Movies and television shows of the 2000s made it very clear to my young, developing mind that I’d want to avoid ever getting involved with someone who came with baggage. “Baggage” referring to extraneous aspects of their personality or lifestyle that would in some way affect my own. It was a buzz word. Tossed around way too much by writers and usually used in a way that was not endearing to the character uttering it. Anyway, I bring this up because tonight’s featured MLB slate on DraftKings definitely comes with baggage. I’m sure how else to refer to a five-game schedule that locks at 6:40 p.m. ET and comes with possible weather concerns in more than half the matchups. It’s just going to be interesting. There’s no way around it.
Let’s dig in.
StudZac Gallen, ARI vs. PHI, $9,200 – You get the impression pretty quickly when looking at the pitching options on this slate that Gallen likely will have the lowest ownership percentage of the four highest priced arms. He’s not facing the lowly Orioles, Royals or Mariners; and, as such, he has the lowest win expectancy of the grouping. However, the Phillies are a much easier matchup in reality than perception. In fact, their wRC+ of the 89 across the past 30 days is the lowest mark of any of the four teams mentioned, along with the sixth-worst figure in baseball as a whole. How Gallen reacts to pitching at Chase Field remains a mystery, but it’s not as if his rookie success has been the product of Marlins Park, either. Gallen’s held opponents to a .256 wOBA away from the pitcher-friendly stadium in 2019, which, in conjunction with an overall strikeout rate of 28.5%, is good enough for me. Other Option: Eduardo Rodriguez ($10,000)
ValueJoey Lucchesi, SD at SEA, $8,600 – Understandably, there’s not a lot of “value” in Lucchesi, but I’m hard-pressed to find anyone more inexpensive than the lefty that I trust on this slate. Jason Vargas ($8,000) is going up against a Diamondbacks squad that crushes LHPs, Trevor Williams ($7,600) seems set to face a Brewers lineup full of LHBs, and Yusei Kikuchi ($5,000) has surrendered the second-most home runs in the league. It’s a pretty ugly list of names. So, despite the fact Lucchesi has had his issues on the road, I’ll give him a shot against the Mariners, who sit fourth in baseball in left-on-left plate appearances. Due to inducing a 61.4% groundball rate from lefty hitters, Lucchesi has the third-lowest xwOBA within the split of the 155 pitchers to have faced 100-plus LHBs in 2019 (.253). This is a great matchup for the 26-year-old.
Other Option: Drew Pomeranz ($7,400)
StudCarson Kelly, ARI vs. PHI, $3,900 – Kelly has absolutely destroyed left-handed pitching in every opportunity he’s received so far this season. In 70 plate appearances within the split, the former Cardinal is slashing .383/.471/.767 with a .383 ISO. In fact, among the 247 hitters to have taken at least 70 PAs against LHPs in 2019, the only three hitters with a higher wOBA that Kelly’s mark of .492 are J.D. Martinez, Jose Altuve and Manny Machado. Pretty legit company to be keeping. Other Option: Yasmani Grandal ($3,900)
ValuePedro Severino, BAL vs. NYY, $3,600 – By this point, everyone’s aware Severino produces when opposed by a left-handed pitcher like James Paxton ($9,000); but the intricacies of his viability on this slate run deeper. Paxton relies on his four-seam fastball more than most pitchers in today’s game, throwing the pitch in 58.8% of counts versus RHBs in 2019. Severino, for all his success within the split, really only has thrived when hitting fastballs, specifically. To wit, Severino’s hit five home runs and owns a .931 slugging percentage off of right-handed four-seamers so far this year. Paxton’s pitch mix fits perfectly with Baltimore’s backstop.
Other Option: Tom Murphy ($3,400)
StudMichael Chavis, BOS vs. KC, $4,400 – Chavis is great when he’s able to make contact. An impressive 11.7% of his batted ball events are barrels, and the rookie has obvious power with 18 home runs in his first 335 at-bats. Still, that’s a pretty daunting asterisk to carry around, especially when one strikes out in a whopping 32.8% of plate appearances. However, Chavis’ swing-and-miss ways shouldn’t be an issue this evening against Glenn Sparkman ($4,500), who’s 13.0% strikeout rate is the third-lowest mark of any pitcher with more than 80 innings thrown in 2019. Other Options: Mitch Moreland ($4,100), Eric Thames ($4,000)
ValueCheslor Cuthbert, KC at BOS, $3,700 – For reasons I don’t quite understand considering the state of their 25-man roster, Cuthbert did not open the year with the Royals. He spent the first two months of 2019 mashing in Triple-A and, honestly, he really hasn’t stopped since coming up to the majors; well, at least by Kansas City standards. Anyway, he’s been especially good at hitting left-handed pitching in that span. In 53 plate appearances against southpaws, Cuthbert is slashing .327/.340/.615 with a 146 wRC+. He also doesn’t have a single walk versus a lefty this season, so you know, at the very least, he’ll be swinging the bat this evening.
