Oh what a night for some baseball! On DraftKings we have the MLB $1 Million Sweet Spot as the featured tournament with a $20 entry fee and a cool $150,000 going to the winner. We have top shelf pitching, a game in Coors Field and many paths that could lead to glory. We just need to find the correct one.
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Noah Syndergaard – NYM vs MIA – $10,400 – with his $1,500 to $1,800 discount to Jose Fernandez and Corey Kluber respectively, Syndergaard will likely be the most popular premium pitcher in all formats today. He has not actually faced any of the Marlins hitters in his career, so hopefully surprise will be on his side tonight. Current Marlins hitters have actually struggled against right-handed pitching, and collectively they have a 91 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus which is an advanced metric that neutralizes ball park factors and creates a league-wide baseline of 100) meaning that over the last two seasons, the Fish score 9% less efficiently than league average against right-handed pitching, which is actually the third worst number in that timeframe.
Jose Fernandez – MIA at NYM – $11,900 – They typical starting pitcher wins about 35% of the time, so I do not worry too much about taking pitchers that are squaring off in the same game, as it is worth just four points on DraftKings, which is the same value as two strikeouts. Strikeouts are the name of the game for Fernandez. In his last 48 starts he has had ten games with double digit strikeouts and fourteen more with eight or nine. That means he has had 8+ in over half of his starts. While the Mets have a solid track record over the last two seasons against right-handed pitching, their bats have been pretty cold so far, and Fernandez is no ordinary pitcher.
Robbie Erlin – SDP at PHI – $7,100 – If we are looking to get a few players in the Coors Field game, we are not going to be able to have two high-end pitchers. Robbie Erlin facing the Phillies who have been in the bottom third of the league against southpaws by most metrics over the last two seasons. The Phillies project to score just four runs in this matchup, and through 23 career starts and five relief appearances over the last three seasons, Erlin has a 4.48 ERA against an actually decent 3.65 FIP and a 3.80 xFIP. You will like your hitters a lot more if you can find a second pitcher under $9k that you feel you can trust.
Wade Miley – SEA vs TEX – $8,200 – The Texas Rangers have been a middle-of-the-road team against left-handed pitching this season. Miley gets to pitch in a favorable park and has been okay against the current Rangers hitters with a .228/.282/.367 slash line in 79 at bats allowing six extra base his and recording 18 strikeouts. There are worse plays.
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Bryce Harper (OF) – WAS vs ATL – $5,200 – While a lot of gamers are looking to the plays in Coors Field, this means we should see Harper at about half of the popularity level from last night’s tournaments. Over his last two seasons he has an astounding .424 wOBA and a 173 wRC+ with a .270 ISO (isolated power) against right-handed pitching. He is my play of the night.
Mike Trout – (OF) – LAA at OAK – $5,300 – This extra $100 will keep Trout off most teams, as gamers will just go to Harper for the psychological savings if they are spending for an outfielder. In his last two seasons over 900 at bats, Trout has posted a .404 wOBA and a 165 wRC+ with a .290 ISO. He is elite.
Nelson Cruz (OF) – SEA vs TEX – $4,700 – Since the beginning of 2014, Cruz has a .289 ISO and a .439 wOBA against southpaws in 320 at bats. He will be overlooked tonight as a lot of people still remember LHP Derek Holland’s success, prior to his injury.
Buster Posey (C/1B) – $4,800 and Brandon Belt (1B) – $4,700 – Looking to this duo who gets a major park shift moving from AT&T Park to Coors Field is a huge boost, and on tap is a meeting with RHP Tyler Chattwood who has allowed opposing hitters a slash line of .270/.337/.374 in 514 at bats over the last two seasons. So while he does not give up a ton of home runs (just nine in this time frame), the ball is constantly in play, and that makes for exciting outings in Denver.
Nolan Arenado (3B) – COL vs SFG – $4,900 – To not be too frightened by the name recognition of RHP Jeff Samardzija as “The Shark” has turned into more of an innings eater these days. In 214 innings pitched last season for the Chicago White Sox, he allowed a 4.96 ERA and a career high 29 home runs. While the move to the National League should help, it won’t today in Colorado.
Daniel Murphy (2B/3B) – WAS vs ATL – $4,200 – While most gamers are going to just find the extra $100 to get to Joe Panik – SFG at COL, Murphy is a fine option anytime he is facing a right-handed pitcher, and he will be incredibly underrepresented in tournaments tonight.
Mookie Betts (OF) $4,700 and David Ortiz (1B) – $4,800 – BOS vs BAL – Yes, I could list more players from the Rockies and Giants; however, we need some differentiation for the large field tournaments. May I present the dynamic duo of Mookie and Big Papi against the incredibly hittable RHP Mike Wright.
Luis Valbuena (1B/3B) – HOU vs KC – $3,600 – In order to double down on pitching tonight, we are going to need to look for quite a few sub-$4k bats. Valbuena is fantastic against right-handed pitching with an outstanding .220 ISO (.200 is elite) over his last 750 at bats versus same-handed pitching. That is a fairly robust sample size, and this is a fine time to target RHP Kris Medlen.
Ben Paulsen – (1B/OF) – COL vs SF – $3,200 – It looks like the pricing algorithm is really discounting Paulsen since he is not playing every day. In his last two seasons, he has been great in lefty/righty matchups with a .349 wOBA in 350 at bats. If he is in the lineup tonight, he will be incredibly popular, and I see no reason to not follow The Masses on this one. Teammate Gerardo Parra – $3,900 is also in play with a lefty/righty matchup, but he has not been starting every game either.
Colby Rasmus – (OF) – HOU vs KC – $3,400 – If he continues to hit in the cleanup spot for the Astros, we will want to get him in our lineups. Houston is projected to score 4.3 runs tonight, and there is a good chance Rasmus will be involved.
Francisco Lindor (SS) – CLE at TB – $3,700 – LHP Matt Moore has been shaky at best since his 2013 breakout campaign, and he is susceptible to hitters swinging the stick from the right-side of the plate. Lindor surprised everyone sustaining his success for nearly all of his rookie season, and this is a favorable price point for his services tonight.
Cory Spangenberg – (2B/3B) – SDP at PHI – $3,000 – Spangenberg’s multi-position eligibility and bargain basement price point can provide a lot of flexibility with lineup construction tonight.
Danny Valencia – (3B/OF) – OAK vs LAA – $3,500 – Valencia is a noted lefty killer, and over the last two seasons he boasts a .361 wOBA against southpaws.
Rajai Davis – CLE at TB – $3,300 – If Davis is at the top of the lineup, he is an excellent value play tonight with a .367 wOBA in his last 300 at bats against southpaws.