It was another down night for my DraftKings MLB DFS Picks while unexpected lineup changes continue to wreak havoc with my lineups.
It was an uninspiring start to Trevor Bauer’s night as he gave up some early runs, but in true ace form, Bauer still managed to complete seven innings and strike out 10 and earn a win. It was a little bit if a missed opportunity against a poor Marlins offense but Bauer’s outing wasn’t the reason we didn’t get into the money.
Vince Velasquez didn’t have a great night either as he went just 3.2 innings against a weak Tigers offense, but he did strike out seven. Still, this was certainly a missed opportunity as we see these types of outings too frequently from the skilled but volatile right-hander.
Our four-man Reds stack just wasn’t able to get to Jason Vargas for much at all. Eugenio Suarez was able to belt a home run while Joey Votto doubled as the Reds did get to the weak Mets bullpen I mentioned in my piece yesterday. Yasiel Puig walked and stole a base while Curt Casali wasn’t able to deliver much value with just a walk.
Kolten Wong had a nice night for us with with an RBI single as part of a two-hit night while he also stole a base. Dexter Fowler was held out of the lineup despite his hot staft against a right-handed pitcher who was getting crushed by left-handed bats. I inserted Harrison Bader in his spot and Bader had a two RBI single on the night.
Finally, Alex Verdugo didn’t get the start despite raking lefties and homering off of Drew Pomeranz in his only at-bat against him. Chris Taylor delivered nice value, however, with a double, two RBI and a run scored.
Still, yesterday’s lineup wasn’t able to get the job done, but we will keep trucking along and aim for some profits on tonight’s nine-game main slate!
P – Aaron Nola (PHI) – $9,000 vs. DET
After finishing second in the NL Cy Young race last season, Nola’s start to the 2019 season has been disappointing – to put it lightly. Nola enters tonight’s contest with the Tigers sporting a 5.68 ERA and 5.38 FIP while his 3.69 BB/9 rate and 1.99 HR/9 rates are elevated as well. That said, if you believe in the Aaron Nola that we saw not only last year but the one that owns a 3.48 ERA and 3.35 FIP for his career to go along with a 9.42 K/9 rate, then you should like the chances of a turnaround start tonight against the Tigers. While Vince Velasquez wasn’t able to go deep last night, the Tigers only scored three runs last night and their .294 team wOBA ranks 23rd. Of course, we want to rack up the strikeouts as well and no one has been doing more striking out than the Tigers as evidenced by their league-high 27.1% strikeout rate this season. Nola is coming off his best start of the year when he allowed just one run over 6.2 innings against a similarly weak Marlins offense, so I’m definitely confident that Nola can keep this Tigers lineup in check and rack up the punchouts en route to a win at -220 moneyline odds.
P – Caleb Smith (MIA) – $8,600 vs. CLE
The Marlins and Indians get together again tonight and while it’s awfully tempting to take Corey Kluber against this Marlins offense, Kluber has not been himself this season with a sky-high ERA and FIP while the same can be said for Jacob deGrom of the Mets who is also on this slate. As a result, I am going to pay down a little but for Smith who has been lights out to start the season. Entering this one tonight, Smith owns a tiny 2.17 ERA while his 2.63 FIP and 3.02 xFIP are also quite fond of his work as well. Also, you want strikeouts? Smith has piled up strikeouts at a massive 11.48 K/9 rate and his 10.24 mark from last season suggests his strikeout stuff is real. Add in the fact that the Indians rank 28th with a .281 team wOBA, 27th with a 25.9% strikeout rate and 26th with an elevated 27.7% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching and we could have quite the performance on our hands tonight. The one downside is the fact it could be tough for him to notch a win given the Marlins are +115 underdogs in this one and their offensive support is weak, but I would be okay with limited runs and plenty of strikeouts from the young lefty tonight.
C – Yasmani Grandal (MIL) – $4,300 vs. COL
The Brewers will face the Rockies tonight in the hitter-friendly confines of Miller Park in Milwaukee and despite the fact that right-hander Anthony Senzatela has been pretty solid this season and hasn’t given up a homer to a lefty in three starts this season, the Brewers have a 4.9 run projection tonight, one of the highest numbers on this slate. As a result, I feel confident in Milwaukee putting up some runs tonight and my four-man stack kicks off here with Grandal who is off to a powerful start to his Brewers tenure. The former Dodger enters this one sporting a .217 ISO on the season with six home runs and interestingly three stolen bases as well after stealing just three over the last three seasons combined. He’s hit four of his six homers against righties, and while his ISO and OPS figures are notably higher against lefties this season, Grandal mashed righties far better in 2018 and his career .215 ISO against righties is much higher than his .155 mark against lefties. Finally, he is a clean 3 for 3 in his career against Senzatela, so this play makes plenty of sense tonight.
1B – Eric Thames (MIL) – $4,900 vs. COL
Thames is a massive dude who brings plenty of raw power to the table and he’s put that power on display here in the early going. Thames enters tonight’s contest sporting a big-time .289 ISO and .873 OPS on the season against right-handed pitching, but I also really like the fact that he owns a massive .409 ISO and .986 OPS at home against righties this season as he’s clubbed three homers against them in just 22 at-bats against them at Miller Park. Miller Park is a very homer-friendly venue for left-handed hitters, so it’s no surprise to see Thames raking there as he owns a gigantic .310 ISO and .864 OPS against righties at home last year and .298 ISO and .933 OPS against righties at home in his return to the big leagues in 2017. We also get a touch of stolen base upside with Thames as he swiped seven bases last season, although he’s yet to steal one this year. Out of the projected two-hole tonight, Thames should be in for some power production in this matchup.
