MLB DFS Plays: Sunday 7/11

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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.

We’ll focus on the 11-game main slate. Some platforms will let you use the four late-afternoon games which includes a usable Kevin Gausman and potentially exploitable pitchers like Erick Fedde, Jose Suarez, Hector Santiago, and Merrill Kelly. The last of that list has turned a corner with his pitching but faces a challenging Dodgers offense.

Games in Cleveland and Chicago will have to deal with light rain. Both cities are hosting division rivals so they’ll have ample opportunity to make them up later if an early break is preferred. In the past, they would have played. Don’t expect if both games are canned.

PITCHER

Top Play: Luis Castillo – Reds (at Brewers)

It’s an open secret that Castillo has a habit of starting slow before turning up the fire. This could relate to his signature changeup. Since the start of June, he has a 2.00 ERA with 8.40 K/9, 3.20 BB/9, and a 55.7 percent ground ball rate. While his strikeout rate remains below career norms, he’s back to inducing oodles of soft contact. His opponent, Brandon Woodruff, was the other candidate for top play. He outprojects Castillo but also costs 25 percent more.

Pivot: Pablo Lopez – Marlins (vs Braves)

The suddenly Acuna-less Braves now feature a decidedly mortal lineup. Lopez is having an ace-like season with over a strikeout per inning, a nearly 50 percent ground ball rate, and a sub-3.00 ERA. He’s priced like a mid-tier guy. It’s common to target pitchers facing the Marlins. His opponent, Ian Anderson, should be the more popular pitcher this evening. Anderson also happens to have an oddly affordable price.

Also Consider: Brandon Woodruff, Robbie Ray, Ian Anderson, Jose Berrios, Pablo Lopez, Framber Valdez, Chris Bassitt

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CATCHER

Top Play: J.T. Realmuto – Phillies (at Nick Pivetta)

The Phillies are visiting their old friend Pivetta. Ironically, he’s having a banner season after flopping at every opportunity in Philadelphia. He’s even outperformed Aaron Nola. Realmuto matches well against Pivetta’s approach. He usually works up in the zone with his fastball. JTR makes plentiful hard, low-angle contact which tends to yield good results against fly ball pitchers.

Pivot: Zack Collins – White Sox (at Spenser Watkins)

Watkins is a Triple-A caliber pitcher who probably won’t last beyond the fourth inning. He depends upon a cutter, a pitch which can have large platoon splits if it isn’t elite. Collins reminds me a bit of Kyle Higashioka. He’s a fly ball hitter who ends a lot of his plate appearances with a True Outcome. Although his power is fringy for his approach, Camden Yards is the right venue to chase a multi-homer performance. We can expect around one out of every 12 of Collins’ batted balls to leave the yard.

Also Consider: Salvador Perez, Gary Sanchez, Ryan Jeffers, Pedro Severino, Jacob Stallings

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Trey Mancini – Orioles (vs Dylan Cease)

Cease is one of the pitchers most negatively affected by the new grip aid enforcement regime. Despite diminished stuff, he hasn’t shown signs of adjusting his repertoire. Two of his last four outings have been disasterpieces, albeit against difficult opponents. Cease’s fly ball tendencies could get him into trouble at the Yard. Mancini is a hard ground ball hitter with a high home run to fly ball ratio. Cease might help him to lift a deep fly or two.

Pivot: Ryan Mountcastle – Orioles (vs Cease)

I’ve made this recommendation a few times lately. Mountcastle is the ultimate pivot because he hides behind Mancini. He has a more balanced batted ball profile with a very slight lean to fly ball contact. He’s a solid value with a one-in-five shot to homer.

Also Consider: Jose Abreu, Pete Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Carlos Santana, Yuli, Gurriel, Alex Kirilloff, Miguel Sano, Garrett Cooper

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Jose Altuve – Astros (vs Jameson Taillon)

Taillon is a typical mid-tier pitcher, the type the Astros offense can feast upon. Their bullpen is in a bit of a shambles with Aroldis Chapman in a slump. As is often the case, Altuve has one of the best combinations of hit, home run, and run production potential in the slate.

