MLB Grind Down: Saturday, August 17th - STL @ CIN

St. Louis at Cincinnati – 6:40 PM ET

Miles Mikolas has a low 17.7% K-rate with a 4% walk rate. Last year he was able to offset the low-strikeout numbers by pitching effectively deep into games, but that hasn’t happened as often for him so far this season. The 49.1% ground ball rate is solid, but he’s had his issues with left-handed hitters. He could face as many as 4 lefties today, though it may only be 3 if Joey Votto misses another game. Mikolas is the low-floor/low-upside kind of play we typically want to avoid, but he’s cheap and, as I’ve said, pitching leaves plenty to be desired on this slate. I don’t love it, but he’s a viable mid-range SP2 considering the other options at our disposal.

Quick Breakdown: Mikolas is a passable SP2 on this slate, but nothing more.

Anthony DeSclafani owns a 24.4% K-rate on the year, which is the second-best mark on the early slate. Only Rogelio Armenteros and his 4 outings has a better rate. DeSclafani has allowed 24 homers through 23 starts, and his home park is obviously scary. He still has yet to figure out how to get lefties out, but he has done a good job against his fellow righties (.264 wOBA allowed). DeSclafani is likely to face 4 righties plus a pitcher today, and the lefties he’ll see (Fowler, Edman, Wong, Carpenter) aren’t all that scary. Given the strikeout stuff compared to the other pitchers on this slate, I like DeSclafani quite a bit. I’d much rather chase his strikeouts than take a shot on the batted balls of Mikolas at a comparable price point.

Quick Breakdown: DeSclafani comes with risk, but he also has as much upside as any pitcher on the slate.

Batter Grind Down

As mentioned, DeSclafani has scuffled quite a bit against left-handed hitters. Lefties have a wOBA of .385 against him, and they’ve taken him deep 15 times. These Cardinal bats are getting a park upgrade, and most of them are affordable. Dexter Fowler, Tommy Edman, Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter stand out as the lefties expected to crack the lineup. I’d prioritize Carpenter and Fowler here, but they’re all playable. Paul Goldchmidt, Paul DeJong and Marcell Ozuna are good enough hitters to be worth a look even in the righty-righty spot, but I’d only target them if I’m stacking STL and looking to differentiate.

Elite PlaysMatt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler

Secondary PlaysMarcell Ozuna, Paul DeJong, Paul Goldschmidt, Tommy Edman, Kolten Wong


Mikolas has coughed up a .363 wOBA to lefties compared to a .283 mark against RHBs. His ground ball rate has also dipped by about 6% vs. LHBs, so the lefties are where we’d want to start with the Reds. Jesse Winker, Josh VanMeter, Joey Votto and Freddy Galvis are decent plays, but none of them really stands out as a priority. You can still chase the home run upside of Aristedes Aquino or Eugenio Suarez here from the right side, but I’m having a hard time getting overly excited about any of these guys today. Tucker Barnhart isn’t good, but he’s another lefty worth a look if he gets into the lineup against Mikolas. Only Detroit has a lower implied run total than the Reds’ 4.49 mark on this slate.

Elite PlaysJosh VanMeter, Joey Votto, Jesse Winker

Secondary Plays – Eugenio Saurez, Aristedes Aquino, Freddy Galvis

StackabilityYELLOW / ORANGE

About the Author

  • Taylor Smith (tcsmith031)

  • Taylor Smith is a native Texan (required by all fellow Texans to report this at all times) and Southern California-based sports writer. He has been playing daily fantasy sports regularly since 2012, going back to the days of DraftStreet (RIP). He specializes in MLB and NBA while dabbling in a few other sports like a true degen when the other two are out of season. He has written about DFS in the past at Bang The Book, and you can find some of his previous work on SB Nation and FanRag Sports.


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