season. He’s averaging 30.7 DK PPG over his last two starts, which came at Coors Field and Dodgers Stadium, so it’s not a huge long shot that he performs well against the Mets at home tonight.



Value Pitcher:

Bartolo Colon (NYM) @ SD: $7300 – Facing RHP Ian Kennedy

Kennedy’s adversary is a relatively safe value play as well considering he’s taking on the MLB’s worst offense in an expansive park. Colon has a troublesome 1.27 HR/9 ratio on the road this season, but he rarely pitches in stadiums that are as pitcher-friendly as Petco Park. In 8 home starts, Colon has ratios of 8.12 K/9, 0.78 HR/9, and a solid 2.81 ERA. It’s not coincidence that pitching at Citi Field, the park with the 2nd lowest Run Factor in the MLB, has benefitted the veteran, and Petco has the 5th lowest Run Factor in the Majors. There is some concern about trade rumors swirling around Colon, but if he maintains his focus and avoids serious first-inning struggles that have plagued him, he should be able to post solid totals against the Padres lineup.

Longshot Pitcher:

Trevor Bauer (CLE) @ DET: $6800 – Facing RHP Anibal Sanchez

Clay Buchholz will likely receive more attention for his masterful performance at the end of the first half, which makes Bauer even more of an under-the-radar value play tonight. The young right-hander has started to put it together halfway through his third season, as he’s featuring a superb curveball that allowed him to strike out 10 White Sox batters on Sunday. He’s cut down on his walk rate (from 19.8% last season to 8.6%), and is facing a team that has drawn the 4th fewest walks against RHP in the American League. The Tigers are clearly a dangerous offensive club, but they’ve also scored 3 or fewer runs in 23 of their last 50 games. Bauer has been solid (13.9 DK PPG) in two starts against Detroit, and his peripheral stats (3.89 xFIP) indicate that he’s been a bit unlucky with a .326 BABIP this season. If he can pull out a road win and rack up several Ks in the process, he’ll pay off his minimal price tag tonight.



Batters

Catcher:

John Jaso (OAK) vs. BAL: $3600 – Facing RHP Chris Tillman

He may not be leading off with Coco Crisp given plenty of rest over the break, but Jaso should be batting high in the lineup against Tillman. The A’s platooning catcher is sporting a .367 wOBA against RHP this season, and that number jumps to .420 at home. He’ll face a RHP that has a horiffic 5.11 FIP, and is allowing opposing batters to post a .347 wOBA on the road this season. Jaso went 8 for 17 in his final 6 games before the break, and should be able to continue producing consistently.

Potential Value:

Steven Vogt (OAK) is your safe value play at $3300. He finally failed to deliver DK points in the final game before the break but is still a safe bet to hit value if he’s in the lineup tonight.

Longshot:

It’s not an extreme long shot, but Clay Buchholz could definitely implode against a dangerous Royals lineup, and Salvador Perez should be considered in all formats if you believe Buchholz's gem in Houston was an aberration.



First Base:

Jose Abreu (CWS) @ HOU: $5200 – Facing RHP Scott Feldman

Like most sluggers, Abreu doesn’t often draw consideration in 50/50 and H2H games, but maybe he should. He’s hit safely in 26 of his last 27 games, and is hitting .360 (18-50) so far in July. The Cuban Defector has strong reverse-platoon splits and is facing a beatable SP in Scott Feldman. The Astros RHP has a woeful 6.26 ERA, and is allowing opponents to sport a .360 wOBA over his last 8 starts. He’ll have to pitch at Cellular Field, a hitter-friendly stadium where the White Sox are averaging 4.37 runs per game this season. Abreu is slugging .622 with 11 HR at home through the first half of the season and should be productive in this matchup.

Potential Value:

Matt Adams (STL) is hitting for average and if the rest of the Cardinals batters could pull it together he could have a very productive outing against RHP Dan Haren.

Longshot:

Ryan Howard (PHI) is always a huge gamble, but he’s 3 for 10 with 2 HR off Ervin Santana, who is very vulnerable to LHB. Consider him in GPP formats at $4300.



Second Base:

Arismendy Alcantara (CHC) @ ARI: $3700 – Facing RHP Trevor Cahill

Alcantara was producing like the elite talent that he’s in leading into the break, and has jump-started the Cubs dormant offense along with Chris Coghlan. That club is now a legitimate stacking option, and will face Trevor Cahill, a RHP that hasn’t started since April 13. Cahill was lit up for 19 runs on 25 hits in his first 4 starts of the year, and will attempt to rejoin the Diamondbacks rotation midseason. His control has been a huge issue during his rehab stint in the Minors, and Alcantara has already proven he can make SP pay for their mistakes. The super-prospect is averaging 14.8 DK in his first 6 MLB appearances and remains a solid value option until he (potentially) hits a rookie wall.

