Last night’s DraftKings MLB DFS Picks just weren’t good enough to get the job done.
As has been the case recently, a lineup change from the projected lineups tinkered with my picks. Cole Tucker didn’t start for the Pirates, so some rearranging was necessary.
Regardless, our Blue Jays stack just wasn’t good enough to aid our chances at some profits. Nor was Noah Syndergaard who struck out only five while allowing four earned runs in six innings of work in a favorable matchup against the Padres.
We did get some nice production from our Pirates as Adam Frazier tripled and scored, Gregory Polanco homered and Starling Marte was on base three times thanks to two singles and a hit by pitch.
Nonetheless, we will need some more all-round production from our lineup on tonight’s eight-game main slate!
P – Kyle Hendricks (CHC) – $8,400 vs. MIA
Like I’ve done plenty of times this year, including last night, I am going to target a weak Marlins offense, even if I don’t have the biggest of strikeout upside with Hendricks in this one. Like most of the Cubs pitching staff, Hendricks hasn’t gotten off to a great start this season, but he is coming off of a gem of an effort in his most recent outing. After getting blasted for seven earned runs in his second-to-last outing, Hendricks bounced back with a complete game shutout over the Cardinals, allowing just four hits, albeit with just three punchouts. Still, he’s racked up as many as 11 strikeouts in a game this year and he’s done his best work at home where he will be tonight. Hendricks has been touched up for a brutal 8.78 ERA across 13.1 frames on the road this season, but he’s hurled 21 innings at home this season and pitched to a tiny 0.86 ERA in the process. Against a Marlins offense that ranks 30th with a .266 wOBA this season, I like my chances at another long outing and the strikeouts will be a bonus in this one.
P – Jon Gray (COL) – $8,000 vs. SF
Taking a pitcher at Coors Field in Colorado carries plenty of risk, but if you are willing to swallow the risk in GPPs, I think Gray has the upside to deliver some value at this price at home against a weak Giants offense. He can be a frustrating pitcher at times due to the stuff he carries, which is why his 4.22 ERA and 4.66 FIP on the season are disappointing figures. That said, he owns a nice 9.07 K/9 number on the season and the matchup is favorable. The Giants enter this one ranked 28th with a .278 wOBA on the season as we are targeting two of the three worst offenses in baseball this season with our pitchers in this lineup. It’s a small sample, but Gray owns a solid 3.75 ERA in 12 home innings this season and allowed just one homer in this one. Again, this is a GPP play to be sure, but I think we can get Gray at low ownership tonight and the Giants don’t exactly present a formidable lineup, so I’ll take my chances with the 27-year-old right-hander tonight.
C – Willson Contreras (CHC) – $4,900 vs. MIA
Our pitchers aren’t costing us a ton in this lineup tonight, so we have the ability to pay up for some big-time bats and Contreras certainly fits that bill. Coming off a down 2018 season like most of his teammates, Contreras has bounced back with nine home runs to this point in the season and owns a massive .344 ISO as a result. In his standout rookie season Contreras hammered left-handed pitching, but this season the damage has been against righties as he has hit them for a .348 average, eye-popping .391 ISO and a huge 1.216 OPS as well. Seven of his nine long balls have been at the expense of right-handed pitching as well. The right-hander he will face tonight is Jose Urena who owns a 5.45 ERA on the season while he’s yielded an .898 OPS to right-handed hitters such as Contreras on the season. It appears we might have the jet stream blowing out to left field tonight at Wrigley, and while we’re rostering the Cubs’ Hendricks as well, I think Contreras has all the upside in the world to put one into the seats tonight.
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – $3,600 vs. LAA
The Tigers aren’t a good offense this season and Miguel Cabrera – a future Hall of Famer – has just one home run on the season. That said, the Tigers are a little better offense against left-handed pitching which is what they will face tonight against the Angels’ Tyler Skaggs. While his power hasn’t shown up in terms of homers, Cabrera is still hitting the ball very hard with a real nice 49.5% hard-hit rate on the season, a number that towers over his career mark of 39.6%. He has been snake-bitten by a minuscule 3.7% HR/FB rate on the season, a number that is most certainly going to trend towards his career mark of 18.6% as the season moves along, or at least closer to the 13.6% mark he put up last season, albeit an injury-shortened year. Let’s also make note that Cabrera is hitting .438 against lefties this season and his only homer came against a lefty. It’s not the same Miguel Cabrera that won MVPs, but he is going to starting putting the ball into the seats more often and I like his upside at this price to lead off a Tigers low-owned stack tonight. To finalize, he is 4 for 6 with a homer and a double against Skaggs, so there’s plenty to like here tonight.
