DraftKings MLB DFS Picks – May 17th

Last night’s DraftKings MLB DFS Picks were wildly disappointing as our main stack was nothing short of atrocious against one of the worst pitchers in Major League Baseball.

Our pitching was fine as Marcus Stroman gave us six innings of one run ball to go along with six strikeouts, but his offense gave him just two runs of support and he did not land in the win column as a result.

Eric Lauer was decent, hurling 5.2 innings of one run ball himself, however he also struck out just three Pirates while he too missed the win column.

Our four-man Blue Jays stack could not have been more disappointing. Vladdy Guerrero Jr. and Randal Grichuk both posted zeros while Justin Smoak had a pair of walks. Eric Sogard walked, stole a base and scored a run for a decent effort on his part.

Our Cardinals mini-stack was a little better, but mostly just Marcell Ozuna who homered while Yadier Molina chipped in just one single.

Our Twins mini-stack combined to record five hits, the only problem was all five were singles while Eddie Rosario scored two runs and Jorge Polanco had an RBI as well.

It’s been a rough week as I have missed the cash line every day to this point, but let’s bear down and have our best night of the week on this loaded 15-game slate heading into the weekend!

P – Jacob deGrom (NYM) – $11,400 vs. MIA

The New York Mets kick off a series with the Miami Marlins tonight and they will send ace right-hander Jacob deGrom to the mound in the most favorable pitching matchup on the slate. I’m not concerned whatsoever about the ownership deGrom might see tonight as the strikeouts upside, among other things, is just too big to ignore. The 2018 NL Cy Young Award winner will face a Marlins offense that ranks dead last with a .261 team wOBA on the season and 23rd with a 25.2% strikeout rate on the year as well. Interestingly, the Marlins also rank dead last with an identical .261 wOBA against right-handed pitchers, however the strikeout rate climbs to 27.1% against righties, good for 29th, only ahead of the San Diego Padres. Enter deGrom who sports a 3.26 ERA entering this one, but also a 3.13 FIP and 2.94 xFIP while he also sports a gargantuan 12.26 K/9 clip on the season to boot. Hands down the top matchup on the slate and I’m not about to fade it.

P – Joey Lucchesi (SD) – $8,200 vs. PIT

For the second straight night I will target the Pittsburgh Pirates as they struggle against left-handed pitching and they also strike out a lot against southpaws and I’m looking for Lucchesi to deliver more of the latter than his teammate Lauer did last night. The Pirates enter this one ranked 28th with a .268 team wOBA against left-handed pitching while their sky-high 27.4% k-rate against them ranks 24th. Lucchesi has endured some rough outings this season, but if his peripheral numbers mean anything, he is due for some positive regression moving forward, something that may have began in his last outing. Lucchesi owns an elevated 4.57 ERA on the season, but his 3.38 FIP and 3.92 xFIP are much fonder of his work while he also owns a solid 8.71 K/9 rate on the season, but also posted a 10.04 mark last year, so perhaps more punchouts are on the way. The young lefty hurled 5.1 frames of one-run ball with just three hits against and one walk in his last outing, which came at Coors Field of all places, and the potential for an increase in production is very much there in this one tonight.

C – Travis d’Arnaud (TB) – $2,800 vs. NYY

I’m aware of the fact that the Rays hit right-handed pitching better than they have lefties this season, however I’m not too worried about it as the guys I will be rostering hit lefties well and Yankees veteran C.C. Sabathia appears to be in for some serious regression from his current ERA figure. Sabathia owns a 3.26 ERA on the season, but that number almost doubles to a 6.31 FIP and a 5.34 xFIP as he’s also allowed a huge 2.37 HR/9 rate on the season and an elevated 3.86 BB/9 rate as well. Furthermore, Sabathia has benefited from a tiny .183 BABIP against and a huge 92.7% strand rate, almost 20% higher than his 73.4% career mark. He’s going to get hit real hard soon and I believe the Rays can get to him tonight at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. Enter d’Arnaud who hasn’t played much this season or last, but hit lefties for a .302 average, .221 ISO and big .894 OPS in his most recently healthy season in 2017. He’s 2 for 6 with a pair of walks in his career against Sabathia and could have a nice RBI spot tonight out of the projected five-hole for Kevin Cash’s club.

1B – Carlos Santana (CLE) – $3,800 vs. BAL

We have to be careful with our funds after paying a huge price for deGrom, but I have another cost-efficient stack in mind to go along with my four-man Rays stack as the Indians take on struggling right-hander Dylan Bundy. Bundy had a brutal season last year and that has carried forward to this year as he owns a 5.31 ERA, but also a huge 6.13 FIP to go along with a 5.14 xFIP. He too is allowing plenty of home runs with a 2.43 HR/9 rate on the season, even higher than the 2.15 mark he posted in 2018. He’s also walking batters at a high 3.54 BB/9 clip. Enter Santana who is having a nice year and while his numbers are a little better against lefties, the power is about the same to both sides. That said, he’s hit four of his five homers off of righties, albeit in far more at-bats, while he’s 3 for 8 with a double, two runs and four RBI over his last two games. Of course, he’s one of baseball’s best OBP guys with a 13.4% walk rate and .378 OBP on the season, so hopefully he can mix some power into his on-base skills against a pitcher yielding plenty of it tonight.

