Here we are entering the final week of the MLB regular season! What is interesting, and difficult to gauge, in the late stages of the season is lineups and plans for starting pitchers for teams that have clinched. For instance, I fully expect the Dodgers to be careful with Yu Darvish tonight given they have clinched their division and his injury history, not to mention I also expect them to have a sizeable lead by the time he gets to 60-80 pitches. With that in mind I am actually leaving quite a bit of money on the table with tonight’s lineup, but I want to avoid these types of overspending while ensuring I have my top plays at each position in the lineup. Without any more hesitation, let’s get to tonight’s nine-game slate!
P – Luke Weaver (STL) – $9,900 vs. CHC
Weaver takes on a more than capable Cubs offense tonight, but one that tends to strikeout a lot and Weaver has been sensational since becoming a full-time member of the Cardinals’ rotation. Weaver has crafted a very impressive 31.4% strikeout rate across eight starts and 11 appearances this season while pitching to a sparkling 2.05 ERA while his 2.36 FIP and 2.52 xFIP support his elite ERA. The Cubs’ projected starting lineup 22.2% strikeout rate over the last month against righties, not an insanely high number, but one that Weaver can certainly take advantage of tonight.
P – Aaron Nola (PHI) – $8,000 vs. WAS
The Nationals get Bryce Harper back tonight, but that won’t scare me off of Nola who has also pitched very well this season. While he has been touched up from time to time, Nola boasts excellent strikeout stuff and sports a 26.2% strikeout rate on the season. Over the last month, Nola has struck out almost 33% of lefties he has faced while striking out 28% of the righties he has faced. That Nationals have been striking out more as of late than they did earlier in the season as their projected lineup sports a 23.1% strikeout rate against righties over the last month.
C – Austin Barnes (LAD) – $3,600 vs. SD
The Dodgers will take on left-hander Travis Wood tonight as Wood has been absolutely brutal against both lefties and righties on the road this season. Against righties like Barnes on the road, he owns a 7.22 FIP, 2.96 HR/9 rate has yielded a .406 wOBA. Let’s begin this Dodgers stack with Barnes as he owns a .248 ISO, .858 OPS and a .367 wOBA against lefties on the season, one of many Dodgers to mash southpaw pitching throughout the year.
1B – Cody Bellinger (LAD) – $4,700 vs. SD
I mentioned Wood has been bad to both lefties and righties on the road, and that notion can be supported by his 8.37 FIP, 3.52 HR/9 rate and .497 wOBA surrendered to them. Enter Bellinger who has hit same-handed pitching for plenty of power this season as evidenced by his .302 ISO, .913 OPS and .378 wOBA against them. He should take his place as the cleanup hitter tonight, a great run-producing spot, especially in this matchup tonight.
2B – Robinson Cano (SEA) – $3,000 vs. OAK
Here is where I don’t let leaving money on the table change my opinion on a hitter’s matchup. Cano and his Mariners teammates are extremely underpriced on DraftKings today, as if they were facing an ace pitcher. Instead, they face righty Daniel Gossett who enters play sporting a 5.38 ERA on the season. He’s been equally subpar to both sides of the dish and has yielded a .360 wOBA to lefties while pitching to a 4.62 FIP to them. Cano has hit righties for a .210 ISO, .904 OPS and a .378 wOBA this season and is 4 for 5 with a homer and a double in his career against Gossett.
3B – Justin Turner (LAD) – $4,000 vs. SD
Turner has missed the last few games with a thumb issue, and it’s entirely possible the Dodgers hold him out again tonight as a precaution, so in that case you can stick with a Dodgers stack and use Logan Forsythe or add to the Mariners exposure with Kyle Seager. However, in case Turner does suit up, he has obliterated lefties this season to the tune of a .328 ISO, 1.171 OPS and a .479 wOBA. He is a lock in this lineup should he return from injury tonight.
SS – Kike Hernandez (LAD) – $2,700 vs. SD
Hernandez is still extremely underpriced when he faces left-handed pitching. This guy owns a .317 ISO, .939 OPS and a .387 wOBA on the season against left-handed pitching, with all three figures checking in as second best figures on a team that mashes lefties next to the aforementioned Turner. Again, not going to let money on the table deter me from capitalizing on the value here with the lefty-mashing Hernandez.
OF – Chris Taylor (LAD) – $3,700 vs. SD
Leading off this stack tonight will be Taylor who has still enjoyed an excellent season against lefties despite ranking about sixth on the team in terms of numbers. He sports a .188 ISO, .847 OPS and a .361 wOBA against them this season, but he gets plenty of value out of his position as the leadoff hitter as well. He has also stolen four bases against lefties, so a hint of stolen base upside exists here as well.
OF – Mike Trout (LAA) – $5,200 vs. CWS
Trout and the Angels will take on right-hander James Shields tonight in Chicago, and while Shields has been better lately, let’s use some of our savings on the league’s best player in Trout. Besides, Trout actually sports some reverse-splits this season and has hit righties to the tune of a .345 ISO, 1.104 OPS and a .447 wOBA this season to go along with 18 stolen bases off of them. Shields has still allowed a .228 ISO to righties over the last month and Guaranteed Rate Field is susceptible to the home run ball, so here is a play worth the money tonight.
OF – Nelson Cruz (SEA) – $2,900 vs. OAK
Cruz is just ridiculously underpriced tonight. Cruz had endured some struggles recently, but he homered in four straight games last week, so why he is a sub-3K player tonight is beyond me. Gossett actually sports worse home run numbers against righties, yielding a 2.13 HR/9 clip to them, and Cruz has hit for more power against righties this season with a .286 ISO, .961 OPS and a .398 wOBA against them. He and Hernandez boast the most value on tonight’s slate.