It’s hard to believe we’re already at the final Friday of June. It seems like just yesterday contests were being postponed in late March due to snow, and now we’re a week away from the Fourth of July with the All-Star Game’s starters announced.
Time truly does fly, but not nearly as much as the baseball in 2019. As of earlier this week, the league is on pace to shatter its home run record with an eye-popping total of 6,618 long balls. With offensive conditions like that, it makes selecting the proper pitchers on a huge 14-game slate all the more important and difficult.
Yet, have no fear, I’m here to help break it all down.
StudMike Clevinger, CLE at BAL, $9,600 – Clevinger hasn’t had much luck in 2019, with the right-hander injuring his ankle in his most recent outing — a start that was his first in more than two months. In any case, Clevinger will be coming off the IL for the second time this month tonight in Baltimore. Could you ask for better opportunity to thrive? The Orioles have been awful over the past 14 days, a span where the team has won just a single game. Since June 14, Baltimore possesses baseball’s second-lowest wOBA (.281) along with its ninth-highest strikeout rate at 24.7%. Simply put: Clevinger, who has a massive 16.5% swinging strike rate this season, should be priced above $10K. He’s not, and I’ll have a high exposure because of it. Other Options: Jose Berrios ($10,800), Cole Hamels ($9,900)
ValueAnibal Sanchez, WAS at DET, $7,400 – Sanchez is an obvious choice due to the Tigers’ general struggle to score runs, but trust me when I say this specific matchup suits the veteran RHP quite well. Almost all of Sanchez’s issues in 2019 have stemmed from left-handed hitters. In fact, when you isolate his numbers against righties, the 35-year-old looks like an All-Star. Sanchez has held the 178 RHBs he’s seen this season to a paltry .255 wOBA; while his rate of 2.45 home runs per nine to LHBs falls all the way to 0.43 within the split. Detroit is very right-handed. So right-handed it ranks third in the league in right-on-right plate appearances. The few lefties it does have aren’t very dangerous, either. The Tigers’ left-handers sport a 26.1% strikeout rate when facing RHPs — the highest mark in the entire American League.
Other Option: Vince Velasquez ($7,000)
StudRoberto Perez, CLE at BAL, $4,200 – Perez has been fantastic against left-handed pitching all season long, sporting a .322 ISO and a 168 wRC+ across his first 69 plate appearances within the split. However, he’s been even more successful hitting southpaw pitching on the road, a set of circumstances where he owns an insane .572 wOBA. Sure, you can chalk a lot of that second stat up to an extremely small sample size; yet, it should be noted Camden Yards has been the best place for right-handed batters to hit for power in 2019, according to Baseball Prospectus. Other Option: Yasmani Grandal ($4,900)
ValueYan Gomes, WAS at DET, $2,900 – Almost everything about Gomes’ 2019 season has been awful expect for the 43 plate appearances he’s made against left-handed pitching. Within the split, Gomes is slashing .314/.442/.543 with a .412 wOBA and a 0.43 GB/FB ratio. With the Nationals’ back-and-forth catching platoon, Gomes should be in line for the start this evening against Daniel Norris ($5,700). Considering Norris’ 40.0% hard contact rate allowed to RHBs, I at least strongly hope this is the case.
Other Option: Carson Kelly ($3,700)
StudJosh Bell, PIT at MIL, $5,500 – You could make the case Jhoulys Chacin ($5,000) has been worse against RHBs than LHBs so far this season, but the underlying statistics would tell you you’re wrong. While lefties have managed a mere .335 wOBA off of the veteran RHP, Chacin’s been assisted heavily within the split by a .228 BABIP; a figure that is unsustainably low even before you factor in left-handed hitters own a whopping 50.5% hard contact rate off Chacin. He’s struck out just 10.9% of the left-handers he’s faced across his 14 starts. That means contact. You don’t want Bell making contact. Especially considering only Christian Yelich has averaged a higher exit velocity than Bell’s 93.7 mph mark among qualified batters. Other Options: Max Muncy ($5,600), Eric Thames ($4,500)
ValueMatt Beaty, LAD at COL, $4,200 – Beaty is about as inexpensive as pieces of tonight’s Dodgers-Rockies game get, which is understandable given Thursday’s final score. Still, that doesn’t mean Beaty is scraping the bottom of the barrel; the 26-year-old has some talent, and it’s been on display against RHPs so far in 2019. In 72 plate appearances within the split, Beaty is slashing .329/.347/.468 with a .352 wOBA. His reliance on hitting ground balls isn’t ideal, but I’m willing to overlook that fact with Antonio Senzatela ($4,600) surrendering a .402 wOBA to LHBs.
