Happy fourth of July to all my American friends!
Last night’s DraftKings MLB DFS Picks saw some quality performances but also some dud performances as well, but hopefully you were able to use some of the value provided to get into the money!
Chris Sale was once again touched up by the Toronto Blue Jays as he lasted just 5.2 innings, allowed nine hits and five earned runs including a trio of home runs.
Walker Buehler was better, but he still allowed three earned runs over his seven innings of work, although he did strike out nine. That said, he didn’t land in the win column, either.
Our four-man White Sox stack did well, but you would have had to find a replacement at second base for Jose Rondon, which would have required some lineup shuffling given his $2,100 cost. That said, Leury Garcia and Jose Abreu combined for a big night as Garcia had three hits including a double with a run scored while Abreu recorded two hits including a three-run, walk-off home run to end it in the 12th. Unfortunately. Eloy Jimenez posted a zero in five at-bats, a very disappointing result to be sure.
Our three-man Tigers stack was also very productive and notched us nice value. John Hicks, at just $2,100, singled twice, scored a run and recorded an RBI as well. Jeimer Candelario didn’t record a hit, but he did walk on three occasions. Finally, the most value came from Niko Goodrum who singled twice, scored three runs, recorded an RBI, walked and stole a base to boot. Big night from Goodrum.
Lastly, our lineup got dragged down once again by a zero from Albert Almora Jr. in a nice matchup.
Let’s move on from last night and tackle tonight’s four-game DraftKings night slate!
P – Mike Soroka (ATL) – $9,000 vs. PHI
The Braves and Phillies clash again tonight in Atlanta in a very important divisional contest after the Braves’ offense put the boots to the Phillies’ pitching staff with a nine-run outburst in last night’s win. Tonight, the Braves will look to widen their division lead on the Phillies behind Mike Soroka who has simply been unworldly this season. The 21-year-old enters this one sporting a 2.13 ERA on the season, although his 3.16 FIP and 3.75 xFIP do suggest some regression moving forward as Soroka is sporting a small 7.7% HR/FB rate on the season. Still, despite a small 7.12 K/9 on the season, Soroka has limited walks to a 2.02 BB/9 rate and owns a 0.98 WHIP as a result. Soroka hasn’t been quite as good at home of late as he’s allowed at least three earned runs in three straight starts at home and eight earned runs over his last 11 innings at home, but on a tiny slate I think we are in good hands with the Braves listed as roughly -160 favorites to win this one on the moneyline tonight.
P – Dinelson Lamet (SD) – $7,100 vs. LAD
Now the lineup takes a serious GPP turn here with the right-hander Dinelson Lamet. Lamet showed promise after being summoned to the big leagues in the 2017 season, but he underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2018 season and will make his return to the bigs tonight. Of course, he probably couldn’t ask for a more difficult opponent to return against as the Dodgers are probably the best offense in baseball and they actually strike out less than 20%, a combination that I usually work to avoid in a big way. However, the pitching is less than enticing on this slate and I’m going to fade Hyun-Jin Ryu who will see massive ownership tonight. After all, Lamet posted a 11.40 K/9 across his three Triple-A rehab starts and a 10.94 K/9 across 21 big league starts in the 2017 season, so the kid has a good arm and plenty of strikeout stuff to work with. He also pitched five innings in each of his three Triple-A tuneup starts. As a result, perhaps he can strike out eight across five innings and earn an upset win on the road? It’s a long shot, but GPPs are supposed to carry risk and I’ll roll the dice on the talented right-hander tonight.
C – Brian McCann (ATL) – $3,400 vs. PHI
This is McCann’s final season in the big leagues and it appears he will be going out with a bang. The veteran backstop has seen his bat slow in recent years, but McCann is hitting for plenty of power against right-handed pitching which is what he will see tonight against the Phillies’ Zach Eflin. Eflin owns a 3.34 ERA, however he should regress moving forward with a 4.43 FIP and 4.74 xFIP as well to go along with an elevated 1.39 HR/9 rate. McCann could very realistically force that latter number even higher tonight as he enters this one sporting a .214 ISO and .853 OPS against right-handed pitching as well as a .236 ISO and huge .951 OPS with a 139 wRC+ at home against right-handers this year. You are going to see a common theme in this lineup of Braves bats hitting right-handers for power, but also increased power at home and that’s just what the doctor ordered against a pitcher who has been bitten by the long ball this season.
1B – Freddie Freeman (ATL) – $5,000 vs. PHI
Freeman is the next man up in the stack as he will technically lead off the group given his projected spot out of the three-hole tonight. Freeman is hitting for all kinds of power this season against both left and right-handers as he has hit 22 home runs on the season and owns a .273 ISO overall. His 22 bombs are just one short of last year’s 23 in roughly half of the plate appearances, so he is certainly bouncing back in a big way this year. Against right-handers, Freeman owns a .275 ISO and .995 OPS on the season to go along with a 153 wRC+. Against left-handers, Freeman has posted a .265 ISO and .906 OPS and a 132 wRC+. In other words, he is an absolute matchup nightmare for when the bullpen comes into this game. He doesn’t exactly fit the “more powerful at home” theme, but let’s not argue with his .261 ISO and .892 OPS with a 126 wRC+ at home against right-handers this year. I think leaving him out of any Braves stack would be a mistake tonight.
