In a world where ESPY’s coverage takes up nearly half of Sportscenter’s run time. In a world where NBA Summer League highlights are a vital piece of sporting news. In a world where professional corn hole gets its annual day in the sun; it’s up to one sport to mercifully come back and save our eyeballs. After a one-contest appetizer on Thursday, baseball’s returns this evening with a huge 13-game buffet on DraftKings. We’re all very happy about this, even if it means being willingly subjected to a Mets-Marlins matchup.
Let’s dive into everything you need to know to put a few lineups together:
StudRobbie Ray, ARI at STL, $7,900 – Here’s a short compilation of reasons why Ray is far too inexpensive on tonight’s slate. First, he’s always a high-upside option at pitcher. Ray’s struck out 30.8% of the right-handed batters he’s faced in 2019, a huge aspect of facing a Cardinals squad that will very likely feature a lineup with no lefty hitters aside from Matt Carpenter ($3,900) this evening. Second, St. Louis can’t produce runs. Like, at all. Across the past 30 days, the Cardinals’ .292 wOBA is the lowest mark of any National League team. Over the past two weeks, they’ve also registered the fourth-lowest walk rate in all of baseball (5.8%). If you’re not even going to draw free passes off of the usually wild Ray, you’ve got no chance at all.
Other Options: Caleb Smith ($8,600), Yonny Chirinos ($8,400)
ValueJesse Chavez, TEX vs. HOU, $4,000 – I won’t suggest that this is the perfect matchup for Chavez by any means if anything, his reverse-splits are somewhat dangerous against a right-heavy Astros squad; but there’s simply no justification for him being priced at the minimum. Chavez threw 90 pitches in his final start before the All-Star break, a contest in which his salary sat just under $8K. Sure, he gave up four earned runs in that particular outing, but he’s fully stretched out and owns a 1.68 ERA in the 48.1 innings he’s thrown since the beginning of May. It’s not like his numbers as a starter get significantly worse, either. In fact, Chavez has held opponents to a sterling .235 wOBA in his seven starts so far this season.
Other Options: Daniel Norris ($4,600)
StudGary Sanchez, NYY vs. TOR, $4,800 – Aaron Sanchez ($4,900) has been an absolute train-wreck since the start of June. In the 32 innings he’s pitched since taking the mound against the Rockies on June 2, Sanchez owns an ugly 10.69 ERA to go along with an opponent’s wOBA of .417. Plus, even though he’s still been predominantly a ground ball pitcher, the veteran has surrendered 2.3 home runs per nine, while striking out just 9.2% of the right-handed batters he’s faced. Considering no qualified player in baseball averages a barrel per batted ball event as often as the Yankees’ backstop, Gary Sanchez is extremely viable tonight.
Other Option: Yasmani Grandal ($4,900)
ValueWilson Ramos, NYM at MIA, $3,700 – While it’s understandable to be a little timid in stacking against Smith, using Ramos on an island is completely acceptable this evening. Ramos has a long history of smashing left-handed pitching, but his recent track record is good enough on his own. In the catcher’s 51 plate appearances versus LHPs since the start of May, Ramos is slashing .364/.451/.659 with a .454 wOBA. That kind of ceiling is always enticing below $4K.
Other Option: Alex Avila ($3,600)
StudFreddie Freeman, ATL at SD, $5,000 – With Dinelson Lamet ($9,800) carrying the third-highest price tag on the slate, its possible some will be scared away from Freeman. This would be a mistake. While Lamet did look quite good in his first outing since 2017, the same issue that plagued him in his rookie season reared its head against the Dodgers. All three hits Lamet allowed came to LHBs, including a double and a home run. Also, while Lamet retired 55.6% of the right-handed batters he faced on strikes, that mark fell to 16.7% in the opposite split. Considering the 26-year-old surrendered a .364 wOBA to lefties two years back, I’m guessing this is more a trend than a blip on the radar.
Other Options: Matt Olson ($5,100), Edwin Encarnacion ($4,700)
ValueJake Lamb, ARI at STL, $3,500 –
EDITOR’S NOTE: Wainwright (back) has been scratched from tonight’s start.
Other Options: Daniel Vogelbach ($4,000), Nate Lowe ($3,700)
StudKetel Marte, ARI at STL, $4,400 – While Marte’s preferred handedness this season would appear to be batting from the right side of the plate, this hasn’t really been the case since the start of May. In that time, Marte is slashing .347/.396/.593 with a .411 wOBA as a lefty; a span that also sees the All-Star’s ISO rise to .297 against right-handed pitching on the road. With Wainwright’s aforementioned issues with those of the left-handed persuasion, stacking a few Diamondbacks isn’t out of the question.
Other Option: DJ LeMahieu ($5,300)
ValueJason Kipnis, CLE vs. MIN, $3,600 – Kipnis hasn’t exactly been good in 2019, but he is still Cleveland’s primary option at clean-up hitter. He’s also been at his best when opposed by a right-handed pitcher at Progressive Field. In his 84 plate appearances under those precise conditions, Kipnis is hitting .324 with a 141 wRC+. That’s not half-bad. Additionally, Kyle Gibson ($7,600) has had his problems when facing LHBs away from Minnesota. In fact, Gibson’s surrendered a hefty .369 wOBA within the split, while giving up 2.42 home runs per nine. You could definitely do worse than Kipnis for the price.
Other Option: Kike Hernandez ($4,000)
StudYoan Moncada, CWS at OAK, $4,600 – Mike Fiers ($8,500) has pitched really well in Oakland as of late, but he’s still a high-contact, fly ball oriented, right-handed pitcher. That’s pretty much the exact archetype you want going up against Moncada. The former top prospect is in the midst of his breakout season and his numbers versus RHPs since the beginning of June really showcase that fact. In 56 plate appearances within that span, Moncada is slashing .408/.464/.673 with a 200 wRC+. His 50.0% hard contact rate doesn’t hurt, either. Considering this run of success, Moncada’s price feels like a bargain on this slate.
Other Options: Rafael Devers ($5,200), Manny Machado ($4,100)
ValueJeimer Candelario, DET at KC, $3,800 – Sending someone to the minors isn’t generally a quick-fix solution to a hitter’s woes, but it certainly worked so far for Candelario. Since getting recalled on June 26, the switch-hitter is slashing .350/.435/.725 with four home runs in just 46 plate appearances. He’s also been far better at the plate as a righty throughout his career, meaning tonight’s matchup with a struggling Danny Duffy ($6,800) shouldn’t interfere with the good vibes.
Other Option: Jose Ramirez ($4,000)
StudFernando Tatis, SD vs. ATL, $5,400 – Though he’s only hit one of his 14 homers off of a lefty in 2019, Tatis has crushed within the split. In 42 plate appearances, he owns a .367 average to go along with a 0.75 GB/FB ratio and a 180 wRC+. The long balls are coming and it’s very possible they start tonight against Dallas Keuchel ($8,200), who sports a 5.30 FIP versus RHBs so far this season. Keuchel’s also struck out just 10.1% of the righties he’s faced since being signed by Atlanta, a scary stat with Tatis’ recent form.
Other Options: Francisco Lindor ($4,900), Didi Gregorius ($4,300)
ValueJ.P. Crawford, SEA at LAA, $3,700 – I sound like a broken record, but, as is always the case, Felix Pena ($6,700) gets destroyed by left-handed bats at home. So far this year, Pena’s allowed lefties to compile a massive .412 wOBA when pitching at Angel Stadium – Baseball Prospectus’ No. 1 place for LHBs to hit home runs in 2018. For Crawford, who owns a .229 ISO and a .363 wOBA against RHPs since his recall, this is a great opportunity to rack up the at-bats versus a susceptible pitcher from the top of the Mariners’ batting order.
Other Option: Andrelton Simmons ($3,600)
StudMike Trout, LAA vs. SEA, $5,300 – It seems like DraftKings has depressed most of the player prices coming out of the All-Star break, but it’s insane that Trout isn’t up around $6K tonight – and not just because he usually is. First and foremost, we’re talking about someone who has hit six home runs in his prior five games and is the overwhelming favorite to take down the American League MVP. That’s a pretty good resume. We’re also discussing a player who gets to face Mike Leake ($7,900) this evening. I’m not a BvP person, but Trout being 12-for-24 against Leake in his career lines up considering Leake is a contact-prone pitcher who lives in the strike zone. That’s not what you want to be against Trout. Plus, there’s the fact that Leake has surrendered 3.38 home runs per nine to RHBs on the road in 2019. That bodes poorly, too.
Other Options: Christian Yelich ($5,200), Aaron Judge ($4,800)
ValueJustin Upton, LAA vs. SEA, $3,800 – If you needed a second example of Leake’s issue’s with powerful righties, Upton is 13-for-32 in his career against the former first-round pick. Again, this is not to highlight the importance of BvP numbers, but to illustrate how certain archetypes of pitcher are positive matchups for players. Upton, who struggles with a high swinging strike rate, understandably thrives when facing a pitcher with a career swinging strike rate of just 7.3%. This doesn’t have to be complicated.
Other Options: Jake Bauers ($3,700), Eloy Jimenez ($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.