StudKetel Marte, ARI vs. PHI, $5,000 – Marte, a first-time All-Star in 2019, has broken out this season mainly due to his ability to hit left-handed pitching. The 25-year-old has managed 12 home runs in his 135 at-bats within the split, equating out to a .319 ISO and a .401 wOBA. However, the added beauty of Marte as a DFS option is he’s not exactly useless versus RHPs, either. Marte possesses a more-than-respectable 139 wRC+ when opposed by a right-hander, something that might have value when facing a Philadelphia bullpen that sports a ugly 5.02 FIP. He’s in the perfect spot on this slate. Other Options: Whit Merrifield ($4,400), Mike Moustakas ($4,300)
ValueAustin Nola, SEA vs. SD, $3,700 – Lefties might have their issues with Lucchesi, but the right-handed Nola is not complaining at all about tonight’s pitching matchup. He’s had the pleasure of facing an LHP only 35 times since betting called up to the big leagues; yet, within that span, Nola’s slashed an impressive .355/.412/.774 with an eye-popping .470 wOBA. Plus, the most recent time Seattle drew a southpaw, Nola was slotted into the three-spot in the Mariners’ lineup. If that happens again, the 29-year-old becomes an incredible value.
Other Option: Hanser Alberto ($3,500)
StudRafael Devers, BOS vs. KC, $5,600 – I won’t lie; with the lack of low-salary pitching options on this evening’s slate, it’s going to be hard to afford Devers. However, if you can make it work, he almost assuredly will be worth the accounting gymnastics. The sophomore is slashing .354/.396/.679 with a .434 wOBA against right-handed pitching going back to the beginning of May. That’s not a small sample size anymore. That’s 265 plate appearances. Considering tonight’s RHP is Sparkman — a man who has allowed a .457 wOBA to LHBs he’s faced away from Kauffman Stadium — Devers should thrive Wednesday. Other Options: DJ LeMahieu ($5,500), Eduardo Escobar ($4,600)
ValueRenato Nunez, BAL vs. NYY, $4,000 – Remember when I mentioned previously Paxton likes to throw his four-seam fastball to RHBs? Well, here’s another case where that might present problems for the Canadian. Nunez has hit five home runs off of lefties’ fastballs in 2019, with the 25-year-old sporting an .861 slugging percentage and a .528 ISO off of the offering overall. In general, Nunez possesses a .285 ISO off of southpaws this season; but it’s his specific dominance of four-seamers that should propel him to viability this evening.
Other Option: Travis Shaw ($2,600)
StudManny Machado, SD at SEA, $4,300 – I literally listed Machado as one of the three best hitters of left-handed pitching earlier in this article. It would look pretty stupid if I didn’t then mention him as a target on this slate, right? In 95 plate appearances within the split in 2019, Machado owns a .513 wOBA to go along with a 52.3% hard contact rate. He’s been almost impossible to keep in the ballpark when opposed by an LHP, which makes Kikuchi possibly his ideal matchup. The rookie has surrendered a whopping 2.48 home runs per nine in Seattle so far this season and has allowed eight long balls overall in his past three outings. Machado’s simply too inexpensive to ignore. Other Options: Xander Bogaerts ($5,400), Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,100)
ValueNick Ahmed, ARI vs. PHI, $3,800 – To be blunt; Ahmed is almost worthless when batting against a right-handed opponent. In fact, for his career, he has just a 60 wRC+ in his 1,425 plate appearances within the split. However, the complete opposite is true when Ahmed draws a lefty. The shortstop is slashing .314/.366/.510 in his opportunities versus southpaws in 2019, and those numbers are pretty consistent throughout the course of his MLB tenure. Ahmed’s a cheap addition to all D-Backs stacks this evening.
StudAaron Judge, NYY at BAL, $4,800 – Judge still is slumping pretty heavily at the plate, but the left-handed John Means ($6,700) could be enough to change the former All-Star’s fortunes. In his 73 plate appearances versus LHPs in 2019, Judge owns a 1.107 OPS and a 189 wRC+. These are the types of things that can happen when you also sport a 66.7% hard contact rate within the split. Considering Means had surrendered a .399 wOBA to RHBs in his final three starts before going on the IL, Judge should be in a prime position to get back on track tonight. Other Options: Christian Yelich ($5,700), Hunter Renfroe ($4,300)
ValueTrent Grisham, MIL at PIT, $3,200 – You’ll have to keep an eye on whether or not Lorenzo Cain ($3,900) will be active for tonight’s contest, but it appears, either way, that Grisham is Milwaukee’s new leadoff hitter when the team is set to face an RHP. The rookie has five hits in his first 13 at-bats against right-handers at the major league level and gets a fantastic matchup in Williams. Pittsburgh’s starter has allowed the past 117 LHBs he’s faced to compile a massive .410 wOBA, while Williams has been able to strike out only a meager 16.2% of those opponents.
Other Options: Domingo Santana ($4,000), Wil Myers ($3,700)
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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.