It’s going to be a Mike Trout hobby night for a lot of people in the MLB DFS world. On an already small seven-game featured slate, we’ve got the possibility of two contests being heavily affected by the weather. As of writing this article, there’s a 90 percent chance of precipitation this evening in Minnesota, where the Twins are taking on the Blue Jays. We also have got reports of softball-sized hail in [checks notes] …Texas? So, yeah, everyone’s going to have to put on their meteorologist hat. Or, if you don’t want to mess up your hair, simply download the DK Live app and wait for the up-to-the-minute news and analysis. That works, too.
Aside from that, let’s get into it.
StudCole Hamels, CHC at MIA, $9,400 – I’m not exactly in love with Hamels in a vacuum — his barrels per plate appearance rate of 10.4 percent is pretty ugly — but, for that to be an issue, I’d actually have to respect the lineup he’s facing. As it’s the Marlins, we have no such problem. Here’s where Miami stacks up offensively through the first four three weeks of the season. It ranks fourth from the bottom in wOBA (.272) for the entirety of baseball; while sitting with the worst ISO (.120) and second-highest strikeout rate (25.9 percent) of any National League club. There’s also the matter of the exceedingly pitcher-friendly Marlins Park. Going back to the start of last year, Hamels has been money in any stadium not named “Globe Life.” Hopefully that trend continues to play itself out.
ValueLance Lynn, TEX vs. LAA, $7,500 – Feels like the biggest decision of this slate is zeroing in on an SP2. The two leading candidates are Jeff Samardzija ($7,300), who’s fastball velocity has dropped significantly in his past two starts, or Lynn. Give me the latter. Lynn always has been a pitcher with distinct splits. He’s been able to retire RHBs with relative ease, but it’s been the lefties that have given him fits. Even across the small sample of the veteran’s 2019, we see these familiar patterns developing. Lynn sports a 0.81 WHIP when facing a right-hander compared to a 1.50 WHIP when an LHB is in the box. Yet, specific to tonight, there’s really no heavy-hitting left-handed batter to fear. Only one lefty Angels positional player has a wOBA above .300 when facing right-handed pitching so far this season — and that’s Brian Goodwin ($4,200). Again, Lynn’s not quite having to deal with the Dodgers.
Other Options: Jeff Samardzija ($7,300), Jeremy Hellickson ($7,100)
StudJorge Alfaro, MIA vs. CHC, $3,500 – If you’re fading Hamels tonight, Alfaro is your guy. Not only does he possess a .491 wOBA and a 64.3 percent hard contact rate going back across his past 22 plate appearances, but he’s also one of a very few catching options that calls a premiere lineup spot home. The former top prospect hit clean-up for the Marlins on Tuesday, and it’s fair to assume he keeps the job heading into this evening’s matchup with the Cubs. Other Option: Josh Phegley ($4,000)
ValueMike Zunino, TB vs. BAL, $3,300 – It’s as good a night as any to go hunting for the long ball with Zunino. While it’s difficult to truly sell a player with a .140 average and a wRC+ of 7, this is far more about the Orioles, anyway. David Hess ($5,600) has allowed 1.91 home runs per nine for his career and is sitting on a massive 61.5 percent fly ball rate. Baltimore’s bullpen also has surrendered a league-worst 2.48 HR/9. Now, Zunino doesn’t make a lot of contact, but, when he does, it’s dangerous. From 2016 to 2018, Zunino had a 46.2 percent fly ball rate with a HR/FB ratio of 22.4 percent. He’s a high-ceiling threat at a low-floor position.
StudFreddie Freeman, ATL vs. ARI, $4,800 – To put it mildly, Zack Godley ($7,800) has been awful outside of Chase Field going back to the beginning of 2018. The right-hander has pitched to an ugly 5.79 ERA in the 101 innings he’s thrown on the road within that span; a figure that’s been made worse only by a putrid start in Dodger Stadium to kick-off 2019. Godley is also essentially a two-pitch SP, mostly relying on his sinker and his curveball to get outs. Here’s the problem with that: Freeman demolished both offerings last year. The Braves’ first baseman hit .386 with a .228 ISO off of curves in 2018, while he posted an eye-popping .396 average on right-handed sinkers. Freeman is in an ideal spot Wednesday. Other Option: Anthony Rizzo ($4,600)
ValueBrandon Belt, SF at WSH, $3,900 – I like to think of Belt getting to hit anywhere outside of San Francisco as a prisoner getting out of solitary for a few days. While I’ve never been the biggest Belt stan, I’ll admit his numbers on the road when facing a right-handed pitcher are pretty intriguing. Going all the way back to the start of 2015, Belt, in over 754 plate appearances under these circumstances, has compiled a .369 OBP with a .226 ISO and a .368 wOBA. Those are all more than solid figures. The 30-year-old also possesses the lowest GB/FB ratio of any qualified player since 2016 (0.57). As ground balls are the enemy, Belt’s batted ball profile should be commended.
