The All-Star break gave a few ace starters a chance to rest their arms, and provided daily fantasy competitors an opportunity to get refreshed for the season's second half. After a high-scoring weekend slate of games, we're jumping right into a heavy schedule on Tuesday and Wednesday, with plenty of top pitchers on the bump and ready to resume their bat-missing ways. I'm expecting big performances from Cards ace Adam Wainwright on Tuesday versus the Rays, and a dominant start from Yu Darvish on Wednesday against the Yankees in the Bronx.
I highlighted Homer Bailey before the break, but I'm willing to give him a start or two before I invest in that balky knee. Keep an eye on Bailey's next couple starts. I've got some hot tips for this week's games. Let's get to it.
This week's Tuesday/Wednesday starter recommendations
Adam Wainwright, STL (vs. TAM)—Wainwright sports the second-best ERA (1.83) in baseball after Clayton Kershaw and has had a full week of rest following his 21-pitch stint in the All-Star Game. He's the top pitcher play of the day Tuesday, though there could be some better values on the board based on matchup if you're not willing to devote so much team salary to your pitcher.
Jacob deGrom, NYM (@SEA)—Where Wainwright makes sense in head-to-head contests, deGrom is my choice for tournament play. He's relatively cheap and has tremendous upside facing the Mariners and their yet-to-be-determined starter. He's 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA and 27 Ks in his last three starts and while he's only slated to throw about 70 more innings this season, he hasn't been curbed just yet.
VALUE BONUS: Kyle Hendricks, CHC (vs. SD)—He's starting just his second game in the bigs and gets the feckless Padres, who struggle to make solid contact and score runs. I won't be betting big money on him, but he's worth rostering in low-stakes GPPs and the occasional qualifier tourney.
Yu Darvish, TEX (@NYY)—Darvish struck out 12 Blue Jays in his most recent start and could be in line for another double-digit K total against the Yankees, who haven't hit well in their home park this season despite the short porch in right field and a host of lefty bats. The Yanks will be rolling out David Phelps, so I expect the Rangers to give Darvish plenty of run support and let him have his way with the Bombers.
|INJURED PLAYERS TO WATCH/AVOID|
|Cody Ross, ARI calf, DTD)
Chris Owings, ARI (shoulder, DL: possible early-August return)
Eric Chavez, ARI (knee, DL: out indefinitely)
Cliff Pennington, ARI (thumb, DL: possible August return)
A.J. Pollock, ARI (hand, DL: possible mid-August return)
Justin Upton, ATL (triceps, DTD)
Matt Wieters, BAL (elbow, DL: 2015)
Will Middlebrooks, BOS (finger, DL: out indefinitely)
Emilio Bonifacio, CHC (ribs, DL: out indefinitely)
Brandon Phillips, CIN (thumb, DL: possible late-August return)
Joey Votto, CIN (quad, DL: possible late-August return)
Michael Bourn, CLE (hamstring, DL: possible early-August return)
Jason Giambi, CLE (knee, DL: possible August return)
Nyjer Morgan, CLE (knee, DL: out indefinitely)
Charlie Blackmon, COL (ankle, DTD)
Troy Tulowitzki, COL (quad, DTD)
Justin Morneau, COL (neck, DTD)
Michael Cuddyer, COL (shoulder, DL: possible August return)
George Springer, HOU (knee, DTD)
Alex Presley, HOU (ribs, DL: out indefinitely)
Dexter Fowler, HOU (ribs, DL: possible late-July return)
Sal Perez, KAN (groin, DTD)
Erick Aybar, LAA (groin, DTD)
Colin Cowgill, LAA (nose, DL: possible mid-August return)
Hanley Ramirez, LAD (wrist, DTD)
Yasiel Puig, LAD (hand, DTD)
Erisbel Arruebarrena, LAD (hip, DL: out indefinitely)
Chone Figgins, LAD (hip, DL: possible late-July return)
Derek Dietrich, MIA (wrist, DL: out indefinitely)
Rafael Furcal, MIA (hamstring, DL: out indefinitely)
Jeff Bianchi, MIL (elbow, DL: possible early-August return)
Joe Mauer, MIN (ribs, DL: possible mid-July return)
Alberto Callaspo, OAK (hamstring, DL: possible late-Julyreturn)
Josh Reddick, OAK (knee, DL: possible July 22 return)
Kyle Blanks, OAK (calf, DL: possible mid-July return)
Carlos Ruiz, PHI (concussion, DL: possible late-July return)
Starling Marte, PIT (head, DTD)
Clint Barmes, PIT (groin, DL: possible mid-August return)
Everth Cabrera, SD (hamstring, DL: possible late-July return)
Yonder Alonso, SD (wrist, DL: late-July return)
Jedd Gyorko, SD (foot, DL: possible early-August return)
Brandon Belt, SF (head, DL: possible early-August return)
Angel Pagan, SF (back, DL: possible August return)
Robinson Cano, SEA (hamstring, DTD)
Michael Saunders, SEA (ribs, DL: possible early-August return)
Yadier Molina, STL (thumb, DL: possible late-September return)
Ryan Hanigan, TAM (ribs, DL: late-July return)
