This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We have another Sunday slate to wrap up the week. There aren't many high-profile pitching matchups, though there are still aces set to take the mound with two in strong places to succeed. There's also interesting valuation and a potential under-the-radar stack to take advantage. With that, let's jump in.
It's hard to go wrong with Shane Bieber ($11,000), but Carlos Rodon ($10,200) provides a fairly sizable discount with one of the best matchups on the slate. The Tigers' lineup has shuffled a bit with new additions such as Isaac Paredes and Daz Cameron, but they still enter the game having struck out at a 29.6 percent rate against left-handed pitching this season.
Framber Valdez ($8,200) comes in as a mid-tier option, yet has posted elite skills through three starts (24.0 K-BB%, 2.09 SIERA). The Twins represent a tough offense against southpaws, which is the one downside to rostering Valdez. However, they still strike out at a 24.6 percent rate and Valdez's relatively low salary means he's viable.
After starting his career with a few stumbles, Logan Gilbert ($6,700) has settled in nicely of late. Across his last two starts, he's completed a combined 11 innings with a 12:5 K:BB while only surrendering three earned runs. The Cleveland matchup is hardly daunting, but they make contact at a decent rate and Gilbert's chances for earning a win are minimized given he's squaring off against Bieber.
Christian Yelich ($6,100) represents the slate's highest-salaried bat, which isn't necessarily worth paying up for. However, he'll draw a positive matchup and has shown signs of returning to form by clubbing a double in three of his last four outings. That's not necessarily predicts, but it's a sign that perhaps he's finally feeling fully healthy.
Marlins Park is not typically a stadium where I want my hitters to be playing, but Starling Marte ($4,500) has been excellent regardless where he's hit this season. Drew Smyly has allowed 2.7 HR/9 and has a 4.82 SIERA, making him a pitcher to target on the slate. Add Marte's speed into the equation and there a number of ways he can pay off his salary today.
Domingo German has surrendered 1.8 HR/9 on the season, with the number creeping slightly higher against lefties. Citizens Bank Park is a great park for hitters to go yard, making Bryce Harper ($4,700) a nice power bat to get into lineups.
Manuel Margot ($3,100) has produced a .174 ISO and 112 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season and are comparable to those of Randy Arozarena. What isn't comparable is the pair's salary, since there's a $2,400 difference. That makes Margot a strong value play.
Brendan Rodgers ($2,900) is finally getting near everyday playing time and it appears to be helping him find a rhythm at the plate. It's a small sample, but he's already barreled three balls this season and is making plenty of contact (17.7 K%). Great American Ballpark isn't Coors Field, but it's still a great hitter's park to target cheap bats.
Michael Brantley's ($3,200) salary is very strange. With no obvious explanation, it's a strong slate to simply plug him into lineups without asking many questions. In four appearances since being activated from the injured list, Brantley has twice collected multiple hits and only once been held hitless.
Stacks to Consider
Not only is Brantley misvalued, but the entire Astros lineup seems to be. Michael Pineda has allowed 1.6 HR/9 on the season and has been a very mediocre pitcher. However, this play is less about the pitching matchup and more about the salaries each player listed above can be rostered at. Among Gurriel, Alvarez, Tucker and Brantley, none has a wRC+ below 145 against right-handed pitching in 2021.
As stated earlier, Marlins Park isn't the most desirable park to stack hitters. However, Smyly has proven vulnerable all season and the Miami have hitters who can take advantage. Marte and Chisholm are the core of the stack. Duvall is a heat check play, as he's been on a power binge of late. Finally, Jorge Alfaro represents a nice value and has posted a .227 ISO against left-handed pitching this season and a .160 career mark.
The Reds offer the slate's most traditional stack in that they are in a favorable matchup in a good hitter's park while being able to roll out hitters who can take advantage of both. There's not much explanation needed beyond that, so the main issue will be finding a way to fit the big bats into lineups from a salary perspective.