Other Option: Mark Canha ($3,900)
StudOzzie Albies, ATL vs. ARI, $4,300 – Stacking against Godley has worked all but once this season. His velocity is down from a breakout 2017 campaign, and he already has allowed seven barrels amongst the 51 batted ball events he’s been responsible for in 2019. He’s susceptible as an individual, and so is Arizona’s bullpen. No collection of relievers in the National League has given up more home runs per nine (2.22) or pitched to a higher FIP (6.23) than the ones that wear Diamondbacks uniforms. Albies, who comes into Wednesday with three straight multi-hit performances, won’t be put in a bad matchup all night. Other Option: Jose Altuve ($4,900)
ValueDaniel Descalso, CHC at MIA, $3,900 – It’s often a headache-inducing endeavor to try and guess what a Joe Maddon lineup might look like, but Descalso has found himself hitting atop Chicago’s order two of its past three games. It’s hard to argue with the bespectacled manager’s decision-making, too. In 37 plate appearances against right-handed pitching so far this season, Descalso is slashing .375/.459/.531 with a .427 wOBA. Sandy Alcantara ($7,200) is right-handed. Alcantara has also has struck out only 3.7 percent of the left-handed batters he’s faced in his career. If Descalso’s batting leadoff, put him in your lineups. If not, Ben Zobrist ($3,600) likely is, and he becomes viable as well.
StudAsdrubal Cabrera, TEX vs. LAA, $4,500 – I’m not going to dispute it’s incredibly early in the season, but, as the aforementioned Hamels can attest, Globe Life Park is a batter’s paradise. In fact, by ESPN’s Park Factors, the Rangers’ home field was the No. 1 hitter’s environment in all of baseball last year. So, when I say Cabrera owns a .640 ISO off of right-handed pitching in Texas so far in 2019, we can’t just completely disregard that statement as small sample size noise. We also can’t brush Matt Harvey’s ($6,200) struggles with left-handed bats under the rug. A season after allowing 1.94 home runs per nine to LHBs, Harvey’s surrendered a .520 wOBA to the first 36 lefties he’s seen to start this campaign. Other Option: Josh Donaldson ($4,300)
ValueYandy Diaz, TB vs. BAL, $3,900 – For the uninitiated, here’s what Diaz has done so far this season: He’s taken 100 percent of his 67 plate appearances from the top-half of the Rays’ batting order; he’s reached base in all but two games; and he’s got an average exit velocity of 96.5 mph on line drives and fly balls. He’s been nothing but dependable in 2019, and his high floor — mixed with the elevated ceiling the Baltimore’s pitching staff provides — makes for a great value on this small slate.
Other Option: David Bote ($3,900)
StudMarcus Semien, OAK vs. HOU, $4,200 – When the Athletics are squaring off with a left-handed pitcher, Semien hits leadoff. There’s good reason for this. Going back to the beginning of 2015, Semien owns a .195 ISO and a 118 wRC+ in his 684 plate appearances within the split. Now, if those numbers don’t seem overly appealing, consider their juxtaposition to his figures in that same span against RHPs; where the shortstop sports just a .144 ISO and 91 wRC+, respectively. Wade Miley ($6,600) has been known to suppress launch angle, however, he’s allowing a 43.5 percent hard contact rate to right-handed batters through three starts. This is a good spot for Semien. Other Option: Javier Baez ($5,100)
ValueEric Sogard, TOR at MIN, $3,200 – As stated off the top, there’s a real chance they don’t play this game tonight. Still, if you know you’ve got the time to keep tabs on Minnesota’s weather, Sogard could turn into quite the value option. Toronto manager Charlie Montoya has been trying desperately to find a player to slot into the leadoff spot for the Jays this season, and he turned to the recently recalled Sogard on Tuesday night. How did the veteran respond? Well, how does 3-for-5 with a double, two runs and a stolen base sound to you? Sogard’s far from an All-Star, but he is a patient, left-handed hitter going up against a pitcher — Jake Odorizzi ($7,700) — who allowed LHBs to compile a .353 wOBA at Target Field in 2018.
StudJoey Gallo, TEX vs. LAA, $5,300 – Gallo appears to be in one of his runs. Well, that, or, he just really, really likes hitting against the Angels. After an 0-for-14 stretch versus the Diamondbacks and the Athletics, Gallo has responded the past two games with home runs. Oddly enough, this now gives the hulking left-handed hitter a home run in each of the past five contests the Rangers have played Los Angeles. One of those prior games was specifically with Harvey on the mound; a night where Gallo clubbed a three-run shot in his first plate appearance. Of course, none of that matters as much as Harvey’s previously mentioned struggles with LHBs. The narrative is nice, but that’s why you’re paying more than $5K for Gallo. Other Options: Ronald Acuna ($5,200), Austin Meadows ($4,900)
ValueJosh Reddick, HOU at OAK, $3,400 – I think Reddick likes coming back to Oakland. Though the dulcet tune of “Careless Whisper” no longer echoes through the stands of the Coliseum, Reddick certainly felt at home last night; crushing his first home run of 2019 in a three-hit effort. He’ll have an opportunity to do similar damage this evening. Frankie Montas ($6,800) has allowed four home runs so far this season and, from a launch angle perspective, he’s clearly more susceptible to batters from the left side. While RHBs have mustered a pathetic 7.00 GB/FB ratio off Montas through three outings, lefties have posted a 55.0 percent fly ball rate.
Other Options: Chad Pinder ($4,100), Kole Calhoun ($3,900)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.