David DeJesus, TAM (hand, DL: possible mid-August return)
Wil Myers, TAM (wrist, DL: possible mid-August return)
Alex Rios, TEX (ankle, DTD)
Prince Fielder, TEX (neck, DL: 2015)
Mitch Moreland, TEX (ankle, DL: 2015)
Kevin Kouzmanoff, TEX (back, DL: possible July return)
Jurickson Profar, TEX (shoulder, DL: possible September return)
Nolan Reimold, TOR (calf, DL: possible late-July return)
Adam Lind, TOR (foot, DL: possible early-August return)
Edwin Encarnacion, TOR (quad, DL: possible late-July return)
Brett Lawrie, TOR (finger, DL: possible early-August return)
Maicer Izturis, TOR (knee, DL: possible September return)
Madison Bumgarner, SF (@PHI)—Bumgarner has a lot of things going for him right now, and the Phillies—who rank 27th in runs scored, 28th in batting average, 28th in OBP and 29th in SLG, do not. He's still underpriced, in my opinion, since his strikeout totals have increased , and he's been especially tough on lefties (.271 wOBA) this season. I'll be keying on him in most of my contests Wednesday night, mixing in some Darvish and a smattering of Tsuyoshi Wada (below).
VALUE BONUS: Tsuyoshi Wada, CHC (vs. SD)—The young Wada will make his second career big-league start against the Padres on Wednesday after striking out three in five innings (and yielding just five hits and one unearned run) in his debut. This is a much better position for him in terms of upside; he's likely to go deeper into the game and get more strikeouts.
NOTE: Make sure you check the weather forecast and any changes in probable starters from the revised schedule. There's not much worse than a zero from one of your starters—and it's usually avoidable if you're prudent about the risks you're willing to take.
Hitters to watch/target this week
Nationals hitters: They're in Colorado for what should be a high-scoring series, and they have production from top to bottom. Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos, Denard Span, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman—these guys are all worth using in stacks this week.
Rockies hitters: You'll have to watch Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Morneau and Charlie Blackmon to see how they deal with some nagging injuries, but Wilin Rosario, Nolan Arenado and Corey Dickerson are healthy and worth a look. Don't overthink this approach. Their prices have come down quite a bit, so if they are in the lineup, you should consider them.
Brewers hitters: The Brewers offense is primed for a rising swell of obnoxious box scores, and I've got a hunch it'll come from Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun and their middle infielders Scooter Gennett and Jean Segura (back this week following the tragic death of his young son). Jonathan Lucroy has been somewhat cold, and Aramis Ramirez just isn't seeing the ball as well as he did in June.
Reds hitters: They have a series in Milwaukee and then head home to play the Nats. There's not a guy in this lineup I wouldn't consider, based on a combination of value and upside. Jay Bruce is in a nice spot this week, as is Home Run Derby contestant Todd Frazier but you can't forget about bargain options like Chris Heisey, Kris Negron and Zack Cozart, who make great tournament fill-ins.
White Sox hitters: Not everybody in this lineup is producing, but the Royals pitching staff isn't great and there are homers to be had from the likes of Jose Abreu, Conor Gillaspie and Adam Dunn, to name a few. Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez have seen their prices come down significantly and they may be due for another streak of hot hitting.
Yankees hitters: While they haven't hit well at home, the visiting Rangers have just one starter in their rotation (Darvish) who you need to avoid, and the Blue Jays come to town for a weekend series. The Yanks' prices are depressed across all formats and there's plenty of value to be had in a lineup that's starting to heat up. Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran and even spots starters like Kelly Johnson can be plugged in safely this week except for Wednesday.
Diamondbacks hitters: Mark Trumbo is back for the D-Backs and provides some much-needed lineup protection for Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero. While Gerardo Parra and David Peralta remain relevant for their steady ABs, you can fade Ender Inciarte now.
Other hitters to watch/target this week: David Ortiz/Brock Holt, BOS; Jose Bautista/Melky Cabrera, TOR; Miguel Cabrera/Ian Kinsler, DET; Kyle Seager/Justin Smoak/Logan Morrison, SEA; Mike Trout/Kole Calhoun/Josh Hamilton, LAA; Brandon Moss/Stephen Vogt/Coco Crisp/Josh Donalson, OAK; Freddie Freeman/Chris Johnson/Andrelton Simmons/Tommy La Stella, ATL