DraftKings MLB DFS Picks – May 23rd

I am ice-cold with my DraftKings MLB DFS Picks, and while that is certain to happen over a long and arduous MLB DFS season, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

You know you aren’t going to net any profits when Gerrit Cole gets lit up by the Chicago White Sox. Cole was decent early on, but fell apart late as he ended up allowing six earned run on seven hits including two homers in just five innings of work.

Our second starter Max Fried was better, pitching six innings of two-run ball to go along with five strikeouts and a win over the Giants.

After that, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. We got a nice night from Orioles first baseman Renato Nunez that included a homer, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, two runs and two RBI. Pedro Severino doubled and Joey Rickard singled and walked as the O’s indeed got to C.C. Sabathia. Rickard was robbed of an RBI and Severino of a run when Severino was thrown out at home plate on a Rickard single. Considering the sub-2% ownership on Nunez and Rickard, I’ll take that production for sure.

That said, that was about it. Our Cubs mini-stack was brutal as a single and walk from David Bote was all we got there.

The Twins/Angels game was surprisingly postponed, a rare occurrence in L.A., so there isn’t anything to speak of from our Gonzalez/Cano mini-stack.

Our one-off Austin Dean posted a zero and hooked a bomb just foul in his first at-bat. Severino did the same thing in Baltimore. When times are good those stay fair, but we aren’t getting the bounces right now.

I will keep grinding and stick to the same research I had success with early in the season on tonight’s tiny two-game main slate.

P – Lucas Giolito (CWS) – $8,400 vs. HOU

Of course we are thinking GPP when we roster any pitcher against the best offense in baseball, however Giolito has been very good this season after being one of the worst qualified pitchers in baseball in 2018. Holding Houston to nine runs over the first two games of the series is definitely considered cooling off the Astros and I’ll look for Giolito to follow suit tonight in GPPs. The right-hander is showing why he was such a coveted piece of the Adam Eaton trade with the Nationals as he’s pitched to a 3.35 ERA to go along with a stout 2.99 FIP as well and a sky-high 10.47 K/9 on the season. For perspective, he posted a 6.13 ERA, 5.56 FIP and 6.49 K/9 last season. Giolito had elevated strikeouts numbers in the minors, so I’m actually not expecting a ton of regression from that elite strikeout rate in the bigs this season. He’s allowed a total of two earned runs across his last three starts spanning 19.1 innings to go along with 20 strikeouts in that time. Let’s go ahead and roll the dice on the breakout right-hander tonight.

P – Ryan Yarbrough (TB) – $7,600 vs. CLE

We need to be a little creative on this awkward slate tonight, and I am okay with rolling out Yarbrough as I believe the Rays bats will get to Adam Plutko of the Indians while Houston’s Corbin Martin will likely see the most ownership among pitchers on this slate. Yarbrough is opening the game in Cleveland tonight, but he’s more stretched out than the Rays’ typical openers in Ryne Stanek and Hunter Wood. He was actually summoned from the minors for this start, but he pitched at least five innings in his four minor league outings since he went down and six innings in his most recent outing. He owns a stout 2.14 ERA in those four outings with just a .192 opponents average against, a 2.23 FIP, 2.79 xFIP and a massive 12.86 K/9 as well. He will take on the league’s 24th-ranked offense in this one as well as a team that owns a big 25.4% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching this season. He’s stretched out (think innings pitch + win upside if he gets five innings pitched), he is racking up strikeouts in the minors, he’s pitched extremely well since being down there and he doesn’t cost us much. I’ll take it.

C – Eric Haase (CLE) – $3,400 vs. TB

Now, we have to be creative with our bats tonight, and Haase will go up against Yarbrough this evening, and while I prefer his production came after Yarbrough exits, I wouldn’t be worried at all if the power-hitting backstop hit a solo homer off of our pitcher tonight. This a GPP move, but man I;m not sure why Haase isn’t a full-time big leaguer this season considering the Indians lack of offense and Haase monster power in the minors this season. I mean, the dude has mashed 11 homers in just 30 Triple-A games this season and owns a massive .318 ISO and .905 OPS as a result. This power is outrageous, but also not a huge surprise as he clubbed 20 long balls in 2018 and 26 in 2017. He’s consistently posted ISO numbers above .200 in his minor league career and now he’s posting ISO numbers above the .300 mark in two of the last three years, including this one. Roberto Perez is dealing with a concussion, but it’s possible he still plays tonight so keep an eye on the Indians confirmed lineup tonight, but I certainly want Haase in my lineup.

1B – Jose Abreu (CWS) – $4,200 vs. HOU

Jose Abreu has had a decent last couple of games. He’s homered off of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in that time, otherwise known as two of the early favorites for the AL Cy Young Award. After a little bit of a down season last year by his standards, Abreu has picked right back up this season as he’s mashed 12 homers and owns a .259 ISO on the season. Heck, he’s even matched his 2018 total of two stolen bases to this point as well. He’s actually on a streak of four consecutive games with an extra-base hit as he doubled in consecutive games before homering in consecutive games. He owns a five-game hit streak overall. The batting average and OPS are higher against lefties, but Abreu has destroyed right-handed pitching for a huge .287 ISO on the season, and that’s what we are here for with the slugging first baseman: power. I’m not thinking twice about using him in this lineup given his streak of power entering this one tonight.

