There’s an interesting bit of shared history that ties together the most expensive pitcher and the cheapest pitcher on tonight’s six-game featured MLB slate. While both Clayton Kershaw ($11,800) and Edwin Jackson ($5,000) were draft picks of Los Angeles, the former has remained with the Dodgers for the entirety of his highly acclaimed career and the latter has gone on to play for 14 different organizations dating back to 2003. Still, each has thrown a no-hitter, each has appeared in an All-Star Game, and each is an important element of this evening’s DFS strategy – just for very, very different reasons.
Let’s break it all down.
StudChris Archer, PIT at LAA, $8,200 – I know. Archer’s been awful on the road so far in 2019. However, the underlying numbers from his past five outings away from PNC tell a much different story than his ugly 5.00 ERA within that span. Across 27 innings, Archer has held opponents to a .288 wOBA, he’s maintained a pristine 3.14 FIP, and he’s struck out 32.5% of opponents. That last stat is key to his DFS viability. Going back to June 22, Archer is one of 10 qualified National League pitchers to have posted a strikeout rate above 29%, with his slider being a huge reason for his success. Archer’s used the pitch in 54.3% of two-strike counts, and he’s induced a swing-and-miss 35.2% of the time. The Angels have struggled to hit sliders all season long and, really, have also struggled to hit anything in August. The team has just a 76 wRC+ for the month, making this a great spot for Archer to thrive.
Other Options: Clayton Kershaw ($11,800), Cole Hamels ($9,300)
ValueDakota Hudson, STL at KC, $6,000 – We don’t have to complicate things too much with this pick. Hudson is inexpensive and the Royals are bad at hitting. That could really be the end of it. However, its the fact that Kansas City’s biggest flaw cancels out Hudson’s largest weakness that makes this play really enticing. Hudson’s had his issues with LHBs in 2019. He’s surrendered 1.81 home runs per nine within the split, along with allowing lefties to compile a robust .388 wOBA against him. Yet, the Royals lack much offensive talent from the left-hand side. In fact, no team’s collection of left-handed batters has a lower wRC+ versus right-handed pitching than Kansas City’s (70). Without the ability to take advantage of Hudson’s blind spot, the Royals vault the 24-year-old hurler into viability this evening.
StudWilson Ramos, NYM at ATL, $4,500 – It was a slow start to the season for the veteran catcher, but once the calendar turned to May, things got going with the bat. Ramos has hit 12 of his 13 home runs in the last three-and-a-half months and his numbers specifically against left-handed pitching are eye-popping. Ramos is slashing .328/.413/.594 with a .408 wOBA in 75 plate appearances within this stretch; a continuation of his general success in right-on-left situations the past few seasons. With Dallas Keuchel ($6,800) having trouble keeping the ball in the park, Ramos couldn’t ask for a better matchup.
Other Option: Omar Narvaez ($4,200)
ValueJake Rogers, DET vs. SEA, $3,500 – We’ve only got a nine plate appearance sample of Rogers crushing left-handed pitching at the MLB-level, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a precedent for this type of production. The Tigers’ No. 7 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Rogers posted a 1.188 OPS against LHPs in Double-A and an .844 OPS within the split in Triple-A before getting the call to the majors. Considering Gonzales owns the league’s highest qualified contact rate (84.2%), Rogers’ strikeout issues shouldn’t hold him back too much tonight, either.
Other Option: Elias Diaz ($2,900)
StudMax Muncy, LAD at MIA, $5,100 – Elieser Hernandez ($5,600) has been much better pitching at Marlins Park this season than on the road, but that fact only does so much to hide his awful numbers against LHBs. Lefties have combined to hit 2.89 home runs per nine off of the right-hander, a big reason Hernandez has surrendered a whopping .399 wOBA to left-handed batters so far in 2019. Muncy may be in the midst of a mini-slump, but he still possesses a .264 ISO and a .370 wOBA batting against RHPs this year. That’s enough for consideration on a small slate like this.
Other Options: Joc Pederson ($4,500), Dan Vogelbach ($4,300)
ValueMiguel Cabrera, DET vs. SEA, $3,600 – We’ve clearly reached the point where Cabrera is no longer the MVP caliber version of himself, but his numbers specifically against left-handed pitching in 2019 don’t look too far off. In 77 plate appearances within the split, the future Hall of Fame inductee is slashing .324/.390/.515 with a .379 wOBA. It also doesn’t hurt matters that Cabrera’s ISO versus LHPs is over 100 points higher than his mark when opposed by a righty. Seattle’s awful bullpen helps, too.
