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The MLB Yahoo Cup Hot Corner: Round 22

Eric Lindquist

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ESPN baseball writer Jeff Passan is trending ahead of the World Series game in Atlanta over his take that the Braves' "tomahawk chop" oughta be outlawed

Welcome to the MLB Yahoo Cup Hot Corner! This free-to-enter, single-entry fantasy baseball contest consists of 27 rounds where the top 1,075 overall entries and the top 70 entries per round share $10,000, with $1,000 to first and $50 to first per round. Scoring will be cumulative across all rounds, with your seven lowest scores dropped at the end. You may join this multi-round MLB DFS contest at any point, but enter today to give yourself the best chance to take home the title. Click here to begin the chase!

Let’s focus on three players — one pitcher, one infielder and one outfielder — to be MLB DFS picks for tonight’s MLB Yahoo Cup contest.

MLB Yahoo Cup Fantasy Baseball Picks | Round 22

MLB DFS Pitcher: Chris Sale — $53

The AL East is shaping up to be one of the best divisional races in recent memory. The Yankees are now winners of seven-straight, the Rays continue to dominate series-after-series, and the Red Sox have been in free-fall mode for the better part of a month. But with Chris Sale returning to the rotation, there is hope that the Red Sox can right the ship and position themselves well for postseason play. And right away, Awesemo’s Top Pitchers tool loves Sale in his second appearance of the season tonight, giving him a 21.6% chance at finishing as a top-two arm on the slate.

Coming off last Saturday’s start where he fanned eight over five strong innings, Sale erased any doubt that he could get back to normal after a long bout with elbow injuries. Even more encouraging, he reached 89 pitches, meaning he could be capable of a heavier workload tonight versus a Rangers squad sporting just an 81 wRC+ against southpaws (second-worst in MLB). And anyone who has been in the fantasy baseball streets the past few years knows the crazy amount of swing-and-misses Sale can generate, further backed up by his career 33.1% strikeout rate. While a case can certainly be made for the more stretched-out likes of Robbie Ray ($51) and Sonny Gray ($39) to anchor MLB Yahoo Cup lineups, even just 90 pitches from Sale could be enough for him to break the slate in this spot.

MLB DFS Infielder: Freddie Freeman — $26

With the Yankees and Blue Jays in phenomenal spots today — plus a Coors Field game that’s bound to be rostered ad nauseam — going in almost any other direction will be different on this slate. That’s backed up by Awesemo’s Top Stacks tool, which currently shows positive leverage to be had by stacking up 21 of the 28 total teams in play. Amongst those teams going underrepresented, the Braves stick out as far and away the most overlooked team, currently sporting the second-best top stack odds on the board at 10.6%, while only being rostered by the public at a 1.4% clip.

And if opting to go the Braves direction, first baseman Freddie Freeman is a near-must play to include in the stack. The 2020 National League MVP is putting up another strong case for the award this season, sporting a .301/.399/.520 slash line while doing otherworldly things like hitting for the cycle in just four at-bats on Wednesday. Tonight’s matchup is versus a lefty, but that’s of little regard to Freeman, who still slashes .286/.356/.459 against the same-handedness, making him, perhaps, a more overlooked option due to no platoon advantage.

And better yet, that lefty is none other than Orioles starter Keegan Akin, who is getting obliterated to the tune of a 8.13 ERA, 1.82 WHIP and 44.2% hard-hit rate this season. The Orioles have now lost 15 consecutive outings by multiple runs (longest such streak since 1900), which speaks to just how egregious the Baltimore bullpen is that will be following up Akin in this spot. Plus, adding the likes of Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall at the trade deadline only furthers the case to force in expensive Braves bats on this and any other slate they are going overlooked, as there is now power at every spot 1-8 in this lineup. So no doubt about it: Atlanta makes one of the more intriguing stacks for the MLB Yahoo Cup tonight.

MLB DFS Outfielder: Adolis Garcia — $7

If opting to go a different direction than Chris Sale on this slate, there is one (and only one) bat that makes a lot of sense to roster on the other side in Adolis Garcia. The lone bright spot for the Rangers in an otherwise miserable 2021, Garcia is generating a ton of hard contact this season with a .450 xSLG and 47.4% hard-hit rate. He gets the platoon advantage in this spot, it’s a great power park for righties that loft the ball the way he does (14.9 degree average launch angle) and as capable as Sale is of getting whiffs, he did surrender two solo shots in first outing back from the IL. And at only $7, it’s impossible to find this much power at this salary anywhere else on the board, making Garcia an extremely strong contrarian play on Yahoo.

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