This is a small four-game afternoon slate with a couple super obvious spots to stack and a few pitchers that should demand a lot of ownership. In situations like this we really need to take ownership into consideration and leverage ourselves against the field if that chalk falls apart. Let’s take a look at things and find some ways to be different.
StudPatrick Corbin, WAS vs. SF, $10,300 — This is actually a really interesting situation because the big spend on the slate has equally as much downside as he does upside. Corbin has been good and has a solid SIERA at 3.09, the lowest on the slate, while facing the worst team on the slate in a neutral park for offense. This is great, but he also comes in allowing massive xStats (found at BaseballSavant) with the highest xwOBA and xSLG (.512 xSLG, .341 xwOBA) on the slate. He’s the only real cash-game option, but he serves an interesting situation in GPPs where a fade might work. Other Options — Michael Pineda ($8,200)
ValueTyson Ross, DET vs. CWS, $7,000 — Ross has the worst SIERA on the slate at a 4.73 on the year (not bad for the worst on the slate) but has a very low home run rate and faces an opponent that finds itself in a count with two strikes in 48.35% of plate appearances, which speaks to the upside of the matchup. He also has been good about limiting good contact with the second lowest xStats combination on the slate (.408 xSLG and .330 xwOBA) as well as limiting exit velocity with his average being just 87.5 mph. The underlying stats look good should he be able to avoid the long ball in this matchup.
Other Options — Ivan Nova ($7,200)
StudBrian McCann, ATL vs. ARI, $4,000 — This slate doesn’t offer much in terms of heavy-hitting catchers, so it’s more about attacking the opposing pitcher than locking in realistic upside at the position itself. McCann has yet to have a game with zero DKFP, which is fantastic, and gets a spot against Luke Weaver ($7,400) in a good hitter’s park out in Atlanta. Throughout Weaver’s career he has had bad splits against LHBs, allowing a .353 wOBA and .455 SLG as well as giving up 17 home runs in just 116 innings pitched, and McCann has hit nearly three times as many home runs against RHPs than LHPs, giving more juice to this matchup. McCann might be old, but he still has pop. He’s a great play if you pay up. Other Options — Willians Astudillo ($4,100)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Posey is not in the starting lineup for today’s game.
Other Options — John Ryan Murphy ($3,500)
FIRST BASEFreddie Freeman, ATL vs. ARI, $5,000 — In terms of paying up on this slate, you really only have Freeman as an option with both a high ceiling and a high floor as the other options are certainly more GPP-oriented in bad matchups. Freeman has the platoon advantage here as Weaver is considerably worse against LHBs, and Freeman is very good against RHPs with a .524 SLG, .220 ISO and 146 wRC+ against the righties. Freeman is playing great right now with four hits and two extra-base hits with just three total strikeouts in his past five games and has a chance to add another double-digit DKFP performance to his already strong 2019 scorecard. Other Options — Justin Smoak ($4,300)
ValueRyan Zimmerman, WAS vs. SF, $3,800 — Zimmerman has been rather cold as of late with just one hit in his past five games and getting the Nationals’ most recent game off for rest, so his price tag is entirely justified. The veteran first baseman should come into this game rested and ready to go against a LHP that has drastic splits to work in Zimmerman’s favor, as Drew Pomeranz ($7,900) gives up 2.5x more home runs and has an xFIP that is 50 points worse against RHBs. To compliment this, Zimmerman has a 142 wRC+ in his career against LHPs and a .215 ISO to boot. Though the power numbers certainly have fallen off in recent seasons it’s all the better reason to attack good matchups when we have them, and this is a great spot for Zim.
Other Options — Brandon Belt ($3,700)
StudHowie Kendrick, WAS vs. SF, $4,300 — Brian Dozier ($3,600) had to have his toe drained of fluids the other day after fouling a ball off his foot and he might miss some time, clearing the way for Howie to hold down his spot and continue raking. Kendrick has been incredible lately (some would say unsustainably so) with five hits, five runs and two home runs over the course of his past five games. In his nine games played this year, he has six games with double-digit DKFP and just one game with zero DKFP, showing just how locked in this man really is right now. Ride the wave against a weak LHP and spend up for Kendrick on this short slate. Other Options — Ozzie Albies ($4,500)
ValueJosh Harrison, DET vs. CWS, $3,200 — Harrison continues to be a mediocre utility bat at the leadoff position for the Tigers, but he’s just cheap enough to warrant consideration on this short slate. Harrison has just two hits in his past five games, but he has reached base four times in that timeframe and has just four strikeouts, so it’s not like his recent play has been awful. The thing with Harrison is he requires runs to reach his ceiling (both his 10+ DKFP games came with runs involved), so the entire Tigers team has to be on board for him to do exceptionally well. Still, Harrison is priced well in terms of what he brings to the plate and helps unlock the expensive pitchers.