Other Option: Matt Olson ($4,100)
StudLourdes Gurriel, TOR at KC, $5,200 – Did I think I would see a Blue Jays player not named Vladimir Guerrero Jr. priced over $5K this year? No. No I did not. Still, it’s undeniable how well Gurriel has hit since coming up from a brief demotion to Triple-A. In his 130 plate appearances since May 24, Gurriel possesses a .380 ISO and a .451 wOBA. Better still are his numbers against just left-handed pitching. In 52 PAs, the Cuban native is slashing .408/.431/.918 with a 252 wRC+. As a Toronto fan, I have no idea what’s happening, but Danny Duffy ($7,200) might be wise to tread carefully this evening. Other Option: Howie Kendrick ($5,000)
ValueBrian Dozier, WAS at DET, $3,400 – If feel like I’m constantly repeating myself when it comes to Dozier versus lefties, but the results are indisputable. Going back to the start of May, Dozier is hitting .378 with a .478 wOBA in 49 plate appearances within the split. The great thing about playing the 32-year-old is you’re not utilizing him on an island, either. The Nationals, as a a team, own a .851 OPS against LHPs — the fourth-highest mark in all of baseball. It’s why they have one of the highest non-Coors implied run totals on the slate.
Other Option: Jose Altuve ($3,900)
StudMike Moustakas, MIL vs. PIT, $4,900 – Here are two things that are true: One; Moustakas has a .337 ISO and a .407 wOBA hitting right-handed pitching at Miller Park this season. Two; Chris Archer ($7,100) has been a train wreck away from PNC since the beginning of May. I mean, it’s not like he’s been great in Pittsburgh, either; but you literally have to sit down to ingest these stats. Archer has thrown 14 2/3 innings and faced 72 batters on the road within that span. He’s surrendered a .442 wOBA while pitching to a mind-numbing 10.43 ERA. Yikes. That’s awful. Other Options: Anthony Rendon ($5,200), Nolan Arenado ($5,100)
ValueEugenio Suarez, CIN vs. CHC, $3,700 – Suarez is in the midst of an incredible slump at the plate; however, his price has reached the point where it’s too low to ignore, especially considering the circumstances of tonight’s matchup. Going back to the start of last season, Suarez is slashing .320/.447/.650 with a 182 wRC+ when drawing a left-handed starter at Great American Ball Park. That’s a 123 plate appearance sample backed up by Suarez’s overwhelming success throughout his career hitting southpaws. Is the floor cavernous? To be sure. Yet, there’s a lot of upside here for less than $4K.
Other Option: Jake Lamb ($3,700)
StudManny Machado, SD vs. STL, $5,100 – Michael Wacha ($5,900) has been pitching a little bit better in June, but this is still a man surrendering 3.18 home runs per nine to RHBs on the road so far this season. That’s an issue considering Machado comes into tonight’s slate as possibly the hottest right-handed hitter in all of baseball. The former Oriole has seven home runs over his past 56 plate appearances, while also sporting a .590 wOBA within that span of time. He’s expensive, but stats suggest he’ll keep the good times rolling Friday. Other Option: Francisco Lindor ($5,000)
ValueOrlando Arcia, MIL vs. PIT, $3,400 – He’s not great, but we all remember how awful Archer has been on the road as of late. The Brewers have an implied team total of over six runs this evening. That is a crazy high number for a game not taking place in altitude, people. Plus, Arcia’s at least been hitting the batter more effectively as of late. Since June 1, Arcia’s average exit velocity is 90.0 mph. Prior to that point in the season, his average exit had sat at a far more underwhelming 86.4 mph. There are worse ways to try and save some salary on this slate than Milwaukee’s shortstop.
StudAlex Verdugo, LAD at COL, $4,900 – Another possible piece of a Dodgers stack that’s under $5K. Verdugo hasn’t hit for the type of power this season we all might have expected from the 23-year-old top prospect, but that’s started to change the past three weeks. Across Verdugo’s past 69 plate appearances, the rookie is slashing .344/.377/.609 with a .266 ISO primarily batting out of the two-spot in Dave Roberts’ order. That’s nothing to turn your nose up to. Other Options: Christian Yelich ($5,900), Corey Dickerson ($4,600)
ValueRobbie Grossman, OAK at LAA, $3,600 – In his 108 plate appearances as a left-handed hitter away from the Coliseum in 2019, Grossman is slashing .326/.417/.522 with a .394 wOBA. It’s unclear where Grossman might find himself in tonight’s batting order, but the veteran switch-hitter was slotted into the two-spot against a RHP as recently as Tuesday. Even if he’s not hitting in as pristine a spot this evening, Felix Pena ($6,700) has surrendered a .407 wOBA to LHBs at Angel Stadium so far this season. This is a really sneak good matchup.
Other Options: Kyle Schwarber ($4,100), Ben Gamel ($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.