Some of last night’s DraftKings MLB DFS Picks were hot, however there were far too many duds in the lineup to get into the money on a high-scoring night in Major League Baseball.
It’s a tough pill to swallow when one of your pitchers racks up 17 strikeouts and you don’t cash. That was the case last night as Chris Sale punched out 17 Rockies across seven innings of work. He left with a 3-2 lead, but the Boston bullpen blew that lead before the Red Sox eventually won in extra innings, so Sale didn’t even get into the win column despite the historic strikeout numbers.
Our second pitcher, Luke Weaver, was decent, but unspectacular as he hurled six innings of three-run ball to go along with five strikeouts, but he didn’t get any run support and ended up in the loss column as a result.
Our Mets stack got off to a wonderful start as Wilson Ramos blasted a first-inning grand slam that had us off to the races. Unfortunately, a Brandon Nimmo double would be the only other notable damage from this stack the remainder of the night.
Our A’s stack stunk the joint out as the trio of Matt Olson, Khris Davis and Matt Chapman all posted zeros while Stephen Piscotty delivered nice value with two hits including a double, a walk and a run scored.
Finally, Manny Machado delivered fantastic value as he homered off of Clayton Kershaw and added a double as well as part of a three-hit night, falling a triple shy of the cycle.
It’s been a little bit of a tough go lately, but I’ll stick to my research and look to take in some profits on tonight’s eight-game main slate!
P – Justin Verlander (HOU) – $11,000 vs. DET
He’s likely to see high ownership tonight against his former team in Detroit, but there is two ways to go tonight. Either you roster Verlander and understand you won’t be able to afford the Houston big bats, or you roster two cheap pitchers at your own risk and pay up for Houston’s white-hot bats against a pitcher that started the season in A-ball for the Detroit. I will roll the dice and roster Verlander against one of baseball’s worst offenses and one of baseball’s most strikeout-prone offenses as well. The future Hall of Fame right-hander owns a 2.51 ERA and 10.67 K/9 on the season, and while he’s out-pitched his peripherals in the form of a 3.94 FIP and 3.56 xFIP, we need to understand that the Tigers rank 26th with a .290 wOBA on the season and 27th with a 26% strikeout rate as well. They drop to 28th in wOBA against right-handers as well, so I don’t see much reason to avoid the right-hander tongiht as I have been able to fill a very satisfactory lineup despite the sky-high price we are paying for the Houston ace tonight.
P – Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) – $8,200 vs. COL
Chris Sale torched the Rockies for 17 strikeouts in last night’s game and given the relatively cheap price that fellow lefty Rodriguez comes at tonight, I don’t see any other pitcher as a better fit to slot in behind Verlander on this slate. Rodriguez did not get off to a good start this season – like most of his teammates – as he allowed 11 earned runs over the first two starts and eight innings of his 2019 campaign. That said, he’s allowed more than three earned runs in just one of six starts since and one run or less in three of his last four, so I believe he has found his groove after a rocky start. The strikeout upside is there given his 9.48 K/9 on the season while his ERA of 4.53 sits way above his stout 3.29 FIP and 3.76 xFIP. He’s been bitten by a .339 BABIP against and a low 67.4% strand rate, so we should continue to see the positive regression tonight against a Rockies team that owns a huge 27.6% strikeout rate against lefties, the sixth-highest mark in all of baseball.
C – Wilson Ramos (NYM) – $3,200 vs. WAS
Patrick Corbin is one of the better pitchers on this slate tonight, but I believe Ramos’ bat is heating up and he has also crushed lefties over the last few seasons, so I don’t have much of a problem rostering him at a small price in this one tonight. When I rostered him last night I mentioned that I liked the fact he was coming off a two-hit effort after slumping for the past few of weeks, and he came back with a grand slam and a walk. Let’s keep in mind that Ramos has been one of baseball’s top-hitting catchers, especially in the power department, for the last handful of seasons but he also tore his ACL which has kept him off the radar as one of baseball’s premier backstops, at least at the plate. His batting average is higher against lefties this season, but he has yet to get to one for an extra-base hit. That said, he hits lefties for a .321 average, .236 ISO and .916 OPS last season, so the turnaround is going to come against southpaws soon and I am excited to see if he can carry his momentum into this one at a tiny price tonight.
1B – David Freese (LAD) – $3,600 vs. SD
I normally like more home run power out of the first base position, but truth be told it was one of the last positions to fill in this lineup after I picked my pitchers and main stack. That said, I like the matchup Freese is in tonight and as per usual he should be in the cleanup spot against a left-handed starter tongiht in the Padres’ Matt Strahm. Now, Strahm has been good since getting roughed up in his first start of the season, however the Dodgers are one of baseball’s most powerful offenses and I have a cost-efficient mini-stack to get a couple slices of that high-octane pie tonight. I mean, I’m not about to argue with the .233 ISO and .906 OPS Freese has posted against left-handed pitching on the season while his .398 wOBA against them isn’t too shabby, either. He also hit .321 with an .876 OPS against them last season, so the veteran definitely knows what he’s doing against lefties. He’s 2 for 2 with a double against Strahm in his brief history against him, so all signs point to some value production from the veteran tonight.
