I can’t remember a slate where more than half of the starting pitcher options were under $6,000, ten of those being under $5,000. That makes for numerous good plays offensively and allows you to vary your exposure to top end bats for tournaments. We have 15 games to choose from, so let’s dig in. You can find me on Twitter- @RyNoonan.
Chris Sale – CWS vs. SEA – $11,700 Chris Sale vs. Felix Hernandez is one of the premier matchups on the slate, with both starters pitching better as of late. Sale has seen a spike in K’s which makes it easier to roster him since his price is usually up in the $11-$12K range. The Mariners have struggled against lefties lately, and Sale has held this current group of M’s to a career .250 wOBA against.
Justin Verlander – DET vs. LAA – $10,400 – Justin Verlander’s price is down a bit but his upside is no different here than it’s been in his last few outings. Sure, the Angels don’t whiff very much, but Verlander has been incredibly consistent and his floor is easily attainable at this price. This group of Angels have a career .230 wOBA against Verlander.
David Phelps – MIA vs. SD – $8,700 – I like $4,000 David Phelps a lot more than this $8,700 version, but he’s still in play here. He hasn’t been working very deep into games since re-entering the rotation after spending some time in the ‘pen, but his strikeout numbers have been excellent in limited duty. Facing the Padres and their league-worst offense against right-handed pitching, Phelps is worth considering despite the increase in salary.
Mike Montgomery – CHC vs. LAD – $5,300 – The Dodgers’ struggles against left-handed pitching continued on Thursday night as they were nearly no-hit by the Giants Matt Moore. They were 29th in the league against lefties entering that start, and spot starter Mike Montgomery will look to take advantage of their ineptitude on Friday night.
Gregory Polanco (OF) – PIT vs. MIL – $5,500 – Gregory Polanco isn’t typically someone that we see north of $5,000, and when he is I wouldn’t typically consider him because he’s not that type of player. His current form says otherwise though. His hard-hit contact rate is at 48% over the past two weeks which is a huge number and up 12% over his season total. He’s an elite tournament play against batting practice pitcher Matt Garza.
Joey Votto (1B) – CIN vs. ARZ – $5,500 – Joey Votto has been going bananas since the break, which was to be expected since he had such terrible BABIP fortune in the first half. The line-drive-hitting machine is at it again and should fair well in Arizona, one of the best run scoring environments in the game.
Brian Dozier (2B) – MIN vs. TOR – $5,300 – What Brian Dozier has done against left-handed pitching this season is just silly. He’s an elite play every time he’s facing a lefty, so Friday against Francisco Liriano is no exception. Dozier’s .398 isolated power mark is off-the-charts good, and something we’d expect to see from someone like Giancarlo Stanton, not a 5’11” second baseman.
Stephen Piscotty (OF) – STL vs. OAK – $5,300 – When Stephen Piscotty has faced a lefty this season he’s been a staple in my lineups. Friday night against Ross Detwiler should be no different. With a strong implied-team total of 5.1 runs tonight, getting some exposure to the Cardinals through Piscotty makes sense.
Josh Donaldson (3B) – TOR vs. MIN – $5,000 – The Blue Jays have the highest implied-team total on the slate at 6 runs, so taking a look at Josh Donaldson and company is a smart move, especially in cash games. Donaldson’s career success against left-handed pitching has continued this season as his season wRC+ of 168 is right in line with his lifetime mark of 166.
Trea Turner (2B/OF) – WSH vs. COL – $4,900 – Trea Turner has been red hot since getting called back up to the big leagues and the Nationals offensive catalyst is worth a long look on Friday night. The Nationals have a hefty 5.3 run implied-team total and Turner’s multi-position eligibility helps when you’re constructing your lineups.
Freddie Freeman (1B) – ATL vs. SF – $4,600 – Assuming Freddie Freeman plays through his back issues here, I love him in tournaments. He’s typically under-owned due to the ineptitude of his team, and the fact that he’s playing in the league’s worst hitting environments on Friday night won’t make him any more appealing to the masses. He’s swinging it well right now though, with a huge spike in hard-hit rate and average fly ball distance over the past few weeks.
Jose Altuve (2B) – HOU vs. TB – $4,400 – Jose Altuve is usually worth a look at $5,500 against a lefty, so getting him at $4,400 against Tampa’s Drew Smyly is a bargain. No one has as many at-bats against lefties this season as Altuve does, and his 197 wRC+ is tops in the game.
Justin Upton (OF) – DET vs. LAA – $3,500 – Justin Upton is on a bit of a heater right now. His recent spike in power is validated by his 19% increase in hard-hit contact, 39 foot increase in average fly ball distance, and 6 mph spike in exit velocity. He’s a great tournament outfielder at this price.
Justin Ruggiano (OF) – NYM vs. PHI – $2,900 – Justin Ruggiano is getting some run in the Mets outfield right now, and is worth a look against Adam Morgan and the Phillies. Ruggiano has a pair of home runs this week and a few multi-hit games as well, and is definitely in play if he gets the start here.
Carlos Santana (1B) – CLE vs. TEX – $3,700 – There are a few Indians bats that are discounted on Friday, due in large part to their recent cold streak. Santana and Jason Kipnis jump out as great buys at their current price, and I expect them to be under-owned even in a great hitting environment in Texas.
Robbie Grossman (OF) – MIN vs. TOR – $3,700 – Twins teammate Brian Dozier was highlighted above, and Robbie Grossman is a great alternative at a cheaper price. If he’s hitting in the 2-hole on Friday, his 169 wRC+ pairs well with Dozier against Francisco Liriano.
Ryan Raburn (OF) – COL vs. WSH – $2,700 – Ryan Raburn is a notorious left-handed pitching destroyer and his career numbers against Nats starter Gio Gonzalez, doesn’t hurt. Raburn has homered in three of his 14 career plate appearances against Gio.
Wilmer Flores (1B/3B) – NYM vs. PHI – $4,200 – My favorite play on the entire slate is Wilmer Flores. He’s in a prime spot against Adam Morgan, who tends to give up a ton of fly balls against right-handed bats, and Flores has more power upside against lefties than you think. His ISO against lefties is .333 this season and his 186 wRC+ is top-10 in all of baseball.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RyanFix) 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.