It’s my first MLB DFS article since the All-Star break and all I can say is that the selection of pitching options on Monday doesn’t exactly exude confidence. At the very least, while the pitchers on the main slate aren’t the best, we don’t have to deal with a game in Coors. Kevin Gausman is the most expensive pitcher on DraftKings at $10,000, but he faces a Detroit Tigers team that has been swinging hot bats recently. For the time being, the matchup between the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves could have weather concerns, so make sure to keep an eye on updates throughout the day. Due to the lack of top-tier pitching options on Monday, I’ll just have to swallow my pride and do something that I’m afraid to do, which is use Kyle Gibson in MLB DFS.
Favorite pitcher: Kyle Gibson @ Detroit Tigers ($9,000)
I never thought I’d see the day where I name Gibson as my favorite pitcher on the main slate. But with there not being any surefire pitchers to choose from, I’ll take my chances on Gibson versus the Tigers. It almost seems as if at any moment, Gibson could return to being a pitcher that gets rocked every time he takes the mound. However, the veteran pitcher has been able to have success this season, with a 32.7% hard contact rate and a 29.3% fly ball rate. He’s also producing a career-low 4.2% barrel rate, as he’s preventing opposing teams from getting hard hits on him. While Gibson isn’t a premier strikeout artist, he’s struck out 7+ batters in three consecutive starts. Even though I’m hesitant to insert Gibson into my lineups on Monday, he draws the Tigers, who have the 8th lowest ISO and the 2nd highest strikeout rate to RHP in 2021. Plus, Gibson faces Detroit on the road, where he’s performed even better with a 25% hard contact rate and a 29% flyball rate to match. Now that I’m finally leaning into Gibson being an improved pitcher this year, he’ll likely have a dismal start, so proceed with caution.
Least-favorite pitcher: Nick Pivetta ($7,900) @ Toronto Blue Jays
There aren’t many pitchers that are going to be put in a worse spot than Nick Pivetta on Monday night. Prior to the All-Star break, Pivetta was struggling, allowing 3+ ER in four of his last six starts for the Boston Red Sox. The former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies has attempted to utilize his curveball more often in recent starts, with no fruitful results coming from it. The good news for Pivetta is that he’s sporting career-high marks in strikeout percentage (27.8%) and WHIP (1.28). But the bad news for Pivetta is that amid his woes in recent starts, he’ll have to face a Toronto Blue Jays team that is slashing .268/.329/.460 versus RHP this season. Not to mention, they own the second-lowest strikeout rate to right-handed hurlers as well.
Favorite team to stack: Houston Astros vs. RHP J.C. Mejia
I like the Blue Jays on Monday and the Cincinnati Reds are a team that I’ll have plenty of exposure to against Jerad Eickhoff of the New York Mets. But my favorite stack to target is the Houston Astros, who will be squaring off against a familiar face in J.C. Mejia. In his debut season with the Cleveland Indians, Mejia currently has a 7.42 ERA and is surrendering 1.48 HR/9. Also, Mejia has given up 6+ ER in three out of his last four starts, which includes an outing versus the same Astros who he faces on Monday. Even with Houston sans Alex Bregman, they still have a daunting lineup that can do a ton of damage versus RHP. Over the course of the season, the Astros have the lowest strikeout rate, the ninth-best ISO, and the league-best wRC+ to RHP. Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel, Michael Brantley, and Carlos Correa are the primary targets in Houston’s lineup. Guys like Myles Straw, Abraham Toro, Martin Maldonado, or Jason Castro could allow you to get cheaper pieces of the Astros if you’re looking to differentiate your stack.
Second-favorite team to stack: Miami Marlins @ LHP Jon Lester
I haven’t taken much of a look at what ownership could look like on Monday, but I have a feeling the Miami Marlins could go a bit overlooked. Jon Lester is a shell of his former self and he is now a pitcher to target in MLB DFS. The longtime pitcher is registering a career-worst 14.1% strikeout rate and a career-worst 1.74 WHIP. The southpaw is also notching a 5.46 xFIP and 1.71 HR/9 this season for the Washington Nationals. Simply put, Lester has been downright awful in his 16th year in the majors. Given his well-documented struggles, the Miami Marlins have a few players that can take advantage of the favorable matchup. Just be wary of using Starling Marte, as the Marlins could avoid having him play due to a possible trade taking place soon. Everyone else in the lineup is worth consideration, especially if Miami doesn’t command a ton of ownership on Monday.
Favorite one-off: Bryan Reynolds ($3,900) @ LHP Caleb Smith
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a tough team to roster every night as they don’t strike out often, but they also don’t have a lot of pop in their bats. That being said, Bryan Reynolds has been fantastic for the Pirates this season. Reynolds has swung the bat well on both sides of the plate, though he’s been noticeably better versus southpaws. In his 105 plate appearances against LHP in 2021, Reynolds has a .242 ISO, a .417 wOBA, and a 163 wRC+. The LHP that Reynolds will face on Monday will be Caleb Smith. Smith is giving up 1.66 HR/9 to right-handed batters this season and a 52.2% fly ball rate to hitters of the righty variety. There’s no reason why Reynolds should be priced under $4,000 on DraftKings.