All of the MLB Trade Deadline dust has settled and the month of August begins with a 15-game slate, 12 of them under the lights. We’ll look solely at the night games with only three day games on tap for tonight, which eliminates the Royals, Blue Jays, Rays, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers from consideration. Including the games we’re not looking at, Andrew Heaney, Zack Greinke, Jacob deGrom, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, Lance Lynn, and Cole Hamels are all on the mound today. It’s a big day for a lot of teams and with two months to go, it’s safe to say that the playoff chase is on.
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The salaries listed are from DraftKings.
Here are the top teams to stack for August 1:
Oakland – After creating some unrealistic expectations over his first four starts, Cody Anderson has found out how hard it is to be a Major League pitcher when you don’t miss many bats. Over his first four starts, Anderson had an anemic BABIP against and only gave up three runs, despite striking out 11 in 30.1 innings. In his two starts since, Anderson has allowed 11 runs on 18 hits in just 8.1 innings of work. Even with Cleveland’s vastly-improved infield defense, there’s a lot of risk to Anderson in this outing.
New York Yankees – After the Yankees battered Carlos Rodon on Friday, they draw John Danks on Saturday. Only the Blue Jays have a higher SLG against lefties and only the Blue Jays and Tigers have higher wOBAs. The Yankees have a much larger sample size against lefties than those two teams, so there’s less “noise” in their performance this season. Danks has given up zero runs in three of his last five starts and six runs and seven runs in the other two. He has allowed five or more runs eight times in his 19 starts.
Baltimore – The Orioles have gotten on track offensively and they have a good shot to keep things rolling against Anibal Sanchez on Saturday. Sanchez, as mentioned before in this article and in previews of Tigers games, has had a very odd season statistically. The biggest problem for him has been the long ball, allowing 22 in 136.2 innings of work, which is a new career high. Home runs are a quick way to add up DFS points and the Orioles are tied for sixth in SLG against RHP in what has largely been a down year for their offense.
Here are the top value hitters for August 1:
Jhonny Peralta ($3,600) – Jhonny Peralta has a higher OPS against lefties than he does against righties, even though his average is 59 points lower against lefties. How? Because he has a .509 SLG in 116 PA against southpaws this season. A low BABIP coupled with eight home runs out of 26 hits has skewed the average results, but Peralta has been a very productive hitter against lefties this season. The Cardinals take on Jorge de la Rosa on Saturday night.
Shin-Soo Choo ($3,900) – It’s good to see Shin-Soo Choo into a bit of a groove. He’s underperformed in a big way in each of the last three seasons, but he’s put together a nice run with a .367/.412/.645 slash over his last 10 games. He had the night off on Friday against Madison Bumgarner, but he will be back in there against Chris Heston on Saturday. Heston has a respectable .256/.335/.393 slash against lefties, but that is a noticeable platoon split. He also has noticeable home/road platoon splits, with a .370 SLG allowed on the road. Choo is worth a shot in the good hitting environment.
Pedro Alvarez ($3,800) – Command and consistency continue to plague Raisel Iglesias and Alvarez knows what to do with a mistake pitch. He’s turned it up a bit lately with a .290/.357/.615 slash over his last 10 and has 15 bombs on the season. Iglesias has a bit of a fly ball split and his 25.8 percent line drive percentage is evidence of the command concerns. Lefties have hurt Iglesias in a big way with a .348/.406/.477 slash against.
Here are the top value starting pitchers for August 1:
Joe Ross ($7,500) – In what will be Joe Ross’s last start with the Nationals for the time being, barring a setback for Stephen Strasburg, he can let it all hang out against the light-hitting Mets. Ross has a plus fastball and developing secondaries that have helped him to a 34/3 K/BB ratio over 32.2 innings of work and a 3.03 ERA. Even with a low strand rate, Ross has still been a very effective starter. A 13.7 percent swinging strike rate has given him more than a strikeout per inning and he doesn’t give up many free passes. He’s a low-risk play with a high reward, especially at this price.
Aaron Nola ($5,700) – Nola’s Phillies have scored more than five runs per game since the All-Star Break and they are now 11-2 since the Break. Considering they were 2-10 prior to it in July, this is an enormous turnaround. Nola has had a little bit of a command issue through two starts, but he should keep gaining confidence as he moves along. He has strikeout per inning upside and scouts have raved about his feel for pitching. Through two starts, it’s hard to draw a lot of predictive value from Nola’s performance, but there’s no reason to believe that Nola can’t give you a good ROI at this price.
Lance Lynn ($10,200) – If you’re looking to take one of the top arms in the night games, I think Lynn is your guy. Lynn probably has the best matchup against the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies rank 22nd in wOBA away from home and have the highest strikeout rate in the league. Lynn has struck out more than a batter per inning this season and has a great defense behind him, leading to a high strand rate and a strong 2.71 ERA.