After struggling for most of the last couple of weeks with my DraftKings MLB DFS Picks, all it took was a tiny two-game slate to roar back into profit territory!
The night got off to a great start with a first-inning home run from Tommy Pham of the Rays while Kevin Kiermaier would add a three-run inside-the-park home run himself. The third member of the stack, Brandon Lowe, notched just a single and a run, but I’ll take the overall production from this trio in spades.
My four-man White Sox stack was awesome as well as we got contributions from all four players, but mostly three. Jose Abreu disappointed a little with just a single on the night, but Eloy Jimenez homered, Tim Anderson singled twice, walked and notched an RBI while Yoan Moncada doubled, scored a run and knocked in a run too.
Of course, no lineup is successful without pitching, and boy did we get some pitching.
Ryan Yarbrough delivered fantastic value as he actually pitched seven innings in this one, allowing two earned runs but also landed in the win column thanks to all the run support.
The MVP of the lineup, however, was easily Lucas Giolito as the breakout right-hander delivered a complete-game shutout over the best offense in baseball. He struck out nine to boot and notched 43.65 fantasy points as a result. What an effort from the White-Sox new ace.
Let’s keep the profits rolling into the weekend on tonight’s big 14-game Friday night slate!
P – Blake Snell (TB) – $11,400 vs. CLE
Blake Snell is simply rolling right now and truth be told he’s been lights out in seven of his nine starts this season and I see absolutely no reason to fade the reigning AL Cy Young winner as he takes on a weak Cleveland offense tonight. Of his nine starts this season, two have been ugly as he’s allowed seven earned runs in one and five earned in another. However, he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his seven other starts and one run or fewer in five of his nine starts on the season, including in two of his last three. In his last three starts spanning 17.2 innings, Snell has allowed a combined three earned runs and struck out a whopping 30. That’s almost two strikeouts per inning. Now, the Indians have the 12-highest strikeout rate against left-handed pitching this season, but they also rank 24th with a .292 wOBA against lefties as well. With the roll this guy is on I am having a real tough time finding a single reason not to pay up for that strikeout upside.
P – Noah Syndergaard (NYM) – $10,100 vs. DET
A very strong case can be made for the Detroit Tigers to be the worst team in baseball right now as the offense is simply no good against right-handed pitching while the strikeouts against righties are sky-high. Entering this series in Queens, the Tigers have struck out in 26.1% of their at-bats against right-handed pitching, good for 27th, while their .274 wOBA against righties checks in at 29th. It’s certainly an elite matchup for Syndergaard who enters this contest sporting a 4.50 ERA, but his 3.54 FIP and 3.72 xFIP are much fonder of his work. I’d like to see the strikeout rate higher than the 8.86 K/9 clip he sports on the season, but Syndergaard owns a career 9.83 mark and posted a 10.09 mark in 2018, so there’s every reason to believe that number will trend higher, and there’s every reason to believe that will begin tonight against this atrocious Tigers offense against righties.
C – Christian Vazquez (BOS) – $3,800 vs. HOU
It should be a good one in Houston this weekend as the Red Sox and Astros reunite after Boston eliminated Houston in the ALCS last October. Two lefties will go tonight as it’s Chris Sale against Wade Miley, and I am going to target Miley with some right-handed Red Sox bats as we need to find some value stacks in this lineup tonight given the cost of the pitching. Miley enters this one tonight sporting a 3.51 ERA, but his 4.36 FIP and 4.47 xFIP suggest regression, as does his 4.45 FIP and 4.79 xFIP against righties this season. Enter Vazquez who is just pummeling left-handed pitching this season to the tune of a .375 average and massive .325 ISO and 1.122 OPS. None of those numbers are typos as Vazquez has flexed his muscle against southpaws but he’s also hitting for much more power overall this season as he has six homers already in 39 games compared just three in 80 games last season. His .194 ISO this season sits much higher than the .076 mark for his career and I am pumped to see if he can stay white-hot against lefties in this one tonight.
1B – Steve Pearce (BOS) – $3,000 vs. HOU
Continuing with our Red Sox stack is Pearce who has been a lefty killer in his career and has also enjoyed nice success against Miley in their history against one another. Pearce, last season’s World Series MVP, isn’t having a great season whatsoever in the early going, but he’s almost certain to get it going against left-handed pitching. Last season, Pearce mashed left-handers to the tune of a .304 average, .255 ISO and .959 OPS. In the 2017 season, he posted a .230 ISO against lefties and in the 2016 season Pearce smashed lefties for a massive .305 ISO and 1.032 OPS. Clearly, the dude rakes lefties and just because that hasn’t been the case so far doesn’t mean it won’t be moving forward. His lone homer this season is indeed against a left-handed pitcher while at least his .114 ISO against lefties towers over his .049 mark against righties. At this price there is plenty of reason to roll the dice on Pearce tonight, especially since he’s gone 7 for 21 (.333) with two homers in his career off of the veteran Miley. I’m all over this play tonight.