2B – Jason Kipnis (CLE) – $3,300 vs. BAL

Daniel Robertson is a nice value look in a Rays stack tonight, but Kipnis is really heating up at the plate and had a monster game last night so I will look to ride the hot hand with the veteran second baseman tonight. He’s been moved up to the two-hole which means he will hit one spot ahead of Santana in this one. He missed some time early on the IL, however Kipnis owns a real solid .177 ISO and .757 OPS against right-handed pitching this season, thanks in large part to blasting two homers off of a righty in last night’s game while driving in six runs as well. The bat was actually heating up prior to last night’s game as he had a pair of multi-hit games in two of his previous three before last night and now has two doubles and two homers over his last four games. He also has two steals over his last five and Bundy can yield some steals as he allowed 17 last season, but just one this year. Nonetheless, Kipnis is offering a red-hot stick at the moment and I am all over it at this price.

3B – Yandy Diaz (TB) – $4,400 vs. NYY

Keep an eye on confirmed lineups as the day moves along as Diaz left Wednesday’s game with ankle discomfort, but the Rays had an off day yesterday so perhaps Diaz is back in the lineup tonight as he’s projected to hit leadoff. If he doesn’t go, simply insert Jose Ramirez into this spot and you’ll have a four-man Indians stack and still have a three-man Rays stack as you will see shortly. I’d rather have Diaz at the moment as he’s enjoying a huge season in Tampa Bay after coming over from Cleveland in the offseason as he’s unlocked his power with nine homers on the year and he owns a big .251 ISO overall to boot. I mentioned earlier that the Rays I am using hit lefties well, and I believe that includes Diaz as he’s hitting .325 with a massive .375 ISO and 1.126 OPS against lefties. I’m pretty sure that’s good. He also owns a .426 OBP against them, so I love the fact he’s hitting in the leadoff spot as he can get on base and score runs or simply put the ball into the seats himself. He is 1 for 3 with a homer against Sabathia in his career, so that is a very distinct possibility tonight.

SS – Tim Beckham (SEA) – $3,500 vs. MIN

Truth be told this was my last spot to fill in the lineup after I picked my pitchers and my stacks as I needed a shortstop at $3,700 or under to complete the lineup and I’m thrilled to get Beckham at this price. He will take on left-hander Martin Perez who is actually enjoying a real nice season for the Twins with a 3.11 ERA, however given his career 4.55 ERA and 5.66 K/9, I’m not so sure he’s going to be able to keep this pace going for much longer. Regardless, I am looking more at Beckhams’ elite figures against left-handed pitching. All Beckham has done against lefties this season is hit them for a huge .351 average, .297 ISO and 1.033 OPS on the season. Something else that I like here is that Beckham slumped and went hitless in four straight games prior to his last game, but he homered and doubled on Wednesday against the A’s, so the confidence level should be back up to where we want it, especially against a left-hander this evening.

OF – Carlos Gonzalez (CLE) – $3,300 vs. BAL

Completing our three-man Indians stack is Gonzalez who isn’t having a great year after signing with the Indians early in the season, but with the way Bundy is pitching I certainly don’t mind a roll of the dice as part of a stack. With Gonzalez here, our three-man stack is a 2-3-4 projected stack in the batting order, which I absolutely love. He’s certainly not the MVP-caliber CarGo we once knew, but he’s popped a couple of homers so far and still hit 16 of them last season with a .190 ISO, so the pop is still there to be sure. While the numbers to speak of aren’t great for this season, perhaps the bat is heating up as he also enjoyed a big night last night against the Orioles with a three-hit night and an RBI. While it was unsuccessful, I like the fact CarGo attempted a steal as well. He did have five of them last year, so we have a tiny bit of stolen base upside while a big night from CarGo could mean a big night for this lineup considering he is anchoring this stack in the projected cleanup spot tonight.

OF – Tommy Pham (TB) – $4,300 vs. NYY

We will complete this lineup with a pair of Rays outfielders to complete our four-man stack, beginning here with Pham who is projected to hit in the two-hole tonight, a very valuable spot in the order. He’s enjoying a very strong season in his first full season in Tampa Bay as he’s produced a rock-solid .283/.399/.428 slash line with five homers and six steals on the season. Right there we know there is plenty of cross-category upside considering the .827 OPS and six steals. Now, the homers have all come against right-handed pitching, but Pham produced an .877 OPS against left-handed pitching a season ago so I have no doubt in my mind he has the ability to punish left-handers. If you don’t believe me, he produced a giant .260 ISO and .940 OPS against lefties in his breakout 2017 season, so there’s no reason to worry about his small sample from this year against southpaws. He’s already swiped two bases against a lefty this season, so let’s ride the elite cross-category upside into this matchup in the Bronx tonight.

OF – Avisail Garcia (TB) – $4,800 vs. NYY

Completing our four-man Rays stack is Garcia who is enjoying a monster season in his first year with the Rays. Let’s start with his overall .296/.358/.519 slash line and also mention he’s hit seven homers and swiped three bases as well. His OPS of 941 against righties so far towers over his .717 mark against lefties, but his impressive .237 ISO against lefties is better than his .216 mark against righties. However, like Pham, Garcia has a history of crushing left-handers as he hit them for a .198 ISO and .810 OPS in 2018 but also a monstrous 1.030 OPS in the 2017 season. Garcia has also enjoyed some success against Sabathia in the past from a power standpoint as he’s 4 for 16 (.250), but with two homers and a double against the veteran southpaw. That’s good for a huge .312 ISO and .857 OPS against him in a solid sample size. I can’t wait to see what this stack can deliver tonight as I am certain Sabathia is going to get blown up very soon.


Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.