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This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
Top Play: Zack Wheeler – Phillies (at Braves)
We’ve reached a point in the calendar when the standings can have great effect on what to expect from a pitcher’s outing. The Brewers, for instance, recently clinched and will probably limit Brandon Woodruff. The Phillies are effectively in a playoff game. They’re 2.5 games behind these same Braves in the NL East. This is a must-win contest. Wheeler is their best pitcher and will be tasked with thwarting Atlanta for as long as he’s able. He projects for six innings and six strikeouts. The Phillies will ask for more if at all possible.
Pivot: Logan Webb – Giants (vs DBacks)
Webb is pitching a similarly meaningful game against a weaker opponent. He’s emerged as a low-key ace this season with over a strikeout per inning, a low walk rate, and a 61.3 percent ground ball rate. He pitches efficiently and thus often lasts into the seventh inning. The Giants aren’t as desperate as the Phillies – they have a two-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West – but they’ll be keen to maintain their thin cushion in the standings. Webb gives them their best shot.
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Alexander is a soft-tossing southpaw with longstanding home run issues (career 1.56 HR/9). Garver doesn’t have platoon splits, but he does perform better against softer pitches. Since both players are fly ball guys, there’s increased risk for pop outs. However, Garver mashes pitches up in the zone at least as well as those down by the knees.
Vazquez doesn’t hit for much power. He has a knack for line drive contact and should benefit from network effects as the Red Sox pummel Zimmermann and friends. The Oriole is another soft-tossing southpaw, a profile against which the Sox thrive. Camden Yards even helps to give Vazquez some hope for power outcomes. Mostly, this is a pseudo-punt using somebody who projects to outperform his price tag. The ceiling is less impressive than some other cheap options like Max Stassi.
The book on Cron is to only use him against left-handed pitchers. And while I’m not a member at that particular library (i.e. I use him against righties too), there’s no questioning he’s top of the pile against a busted southpaw like Corbin. He relies on slider command. Altitude is known to mess with both slider movement and, by extension, command. Cron is one of the top bats in the entire slate with considerable potential for multiple hits, power outcomes, and/or run production. He’s also unreasonably cheap, creating a likelihood he’ll be chalky.
Pivot: Kyle Schwarber – Red Sox (at Zimmermann)
Without question, Schwarber hits for considerably less power against fellow lefties. He’s otherwise not much worse without the platoon advantage. What makes this an interesting pivot is he still ranks among the best first basemen in the slate and should go relatively unused. Much of his value tonight derives from a likelihood of two to three plate appearances against below average, right-handed relievers. Of their 11 relievers, only one (Fernando Abad) is a lefty.
If you prefer a cheaper member of this same stack, Bobby Dalbec is hitting well since the start of August - .305/.390/.711 with 13 home runs, nine doubles, and two triples in 146 plate appearances. Dalbec typically hits sixth or seventh and is considerably underpriced.
Top Play: Brendan Rodgers – Rockies (vs Corbin)
Rodgers was removed from yesterday’s game after getting beaned in the helmet. He passed concussion tests and is expected to play tonight. Assuming he’s well, Rodgers has posted impressive numbers against southpaws this season including a .333/.366/.667 batting line with a mere 12.9 percent strikeout rate. He also makes higher quality contact with the platoon advantage. The likelihood is he’s a normal right-handed hitter benefitting from a small sample surge. Since Corbin is highly disadvantaged tonight, we should expect further “benefits” on behalf of Rodgers.
Solak is a generically above average hitter who has underperformed for much of this season. Since his recall a little over a month ago, he’s batting .270/.347/.378 in 125 plate appearances with an 8.8 percent walk rate and 13.6 percent strikeout rate. The lower whiff rate is key to his modest recent success, but he’s still not hitting for much power. Naughton is a favorable matchup. He bats fifth or sixth so a multi-hit game could also yield healthy run production.
Top Play: Rafael Devers – Red Sox (at Zimmermann)
Like his teammate Schwarber, it’s well-known to avoid Devers against left-handed pitchers. And like Schwarber, he’s liable to spend the majority of this game up against below average right-handed relievers. Even his plate appearances against Zimmermann could yield positive results. The main draw is an affordable price tag against a set of highly exploitable opponents. To be clear, Devers does project as the top third basemen even though he’s only the eighth-most expensive.
Pivot: Jack Mayfield – Angels (at A.J. Alexy)
Alexy has already stymied the Angels once, holding them to one hit over six innings in early-September. Since then, he’s coughed up 10 runs in seven innings with 10 walks and only four strikeouts. This suggests a more selective approach can defeat Alexy. Mayfield is a punt. He’s hitting a below average .211/.268/.397 on the season. He’s interesting because he’s also popped 10 home runs in 264 plate appearances. He has the traits of a hitter who could maintain or even exceed his current pace of 23 home runs per 600 plate appearances. Alexy also shows symptoms of a home run problem.
Top Play: Trevor Story – Rockies (vs Corbin)
While not his sharpest season on record, Story is finishing on a high note. He’s batting .253/.343/.529 since the start of August. For the season, he also has notable home/road splits including a .282/.352/.492 line at Coors Field. Similarly, he’s dinged southpaws to the tune of .284/.350/.582. Toss together those three splits, and we have reason to expect Story to lead all hitters in this slate. He’s even affordably priced.
Adames is, quite simply, underpriced. By talent, he’s every bit as good as any non-elite shortstop. True, this particular matchup isn’t ideal. Wainwright is an above average pitcher, and Busch Stadium suppresses home runs. There are other factors that point in Adames’ favor. Waino’s ground ball tendencies could lead to well-struck fly balls when facing Adames.
Soto stands out as the top National at Coors Field. He’s doing his best to nab an MVP Award despite playing for an otherwise pitiful roster. As one of the hottest hitters in the league, he’s liable to be quite popular. Teammates Josh Bell, Lane Thomas, and Yadiel Hernandez are outfield eligible and should be less popular. Thomas in particular has a line drive-oriented approach that should play well in Colorado.
Besides the two Coors Field teams, the Red Sox are definitely the other big stack to consider. Martinez is always a popular catch when facing a southpaw – especially at a power-friendly venue like Camden Yards. Hunter Renfroe, Enrique Hernandez, and Schwarber all play up as well.
Marsh has a painful strikeout rate. He also makes considerably harder contact than your typical min-priced scrub. He hit leadoff in each of his last 10 starts and matches favorably against Alexy’s fly ball tendencies.
Brandon Belt appears to be sidelined with a fractured thumb. That means Kris Bryant probably slides to first base with Dickerson entering the lineup. Since he’s found himself outside the usual outfield rotation, Dickerson’s price has fallen towards the minimum. However, when he plays, he’s a mid-tier talent. There’s even a chance he’ll have a valuable lineup role. Weaver is a neutral matchup. The real value is when the Giants tuck into the DBacks exploitable bullpen.
Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Hunter Renfroe, Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Schwarber, Byron Buxton, Garrett Hampson, Charlie Blackmon, Yonathan Daza, Lane Thomas, Yadiel Hernandez, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Kole Calhoun, Willie Calhoun, Tyrone Taylor, Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers, Jose Siri