2B – Kike Hernandez (LAD) – $3,700 vs. SD
We will complete our Dodgers mini-stack right away with Hernandez who loves himself some lefties. He obliterated lefties in 2017, but last season his splits reversed as he found a way to hit right-handed pitching for plenty of power as well. However, 2019 has began much like 207 went as the utility man has clobbered left-handed pitching to the tune of a .229 ISO and .917 OPS on the season to go along with a huge .384 wOBA and 146 wRC+. You’ll have to accept that Hernandez is slumping at the moment as he has just two hits over his last five games, but I also like that one of those hits went for a home run. Another aspect to his pick that I like is that he should hit in the leadoff spot tonight, giving him extra at-bat upside while the leadoff spot in the most valuable spot in the lineup for DFS purposes. Let’s look for some cross-category production, but also a homer or two out of Hernandez in this matchup tonight.
3B – J.D. Davis (NYM) – $3,500 vs. WAS
This one is tough because there are two third basemen that I really like tonight, one of whom is Davis and the other is Austin Riley of the Braves who has obliterated right-handers at Triple-A this season and faces a reverse-splits pitcher in right-hander Michael Wacha tonight. I am choosing Davis for this lineup because he forms a possible wrap-around stack with Ramos, but I’m going to find a way to get exposure to Riley tonight as well. Nonetheless, let’s touch on Davis who has made his pro baseball living by pummelling left-handed pitching. I mean, the dude owns a massive .308 ISO and .872 OPS on the season against left-handers and crushed left-handers for an eye-popping 1.220 OPS at Triple-A last season. He is projected to hit in the valuable two-hole tonight, and the idea is to have Ramos – projected to hit 7th – on base when Davis comes to the plate once or twice tonight, and hopefully he can homer at that point.
SS – Wilmer Difo (WAS) – $2,700 vs. NYM
The reason I am going to be able to afford a rather high-price three-man outfield stack tongiht along with the high-priced Verlander is by using Difo as a one-off a shortstop against the Mets and right-hander Wilmer Font tonight. I don’t mind the play all that much to be honest as Font owns a career 6.39 ERA including a 5.50 mark this season and he’s allowed an enormous 1.275 OPS to left-handed hitters on the season which is where Difo will be swinging from given that he’s a switch-hitter. He’s shown a little pop in his career with seven home runs last season, but he can also provide value on the basepaths as he’s stolen 10 bases in each of the last two seasons as a part-time player. He has a pair of homers this season and he’s actually 6 for 21 (.286) at the plate over his last six games and has two runs over his last three. I’m not expecting much here, but against a struggling pitcher and a bad Mets bullpen, perhaps Difo can come up big for this lineup tonight.
OF – Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) – $4,700 vs. KC
The Rangers are taking on one of the slate’s most struggling pitchers in Jorge Lopez of the Royals and they have a five-run projection as a result, so I am rostering a three-man Rangers stack, all of which hit from the left side. One thing to mention first is that you can stretch this to a four-man stack by using Rougned Odor at second base over Hernandez in this lineup, but Odor is hitting .153 on the season which is why I went with Hernandez to complete a mini-stack. Choo, on the other hand, is having another marvelous season at the dish, especially against righties, as he’s hitting .304 with a .212 ISO and big-time .914 OPS against them. A lot of that OPS stems from his .397 on-base percentage against righties, but Choo still has power and a little bit of speed with a pair of steals on the season as well. He’s going to hit in the leadoff spot tonight, and considering Lopez is allowing a huge 1.047 OPS to left-handed hitters this season, I like the chances of some cross-category upside from this guy tonight.
OF – Nomar Mazara (TEX) – $4,000 vs. KC
Next man up in this stack is Mazara who is having another solid season at the plate for the Rangers. If anything, the guy is extremely consistent as he has hit 20 home runs in all three of his big league seasons to his point, however he’s on pace to get past that mark with six through the first 35 games of this season. Mazara has actually enjoyed more success power-wise against left-handed pitching this season, but the lefty-swinging outfielder owns a career .182 ISO and .777 OPS against righties compared to a .131 ISO and .648 OPS against lefties, so there’s a very, very strong chance that his splits begin to even out. Tonight seems like a good opportunity for that to take place given Lopez’s severe struggles against left-handed bats so far in the 2019 season. Mazara is 4 for 9 (.444) over his last two games at the plate, and while none of those hits went for extra-bases, he’s clearly seeing the ball well and I like the upside we have here at a reasonable cost.
OF – Joey Gallo (TEX) – $5,400 vs. KC
I’m obviously pretty pumped that I was able to get Gallo into the lineup given his huge price and the fact I have an $11,000 pitcher in my lineup as well. This guy has the most raw power in baseball and it’s on display against this season as he’s already at 12 homers while his .372 ISO is a gargantuan number. Yes, the strikeouts are there as well at 35.5% for the season, but he’s walking almost 20% of the time as well. The numbers against right-handers are off the charts with a .388 ISO and 1.048 OPS and I wouldn’t expect a ton of decline in those figures considering he owns a .308 ISO and .850 OPS for his career against right-handed pitching. Gallo didn’t homer in any of his two hits last night, but he doubled for both of those hits after going hitless in his previous three games. Once again, Lopez has been hit hard by left-handed bats this season, and Gallo is the most powerful left-handed bat in baseball, so sign me up all day for this play.