Somehow, it’s already the final Friday in July. I’m not sure when it happened, but NBA Free Agency has given way to NFL Training Camp and the baseball season just keeps chugging along. For all the unwritten rules in MLB, no one seems quite sure when it is you’re allowed to start talking about playoff races; but, with a few of the series we have scheduled for this weekend, now would probably be a good time to start. Of course, we’ve got the Yankees and Red Sox. However, we’ve also been gifted the Braves and Phillies, the Cubs and Brewers, and even an Interleague treat with the Astros and Cardinals.
Yet, while the world at large watches the “good” baseball, we’ll all be sweating out the finish of Tigers-Mariners. It’s a great life, isn’t it? Let’s dive into tonight’s 14-game featured slate on DraftKings.
StudMichael Pineda, MIN at CWS, $9,000 – This is only the third time this season that Pineda’s been priced at $9K or higher, but it’s easy to see his value this evening. Not only does the RHP walk into a fantastic matchup with a White Sox club that owns an American League low .119 ISO and 67 wRC+ across the past two weeks; but he’s also been recently pitching his best baseball of the year. Across Pineda’s past seven outings, the 30-year-old possesses an identical 2.92 ERA and 2.92 FIP. These are the kinds of things that can happen when you’re striking out 26.1% of batters and limiting opponents to a paltry .268 wOBA. Plus, Pineda broke 100 pitches for the first time in 2019 last week. If we’re adding volume to the mix, his ceiling expands to an even greater degree.
Other Option: Zack Greinke ($10,500)
ValueJoey Lucchesi, SD vs. SF, $7,700 – Bruce Bochy will be faced with an interesting decision tonight when his team faces off with the left-handed Lucchesi. The choice is to either keep his red-hot LHBs in the lineup or play their inferior platoon counterparts. Considering the Giants lack of success in left-on-left matchups, there really doesn’t seem to be a good answer for the manager. San Francisco is fourth in baseball in left-on-left plate appearances in 2019, but it has only mustered a meager .109 ISO and 73 wRC+ in those situations. Still, going to the bench might mean losing Alex Dickerson, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt, or Brandon Crawford’s services this evening. In any case, Lucchesi’s pitched to a 2.83 ERA and 1.04 WHIP at Petco this year. He’ll be good to go with whatever Bochy decides.
Other Options: Asher Wojciechowski ($7,100), Jose Urquidy ($5,000)
StudWilson Contreras, CHC at MIL, $4,900 – It’s strange to say in 2019 that a play isn’t directly about Gio Gonzalez ($7,000) being on the mound, but the veteran’s actually pitched pretty well through his first seven starts of the season. No, this is all about the success Contreras has had versus any southpaw that’s crossed his path this year. In 66 plate appearances within the split, the Cubs’ backstop is slashing .321/.424/.625 with a .304 ISO and a .429 wOBA. Back off the IL and likely hitting fifth, few catchers are in a better spot than Contreras this evening.
Other Option: Christian Vazquez ($4,100)
ValueBrian McCann, ATL at PHI, $3,700 – The 35-year-old catcher can still hit RHPs. McCann owns a .204 ISO and a .351 wOBA within the split so far this season, statistics he pairs with an impressive 44.3% hard contact rate. McCann is also hitting .364 off of right-handed sinkers in 2019; a pitch that Jake Arrieta ($6,500) throws 53.9% of the time. Arrieta has had his issues with LHBs as of late, surrendering a .409 wOBA to the lefties he’s faced since the beginning of May. Put all that together and you’ve got a nice source of salary relief.
Other Option: Jason Castro ($3,900)
StudLuke Voit, NYY at BOS, $4,800 – Andrew Cashner ($6,400) hasn’t enjoyed his first two starts with the Red Sox and I don’t think this evening is set to break that trend. Cashner has reverse splits. While he’s held LHBs to an impressive .250 wOBA, righties have managed a mark exactly 100 points higher off of the veteran RHP. That includes Cashner surrendering an eye-popping 2.17 home runs per nine within the split. So, it’s likely an issue that the Yankees lead baseball in right-on-right plate appearances (2,134) and nearly every offensive category under those set of circumstances. Voit’s also the rare New York player who has thrived away from Yankee Stadium in 2019, possessing a 170 wRC+ on the road. He’s a key piece in an obvious stack.
Other Options: Freddie Freeman ($5,200), Joc Pederson ($4,700)
ValueEric Hosmer, SD vs. SF, $3,700 – Jeff Samardzija ($8,300) has struggled with left-handed bats for the past few seasons and this year he’s giving up home runs to lefties at an insane level. Dating back to the beginning of May, due primarily to a 50.0% fly-ball rate within the split, Samardzija has surrendered a whopping 2.29 long balls per nine to LHBs. Hosmer, who has hit all 13 of his homers off of RHPs in 2019, doesn’t often have much of a ceiling; but tonight is one of those rare occasions.
