I haven’t dropped a DraftKings MLB DFS Picks piece since Friday, however that Friday lineup was an extremely positive one.
I’m not going to break down every player, but the lineup was buoyed by a big outing from Tyler Glasnow against the Orioles while Derek Dietrich had a massive night at the plate that included two homers, six RBI and a stolen base. Teammate Yasiel Puig also had a great night as did Jorge Soler who homered at less than 2% ownership.
Our low owned players dominated, which is why we were able to make notable profits in GPPs.
Let’s turn our attention to tonight’s 13-game main slate!
P – Noah Syndergaard (NYM) – $10,100 vs. SD
I rostered Syndergaard his last time out and it turned out to be quite the wise decision. It was on that funky Thursday slate last week, the one that started at 12:15 pm ET and therefore I didn’t have any picks out. That said, I used him against the Reds at home and he dominated to the tune of a complete game shutout while striking out 10 and allowing just four hits and a walk. It was certainly the type of effort that displays the ceiling the right-hander has, but I was most happy to see him go deep into a ball game after having went just five innings in each of his previous three starts while allowing 14 earned runs combined in those 15 innings. Syndergaard gets a nice opportunity tonight for an encore as he takes on a Padres club that ranks 24th with a .297 wOBA on the season while they now own the unfortunate label as the most strikeout-prone ball club as their 26.8% strikeout rate is the highest mark in baseball. Asd a result, Syndergaard may not have to go overly deep into this game to rack up double-digit strikeouts while I like his win upside thanks to a tiny 3.1 run projection for the Padres combined with the Mets’ -150 odds to win this one on the moneyline.
P – Jon Lester (CHC) – $9,000 vs. MIA
Lester missed a couple of turns through the rotation recently, but also was dominant in his return to the mound, continuing a trend he has been following since getting the ball on Opening Day. Lester lined up with what appeared to be a tough matchup on the road in his return to the mound in Seattle, but all he did was hurl seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing just one hit and one walk while punching out eight against one of the toughest offenses in baseball. Lester has not given up more than two earned runs in any of his five starts this season and he enters tonight’s contest with a 1.73 ERA as a result, albeit he has out pitched his solid 3.37 FIP and 3.45 xFIP by a wide margin. Still, the veteran southpaw is racking up strikeouts at a 9.35 K/9 clip and gets a nice matchup tonight against a Marlins team that ranks dead last with a .267 wOBA and 21st with a 24.6% strikeout rate. The Cubs are favored on the moneyline at -164 tonight, so the win upside is certainly, there. I am paying up for a pair of arms that I am looking at to provide this lineup with the foundation we need to succeed.
C – Tucker Barnhart (CIN) – $3,000 vs. OAK
Truth be told, this was the final position to fill in my lineup tonight as I needed a catcher at $3,000 or under and it essentially came down to Barnhart of Kansas City’s Martin Maldonado. Barnhart is the much easier decision for me as he provided us with nice value on Friday and the guy gets on base. He’s hitting just .188 on the season, but he has an OBP that climbs all the way to .309 thanks to a huge 14.7% walk rate. He’s also got some pop as he’s homered three times on the season after reaching double-digits with 10 last season. Once his .222 BABIP begins to even out, we will see his OBP climb noticeably higher given his ability to draw free passes. For instance, Barnhart walked three times and scored a run on Friday when I used him. The next day he popped his third homer of the year. He takes on right-hander Mike Fiers of the A’s, a pitcher who sports a 6.81 ERA and 5.57 FIP with an elevated 1.95 HR/9 rate while he’s struggled with homers throughout his career given his fly-ball tendencies. I think there’s more value to be had tonight with Barnhart.
1B – Justin Smoak (TOR) – $3,900 vs. MIN
To buy into my Toronto stack tonight against right-hander Jose Berrios and the Twins, you need to dive into Berrios’ splits. In his career, Berrios has pitched to a rock-solid 3.43 ERA at home, however he’s been knocked around to the tune of a 5.22 ERA on the road. He’s allowed just a 0.64 HR/9 rate at home, a number that more than doubles all the way to 1.78 on the road. It’s been the same story this season. Berrios owns an elite 1.98 ERA in 27.1 innings at home, but pitched to a much higher 4.26 ERA across 19 innings on the road. He’s allowed homers at a 0.66 HR/9 rate at home, but a huge 2.37 HR/9 rate on the road. He allowed three homers and three walks in his last road start against a weak Orioles offense. As a result, I’m rolling out a three-man Blue Jays stack, each of whom have notable power. Smoak has clobbered right-handers for a .203 ISO and .830 OPS on the season after doing them in for a .257 ISO and .867 OPS last season. I think we can get plenty of value out of what should be a low-owned Jays stack tonight.
