In this article, I’m going to lay out the groundwork to build off in three to five entry max contests. When playing these types of contests, I find that I have the most success when I have a core, (generally one pitcher on FD and two on DK with a three-player stack and one to two one-off bats) that will find their way into 100% of my lineups. The idea of locking in a core is to limit, for lack of a better term, “randomness” across our lineups. By mixing and matching a few bats around our core across all lineups, we’re able to rule out some tough lineup decisions we may face while not getting completely overwhelmed with a large pool of players.
Below I’ve outlined the pitchers, stacks, and one-offs that I’m considering incorporating into my core for tonight.
Jon Gray (COL)
Gray has seen the Padres quite a bit being an NL West Division foe and has had success against them, especially in San Diego. Over six starts, spanning 35 innings pitched, Gray has 47 strikeouts and a 2.57 ERA. The Padres offense has been a disaster all year long and Gray, who went seven innings with seven strikeouts and no earned runs allowed in his last start in San Diego should bounce back after a rough outing his last time out.
Dylan Bundy (BAL)
Bundy has been a fucking disaster in his last four starts and quite frankly hasn’t had a good year at all. However, at 6.2K on FD and 7K on DK you’re getting great value here if none of the guys in the upper echelon of salaries excite you. The Royals offense has not been good all season, Bundy sees a positive park shift, and I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten how the Royals demolished him earlier this season (don’t look at this box score). Bundy pitches well tonight and lets you pay up for bats on FD and slides in as an SP2 option on DK.
Kevin Gausman (ATL)
Gausman is in play on both FD and DK against the Pirates who simply are just not hitting right now, and quite frankly I think they’ve run out of gas. Gausman, who the Braves fleeced the Orioles for at the trade deadline for as far as I’m concerned, has pitched well in three of his last four starts, one of which came against the Pirates. In that outing, he went eight innings with five strikeouts, four hits against, and no earned runs allowed. The Pirates have a team wOBA of .288 (sixth-worst in baseball) and a .101 ISO (third-worst) over the last two weeks.
Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler
The Twins take on Yovani Gallardo and the Rangers in Texas again tonight where the warm weather should help put runs on the board as it did last night as these two teams combined for 17 runs. Sano, who hits righties well, should feast on Gallardo who allows a .393 wOBA to right-handed hitters. Kepler has hit 13 of his 18 home runs against righties to go along with a 39 percent hard-hit rate. Polanco will have the benefit of the platoon-split for the duration of the game being a switch hitter putting him in a good spot, especially while Gallardo is in the game with his .373 wOBA against righties.
Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong
Yes, I’m going back to the well tonight as I LOVE this spot for the Cardinals. Luis Castillo has given up five earned runs in two of his last three starts and has been throttled by left-handed hitters. Insert, Matt Carpenter. He homered last night, he homers tonight, next player. Yadi Molina. One for five last night, but he’s generally as steady as they come in the two-spot for the Cardinals right behind Carpenter. DeJong hit a home run last night against Donger Bailey (shocker) as he continues to hammer right-handed pitching. Castillo has struggled, the Reds bullpen has been trash, the Cards put up the runs against tonight.
Top One-off Bats
More often than not these are value/underpriced high upside bats, otherwise, they could be bats that I simply have to have in all of my lineups. At times they’ll serve as salary relief allowing you to mix and match some exposure with higher-priced bats throughout our lineups.
Trey Mancini (BAL)
Mancini, who hits righties well with 16 of his 20 home runs coming against the reverse-split faces Heath Fillmyer who has allowed 2.39 HR/9 and a .357 wOBA against righties. Mancini has multiple hits in four of his last six games with four doubles, a triple, and three home runs over that span.
Kole Calhoun (LAA)
Calhoun started off this season horribly but has started to pick up the pace a bit in the second half. On the season he has just a .305 wOBA against righties but has a .204 ISO and an 18.4 HR/FB rate to go along with a 44 percent hard-hit rate. Calhoun has multiple hits in two of his last four games and at 2.4K on FD and 3.8K on DK he stands out as a value bat to look at.