We have all 30 teams in action tonight and I’m going to throw out one caution right off the bat. If you cannot be around for lock and can’t keep up on trade deadline news today, skip this slate. There are likely to be plenty of trades made before this slate starts and could swing it drastically. We rarely need that warning in MLB but that’s the nature of the day and Starting Rotation 7.30 so let’s dig in!
Starting Rotation 7.30 – Main Targets
The Man comes around tonight and I am an unabashed Lynn stan. The guy is easy to root for since I’m around his age (and weight) but he’s out here shoving fastballs down hitters’ throats for a 27.4% K rate. Now, even though I’m driving the bandwagon we have to talk about some issues in this spot. Cleveland should have four lefties and Lynn has some splits issues. Lefties only whiff at a 23% rate and they have a 4.68 xFIP. The quality of these lefties isn’t exactly high past Jose Ramirez but it has to be noted. His ERA is sparkling at 1.91 but the FIP/xFIP combo is 3.15/3.96, not exactly great given the ERA. He’s only seen Cleveland twice, once with 10 strikeouts and once with two. That second start was consecutive against Cleveland so I’m not reading a ton into it. Cleveland is also 20th in OPS, 25th in wOBA, and 26th in wRC+ with a K rate of 23.9%. Even with some warts, I love Lynn tonight like usual.
Things have been slightly worse for Burnes since the crackdown but he is still getting swings and misses. In the past four starts, the swinging-strike rate has been over 12% in three of them and Burnes has only allowed three total earned runs. Atlanta is still sitting around 25% for the K rate and maybe most importantly, they are only league average against the cutter without Ronald Acuna. There is really not a strong weakness in the splits for Burnes as both sides of the plate are under .245 for the wOBA. Additionally, neither side has an xFIP over 2.20 and both are over a 34% K rate. He will face five righties in a normal Atlanta lineup and that’s playing to the strength for Burnes. It’s a tough choice if paying up but I do give a slight lean to Burnes.
He has been target more often than not but I’m not sure this particular spot could line up much better. First off, Taillon is using the four-seam 49% of the time and Miami sits 29th against the fastball this season. That’s a huge plus and Taillon also has a K rate of 23.1% and a career-high 12.2% swinging-strike rate. Secondly, going into Miami allows Taillon to not face a DH and it’s a major help to his fly-ball tendencies. The wOBA to righties isn’t spectacular at .313 but that is his stronger side and the hard-hit rate is only 27.2%. What’s interesting is the righty-heavy lineup is going to make the slider his secondary pitch. While it’s been poor for Taillon all year, the Marlins are just 16th against it. Looking at the game logs, Taillon has been lucky the past three games with xFIP’s over 6.15. However, that was twice facing Boston and once against Houston. The Marlins are a giant step down and now don’t even have Starling Marte or Jazz Chisholm in the lineup.
Seeing Gonsolin start to throw 80+ pitches consistently is a great thing and this could be a spot that we take advantage of it. His slider and splitter have been nasty this season, both with a wOBA of .240 or less and both with a whiff rate over 41%. Now, the four-seam has been an issue with a .408 wOBA and just a 17.1% whiff rate but the D-Backs are 23rd against the fastball. His hard-hit rate is just 24.7% and the swinging-strike rate is 12.1%, an excellent mark in his short season thus far. He generated a 16 DK score three starts ago against this Arizona lineup but it is now missing Eduardo Escobar. Arizona is also over a 24% K rate on the season and is dead last in OPS and 29th in ISO against righty pitching this season. He just needs his fastball to survive with those secondary pitches doing their thing.
He has been an absolute pain so far to get right and the last start it fell apart. One of the tells for his starts and the ceiling is the four-seam usage. In his last 10 starts, there have been four that have exceeded 17 DK points. In all of them, the fastball has sat under a 68% usage rate. The slider has been at least over 18% and I’m just not sure why he’s reverting to his fastball nearly as much as he does in some starts. The last one was 76% and that’s just too much. The stuff is nasty as the slider and change are over 40% in the whiff rate and the change is ridiculous at 73.1%. The K rate is approaching 29% and the swinging-strike rate is 12.8%. Texas now doesn’t have Joey Gallo in their lineup and it frankly looks awful. I just can’t tell you how much Gilbert will rely on the fastball. If he trusts the slider and change, he should absolutely dominate and has ace upside.
Keeping in mind that we only have 13.2 IP this season, Toussiant has been excellent and the price remains super low. His ERA of 1.32 isn’t out of line with the FIP/xFIP of 2.57/2.53. The K rate is sitting at 29.4% and he’s faced the Padres and Phillies in his two starts. The ground ball rate has been impressive at 53.3% and even though the Brewers scored 12 runs last night, the vast majority came against the Buccos bullpen. Toussiant has totally flipped his primary pitch in the sinker over the four-seam from 2020. Teams haven’t figured that or the curveball out yet as both are under a .180 wOBA. The curve actually has a 61.1% whiff rate through 46 pitches. The scary part is lefties have a 4.21 xFIP and he should face five, but they also have a ground ball rate nearing 70%. He’s still dirt cheap and the Brewers are sixth in K rate and 10th in ground ball rate against righties. Lastly, they rank 29th against the curve. Using a Toussiant/Gilbert combo is fascinating to me tonight with my primary stack.
Starting Rotation 7.30Honorable Mention
Patrick Sandoval – The pitch count wasn’t excessive but it can be tough for starters to go so deep into a game the next time out. It doesn’t help that Oakland is 10th in ISO against lefties and 12th against the changeup. I will be going with Taillon but Sandoval has been excellent in his time in the rotation for the Angels.
Martin Perez – We’ve attacked Rays with lefties all year but this might not be the lefty we want. He only has a 19.3% K rate and the price tag is pretty unappealing, but this is a player with some upside at under 5% popularity tonight.
Starting Rotation 7.30Primary Stack
Daniel Lynch went out and shoved against the Tigers the last start, and good for him. Tonight represents a much larger challenge for him against the Blue Jays and he’s had a 15.4% K rate to the right side of the plate with a 40% hard-hit rate. He uses the four-seam 50% of the time and 1-6 in the Toronto lineup has at least a .350 wOBA and everyone except Bo Bichette is over .190 in ISO against that pitch. Teoscar Hernandez, Vlad, Bo, and Randal Grichuk all have destroyed lefties this year with at least a .343 wOBA. Teoscar is sitting at a .356 ISO and while everyone is super expensive, we have some cheaper pitching options to go with a full-stack.
Starting Rotation 7.30Secondary Stack
Tigers against Matt Harvey
White Sox against J.C. Mejia
Red Sox against Josh Fleming
Phillies against Wil Crowe
Orioles against Tarik Skubal
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