2B – Adam Frazier (PIT) – $4,000 vs. TEX
A team that could really fly under the radar tonight is the Pirates as they are one of the bottom handful of offenses in baseball, but I like their upside tonight against the Rangers and starter Adrian Sampson. Sampson has been solid with a 3.58 ERA on the season, but also owns a 4.73 FIP and 5.28 xFIP and has allowed home runs at a 1.95 HR/9 rate in 55.1 big league innings for his career. That said, there’s another aspect to look at here and that is the Rangers’ bullpen. Sampson has made three starts this season, but also come out of the ‘pen four times and hasn’t pitched more than 4.1 innings in a game since April 1st. As a result, I am looking at the Rangers’ bullpen ERA of 4.76, which ranks 23rd, and bullpen FIP of 5.14, which ranks 28th, and licking my lips. Fraizer doesn’t bring a ton of the power to the table with just one homer on the year, but he popped 10 last season and is going to hit in the leadoff spot tonight. The Pirates are projected to score 4.6 runs so that leadoff spot is an important factor in his upside tonight.
3B – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) – $3,600 vs. MIN
Baseball can be a humbling game at times and this young man is a perfect example of that. After putting up video game numbers in the minors for the last few years, Guerrero made his much-anticipated MLB debut at the end of April, but it hasn’t gone well. He’s hitting just .152 with no home runs and just one RBI across the first 37 plate appearances of his big league career while his double in his big league debut is his only extra-base hit to this point. That said, there could be a perfect storm brewing here given the guarantee that he breaks out at some point soon combined with the fact Berrios is allowing home runs at a shocking rate on the road, as he’s done throughout his career. Furthermore, his early struggles will have plenty of owners off of him at this point, especially on a big 13-game slate. The price right, the upside is there, the matchup is sneaky-good and the ownership should be low. Love this as a GPP play tonight.
SS – Cole Tucker (PIT) – $3,500 vs. TEX
I couldn’t hit Freddy Galvis into this spot as part of my Blue Jays stack so I decided to use Tucker as a cheap option to form a wrap-around stack with Frazier and co. at the top of the Pirates’ lineup as Tucker is projected to hit eighth. Tucker hasn’t homered since his big league debut back on April 20th and the truth is he has scuffled of late. However, he broke out of a slump with a hit in his last game on Sunday and he also walked and scored a run, so perhaps the confidence is trending in the right direction for this matchup tonight. Tucker has power as evidenced by his three homers and .246 ISO and massive .994 OPS across 13 games with Triple-A before his big league promotion. He also stole five bases in those 13 games and had a whopping 35 steals in a full season at Double-A last season. He’s yet to swipe a base in the big leagues, but I have that feeling he will do so tonight as I’m expecting him to get on base against a starter and bullpen that is ripe for the taking.
OF – Randal Grichuk (TOR) – $3,800 vs. MIN
Completing our three-man Blue Jays stack is Grichuk who brings reverse-splits to the table, meaning he hits right-handed pitching better than lefties as a right-handed hitter. All five of his home runs this season have come at the expense of a right-handed pitcher, giving him a powerful .204 ISO against them compared to a .125 ISO against left-handed pitching. For his career, he owns a .770 OPS and .222 ISO against lefties, good numbers to be sure, but also a slightly elevated .794 OPS and .247 ISO against righties. The splits aren’t huge, but we still have a guy that some might shy away from against a tough righty, but I’m all over him in this matchup. He’s recorded a hit in nine of his last two games and is 2 for 6 with a double over his last two. He also owns a .224 ISO and .823 OPS at the hitter-friendly Rogers Center in Toronto this season, so let’s look for him to keep up the good work against Berrios and the Twins’ 20th-ranked bullpen tonight.
OF – Starling Marte (PIT) – $4,900 vs. TEX
One of the top power/speed combination players in the game, Marte could have himself a big night against a vulnerable pitching staff. He’s homered four times and owns a .200 ISO on the season, but he’s also swiped five bases to boot. He homerted 20 times and stole 33 bases in 2018 to give you a picture of what he can bring to the table. Just don’t expect him to walk much considering his 3% walk rate this year and 5% mark for his career. Hopefully he gets to face the right-hander Sampson a couple of times and some right-handed relievers as well as he’s hit righties for a big-time .260 ISO and .828 OPS on the season and has all 10 of his extra-base hits – four homers, five doubles and a triple – against a right-handed pitcher while all five steals have come against a righty as well. Like Grichuk, Marte is a slight reverse-splits hitter for his career and I’m looking for his power/speed upside to show through in a nice matchup tonight.
OF – Gregory Polanco (PIT) – $4,200 vs. TEX
Completing our lineup and our four-man Pirates stack is Polanco who brings some quality power/speed upside to the table as well. Labrum surgery delayed his start to the season, and the fact that he has struggled to show his power and speed to this point should have him low owned on this slate tonight. He’s played in just 10 games but he has yet to homer or steal a base. That said, he has a double in two of his last three games with two runs and an RBI in that span as well, so the bat is coming around. Despite missing 32 games last season, Polanco put up a career-high 23 home runs and he stole 12 bases as well and has as many as 27 steals in a single big league season. He hit right-handed pitcher for a huge .264 ISO and .864 OPS last season while 19 of his 23 homers came at the expense of a right-hander. He is projected to his third tonight, behind Frazier and Marte and also behind Tucker once the lineup rolls over once, so a big night for Polanco could be a big night for this lineup at projected low ownership.