Tonight’s featured Showdown slate on DraftKings sees the Mets heading west to take on the Giants in San Francisco. It also sees Madison Bumgarner ($10,200) possibly making his final home start in a Giants uniform. We’re now less than two weeks away from the MLB’s Trade Deadline, and Bumgarner’s name has been highly discussed throughout the season. However, San Francisco has won eight of its past 10 contests and now sits just 2.5 games back in the National League Wild Card. Will this recent run of success impact the Giants’ decision? Where could Bumgarner conceivably be dealt? How will he fare this evening against New York?
For the purposes of this article, we really only care about the latter question. Let’s dive in.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS
— The Mets have lost each of their past nine Thursday night games against NL West opponents.
— The ‘Inning 1 OVER 0.5 runs’ market has hit each of the Mets’ past five Thursday night games against NL West opponents.
— The Giants have trailed after three innings in five of their past six games against NL East opponents.
— Six of the Mets’ past seven games against National League opponents have gone OVER the total runs line.
— Games at Oracle Park average a total of 8.2 runs.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
San Francisco GiantsI’ll be honest: I was extremely hesitant to have any fantasy exposure to Bumgarner coming into 2019. The advanced metrics from his 21 starts last season were shaky and the velocity on his cut fastball was down at a point we hadn’t seen in years (86.0 mph). It truly seemed like the 29-year-old had hit a point of no return in his career. However, things have looked a lot better since May 1. Following a rough outing in which he’d surrender five earned runs to the Yankees, Bumgarner went out and tossed six innings of four-hit baseball versus the Dodgers — easily his best start of the year at that point. It was the beginning of a trend, too. In the veteran’s past 14 trips to the mound, Bumgarner owns a 3.65 ERA and a 3.89 FIP to go along with a 25.8% strikeout rate. The numbers only get more impressive when he’s pitched at Oracle Park within the same span; as the lefty’s FIP drops to a sterling 3.00 and his strikeout rate ramps up to 29.2%. It might not quite be vintage Bumgarner, but its a whole lot closer than whatever we had been getting in April.
Obviously there’s also a clear and rational reason for this shift in performance. Bumgarner’s cutter had been sitting at a velocity comparable to 2018 through his first six starts (85.9 mph); but, since that aforementioned outing against New York, the left-hander’s cut fastball has been averaging a velocity of 88.2 mph — the highest it has been in nearly five years. Bumgarner’s thrown the offering in 35.7% of counts dating back to the beginning of May and opponents have managed just a meager .128 ISO off of the pitch. In short, it’s been really, really effective and it’s turned Bumgarner’s entire season around for the better. Despite the fact the Mets possess baseball’s sixth-best wOBA when facing an LHP (.340), I’m still inclined to think of Bumgarner as viable on this slate, especially with the matchup taking place in San Francisco.
As for picking Giants positional players going up against Noah Syndergaard ($10,400), the key is to side with their few right-handed bats. Syndergaard has limited LHBs to a paltry .283 wOBA so far this season, with righty hitters responsible for 10 of the 14 home runs the the 26-year-old has surrendered. The reason for this divide is again based in pitch mix. Syndergaard’s best offering in 2019 has been his changeup. Opponents are slugging only .269 off of the pitch through 18 starts, while it also carries the highest whiff rate of anything in Syndergaard’s arsenal (18.8%). However, like many RHPs, Syndergaard is somewhat reluctant to throw his change in right-on-right situations. Where his usage of the changeup is up at 29.3% versus lefties, it’s down at just 10.4% when a right-handed batter steps into the box. This all makes Kevin Pillar ($5,800) a decent value play. Pillar generally has seen his best results when opposed by a lefty this year, yet he’s slashing a more-than-respectable .289/.311/.497 with a .208 ISO since the start of June. Buster Posey ($6,400) is equally viable with a 135 wRC+ in July and his cemented spot near the top of San Francisco’s order. Finally, Pablo Sandoval ($7,400) is an intriguing piece even as a left-handed bat. Though he’ll be sure to see a steady diet of Syndergaard’s best pitch, Sandoval has crushed right-handed changeups this season to the tune of a massive .424 ISO.
New York MetsYou’ll notice above I stopped listing the Giants’ collection of right-handed hitters rather quickly. Well, that’s because they really don’t have that many to choose from. San Francisco is one of the more left-hand oriented teams in all of baseball. In fact, only the Indians have taken fewer right-on-right plate appearances than the Giants in 2019. In theory, that should mean good things for Syndergaard’s viability on this slate considering his reverse splits; yet, to be fair, many aspects of Syndergaard’s season initially have appeared positive on paper. Inconsistency really has been the theme of the right-hander’s campaign, with his most recent nine starts emphasizing the up-and-down nature of his year. Within that stretch, Syndergaard’s finished seven outings with an output lower than 15.0 DKFP. However, in the two starts he was able to exceed that relatively underwhelming plateau, he averaged an eye-popping 31.1 DKFP. No matter how he’s looked, you can’t deny the man has a robust ceiling. Still, the issue with Syndergaard reaching that potential this evening is his modest strikeout rate versus LHBs. He’s set down only 42 of the 201 lefties he’s faced this season on strikes, something we saw play out in a June 4 matchup with this same San Francisco squad. I can get behind rostering Syndergaard for the idea of his upside, but there’s simply no way he deserves to have a higher salary than Bumgarner on this particular slate.
Fortunately, New York’s bats are a little less complex as it pertains to their viability. Bumgarner has shut down left-handers in 2019, holding the 106 he’s faced to a microscopic .226 wOBA, while maintaining his own 8.25 K/BB ratio within the split. So, despite Jeff McNeil’s ($8,200) ability to produce left-on-left, I probably will be avoiding the All-Star tonight as the Mets’ second-most expensive hitter. Still, that leaves many RHBs who have put up impressive numbers against southpaws this season. Pete Alonso ($9,400) is an obvious target considering he sports the league’s highest qualified ISO when opposed by a left-hander (.442); Wilson Ramos ($5,200) is almost a free space with his bargain basement price and a .416 wOBA within the split; and Todd Frazier ($6,000) similarly is undervalued for a man who possesses a .972 OPS in his 71 plate appearances versus LHPs. You also can make a strong case for Amed Rosario ($5,600) with the fact he’s managed to slash .429/.452/.679 inside the split dating back to the beginning of June. It is understandable if you’d rather avoid someone likely hitting in the eight-spot, though.
This slate is unique in that almost every offensive piece seems too inexpensive to believe. Granted, I do think this will be a lower-scoring game; but with Wilson Ramos ($7,800 CP), Todd Frazier ($9,000 CP) and Buster Posey ($9,600 CP) all viable Captain’s Pick options at under $10K, you essentially can create a lineup free from salary restraints. With that in mind, I don’t dislike getting both Madison Bumgarner ($15,300 CP) and Noah Syndergaard ($15,600 CP) into the same build. However, if you choose to go a route where you’d like a starter at 1.5x value, I’m taking Bumgarner over the Mets’ RHP.
Final Score: San Francisco 4, New York 3
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