Tabor’s Takes – All Star Game Special

How’s it going Run Pure Family. Today we have some nice contests for the All Star Game! Rather you’re playing DFS for this game, or just placing some bets, you’ll want to check out this article for some good plays.

STRATEGY

 

Strategy is key for an event like this. Everyone is naturally attracted to the starters and pitchers in an all star game and I think that’s a poor strategy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll definitely have some exposure to guys like Ronald Acuna Jr. In fact, he’s one of my favorite plays because I expect him to steal if he gets on base, he also brings power upside and batting lead off gives him a chance at more at bats. At the end of the day though, my single entry will likely only have 2-3 starters.

As part of my strategy it’s important to understand the coaching strategy in All-Star games. In the last 2 years no pitcher has gone longer than 1 inning other than Corbin Burnes who got 2 in 2021. It’s pretty safe to plan for 1 inning pitched or less from every pitcher on the board today. As for bats, Ronald Acuna Jr is the only one to see 3 at bats in the last 2 years. Nobody else has gotten more than 2. This, mixed with the fact that the starters are likely facing guys like Gerrit Cole, Zac Gallen, and Luis Castillo in their 2 at bats makes the bench players so much more appealing to me. Remember that every team gets an All Star now, so we will legitimately see at bats with guys like Michael Lorenzen, Alex Cobb, Josiah Gray, and even Jordan Romano on the mound today. This just adds more fuel to the fade the starters fire!

 

GAME THEORY

 

Let’s talk about the game. Sportsbooks have the game as a pick ‘em. I think that’s outrageous because one of these teams has the Atlanta Braves and the other doesn’t. The Braves have 3 guys starting and another 3 coming off the bench, not counting their pitchers. This National League lineup just looks far more scary. I do give an edge to the American League with the pitching staff, but it’s extremely close now that Kevin Gausman (family time) and Shohei Ohtani (blister) won’t be available to pitch. The National League starter, Zac Gallen, is more than deserving with his 1.048 WHIP on the year. We have watched it all year though, the Braves can’t be stopped offensively, we basically just took the Braves team full of All-Stars as it is and upgraded a few positions. The Braves now have Luis Arreaz, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and Corbin Carroll in the lineup today. I just can’t see a world where this offense is stopped, regardless of who is on the mound. I love the National League to win it, and I really like the over of 7.5 at + money.

As part of my strategy, I’ve established that I like the National League to score some runs and win the game, so now it’s time to build around it. Maybe you like the American League and you use the same approach. One of the keys in DFS is to establish how you see the game flow playing out and building accordingly.

 

Let’s take a look at position scarcity and expectations. These charts shows who’s available and expected to play at each position.

 

 

On the American League position chart we see 1B, 2B, and 3B with only 2 players per position. With 3 shortstops available it wouldn’t surprise me to see one of them come in at second or third so they aren’t stuck with Whit Merrifield for half of the game. This means that I really like 1B for the American League. Vlad Jr in particular, because once he is in the game he’s not coming out. Brent Rooker is listed as DH but could definitely come in as an OF. I don’t expect that though, because each teams OF has exactly 3 subs and exactly 1 DH sub. I just expect half a game from all of them. Outside of Vladdy I would consider a starting outfielder or Josh Jung or Jose Ramirez for the American League. All should get half of the game and some of them avoiding these filthy relievers that the N.L. has to throw at them.

 

The National league chart shows the same depth at Outfield and DH. Once again I’m fine with any of these guys because they should see half of the game. The infield is where it gets interesting again. Catcher and 1B are loaded for the NL and are definitely positions that I’m not going to roster. Ozzie Albies at 2B is probably my favorite play. Arraez is getting the start and batting 6th, Ozzie will come in and see all of the weak American League arms for half the game. Ozzie is also scorching hot coming into the Allstar week. Nolan Arenado and Austin Riley have the same scenario in the 5 hole of the lineup and splitting time so I like them as well. I like a lot of this National League Outfield. Ronald Acuna Jr is pretty obvious, he’s leading off and nobody brings as much upside with his power and base stealing ability. Corbin Carroll is from Seattle and I’m a sucker for the narrative of a hometown kid, likely to win rookie of the year, who’s playing in his first ever All Star game at home where he grew up. Maybe they give him some extra run out there today. Overall I love these NL bats, but I want to stick to the chart and attack who’s getting the most opportunity.

 

The Pitchers chart isn’t something that does much for us other than tell us who’s available. As mentioned before, it’s pretty safe to assume with each side having at least 11 arms that we don’t see more than an inning from anyone. The starters don’t matter either because they won’t be getting a win by pitching the first inning of the game, even if their team grabs a lead. My pitching interest comes from the cheaper guys getting the same work as the more expensive starters. Kodai Senga is a guy that certainly has upside to strikeout all the batters he faces and will come into the game in the mid-late innings where he could sneak out a win. Some other arms with that same upside include Pablo López, Corbin Burnes, and the relievers like Josh Hader, Felix Bautista, Alexis Diaz and Camilo Doval. I like these National league pitchers because once again, I think they win the game and these NL relievers are all elite strikeout guys.

 

Captain options- If you want to win a tournament you’re not taking a pitcher at Captain. You have no upside when you’re only guaranteed one inning of work and it’s against the best players in all of baseball. My favorite captains are:

Ronald Acuna Jr.

Ozzie Albies 

Corbin Carroll 

Nolan Arenado  

 

Flex Plays- Just about everyone is fair game in here, I’m ok with some of the pitchers I’ve mentioned and hoping to get that win out of them, but for the most part I really don’t focus on pitchers in All-Star builds. I think Senga and some of these guys bring enough upside to be optimal, but that list is very small in comparison to the bats. I’m building with just one A.L. player in my lineup and that will likely be Vlad Guerrero Jr. My favorite flex plays include my captain picks and:

Vlad Guerrero Jr.

Shohei Ohtani

Kodai Senga

Alexis Diaz

Austin Riley

Geraldo Perdomo 

Mookie Betts 

Julio Rodriguez

Jose Ramirez

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