2B – Mike Moustakas (MIL) – $4,700 vs. COL
We will keep motoring on with our Brewers stack here with Moustakas who has destroyed right-handed pitching here in the early going this season. He’s always been a productive power bat against righties, but he’s been red-hot against them early with a massive .297 ISO and .936 OPS against opposite-handed pitching on the year. Like Thames, Moustakas has enjoyed hitting at home against righties this season as evidenced by his enormous .400 ISO and 1.088 OPS against them at Miller Park this season which is three homers and three doubles against them across just 30 at-bats. He was held hitless in last night’s contest, but Moustakas went 7 for 16 with a homer and a double with four runs scored, five RBI and a stolen base over his previous four games. No reason not to like the Moose tonight, especially as part of a four-man stack at home.
3B – Travis Shaw (MIL) – $3,600 vs. COL
What I really like about this stack is that we get some value in it as well as Shaw comes to us at a discounted price thanks to a slow start to the season. That said, this is a guy who owns a career .229 ISO and .830 OPS for his career against right-handed pitching and a guy that posted a huge .285 ISO and .892 OPS against them just last season. For this year, Shaw is hitting just .211 against righties, but I mean this guy has still homered four times and doubled three times against them which has helped him post a powerful .197 ISO against them. Anything over .150 can be considered above average, so it’s not like he isn’t hitting for any power all of the sudden. Shaw has hit at least 31 homers in each of the last two seasons, the overwhelming majority of which have come against righties, so we can expect a similar number this season. One final note on this stack is that Christian Yelich is absent as he is dealing with a back issue and won’t be in the lineup tonight, in case you were wondering why he’s not in here.
SS – Freddy Galvis (TOR) – $4,100 vs. LAA
After plugging in my Brewers stack I added a Jays mini-stack that was very cheap. As I kept moving through the slate I wasn’t seeing a ton that I liked for a shortstop/outfielder mini-stack that I could afford, so I have decided to expand the mini-stack into a four-man Blue Jays stack which should see tiny ownership tonight against the Angels and right-hander Felix Pena. Galvis might see a little bit of ownership considering his hot start to the season as he has homered five times and stolen two bases so far in just 26 games while he’s hitting .313 to boot. The switch-hitting infielder has seen his power come almost entirely against right-handed pitching as he’s hit them for a big .250 ISO and .897 OPS in the early going while all five of his homers have come at the expense of a righty. The power isn’t a complete surprise as he’s homered at least 12 times each of the last three seasons and had as many as 20 in 2016. He’s also 22 bases over the last two seasons and averaged more than 12 steals a year over the last four. I’ll take the power upside against a pitcher allowing homers at a very elevated 1.61 HR/9 clip.
OF – Randal Grichuk (TOR) – $3,900 vs. LAA
Grichuk is also an extension of my mini-stack as he is projected to hit in the three-hole tonight, one spot behind Galvis if Eric Sogard is ready to go in the leadoff spot after leaving last night’s game with an illness. Grichuk hads four homers on the young season, and he’s clobbered at least 22 homers in each of the last three years including 25 last season, so we know the power is there to be sure. All four of his long balls this season have come against a right-handed pitcher, which makes sense as Grichuk sports slight reverse-splits for his career as his .247 ISO and .793 OPS against right-handers tops his .223 ISO and .766 OPS against southpaws. Grichuk is riding a modest four-game hit streak into this one and is coming off a two-hit effort last night as well. No one on the Blue Jays has much experience against Pena, but it’s a nice little icing on the cake that Grichuk is 1 for 2 with a homer against Pena in their brief history against one another. He should be productive out of the three-hole tonight.
OF – Billy McKinney (TOR) – $3,300 vs. LAA
I needed some value in this lineup which is why I originally turned to McKinney to lead off a mini-stack, however I like the fact I am set to get him at tiny ownership tonight against Pena. McKinney is off to a slow start at the dish this season as he has just one homer and no steals while he’s hitting just .229 as well. That said, McKinney does hit for power as he clubbed 22 homers between the Yankees’ and Blue Jays’ farm systems and big league clubs last season. He hit six homers with the Blue Jays in just 36 games last season along with a .790 OPS, so the talent and power upside is certainly present as he works through some early-season kinks. Of course, the lefty-swinging McKinney has seen the vast majority of his power come against right-handed pitching as he owns a solid .177 ISO and .740 OPS against righties for his brief big league career to this point, so I like the value upside we get with the young outfielder tonight.
OF – Teoscar Hernandez (TOR) – $3,600 vs. LAA
Completing our four-man Blue Jays stack is Hernandez who certainly brings his fair share of power to the table as well. Hernandez hit 22 home runs last season and produced a .229 ISO to boot. His start has been similar to McKinney’s this season, however, as he’s hitting just .217 but he he has still homered twice and stolen two bases as well. Hernandez stolen a ton of bases throughout his minor league career and while he hasn’t stolen many in his big league career, he did have five a season ago so we get some upside on the basepaths as well. His splits are traditional for his career as the righty-swinging Hernandez has hit lefties for more power, but I’m not scoffing at his powerful .215 ISO against right-handers for his career and the stolen base upside is increased against a righty as well. Galvis and Grichuk are projected to hit 2-3 in the lineup tonight and McKinney and Hernandez are projected at 7-8, so we have a wrap-around stack on our hands and we will get it at low ownerships fit for GPPs tonight.