It was a rather frustrating night with last night’s DraftKings MLB DFS Picks.
I couldn’t stay hot, but man did the Royals disappoint. They aren’t a great offense, that’s a fact, however after scoring three early runs and looking like they were going to deliver on my five-man stack, Kansas City scored just one run over the final seven innings of the game.
It was more frustrating because we got a solid foundation from one our pitchers. Trevor Bauer was worth the investment in Seattle as he hurled 6.2 innings of one-run ball to go along with eight strikeouts and picked up the win in the process.
Joey Lucchesi wasn’t nearly as good, allowing five earned runs with just four strikeouts, however he did go seven innings still. That said, we’ve been burned by Lucchesi in each of his last two subpar outings.
Our low-cost Marlins mini-stack didn’t yield much either as Curtis Granderson and Brian Anderson combined for just a single and a walk.
Finally, our one-off catcher Roberto Perez had a decent outing with a single and a walk himself.
We will put last night’s results behind us and move onto tonight’s big 13-game main slate!
*This lineup is aimed for GPPs*
P – Collin McHugh (HOU) – $8,800 vs. OAK
The Astros lost three members of their elite rotation from 2018 in the form of Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers, the latter of whom hit the shelf thanks to Tommy John surgery while the other two are no longer in the organization due to free agency. As a result, McHugh got an opportunity to re-enter the rotation after spending last season in the bullpen. He actually excelled in that bullpen role, producing a 1.99 ERA and 2.72 FIP to go along with a huge 11.70 K/9 clip. Well, he’s carried that confidence over into the 2019 apparently as he’s logged three starts and 17 innings to this point, pitching to a 2.65 ERA but also a stout 2.20 FIP and 2.75 xFIP. Oh, and the strikeouts are still there. McHugh as punched hitters out at a dazzling 11.65 K/9 clip this season and has kept the ball in the yard by allowing just one homer in those 17 frames. The one downside here is a powerful A’s lineup that ranks second with just a 18.3% strikeout rate on the season, but I can’t help but wonder if that number begins to rise, hopefully tonight against a pitcher that is dealing early on.
P – Jose Quintana (CHC) – $8,400 vs. MIA
Quintana was beat up bad in his second start of the season when he allowed eight earned runs on eight hits including three homers with three walks at Milwaukee. That said, he has been good in his other two starts, allowing zero earned runs across 11 innings with four walks but also a whopping 19 strikeouts. Furthermore, I am looking for him to build off his most recent outing when he hurled seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out 11 in a win over the Pirates. He’s walking hitters at a big 4.50 BB/9 rate early on, but Quintana has been racking up the strikeouts at an eye-popping 14.14 K/9 clip. He owns a 5.14 ERA thanks to that start in Milwaukee, but he also owns a 4.28 FIP and a 2.70 xFIP. He will take on a Marlins team that ranks 26th with a .275 wOBA on the season and also 26th with a big 26.2% strikeout rate. I’m confident we can extract some value out of the left-hander tonight.
C – Welington Castillo (CWS) – $3,300 vs. KC
Speaking of value, I’m looking for some of that out of White Sox catcher Welington Castillo tonight. Look, the guy owns a .107 batting average on the season and went six starts without recording a hit, until last night. In fact, last night’s lone hit was a game-winning home run, the first of the season for the veteran catcher. The bottom line here is Castillo hits for power. He hit at least 13 homers and as many as 20 every season from 2014 through to 2017. He actually launched 20 long balls in 2017 despite playing in just 96 games. He played in just 49 games last season due to suspension, however Castillo still hit six home runs in only 170 at-bats. I would be a little more confident in his power against a left-handed pitcher given his career splits, but last night’s homer came against a right-hander and he is going to hit at the end of a three-man stack. I’m looking for last night’s bomb to instill him with the confidence he needs to get on a little tear here.
1B – Ji-Man Choi (TB) – $3,600 vs. BAL
The value train continues here with Choi who will take on Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy tonight in Tampa Bay. Bundy has been subpar this season to put it nicely as he has pitched to a brutal 8.76 ERA while his 8.65 FIP is not much fonder of his work. He is walking hitters at a 5.,11 BB/9 clip (think RBI opportunities), but even better is the fact he is allowing home runs at a massive 4.38 HR/9 clip. He’s allowed six homers over his last 8.2 innings including four in his last start in just five innings against the A’s. While he won’t continue to allow home runs at this alarming rate, Bundy had home run issues last year with a 2.15 HR/9 rate and owns a big 1.76 HR/9 rate for his career. Enter Choi who could bring this lineup some value as the left-handed hitting first baseman pummeled righties to the tune of a big .256 ISO and .908 OPS last season. That was no fluke as he owns a career .218 ISO and .804 OPS against righties, so the power upside is immense in this matchup as a result.
