With fantasy baseball the only show in town, contest sizes on DraftKings and FanDuel are on the rise. FanDuel upgraded their main low-dollar tournament to $40,000-to-first, while DraftKings made their main $18 offering to $100,000 up top. That could be the new normal for a bit until the NFL returns, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts and really home in on the Awesemo MLB DFS projections.
MLB DFS Slate Starter: Fantasy Baseball Picks | July 22
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Blake Snell, Meet Cliff
The Padres made some major signings and acquisitions this previous offseason, especially with the overhaul of their starting rotation. Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove have certainly panned out, as both sport sub-3.15 ERAs and identical 1.00 WHIPs on the season. With Mike Clevinger out for the year with Tommy John surgery and Dinelson Lamet incapable of staying healthy, Darvish and Musgrove have been essential to the Padres’ success, helping them stay competitive in a super top-heavy division at 56-42.
Still, it was 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell that headlined the group of new pitchers coming into this season. And since that trade, it has been all downhill for Snell. Check out his 2021 next to his career stats, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:
The first column displaying zero wins above replacement is a good depiction for just how underwhelming Snell has been. And as if a 5.21 ERA and 1.601 WHIP were not bad enough, his underlying metrics are somehow even worse: 5.58 xERA, .447 xSLG, 10.9% barrel rate and a 14.1% walk rate (all career highs). He is also not pitching deep into games of late, with seven of this past 10 outings failing to eclipse even 85 pitches. They have given him the go-ahead to handle a 100-pitch workload when he is on, but in 2021 that has been few and far between.
Snell also falls into the category of pitchers to see a decline to their spin rates since the sticky substance ban, evidence by this Baseball Savant graph displaying his average spin rates on pitches for the season:
So if Snell is so bad all of the sudden, what is the point of talking about him so much for this slate? Quite simply, he draws a dreamy Marlins matchup tonight. It is a spot where just about any pitcher can have success, especially lefties, according to the splits leaderboard on FanGraphs:
The Marline strike out at the highest clip in the league against southpaws, have the third-lowest ISO and for all intents and purposes are pretty abysmal. They are also missing two of their better hitters in Garrett Cooper and Jazz Chisholm Jr. to the injured list, which can only help a struggling pitcher. And judging by his 2021 results, Snell will take all the help he can get.
Long story short, Snell might not be the pitcher he once was, but at $7,800 on DraftKings and $7,500 on FanDuel, his name sticks out like a sore thumb. It will be fascinating to see where his ownership comes in, but at those prices in this matchup, it seems unfathomable he will not pick up a bunch of steam. Plus, the strikeout rate remains well above average at 28.2%, which is a rare thing to find in a sub-$8,000 play. Be sure to consult Awesemo’s Top Pitchers tool when it comes to Snell, as there is certainly merit to the fade if his ownership gets out of control. But other than that, there is no reason not to be invested in Snell here.
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Final Thoughts for MLB DFS Lineups
- Pitching is once again brutal on this slate, with Walker Buehler the only bona fide ace in sight. To get a full breakdown of the arms to take shots on, catch the MLB Strategy Show below and the MLB Deeper Dive/Live Before Lock combined stream this evening.
- Just like yesterday, these single-digit game slates amplify the importance of focusing on stack ownership. The Top Stacks tool is the best place to find which teams to prioritize and utilize to make lineups capable of pulling down a big score.
- Just play Nelson Cruz.
Tune into the MLB Strategy Show at 11 a.m. ET for all of our free expert MLB DFS picks and advice for DraftKings and FanDuel fantasy baseball lineups.
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