A full slate of games awaits us with some awesome day baseball to entertain ourselves with. We have Max Scherzer on the mound and a struggling Corey Kluber up against a Royals team that has been really hard to navigate this year, so pitching seems like the crucial component of focus today. Let’s figure some things out!


PITCHER

Stud

Jose Berrios, MIN vs DET, $9,900 — Berrios is not the most expensive play at the position, but he does have a soft matchup and has been exhibiting his A-plus stuff to start the season making him my favorite stud to pay for on this slate. Berrios has a 3.5 SIERA and a 27.6% strikeout rate as well as a .89 HR/9 on the year, all stats that do well to justify one another, while facing a Tigers team that has the third lowest wRC+ in the league at a paltry 57 while sporting a 26.7% overall K%. Because of the price difference and matchup, Berrios is my preference over Max Scherzer ($10,700) although an argument can be made either way.

Other Options — Max Scherzer ($10,700)

Value

Marcus Stroman, TOR vs. TB, $6,800 — Although he isn’t a sexy option, Stroman is nothing but consistent and has good run prevention in terms of real-life situations and when the price is right that can be valuable. Stroman’s matchup is certainly not ideal, as he takes the mound against a white-hot Rays squad, but the underlying metrics are solid (24.3% strikeout rate with a 53% ground ball rate) and his ability to prevent the long ball is phenomenal with none allowed yet this year and never finishing a season with a HR/9 above one! At $6,800 you don’t need a CGSO here but five innings and three strikeouts with an earned run or two and you’ve made value.

Other Options — Jakob Junis ($7,300)


CATCHER

Stud

Willians Astudillo, MIN vs. DET, $4,200 — I heavily considered picking J.T. Realmuto ($4,100) for the stud of the position because I believe that Jose Urena ($5,700) is a markedly worse pitcher than Jordan Zimmermann ($6,400), but a couple factors play in Astudillo’s favor here. The biggest factor is the park, with the Twins playing in a mostly neutral (slightly hitter friendly) park while the Marlins have that massive outfield that will suppress home runs at a significant clip. Second is the unassailable fact that Willians is an absolute champion, with as many home runs as strikeouts in his career going up against a home run prone pitcher that has a lot of issues getting guys out even when ahead in the count. Astudillo is what I imagine would happen if they tried to clone Mike Trout on a budget, and his price tag is hefty, but worth it.

Other Options — J.T. Realmuto ($4,100)

Editor’s Note: Realmuto is not in the lineup for today’s game vs. the Marlins.

Value

Jonathan Lucroy, LAA at CHC, $3,200 — Lucroy is by no means the studmuffin that Astudillo is, and part of the difficulty in catcher pricing this year is finding worthwhile “punts” that can manage you a decent floor at a median price. The matchup against Tyler Chatwood ($5,500) provides some necessary insurance against plate patience for Lucroy since Chatwood’s command issues have carried over from his disastrous 2018 season. He’s only been in a two-strike count for 50% of his batters faced and has a 5.13 SIERA from his lone start, signaling bad days to come. Lucroy isn’t a source of upside, but may be able to squeeze out a walk and a double against a bad pitcher/bullpen combo which is plenty to pay his salary.

Editor’s Note: Today’s game between the Angels and Cubs has been postponed due to inclement weather.

Other Options — Kurt Suzuki ($3,400)


FIRST BASE

Trey Mancini, BAL at BOS, $4,600 — David Price ($9,200) may end up being popular against an Orioles team that has some surprisingly competent hitters in the order, and Mancini is in a great leverage spot for those that want to be a bit different. Mancini is an entirely different hitter this year compared to 2018, with a dramatically reduced ground ball rate (54.6% in 2018, 42.9% thus far in 2019) and faces Price who has always been worse against RHB, allowing nearly twice as many home runs per nine innings to that platoon. As well as walking two percent more righties adding to the floor provided in this matchup. Mancini is in a great contrarian spot.

Other Options — Rhys Hoskins ($5,000)

Value

Justin Bour, LAA at CHC, $3,700 — It took him a while to heat up this season, but Bour has been great since the unfortunate injury to Mike Trout and will look to continue that success with a platoon advantage against Chatwood and a week Cubs bullpen. He’s still striking out at a decent clip, but he has three games of 10-plus DKFP in his past four and has huge splits, with nearly all his home runs coming against RHP (77 out of 85) with a dramatically reduced strikeout rate (26% against LHP to 20% against RHP) and much more hard contact (38% against RHP, 28% when facing a LHP). Bour is a fantastic option for those looking to stack elsewhere that need a cheap shot at a home run for a one-off.

Editor’s Note: Today’s game between the Angels and Cubs has been postponed due to inclement weather.

Other Options — Ryan Zimmerman ($3,700)


SECOND BASE

Stud

Jonathan Schoop, MIN vs DET, $4,200 —  When it comes to the studs at second base on this slate, you have Jonathan Villar ($4,400) against Price, Gleyber Torres ($4,300) against Carlos Rodon ($7,600) and Whit Merrifield ($4,300) facing Kluber ($9,500) above Schoop with all being really intriguing choices for their own reason. I prefer Schoop of the bunch for his power upside against a home run pitcher (Zimmermann has a 1.5 HR/9 so far in the year, tied for second highest on the slate) in a decent park for hitters while Torres is in for a tougher matchup. Schoop has been great lately with five hits, five runs and five RBI in his past three games as well as a double-dong game against the Mets a couple days ago.