Potential Value:

Marco Scutaro ($2800) is a solid punt play at 2B as long as he’s batting high in the order against RHP Nate Eovaldi. The Giants have touched up Eovaldi in his career and Scoots is 3 for 9 against him.

Longshot:

Brian Dozier (MIN) is far from a long shot, but playing him against RHP Alex Cobb for $4500 takes some faith. The Twins 2B was crushing the ball as their leadoff hitter, and is worth consideration as his team hosts a struggling right-hander.



Third Base:

Todd Frazier (CIN) @ NYY: $4400 – Facing RHP David Phelps

Perhaps the Home Run Derby curse will put a damper on Frazier’s hot run, but he was one of the best plays in DFS before the break and starts the second half in a plus matchup at Yankee Stadium. David Phelps has poor reverse-platoon splits, and his home ballpark has the 2nd highest Home Run Factor in the MLB. Frazier has power to all fields, so he could take advantage of the short porch in RF, and he remains a versatile threat that can produce DK points in several ways.

Potential Value:

Playing Brock Holt (BOS) at $3900 is a no-brainer in 50/50 and H2H games. James Shields can be a tough matchup, but Holt has reached base with alarming consistency against the league’s top arms.

Longshot:

Nolan Arenado (COL) ended the first half with a 3-hit performance and may be heating up. The Rockies are an intriguing stack against Liriano and he’s worth consideration at $3800.



Shortstop:

Troy Tulowitzki (COL) @ PIT: $5800 – Facing LHP Francisco Liriano

You usually wouldn’t want to consider Tulo on the road, where he’s been mortal this season, but when he faces a vulnerable LHP in Liriano tonight, he’s worth paying up for. The best SS in the game leads the Majors with a .559 wOBA against LHP, and is 2 for 5 with 4 BB in 9 appearances against the Pirates starter. It’s no Coors Field, but PNC Park has the 8th highest Run Factor in the MLB right now, and Liriano was just shelled in another cramped N.L. ballpark (Cincinnati), so the Rockies offense is worth targeting in the first game of the second half.

Potential Value:

Jhonny Peralta (STL) has been a steal for weeks and there’s no reason to expect him to struggle against Dan Haren. At $3600, I’d consider the Cardinals SS as a suitable value play in all formats.

Longshot:

You never really know what you’ll get from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, especially on the artificial surface of Toronto’s Rogers Centre. That makes Jake Smolinski ($3400) an interesting value play that could be part of a Rangers stack tonight.



Outfielders:

Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) vs. SF: $5300 – Facing LHP Madison Bumgarner

Stanton is your top-tier long shot in the outfield tonight. He’ll face a lefty that has fallen well short of his reputation lately, as Bumgarner is 1-3 with a 7.46 ERA over his last 4 starts. He was tagged for 10 H in each of those last two appearances, and hasn’t been able to get Stanton out in his career. The Marlins slugger is 7 for 11 with 5 doubles off Bumgarner, and has an ISO of .301 against LHP this season, so an XBH hit or two isn’t that far fetched.

Hunter Pence (SF) vs. MIA: $4500 – Facing RHP Nathan Eovaldi

Pence has played his way into the Giants leadoff spot, and if that’s where he’s starting tonight, he’s a very solid option. The RHB is 5 for 10 with 3 doubles, a HR, and 5 RBI in just 10 at bats against Eovaldi, who has a 12.28 ERA in his last 4 starts against the Giants. Despite getting a few extra at bats atop the order, Pence came up short of value in his last 4 games before the break, but I doubt he fails to hit double-digits in this matchup.

Brandon Moss (OAK) vs. BAL: $4400 – Facing RHP Chris Tillman

Moss is once again a near must-play when he faces RHP, and should be part of any A’s stack tonight. We’ve mentioned how Chris Tillman struggles against all comers on the road, but his 5.60 xFIP against LHB away from Balitmore is so awful it’s worth bringing up again. Moss homered in consecutive games before the break, and is slugging .595 this month. He’s a great GPP play in this spot.



Potential Values:

Pair Chris Coghlan (CHC) with Alcantara as long as they're driving the Cubs resurgent offense. At $3900, you can’t find a better floor/ceiling combination.

Kevin Kiermaier ($3600) was heating up into the break and could be leading off for the Rays tonight. They’ll face RHP Kyle Gibson, whose either lights out or horrible, so consider the LHB in most formats.

Tyler Colvin ($3500) is another Giants hitter with solid splits against Eovaldi. He also has the platoon advantage, and LHB are hitting .302 off the Marlins starter.


I will answer any lineup questions on Twitter: @nweitzer7

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