Our pitching was excellent inside of last night’s DraftKings MLB DFS Picks, however our bats didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
In fact, the appropriate fade was made. I elected Max Scherzer over Gerrit Cole and faded Cole altogether as the Pirates don’t strike out much against right-handed pitching. Sure enough, Cole struck out just three while allowing just one run, but Scherzer once again found double-digit punchouts with 10 strikeouts across eight innings of one-run ball, earning the win in the process.
Our second starter, Madison Bumgarner, was fantastic as well as he hurled six innings of two-run ball, but also struck out a whopping 11 Rockies en route to his fourth win of the season. Wonderful pitching results here.
However, the bats were weak. Wil Myers was scratched from the Padres’ starting lineup, so the logical choice would have been to simply use Josh Naylor in the outfield. However, it wouldn’t matter as, despite the Padres scoring eight runs, our two of our three-man stack were held in check as Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado did the heavy lifting. That said, we did get some big-time value out of cather Francisco Mejia who homered as part of a two-hit night with a walk to boot.
Our four-man Brewers stack was a big disappointment, and Lorenzo Cain also didn’t play due to a thumb injury. Jesus Aguilar, Hernan Perez and Orlando Arcia produced just two singles, a walk and an RBI on the night, with Aguilar giving us solid value with those two singles and RBI coming from him.
Finally, we did get some decent value out of Vladdy Guerrero Jr. as well with an RBI single, however I wanted more here.
It was frustrating to get such a solid foundation with our pitcher only to see our bats mostly fail, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
Let’s move onto tonight’s nine-game main slate and see if we can get back into the money for the second time in three nights!
P – Matthew Boyd (DET) – $10,000 vs. TEX
A couple of very good left-handers are lining up tonight in Detroit as Boyd and the Tigers take on Mike Minor and the Rangers. The Rangers are the superior team here, of course, however I am loving the combination of Boyd’s strikeout upside and the strikeout-happy Rangers offense against left-handed pitching. We also get Boyd much cheaper, so I’ll take the increased value upside. Entering this one tonight, Boyd sports a big-time 11.22 K/9 on the season while the Rangers rank dead-last with a 27.6% strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers this season. For what it’s worth, the Tigers are second-last, but Minor’s strikeout rate is much lower at 8.94 K/9. Each team is listed at -105 on the moneyline tonight, so the win upside appears to be about equal. Boyd was roughed up in his last start where he allowed three homers to the Indians and he’s allowed six long balls over his last three starts. Still, he owns a 3.61 ERA, 3.37 FIP and 3.50 FIP on the season with a tiny 1.81 BB/9 rate to go with that huge strikeout clip. I think there’s the upside for a double-digit strikeout game here to be sure.
P – Framber Valdez (HOU) – $6,900 vs. PIT
I mentioned above how the Pirates don’t strike out much against right-handed pitching, but that narrative changes versus lefties such as Framber Valdez. Tonight will mark just the fourth start of the season for Valdez and two of the first three have gone swimmingly. He allowed just three earned runs over 13 innings in his first two starts with 15 strikeouts, good for a 2.08 ERA and 10.38 K/9. However, he went into Yankee Stadium and was roughed up for five runs in just 3.1 frames his last time out. That said, those first two starts came at home where he will be for this one tonight, and I love the value upside as a result. Valdez owns a 10.06 K/9 mark as a starter this season and has posted some big-time strikeout numbers in the minors, so we know we have upside there. Furthering that upside is the fact that the Pirates rank 28th with a .285 wOBA and a 17th with a 24.3% strikeout rate against lefties. Compared to their 19.6% mark against righties, it’s a big number. Finally, the Astros are listed as huge -220 favorites to win this one on the moneyline tonight, so give the kid a ton of win upside to boot.
C – J.T. Realmuto (PHI) – $4,000 vs. NYM
The Phillies have found another gear on offense against this Mets team and this terrible Mets bullpen as they have scored a cool 20 runs over the first two games of this series, so I will stay with the red-hot offense tonight as they take on the struggling New York Mets and left-hander Jason Vargas. After a disastrous start to the season, Vargas has actually been pitching quite well until his last couple of starts in which he’s pitched to a 4.39 ERA. He’s also lasted 4.2 innings or fewer in each of those starts, which would be awesome tonight as the Phils could then continue their onslaught on the Mets’ atrocious ‘pen. Enter Realmuto who owns a big-time .260 ISO and .864 OPS on the season against left-handed pitching on the season. As I mentioned on Monday in a Phillies stack, his numbers fall quite hard at home against lefties, but those splits will narrow as the season moves forward. We also get a little bit of stolen base upside despite a catcher facing a lefty here as he’s stolen three bases on the season, two of which have come against a southpaw. I’ll take the power/speed upside tonight.
1B – Rhys Hoskins (PHI) – $4,700 vs. NYM
There’s no keeping this guy down regardless of what hand you throw with. Hoskins has terrorized Mets pitching so far this series as he’s homered in both games so far – the first of which came off of a lefty in Steven Matz – and now has three long balls over his last four games. Against left-handed pitching, Hoskins is the owner of a huge .297 ISO and 1.032 OPS on the season. Furthermore, he has been an absolute monster at home against both lefties and righties. At home, he owns a .336 ISO and 1.068 OPS compared to a .199 ISO and .804 OPS on the road. At home against lefties, he owns a massive .333 ISO and eye-popping 1.231 OPS with a 218 wRC+. Those are some pretty healthy numbers to be sure. Vergas has been at his worst on the road against right-handed hitters this season, which is why I am complete digging a four-man Phillies right-handed stack in this matchup tonight. There’s no reason to expect anything less than a big night from the powerful first baseman.
