FanDuel/DraftKings – Main slate (15 games) – starts 7:05 PM EDT
We emphasize the impact of Coors Field quite a bit when it comes to fantasy baseball. There’s certainly merit to that conversation, but there are limits as well. Don’t shy away from Clayton Kershaw just because he’s pitching in Denver tonight.
While Kershaw relies heavily on breaking pitches (which typically fair worse in the thin air), the veteran is about as smart and reliable as they come. He’s on a tear in June with a 1.33 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and a 28:7 K:BB ratio.
There are some top arms I would have some concerns about though.
Joe Ryan has shown signs of wear as we hit the dog days of summer. He gave up six earned runs against the Tigers back on June 16 before rebounding nicely with a complete game shutout vs. the Red Sox last week. None of it makes much sense. What we do know, however, is that he takes on the Braves tonight. That’s a matchup I’m avoiding.
Likewise, I’m fading Reds rookie Andrew Abbott at Baltimore. Abbott has a 1.14 ERA through the first four starts of his major league career and a shutout in three of them. I don’t trust it and neither should you. He has a 4.83 xFIP and the high exit velocities he’s allowed finally caught up with him last start when he gave up three home runs.
Yu Darvish, Tyler Wells, and Sandy Alcantara also top my “Do Not Start” list despite their varying levels of success and name recognition. There’s just not enough trust there with so many other pitchers to choose from tonight.
But enough about who we don’t like. Who stands out?
There are the obvious choices that force the daily debate of price vs. opportunity. If you’re willing to commit a good portion of your salary to an ace, then pick up Shohei Ohtani (vs. CWS), Kevin Gausman (vs. SF), Framber Valdez (at STL), or Zac Gallen (vs. TB).
If that’s not your game, there are other strong – but less sexy – options.
Taj Bradley was impressive his last time out and seems to be settling in the longer the Rays let him cook. He posted the first quality start of his major league career last week (because he often doesn’t pitch deep enough into games to get there), allowing just one earned run on three hits and no walks while striking out eight. He has a filthy arsenal, including a high-90s fastball and a devastating changeup that’s generating a 32.7% CSW.
Speaking of rookies, Bryce Elder continues to roll for Atlanta and has regained his spot atop the National League ERA leaderboard. I really like the way Elder mixes his pitches. He doesn’t rely too heavily on any one pitch and has a nice slider and four-seamer. Minnesota is not a good road team and has struggled to score runs lately.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Julio Teheran who spent most of the 2022 season in the Mexican League. The Brewers picked him up at the end of May and he’s been great with a 1.53 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and a 23:8 K:BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings. There’s a lack of strikeout upside, but he has displayed strong control and an ability to generate weak contact.
Ranger Suárez also stands out with five straight quality starts and a 29:9 K:BB ratio. The Cubs worry me a little with an 11-3 record over the past two weeks, but Suarez has shined against the Braves and Dodgers in recently, so perhaps I’m just hedging a little too much.
I already went through some of my concerns about Abbott which means there must be some Orioles worth playing against the lefty. Anthony Santander screams value. He has a .930 OPS vs. southpaws and is tearing through just about every pitcher he sees right now with five home runs in his past seven games.
The red-hot Reds are going to be a problem for Wells. Elly De La Cruz is a ton of fun to watch and continues to showcase incredible talent (he hit for the cycle last Friday!). Avoid him against lefties, but he has a 1.167 OPS against righties.
There’s also no brakes on the Jake Fraley train as he continues to mash. He has three homers in the past four games and is hitting .349/.429/.791 with six homers, 12 RBI, and 13 runs through 13 games in June.
Concerns about Alcantara also make the Red Sox a strong stack. Triston Casas has a .958 OPS over the past 14 days and has hit safely in eight of his past 10 games. I’d still sit him against lefties, but we don’t need to worry about that today. Justin Turner has cooled off a bit from his recent torrid pace, but overall in June he’s slashing .315/.371/.551 with five home runs.
The Mets recalled David Peterson from Triple-A Syracuse which is a curious decision. Peterson has an 8.08 ERA in the majors this season and 4.86 in Syracuse. This is Joey Wiemer territory. The rookie is almost automatic vs. lefties with a .973 OPS and he’s as cheap as they come. It’s also a good spot for William Contreras.
What happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object? Something has to give in Pittsburgh where the scuffling Pirates will face the struggling Yu Darvish. If the Pirates do muster an offense tonight, I expect to see those fireworks coming from Jack Suwinski. He has a powerful bat with 15 home runs on the season and a .916 OPS vs righties. Fair warning: he’s hitless in his past 29 at-bats.
Thankfully for Darvish, the Padres come into the matchup with much more gusto. Overall, Rich Hill has pitched better than Darvish this season (never thought I’d say that), but not by much. Ha-Seong Kim has an .828 OPS vs. lefties and has absolutely thrived since being moved to leadoff. He has three home runs, five RBI, and five runs scored in the past four games. Fernando Tatis Jr. is expensive but worth every penny against southpaws. Manny Machado is 4-for-9 with two home runs vs. Hill in his career.
Matt Manning is coming off the IL for the Tigers and couldn’t have picked a worse spot to make his return. The Rangers were stymied by Detroit last night, so they should be chomping at the bit today. Jonah Heim, Adolis García, and Marcus Semien are all running hot for Texas.
Colorado’s Connor Seabold gave up nine earned runs in just three innings his last time out against the Braves. The Dodgers won’t make things much easier, especially at Coors. Will Smith has homered in back-to-back games, Mookie Betts is heating up, and David Peralta has a .987 OPS in June.