Baseball is back! Every team is back in action tonight and we have a big 14-game main slate here at DraftKings. It’s a good one too, with top notch studs and intriguing value plays at every position. Any questions on the slate? Find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan. Let’s dig in.
Stephen Strasburg – WSH vs. PIT – $12,000 – Very few starters have been as consistently strong as Stephen Strasburg this season, and coming off of an extended break should only help him tonight. He’s facing a Pirates club that’s middle of the pack against right-handed pitching, both in terms of run production and strikeout rate, but Vegas has him as a huge favorite (-195) making him my preferred pitcher for both cash games and tournaments today.
Carlos Carrasco – CLE vs. MIN – $12,300 – If I’m not using Strasburg, I really like Carlos Carrasco in tournaments tonight. He’s the highest priced play on the board and with big names like the aforementioned Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner available for less, I think that drives down Carrasco’s ownership total which is ideal in large GPP fields. It’s also a good spot for him on paper as Minnesota is among the bottom third in the league in both wOBA and wRC+ versus right-handed pitchers, and we know that Carrasco and his 11.5% swinging-strike rate provides immense upside any time he’s on the bump.
Marcus Stroman – TOR vs. OAK – $7,500 – The Blue Jays’ ace is starting to pitch like one. He’s pitched well in his last two starts prior to the break, keeping both the defending champion Royals and red-hot Cleveland Indians in check, limiting them to a combined 16% hard-hit rate. He’s starting to miss more bats that what we saw earlier in 2016, and he’s priced well against an A’s club that’s 27th in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.
Patrick Corbin – ARZ vs. LAD – $4,000 – Patrick Corbin has been terribly disappointing so far this season, but he’s criminally underpriced at $4,000 tonight against LA. Only the Phillies and Braves have been worse against left-handed pitching this season and you don’t need much from Corbin to pay off 3-4 times his salary in this one. He’s an easy cash game play and pairing him with one of the slate’s Big-3 will be a popular approach tonight.
Jake Lamb (3B) – ARZ vs. LAD – $5,500 – Jake Lamb not making the NL All-Star team was a crime, but that’s an entirely different topic for an entirely different website. Lamb is top-3 in all of baseball when it comes to SLG% against right-handed pitching, and he’s facing Dodgers’ starter Bud Norris who’s allowed the second highest SLG% to left-handed bats dating back to 2015 on tonight’s slate.
David Ortiz (1B) – BOS vs. NYY – $5,300 – I don’t need to go long on why Papi is a good play. He’s in the best non-Coors Field ball park for left-handed power in the game and he’s been the game’s best hitter against right-handed pitching all season. He’s in play.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF) – MIA vs. STL – $4,900 – Whatever that cold streak was back in May and June appears to be comfortably behind Giancarlo Stanton now. He’s likely be extremely popular tonight because his current form is strong and recency bias will come into play after seeing him making Petco Park look like a Little League field. He’ll also have a platoon advantage against Jamie Garcia, so expect him to be one of the highest owned bats on the slate.
Stephen Piscotty (OF) – STL vs. MIA – $4,900 – Stephen Piscotty is a great tournament pivot from Giancarlo Stanton. They’re priced the same and few will go with Piscotty when they can get the big fella at the same price. For me it’s an easy call, give me Piscotty. He’s top-5 in wRC+ against lefties this season and has immense power upside against Marlins’ starter Wei-Yin Chen.
Adam Duvall (OF) – CIN vs. MIL – $4,800 – Adam Duvall is my pick-to-click, dong of the day, yard work…whatever you want to call it. I like his chances to go deep on Friday night against Matt Garza, who sports a slate-worst .358 wOBA against right-handed batting dating back to 2015, and Duvall’s isolated power is more than 100 points higher against righties than lefties. Perfect ‘reverse splits’ matchup for Duvall.
Joey Votto (1B) – CIN vs. MIL – $4,600 – Pairing Duvall with his teammate at first base is a pretty good way to spend up today. Votto has just a .255 batting average despite having the highest hard-hit contact rate of his career. He has lifetime BABIP of .357 but it’s just .308 to date, and that’ll likely change in a big way during the second half. This is a $5,000 hitter who’s still affordable but perhaps not for much longer.
Jason Kipnis (2B) – CLE vs. MIN – $4,600 – Jason Kipnis was red-hot entering the break, and I hope it continues today against Ervin Santana. Kipnis’ hard-hit rate, exit velocity, fly ball rate, and average fly ball distance are all up dramatically over the past month so I’m banking on that continuing as the second half begins.
Marcell Ozuna (OF) – MIA vs. STL – $4,400 – Marcell Ozuna is embarassing left-handed pitching this season. He’s third in both wOBA (.480) and wRC+ (205) when facing a lefty, and is a must-play if you’re using his teammate Giancarlo Stanton tonight.
Chris Davis (1B) – BAL vs. TB – $3,700 – The entire Orioles lineup is underpriced tonight against familiar foe, Chris Archer. The current lineup has a .349 wOBA against Archer and that’s over a decent time frame, a sample size that I believe is worth noting. Archer is still striking out a ton of hitters, but he’s not hitting his location often enough with his fastball and that’s led to a huge spike in home runs this season. Manny Machado ($4,200) and Davis are my preferred plays here.
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – DET vs. KC – $4,100 – I don’t think Miguel Cabrera should ever be $4,100, at least not until he’s 40. He’s a great cash game play at this price and will likely be lower owned than he should be. Miggy has been significantly better against right-handed pitching this season than he has been against lefties, so Ian Kennedy will have his hands.
Brad Miller (SS) – TB vs. BAL – $3,800 – I like this spot for Brad Miller who’ll likely hit second for Tampa Bay tonight. Miller has shown decent power against right-handed pitchers like Yovani Gallardo, who’s allowed lefties to pile up a .350 wOBA against him since the start of 2015. Getting a shortstop for less than $4,000 is ideal today.
Jayson Werth (OF) – WSH vs. PIT – $3,600 – Piscotty, Ozuna, and Jayson Werth are the left-handed crushing trio and they all get to tee-off against one tonight. Werth and his 201 wRC+, fourth in all of baseball, takes on a struggling Francisco Liriano and while Liriano has been awful, I think he’ll be used quite a bit tonight because of his $4,900 price tag. That makes Werth an even better tournament play if you have room in the crowded outfield.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF) – COL vs. ATL – $3,500 – I think CarGo, even on the road, is the chalk outfield play of the day at just $3,500. His .408 wOBA against right-handed pitching is supported by Coors, but his 139 wRC+ (a stat that’s park adjusted) shows that he’s not just an option at home.
Matt Holliday (OF) – STL vs. MIA – $3,300 – If Matt Holliday suits up here I like him quite a bit. He’s underpriced and has hit much better than his .241 batting average would indicate. His story is similar to Joey Votto’s where he’s making a ton of hard contact but has suffered from a .248 BABIP. He’s one of only two hitter’s (Chris Carter) with a hard-hit rate north of 40% and a batting average below .299.
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.