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Saturday, July 3, action abounds Saturday with five different slates for our MLB DFS pleasure. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and stacks for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.
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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks, Saturday, July 3
This could be the end of the line for Garrett Richards, who has admitted that he relies heavily on “sticky stuff” to generate spin on his curveball as well as for control. Since the official inspections began, he has made three starts spanning 11.3 innings while walking five, allowing six home runs and managing only six strikeouts. Over his last three starts, he has thrown his curveball only 22 times, which is closer to what he was averaging per start earlier in the season. His spin rate has dropped from the 3200- to 3300-rpm range down to 2750 and the results have not been pretty.
Today’s game will be a 4:15 p.m. local start with temperatures in the mid-to-upper-60s and a 10- to 14-mph breeze blowing out to right field. Oakland has a nice mix of patience and power from both sides of the plate. Lefties Tony Kemp, Matt Olson and Mitch Moreland each have a 9.5%-plus walk rate over the last two-plus seasons against righties, with the latter two also notching a .265-plus ISO. From the right side, Matt Chapman, Ramon Laureano and Sean Murphy all have an 11%-plus walk rate with a .220-plus ISO in the same timeframe. Switch-hitter Jed Lowrie has been in the cleanup spot recently and while he does not have tremendous power, he does have extra-base upside with an 11.4% walk rate against righties, plus he will have the platoon advantage all game as a switch-hitter.
Awesemo’s MLB DFS experts have created a new MLB Home Run & Strikeout Player Prop Tool that can help when making MLB DFS picks and offer some action down in the sports betting market. This expert tool is designed to predict the probability of hitters hitting home runs and pitchers to reach a certain number of strikeouts.
Kansas City Royals vs. RHP Griffin Jax — TBD implied runs
It looks like Griffin Jax will be getting another turn in the rotation with Michael Pineda and Randy Dobnak on the injured list and Matt Shoemaker having been designated for assignment on Thursday. Jax was selected in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft after pitching for the Air Force Academy. The 26-year-old is mostly a low-strikeout, groundball pitcher, with his effectiveness slipping with each rung he climbed in the minors. He has compiled a 7.82 ERA, 1.50 WHIP with five home runs allowed in 12.2 innings in The Show through four relief appearances.
The lack of strikeout stuff bodes well for the potential production of Jorge Soler, Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier. Whit Merrifield, Carlos Santana and Salvador Perez, of course, are the trio we can always trust. Michael A. Taylor or Jarrod Dyson can be used as extreme discount dandies in the outfield if you are desperate for some cheaper MLB DFS picks.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. RHP Jorge Lopez — 5.7 implied runs
The Angels bested the Orioles last night 8-7 on a ninth-inning Jared Walsh single that plated Shohei Ohtani. Neither starter went beyond the third inning and both teams used five relievers. Alex Cobb has seen regression come for him all at once, allowing at least five runs in three of his four June starts. A lot of this has been unlucky hit sequencing with 17-of-24 (71%) baserunners scoring, albeit with only two home runs. The Orioles are very much in play on the late slate and we can look to the top half of the order, which can be quite pesky.
Now, turning our attention to Jorge Lopez, for a journeyman pitcher who tries to induce ground balls, he certainly allows his fair share of home runs with a career of 1.6 per nine innings. Lopez has been particularly shaky in his five June starts allowing a 7.20 ERA, 1.80 baserunners per inning with five home runs and just 21 strikeouts across 25 innings.
Ohtani launched a pair of homers on Friday, increasing his league-leading home run total to 30 in only 271 at-bats. Just to complete the picture, he also is third with 66 RBIs and just outside the top 10 with 12 stolen bases. Anthony Rendon is finally coming around and he has hits in seven of his last nine games, along with eight walks and six runs. David Fletcher puts the ball in play nearly every at-bat, and now that he is back in the leadoff slot, he is all but assured of five at-bats. Finally, we can look to Walsh, who is quietly seventh in the league with 20 home runs and fourth with 59 RBIs.
Top Target: LHP Clayton Kershaw at Washington Nationals — 3.7 implied runs
DFS Salary: Yahoo $51 | FanDuel $11,000 | DraftKings $10,000
Unfortunately for Clayton Kershaw, he is continually measured against his younger and less-injured self, who was dominant from 2009-2018 with a sub-3.00 ERA, seven All-Star appearances along with three Cy Young Awards as well as the 2014 National League MVP. Now, back to the present day, and if we did not know that Kershaw was the southpaw associated with this 3.25 ERA, which ranks 26th in the league along with a 0.98 WHIP, which is 13th accompanied by 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings, which is 14th best in the league — well, we would be falling all over ourselves to roster this mystery ace tonight.
Trea Turner suffered a finger injury on Wednesday while hitting for the third cycle of his career, and he has missed the last two games. If he is out of the lineup tonight, all Kershaw has to do is navigate fellow lefty Juan Soto and 36-year-old Ryan Zimmerman and catcher Yan Gomes. If it feels like the Nationals’ lineup is weaker than expected, it is because Kyle Schwarber is also slated to miss this game with a hamstring injury he picked up on Wednesday.
Secondary Target: RHP Jake Odorizzi at Cleveland Indians — 4.3 implied runs
DFS Salary: Yahoo $39 | FanDuel $7,200 | DraftKings $8,600
The secondary options on tonight’s six-game main slate are not inspiring much confidence. For me, it comes down to youngster Cole Irvin or veteran Jake Odorizzi. While Irvin has been effective this season, I do not particularly relish rolling with a southpaw who lacks consistent strikeout upside against a veteran-laden Red Sox lineup.
Last night, Jose Ramirez was a late scratch with a sore elbow. While he is likely to play, there is still a chance he is not 100%. Franmil Reyes returned in style with three hits Friday after missing six weeks with an oblique injury. Cleveland has been in the bottom-third of the league against righties this season, so taking our chances with Odorizzi is not the worst idea in the world. While I am not particularly thrilled with his DraftKings salary, the rest of the field will be feeling trepidation as well. It is folly to expect more than five innings from the 31-year-old righty. However, in his last five starts spanning 22 innings, he has posted a 2.45 ERA with just 0.77 baserunners per inning while striking out 22 batters.
Afternoon Target: RHP Yu Darvish at Philadelphia Phillies — 3.6 implied runs
DFS Salary: Yahoo $53 | FanDuel $11,000 | DraftKings $10,400
While the Phillies are finally back to full strength, Yu Darvish is still the top pitching option on the afternoon slate. Philadelphia has been a bottom-five scoring offense against right-handed pitching this season with a 24.9% strikeout rate, which ranks ninth. Most gamers feel that Darvish is not consistent and cannot be trusted, though that is only because of the lofty expectations pinned on him each start. This season, he is 13th with a 2.44 ERA and 10th with a 0.94 WHIP while striking out 10.8 per nine innings. Over his last five outings, which includes one game in Coors Field as well as one against the Dodgers, he has compiled 29.1 innings with a 3.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 11.05 strikeouts per nine innings.
Final Thoughts for the Saturday, July 3, MLB DFS Slate
Keep an eye on the weather in New York and Philadelphia heading into the first pitch this afternoon. As always, be mindful that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a home run play on Yahoo may be a below-average MLB DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.
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