We have a large slate on our hands this Friday evening as just two games take place in the afternoon after a wide range of matinee baseball throughout the week. With a large slate comes a large draft board, so let’s go ahead and narrow that board and find ourselves some DraftKings picks for this evening.
P – Noah Syndergaard (NYM) – $11,400 vs. MIA
The most electric arm in baseball has started his year just as we thought he would: with sheer domination. Syndergaard has yielded just one run against over the first 13 innings of his season spanning two starts. In that time he has surrendered ten hits while striking out 16 and walking none. Tonight he will take on the Marlins at Marlins Park which has not been friendly to hitters in its brief existence. It has also not been friendly to Marlins’ hitters when Syndergaard toes the rubber as the fireballer has crafted a 2.08 ERA in two starts at this venue while striking out 17 and walking one across 13 innings of work. In my opinion there is no better matchup for a pitcher on the slate as Syndergaard boasts plenty of strikeout upside in a pitching-friendly venue.
P – Danny Duffy (KC) – $8,900 vs. LAA
Another high-strikeout arm that has gotten his season started on the right note is Royals’ left-hander Danny Duffy. Duffy enjoyed a career year a season ago and has began this season right where he left off with just three earned runs surrendered across 13 innings in two starts. In that span he has struck out 11, however he has also walked five but control issues haven’t been a problem for Duffy in the past as evidenced by his 1.14 WHIP and 5.8% BB% from a season ago. Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City is also a pitching-friendly venue, and it becomes even more so when Duffy keeps the ball on the ground, something he did his last start when he induced 13 ground-balls compared to just four fly-balls. He is a cheaper option tonight, however boasts excellent upside as well.
C – Tucker Barnhart (CIN) – $2,800 vs. MIL
A value play in this lineup, I like Barnhart’s matchup tonight against Brewers’ lefty Tommy Milone. Milone has surrendered six earned runs on 12 hits in just six innings of work on the season. Barnhart opened his season with a hit in four straight games and now has at least one hit in six of eight games this season. He is 3 for 8 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored over his last two games and should be able to get in on the fun tonight against one of the weaker pitchers on the slate.
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – $4,700 vs. CLE
Cabrera has had an ugly start to his 2017 campaign to say the least, however he homered in yesterday’s contest against the Twins, and there is little doubt the former MVP and Triple Crown winner will turn things around in a big way. What better place to turn things around than Progressive Field in Cleveland where Cabrera has absolutely mashed throughout his stay in the American League. In 331 career at-bats at Progressive Field, Cabrera is hitting .344 with a 1.027 OPS and 23 home runs. Those 23 homers are the most he has hit in any other park other than a home park in his career. Something about playing the Indians and playing at Progressive Field brings out the best in this guy, and I am looking for more of the same this time around.
2B – Starlin Castro (NYY) – $3,500 vs. STL
Castro and the Yankees will take on the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha tonight at Yankee Stadium, and given Wacha’s reverse splits we have a low-owned, high-upside stack here with the Yankees. Wacha has surrendered 1.07 HR/9 in his career against right-handers compared to just 0.51 HR/9 to lefties. Looking at last season, righties hit .300 with an .849 OPS against Wacha. Given the hitting-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium and Wacha’s undercover reverse splits, we could have a solid GPP upside play here with Castro as part of a Yankees’ stack.
3B – Mike Moustakas (KC) – $3,200 vs. LAA
Moustakas projects as an excellent one-off play tonight at a very low price. He will face Angels’ right-hander J.C. Ramirez tonight who will be making his first start of the season in place of injured right-hander Garrett Richards. Ramirez has a 4.77 ERA on the season out of the Angels’ bullpen and tonight marks his first start at any level since 2011 in the minor leagues. Moustakas boasts excellent power in his left-handed bat as evidenced by his .175 ISO and .814 OPS against them his last full season in 2015, but he also had a solid 33.8% hard contact rate and 43.8% fly-ball rate, which could result in a hard hit fly-ball leaving the yard tonight.
SS – Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) – $3,900 vs. BAL
Tulowitzki also makes for a solid one-off play tonight at home against Orioles’ lefty Wade Miley. Tulowitzki has a career .940 OPS against left-handed pitching while his career OPS at home against lefties sits at 1.016. Yes, he has had the benefit of calling hitter-friendly parks like Coors Field in Colorado and the Rogers Centre in Toronto his home in his career, however that’s not something he has to apologize for and he has simply gotten it done in these matchups. Toronto’s offense has gotten off to a horrendous start, but Tulo does have nine RBIs in nine games, providing the most run production on his team.
OF – Aaron Judge (NYY) – $3,900 vs. STL
Someone who could very well take advantage of the reverse splits displayed by Wacha is Aaron Judge. He is a beast of a man with massive power upside as a right-hander hitter and has already clobbered three homers this season to go along with seven RBIs and a whopping .945 OPS to boot. All three of those homers and all seven of those RBIs have come against right-handed pitching, showing that he is in a prime spot to take advantage of the Wacha situation tonight. He has excellent power upside as you can see and should enjoy hitting at Yankee Stadium has he moves forward in his young MLB career.
OF – Hunter Pence (SF) – $3,800 vs. COL
Pence will face the left-handed offerings of Tyler Anderson tonight and Pence has crushed left-handed pitching in his career. He has a career .834 OPS against lefties to go along with an excellent .218 ISO. He also doesn’t strike out much at all, but his 16.1% strikeout rate against lefties throughout his lengthy career is particularly impressive. Pence has had a solid start to his season with a .301 average and .840 OPS on the season and carries a five-game hitting streak into tonight’s contest with two multi-hit efforts in that span. Pence is a solid standalone play as a result.
OF – Matt Holliday (NYY) – $3,900 vs. STL
Holliday completes the Yankees stack for this lineup, giving us another right-handed bat to combat Wacha’s reverse splits. Holliday has been a solid addition to the Yankees’ lineup, producing a .276 batting average and .910 OPS on the season. He has also rattled off three multi-hit efforts over his last six contests. We actually have a slight double-reverse splits situation here with Holliday as his .897 career OPS against righties is a hair under his career .898 mark against righties, but his .214 ISO against righties is better than his .206 mark against lefties. He makes for an excellent part of a Yankees’ stack tonight.