The daily grind of MLB DFS is well underway as we settle into the 2017 MLB season. It is quite a change from the winter sports such as NBA and NHL where the amount of research pales in comparison to the arduous task of daily research required to be a successful MLB DFS player. I will be here daily to provide my top DraftKings picks throughout the season and I look forward to sharing the ride with you! Without any more hesitation, let’s get into today’s picks!
P – Jacob deGrom (NYM) – $10,600 vs. ATL
deGrom gets the ball tonight against the visiting Mets to kick off his 2017 season. He is facing one of the weaker offenses on the slate tonight as the Braves visit Citi Field. The bright minds in Vegas have the Braves pegged at just 2.7 runs today, and that number could end up lower if deGrom continues to be tough on right-handed hitters again this season. Over his career, deGrom has held righties to a .597 OPS and just 0.50 HR/9 while pitching at Citi Field. He will face as many as six right-handed bats tonight and that includes Bartolo Colon who will take the mound for the Braves tonight. This is a solid matchup for deGrom to get the ball rolling this season.
P – James Paxton (SEA) – $6,900 vs. HOU
Paxton will make his first start of the season tonight against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston. At first glance, the vaunted 1-4 hitters for Houston are all power right-handed bats, looking as if they could make things hard on the left-handed Paxton. However, Paxton’s reverse splits make this a nice matchup for tonight at a nice price. Paxton has yielded a .788 OPS to lefties in his career, but just a .649 OPS to right-handed hitters. His .348 wOBA against versus lefties is also quite higher than his .281 mark against righties. Lastly, his 21.1% strikeout rate against righties on the road trumps his 19.6% clip against righties. Paxton could be an overlooked commodity tonight given his low price and you would be wise to take advantage.
C – Austin Hedges (SD) – $2,400 vs. LAD
There wasn’t many catchers that really stood out to me today and there has to be a value play somewhere, so I will roll with Hedges here. While his MLB career got off to a rough start last season with just a .125 average, that was just over 24 at-bats. Prior to his call to the majors, Hedges crafted a .951 OPS while clubbing 21 homers across 313 at-bats at the Triple A level. He will face a tough pitcher tonight in the form of Dodgers’ lefty Rich Hill, but Hill is much tougher on left-handed bats than he is righties. All four of the homers Hill surrendered last year were to righties and his traditional splits could give Hedges a chance to produce tonight as a right-handed hitter.
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – $3,800 vs. SD
Gonzalez makes for an excellent play tonight at a nice price. Over the last three seasons, Gonzalez has produced a .218 ISO and an .871 OPS versus right-handed pitching, something he will face tonight against Trevor Cahill of the Padres. Cahill is an extreme ground-ball pitcher, which works fine for Gonzalez considering his career .859 OPS against such arms. Cahill has traditional splits where lefties hit him better than righties, and with Vegas pegging the Dodgers at 4.5 runs tonight a Dodgers stack could yield big results, beginning here with Gonzalez.
2B – Neil Walker (NYM) – $3,600 vs. ATL
Walker checks in as a very reasonably-priced second basemen with power upside to boot. As left-handed hitter tonight, he checks out very well against the right-handed Bartolo Colon tonight. Colon surrendered an enormous 2.09 HR/9 on the road last season to lefties, compared to just a 0.36 mark on the road to righties. Colon played as a fly-ball pitcher to lefties and yielded a poor 37.1% hard contact rate to them a season ago. The switch-hitting Walker hit 15 of his 23 homers last season against right-handers and could connect tonight as one-off in this lineup with power potential.
3B – Justin Turner (LAD) – $4,200 vs. SD
While Cahill has traditional splits and the right-handed Turner doesn’t fit this stack at first glance, a deeper looks reveals something else. Turner crafted an excellent .213 ISO and .908 OPS against right-handers last season while also stealing 11 bases against right-handers. These stats combine to make Turner an excellent power/speed threat tonight as part of a Dodgers stack that should knock around Cahill.
SS – Corey Seager (LAD) – $4,500 vs. SD
Out of all the Dodgers in this lineup it is Seager I like the most. He posted a .227 ISO and .958 OPS against right-handers last season while his 161 wRC+ against righties in his young career is very encouraging. He also stole four bases against righties last season which gives him a little bit of stolen base upside while providing plenty of power upside as well. He should lead the charge in this three-player Dodgers stack today.
OF – Yasmany Tomas (ARI) – $3,900 vs. SF
With Vegas pegging to D-Backs to score 4.6 runs today I wanted some exposure, and few players offer as much power upside as Tomas does on the whole slate, especially at this price. Last season Tomas produced an outrageous .326 ISO and 1.112 OPS against left-handed pitching, something he will see tonight in the form of the Giants’ Matt Moore. He doesn’t offer much stolen base upside, but those power figures are exactly what you want to see from a one-off like Tomas is in this lineup.
OF – Charlie Blackmon (COL) – $5,100 vs. MIL
Another potential stack that looks real good tonight is the Rockies’ left-handed bats. That begins with Blackmon who produced a .275 ISO and .972 OPS with 13 of his 17 steals against right-handed pitching last season, something he will see tonight in the form of Wily Peralta. Pitching at Miller Park is no easy task, and Peralta struggled at home last season while giving up 1.95 HR/9 to lefties at home last season to go along with a sky-high 41.3% hard contact rate in such scenarios. The Rockies should hit Peralta hard tonight, making their lefties very attractive in the process.
OF – Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – $4,900 vs. MIL
Forming a mini-stack with Blackmon is Gonzalez who should be able to get in on the fun against Peralta tonight. Cargo posted a .201 ISO and .883 OPS against right-handers last season while also producing a 35.8% hard contact in the process. The confines of Miller Park favor left-handed hitters so it’s a no brainer throwing these latter two outfielders into this lineup tonight.