MLB DFS Picks Saturday 7/16: Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks Today

Saturday, July 16, brings a frontloaded schedule filled with afternoon baseball that culminates in a five-game featured slate with a first pitch at 7:15 p.m. ET. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks today for pitchers and stacks for DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.

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DraftKings & FanDuel MLB DFS Picks Today (7/16)

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool (Free Today) is a great way to see where the various teams rank against each other from a value, popularity, production and leverage standpoint.

Main Slate: New York Yankees vs. RHP Nick Pivetta — 4.7 implied runs

July has not been friendly for Nick Pivetta who has allowed 20 baserunners, 13 runs and a pair of round-trippers in two starts spanning just nine frames. In his last outing on Sunday it was the Yankees who knocked him around for both home runs and six earned runs in just 3.1 innings.  That now makes for nine innings against New York this season with four home runs and 10 earned runs. It would not be a surprise if Pivetta is a little jumpy on the mound tonight.

The DraftKings salary algorithm got a little carried away with Matt Carpenter ($5,600), though it should keep his popularity in check. Aaron Judge ($6,500), Anthony Rizzo ($5,900), Giancarlo Stanton ($5,700), DJ LeMahieu ($5,200) and even Glyber Torres ($5,200) all are in the $5,000 club tonight. That makes things very intriguing as gamers who brave this path will be hard pressed to roster both Max Scherzer ($10,500) and Julio Urias ($10,100) with this stack, making for some interesting decision points.

Late Slate: Los Angeles Dodgers at LHP Jose Suarez — 4.9 implied runs

The Stokastic Top Batters Tool likes this matchup for the Dodgers swinging the stick from the right-side of the plate. Over his last 500 batters faced, Jose Suarez has a below average 20.5% strikeout rate and nearly a double digit walk rate. Additionally, he allows tremendous power to fellow lefties which means Freddie Freeman should be on our short list and he is one of several Dodgers in the top five at his position. Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, Trea Turner and catcher Will Smith all rate out nicely as well with power potential and of course there is strength in numbers.

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Afternoon Slate: Houston Astros vs. LHP Jared Koenig — 4.9 implied runs

For the third consecutive day, Houston will be facing a lefty. Jared Koenig has taken a path so winding on his way to The Show that it is worthy of an epic saga. After his senior season in high school, Koenig was selected in the 35th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Ultimately, he was not signed by the White Sox so he meandered through the college ranks with three different schools.

Next he tried his hand in a couple of the independent leagues and finally caught the eye of an international scout in 2019 while pitching in the Australian Baseball League. Then of course the pandemic struck which shutdown the 2020 MiLB season, though Koenig was able to play for Double-A Midland where he was the pitcher of the year in the Texas League. That got him a promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas this season and he was called up to the majors in early June.

Across his four starts and 18.1 innings, Koenig has an unsightly 11 walks with just 10 strikeouts while allowing 31 baserunners on his way to a 6.38 ERA and 1.75 WHIP. Jose Altuve (leg) was held out on Friday which allowed Maurico Dubon to slide into the leadoff spot. If this was more than just a maintenance day for Altuve, go right back to Dubon on Saturday. Yulieski Gurriel also received a maintenance day, but the defending American League batting champion is expected back in the lineup.

Kyle Tucker, Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers and of course Alex Bregman are solid options with a southpaw on the mound. Martin Maldonado also enters the fray as the expected catcher

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Top Target: RHP Max Scherzer at Chicago Cubs — 3.0 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $10,500 | FanDuel $11,500

In his two starts after missing the better part of two months with a left oblique strain, Max Scherzer has rolled through his first two opponents. Across 13 innings with zero walks, five hits and a home run accounting for the only score, the soon to be 38-year-old has a whopping 20 strikeouts. This will also be the second game of a doubleheader after Friday’s rainout and that means the potential for a watered down lineup from the Cubs. Of course the real trick will be determining if it is there “best” lineup or some players are getting a rest. Enjoy!

Secondary Target: LHP Julio Urias at Los Angeles Angels — 3.9 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $10,100 | FanDuel $9,600

Julio Urias was disappointing in his last start against the Cubs. For only the third time this season he allowed more than three earned runs. Things went off the rails quickly as he lasted only two innings, throwing 59 pitches. On the bright side, he should be somewhat refreshed after the abbreviated appearance. Tonight he draws a matchup with the Angels and while they may seem fierce, keep in mind that even with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the Halos  have the third highest strikeout rate and the eighth lowest power metrics against southpaws.

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Afternoon Target: RHP Justin Verlander vs. Oakland Athletics — 3.4 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $10,200 | FanDuel $11,100

Heading into the final weekend before the All-Star Break, Oakland has scored the second fewest runs in the league and they are nearly half a run per game behind the next worst team in Pittsburgh. The Yankees are laughing from their vantage point which is nearly two runs more per game than the Athletics. Justin Verlander has been amazing and while he is not in the same tier as Scherzer, he has allowed one or fewer earned runs in five of his last six games. Heck, in his last three outings which include taking on both New York teams in the Big Apple, Scherzer has 21 combined innings with just 17 baserunners allowing only two to cross home plate along with a strikeout per inning.

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Additional Opportunities

Cal Quantrill is typically not particularly exciting, however, we can look to him in the player prop market with his 3.5 over/under on his strikeout prop. The Stokastic MLB Projections have him for 4.4 strikeouts, giving him a 67% probability of surpassing the over. Though the strategy of picking on the Tigers with Zac Plesac yesterday did not pan out, we can go back to the well with Cleveland’s other legacy pitcher in the same matchup. Detroit has a 24.4% strikeout rate this season against right-handed hurlers while scoring runs almost two standard deviations away from the average squad. Saturday’s projected lineup has a two year trailing 25.5% strikeout rate against righties and if Quantrill can go five innings, he should be able to reach four strikeouts for the seventh time in 10 games.

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Other Pitching Options

  1. RHP Taijuan Walker at Chicago Cubs (Early)
  2. RHP Logan Gilbert at Texas Rangers (Early)
  3. LHP Ranger Suarez at Miami Marlins (Afternoon)
  4. LHP Eric Lauer at San Francisco Giants (Main)
  5. RHP Alex Cobb vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Main)

Other Hitting Options

  1. Jose Abreu at RHP Dylan Bundy (Early)
  2. Jesse Winker at RHP Spencer Howard (Afternoon)
  3. Ryan Mountcastle at LHP Ryan Yarbrough (Afternoon)
  4. Rafael Devers at RHP Jameson Taillon (Main)
  5. Manny Machado vs. LHP Tyler Gilbert (Main, Late)

Final MLB DFS Thoughts & MLB Weather Notes

Washington looks to be the only weather issue and it will be hit or miss with scattered showers in the forecast throughout the afternoon and into the evening hours.

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Eric MacPherson
Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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