The All-Star break has arrived.
I thank you for checking in on my daily DraftKings MLB DFS Picks throughout the first half of the season despite some peaks and valleys that are inevitable in a long and grueling MLB season. MLB DFS is a tough gig with a ton of variance involved which is why I stick to the same research that brought me plenty of success earlier in the season throughout the entire season.
Before we look forward to a profitable second half, we have an All-Star Game showdown slate to attend to.
Keep in mind there is a “captain” spot here where the player selected earns 1.5x the fantasy points and costs more to use in that spot than he would in a standard utility spot in a showdown slate.
With that in mind, let’s get to the picks and see if we can earns some dough on the Midsummer Classic!
Captain – Cody Bellinger (NL) – $15,300 vs. AL
Before I get into this pick, let’s briefly lay out the strategy. Getting the ball to start the game for the American League is Justin Verlander. Now, Verlander is the odds-on favorite to win the AL Cy Young at this point, but he’s also allowed an MLB-high 26 home runs on the season and owns a huge 1.85 HR/9, and as we saw in last night’s Home Run Derby, the ball is flying at Progressive Field in Cleveland. As a result, I wanted to get some NL exposure against Verlander, as I expect him to throw two innings to start this game, and I certainly want my captain getting an at-bat against him, and who better than Bellinger? The odds-on favorite to win the NL MVP at the break, Bellinger sits with 30 long balls on the season to go along with a massive .355 ISO figure. He’s been better at home at Dodger Stadium as this is technically a road game for him, and almost every other player in this game, but I’m not about to argue with his .310 ISO and 1.034 OPS on the road this season. He also owns a .435 ISO for the month of July, so let’s have Bellinger lead the way and hopefully play some long ball against Verlander this evening.
UTIL – Christian Yelich (NL) – $9,800 vs. AL
Much of the same goes for Yelich. Despite skipping the Home Run Derby with a back issue, Yelich is taking part in tonight’s All-Star game and will, in fact, hit in the leadoff spot against Verlander and the junior circuit. After exploding to a career-high 36 home runs last season and almost doubling his previous career-high of 21 in the process, Yelich already has a league-high 31 home runs on the season and his .378 ISO is also the highest mark in all of baseball as well. As a result, it doesn’t take much to realize using the MLB home run leader against a pitcher that has allowed the most home runs in baseball. The reason I am using Bellinger in the captain spot is because I’m not so sure Yelich will get more than one plate appearance due to the back issue that sidelined him last night. I believe Bellinger gets two plate appearances, but you never know in the All-Star game. Nonetheless, I’ll happily take the two NL MVP candidates and run in this lineup tonight.
UTIL – Josh Bell (NL) – $7,200 vs. AL
If Verlander indeed goes two innings, I’m very happy to get Bell at a very reasonable price. I have well documented Verlander’s home run issues already, but Bell’s home run explosion deserves mention as well. After slugging just 12 home runs last season, Bell has exploded to 27 long balls already this season in just 88 games. He did homer 26 times in his first full season in the bigs in 2017, but this year’s first-half performance has quashed any concerns about his ability to hit for power. Bell’s .346 ISO ranks him sixth in all of baseball and even narrowly sits above Mike Trout and his .344 figure. Getting a guy with these numbers at this price against a home run-prone pitcher seems like a bargain to me. I hope he gets two at-bats and one at-bat against Verlander and I think he can deliver some excellent value if that ends up being the case tonight.
UTIL – Dan Vogelbach (AL) – $6,400 vs. NL
I have to continue to search for value with the remainder of my picks and I also need at least one player from the American League in this lineup (although I have two) and my simple strategy is to roster some players I believe have the best chance to come in and hit a home run in their (likely) only plate appearance of the game. Yes, plenty of players in this game have that ability, but we’re also selecting players at cheap costs as well. Vogelbach has quieted down since a red-hot start to the season in which he hit for a massive .423 ISO and 1.195 OPS in the months of March/April. He fell to a .242 ISO and .717 OPS in May, a .198 ISO and .840 OPS in June and a season-worse .158 ISO and .649 OPS in the month of July. Still, he sits with 21 home runs on the season and has bashed right-handers with authority. He’s hit for a .322 ISO and 1.014 OPS against righties this season, but also a huge .359 ISO and 1.051 OPS against right-handers on the road, where he will technically be tonight. It doesn’t take much for the ball to get out to right-field at Progressive field (every bat in this lineup will hit left-handed save for the switch-hitting Bell who could hit from the right side against a lefty), so I like Vogelbach’s chances of homering if he can get in against a righty tonight.
UTIL – Max Muncy (NL) – $6,000 vs. AL
Back to the NL side here with Muncy who has clearly displayed a big-time ability to hit for power over the last season and a half. He was once of the most surprising stories of the 2018 season when he burst onto the scene and homered 35 times in just 481 plate appearances and posted a .319 ISO in the process. In fact, that .319 ISO from 2018 was the best mark in baseball among players that logged at least 450 plate appearances, again barely edging Mike Trout and his .316 mark. Muncy proved that his 2018 breakout was no fluke in the first half as he launched 22 homers in 358 plate appearances and owns a big-time .266 ISO to go along with his .897 OPS. The good news with Muncy is that he doesn’t need a right-hander on the mound in order to hit for power as his .263 ISO, .925 OPS and 143 wRC+ against lefties is better overall than his .267 ISO, .884 OPS and 131 wRC+ against righties. No one knows him better than NL (and Dodgers) manager Dave Roberts, so look for Muncy to see one or two at-bats in this one tonight.
UTIL – Joey Gallo (AL) – $5,200 vs. NL
Gallo didn’t participate in Monday’s Home Run Derby as he recently returned from an oblique strain that almost surely would have been aggravated by taking 200 home run cuts in a three-hour span. That said, he’s good to go as a reserve for the All-Star game itself and brings a wealth of value upside to the table at this price. Gallo has actually thrown his name into the MVP conversation this season as he is having a big all-around season at the plate, in the field and on the bases. I don’t expect him to be running much on the bases tonight despite logging four bags on the season, however his power is undeniable. He has hit 20 homers despite appearing in just 61 of the Rangers’ 90 games this season and he owns a .367 ISO that ranks second only to Yelich among players with at least 250 plate appearances on the season. As a result, we have four of the top six ISO players in baseball with a minimum of 250 plate appearances in this lineup tonight. Gallo seems like a massive bargain at this price given his home run upside and I look forward to seeing if he can deliver some of that vaunted power in the Midsummer Classic this evening.