All said it was a real nice start to the week with yesterday’s DraftKings MLB Picks. Charlie Morton tossed six scoreless innings and notched the win for Houston while Reynaldo Lopez went six strong innings while allowing just two hits, one run while striking out six. We got a two-homerun game from catcher Welington Castillo and three hits including a double from Jose Abreu. Josh Reddick and Jose Altuve were also productive, but unfortunately Carlos Correa was lifted from the game after just one at bat with a toe injury. It was a real solid start to the week so let’s build on that on tonight’s nine-game main slate.
P – Justin Verlander (HOU) – $11,600 vs. BAL
One day after Charlie Morton stifled the Orioles, it’s going to be Opening Day start Justin Verlander’s crack at Baltimore. Verlander was excellent on Opening Day, pitching six scoreless innings with five punchouts against the Texas Rangers. After reduced strikeout rates for a few seasons, Verlander ramped his strikeout clip back up to 28.1% in 2016 and 25.8% last season. He should be able to hang around those marks again this year, especially against a swing-and-miss team like the Orioles. Like was the case with Morton yesterday, Verlander should also get the run support required for the win tonight.
P – Garrett Richards (LAA) – $6,500 vs. CLE
The Indians are no easy opponent, but you’d rather face them at home than on the road, and Richards will be at home for tonight’s start. The Indians are pegged at just 3.7 projected runs for tonight’s contest, a nice indicator for Richards. Richards has struggled to stay healthy over the last couple of years, pitching just 62.1 combined innings in 2016 and 2017. However, he’s been excellent when healthy, posting a 2.34 ERA in 2016 and a 2.28 ERA in 2017. He didn’t fare well in Oakland in his first start of the year, but again, pitching in his home park should help him eclipse value at an attractive price tonight.
C – Welington Castillo (CWS) – $3,400 vs. TOR
This isn’t just because he hit two home runs yesterday, but Castillo mashes lefties and will face another tonight in the form of the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ. Castillo hit .344 off of lefties last season with a .226 ISO and .937 OPS, so this play has more to do with his power off of lefties than it does the quality of Happ. The White Sox hit lefties very well last season, so the RBI opportunities should be there for the veteran catcher tonight.
1B – Jose Abreu (CWS) – $4,400 vs. TOR
Abreu displayed his ability to hit left-handed pitching last night when he notched three hits including a double. With another lefty on the mound, we will go right back to Abreu who posted a .356 average, .275 ISO and a 1.033 OPS against southpaw pitching a year ago. He’s already 4 for 6 with a homer against lefties this season, so he appears locked in early. The hitting-friendly confines also benefit the slugging first baseman in Toronto tonight.
2B – Ozzie Albies (ATL) – $3,600 vs. WAS
The Nationals are giving A.J. Cole the night tonight in Atlanta, and I believe the Braves could be for some run production as a result. The switch-hitting Albies hit lefties better than righties last season, but still posted a respectable .164 ISO and .773 OPS against righties. He gives us a little bit of speed near the top of that Braves order with eight steals last season while he hits in a real nice spot in the Braves’ two hole, one spot ahead of the run producing Freddie Freeman.
3B – Alex Bregman (HOU) – $4,300 vs. BAL
I prefer Bregman more against lefties, but we will use him in a stack here against Orioles’ right-hander Mike Wright this evening. Bregman still hit 12 homers and 30 doubles last season against right-handed pitching, so it’s not like he is void of power against same-handed hurlers. He should also hit third in tonight’s lineup, an optimal spot to be for a team projected to score more than five runs tonight.
SS – Carlos Correa (HOU) – $5,000 vs. BAL
Despite leaving last night’s game, it looks like Correa will indeed be in the lineup tonight against the Orioles. He should slide right back into his cleanup spot which, of course, is a nice run-producing spot, especially against a weak arm in Wright. Correa is off to a nice start this season with a .412 average and .353 ISO in 19 plate appearances this season as he continues to be one of the best power bats available at the shortstop position.
OF – Avisail Garcia (CWS) – $3,800 vs. CWS
He wasn’t in this lineup last night against a lefty, but he’s going to be here tonight against a lefty. Garcia clobbered lefties in 2017 to the tune of a .424 average and 1.030 OPS. The White Sox lineup has been confirmed, and Garcia is going to be hitting in that ever so valuable two hole with Abreu hitting cleanup and Castillo at fifth. This could be a very productive three-man stack as a result.
OF – Ender Inciarte (ATL) – $3,700 vs. WAS
Inciarte should hit leadoff tonight against A.J. Cole, so we will likely have a 1-2 mini-stack atop the Braves order with him and Albies. Inciarte had somewhat of a down season power-wise in 2017, producing just a .115 ISO against right-handed pitching. That said, he did hit .315 and stole 16 bases against righties, so we will look for him to get on base and use his speed ahead of Albies and the hart of the Braves’ lineup tonight.
OF – Marwin Gonzalez (HOU) – $3,600 vs. BAL
Gonzalez went deep in last night’s win, building off what was a breakout season for the former utility player in 2017. The switch-hitting Gonzalez posted an excellent .322 average, .230 ISO and .946 OPS against right-handed pitching last season. Overall, he blasted 23 homers, drove in 90 runs and stole eight bases to boot. He gives you a little bit of everything and hits in a very favorable spot for RBIs, usually in the six-hole against right-handed pitching.