What a 10-game slate of fantasy baseball this promises to be. Sometimes all it takes is a quick glance at the collection of starting pitchers for a given night to know madness is about to ensue. Think about what we’ve got here: Max Scherzer ($12,000) might not pitch after bunting a ball off of his face yesterday afternoon, which would leave [checks notes] Lucas Giolito ($11,300) as the evening’s most expensive SP; pillars of mediocrity Trevor Williams ($7,300) and Jordan Zimmermann ($7,000) will come off the IL to face each other in Pittsburgh; and, of course, we still have got weather concerns all across the map.
Are you ready for the insanity? If not, here’s a few tips to help you along the way.
StudZack Greinke, ARI vs. COL, $9,000 – Deciding between Greinke and Rich Hill ($10,300) is difficult — especially with how invisible the Giants’ hitters have been against LHPs in 2019 — but Greinke emerges as this slate’s best option for a few reasons. First and foremost; this game is taking place in Arizona, not Colorado. The Rockies have been atrocious on the road so far this season, pairing the league’s second-lowest wOBA within the split (.284) with a massive 27.0% strikeout rate. You also have to factor in Greinke’s ability to limit the production of left-handed bats. Colorado is likely to have at least five LHBs in its lineup tonight, yet Greinke’s held lefties to a feeble .220 wOBA and 55.4% ground ball rate through his first 15 starts. Saving $1,300 doesn’t hurt, either. Other Options: Rich Hill ($10,300), Andrew Heaney ($8,500)
ValueTrevor Richards, MIA at STL, $7,100 – Richards was in possession of some very severe reverse-splits last season. The right-handed pitcher seemed unwilling to feature his changeup to right-handed batters and a .353 wOBA was the result. Flash forward to 2019 and Richards’ changeup usage in right-on-right situations has jumped from 26.5% to 37.3%. Not surprisingly, that’s allowed the Marlins RHP to stifle opposing RHBs to the tune of a .286 wOBA and 24.9% strikeout rate. This is a skill set that’s crucial against a very right-handed lineup in St. Louis. Although, regardless of handedness, no one’s really been hitting for the Cardinals as of late. So far in June, St. Louis owns the National League’s lowest marks in both wRC+ (72) and wOBA (.280). Look for Richards to get back on track this evening.
Other Option: Jon Lester ($7,400)
StudWilson Ramos, NYM at ATL, $4,400 – Going back as far as 2016, Ramos has crushed left-handed pitching. So why would this season be any exception? In 58 plate appearances in 2019, Ramos is slashing .353/.431/.529 with a .405 wOBA within the split. However, if you want those numbers to get even better, simply isolate the past seven weeks. Ramos got off to a slow start to this campaign, but things have picked up since May 1 — with his success versus southpaws leading the way. In his 34 at-bats against LHPs across that span, Ramos owns a 1.109 OPS with a 191 wRC+. That’s some pretty impressive stuff. Other Option: James McCann ($4,100)
ValueElias Diaz, PIT vs. DET, $3,000 – It’s not very often you’ll see the Pirates with an implied team total above five runs, but that’s the exact situation we find ourselves in this evening. It is justified, however. In the four starts Zimmermann made prior to his elbow injury, the veteran allowed opponents to compile an eye-popping .455 wOBA — the direct product of six home runs in 16 2/3 innings. Diaz isn’t generally a play when drawing a right-handed pitcher, but he is batting .298 since May 1. That, along with a pulse, is enough to pique my interest against Zimmermann and this Tigers bullpen.
Other Option: Buster Posey ($3,100)
StudJosh Bell, PIT vs. DET, $4,800 – Bell’s numbers as a left-handed hitter have been phenomenal so far this season. In 238 plate appearances, Bell’s managed a .348 ISO to go along with a .435 wOBA. Bell also happens to own the highest average exit velocity of any player with at least 100 batted ball events to their name in 2019 (93.9 mph). I doubt the good times will come to an end at the hands of Zimmermann, especially considering the veteran has allowed a .384 wOBA to the 57 LHBs he’s seen across his first six outings. Other Options: Pete Alonso ($5,400), Matt Adams ($4,300)
ValueJustin Bour, LAA at TOR, $3,800 – Bour has managed an extra-base hit in each of the three games he’s played since getting recalled from Triple-A. That’s good news. Better news is he’s facing Aaron Sanchez ($5,000) at the Rogers Centre tonight. Walks are what normally kills Sanchez — not exactly the biggest draw in DFS — however, throughout the course of his career, it’s LHBs that have showcased their power against him. While RHBs have mustered just 0.59 home runs per nine off of the former first-round pick, lefties have hit 1.19, including six in 42 innings so far in 2019. That pattern isn’t a lock to continue this evening; yet, at ESPN’s No. 1 home run park, I like the odds of betting on big things from Bour.
