After a nice relaxing All-Star week, it is time to get back down to fantasy baseball business. With a 14-gamer to sift through right off the bat and plenty of dicey weather and subpar arms, it will not be the easiest slate. But let’s focus our MLB DFS attention today on the trustworthy pitchers.
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The Gausman Splitter and a Robbie Ray of Sunshine
It seems that things will be picking up right where they left off before the All-Star break, as a lot of the same arms are back on tonight’s slate. More specifically, Kenta Maeda and Charlie Morton return to the mound and make for appealing options once again. Both dealt to the tune of 22.9 and 31.4 DraftKings points, respectively, and Maeda receives the same fantastic Tigers matchup as last week (Morton draws his former team in the Rays).
As good as those options are, the aces to utilize even more are the Giants’ Kevin Gausman and Blue Jays’ Robbie Ray. Gausman has been revelatory this season, sporting an absurd 1.73 ERA and 0.82 WHIP with these advanced stats to boot:
What could possibly be the reason behind such marked improvement? Quite simply, someone in the Giants organization must have gotten him to do what many in the MLB DFS community have been begging him to do for years: Throw his splitter at will:
After throwing his four-seamer above a 55% clip each of his first seven seasons in the big leagues, he has leveled that out to around 50% of the time since being acquired by the Giants. And that has made way for a near 38% utilization of the splitter this season, which is one of the single most lethal pitches thrown by a starter in all of baseball.
For context as to why this is so important, his splitter has induced a ridiculous 50.1% whiff rate on the season, while his four-seamer only generates a 16% whiff rate. So long as his splitter is working tonight, this righty-heavy Cardinals lineups is in deep trouble. Despite the Cardinals striking out at only a 21.8% clip against right-handed pitching this season (third best in MLB), Gausman’s 0.68 WHIP versus right-handed hitters is so absurd that the upside should still be there either way. He is the only pitcher above $10,000 on DraftKings and FanDuel today, but he should prove well worth the investment.
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However, while Gausman makes an undeniably great option, Ray’s $9,800 FanDuel tag and bargain $9,300 DraftKings salary might make him an even better one. Here are his advanced stats as well:
Of course, gamers always have to sweat out the hard contact that Ray can surrender. But a 32% strikeout rate is no joke, which slightly edges out Gausman for best on the slate. And in the event there were any spin concerns for Ray, his game-by-game breakdown of spin rate should put those to rest:
There has been very little drop-off for Ray since the crackdown on sticky substances, which means do not expect much change to his elite strikeout stuff. That bodes well in a matchup tonight against an inept Rangers offense striking out at a 23.6% clip against lefties this season with an abysmal .144 ISO (second worst in MLB). And considering the cheaper tag on Ray than the $10,500 salary he had at the end of June, it should not be all that difficult to fit both him and Gausman into the same lineups. Be sure to utilize the Awesemo Top Pitchers tool to key in on where ownership falls for them in large-field tournaments, but there is no question both carry the sort of upside want exposure to.
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Final Thoughts for MLB DFS Lineups
- Madison Bumgarner makes his return from the IL tonight, which should makes stacking the Cubs about as easy as it gets. Hopefully they fall under the radar, as they opened with just a 4.9 implied run total. But should the Awesemo Top Stacks tool show some leverage to be had with the Cubs in Arizona tonight, it is all systems go.
- It is a Coors Field slate with the potent Dodgers lineup set to be the visiting team. It is hard to emphasize that enough, and it will undoubtedly be a big conversation piece on this slate. A full fade seems egregious considering the hitting conditions, but there is no question their popularity will be unmatched.
- Just play Cody Bellinger.
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