This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Once again, we're left to determine if a Coors Field fade is appropriate.
There are several ways to go as you seek out bats outside of that matchup, whether it's a full fade, or a partial one.
I'm making a concerted effort to indicate the type of contest I prefer to use players in – cash (50/50) or tournaments (GPPs) – which is generally an exercise in estimating ownership rates (or "finding the chalk") and making sure to have enough variation around the highly-coveted top value plays to have a dangerous lineup.
Remember, a strong cash-game play isn't necessarily a "bad" tournament play, but too many "chalky" players can create a limiting factor in big-field tournaments.
Your constructive feedback is appreciated, and always welcomed.
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Preferred Cash Play: Justin Verlander, HOU vs. OAK ($11,800)
Bauer has been a top-10 starting pitcher since this time last year, firing 205 innings with a 2.68 ERA, 10.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 0.70 HR/9. He's always had the ability to miss bats, but now Bauer has found a combination of pitches that keeps hitters guessing, and one that has enabled him to keep his walk rate in check. The matchups are similar – the Reds strikeout less than the A's, but the A's have been slightly more productive against right-handed pitching this season. The edge goes to Verlander because Minute Maid Park is a much a more favorable run environment for pitchers.
Mikolas fits better as a cash-game play for me thanks to his low strikeout rate (17.0%), even though he matches up against a White Sox club with the second-highest split K% against right-handed pitching on Tuesday's slate (25.4%). Under the same logic, Rich Hill draws the Padres at Petco, and their below-average output (93 wRC+) and above-average strikeout rate (23.2%) against lefties.
Preferred Tournament Play: Masahiro Tanaka, NYY at BAL ($9,000)
As per usual, the cash-game recommendations above are viable in tournaments. Tanaka pitched five innings in his lone rehab start at Triple-A, so it doesn't appear as though he'll have a major workload restriction in his return Tuesday night. The Yankees are a -245 favorite in Baltimore, and his matchup against an Orioles club with the the second-lowest wRC+ split on the board (84) and fourth-highest K% (24.6%) gives him a very high ceiling. The home-run issues he's battled since the start of last season (51 allowed in 251 innings) are the only concern, since very hot temperatures (~90 degrees) at first pitch can exacerbate the problem.
The price is fair on Garrett Richards ($8,500), who will be making his third consecutive start against the Mariners on Tuesday night, his second turn since returning from a hamstring injury on July 4.
Phillies rookie Enyel De Los Santos ($5,500) will make his MLB debut against the Mets at Citi Field on Tuesday night. For those looking to try something cheap and different in a big-field GPP, De Los Santos has been pitching very well at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, most recently going six or more innings in 11 of his last 12 starts, while posting a 2.01 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 7.3 K/9 during that span. Typical of any play at this price point, it's a high-risk, high-reward consideration.
There is a very easy path to Paul Goldschmidt against a lefty (Tyler Anderson) at Coors Field for $4,800. Check out the viable sub-$3K first-base options that can all be plugged in as utility bats Tuesday to offset the cost on Goldy. Even for those fading Goldschmidt with an eye toward getting exposure to the Arizona-Colorado matchup elsewhere, these cheap options are in play.
Jose Martinez, STL at CHW ($2,600) – Dylan Covey's early 2018 success has faded, and he's struggling keep runners off base, and serving up long balls again. Martinez is hitting .296/.356/.474 against right-handed pitching since the start of last season, so even without the platoon advantage, he should probably cost $3,300-3,500 in a matchup like this.
Yonder Alonso, CLE vs. CIN ($2,400) – Sal Romano is a better pitcher than people give him credit for, but he's still having trouble against lefty bats this season (.302/.381/.517), which will steer plenty of lineups toward Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez as building blocks again Tuesday. Alonso should be the most affordable source of thump in the Cleveland lineup in this matchup, and he'll likely be lower-owned than both Abreu and Martinez.
Asdrubal Cabrera, NYM vs. PHI ($3,300) – Not interested in using Enyel De Los Santos as a cheap tournament dart? The switch-hitting Cabrera is a viable cash-game and tournament consideration at this price, in this matchup, especially since De Los Santos wasn't missing bats at an elevated clip during his successful run at Triple-A Lehigh Valley to begin the season.