Other Option: Ronald Guzman ($3,600)
StudLourdes Gurriel, TOR vs. LAA, $4,200 – As mentioned above, ball parks at sea level don’t come much more hitter friendly than Rogers Centre. Hitters don’t often come as hot as Gurriel, either. Since his recall on May 24, the Cuban national is slashing .325/.374/.699 with a .373 ISO. A lot of that damage has come against left-handed pitching, too. Within that span, Gurriel has turned 32 plate appearances against southpaws into four long balls and a 56.5% hard contact rate. Considering Heaney’s surrendered six home runs in his four starts following an extended IL stint, Gurriel has a great opportunity to stay scorching Wednesday. Other Options: Danny Santana ($4,800), Tommy La Stella ($4,600)
ValueKiké Hernandez, LAD vs. SF, $3,200 – I understand Hernandez has been in a lengthy and ugly slump since the beginning of May, but his underlying numbers against left-handed pitchers have remained above-average all season long. Hernandez still has managed an impressive 52.0% hard contact rate within the split the past two months, a huge reason why his expected wOBA against LHPs continues to sit at .379. He also always has hit better at home. Going back to 2017, Hernandez is slashing .291/.370/.547 with a .256 ISO at Dodger Stadium versus a lefty pitcher. So, just above $3K against Drew Pomeranz ($6,200)? Yeah, I’ll take that every time.
StudJosh Donaldson, ATL vs. NYM, $4,400 – Donaldson’s in some kind of groove right now, currently in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak that’s seen him launch five home runs out of SunTrust Park. Really, he’s loved batting in Atlanta all season long, as the former American League MVP owns a .293 ISO and .411 wOBA when stepping to the plate at home in 2019. Still, his numbers look bleak against LHPs. However, I’d suggest not focusing on Steven Matz ($6,900). Instead, take a quick glance at the Mets’ league-worst 8.36 bullpen ERA in June. Donaldson will have his chance to shine on this slate. Other Options: Anthony Rendon ($5,400), Justin Turner ($4,100)
ValueJose Ramirez, CLE at TEX, $3,800 – It feels like we try this once or twice a month with little success, but here we go again. Joe Palumbo ($5,500) is coming up from Double-A to make his second-career start this evening. Because of that, the Indians have one of the highest implied totals on this entire slate. Ramirez, who has been better as a RHB this season, is about to hit in a ball park that was the best place in the league for right-handed batters in 2018 according to Baseball Prospectus’ metrics. At this point, I’m not sure a return to form is coming; but, if it were, tonight would be the perfect time to break out for Ramirez.
Other Option: Colin Moran ($3,700)
StudDansby Swanson, ATL vs. NYM, $4,600 – Swanson has enjoyed facing left-handed pitching quite a bit in 2019, but never more so than when he’s at home in Atlanta. It’s a small sample of 37 plate appearances, but, during those limited opportunities, Swanson has slashed .387/.459/.710 with a .474 wOBA. Those are some jaw-dropping figures. His 130 wRC+ within the split overall isn’t all that shabby, either. Other Option: Francisco Lindor ($5,500)
ValueMiguel Rojas, MIA at STL, $2,900 – There is not a lot to get excited about below $4K at shortstop, so you might as well save as much salary as you can if you’re going this route. Rojas was moved up to the leadoff spot for the Marlins on Tuesday and, if he retains the job, he’ll be just viable enough for consideration this evening. There’s literally no power to speak of, however, Rojas is slashing .321/.387/.429 so far in June. It’s a desperation move, but one that features a decent floor.
StudNelson Cruz, MIN vs. BOS, $4,900 – This is a slate with left-handed pitching to burn, so, thankfully, Cruz ends up in a matchup with a southpaw on the other end. The man has simply crushed LHPs convincingly throughout his entire career, and his numbers from 2019 back up that sentiment. In 48 plate appearances within the split, Cruz possesses a .425 ISO, a 181 wRC+ and a 74.1% hard contact rate that looks as if it were a misprint. Eduardo Rodriguez ($7,500) has been volatile away from Fenway so far this season. I’d suggest taking advantage. Other Options: Shohei Ohtani ($5,200), Juan Soto ($4,300)
ValueCorey Dickerson, PIT vs. DET, $3,600 – Dickerson’s managed eight hits in his 24 at-bats since coming off the IL, truly looking healthy for the first time since early April. With that being the case, there’s no reason not to expect the man who produced a 120 wRC+ against right-handed pitching in 2018 to show himself tonight against Zimmermann and the Tigers. The left-handed Gregory Polanco ($3,900) also could be considered if he’s the name Clint Hurdle decides to start alongside Starling Marte ($4,600) and Bryan Reynolds ($4,200) this evening in a crowded outfield.
Other Options: Bryce Harper ($3,800), Randal Grichuk ($3,400)
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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.