2B – Jurickson Profar (OAK) – $3,900 vs. SEA
The Oakland A’s are the league’s fifth-best hitting team against left-handed pitching and they take on a lefty in Wade Leblanc tonight who owns a 7.36 ERA, 6.96 FIP and 6.11 xFIP on the season. He’s also a pitcher that is yielding a 1.088 OPS and .450 wOBA to right-handed bats to go along with a massive 4.05 HR/9 against righties as well. The A’s are projected to score 5.3 runs tonight, so this is a great opportunity to grab some right-handed A’s bats at cheap price tonight. Profar’s season did not start well, but he has actually mashed lefties for most of the year while he is riding a hot bat into this contest tonight. On the season against lefties, Profar sports a .325 average, .175 ISO and .872 OPS. Over his last seven games, Profar has gone 8 for 28 (.286) with three homers, a double, five runs scored and seven RBI including a grand slam. The switch-hitting infielder is finding his stroke after a tough start and I love the upside against Leblanc who is 3 for 10 against with a double in his career.
3B – Eduardo Nunez (BOS) – $3,200 vs. HOU
This play here is more of a leap of faith as Nunez forms a three-man stack with Pearce and Vazquez. I’d rather roll the dice on his value upside in a stack than roster a one-off third baseman and a big night for Nunez would do wonder for this lineup tonight. Let’s be honest, like Pearce, Nunez isn’t hitting much in very limited playing time this season. That said, he has a history of delivering some solid power/speed upside as he homered 10 times and stole seven bases last season but also homered 12 times and stole 24 bases as recently as 2017 when he hit .313 between the Giants and Red Sox. I like the fact that all three of his extra-base hits – a homer and two doubles – have come against lefties as his .147 ISO against southpaws is at least a decent number. He’s only 2 for 13 against Miley in his career, but one of those two hits went for a home run, something I will look for at what I believe will be tiny ownership on a big slate.
SS – Nick Ahmed (ARI) – $3,500 vs. SF
I love me some Nick Ahmed value against left-handed pitching as he’s crushing lefties once again this season after a breakout 16-homer season in 2018 while he has had some success against left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the past. Let’s note that Pomeranz is the owner of a 5.56 ERA and 5.77 FIP on the season while he’s allowed a big .965 OPS and .403 wOBA to right-handed bats as well as a huge 2.36 HR/9 against righties as well. Enter Ahmed who has clobbered left-handed pitching to the tune of a .364 average, .273 ISO and 1.016 OPS on the season. This after posting a .217 ISO against lefties last season when eight of his 16 homers came against left-handed pitching. He’s a little cold at the plate right now, but he has gone 2 for 4 with a double in his career against Pomeranz, so perhaps a meeting with the struggling southpaw is what the doctor ordered for the shortstop Ahmed.
OF – Chad Pinder (OAK) – $3,800 vs. SEA
Pinder should get a nice spot in the Oakland lineup tonight as he’s projected to hit second, a very valuable spot to be sure against the lefty Leblanc. Pinder is simply a lefty-masher as he has put together a massive .260 ISO and .893 OPS against southpaws on the season, one year after hitting southpaws for a .178 ISO and .835 OPS. That said, his 132 wRC+ against lefties in 2018 is 32% above league average and the 134 mark his season is a touch higher at 34% above league average. Pinder brings a white-hot bat to the dish in this one tonight as he’s riding a four-game hit streak and he’s actually notched a hit in seven straight games in which he started. He’s homered twice over his last four games and has four runs and four RBI in that span. It took just two pitches for Pinder to get a single off of Leblanc in their only meeting against one another, but the value upside is huge here considering the season Pinder is having against southpaw pitching.
OF – Stephen Piscotty (OAK) – $3,700 vs. SEA
Piscotty has been good luck in these lineups this season and I am looking for that good fortune to continue tonight in an elite matchup for a guy who is smashing left-handed pitching this season. Piscotty has touched lefties up to the tune of a .373 average, .255 ISO and 1.038 OPS on the season compared to just a .098 ISO and .619 OPS against right-handers. Piscotty’s massive 176 wRC+ against lefties is a whopping 76% above league average. He’s a consistent producer as he’s rattled off three two-hit games over his last seven games and is 3 for 12 with a double, a run and three RBI over his last three games. The good news is Piscotty has a history of hitting both lefties and righties for power, which is good because he can still get to the Mariners’ bullpen when Leblanc exits this game, hopefully early after the A’s take it to him. For now he is destroying left-handed pitching and I will allow for that to continue against a struggling lefty tonight.
OF – Ramon Laureano (OAK) – $3,500 vs. SEA
He has made many more headlines with his cannon of an arm this season than with his bat, but Laureano has some power as he showed last season and he is simply another low-cost bat to stack against the struggling left-handed Leblanc. Laureano had better numbers against righties than lefties last season, but he still posted a nice .789 OPS against lefties while his 125 wRC+ against lefties was 25% above league average. He also smashed lefties for a .988 OPS last season in Triple-A before being summoned to the majors, so we know the upside is there against southpaw pitchers. The numbers against lefties are no good so far this season, but given his history against them I’m not worried whatsoever. Let’s also keep in mind there is some stolen base upside here despite a lefty on the mound as he swiped seven bases in just 48 games in 2018 and has three this season. He has as many as 33 in a minor league season while three of his 10 steals in his MLB career have come against lefties. I am still liking the value upside here as Laureano hits at the end of this four-man stack.