2B – Ozzie Albies (ATL) – $4,200 vs. PHI
Let’s keep the Braves rolling here with Albies who is going to hit near the bottom of the lineup tonight, but he offers some pop and some increased pop at home. Now, overall, the switch-hitting Albies offers more power against left-handed pitching as he owns a huge .385 average, .244 ISO and 1.023 OPS with a 162 wRC+ on the season against lefties. Compared to a .250 average, .169 ISO and .746 OPS against righties and just a 92 wRC+, it’s fairly obvious he prefers left-handed pitching. Still, we don’t have to dig too far to find out that Albies has hit right-handed pitching to the tune of a .242 ISO and .883 OPS with a 122 wRC+ at home this season. He’s also coming off a month of June where he hit for a huge .267 ISO and .970 OPS and went 2 for 4 with two doubles and a run scored in his second game of July last night. Albies is swinging it with plenty of confidence at the moment and with the increased pop at home, I like the value upside we have here at a reasonable price.
3B – Josh Donaldson (ATL) – $4,000 vs. PHI
This is my favorite pick of the stack as Donaldson owns some reverse splits this season and has some ridiculous numbers at home against right-handed pitching as well. Donaldson’s first handful of games in a Braves uniform didn’t go well, but he’s essentially been dominant since. He would finish the months of March/April with a .237 ISO and .890 OPS and while he sunk to a .128 ISO and .752 OPS in May, Donaldson once again raked to the tune of a .292 ISO and .851 OPS in the month of June. He homered in last night’s game to get his July off to a rocking start. On the season, Donaldson has put together a .247 ISO and .874 OPS against the right-handed pitching compared to a .169 ISO and .724 OPS against left-handed pitching. That said, Donaldson has hit for a .321 ISO and 1.016 OPS at home this season and an increased .350 ISO and 1.117 OPS with a 184 wRC+ at home against righties this season. Those are some eye-popping numbers to be sure and I love the price we are getting him at to boot.
SS – Xander Bogaerts (BOS) – $4,700 vs. TOR
This one is interesting as Marcus Stroman is listed as the Blue Jays starter for this one tonight, but he might not actually make the start due to a pectoral issue. If he is remotely not 100%, the Blue Jays aren’t going to allow him to pitch given the fact he’s very likely to be traded this month and the last thing they can afford is to have him get hurt during a career year. AS a result, my thinking is this will be a bullpen/emergency starter day for the Jays, and the Red Sox should be able to take advantage, beginning here with Bogaerts. Bogaerts is raking this season to the tune of a .238 ISO and .922 OPS to go along with 16 home runs and a touch of stolen base upside with three steals on the season. He’s hit both left and right-handers for power this season, so I’m not overly concerned with the handedness of the starter tonight. He also owns a .218 ISO, .839 OPS and a 122 wRC+ on the road this season, so I’ll take the elite bat of Bogaerts all day long in this scenario tonight.
OF – Andrew Benintendi (BOS) – $4,000 vs. TOR
Let’s keep the Red Sox exposure going with Benintendi who comes to us at a real nice price tonight. Benintendi isn’t having the season he would like at the plate as his .155 ISO and .768 OPS are both below career norms and he’s only hit seven home runs on the season. That said, he’s also stolen eight bases to give him some solid power/speed potential in this lineup tonight. I’d very much like whoever pitches for the Blue Jays tonight to be right-handed for Benintendi’s sake as he owns a .168 ISO and .777 OPS on the season against righties and I’m not very fond of his tiny .106 ISO on the season against left-handers. Six of his seven homers and 16 of his 20 doubles have come against righties as well as all right of his stolen bases. Benintendi hasn’t reached base in each of his last three games and has gone 0 for 12 in that time, but I can’t help but think there’s a ton of value to be unlocked if this turns out to be a bullpen day for the Jays and I like the stolen base upside we get on top of the power potential in the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre tonight in Toronto.
OF – J.D. Martinez (BOS) – $4,400 vs. TOR
Another one of my favorite picks on this slate, Martinez offers some serious value upside given his power versus price on this slate. It was going to be hard for J.D. to replicate his outrageous season from last year in Boston, however it’s not like he’s fallen off a cliff. I mean, he enters this one with 18 home runs on the season to go along with a .243 ISO and .909 OPS. That said, the damage has been absolutely insane against left-handed pitching as he’s hit southpaws for a massive .463 ISO and 1.240 OPS on the season to go along with a 215 wRC+. Those are some of the best numbers versus southpaw pitching I’ve seen in my DFS research this season. He’s posted a rock-solid .181 ISO on the season against righties to go along with an .817 OPS and 110 wRC+, good numbers to be sure. Still, I’d like to see Martinez get a couple cracks at a left-handed pitcher tonight but I am okay regardless as he won’t see too many quality arms regardless if Stroman doesn’t get the start.
OF – Hunter Renfroe (SD) – $3,900 vs. LAD
Completing our lineup is Renfroe who could see some lower ownership given the fact he’s going up against Ryu in this one tonight, but boy does he have some elite power against left-handed pitching as well. Just as I thought Martinez was the cream of the crop against left-handed pitching, Renfroe has actually topped his production. Entering this one tonight, Renfroe has tattooed left-handed pitching to the tune of a .571 ISO, 1.318 OPS, .510 wOBA and 223 wRC+. Yes, those are the actual numbers he’s produced this season against southpaw pitching. For good measure he’s hit right-handers for a lousy .308 ISO and .826 OPS as well. On the road against lefties, Renfroe has posted a .517 ISO, 1.256 OPS and a 204 wRC+. He had three hits including a double and a home run with two runs and two RBIs in last night’s contest, so surely he’s entering this one with plenty of confidence. Usually guys with 25 homers before the All-Star break are confident enough, so I’ll roll with Renfroe and his massive numbers against lefties at a laughable price tonight.