MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks for Thursday, July 8

·6 min read

Thursday, July 8, has a handful of afternoon matchups before a seven-game main slate loaded with precipitation risk. 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, Thursday, July 8

Yahoo Stack of the Day: Kansas City Royals at RHP Zach Plesac — 4.2 implied runs

On the main slate, the first priority will be looking to the Toronto hitters in yet another matchup against the Orioles. However, there is a high level of precipitation risk for the Camden Yards matchup. In the event that game is washed out, Kansas City is a solid alternative. Zach Plesac will be making his first appearance since fracturing his thumb at the end of May while taking off his shirt. Today he is slated for 60-ish pitches after outings of 33 and 43 pitches with Double-A Akron.

The Cleveland bullpen will likely be tasked with handling around six innings today, and though they used four relievers yesterday, they had an off day on Tuesday, so everyone is relatively fresh. Their bullpen is a nondescript group, but it has posted top-five numbers in most advanced and traditional metrics this season.

Kansas City has a relatively pedestrian offense, but the boom/bust nature collectively keeps the salaries at reasonable levels. Whit Merrifield is an obvious name at the top of the order, and he is consistently among the league leaders in steals. Carlos Santana is still smooth from both sides of the plate, and having spent 10 seasons in Cleveland, he is very familiar with the hitting environment.

Salvador Perez is always valuable, as he hits more like a first baseman or designated hitter and knocks out that pesky catcher requirement. Finally, there is the power upside of Ryan O’Hearn ($10), Jorge Soler ($7) and Hunter Dozier ($7) at rock-bottom salaries, which provides salary flexibility to work in the ace pitchers in the later games. Depending on where they are in the lineup, Andrew Benintendi ($13) and Michael Taylor ($10) are also reasonable options. In the event games get lost to the uncertain weather, the Royals can be stacked in a variety of ways, which will allow for differentiation if the player pool starts to shrink.

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Afternoon Slate

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez — 5.0 implied runs

Even with the Chase Field roof closed and the Diamondbacks being the second-worst offense in the league against right-handed pitching, they still have a glorious 5.0 implied run total courtesy of Chi Chi Gonzalez. Over the last three seasons with the Rockies, Gonzalez has allowed 1.80 home runs per nine innings, a 10.2% walk rate and a .225 ISO on the road.

Although it seems like everyone on Arizona has been in a slump this season against right-handed pitchers, Christian Walker (.267 ISO) and Eduardo Escobar (.359) have been particularly effective over the last month. David Peralta is finally rounding into form, and depending on where Pavin Smith is in the batting order, he is a solid MLB DFS pick on the early slate.

Late Slate

Detroit Tigers at J.A. Happ — 4.5 implied runs

Since the start of the 2019 season J.A. Happ has allowed the fifth-most home runs in MLB with 58 — 16 are from this year with 11 in his last six starts. As a result, though rarely will the Tigers be gracing this article series, they have some power upside in this matchup. Jonathan Schoop is flashing power and also auditioning for a trade before the end of this month. Eric Haase somehow has 10 of his 13 career home runs since the start of June, and Robbie Grossman is particularly cheap on DraftKings at $3,100. While a full stack seems a bit extreme, Jeimer Candelario and Zack Short can be considered depending on positional need and how many slots in the batting order separate the three key options.

Spotlight Pitchers

Top Target: RHP Yu Darvish vs. Washington Nationals — 3.2 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $51 | FanDuel $11,400 | DraftKings $10,200

Yes, the Nationals plated 15 runs last night, but literally everything went in their favor. This was accomplished with some timely hitting; 15 of the 20 baserunners scored, and there was only one home run and five doubles among the 17 Washington hits. In their preceding six games they scored 22 combined runs. Alcides Escobar, who last played in the majors back in 2018, is now their leadoff hitter. The back half of the lineup has no power, with Starlin Castro, Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison and Victor Robles all sporting sub-.120 ISOs over the last two seasons. Yu Darvish is in the top 15 with a 2.65 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings. While the Nationals are a relatively patient group, they are lacking power outside of Juan Soto, Trea Turner and Josh Bell.

Secondary Target: RHP Max Scherzer at San Diego Padres — 3.9 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $52 | FanDuel $10,900 | DraftKings $10,400

Because each team is required to have at least one representative, German Marquez (Colorado) and Trevor Rogers (Miami) made it over Max Scherzer as pitchers, and switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar (Arizona) made it in as the lone Diamondback. Scherzer is in the top five with his 2.10 ERA and 0.85 WHIP, while his 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings rank sixth. This is going to be the final time Scherzer takes the mound before the break, so he should reach 100 pitches for the seventh time in his last nine starts.

Wild Card: RHP Adrian Houser vs. Cincinnati Reds — 4.3 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $29 | FanDuel $6,600 | DraftKings $7,000

The preferred play today as the second pitcher on Yahoo and DraftKings would be rookie Alek Manoah for the Blue Jays against the Orioles. However, with the weather concerns looming in Baltimore, the pivot in a similar salary range will be Adrian Houser in a tricky matchup against the Reds. Cincinnati has been in the top third of the league against righties this season. The one elite skill Houser has is his ability to induce groundballs at a nearly 60% clip. Though he has a below-average 18.8% strikeout rate over the last two seasons, he generally does a good job of limiting damage and avoiding big innings.

Final Thoughts for the Thursday, July 8, MLB DFS Slate

The Toronto – Baltimore game is in doubt tonight with heavy storms in the area. There is a chance this game can sneak in, but it will likely be touch and go at best. Pittsburgh – New York is going to see rain; it is just a matter of timing and how quickly or sluggish the weather patterns act. Finally, Kansas City – Cleveland also is dealing with scattered showers, though as long as nothing sits over the stadium, they should be able to complete their game.

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