MLB DFS Plays for 7/1/16

The weekend begins with a relatively early Friday afternoon contest – typically, the Cubs host an afternoon game on Friday one hour later – followed by a standalone early evening game, then the rest of the league. An injury to Clayton Kershaw forces the Dodgers’ ‘ace’ to miss his start, likely elevating the prices for pitchers, but lacking any singular outlier.

Currently, we are using xFIP and wOBA simply to compare one pitcher’s performance against another – especially against opposite-handed hitters. We aren’t using these numbers for calculation. To help with some calculations, we have assumed that each hitter and pitcher has played at least one game. Each pitcher was assigned an innings total relative to his average projection.

Check the starting lineups and weather reports prior to making any plays, as these change without notice.


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Projected Low-Scoring Games

Chicago Cubs at New York Mets – Thursday’s series opener between the Cubs and Mets yielded a fantastic nail-biter to the end. Friday continues the trend, as Jason Hammel and Jacob deGrom square off in New York. Like many of the Cubs’ pitchers – likely carried by the run support of the offense – Hammel is in the middle of an excellent season, and should even see his low strikeout rate rise against the Mets. deGrom continues to deliver on a start-by-start basis, and has allowed four earned runs in a game only once, this season. A pitcher’s duel is on the horizon.

Targets: Jason Hammel and Jacob deGrom

New York Yankees at San Diego Padres – In keeping with the trend of ‘selling high’ on Nathan Eovaldi, we are now ‘buying low’ on the Yankees’ starting pitcher. After watching his ERA dip from 5.46 to 3.71, it has effectively returned to its starting position and settled at 5.19. Eovaldi mercifully draws the strikeout-happy Padres in a ballpark that suppresses right-handed power. Colin Rea is in nearly an identical situation as his counterpart, and will face a Yankees team that has scored a total of three earned runs off opposing starting pitchers in the last three games. As an added bonus, Rea has the benefit of pitching on his birthday.

Targets: Nathan Eovaldi and Colin Rea


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Projected High-Scoring Games

Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox – For a pitcher with a 2.18 ERA on the season, it is difficult to consider that he may be declining. In reality, Steven Wright’s statistics are equally unfair, where the pitcher allowed eight runs on seven hits in his last outing, although only three were earned. His last start was also the second time that he failed to throw 100 pitchers, all season. His production remains excellent throughout this breakout campaign, but he faces a team that is nearly impossible to strike out and enters the game on the heels of getting swept. Jhoulys Chacin’s own decline is well underway, as he holds a 9.53 ERA over his last four starts and faces the highest-scoring offense in the league.

Targets: Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox Hitters

Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers – An injury to Clayton Kershaw forced a quick trade by the Dodgers to acquire Bud Norris. Immediately, he will be inserted into the starting rotation – at least, temporarily – and face the high-powered Rockies. Indeed, Colorado won’t be playing in its hitter-friendly ballpark, but should still have success against Norris – and his 4.22 ERA – given the circumstances. Dodgers hitters should expect an equally productive day, as Los Angeles hosts Jorge De La Rosa. The Rockies’ starting pitcher has actually been on fire lately – a 1.80 ERA over his last six games, although only three starts – but his ERA still sits at a ridiculously high 6.47 for the season.

Targets: Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers Hitters


Undervalued Plays

Ervin Santana – Ervin Santana continues to sit undervalued, despite allowing a total of three earned runs over his last two starts. Indeed, Santana’s ERA is still elevated and his strikeout rate is surprisingly low, but he faces a Rangers team that just lost back-to-back heartbreakers. While this would typically lean us in the direction of targeting players from Texas, the odds for the game are shockingly close to even. The trap is set up for Santana and the Twins to take advantage of a bruised Rangers squad.

Philadelphia Phillies Hitters – Ian Kennedy continued his home success in his last start, and appears poised to break his road slump against the strikeout-prone Phillies. Instead, Philadelphia – in a hitter’s ballpark – stands to explode. The Phillies’ offense is averaging 6.33 runs-per-game over its last nine games – all on the road – and should carry its success into the start of the team’s homestand.


Featured Image Credit: By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA (#WorldSeries Game 2: Jacob deGrom) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Mario Mergola
Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola