Welcome to the Saturday edition of MLB Top Plays! We have a surprisingly large 13 game main slate on FanDuel tonight, as there are only two afternoon games. The pitching choices aren’t as strong as what we saw last night, but there are still plenty of solid arms to choose from, and we also have quite a few games with high projected run totals. It should be another fun slate. Make sure to double check the weather on the RotoGrinders’ Weather Page before making your lineups!
Starting Pitcher – Chris Archer ($10,300)
You can certainly make a strong case for David Price against an Angels lineup that struggles against left-handed pitching, but I will gladly take a chance on the strikeout upside of Chris Archer. Archer has held right-handed hitters to a .282 wOBA this season, so that will help him neutralize the power of guys like Adrian Beltre and the newfound success of Elvis Andrus. Archer has a 29% strikeout rate this year, and Texas does have some hitters that are prone to striking out (hello, Joey Gallo!). Archer is also a sizable favorite in this game, so the six win points on FanDuel will surely be within reach. He’s my pitcher of choice on this slate, while guys like Danny Salazar and Sean Manaea are on my radar as cheaper options that are worth a look in tournament formats.
Catcher – Alex Avila ($2,400)
Here is your no brainer value pick of the night. I have absolutely no clue why Avila only costs $2,400 on FanDuel. He has been one of the best overall hitters from the catcher position in all of baseball this season, with a .286 batting average, .390 wOBA, and 11 home runs. His isolated numbers against right-handed pitching are even better. A matchup against a poor pitcher in Kyle Gibson certainly doesn’t hurt, as Gibson has been nothing short of awful this year. Lock in Avila as a great value play that will allow you to spend up at other positions.
First Base – Ryan Zimmerman ($3,300)
Chase Field is always a place we can look for offense, and the Diamondbacks managed to knock Max Scherzer around a good bit last night. As for tonight, Arizona is calling up left-handed prospect Anthony Banda to start his first major league game. His minor league numbers are less than impressive with an ERA over 5.00, so the Washington offense should be licking its chops here. Zimmerman is having a great bounce-back season, and we will prefer the right-handed hitters against a young lefty. The resurgent Zimmerman is a fine option at first base, and he isn’t getting enough credit for his solid numbers in 2017, which include a .256 ISO, 20 home runs, and 54 RBI’s.
Second Base – Yoan Moncada ($2,500)
The top prospect for the White Sox has made his long-awaited debut at the major league level, and he announced his presence in a big way with a bases loaded triple and four RBI’s in last night’s game against the Royals. This kid has a legitimate power/speed combination that gives him plenty of upside in DFS, and I haven’t been as excited about a young hitter since George Springer came up. Moncada won’t be this cheap for long, and he should be in line for another strong game against the scuffling Jason Vargas.
Third Base – Mike Moustakas ($3,400)
It’s often frustrating to stack against Mike Pelfrey, as he seems to have a wizard-like ability to escape jams. He does still maintain strong ground ball skills against right-handed hitters, but those skills erode against lefties. Pelfrey has allowed a .368 wOBA to LHBs this year, and he has a sub-40% ground ball rate against them while allowing a ton of hard contact. Left-handed power is a great thing to take against him, and you can do that without stacking up an entire lineup. Moustakas checks in as one of my favorite plays of the night. He hit his 26th home run of the year against James Shields last night, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he hit another one against Pelfrey here tonight.
Shortstop – Corey Seager ($3,900)
The Dodgers have finally hit a snag after being on a roll for much of the summer, and they have surprisingly lost back-to-back games against the Braves. They have a good chance to get back on track tonight against a pitcher that struggles against left-handed hitters (that’s a theme tonight), and Julio Teheran has always had significant problems against lefties, especially on the road. Shortstop is not a glamorous position when you get beyond the top few options, so this is a position I will be looking to spend on. Seager has an average near .300, an on base percentage near .400, and solid numbers across the board this year. Lock him in as an elite option in all formats.
Outfield – Giancarlo Stanton ($4,300)
After a rocky start to the season, Giancarlo Stanton has been on a tear of late. In the month of July, he is hitting .300 with a .408 on base percentage, .817 slugging percentage, 1.225 OPS, and nine home runs. Tonight's opposing pitcher, Robert Stephenson, allows a lot of hard contact and has control problems. While Stephenson worked on his command in the minors and showed some improvement, he has no track record of success when he has been given a shot in the majors. Another home run or two from the notoriously streaky, red-hot Stanton could certainly be in the cards.
Outfield – Corey Dickerson ($3,200)
While Stanton has been on a tear of late, Corey Dickerson has been trending in the other direction. He has scuffled mightily in the month of July, but I like his odds of getting back on track against Andrew Cashner. The Rangers starter is basically a clone of Mike Pelfrey, with no strikeout upside but reasonably good ground ball skills against RHBs. Like Pelfrey, Cashner also tends to struggle mightily against left-handed hitters. Cashner’s ground ball rate goes from 61% against RHBs to just 38% against LHBs, and he allows a fair share of hard contact. Take advantage of the discounted price tag on a talented hitter in this spot, and the Rays lefties are a great mini-stack in tournament formats.