2B – Derek Dietrich (CIN) – $4,300 vs. LAA
The Reds and Angels will play another interleague contest tonight and I think the Reds have some upside to get to right-hander Jaime Barria who has been summoned from Triple-A for this start tonight. He’s made just one big league start this season, however after a solid MLB showing last season, Barria has been absolutely clobbered for a massive 7.71 ERA, 6.36 FIP, 5.99 xFIP and a 2.50 HR/9 rate across eight Triple-A starts this season. As a result, I want a couple powerful pieces of the Reds’ pie tonight beginning here with Dietrich who has destroyed right-handed pitching all season long. Entering this one tonight, the former Marlin owns an unreal .394 ISO and .994 OPS on the season against right-handed pitching to go along with a 149 wRC+. The power is superior at home in the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, however he still owns a huge .256 ISO and .832 OPS on the road against righties. With 18 long balls on the season versus righties, sign me up for Dietrich at this reasonable price all day long.
3B – Scott Kingery (PHI) – $4,900 vs. NYM
Next man up in the Phillies’ stack is Kingery who is having a massive season and a massive series so far to boot. Like Hoskins, Kingery has terrorized Mets pitching so far this series by going 4 for 11 with a homer, three runs scored, two RBI and a stolen base to boot. After a disappointing 2018 season that began with high hopes for the versatile Kingery, he is making good on his potential this time around with 10 homers and a huge .299 ISO through just 165 plate appearances on the season. All he’d done against left-handed pitching this season is hit .386 with a .273 ISO and 1.045 OPS to go along with a huge 172 wRC+. That said, I very much like his bat against righties when that bullpen inevitably comes in as he’s posted an even higher .309 ISO to go along with a .990 OPS and 155 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. There’s also that stolen base upside with four steals on the season and add in the fact that he’s projected to hit in the ever-valuable leadoff spot and Kingery should be in for another beastly game tonight.
SS – Jean Segura (PHI) – $4,100 vs. NYM
Another lefty-masher and another guy who is destroying Mets pitching in this series, Segura should be able to continue to deliver value in this one tonight. On the season against left-handed pitching, Segura owns a .317 average, but also an eye-popping .365 ISO and 1.050 OPS to go along with a big-time 168 wRC+. Yes, again we have absolutely huge numbers against left-handed pitching with the shortstop. Furthermore, all he’s done against left-handed pitching at home this season is hit for a monumental .385 ISO and 1.050 OPS on the season to go along with a 202 wRC+. Oh, and he brings plenty of stolen base upside to the table with five steals on the season and at least 20 for the last several seasons. Segura was held in check last night, but went 4 for 6 with a double, a homer, two runs and two RBI in game one of this series. Last night’s 0 for 4 snapped a six-game hitting streak, but I fully expect another one to begin against a terrible Mets pitching staff tonight.
OF – Jesse Winker (CIN) – $3,900 vs. LAA
Completing our Angels mini-stack is Winker who is projected to hit in the leadoff spot tonight and who has also brought plenty of power to the table against right-handed pitching this season. Entering this one tonight, Winker has pummeled right-handed pitching to the tune of a .250 ISO and .853 OPS on the season to go along with a 120 wRC+. Now, it should be mentioned that his bat does quiet down a bit on the road against righties where he owns a still-powerful .180 ISO but also just a .716 OPS and 86 wOBA. Still, out of the leadoff spot against a pitcher like Barria who has been getting tattooed in the minors, I like the upside nonetheless, especially if he just wants to get on base a couple of times for some Derek Dietrich extra-base power. Winker has hit in six straight games in which he started and has gone 11 for 24 (.458) with two homers, a double, a triple, six runs and seven RBI in that span of six games. I think we can derive some nice value out of Winker given his home run power and on-base skills versus right-handed pitching.
OF – JaCoby Jones (DET) – $3,400 vs. TEX
I will roster a couple of players that should see relatively low ownership tonight against the Rangers, beginning here with JaCoby Jones. Jones has always been a light-hitting, defense-first center fielder in his short big league career to this point, but after some swing mechanic adjustment Jones has been absolutely pounding the baseball as of late. Jones began the season injured and limped to a horrific .078 ISO and .430 OPS in the month of April. However, since then, he’s been a completely different hitter. In May, Jones improved to a very nice .224 ISO and .838 OPS. However, in June, the 27-year-old has hit for a huge .286 ISO and .996 OPS to go along with a .412 wOBA and 161 wRC+. Entering this one tonight, Jones has racked up four consecutive two-hit games with three doubles, a triple and a home run with five runs scored in that time. Out of the projected leadoff spot, I’ll take my chances with his new-found offensive approach that has paid massive dividends of late.
OF – Nicholas Castellanos (DET) – $3,700 vs. TEX
Completing our lineup and mini-stack is Castellanos who may not be having the season he had hoped, but is still doing some significant damage against left-handed pitching which is what he will see tonight with Mike Minor on the mound. He’s still only hit seven home runs this season and just two against a lefty, but he’s a doubles machine with 25 doubles on the season already. Add it up and Castellanos owns a .227 ISO and .907 OPS on the season against left-handed pitching with a .374 wOBA and 135 wRC+ to boot. He has those two homers and just four of his 25 doubles against a lefty, but the numbers look good because the Tigers, for some reason, haven’t seen much left-handed pitching this season. Look no further than his .381 average, .190 ISO and 1.004 OPS against lefties from 2018 or his massive .307 ISO and .934 OPS against lefties from 2017 as proof that his guy is simply a lefty-killer. Keep in mind the Tigers are not only facing a left in minor but also a Rangers bullpen that ranks 21st, so I like the chances of the Tigers doing some damage tonight, especially the top of the order.