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MLB DFS: Best/worst plays for Thursday, June 24th

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Heath examines tonight’s eight-game MLB DFS slate at DraftKings.

Chicago White Sox v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The goal here is to offer up my first pass your MLB DFS research. We have an eight-game slate on DraftKings tonight, beginning at 7:07 PM ET. As of yet, it looks like we could get some weather impact in the CLE/MIN game, and there are double-digit winds blowing IN for the HOU/DET and BAL/TOR affairs. Weather is fickle and isn’t my forte, and it’s early—so be sure to circle around to your favorite weatherperson before lock.

Pitching

Best play: Luis Garcia @ Detroit Tigers ($8,700)

I was studying up on this slate before pricing came out, and I liked Garcia better than Walker Buehler or Jose Berrios from the jump. Add in that he’s inexplicably priced cheaper than guys like Joe Ross and Nick Pivetta, and I’m 100% on board. The double-digit winds blowing IN only help that line of thinking. Two starts ago, Garcia managed only 4 13 against the Minnesota Twins, but prior to that he’s gone at least six innings in every turn since being stretched out as a starter. The Astros are strong -215 road favorites today, against the struggling Jose Urena (2-7, 5.79 ERA). Garcia should be pitching against one of the worst offenses in baseball with a lead. The Tigers sport a .233 BA (bottom third of MLB) and 26.5% strikeout rate (worst in MLB) against RHP. Garcia has a hefty 10.24 K/9 and doesn’t walk many hitters (2.82 BB/9). His 20.4% K-BB% is essentially a top 20 mark in the league, and slots him ahead of tonight’s most expensive pitcher, Walker Buehler (19.8% K-BB%). And while we are on the topic, Jose Berrios—who I also considered—is also top 25 in the league with a 19.5% K-BB%. Maybe that’s simplistic to some, but striking guys out and limiting walks is a recipe for success. Give me all the Garcia in what I perceive to be the best matchup of the three stud pitchers tonight.

Worst play: RHP Dean Kremer @ Toronto Blue Jays ($6,500)

It’s literally the worst play in baseball, if you’re a right-handed pitcher facing the Blue Jays. Toronto leads the league with 83 homers in this split, and trails only Houston in batting average (.272 to .261). The Blue Jays are tied for sixth with 29 steals against RHP, and they are tied for second with a 22.1% strikeout rate in the split (only the Astros are better, at 19.4%). Toronto ranks sixth in OBP (.323), second in SLG (.450), second in OPS (.773), third in ISO (.189), third in wOBA (.333), and fourth in wRC+ (110). Now add in that they are at home and facing off against Kremer (6.20 ERA, 2.37 HR/9) and the Orioles’ bullpen (4.87 ERA, 1.36 HR/9), and you’ve got a recipe for disaster for Baltimore pitching. For reference, that ERA is sixth-worst among all bullpens, while the HR/9 mark is fourth-worst. Yikes.

Bonus worst play: RHP Tony Santillan vs. Atlanta Braves ($7,500)

There’s a dearth of quality SP2 options from what I can tell, so I hope no one considers Santillan against a powerful Atlanta offense. The Braves have a bottom third K-rate against RHP (25.1%), but they are wicked powerful with a .188 ISO (4th) and 77 homers (3rd) in the split so far this year. They can run a bit as well, with the 27 steals (9th) ranking upper third in the league. Santillan got an early hook in his last turn (only 53 pitches), and he’s backed by the worst bullpen in baseball, with the Reds checking in with a 5.70 ERA (worst) and 1.57 HR/9 (worst). I wouldn’t start him even if Ronald Acuña Jr. missed his second game in a row with lower back tightness. Acuña is considered day-to-day—if he’s out, make sure you soak up that leadoff Dansby Swanson value, gamers.

Hitting

Best play: Toronto Blue Jays vs. RHP Dean Kremer

Obligatory pay-up stack. I might mention that one George Springer has returned to this lineup, as well as Teoscar Hernandez and Cavan Biggio. The Blue Jays have raked against right-handers all year long without being fully healthy. When everyone IS healthy, my top choices would be Semien, Bichette, Vladdy, Springer, and Hernandez. Grichuk is solid too, but I like Hernandez’s batting average and the two have similar power output. That said, Springer and Hernandez are still warming up from their IL stints, so I think you have to weave in Grichuk if you play Jays. Grichuk is quietly fourth on this team in home runs (9) against right-handed pitching, trailing Vladdy (21), Semien (14), and Bichette (10). However, his .254 BA pales in comparison to Hernandez’s .279 mark, for reference...and Hernandez has shown more BA upside in this split in recent years. You can slice up the Jays any way you like today.

Second-best play: Atlanta Braves @ RHP Tony Santillan

You know who stinks this year? The Reds bullpen. The Reds relievers are dead last with a 5.70 ERA, a number that is supported by the worst FIP (4.92) and sixth-worst xFIP (4.61) among all bullpens. Against right-handed pitching, Atlanta is fourth in ISO (.188), eighth in wOBA (.322), and have the fourth-best walk rate (10.5%). Reds relievers are second-worst in the bigs with a 5.01 BB/9...so if free passes abound today it could be big run totals for the Braves. Lastly, the Reds’ bullpen has a 1.57 HR/9—also the worst mark among all MLB bullpens. I’ll take Acuna, Freeman, Albies, and Swanson. After those four, it’s down to Riley, Contreras, or Almonte...I’d rotate those along with the core four. And again, if Acuña happens to miss, watch out for some sneaky lineup value—probably in the form of Dansby Swanson batting leadoff for only $3,600.

Another second-best play: Houston Astros @ RHP Jose Urena

A bad pitcher and a bottom five bullpen versus a top offense? Don’t mind if I do. The park environs mean the Astros have to be below the other two stacks for me, but the truth is we are splitting hairs here, folks. You can chase any one of these stacks. The battle tonight should not be finding offense. The battle should be figuring out your pitching. A lot of these bats are costly, as are the stud pitchers. Value should be important, as always.

Value plays to consider: Wander Franco, cheap outfielders, Twins

It looks like we’ll have plenty to mine. Franco’s cost has risen ($3,800), but he’s still viable against Nick Pivetta and his percent rostered should take a hit as a result of the price hike. There are some stud outfielders under $4,000 to consider, mostly guys like George Springer, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Tucker, Dylan Carlson, and others. Of these, Schwarber’s price seems the most egregious. He’s turned in some monster performances lately—22.0, 3.0, 44.0, 32.0—but this cost hasn’t caught up yet. He should bat leadoff against the right-handed Cody Poteet. Yes, the game is in Marlins Park and Poteet has shown flashes. But this price point is just too low. Schwarber owns a .250/.310/.607 slash line against RHP this year, with 18 of his 19 homers coming in this split. Load up.

Who are YOU looking at so far for your lineups, ladies and gents?!?