2B – Ronny Rodriguez (DET) – $4,200 vs. LAA
Next up in this stack is Rodriguez who quietly hits for power like you wouldn’t believe. I mean, he’s not even a big league regular at the age of 27, however he owns a huge .347 ISO in 13 games and 54 big league plate appearances this season to go along with three homers, so we know the guy has the ability to put up some numbers for this lineup tonight. He frequently posted an ISO figure above .200 in his minor league career, so again we know the power is there. He hasn’t done much against lefties in a small sample size so far in 2019, however he hit lefties far better last season in the big leagues than he did righties while he also posted a big-time .992 OPS against lefties at the Triple-A level in 2018. We are quite likely to get this Tigers stack at low ownership, and while they are projected to score just 4.1 runs tonight, I think they have all the opportunity to surprise and help us in GPPs.
3B – Jeimer Candelario (DET) – $3,600 vs. LAA
Candelario has also been zapped of some power this season as he has just one homer on the season, but he clubbed 19 in his first full season as a big leaguer last year so I’m confident he can go on a roll and start hitting for extra-base power regularly quite soon. His numbers so far in 2019 are better against righties, but in that impressive 2018 season he definitely was better against lefties as he posted a .196 ISO and .842 OPS against southpaws compared to a .159 ISO and .661 OPS against righties. He’s a switch-hitter, so these splits can vary year-to-year, but with the sample that we have we can say he’s been better against lefties so far in his young big league career. We want the power, but he’s projected to hit leadoff and owns a huge 13.1 % walk rate on the season, so if we don’t get the home runs, we can hopefully nab some walks to get on base for the guys behind him in this stack tonight.
SS – Javier Baez (CHC) – $5,400 vs. MIA
I can rarely afford players in this price range, but today I can and I want Javier Baez in my lineup as part of this three-man Cubs stack. He could always hit for power since he appeared in the bigs, and early on most of that power came against left-handed pitching. However, in his breakout 2018 season, Baez saw his splits narrow substantially has he posted a huge .263 ISO and .865 OPS against right-handers, numbers that were under his figures against lefties, but he came a hitter who hits for big-time power against both sides in 2018. That trend has continued this season. Baez’s early-season numbers are bigger against lefties again, but let’s not scoff at his .250 ISO and .871 OPS against righties, either. Also, let’s not forget that this guy swipes plenty of bases as well. He has two steals on the year to go along with his 11 home runs, and he swiped 21 bases last year. I’m all for Baez tonight with the wind blowing to left.
OF – Kyle Schwarber (CHC) – $3,900 vs. MIA
One of my favorite players to have in my lineup, Schwarber destroys right-handed pitching and I love his value upside in this matchup tonight. I mean, the dude owns a career .260 ISO – a huge number considering .150 or better is considered powerful – and .842 OPS against right-handed pitching. He can go into slumps at times, but the raw power here is incredible. While it’s a small sample, Schwarber is 2 for 7 off of Urena, but both of those hits have gone for doubles and he owns a big .286 ISO against him as a result. He also enjoys hitting at his home park of Wrigley Field as he’s put together a big-time .240 ISO and .820 OPS in his career at Wrigley despite that venue not being a great home run-hitting park for left-handed bats. Regardless, Schwarber comes at a sub-$4K price and has massive raw power against righties, so sign me up all day for this matchup tonight.
OF – Nicholas Castellanos (DET) – $4,200 vs. LAA
Capping off our four-man, low-owned Tigers stack will be Castellanos who loves himself some left-handed pitching. He owns a nice .188 ISO and .806 OPS on the season against lefties, but this is a guy who hit .381 with a .190 ISO but also a huge 1.004 OPS against lefties just last season. For his career, he has hit lefties to the tune of a .207 ISO and .850 OPS, so the power is most certainly there against opposite-handed pitching. Like his teammate Cabrera, Castellanos suffered from some bad luck in the home run department early in the season, but he’s cracked a couple homers over the last 10 days and is actually riding a 10-game hitting streak into this one as well. It’s a small sample, but Castellanos is 2 for 3 with two walks in his career against Skaggs, numbers that tell me he sees the ball well off of the left-hander, so I like this matchup as well to complete our Tigers stack tonight.
OF – Stephen Piscotty (OAK) – $3,600 vs. CIN
Sonny Gray has had a nice year for the Reds and truth be told I needed an outfielder at $3,800 or less to complete this lineup and I see Piscotty as the best of the bunch. There’s little doubt that he owns some big-time power as he hit 27 home runs a season ago and posted a .223 ISO to boot. He has four long balls in this young season and while his .140 ISO isn’t great, this is a guy who has hit right-handed pitching well for a right-handed bat in his career. He owns a rock-solid .172 ISO and .765 OPS for his career against right-handed pitching and while those numbers fall under his figures against lefties, they are good numbers and I like them at what I believe will be low ownership tonight. Considering his .232 ISO and .841 OPS against righties last season – numbers that were notably higher than his figures against lefties – why not look for some one-off pop from the outfielder tonight.