Pivot: Jean Segura – Phillies (at Pivetta)

Another low-angle contact hitter, Segura matches up particularly well against Pivetta. He also has more than enough relevant power to clear the Green Monster. The issue is generating sufficient lift. Pivetta could help with that or we might see a couple clangers off the wall. Segura’s best days tend to feature multiple hits rather than home runs.

Also Consider: Marcus Semien, Whit Merrifield, Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Brad Miller, Domingo Leyba, Vidal Brujan

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Jose Ramirez – Indians (vs Carlos Hernandez)

Assuming the game happens, Ramirez is set to face a pitcher with all the markings of a home run problem. Hernandez is a hard thrower is iffy command. He tends to fill the strike zone to make up for an inability to hit spots. Such pitchers are prone to mistakes over the heart of the plate. That was in evidence during his Triple-A starts when he allowed 2.05 HR/9. Ramirez comes fully equipped with a one-in-four shot at a home run.

Pivot: Luis Arraez – Twins (vs Wily Peralta)

The Twins stack figures to be one of the most popular of the day. Although he lacks power, Arraez is a hit machine set to face a bevy of below average pitchers. Peralta is coming off a pair of improbable gems. His new splitter could be a difference-maker for him. More likely, he was underscouted. The teams he defeated – the Indians and Rangers – feature pitiful offenses. The Twins will prove a more difficult opponent. I’d be more hopeful of a Peralta breakout if he were generating strikeouts.

Also Consider: Josh Donaldson, Yoan Moncada, Jake Burger, Alec Bohm

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Francisco Lindor – Padres (vs Chase De Jong)

While I want Tim Anderson, he’s 50 percent more expensive than Lindor who has a comparably easy matchup. While Lindor’s season stats leave much to be desired, he’s hitting a perfectly acceptable .259/.351/.463 in 171 plate appearances since late-May. His peripherals are typical too. If anything, he’s been hurt most by his new home venue which is playing extremely pitcher friendly this season. Today’s game is indeed at CitiField, limiting Lindor’s home run potential. He’s still a good bet for hits and run production opposite a Quad-A hurler like De Jong.

Pivot: Ramon Urias – Orioles (vs Cease)

While Urias lacks a carrying trait for DFS purposes, his near-minimum price tag and well-rounded skill set promise multiple pathways to profit. He has above average pop although it’s hidden by a high ground ball rate. Fortunately, ground ball hitters match up well against Cease.

Also Consider: Tim Anderson, Bo Bichette, Didi Gregorius, Taylor Walls

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Bryce Harper – Phillies (at Pivetta)
Andrew McCutchen – Phillies (at Pivetta)
Joey Gallo – Rangers (vs Bassitt)

The Phillies offense is stacked with power hitters who prefer pitches up in the zone. Fenway Park is tough on left-handed power. While Pesky’s Pole is a chip shot, the power alley is quite deep. Harper doesn’t hit many cheap home runs though. When he gets into one, he sends it a long way. McCutchen might be the better play if you’re choosing between them, in no small part because he’s massively cheaper despite a comparable projection. Bassitt has survived the grip aid changes despite a measurable diminishment of stuff. Gallo is red hot with 13 of his 24 home runs in his last 75 plate appearances. It’s perhaps not a coincidence that his surge coincides perfectly with when the new rules were put in place. In any event, he has a better than one-in-four chance to homer.

Pivots: Trevor Larnach – Twins (vs Peralta)
Cedric Mullins – Orioles (vs Cease)

Mullins has more of a fly ball stroke than most of his teammates, but it’s still balanced enough to use against Cease. He’s been bizarrely cheap for a couple weeks now despite continuing to contribute power, speed, average, and run production. Larnach hits lasers and usually bats in the heart of the lineup. Splitter guys like Peralta – especially those with minimal experience with the pitch – are prone to hanging them over the middle of the plate. Other Twins bats work here as well, though I figure they’ll be more popular.

Also Consider: Nelson Cruz, Alex Kirilloff, Max Kepler, Adam Engel, Ramon Laureano, Bryan Reynolds, Cedris Mullins, Franmil Reyes, Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets, Ben Gamel, DJ Stewart, Austin Hayes, Anthony Santander, Akil Baddoo