In a nutshell, last night’s DraftKings MLB DFS Pick were awful.
Our top pitcher Dereck Rodriguez lasted only five innings while giving up three earned runs while taking the loss in a 3-1 decision at the hands of the visiting Diamondbacks.
Our second starter Alex Cobb’s string of excellent outings was halted when he allowed five earned runs in just 5.2 innings against the visiting Blue Jays. He was left with a no decision.
Our top stack of the Dodgers didn’t produce much at all, with a Manny Machado solo home run accounting for our only hit within that stack.
Our Yankees mini-stack didn’t produce much of anything, nor did our two one-off outfielders as Jake Cave’s double was the only production to speak of there.
A very forgettable night indeed, so let’s quickly move onto tonight’s eight-game main slate and turn this thing around.
P – Justin Verlander (HOU) – $12,000
Today’s lineup is going to feature some top-tier pitching and some value stacks, beginning here with Verlander who takes on the Angels at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Verlander hasn’t been quite as dominant in the season’s second half, but I like his strikeouts upside as it has increased in the second half and it also increases at home. At home this season, Verlander has posted a super-elite strikeout clip of 35.9% while he has punched opposing hitters out at a whopping 35.4% rate in the second half. This will be the fifth time Verlander has faced the Angels this season, and he’s 4-0 with a tidy 1.67 ERA and 33 strikeouts across 28 innings across the first four.
P – Rick Porcello (BOS) – $9,800 vs. CWS
I took a good look at paying up for Mike Foltynewicz in this spot, but he’s taking on a red-hot Cubs offense, so I think I will save a few bucks and nab Porcello and his strikeout upside in Chicago tonight. Porcello has punched out hitters at a nice 23.8% clip this season, but he’s also taking on a team that owns a 25.5% strikeout rate against righties on the season, the second highest mark in all of baseball. The White Sox also rank 23rd with just a .308 team wOBA against righties. Porcello has had three poor outings mixed in with an elite one over his last four, but with the Red Sox tabbed as -190 favorites against the struggling Lucas Giolito, I will take my chances with his strikeout and win potential tonight.
C – James McCann (DET) – $2,800 vs. NYY
As mentioned, we are spending up big-time on pitching which means we need to identify some value stacks for our lineup. I think we have one with the Tigers whose OPS jumps from .663 (29th) against righties to .703 (19th) against lefties as they take on southpaw J.A. Happ of the Yankees. McCann hasn’t hit lefties well this season, but there’s no denying his pop against them as he has a career .224 ISO and .815 OPS against lefties compared to a paltry .091 ISO and .596 OPS against righties. Also encouraging is the fact he is 4 for 13 (.308) with a homer and a double in his career against Happ.
1B – Josh Bell (PIT) – $3,500 vs. STL
Bell and the Pirates face Cardinals’ right-hander John Gant tonight, a pitcher who has a whopping 8.68 ERA in two starts against the Pirates this season. Therefore, I see some value in a Pirates mini-stack, beginning here with Bell. Bell has had a fairly disappointing all-round season, but he has smacked 25 doubles for the year, 17 of which have come against right-handed pitching. He’s also carrying a modest three-game hitting streak into action tonight with a double in that span. He’s not the flashiest of players tonight, but at the right price he can provide some upside against a pitcher the Pirates have feasted on this year.
2B – Ketel Marte (ARI) – $3,300 vs. LAD
The D-backs face a left-hander tonight in the Dodgers’ Rich Hill, and given the price and the fact that Ketel has destroyed left-hander pitching this season, this is a fantastic value play on this slate. Marte enters tonight’s contest sporting a .308 average, .250 ISO and .941 OPS on the season against southpaw pitching. While it actually came against a righty, Marte doubled in last night’s game in San Francisco, his second two-bagger in as many nights and third over his last five games. For what it’s worth, Marte has also stolen two of his four bases this season off of a lefty. I love his upside despite a fairly tough matchup against Hill.
3B – Colin Moran (PIT) – $3,500 vs. STL
Forming a low-owned mini-stack with Bell is Moran who has done essentially all of his damage this season against right-handed pitching. Moran has hit eight home runs on the season, all eight of which have come against a righty. He also has 15 doubles this season, 14 of which have come against a righty. His .294 batting average is also 109 points higher than his .185 mark against southpaws. Moran is also hot at the plate right now as he’s gone 8 for 16 (.500) with two doubles, two runs and two RBI over his last four games. I don’t mind that production at all at low ownership.
SS – Nick Ahmed (ARI) – $3,700 vs. LAD
Ahmed is also quietly destroying left-handed pitching as he gets set to face Hill. The middle infielder has mashed southpaw pitching for a big-time .248 ISO and .834 OPS on the season while eight of his 16 home runs this season have come against lefties despite logging 143 more at-bats against righties this season. Furthermore, Ahmed has hit lefties especially well on the road with an elite .282 ISO and .911 OPS against southpaws away from home. He’s also 3 for 7 over his last two games so sign me up for this lefty masher tonight against Hill.
OF – Steven Souza Jr. (ARI) – $3,400 vs. LAD
Souza hasn’t been able to carry over his big season from last year in Tampa into his first year with the D-backs, but he hits lefties for plenty of power and has a good history against Hill. On the season, Souza has mashed lefties for a .220 ISO and .840 OPS. He has also picked up his production in the second half as he owns a real nice .193 ISO and 820 OPS since the All-Star break compared to his weak .117 ISO and .574 OPS from the season’s first half as he battled injuries. In his career against Hill, Souza has gone 4 for 8 (.500) with a double. He brings plenty of value upside to the table as he finishes off this three-man D-backs stack.
OF – Nicholas Castellanos (DET) – $4,200 vs. NYY
Castellanos is a lefty masher and has also mashed Happ in their history against one another, so I am certainly liking him as a part of our three-man Tigers stack. On the season, Castellanos has clobbered lefties for a massive .398 average to go along with a .220 ISO and 1.066 OPS. Among qualified hitters, Castellanos’ massive .449 wOBA is the sixth best mark against left-handed pitching. Castellanos has also been on the winning side of the majority of his matchups with Happ as he has crushed the lefty by going 11 for 19 (.579) with a homer, two doubles and a triple against the veteran southpaw. I think we want to be rostering this guy tonight.
OF – Mikie Mahtook (DET) – $3,500 vs. NYY
Last man up in our three-man Tigers stack is Mahtook who has been white-hot since being brought back up from Triple-A. Since being recalled, Mahtook has produced a massive .333 ISO and .1000 OPS and has homered in five of his last 12 games including in yesterday’s contest in Kansas City. He’s also hit left-handed pitching very well in his MLB career as he has posted a powerful .214 ISO against them while he logged a big .933 OPS against lefties at Triple-A this season. He will likely fly under the radar tonight, but for a white-hot bat who crushes lefties, I’m liking his value upside at low ownership.