Generally speaking, its the Fourth of July that’s all about excess. We’re talking as many drinks as possible mixed with as many burgers as possible mixed with as many fireworks as possible. However, we find ourselves getting a touch of that excess a day early with an unusually massive 14-game MLB slate on a Wednesday. Still, despite all that volume, it doesn’t seem like we’ve been presented with a clear-cut top pitching option for this evening. What does that mean for ownership and who you should be getting into your lineups?
Let’s break it all down.
StudWalker Buehler, LAD vs. ARI, $10,900 – I think we’re at the point where we just have to look past what happened in Colorado. For the uninformed, after striking out a season-high 16 batters in a start on June 21, Buehler proceeded to surrender 13 hits and seven earned runs to the Rockies at Coors Field. It was ugly, but it’s the outlier outing for Buehler dating back to May 11. In fact, in the 55 innings prior to getting shelled at altitude, the 24-year-old had pitched to a sterling 1.64 ERA to go along with a 2.37 FIP and a 33.0% strikeout rate. He’s back home tonight and facing a Diamondbacks team that owns baseball’s lowest ISO across the past 14 days (.118). If there’s a situation where Buehler bounces back, I think its this one.
Other Options: Mike Clevinger ($9,700), John Means ($8,400)
ValueRoss Detwiler, CWS vs. DET, $5,900 – There’s a glut of replacement-level pitchers in great matchups for less than $6K on this slate. You’ve got Cal Quantrill ($5,000) against the Giants, Tyler Alexander ($5,700) versus the White Sox, and then Detwiler squaring off with the Tigers. Though he’s the most expensive of the trio, I do believe Detwiler provides the highest floor to go along with the upside the opposition provides. Unlike Quantrill, who has been working out of the bullpen for the past few weeks, Detwiler has no serious concerns about pitch count. He threw 76 pitches in his start against Cleveland and should be able to expand upon the figure this evening. After that, it’s all about Detroit. The Tigers possess the American League’s lowest wRC+ over the past 14 days (76). They also sport a robust 25.6% strikeout rate. If Detwiler can survive five frames once again, he’ll bring back value.
Other Options: Nick Pivetta ($6,200), Cal Quantrill ($5,000)
StudOmar Narvaez, SEA vs. STL, $4,200 – The 27-year-old backstop has continued to consistently produce at the plate all season long, and is now slashing a highly respectable .291/.365/.471 through his first 271 plate appearances of 2019. Still, the most important aspect of Narvaez’s profile this evening is simply his handedness. Adam Wainwright ($8,200) has been absolutely demolished by left-handed bats across his 15 starts, surrendering a .405 wOBA within the split. Plus, that number actually jumps up .461 against LHBs on the road. From a prime slot in Seattle’s order, Narvaez should thrive.
Other Option: James McCann ($4,600)
ValueDanny Jansen, TOR vs. BOS, $2,300 – We’re in extreme value mode with Jansen, but there’s an actual case to be made here. Among the 263 players who have had 130-plus plate appearances against RHPs so far this season, Jansen’s 31 wRC+ is the worst in baseball. However, in his 72 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, Jansen owns a far more tolerable 111 wRC+ that he pairs with a 42.9% hard contact rate. Sure, Chris Sale ($11,800) isn’t your average LHP, but Jansen’s got eight hits and three home runs over his past five starts. He’s heating up and he’s essentially free at a low-floor position. I’d get a little exposure.
Other Option: Roberto Perez ($3,600)
StudJose Abreu, CWS vs. DET, $4,400 – Abreu, as he usually does, is quietly putting together another great season of plate appearances for a very forgettable White Sox team. This is especially true when the veteran gets the opportunity to face a left-handed pitcher. Abreu is slashing .347/.388/.547 with a .393 wOBA within the split so far in 2019, a set of circumstances where his strikeout rate also falls to a minuscule 13.8%. Alexander, making his MLB debut on Wednesday, is a top prospect for Detroit, yet he’s surrendered 2.08 home runs per nine in Triple-A through 73.2 innings. That doesn’t bode well in moving up a level.
Other Options: Freddie Freeman ($5,200), Daniel Vogelbach ($4,300)
ValuePaul Goldschmidt, STL at SEA, $3,500 – Goldschmidt is deserving of this bargain basement price point, but its still somewhat jarring to see the slumping former All-Star this aggressively inexpensive. Especially with Mike Leake ($7,500) his opposition this evening. The magic of Leake is his mix of both quantity and lack of quality. For instance, no pitcher has allowed more batted ball events in 2019 than the contact-inclined RHP, while Leake also sits 10th in barrels per plate appearances rate at 7.9%. His recent numbers aren’t any better, either. Since May 20, Leake has surrendered 2.7 home runs per nine to RHBs. Add in the Mariners awful bullpen and you’ve got the recipe for Goldschmidt to finally make some DFS noise.
