We're in that little window between the All-Star break and the trade deadline where the baseball season just presses on with some degree of normalcy. Also, while it's not quite the true dog days of summer, it may feel that way with some teams that have fallen out of the playoff race. That goes double for the fans of those teams, but at least they can find something to get excited about with daily fantasy baseball. Since it's the weekend, I'm going to look at the full schedule for Saturday - including the afternoon games. There are 16 matchups on the slate, so doing the math will reveal there's a doubleheader going on. Tampa and Baltimore are squaring off twice, and you can choose players from either team in either game. Personally, I'd avoid the 1:05 PM ET game if you are thinking about loading up on Rays because John Means is starting for the Orioles. With that in mind, and with a lot more on the table, here are my recommendations.
Charlie Morton ($58) remade himself with the Astros, but he's turned himself into a Cy Young frontrunner with the Rays. The hurler has posted a 2.32 ERA and has struck out 11.34 batters per nine innings. He'll be starting the second game of the doubleheader between Tampa and Baltimore. The odds of Morton, who enters with a 10-2 record, picking up a win seem rather high in this matchup.
Over his last 12 starts, Julio Teheran ($34) has recorded a 2.76 ERA, and he's allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of those 12 outings. He's starting against the Padres, who boast a couple good hitters but rank 20th in runs scored. That may be due to the fact they play in Petco Park, which is great for pitchers. That's not just for home starters, which means Teheran can take advantage of that benefit.
Zach Davies ($30) has compiled a 3.07 ERA, which is impressive - even if his FIP sits at 4.36. He doesn't pick up a lot of strikeouts, but he may not need them against the punchless Giants who come in with a MLB-low .230 team batting average.
Lastly, there's Kansas City's Brad Keller ($35), who I am recommending solely for the matchup. The Royals are hosting the Tigers, who are neck-and-neck with the Marlins for the worst offense in baseball - while registering a league-worst .293 OBP. That makes Keller an interesting option if you want to save a few bucks.
Daniel Vogelbach ($20) can't hit lefties, and yet he still has managed a .880 OPS. As you can probably guess, he's able to mash against righties. He's excelled with a 1.014 OPS against right-handed pitchers, which includes the Angels' Matt Harvey. On top of that, Harvey owns a 7.50 ERA and is coming off the injured list.
Michael Conforto ($14) is also experiencing issues with lefties while hitting well against righties this year by recording a .912 OPS. Miami's Zac Gallen has only made three starts in the majors this season, but hasn't looked spectacular with a 4.50 ERA in those outings.
David Fletcher ($11) has the ability to play a lot of positions on the diamond, but his bat remains the reason the rookie's in the lineup. The 25-year-old has a .363 OBP, which increases his chances of scoring runs in a lineup with guys like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. While the Mariners are going to be using an opener Saturday, Wade LeBlanc is in line to get the bulk of the innings and comes in with a 5.20 FIP while allowing 1.86 homers per nine innings.
It's all finally coming together for Yoan Moncada ($22) as a hitter, as he's slashed .312/.367/.545 with 16 homers. Part of the reason why his numbers are better is that he's not scuffling against southpaws, but he's also hitting right-handed pitchers better than ever. Chris Bassitt has posted a 4.57 FIP in 2019 and a career 3.99 FIP, even though he's spent a lot of time pitching out of the bullpen.
Reds vs. Kyle Freeland (Rockies)
What a difference a year makes. Two seasons ago, Freeland was in the running for the Cy Young with a 2.85 ERA despite pitching his home games in Coors Field. This year, Coors has had its revenge. Freeland has struggled to a 7.13 ERA, and that jumps to 9.31 at home. The main culprit? He's allowed 2.43 homers per nine innings. This game is in Denver, but there is one hiccup here with the Reds. They have a lineup that tends to struggle against lefties, so they aren't equipped to completely dominate against Freeland. However, there are still a few hitters worth stacking.
These issues with lefties is why I ended up recommending Casali. He's a catcher who has been a backup for several years and never really wowed. That being said, he's right handed, and there are so few catchers who really qualify as offensive weapons. You might as well save some money on a guy like Casali with a great matchup. Him being at Coors facing Freeland is worth more than what a lot of catchers possess from a talent perspective.
I don't have to provide caveats with Suarez. He broke out with a .892 OPS and 34 homers last season. And while his numbers have dropped a bit, he still has hit 21 home runs in 2019. On top of that, he's managed a .921 OPS versus lefties since 2017.
Senzel is a rookie with only 55 games to his name, but he came into the majors with a ton of pedigree. He was the second-overall pick in 2016 and was considered one of the best prospects in baseball before his debut. The 24-year-old has shown some of that skill and potential already by racking up eight homers and eight stolen bases. He's also shown a propensity to mash lefties in limited opportunities.
Richard registered a 5.39 ERA with the Padres in 2018. And when you put up numbers like that in Petco Park, that doesn't speak well to your pitching acumen. Case in point, Richard moved to the Blue Jays in the offseason and now has a 6.23 ERA while allowing 1.83 homers per nine innings. This is despite the fact Richard is holding lefties to a .188 batting average. Righties are crushing him to the tune of a .324 batting average, so naturally I'm recommending three right-handed hitters.
The only thing that has stopped Judge from racking up huge homer numbers is his inability to stay on the field. He hit 27 homers in 112 games in 2018, and has nine home runs in only 34 games this year. Judge has also seemingly enjoyed making Yankee Stadium his home by putting up gaudy numbers in New York's ballpark.
LeMahieu was an All-Star, and he certainly earned that label with a .332 batting average. That's not terribly out-of-line with his overall numbers, as he's posted a .301 career batting average. He's never shown a ton of power previously - even in Colorado - but he's impressed with a .512 slugging percentage this season. With the way the ball is flying these days, it's entirely possible for that run to be sustainable.
Torres starred as a rookie by slashing .271/.340/.480. He's been even better in his sophomore campaign by recording a .296/.364/.533 slash line. The 22-year old has already hit 19 homers in 81 games, so he could easily surpass the 24 home runs from his debut campaign.