Other Option: Ryan O’Hearn ($3,000)
StudOzzie Albies, ATL vs. NYM, $5,200 – While his teammate Ronald Acuna ($5,700) is getting all the acclaim, Albies has been an unstoppable offensive force since the beginning of June. Still, while no pitcher has been safe from the wrath of the 22-year-old switch-hitter within this span of time, it’s been lefties who have received the brunt of Albies’ power. In his last 62 plate appearances versus LHPs, Albies is slashing .448/.468/.845 with a .397 ISO and a 52.1% hard contact rate. With Steven Matz ($7,100) having surrendered 2.93 home runs per nine to RHBs away from Citi Field this season, Albies is in a perfect spot.
ValueStarlin Castro, MIA vs. LAD, $3,500 – Look, does anyone really want to be using Castro against Kershaw? No. However, there’s a case to be made that it isn’t the worst idea in the world. First and foremost, Castro’s recent form has been impressive, with the veteran having collected four multi-hit games in his past six starts – a span that includes five extra-base knocks and eight RBI. There’s also the matter of Castro’s success against lefties in 2019. In 131 plate appearances, Castro’s batting .331 with a 121 wRC+. There are simply worse ways to save salary on this small slate.
Other Option: Dee Gordon ($3,500)
StudJosh Donaldson, ATL vs. NYM, $4,700 – Left-handed pitching has not been kind to Donaldson in 2019, but hitting at SunTrust Park has. Since the start of June, the former American League MVP owns a .434 OBP and a .373 ISO in his 122 plate appearances in Cobb County; all culminating in a massive 181 wRC+. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Matz has not enjoyed pitching on the road this season, a split in which he owns an underwhelming .381 wOBA. Combine all that with the fact that Donaldson has only benefitted from a .207 BABIP against LHPs over the past three months, and you’ve got a recipe for viability on this evening’s slate.
Other Options: J.D Davis ($4,900), Jose Osuna ($4,600)
ValueKyle Seager, SEA at DET, $4,000 – While it’d be easy to make this about the fact that Seager went deep three times on Tuesday, let’s instead focus on the fact that the veteran’s actually been hot for a little over two weeks now. Dating back to July 30, Seager is slashing .421/.500/.974 with a .553 ISO in 44 plate appearances. Sure, the sample size is small, but I don’t need much to point me in the direction of stacking against Jackson; a man who has given up 13 home runs in just 34.2 innings pitched in 2019. Seager’s red-hot right now and that’s enough to be an option tonight at $4K.
Other Option: Edwin Rios ($3,700)
StudNiko Goodrum, DET vs. SEA, $4,200 – There are few people in baseball hitting left-handed pitching as well as Goodrum right now. Dating back to the beginning of July, Goodrum is 17-for-38 (.447) with a 1.107 OPS and a 50.0% hard contact rate within the split. Overall, the switch-hitter is slashing .280/.354/.485 with a .205 ISO going back to July 3. Considering he’ll be batting leadoff this evening against a team with a 5.12 FIP for the season, he should continue to rake at the plate.
Other Option: Corey Seager ($4,100)
ValueJean Segura, PHI vs. CHC, $3,900 – In general, Segura’s power numbers have fallen off a cliff since the start of July; but if there’s one area he’s been consistently strong in so far this season, its hitting LHPs. In fact, while the veteran possesses a modest .108 ISO against right-handed pitching in 2019, that figure jumps all the way up to .289 in his 106 plate appearances versus a southpaw. Segura also sports a .424 wOBA when he’s received the opportunity to face-off with a lefty at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Other Option: J.P. Crawford ($3,800)
StudCody Bellinger, LAD at MIA, $5,500 – It’s not like I’m banking on an MVP candidate to have a low ownership on any given slate, but it does feel like most people will gravitate towards Acuna within this price range. That’s not a mistake, it’s just that this doesn’t appear to be Acuna’s ideal matchup, considering the sophomore sports just a .233 average and a 42.4% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitching since the All-Star break. Bellinger, on the other hand, draws a pitcher who can’t retire LHBs. The streaky power-hitter has also knocked out a pair of home runs the past two days. He might be about to go on a run of his own.
Other Options: Bryan Reynolds ($4,800), Domingo Santana ($4,400)
ValueMatt Beaty, LAD at MIA, $4,100 – Beaty’s spot in Los Angeles’ batting order leaves a little to be desired, but the fact the 26-year-old is tearing the cover off the baseball since the beginning of July makes up for that flaw. In his last 66 plate appearances versus RHPs, Beaty is slashing .333/.394/.683 with a .434 wOBA. With most elements of a Dodgers stack extremely expensive, Beaty makes for a nice way to save some cash and still get exposure against Hernandez.
Other Options: Alex Gordon ($4,000), Dexter Fowler ($3,800)
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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.