This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Summer's heat continues to bring us larger than normal Saturday evening slates, as we've got 10 games to dissect, with very few teams playing in the afternoon.
It's a huge Joes and schmoes night on the bump, with Gerrit Cole ($12,000) and Mike Clevinger ($10,700) the only arms priced north of 9k. Cole's form is worth every penny here, as he's been worth 45 FanDuel points (FDP) or more in five straight, topping 57 FDP four times. He'll get an unfamiliar and mediocre Cardinals lineup that fans only 22.7 percent of the time, possibly capping his strike out form that has fanned 54 in his past 34 frames. But the Cardinals 91 wRC+ suggests the only reason to fade Cole is price, as the other options aren't splendid. Clevinger figures to be a popular pivot against a Royals lineup that presents almost identically to the Cole's St. Louis matchup, as they carry a 22.1 percent fan rate and 90 wRC+. He's gone for 43 or more FDP in three of four, twice topping 50, so the upside can be as high as Cole at a rather substantial discount.
Jon Lester ($8,600) and Anthony DeSclafani ($8,000) are the only other two arms priced north of 8k, showing how weak the options are. Lester appears to be a pretty sound choice despite facing a Brewers' lineup that ranks ninth against lefties with a .329 wOBA. His six-game low is 24 FDP, with no other outing going below 32 FDP. He also shut out Milwaukee over 6.2 innings in an earlier meeting, fanning six, and had fanned 27 in 22.1 innings across four previous starts against the divisional opponent. DeSclafani, meanwhile, has found a way to be useful of late but is a hard pass for me against a Rockies lineup that has scored 20 runs in their last two outings.
This slate is so ugly on the mound; you'd think there would be a handful of secondary options, but there's only three more arms priced at 7k or greater; Max Fried ($7,500), Chase Anderson ($7,100) and Zach Eflin ($7,000), with Fried and Eflin facing off. Anderson could battle Lester in a pitcher's duel, but it doesn't feel great using an arm against a Cubs offense, even if they check in as a small favorite (-113).
For me, this is a day to pay up for pitching and take advantage of the right "bad" offenses in a plus spot. But if you're interested in paying down for arms and up for bats, Martin Perez ($6,800) and Steven Matz ($6,400) stand out. Perez and the Twins are big favorites (-160) against a White Sox lineup that fans 25.1 percent of the time while posting a moderate .314 wOBA and .153 ISO. Matz has been pretty awful but is coming off of a 34 FDP outing and faces a Pirates offense that ranks last with a .282 wOBA, 72 wRC+ and .136 ISO, suggesting there's minimal risk for combustion.
Braves-Phillies has a total of 10 runs and sets up as my favorite game stack Saturday night with Fried ($7,500) returning from a blister and facing Zach Eflin ($7,000). Fried wasn't throwing well prior to his minor injury, lasting only five innings in three straight starts, and allowed five runs and seven hits to Philadelphia over 4.2 innings on June 14. Rhys Hoskins ($4,100) rakes against lefties to the tune of a .440 wOBA, 175 wRC+ and .286 ISO, and should be a lineup staple here. Jean Segura ($3,700) and Scott Kingery ($3,400) also slot nicely against southpaws. On the other side, I love what the Braves did Friday, scoring nine runs without the need for a long ball, getting just one solo shot. Eflin gave up six runs in three innings against the Braves three starts ago and has allowed 25 runs over his last five starts, spanning 24.0 innings. It's a clear stacking opportunity, as Ronald Acuna ($4,300) continues to be underpriced as a virtual double-digit FDP lock, and the prices fall off the cliff for Braves' secondary bats with Dansby Swanson ($3,200) limited by a heel issue, giving Ozzie Albies ($3,100) the opportunity to hit between Acuna and Freddie Freeman ($4,100), and Johan Camargo ($2,200) a path to daily playing time. Nick Markakis ($2,800) appears to have suffered a serious injury after being hit by a pitch Friday, so keep an eye on the lineup. Ender Inciarte ($2,100) and Austin Riley ($2,900) seem like locks for the lineup as such, but Charlie Culberson ($2,000) could see action, as could Adam Duvall (not listed), who is expected to be recalled and had 29 home runs at Triple-A.
Twins' bats figure to be popular against Ivan Nova ($6,100), who has allowed 10 runs in his last three starts, spanning 19.2 innings, but includes a complete-game one-run showing against Miami in his last outing. He allowed four runs and seven hits in an earlier start against Minnesota. Nelson Cruz ($4,400) and Jason Castro ($2,700) have the best mix of BvP success and positive splits against righties, while Jonathan Schoop ($2,900) and Marwin Gonzalez ($3,000) both have BvP numbers worth trusting at a discount. There appears to be solid flexibility with the Twins depending on their lineup.
Houston is another lineup that figures to be trendy against St. Louis' Daniel Ponce de Leon ($6,500), who hasn't gone more than 3.2 innings in four of his last five outings. It's usually cost prohibitive to own multiple pieces of the Astros' lineup, but there appears to be some value in Alex Bregman ($3,900) and Yuli Gurriel ($3,800) and their sub-4k price. With an 8.5 run total and Cole on the mound, the onus is on Houston's bats to get to that number.
Baltimore can be a cheap place to turn to for offense. They've scored 19 runs in their first two games in Anaheim, and have a trio of options with a wOBA of .370 or better against lefties, including Hanser Alberto ($2,700), Pedro Severino ($2,600) and Renato Nunez ($3,400).
Reds vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez (Rockies)
Since July 1, the Reds have swung terrifically, led by this trio. Suarez carries a .455 wOBA, .507 ISO and 183 wRC+ during that span, while Puig goes .418/.216/158. Ervin is a bit of a wildcard, as he normally only starts against lefties but has a .524/.325/227 line over his last 45 at bats. He's cheap and can easily be replaced by the likes of Jesse Winkler ($2,800) if not in the lineup. Gonzalez had a 6.10 ERA and 5.27 xFIP at Triple-A, allowing 1.6 HR/9 and 20.3 percent of his fly balls to leave the yard.
Indians vs. Glenn Sparkman (Royals)
Sparkman has seen the Indians twice over the last month, and has allowed nine runs and 16 hits across 11.1 frames. He's also allowed a homer and five hits in 10 ABs to Francisco Lindor, who has a .364 wOBA and .246 ISO against righties since July 1. Ramirez is white hot, sporting a .438 wOBA, 175 wRC+ and .316 ISO against righties this month. Naquin helps balance this out a bit price-wise and is also surging, owning a 114 wRC+ and .347 wOBA in July.
Angels vs. Aaron Brooks (Orioles)
Brooks has a 5.16 ERA, supported by a 5.25 xFIP, and is allowing 1.8 HR/9, an encouraging thing when two of these three may be largely homer dependent. Trout speaks for himself and should only be faded because of price. Ohtani has a .376 wOBA, 140 wRC+ and .259 ISO in this spot, while Upton betters that with a .393 wOBA, 152 wRC+ and .243 ISO. Kole Calhoun ($3,500) fits the mold as homer dependent and is a little cheaper, while you may be able to squeeze in David Fletcher ($3,100) to save even further, and take his spot atop the lineup and hope to cash in on this trio behind him.