Eleven games are on the docket today in Major League Baseball. Four of them are getaway day games and one is a makeup game of a June 14 rainout between the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. In the interest of time, all of the players included in today’s MLB lineup tips and suggestions column will be from those night games. Overall, it is a particularly interesting day with a handful of starters that are on the trade market, including Scott Kazmir, Tyson Ross, Jeff Samardzija, and David Price.
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Here are the top teams to stack for July 23:
Milwaukee – The Brewers are sure to be a popular stacking option against unknown Zack Godley. Godley was a 10th rounder in the 2013 MLB Draft and was groomed as a reliever in the Chicago Cubs organization before the Arizona Diamondbacks made him a starter. This season, Godley is 9-4 with a 2.72 ERA between A+ and AA, but his three Double-A starts were not all that encouraging. According to scouts, Godley sits low 90s with a fringe-average curveball and a changeup that flashes plus, but regressed as a reliever. Most scouts believe Godley is a reliever. The Diamondbacks, in their lack of wisdom in player development, are using him as a starter. Don’t expect much from him as the Brewers get some good swings.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Bartolo Colon is declining. You can see it in the numbers and you can see it with your eyes. The 42-year-old is hitting the wall from a command standpoint and that’s a major concern. Only the Rockies have a better wOBA against righties than the Dodgers and their numbers are obviously inflated by Coors Field. Forty-five of the 126 hits allowed by Colon are extra-base hits, leading to a .448 SLG. Those points add up in a hurry.
San Diego – The Padres offense is rarely worth stacking, and they may not be on Thursday, but there aren’t a whole lot of options overall. The Cardinals against Guthrie are a better option, but with seven games, it may be best to try and find a contrarian stack to go to battle with in the GPPs. Tom Koehler’s smoke and mirrors act is working this season with a 3.38 ERA, a 4.39 FIP, and a 4.27 xFIP. The Marlins have a great defensive team, which has certainly helped. He has allowed a .451 SLG away from the safety net of Marlins Park and has really struggled with men on base to the tune of a .276/.348/.436 slash. It’s not an ideal stacking option, but it’s at least worth considering.
Here are the top value hitters for July 23:
Adrian Gonzalez ($4,000) –Gonzalez may be the cream of the first base crop on Thursday. Gonzalez ranks 12th in runs above average against fastballs and, as we all know, Bartolo Colon will throw a steady diet of those at the Dodgers. The Dodgers have mauled right-handed pitching all season and Gonzalez has been a big part of the fun with a .291/.373/.563 slash against them this season.
Jose Abreu ($3,700) – Jose Abreu hasn’t been able to live up to his rookie season, but the slugger has a good matchup on Thursday against Trevor Bauer. It’s not good in the sense that Abreu has a 77/17 K/BB ratio, but that Abreu has power and Bauer has given up his share of home runs this season. Bauer’s home run rate is reasonable because he’s a fly ball pitcher, but he has given up seven home runs over his last five starts and command and control have been hit or miss.
Yan Gomes ($2,600) – I’ll assume that nobody has noticed, but over his last 16 games, Yan Gomes has posted a .295/.338/.492 slash, good enough for a .355 wOBA and a 131 wRC+. In terms of production at catcher, it’s hard to find more value than what Gomes has been giving recently. The Indians offense is still struggling on a pretty regular basis, but Gomes is getting comfortable after missing eight weeks earlier this season. It takes time for a hitter that doesn’t walk to start making solid contact, but Gomes is hitting missiles all over the field right now.
Here are the top starting pitchers for July 23:
John Lackey ($8,400) – From a situational standpoint, Thursday’s game is a rough one for the Royals. They have to travel across the state to St. Louis for a makeup game, sandwiched between a tough series against the Pirates and a huge American League series against the Astros. It wouldn’t be a real big surprise to see the Royals lay down in this game. The Twins are scuffling and this is a lost off day. Lackey has thrown the ball pretty well, regression red flags aside, and the Cardinals have one of the game’s top defenses.
Tyson Ross ($9,100) – Tyson Ross draws a Marlins lineup that has been awful all season long against right-handed pitching. This is a great matchup for Ross and, as mentioned above, some run support could be in the works against Tom Koehler. Ross has the best strikeout rate of his career and induces a lot of ground balls, which should limit run-scoring chances.
Clayton Kershaw ($14,100) – He’s elite and it’s the Mets. Just pay for him. Eliminate the doubt and roll with the best. Kershaw has the best strikeout rate of his career this season and the Mets are in the bottom of the league in batting against lefties. It’s hard to pay this kind of price, but you can find value elsewhere with hitters.