Other Option: Brandon Belt ($3,800)
StudDJ LeMahieu, NYY at NYM, $5,200 – LeMahieu had a 14-game hit streak and a six-game multi-hit streak come to an end last night at the hands of these very same Mets, but there’s no time like the present to start all over again. Batting atop the most dangerous lineup in all of baseball, LeMahieu is viable on any given slate, but should be especially so versus the left-handed Jason Vargas ($8,000) this evening. The veteran infielder has consistently crushed southpaw pitching throughout his career, and, in 75 plate appearances this season, he’s slashing .353/.413/.529 with a .400 wOBA. There’s not much else that needs to be said.
Other Option: Max Muncy ($4,700)
ValueAdam Frazier, PIT vs. CHC, $3,600 – Why mess with a good thing? Frazier has posted exactly 33 DKFP in two straight games and while it’s foolish to believe that will translate to tonight’s slate, it’s not like the middle infielder has a poor matchup. Yu Darvish ($8,600) has allowed LHBs to hit 2.45 home runs per nine off of him so far this season and while Frazier isn’t normally regarded for his power, he’s got six extra-base hits in his past nine plate appearances. If Frazier’s batting leadoff again this evening, get him in a lineup or two.
Other Options: Michael Chavis ($4,000)
StudNolan Arenado, COL vs. HOU, $5,300 – Let’s not make this more complex than it has to be. Arenado has regularly been slapped with a price tag of around $6K when he draws a left-handed pitcher at Coors, so to see him at $5,300 is almost a relief. This season, the All-Star has had 54 plate appearances within the split at home. In those opportunities, Arenado is slashing .400/.500/.733 with a .501 wOBA. Wade Miley ($7,200) will be in over his head.
Other Option: Rafael Devers ($4,700)
ValuePablo Sandoval, SF at SD, $4,100 – Sandoval has hit all 10 of his home runs off of right-handed pitching in 2019. The veteran, much like most of his teammates, has also hit better away from the spacious Oracle Field. Therefore, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that Sandoval owns a 1.004 OPS and a .407 wOBA when facing an RHP on the road so far this season. Factor in that Quantrill has surrendered a whopping .410 wOBA to LHBs at the major league level and you’ve got a perfect spot for the Kung-Fu Panda.
Other Option: Kyle Seager ($3,600)
StudXander Bogaerts, BOS at TOR, $4,600 – There are only a few teams not playing at Coors with an implied total above six runs on this slate. The Red Sox are one of those teams. Its really not hard to see why, either. Just recite the sentence “Jacob Waguespack ($4,000) is coming off the IL to make a spot start” over-and-over to yourself and you’ll begin to understand. With that being the case, Bogaerts, who has a .263 ISO and .408 wOBA since the start of May, is more than fairly priced this evening.
Other Options: Trevor Story ($4,500), J.P. Crawford ($4,500)
ValueChris Taylor, LAD vs. ARI, $3,900 – Much like Bogaerts, Taylor is simply a solid, middle-of-the-order hitter on a team with a consistently high implied run total. Taylor is also someone slashing .311/.368/.579 with a .387 wOBA since the beginning of May. If Justin Turner (elbow) is unable to suit up for the third-straight game, expect Taylor to hit in the third spot of Los Angeles’ order. Combine that with the fact that Merrill Kelly ($8,300) has struggled away from Arizona this season, and you’ve got a great DFS option for under $4K.
Other Option: Brandon Crawford ($3,200)
StudMichael Brantley, HOU at COL, $4,900 – I’m just gonna throw about a ratio when it comes to Peter Lambert ($5,300) and his “success” against left-handed hitters through five starts: 10:11. In this case, 10 is the number of extra-base hits Lambert has surrendered to the 50 LHBs he’s faced in 2019 and 11 is the amount of those lefties he’s managed to retire on strikes. Those numbers should never, ever be that close. I mean, left-handers are slugging .804 off of the 22-year-old. I’d expect Brantley will be able to take advantage in the best offensive environment in baseball.
Other Options: Cody Bellinger ($5,400), Aaron Judge ($4,800)
ValueJackie Bradley, BOS at TOR, $3,500 – Though he might not hit in a premium lineup spot, Bradley has been tearing the cover off of the ball since the beginning of June and probably deserves to be a little more respected by the DK Pricing Gods. In 111 plate appearances within that span, Bradley is hitting .311 with a .268 ISO. He also enters tonight’s matchup with the Jays having collected multiple hits in four consecutive games.
Other Options: Alex Dickerson ($3,900), Aaron Hicks ($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.