Other Options — Joe Panik ($3,000)
StudWillians Astudillo, MIN vs. TOR, $4,100 — Astudillo probably is priced fine as a catcher, but his price is a joke if you want to use him at third base, which is a great thing to consider thanks to his multi-position eligibility. Astudillo is on what I only can assume to be the longest cold streak he will find in his future HOF career, going 12 straight at-bats without a base. And yet, he still only has one strikeout on the season as he continues to see the ball like a champ. Clay Buchholz ($6,000) has been bad this year and struggled against RHBs in 2018, with a batting average 50 points worse and a .400 SLG percentage, so this seems like a great slump-busting spot for everybody’s favorite contact hitter. Other Options — Josh Donaldson ($4,200), Anthony Rendon ($5,500)
ValueEvan Longoria, SF at WAS, $3,100 — Longoria has been heating up as of late and has three 10+ DKFP games in his past five, which includes one home run and one stolen base as well as a triple at home against the Rockies. For a bottom-of-the-barrel price, Longoria has a significant amount of upside against Corbin and a shaky Nationals bullpen. In 2018 he batted .250 against LHPs with a .206 ISO and a rather impressive 14.4% strikeout rate, and if he can pull Corbin into some hitter’s counts, there is a lot of upside to be had for a small price tag and likely little ownership.
Other Options — Jeimer Candelario ($3,300)
StudJorge Polanco, MIN vs. TOR, $4,700 — Polanco has been absolutely dominant lately and through the majority of the 2019 season, slashing .405/.450/.811 through the year while having 13+ DKFP in each of his past three games and just one game with zero DKFP. He faces off against Buchholz at home, where Polanco has lost power in his career (.119 ISO at home compared to .193 on the road), but the contact skills don’t change one way or another, and it’s smarter to bet on the skills not the results. So long as Polanco continues to hit in the center of a high-upside lineup, his upside in all categories will continue to be as high as any SS on the slate. Other Options — Tim Anderson ($4,900)
ValueGordon Beckham, DET vs. CWS, $3,500 — This is more of a situation of wether he plays or not since Ronny Rodriguez ($3,700) might start at second base, relegating Beckham to the bench. If Beckham does end up getting the start he will be farther towards the back of the batting order, but his price still represents a good chance at upside at a position of value on this slate. Beckham has two home runs in his past seven games and just one game with a zero thus far, which is a pretty good floor for a guy Beckham’s price. His .571 SLG is a nice consolation prize in consideration of his lame .190 batting average, and if you are looking for someone who probably will do very little with a chance to get you a cheap home run under perfect circumstances, Beckham is the best value on the slate to do that.
Other Options — Wilmer Difo ($3,500)
StudRonald Acuna Jr., ATL vs. ARI, $5,300 — The Braves are by far the best stack on this slate, and Acuna is one of the driving forces behind what makes them so great. Over his past 10 games, Acuna has as many games with 20+ DKFP as he does game with five or less (three of each), and the points are coming from nearly every category outside of steals, which is wild because he probably will start stealing more as the season progresses. Acuna has a 192 wRC+ and an 18% walk rate with as many walks as strikeouts, meaning his chances of giving you a zero are about as low as you are going to find on any slate this year. He’s a fantastic play in both cash games and GPPs. Other Options — Juan Soto ($4,700), Nelson Cruz ($4,600)
ValueSteven Duggar, SF at WAS, $3,300 — Let’s close out this selection of targets with another contrarian piece to the puzzle in Duggar. Again, it’s a good idea to use Corbin in cash games, but in GPPs, fading the expected high-owned pitcher and using a batter or two against him is a great way to lap the field, and Duggar offers a lot of upside in going that route. Duggar is coming off two home runs in as many games, has five double-digit DKFP performances on the year and should continue to leadoff for the Giants on this road trip against the Nationals. We saw how bad the Nationals’ bullpen was last night — nearly blowing a 9-2 lead in the ninth — and even if Duggar can’t get to Corbin, he should get some chances against a suspect group of relief arms.
Other Options — Ender Inciarte ($3,700)
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Multichem) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.