It's the first Sunday of August, which means another afternoon of day baseball. Things in MLB are really up in the air right now, but for the moment the season is moving forward. Pitchers are taking the mound, hitters are stepping up to the plate, and cardboard cutouts are filling the stands. Looking at the pitchers scheduled to take the mound, this is going to be a great day for offenses. However, trying to pick your pitchers for DFS might be difficult.
The only ace taking the mound Sunday is Clayton Kershaw ($49), but he's pitching in Arizona after having been scratched from his Opening Day start. If you want the big name available, he's there, but I'm not personally excited about him. To me, Sunday is all about matchups. Take, for example, Anthony DeSclafani. He posted a 3.89 ERA last year and struck out nine batters per nine innings. The most-important thing is he's facing the Tigers, who had by far the worst offensive in baseball last season. However, that game has been rescheduled for noon and now you might not even be able to use him.
Pittsburgh also managed a bottom-10 offense last year, and now no longer have Starling Marte on the roster. Jon Lester ($38) is not the pitcher he used to be, but he pitched five shutout innings in his debut this season and comes in with a career 3.67 FIP. Have you ever considered putting Kolby Allard ($25) in your lineup? Well, you should now. He only has 10 starts to his name, but last year had a 8.66 ERA at home and a 2.60 ERA on the road. Now he gets to pitch in San Francisco's pitcher-friendly ballpark against a punchless Giants' offense. There's a first time for everything.
The Red Sox face some rotation issues this year. Case in point, they are starting Matt Hall on Sunday and his career 9.53 ERA mostly pitching out of the Tigers' bullpen. Not the kind of pitcher you necessarily want taking the mound at Yankees Stadium. We know Giancarlo Stanton ($22) has incredible power, considering he once hit 59 homers in a season. The only issue for him is staying in the lineup, but Stanton is healthy – and raking – right now.
Charlie Blackmon ($19) has produced extreme splits. As in, he has a .744 OPS on the road since 2018, but a 1.066 OPS at home. Well lucky for him, and us, he's at Coors Field today. You know who isn't lucky? Zach Davies, a righty with a career 4.15 FIP.
Shohei Ohtani infamously did not record a single out in his first start of the season, and his first start since 2018. Now, I fully expect him to improve as the year goes on, but there's reason for skepticism at the moment. That's especially true against a stacked Astros' lineup. I'm going with George Springer ($19), who tends to bat at the top of the Houston lineup, which means opportunities to score runs. Sometimes he drives those runs in himself, as he hit 39 homers in only 122 games during 2019.
Since the pitching is iffy Sunday, I'm going to give you four value picks. There are only a few catchers who hit reliably, so it's a great position to try and find some value. Mike Zunino ($12) has never quite panned out, but he showed power in his final two seasons in Seattle. He's a righty, and he gets to face the left-handed Tommy Milone on Sunday. In his last three seasons, Milone posted a 5.28 FIP and allowed 2.17 home runs per nine innings.
Adalberto Mondesi ($18) represents one of the true speed merchants left in baseball, as he impressed with 10 triples and 43 stolen bases in only 102 games last year. If he learned to take a walk, he could probably steal double that in a full season. It's not hard to get on base against Chicago's Dylan Cease, considering his career 1.59 WHIP and career 6.09 ERA.
Wil Myers ($21) has kind of been forgotten, but he still is a player who's reached double-digit home runs and stolen bases in each of the last four seasons. In fact, he's not that far removed from a campaign with 30 homers and 20 swiped bags. Of course, the big draw is a game at Coors Field, especially against Antonio Senzatela. Senzatela is coming off a season with a 6.71 ERA and actually regressed away from Coors, so it wasn't just about the thin air.
Dansby Swanson ($18) may never live up to being the first-overall pick, but he's far from a bust. He's coming off a season where he slashed .251/.325/.422 with 17 homers and 10 stolen bases. The 26-year-old is off to a hot start to this season, and he's still just at the beginning of his prime. Don't bet against Swanson putting it all together. The Mets' David Peterson has all of one start in the majors, so he's still unproven. He's also a southpaw, and Swanson enjoyed a .803 OPS versus lefties last season.
Brault returned to being primarily a starter in 2019 and…it didn't go great. He sported a 4.75 FIP, right in line with his career mark of 4.66. Now, there is a question of how long Brault will go in this game. The Pirates seem like they plan to basically use him and Chad Kuhl as a pitching duo, two men doing the work of one starter. Kuhl isn't exactly a pitcher to fear either, as he's produced a career 4.23 FIP and didn't pitch in 2019. The only trick of it is that Brault is a lefty and Kuhl is a righty. However, I've grabbed two right-handed Cubs who are more than fine against their fellow righties, plus the switch-hitting Happ.
Happ is still only 25, and last year was en route to a career year if not for injuries. He posted an .897 OPS in only 58 games, and I feel like we forget he crushed 24 home runs as a rookie back in 2017. Happ is also off to a hot start to the season, though the sample size is too small to rely on. If you want totals to analyze, just look at Kris Bryant's career. He's produced a career slash line of .283/.383/.513, and he loves hitting against lefties. The former MVP has a 1.095 OPS versus southpaws since 2018. Even two at bats against Brault could be enough for Bryant. Baez doesn't take walks, but he doesn't need to given his power and ability to hit for average. Over the last three seasons, he's posted a .282 batting average and .525 slugging percentage. He also possesses speed and power, not to mention an .833 OPS versus righties since 2018.