2B – Brandon Lowe (TB) – $5,200 vs. CLE

Lowe has done nothing but hit since he was promoted to the big leagues last season and he has gone from a sub-$3K price last season to a player you need to try and fit into your lineup this season at a price above the $5K plateau. I’d say it makes sense as he has 10 homers on the season and a .263 ISO, although I’m sure he would like to improve on that massive 34.9% strikeout rate on the season. We also get a little bit of stolen base upside with Lowe as well as he’s swiped three bases on the season. He has simply pummeled right-handed pitching this season to the tune of a massive .282 ISO and .933 OPS on the season. Combing last year’s big league time and this season, Lowe owns a .243 ISO and .870 OPS against right-handed pitching for his young big league career. I am rolling 0ut both a White Sox and Rays stack tonight and there’s simply no way I am keeping Lowe out of my Rays stack against a right-handed pitcher.

3B – Yoan Moncada (CWS) – $4,500 vs. HOU

Next man up in our White Sox stack is Moncada who got in on the fun against Cole in last night’s upset win. Monada enjoyed a two-hit night with a run and an RBI while he also stole a base as well. There is plenty of power/speed upside to work with here as the former top prospect has hit nine home run this season and has swiped five bases as well. Last season, he hit 17 homers and stole 12 bases to give you an idea of the upside, although I believe those numbers are easily going to be eclipsed this season. He’s cut down on the strikeouts and empty at-bats by more than five percent this season and owns a 125 wRC+, meaning he’s hitting about 25% above league average this season. The switch-hitting infielder is having much more success against right-handed pitching as he’s mashed righties for a huge .275 ISO and .911 OPS compared to a .093 ISO and .674 OPS against lefties while all nine of his homers have come against righties and the stolen base upside increases dramatically against a righty. Sign me up all day.

SS – Tim Anderson (CWS) – $4,600 vs. HOU

Bat-flipping Tim Anderson is going to certainly be in this stack. Interestingly, Anderson was a big-time power bat against left-handers last season even before his true breakout, but he is destroying right-handed pitching this season while struggling against southpaws. Anderson is hitting .339 with a .202 ISO and huge .910 OPS on the season against right-handed pitching while he’s hitting for just a .085 ISO and .668 OPS against southpaws. He has 13 extra-base hits on the season, including eight homers – and 11 of those extra-base hits have come against righties including seven of his eight long balls. He’s cooled off a bit from earlier in the month, but the power/speed upside is not to be avoided tonight. Aside from his eight homers, Anderson has swiped a whopping 13 bags so far this season after stealing 26 last season. His 127 wRC+ is a thing of beauty and I am excited to see what power/speed upside we get with Moncada and Anderson on the left side of the White Sox infield tonight.

OF – Eloy Jimenez (CWS) – $3,200 vs. HOU

We are getting Jimenez for a dirt-cheap price here and I love it considering his production at the dish of late. Jimenez accounted for much of the damage off of Gerrit Cole in last night’s game as he mashed a pair of homers off of the right-hander and knocked in two runs while scoring three of his own. I like that breakout game as he has just one hit over his previous five games prior to last night’s breakout. Keep in mind we are getting a guy at $3,200 that raked for a .355 average, .242 ISO and .996 across 55 games at the Triple-A level last season as he firmly sat as the game’s number two prospect behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. The right-handed hitting Jimenez has not done anything against lefties this season, but owns a powerful .242 ISO and .829 OPS on the season with a 120 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. He’s not much of a stolen base threat with zero steals this season, but I’m looking for the power surge to continue into this one tonight.

OF – Tommy Pham (TB) – $4,500 vs. CLE

I will go back to my three-man Rays stack here to conclude this lineup as Pham takes on right-hander Plutko and the Indians. The dude is an on-base machine with a huge .393 wOBA on the season, but he also brings power/speed potential to the lineup with six homers and six steals on the young season. He was relatively quiet in the power department for much of May until recently as he’s doubled twice and homered over his last three games with the homer coming in last night’s win over the Dodgers. He’s now 3 for 11 with two doubles, a homer, two runs and two RBI over his last three contests. The numbers are much better against righties than lefties right now as he owns a .169 ISO and .850 OPS against righties compared to a .125 ISO and .775 OPS against lefties. Five of his six homers are against a righty and, of course, the stolen base upside is notably higher against a righty. Out of the valuable two spot in the lineup, Pham will lead off this stack tonight.

OF – Kevin Kiermaier (TB) – $4,100 vs. CLE

Completing our three-man Indians stack and our lineup is Kiermaier who flexed some muscle in the win over the Dodgers last night. Kiermaier tagged a three-run shot in last night’s win, his fourth of the season while he too brings plenty of stolen base upside to the table with six steals on the young season. He too is on a three-game extra-base hit streak as he has two homers and a double in that span. Over his last three games, he’s 3 for 7 (.429) with two homers, a double, two runs and four RBI. He’s somewhat of a forgotten man in the Rays lineup these days, but I am thrilled to see what he can do in this lineup given his red-hot recency. His .721 OPS is identical between lefties and righties this season, but his powerful .204 ISO against righties towers over his .125 mark against lefties. he has six doubles, four triples, thee homers and six steals against right-handers this season, so give me the red-hot Kiermaier all day against the righty Plutko to complete this lineup tonight.


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.