Other Options — Jonathan Villar ($4,400), Gleyber Torres ($4,300)

Value

Cesar Hernandez, PHI at MIA, $3,600 — I don’t necessarily think that Cesar Hernandez is a good hitter, and he has shown how bad he can be this year by hitting just .179/.250/.286 through the first eight games, but in a matchup with arguably the worst pitcher on the slate he deserves consideration as a punt. Urena has just a 14.3% strikeout rate and a 5.19 SIERA in 6 2/3 innings pitched, which is just about on par with his mediocre career with the Marlins, and with Hernandez we aren’t hoping for a home run so the park being terrible for upside doesn’t factor into our decision with him. The Phillies have one of the higher run totals on the slate and getting a cheap piece at a tough position is not a bad idea.

Other Options — Dustin Pedroia ($3,700)


THIRD BASE

Stud

Anthony Rendon, WAS vs PIT, $4,900 — Rendon has been without a doubt the best third baseman in baseball to start the 2019 season and has a great chance to continue that campaign against Jameson Taillon ($8,300). To put into perspective just how fantastic he has been, Rendon has just three games this year with single-digit DKFP and four games with 20-plus, including a 28 DKFP two home run performance just two days ago against the Pirates. Taillon has looked bad to start the year with shaky peripherals (4,19 SIERA and just 66.67% of batters faced with two strikes) so there’s no reason to get off the train based on matchup. Rendon is the best third base play on the slate by a mile.

Other Options — Rafael Devers ($4,300), Maikel Franco ($4,400)

Value

Gio Urshela, NYY vs CWS, $3,200 — The middle group for third base is relatively week, with a lot of guys that might have a good matchup but no upside or the other way around, so you really have to dig to find value at this position. Urshela could represent a pretty nice spot to save some cash if you are willing to accept that he probably won’t get you more than 10 DKFP in the vast majority of scenarios. Urshela doesn’t have a lot of pop, but he doesn’t strike out a lot (none in his past three games) and has two extra-base hits as well as two RBI after being called up to the majors. Rodon has been a solid pitcher thus far in 2019, but can still get caught and Urshela has shown a good eye for his price.

Other Options — Hanser Alberto ($3,200)


SHORTSTOP

Stud

Javier Baez, CHC vs. LAA, $4,600 — The Cubs haven’t been mentioned much in this article because a lot of them are priced awkwardly and Baez is no exception, but up against Trevor Cahill ($7,100) he’s in just as good a spot as the other studs at his position. Baez has mostly been underwhelming in his last five games with no hits in two of those five, but he was able to break out of that slump with three hits (all doubles) and two RBI for 19 DKFP last night. His .262 batting average is always going to leave something to be desired but his home run prowess is what we want and up against Cahill who has a mere 29.4% groundball rate to start the year there’s a pretty good chance that Javi can send one over the fence if he makes contact. Baez makes for a great spend at a strong position.

Editor’s Note: Today’s game between the Angels and Cubs has been postponed due to inclement weather.

Other Options — Xander Bogaerts ($4,400)

Value

Wilmer Difo, WAS vs. PIT, $3,300 — I like Difo as a talent even if he hits late in the order and has a propensity to strike out more than he should because he generally makes up for it at some point during the game. Through the start of the year, Difo has just two games with zero DKFP and four with at least five of more, but only one with 10+ in which he hit a two-run home run. And that’s the thing here — he has an incredibly low range of realistic outcomes making for a great cash game play in most situations. As referenced earlier, Taillon’s underlying stats have been bad starting out and show signs of command issues and a high OPS for opposing hitters which make for great punts like Difo.

Other Options — Willy Adames ($3,300)


OUTFIELD

Stud

Bryce Harper, PHI at MIA, $5,100 — So if there is anyone that is going to hit a home run in Miami, it’s going to be Harper. Urena is a really bad pitcher with the lowest strikeout rate on the slate and just a 40% ground ball rate and the only reason he doesn’t give up more home runs is because of his home park. Harper has a monstrous 151 wRC+ and .256 ISO% against RHP in his career as well as a .398 wOBA showing a solid floor with a ceiling up into the 30 DKFP range in the right circumstance. A Phillies stack is maybe a bit rambunctious in this spot, but Bryce is one of my favorite individual plays on the slate.

Other Options — Mookie Betts ($5,300), Aaron Judge ($4,900)

Value

Kole Calhoun, LAA at CHC, $3,600 — The Angels have been a good part of this article in terms fo value and we are going to close it out with Calhoun against Tyler Chatwood in Chicago. Calhoun isn’t flashy but he has a platoon advantage against Chatwood who gives up a .484 SLG, .402 wOBA, and .316 batting average against lefties over the last calendar year. These kind of extreme splits are generally due to a pitchers inability to finish off a side of the plate and it doesn’t go away, so I feel good using cheap LHH against him when given the opportunity, and if Kole is going to lead off it sweetens the deal with extra plate appearances. He may end up chalky, but it’s good chalk to eat.

Editor’s Note: Today’s game between the Angels and Cubs has been postponed due to inclement weather.

Other Options — Teoscar Hernandez ($3,500)


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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.