DraftKings MLB Value Plays: Monday (7/17)
Welcome! It’s good to be back after both Independence Day and the All-Star break took me away for a short hiatus. We have a dozen games on the main slate featuring a game in Denver. As usual, we’ll uncover some value plays, including a couple hurlers whose names sound like country singers just to help you squeeze in some of those pricey Coors Field bats and even Lance McCullers ($11,500) if you’re so inclined. There are a lot of hitting options on this slate. I hope you’re feeling refreshed because we’re about to do some work. Let’s go!
Chad Kuhl (PIT): $5,600 vs MIL
Kuhl (-124) doesn’t possess a ton of strikeout upside and struggles versus left-handed bats, but he could have some smooth sailing ahead if Milwaukee trots out another lineup similar to yesterday’s version. Only Travis Shaw and Eric Thames pose a threat from the left side of the plate, and that’s not enough to scare me off Kuhl who is significantly better versus righties. If Thames sits again, another lineup full of RH hitters could be a recipe for a sneaky good performance. He’s the definition of a GPP play against a Brewers team who does like to swing and miss a lot, but steer clear in cash.
Josh Tomlin (CLE): $8,000 @ SF
Tomlin (-124) gets the putrid Giants offense in AT&T Park. Both he and Kuhl are pitching in extreme pitcher’s parks tonight, but San Francisco is either ranked last or next-to-last in team wOBA, ISO, and wRC+ against RH pitching. They’re just so bad and Tomlin doesn’t issue free passes which is about the only thing the Giants do somewhat well. Recommending a player at his peak salary feels weird, however, as strange as it may seem, the xFIP is over a run and a half lower than his ERA with a BABIP that suggests he’s been unlucky. Expect an efficient outing from Tomlin with maybe a solo shot (or two) given up as that’s still his thing, but ultimately he should pay off his season-high salary.
Yadier Molina (STL): $2,700 @ NYM
Did you see Yadi’s gold-plated body armor at the All-Star game? Did you see him walk in with the full suit with his armor-clad entourage? It was awesome. He smashed a homer at the midsummer classic and went deep yesterday as well. The youngest Molina brother has slowly become the best of them all. Now he’s slimmed down and can steal bases too, so naturally, DraftKings would have him priced at…$2,700?! Not sure what’s going on here as the DK algorithm thinks he’s going up against Thor or Tom Seaver, but I’m taking advantage of the cheap price tag.
- Stephen Vogt (MIL): $3,300 @ PIT (remember, Kuhl struggles against lefties)
Miguel Cabrera (DET): $3,500 @ KC
Wow! I never thought we’d get here. Similar to Manny Machado, Miggy has seen some strange luck this season. Mostly, he’s crushing absolute missiles right at outfielders. I’m all too familiar as a Tigers fan, yet when I see him play, he’s still scorching the ball. His 49.1% hard contact rate is a career high, and the 6.9% soft contact is second only to his amazing Triple Crown season. A staggering 1.4% IFFB rate is absurd, meaning almost every ball is making it to the outfield in a hurry. He continues to spray the ball to all fields as well which is the most mind-boggling part. Similar to Machado, those factors are about to correct. Play him at this price because while you can before DK does their own correction, similar to Manny.
- Matt Holiday (NYY): $3,800 @ MIN
Carlos Asuaje (SD): $3,100 @ COL
Not going to lie, I don’t know much about this kid other than he’s had roughly 90 plate appearances at the big league level with two-thirds of those coming this season. He’s hitting .300 this year so far, and he’s been batting second. This game will be played at the mother of all hitter’s parks, so that helps even the horrible Padres offense. Regardless of altitude’s affect on Asuaje’s game, he profiles as a dude with decent speed and that always helps at Coors. Rather than pretending I’m smart, I’ll now persuade you to also consider Whit Merrifield who is leading off against a gas can in Jordan Zimmermann…it’s seriously a really good idea.
- Whit Merrifield (KC): $3,600 vs DET
Josh Donaldson (TOR): $3,900 @ BOS
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. First Manny, then Miggy, and now J-Don. This is nuts! I never thought these guys would ever appear as value plays, but here we are. While we may have seen the best of Donaldson, he’s still a lefty-masher. Like Cabrera, the ISO is down markedly versus southpaws and he too has a massive 48% hard contact against lefties this season. The main issue has been so many hard-hit ground balls compared to his last few seasons of MVP-caliber baseball. While he’s far off that level of production, he’s still a prime candidate for a couple doubles off the green monster tonight versus Eduardo Rodriguez. If you don’t have the salary to pay up at the hot corner, he’s a decent option.
- David Freese (PIT): $2,900 vs MIL
Jordy Mercer/Max Moroff (PIT): $3,600/$2,300 vs MIL
Mercer has punished LHP over his career, but he’s surprisingly had reverse splits this season. I’m not sure who will start for the Pirates tonight, but if it’s Mercer, the $3,600 is a fair price if he hits high in the order. However, the starting SS for the Bucs will most likely be down near the bottom of the lineup, making Moroff’s price tag considerably more playable if you need some salary relief. If you want to stack Coors, you may need to punt at SS, and Moroff makes that possible. What? Were you really going to play Trevor Story or Erick Aybar in your Coors stacks? Well, don’t let me stop you.
- Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM): $3,500 vs STL
Jabari Blash (SD): $3,200 @ COL
You’ll get eight outfielders in today’s edition because I’m so excited baseball is back and feeling a little generous. Blash is a free-swinger who is no stranger to the punchout. Similar to Asuaje, he’s been recently called up. While the Padres lineup will undoubtedly be awful, he has some serious pop and we all know what that can mean in Coors. There is a decent chance he goes 0-4, but if he makes contact, he could absolutely run into one. You could do worse than Blash at this price at altitude, plus his name rhymes with bash, smash and splash (insert rhyming home run call here).
Jorge Bonifacio/Lorenzo Cain (KC): $3,700 vs DET
Both Bonifacio and Cain make great plays today. In fact, I can get behind playing pretty much any Royals hitters today going up against the highly flammable Jordan Zimmermann who owns an ERA, SIERA, and xFIP all above 5. The KC total has come down a bit but still sits at 5.2 implied runs. I already mentioned Merrifield above, and in case you don’t like playing so much righty-on-righty action, consider lefty-abuser Cain is quietly having his best season versus RHP to date. Bonifacio has been solid all year and carries a modest seven-game hit streak going into play today. Royals stack?
Adam Jones/Trey Mancini (BAL): $3,900 vs TEX
If I had to pick between the two, I’d lean Jones simply based on his likelihood to leadoff against Andrew Cashner. The O’s have a ton of guys who hit RHP well and Cashner is beyond due for some hard regression. At first glance, his ERA looks attractive at 3.54, but let’s transpose the first two digits in that figure and you’re now looking at his xFIP. Yes, 5.34…nearly two runs higher than the ERA. It’s supposed to be 90 degrees in Baltimore and this game has a 10.5 run total. I wouldn’t be surprised if it bumps up to 11. I like this spot for nearly all the Orioles bats at home against Cashner.
- Carlos Gonzalez (COL): $3,000 vs SD
- Matt Joyce (OAK): $3,100 vs TB
- Jose Bautista (TOR): $3,700 @ BOS
Josh Dalley is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, follow him @JoshDalley72