We have 13 games on tonight’s slate with a nice mix of solid and weak pitching options. Of course, one pitcher stands head and shoulders above the rest, and we’ll discuss him in more detail later in this article. We also have some interesting pivots for tournament lineups and, of course, several pitchers we’ll want to be targeting with our hitting options. Let’s take a deeper dive into tonight’s slate and find the top FanDuel plays.
Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians, $11,000 – Kluber is going to be the top option whenever he’s on the slate, and tonight is no exception. Despite a matchup with a Boston team that is currently sporting the third-best strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, I’m still all in on Kluber in cash game MLB lineups. He has a 16.2% swinging strike rate on the season, and is currently punching out 32.8% of lefties and 37.2% of righties. He’s also pitching to a 2.67 SIERA. He’s elite in every sense of the word, and I expect him to completely shut down this weak Boston offense tonight. There’s no reason to look anywhere else in cash games, and I would take an overweight approach in tournaments because, if he does his thing, you won’t be able to come close to matching his score with anyone else.
Luis Severino, New York Yankees, $9,900 – In cash games, just pay the extra $1,100 and take Kluber, but in tournaments, if you want to fade Kluber, you’re going to need to find someone with very good strikeout upside. Fortunately, Severino has that tonight. He’ll take on a poor Tigers offense that’s ranked 21st in team wOBA against right-handed pitching. Keep in mind that those numbers include Alex Avila and J.D. Martinez, who are no longer with the team. Detroit strikes out quite a bit against righties, and given gas can Jordan Zimmermann is on the mound, the Yankees should be expected to earn a comfortable win for Severino. I really like him in tournaments as I think he will be low owned and has significant upside in this matchup.
Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, $3,500 – As a Tigers fan, I was nauseated when Detroit decided to give Zimmermann a bunch of money. He was an over-rated arm in the National League, and now that he’s moved to the American League, he has SIERAs of 4.81 and now 5.18 under his belt. Those are not good numbers. His strikeout rates are well below average, he’s allowing an xFIP of 5.59 to right-handed batters, he can’t keep the ball out of the air, and righties are making hard contact 37% of the time.
Sanchez, meanwhile, is posting a .370 wOBA and .246 ISO with a 35.7% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching. Further, the Yankees are the top offense in the league not named the Houston Astros against right-handed pitching. Sanchez is going to have plenty of run-producing opportunities, and given the terrific individual matchup, the upside potential is extremely high. I would look to pay up for Sanchez at the catcher position given the relative weakness of the position and the risk of fading him and missing a big score.
Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, $3,500 – If you want to roster Corey Kluber, it’s going to be difficult to pay for the elite options at first base. Fortunately, Carpenter is a very affordable $3,500 and draws a solid matchup against righty Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin has very good numbers against right-handed hitters, but against lefties, he struggles. He’s sporting a 5.25 xFIP with a 16.3% strikeout rate and 12% walk rate. Further, he’s allowing a hard contact rate of 34%.
Carpenter is boasting a .367 wOBA and .215 ISO against righties this season, but it’s his batted ball metrics that really jump off the screen. He has a 43.3% hard contact rate with a 25% line drive rate and 24.6% ground ball rate. There aren’t many players hitting more line drives than ground balls, and his .257 batting average against right-handed pitching is simply a function of bad luck. Carpenter is always a solid play in all game formats, and tonight is no exception.
Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals, $3,600 – Murphy is always a terrific cash game option facing a right-handed pitcher, and while I’d love to just recommend Brian Dozier against gas can James Shields, his price tag makes things a bit complicated. I’ll take the savings with Murphy and rely on his elite metrics. Murphy is sporting a .384 wOBA and .240 ISO against right-handed pitching this season while making hard contact 35.4% of the time and boasting a 26.8% line drive rate. He’s also striking out a miniscule 9.2% of the time against righties, so you know he’s going to be putting the ball in play and making things happen.
Astros starter Mike Fiers isn’t bad, and he does a good job of limiting hard contact, but he tends to give up a lot of home runs. However, this play is more about how good of a hitter Murphy is and the lack of value options at the second base position.
Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins, $3,200 – There are a lot of strong options at the third base position, but they’re expensive, and rostering them with Corey Kluber is likely going to cause some headaches. Polanco, meanwhile, is red hot, homering in three straight games and raking since reclaiming his starting job. He has a terrific opportunity to keep things going as he’ll take on the disaster known as James Shields. The switch-hitting Polanco has been a bit better from the left side this season, which bodes well against Shields, who is currently allowing a staggering .439 wOBA, 6.73 xFIP, and 13 home runs while facing just 169 left-handed batters. That’s exactly a home run for every 13 batters faced. Lefties are easy plays against Shields, and Polanco is the obvious cash game choice tonight.
Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros, $3,200 – For just $3,200, you can get a high-quality shortstop hitting over .300 with over 20 home runs who bats in the middle of the best offense in the league. Yeah, I’ll take that all day, especially when he gets to face Edwin Jackson. Don’t let the success with the Nationals fool you. Jackson is not good, and we have a long history of results that show he’s an incredibly inefficient pitcher who gives up a lot of hits and walks. This, of course, is the same guy who managed to throw a no-hitter with eight walks.
Gonzalez’s strong season against right-handed pitching continues as he’s sporting a .411 wOBA and .258 ISO. The switch hitter is much better from the left side of the plate, and his 37.1% hard contact rate suggests the results should stick for the most part. At a weak position like shortstop, Gonzalez is a no-brainer today.
Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins, $3,300 – Assuming is over his illness and is back in the lineup, he’s an automatic cash game play for me. The Twins are taking on James Shields, and as I’ve already mentioned, pretty much any left-handed batter is a terrific play against him. Kepler’s .362 wOBA and .228 ISO are more than good enough to make him a fantastic option in all game formats in what should be a high-scoring evening for the Minnesota offense.
Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins, $3,600 – Hey look, another Twins lefty. Rosario is sporting a very solid .374 wOBA and .242 ISO against right-handed pitching this season, and given James Shields’s performances are typically reminiscent of Giancarlo Stanton in the Home Run Derby, I’m all over the Twins lefties tonight. Rosario is an affordable $3600, and like Kepler, he’s a top option for me in both cash games and tournaments.
Brett Gardner, New York Yankees, $3,400 – The Twins are the top offense of the day, but the Yankees aren’t too far behind given, overall, they’re a much better lineup. They also get to face the dreadful Jordan Zimmermann, which is always a treat for a left-handed batter. Gardner is sporting a .357 wOBA and .210 ISO against righties this season, and given his spot at the top of a very strong Yankees lineup, he should be in position to rack up fantasy points in a variety of way tonight. Zimmermann is allowing a .385 wOBA, 5.20 xFIP, 40.4% hard contact rate, and a ridiculous 28.4% line drive rate to left-handed batters this season. If it weren’t for James Shields pitching tonight, the Yankees would be my top stack.
Additional Plays: Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz, Charlie Blackmon, J.D. Martinez, George Springer, Aaron Judge, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Reddick, Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Hicks,