Here we are again talking about another weekend filled with Albert Pujols long balls. The ageless wonder caught another (hanger Sarge,) and deposited it deep into right centerfield. Victimizing another pitcher as he steamrolls to retirement, passing Alex Rodriguez for fourth place on the all-time home run list. A story the greatest writer could not have written. Had they pitched the Pujols 2022/St. Louis Love Affair novel, it would have been buried deep in the fiction section. But here we are. “Baseball is beautiful.”

The Pujols story is the most romantic, but there are many other great storylines in MLB, including the Seattle Mariners taking two of three games from the red hot, and defending Champion, Atlanta Braves, showing they are ready for October, and the league’s elite. Despite two consecutive wins, the New York Yankees slipped out of the top 5 Power Rankings with Tampa Bay on their heels. Two weeks ago the San Diego Padres looked ready to secure a Wild Card spot with Milwaukee reeling. The Brewers have been just good enough to stay in the playoff hunt. One thing both clubs shared this season, is Josh Hader, who may be starting to figure it out – with four consecutive appearances without a hit from the opposition. If the once unhittable relief pitcher can get back to form, the Padres could be a very scary team. The AL Wild Card is not as close, as we are nearing finality there.

 

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As Monday goes we have nine games today, so with slimmer pickings, we are looking for maximum value per player, not holistically; since many will be competing with the same core pieces.

 Spencer Strider, SP: DK: $10,100 – No one (well maybe DeGrom) has been better than Strider, allowing 6 earned runs over his last 30 innings while striking out 50 batters. Yes, FIFTY! The San Francisco Giants are the 24th best hitting team in the Majors. The stars are aligned. To not start Strider would be reckless.

Javier Assad, SP: DK: $6,500 -Assad is low-cost/high upside play. He has great stuff. My concern with Assad isn’t stuff or his ability to get outs. It’s his pitch count. The young starter has yet to surpass 5.1 innings in the big leagues. No fault of his own. The Cubs have managed his time worked and pulled him no matter the score. Assad has allowed 1 or less earned runs in three of his four starts, and no earned in two of those games. Chicago seems determined to not let him eclipse 90 pitches. Maybe that changes today. Even so, a solid 5 innings with a win goes a long way. The Mets lineup isn’t the easiest draw, but his cost equals value.

 Travis d’Arnaud, C: DK: $4,400 – Travis is hitting .292 and has driven in 11 runs over his last fifteen games. Some of the numbers fall off a cliff against right-handing pitching, but the power numbers do not. And who are we kidding, a .240 (against right-handers) hitting catcher ain’t bad in 2022. Until recently, this was one of the worst hitting campaigns of the last two decades, globally for catchers. There is enormous protection in the Atlanta Braves lineup for Travis, making him more appealing at this price.

 Nathaniel Lowe, 1B: DK: $4,200 – On a day in which there are only nine games scheduled, Lowe coming in at seventh in salary feels illegal. He is too hot to not start. There are always beefy options at first base, but if you want to save more for the kitty, while not skimping on production, here’s your sign. Lowe’s last thirty games: .393/.454./.658. Accompanied by 8 home runs and 22 RBI.

Jeff McNeil, 2B: DK: $4,600 – A professional hitter, McNeil has 8 hits in his last four games. He’s continued his hot hitting, .370 over the last thirty games. Pushing his season batting average to .324, putting him third in all of baseball. Another tremendous value-add, placing tenth in second basemen salary on Draft Kings.

Max Muncy, 3B: DK: $5,000 – Much ado has been made about how Joey Gallo or even Matt Carpenter, and how they will benefit significantly from the new MLB shift rules, but no one will more than Max Muncy. Max is a much better contact hitter than the two previously mentioned, but that’s neither here nor there at the moment. Despite some really hard luck, Muncy has found ways around it lately. Max is hitting .345 over his last seven games. The shift doesn’t matter if you hit over the shift. 3 dingers and 9 RBI over that same time frame. He is a good contact hitter, hence the 79 walks, which is good enough for second in the National League. It’s a great lineup to be in, and the cost is just right.

Joey Wendle, SS: DK: $4,000 – Night and day numbers for Joey facing right-handing pitching and southpaws. Wendle hits .62 points higher against right-handers. Speaking of night and day, I should clarify – night game only with this lineup. The Rangers and Marlins have a doubleheader today. Night game here. Wendle is heating up, batting .318 and striking out only twice over his last 22 at-bats. An inexpensive lineup filler, Joey hits .667 against opposing pitcher, Jon Gray.

Jake McCarthy, OF: DK: $3,800 – Since being called back up on July 11, 2022, all McCarthy has done is hit .305, drive in 41, homer 8 times, and steal 17 bases. Despite playing a fraction of what most big leaguers have in 2022, Jake ranks ninth in the National League in stolen bases. An .849 OPS is lovely, but he also adds an element of speed. His slash line over the last thirty days: .368/.433/.594.

Michael Harris II, OF: DK: $4,600 – There are two players that are consistently underpriced. One is Corey Dickerson. The other is Michael Harris II. Harris does not stop hitting. Over his last fifteen games, Mike’s slash line: .439/.475/.807. How this man can be had for $4,600 is beyond me, but I am happy to partake. Harris ranks fifteenth in outfielder salary. Which again is crazy, and again, we love it. He bats .326 against righties, which he is facing tonight in the GiantsAlex Cobb.

Stone Garrett, OF: DK: $2,600 – In your house, like a Stone. Called up on 8/17/2022 to make his MLB debut, he has not disappointed. It won’t be long before Garrett’s salary expense skyrockets, once he steps out of the lesser-known category. He now has eleven Major League games under his belt. His line: .405/.436/.757. (Paris Hilton voice) “That’s hot.” Add in 3 home runs and 7 RBI Over those eleven games. I’m sold. At $2,600, how could I not be?

 

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

 Rain expected in: Miami, Detroit, Cleveland

 

Doing Lines in Vegas

 If I was a betting man, and I am, I like:

Braves – 1.5, Dodgers/Diamondbacks Over 9