This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
I've been on a two-week hiatus, but I'm happy to be back in the last full month. Late-season slates are always tricky given the way some lineups can get out of hand for teams not in playoff contention That said, make sure to check rosters religiously prior to lock, especially if you'll also be consumed by the fantasy football slate.
There are a lot of big names today, though there are reasons to worry about a number of the top arms. Gerrit Cole ($10,900) is the most comfortable pitcher on the slate, but the salary is a bit prohibitive especially for the recent lack of strikeout upside. Both Clayton Kershaw and Lucas Giolito have potential workload concerns, so I'd also be careful rostering them.
Sandy Alcantara ($10,200) is still valued among the elite options. However, he's put up gaudy strikeout numbers of late with double-digit counts in three of five starts and will draw a matchup at home against the Pirates. Given the questions about the slate's other big starters, Alcantara is my favorite SP 1.
Logan Gilbert ($6,100) has been hit or miss during his rookie season. However, the underlying skills are there as indicated by his 3.68 SIERA – the sixth-best mark today. He's struggled over the majority of his last six starts, but he's faced Toronto, Boston and Houston three times. Gilbert will draw a reprieve with a matchup against the Royals. Add in the extremely low salary, and there's a lot of upside in playing him.
There's not much in the mid-tier I would be excited about playing. Nathan Eovaldi ($9,200) offers at least some type of salary relief compared to Alcantara. He's also maintained the third best SIERA on the slate and has minimized mistakes all season with a 4.4 percent walk rate and 0.8 HR/9. Adding in the matchup against Baltimore only helps.
Paul Goldschmidt ($4,600) isn't among the top hitters, but he's been one of the primary forces behind the Cardinals' surge into playoff position. Across the last 30 days, he's managed a .459 wOBA and .357 ISO. On top of that, Goldschmidt has limited his strikeout rate to 15.2 percent and that means he offers both a nice floor and ceiling. He's up against Jake Arrieta, who has allowed a miserable 2.20 HR/9.
Fernando Tatis ($6,400) will be on the opposite side of the game against Goldschmidt, but he sees an equally positive matchup considering J.A. Happ has surrendered 1.9 HR/9 on the season. Across his last 10, he's allowed at least one home run six times and multiple dingers on four occasions. Tatis has hit left-handed pitching throughout the year to the tune of a .290 ISO and .371 wOBA.
Lane Thomas ($3,300) has been a fixture atop the Nationals' lineup across the last month. He's maintained an incredible .403 wOBA across the second half, with his skills profile offering a blend of strong plate approach (13.6 percent walk rate) and power (.239 ISO). DraftKings is willing to spike some player's salaries based on hot stretches at the plate, but Thomas isn't one.
Bobby Dalbec ($3,300) has also hit extremely well of late, highlighted by five homers from his last 10 contests and nine in his last 18. However, recency bias isn't the only thing suggesting he's a solid play based on him hitting lefties with a .362 wOBA and .258 ISO across 171 plate appearances in 2021. Alexander Wells is not only a southpaw, but he's allowed 2.4 HR/9 across his first 26.2 innings this season.
Stacks to Consider
I like this stack for multiple reasons, both also from a roster construction and matchup standpoint. This stack provides a lot of upside, but it won't be the same amount to roster as some of the slate's other top combos. Jackson Kowar has been a disaster for much of his rookie campaign by allowing both walks (16.3 percent rate) and home runs (1.5 HR/9) at an inflated clip. That has the ingredients of a great pitcher to stack against, so take advantage.
Peralta hasn't produced bad results in the same way Kowar has, but his skills profile still shows he remains a pitcher to stack against. He's posted a strikeout rate of just 15.3 percent, so the Rays shouldn't have any problem making plenty of contact. I'll bet on the Rays' lineup doing damage with that contact rate over the small sample results of Peralta's limited success. Lowe and Meadows should be locks, while Choi and Phillips were included as examples of value ways to get exposure to this lineup. They will be more interchangeable based on Tampa's lineup.
This will likely be one of the chalkiest stacks of the day. There are obvious names to play such as J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. However, there are also ways to get exposure to this game/matchup while also trying to get a little bit different from the chalk and save some salary.