MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: SP1 Tanner Houck + BoSox Bats (July 11)

Thursday has a unique seven-game featured slate with a 6:05 p.m. ET first pitch on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help identify today’s MLB DFS stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Luis Castillo and Tanner Houck as Thursday’s key aces. On the offensive side, Houston looks like a strong play, with Boston rating out well once again versus Oakland.

MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | July 11

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Luis Castillo (SEA at LAA)

Mariners at Angels – 3.8 implied runs
First Pitch: 9:38 p.m. ET
$9,200 at DraftKings
$9,300 at FanDuel
$45 at Yahoo

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool has RHP Luis Castillo easily grading out as one of the three best fantasy options for Thursday’s featured tournaments. The 31-year-old does an excellent job of preventing runs, allowing two or fewer in 12 of 19 (63%) of his starts.

This is accomplished by his ability to limit walks with only 6.8% over his last 1,261 batters faced and a solid 26.2% strikeout rate in the same timeframe. The savvy veteran is a steady presence in the Seattle rotation, helping to keep the many youngsters on an even keel.

The current collection of Halos is familiar with Castillo, with the production oddly consolidated to a handful of hitters. Anthony Rendon and Mickey Moniak have each accounted for two of the five total home runs allowed by Castillo to Los Angeles, and Brandon Drury (two) and Taylor Ward (three) have corralled five of the six doubles. The active Anaheim roster has a hefty 33 strikeouts in 87 at-bats against Castillo.

The Angels have topped four runs only twice in the last eight games, being held scoreless three times. Castillo is appropriately priced across the DFS sites, but there is still room for a little upside, along with a solid baseline projection.

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: RHP Tanner Houck (BOS vs. OAK)

Red Sox vs. Athletics – 4.3 implied runs
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
$9,500 at DraftKings
$10,200 at FanDuel
$45 at Yahoo

Pop Quiz: Who is currently sixth in MLB with a 2.68 ERA? Why yes, you are correct, it is RHP Tanner Houck — which, of course, makes sense. Now, prior to that tidbit of information, what would you have guessed his season ERA to be? My guess was in the high-4.00 range. Clearly he has improved upon his 5.01 ERA across his 21 starts from last year.


The 28-year-old is approaching a career high with 111 innings, but he continues to be going strong. He still has a lofty 54% hard-hit rate, paired with a low 16.0% strikeout rate, but his power has dropped to a .104 ISO, nearly half of what it was last year, despite most other advanced metric indicators being the same or worse.

Looking at his pitch mix, it is pretty much the same. However, he has almost entirely eliminated his fastball and cutter (down from about 10% each last year) and focused more on the slider (up 6% to 42%) and splitter (which he has more than doubled the usage of from 11.4% to 25.2%). There are a few articles out on the innerweb discussing these slight changes, as well as a newfound confidence, being what has propelled Houck to a career year and his first All-Star Game appearance.

Since Saturday morning, the Athletics have plated 36 runners in four games. That has pushed them one run above Seattle, and they now have scored the fourth-fewest runs in the league, with the last four games accounting for 10% of the season total. The A’s trail the Mariners by 61 strikeouts, but they are 35 ahead of Boston and 36 up on Colorado. Even with the sixth-most home runs in the league, it is hard to think of this as a dangerous offense.

Houck has allowed 11 runs and three round-trippers in his last two appearances across 8.2 innings. However, considering those gamers were in New York against the Yankees and versus the San Diego Padres, it is hard to tell if opposing hitters have figured him out or if this was just two top offenses producing as such.

Today's MLB DFS picks, top stacks and pitchers on DraftKings and FanDuel include MLB DFS predictions for key talent like Tanner Bibee...
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MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Boston Red Sox

Red Sox vs. Athletics – 5.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: RHP Luis Medina
DK Top Stack %: 17.4%
FD Top Stack %: 17.6%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool has Boston as the featured offense for the third consecutive day. This time it is a matchup against RHP Luis Medina, who has managed to allow just one run in three of his last four starts. That is surprising, considering the 25-year-old is issuing a walk every other inning and has a paltry 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Medina has mostly survived by surrendering only two home runs this season. The longtime Yankees prospect was part of the Frankie Montas deal in 2022, having toiled in the New York farm system since 2017. The Dominican native showed strikeout stuff in the minors but also a MAJOR walk rate. Most projection systems (ZiPS, Steamer, SIERA, The Bat) have him for around 7.9 to 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings, but with an unsightly 4.5 to 4.7 walk rate.

There is a meltdown coming for this funky pitcher, and Rafael Devers, Tyler O’Neill, Jarren Duran, Connor Wong, Wilyer Abreu, David Hamilton, Masataka Yoshida, Dominic Smith, Ceddanne Rafaela, and the bat boy are all strong stacking options tonight.

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Late Slate Primary Target: Houston Astros

Astros vs. Marlins – 4.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: RHP Roddery Munoz
DK Top Stack %: 15.2%
FD Top Stack %: 15.1%

In his last start, RHP Roddery Munoz allowed only two runs, but he also had just two strikeouts and a hefty four walks in four frames to the lowly Chicago White Sox. In his last seven outings, he has an absurdly high 5.67 walks and 3.51 home runs per nine innings, with just 7.02 strikeouts. This has culminated in a 6.48 ERA, 8.66 FIP and 5.93 xFIP in 33.1 innings.

Yordan Alvarez was replaced by a pinch hitter in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game, which was later reported as right hip soreness. If he is in the lineup today, he is a priority play, as Munoz has ceded a .432 ISO to left-handed batsmen this season. Unfortunately, Kyle Tucker is on the injured list and lefties Joey Loperfido, Jon Singleton and Cesar Salazar are not exactly teeming with power. On the flipside, Munoz has allowed a .192 ISO to same-handed hitters, so Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Jake Meyers should be able to pick up the slack.

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Austin Slater has had a truly dreadful season this year, but the over on his 0.5 RBIs is standing out on DraftKings, where it is currently available at +255 odds.

New users at DraftKings Sportsbook Get Up To $300 Instantly (Bet $5, Get $150 in CT, MA, NY), click here for details.

OddsShopper shows this bet has .233 “true odds” for Slater to push a run across the plate, which brings a stellar 6.5% expected ROI.

We can also see how important it is to shop the odds, as evidenced by Unibet and BetRivers all the way down at a +175 line, which equates to a NEGATIVE 17% expected ROI.

Slater was traded from San Francisco to Cincinnati a few days ago for veteran RHP Alex Young. The 31-year-old had been a reserve outfielder for the Giants since 2017, mostly seeing action against left-handed starting pitchers. He still has a selective eye at the plate, with 16 walks in 112 plate appearances, but the power is long gone, as evidenced by one double and one home run among his 18 hits.

Fortunately, he is a decent situational hitter who can make contact and also get credit for an RBI via a sacrifice or groundout, as long as it is not a double play.

Other wagers are continually popping up and disappearing every few minutes as lineups are being announced, which is why it is key to get an OddsShopper Premium subscription to take advantage of all opportunities.

Final MLB DFS Picks & Thoughts for Thursday, July 11

Mother Nature is smiling today, with no precipitation concerns. Of course, it is always good to know what you are dealing with and give things a once over with your favorite MLB Weather Report page closer to first pitch for updates before making your MLB DFS picks.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show at 5:00 p.m. ET brought to you by Underdog Fantasy – new users, use this link to receive a first-deposit match up to $250!

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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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