Whit Merrifield, KC at MIN ($3,000) – Although he recorded a quality start against the Orioles last time out, Twins right-hander Aaron Slegers only had two strikeouts in six innings against a Baltimore offense that whiffs a lot. He didn't strike a lot of batters out at Triple-A either, which gives a contact-heavy team like the Royals a path to a productive night at the plate. Merrifield is the Kansas City hitter I'm most interested in, and he's on the short list of alternatives for those who are passing on Ketel Marte ($3,500 vs. LHP Tyler Anderson) and DJ LeMahieu ($3,800 vs. LHP Patrick Corbin) at Coors.
Rougned Odor ($3,100) remains in play against Red Sox right-hander Hector Velazquez in Fenway on Tuesday night. Odor is hitting .281/.361/.500 with four homers over his last 17 games since a two-game break in Kansas City in June.
Justin Turner, LAD at SD ($3,800) – It's possible that Eric Lauer is on his way toward becoming a useful home streamer for favorable matchups at home. You've seen this line from me before. Turner is cheaper than he should be in a great matchup against a very hittable lefty. Take advantage of the price while you can.
Matt Carpenter, STL at CHW ($3,200) – As noted above with Jose Martinez, Dylan Covey has struggled in recent weeks, and for some reason, the Cards bats are significantly underpriced Tuesday night. If you want to pay up a little more than the price on Martinez for a one-off from the St. Louis lineup, Carpenter is likely the best play on the board for St. Louis in this matchup.
Jorge Polanco, MIN vs. KC ($3,300) – Ian Kennedy is starting for the Royals on Tuesday night, which creates several interesting matchups for Minnesota bats. In the eight games he's started since returning from a PED suspension, Polanco has hit first, second, fifth, sixth and eighth for the Twins, recording a pair of multi-hit games during that span. If he lands in the first two spots in the order, he's a viable cash-game play. If he lands anywhere higher than eighth, he should be a low-owned tournament play with a lot of attention going to the D-backs-Rockies shortstops (Trevor Story & Nick Ahmed), along with several viable alternatives priced similarly, including...
Chris Taylor, LAD at SD ($2,900) – If you're not sharing my love for Justin Turner, Taylor is nearly $1,000 cheaper, and he offers very good splits against left-handed pitching (.275/.347/.476 since the start of 2017).
Eddie Rosario, MIN vs. KC ($3,500) – Tuesday will mark the Twins' 10th game of July, a month in which Rosario has not yet hit a home run. Ian Kennedy and the Royals are in town, which significantly increases his chances of going yard. Kennedy has a 1.67 HR/9 against left-handed hitters since the start of 2016 – the third-worst home-run rate against lefties of the 30 starting pitchers in play on this slate.
Gregory Polanco, PIT vs. WAS ($2,900) – Polanco made an adjustment at the plate – specifically, he's standing a little bit further away from it, and the results have been a big step back toward the high-end production he was offering to begin the season. Over the last 16 games, he's hitting .333/.448/.688 with four homers, 13 RBI and a 10:14 BB:K, and if the adjustment continues to pay off at anything close to that level, Polanco will vault up the price list toward the mid-high $3K range in the near future. Tuesday's matchup comes against Jeremy Hellickson, whose 1.58 HR/9 against lefties since the start of 2016 is the fourth-worst split of the 30 starters on the board.
Enrique Hernandez, LAD at SD ($2,900) – Padres starter Eric Lauer has the second-worst wOBA allowed to right-handed hitters (.389) on Tuesday's slate, making him particularly vulnerable to the parade of righties the Dodgers can stack up against him in this matchup. Thanks to improvement against right-handed pitching, Hernandez already has a career-high 15 homers before the All-Star break. He's still best utilized in matchup against southpaws, however, and he's once again worth consideration since the price is so low.
Other discounted matchups to consider include…
- Nick Williams, PHI at NYM ($2,600)
- Adam Eaton, WAS at PIT ($3,200)
- Nomar Mazara, TEX at BOS ($3,100)
- Max Kepler, MIN vs. KC ($3,200)
- Tommy Pham, STL at CHW ($2,900)
- Marcell Ozuna, STL at CHW ($2,800)