Other Option: Austin Nola ($4,000)
StudDanny Santana, TEX at OAK, $5,000 – It difficult to ignore Santana on any slate the past two months with how well the switch-hitter is producing. In fact, going back to the start of June, Santana is slashing .348/.365/.667 with a .319 ISO and a .418 wOBA. Those are the numbers of a man who deserves to be priced at $5K. The cherry on top of the sundae on this particular slate is that Santana gets to face Daniel Mengden ($6,200), who has allowed LHBs to compile a massive .407 wOBA off of him so far this season. Santana’s scorching hot and in a great matchup. You can’t ask for much more.
Other Option: Max Muncy ($5,100)
ValueBrian Dozier, WAS vs. LAD, $3,300 – There’s a good reason for Dozier being priced as moderately as he is on this slate; but, despite the presence of Hyun-Jin Ryu ($11,200), it’s undeniable that the veteran infielder has been at his best when opposed by a LHP in 2019. In 88 plate appearances within the split, Dozier is slashing an impressive .325/.409/.623 with a .423 wOBA. The floor here is non-existent, yet, at the very least, the game’s not in Los Angeles where Ryu’s been untouchable.
StudHunter Dozier, KC vs. CLE, $4,400 – Almost all of Dozier’s power has come off of right-handed pitching this season, with 13 of his 16 home runs the product of a right-on-right plate appearances. Dozier’s also seen his numbers improve when getting the opportunity to face a RHP at home. The 27-year-old is sporting a .408 wOBA and 157 wRC+ under those precise conditions in 2019 and he’ll have a few more cracks this evening versus Zach Plesac ($7,300). It doesn’t hurt matters that Plesac is surrendering a 47.3% hard contact rate to RHBs, either.
Other Options: DJ LeMahieu ($5,400), Kris Bryant ($5,200)
ValueVladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR vs. TB, $3,700 – It hasn’t translated into much raw DFS output, but Guerrero appears to be rounding into form once again over the past week. Since July 19, Guerrero owns an expected wOBA of .529, the direct result of the rookie posting an average exit velocity of 94.8 mph on his 18 batted ball events within that span of time. The former No. 1 prospect in baseball has been a little quiet the past month or so, but you know he possesses the ceiling to tilt a slate. That’s not awful upside for someone at this price point.
Other Option: Marwin Gonzalez ($3,700)
StudJavier Baez, CHC at MIL, $5,200 – Do you want to use Baez against left-handed pitching? Yes. Yes, you do. In 80 plate appearances within the split so far this season, Baez is slashing a jaw-dropping .370/.413/.767 with a .397 ISO and a 197 wRC+. That success isn’t all front-loaded in April, either. Baez is 8-for-16 when facing a southpaw in July, with half of those eight hits being of the extra-base variety.
Other Options: Xander Bogaerts ($5,000), Francisco Lindor ($4,700)
ValueDonovan Solano, SF at SD, $3,900 – He doesn’t possess a whole lot of power, but Solano’s quietly been crushing left-handed pitching going back to the beginning of June. Within that stretch of time, the 31-year-old is slashing .390/.419/.488 with a .389 wOBA over 43 plate appearances. I don’t think highly of the Giants’ offense on this slate, but you could do worse than Solano; especially if he continues hitting leadoff when San Francisco sees an LHP.
StudAaron Judge, NYY at BOS, $5,500 – Not only does Cashner struggle with giving up home runs to RHBs, but he also has issues simply limiting their amount of contact. Of the 232 right-handed batters Cashner has faced in 2019, he’s struck out just a lowly 15.1%. That means Judge will be putting the bat on the ball this evening. That’s horrible news for Cashner. Since returning from the All-Star break Judge has 33 batted ball events. The average exit velocity of these BBEs? 100.9mph. If he elevates anything tonight, you’d best wave it goodbye.
Other Options: Max Kepler ($4,600), J.D. Martinez ($4,500)
ValueNick Castellanos, DET at SEA, $4,100 – You don’t have to worry about sample size when we’re talking about Castellanos versus left-handed pitching. He’s been crushing southpaws for the better part of three years, it’s just what he does. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t be impressed by his recent form within the split. Going back to June 1, Castellanos is slashing .452/.528/.774 with a 239 wRC+ against left-handers. That’s some insane production. With Yusei Kikuchi ($5,900) struggling at T-Mobile Park all season long, Castellanos is in a smash spot on this slate.
Other Options: Nomar Mazara ($3,900), Jacoby Jones ($3,600)
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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.