2B – Robinson Cano (NYM) – $3,700 vs. PHI
You can go two ways here. If you are rolling with more than one lineup tonight, I would split second base duties between Cano and Jason Kipnis who returned to the Cleveland lineup last night and is also affordable in this lineup as a one-off second baseman. If you are going with just one lineup, my pick between the two is Cano who takes on struggling right-hander Nick Pivetta tonight. Pivetta owns an unsightly 9.45 ERA and has allowed homers at a 2.03 HR/9 rate in the early going. I also like Cano over Kipnis slightly due to the fact he is projected to hit third and Kipnis sixth. Cano enters tonight’s contest with just a .185 batting average on the season, but he has hit a pair of long balls and owns a powerful .209 ISO against righties on the season. Cano has notched a hit in three straight games and has doubled in two of his last three, so I don’t mind the value upside he brings to the table against a struggling right-hander tonight.
3B – Yandy Diaz (TB) – $3,800 vs. BAL
Diaz is one of the more interesting hitters in the game. Tampa Bay acquired him from Cleveland in the offseason as their analytics department notched he hits the ball as hard as anyone in the game and simply needed a launch angle change to stop hitting so many ground-balls and starting hitting for more power. Well, it appears the change has been made. Diaz has hit three homers this season, not a huge number but a good one and three times as many as the one he hit in 120 plate appearances last season in Cleveland. He’s also smashed three doubles and owns a very powerful .226 ISO on the season. He also owns a walk rate of 15.9%, one that exceeds his strikeout rate of just 14.3%. His numbers against lefties exceed his numbers against righties in a very small sample to begin the 2019 season, but I’m not about to argue with a .220 ISO and .804 OPS against righties, especially a righty in Bundy who is allowing home runs at an alarming rate.
SS – Tim Anderson (CWS) – $4,700 vs. KC
This dude is arguably the hottest hitter in baseball right now. Among qualified hitters, Anderson’s .453 average is the best mark in the bigs while he is also displaying plenty of his power/speed combination. Anderson has launched three dingers and three doubles on the young season and he’s also swiped five bases as well. We knew the power/speed potential could increase this season after he broke out with 20 homers and 26 stolen bases last season. Anderson has been a superior hitter against left-handed pitching in his career and he faces a righty tonight, but this season his power has so far come against righties to the tune of a massive .306 ISO and 1.209 OPS. All three of his homers and two of his three doubles have come at the expense of a right-handed pitcher. He’s expensive, but he’s white-hot at the moment coming off a three-hit game that included a double and a pair of runs scored last night, so make sure to include him in any White Sox stack tonight.
OF – Eloy Jimenez (CWS) – $4,100 vs. KC
Jimenez hasn’t lit the big leagues on fire like many thought he would given his assault on minor league pitching last season, but that’s not to say that he’s been bad, either. Jimenez owns a solid .268 average and he’s hit a pair of home runs so far in the early going. The left-handed hitting outfielder posted a .242 ISO with 12 homers in just 55 games at Triple-A last season, so we know he can hit for power. While he actually sported reverse splits at Triple-A in 2018 and hit lefties for a huge 1.215 OPS, let’s not scoff at his big .933 OPS against righties. There’s also the fact he put together a big .960 OPS against righties at Double-A compared to a .766 OPS against lefties. At the end of the day he’s probably going to hit both sides well, but we want him most against a righty like we have tonight. Projected to hit fifth in the lineup, Jimenez will actually lead this stack off so I want him on base to score some runs, but he’s also welcome to park one in the chairs as well.
OF – Austin Meadows (TB) – $5,000 vs. BAL
I think that Chris Archer trade the Rays made with the Pirates last season is working out for Tampa. They acquired the Pirates’ top two prospects from the 2016 and 2017 season in Meadows who is raking this season and right-hander Tyler Glasnow (who is actually on this slate) who is blowing hitters away with a 0.53 ERA on the season. Speaking to Meadows, he’s projected to hit in the leadoff spot tonight, a valuable spot to be, but he is hitting for a ton of power as well. All Meadows has done so far is hit .357 with a massive .375 ISO and 1.170 OPS to go along with six homers, three doubles and two stolen bases. He has obliterated right-handed pitching to the tune of a .383 ISO and 1.189 OPS on the season while five of his six homers and all three of his doubles have come against a right-handed pitching. Both steals are off of a righty to boot. He costs a pretty penny right now, but he’s a must is you are rolling a Tampa Bay stack tonight.
OF – Tommy Pham (TB) – $4,500 vs. BAL
Pham has also been real good for Tampa as he concludes our four-man Rays stack against Bundy. His .103 ISO might suggest he isn’t hitting for a ton of power, but Pham still has two homers and he’s been a menace on the basepaths with five steals already in just 15 games. Whatever power he has had this season has come against a right-hander as both of his homers were against righties. Obviously, the stolen base upside is higher against a right-hander as he’s stolen three of his five bases against a righty. Pham brings plenty of power and speed potential to this lineup as he homered 21 times and stole 15 bases last year, but also homered 23 times and swiped 25 bags in the 2017 season with St. Louis. His .403 OBP so far this season is mightily impressive as his huge 16.7% walk rate exceeds his 15.3% strikeout rate. Walks wouldn’t be the worst thing tonight as he could steal some bases and score some runs out of the projected two-hole tonight.