We have a solid 12 game slate with all the ingredients we need for a good night in DraftKings MLB. With so much quality high end pitching, we will need some salary savers to make lineups work.
Francisco Liriano – Pirates v. Braves – $10,400 – Liriano has been up and down to start the season, but he gets a glorious matchup today. He is at home where he has pitched better in the safe confines of his home park. He faces one of the worst statistical teams against left-handed pitching. The Braves have a league low .211 batting average against southpaws this year. They have a league low wRC+ which is one of the stats that best encompasses total offensive production. They are top 5 in highest strikeout percentage at 25.4% which only adds to Liriano’s K potential.
Drew Pomeranz – Padres v. Giants – $8,900 – I wrestled with the question of whether to use him or his opposition today, Johnny Cueto. Ultimately I liked the $3,000 discount offered on Pomeranz. Pomeranz gets my support because he has a 1.80 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 51 strikeouts in only 40 innings of work this year. Those numbers are elite. He has more strikeout upside than Cueto, even facing a better offense. The win is not worth that much more when you are saving $3,000 in salary and Pomeranz could match or exceed the numbers Cueto puts up, win or lose.
Bartolo Colon – Mets v. Nationals – $6,600 – Bartolo is pretty cheap today and is pitching at home in a great pitcher’s park. He continues to be serviceable, even if he does lack some upside. In 8 starts this season, he has returned a mid-teens fantasy total in 3 of them, a low 20s number in another along with a 31 fantasy point performance. That means 5 of his 7 starts have been value at his current salary. He faces a righty heavy offense, and he pitches especially well against right-handed bats. If he is able to navigate the lefties in Harper and Murphy, he should be able to put up a good game and give us a nice return.
Nathan Eovaldi – Yankees v. Diamondbacks – $6,800 – There is a lot of good high end pitching today, so I will likely not be coming down and taking a cheap pitcher, but if you do go for strikeout upside. Eovaldi does have some of that, but he is definitely boom or bust as his game logs show. He alternates 25-30 fantasy point performances with single and negative numbers. The Diamondbacks do not have many lefties to throw at him, and he has been tough on right-handed bats. I’m not giving him a cash game endorsement at all, but he is interesting for a tourney if you need the salary to pay up for some bats.
Anthony Rizzo – Cubs v. Brewers – $5,100 – Rizzo gets a matchup with Jimmy Nelson who allowed left-handed bats to hit over .300 against him in 2015. The game is in the hitter and home run friendly Miller Park, and Rizzo is one of the best options on the day to go yard. He has a .399 wOBA with a .278 ISO score against right-handed pitching since the start of 2015, so this is a perfect spot to roll him out.
Nolan Arenado – Rockies v. Cardinals – $4,500 – Adam Wainwright is still getting way too much respect from everyone. He has been horrid to start this season. Arenado hits very well in righty/righty matchups with a .386 wOBA and an ISO score over .300. He is also the sixth most expensive third baseman today, which is crazy. I think he is a tad too cheap, and that makes him a great selection today.
Robinson Cano – Mariners @ Orioles – $5,000 – Cano is far and away the best second base option for me today. Chris Tillman has been great in 2016, but he normally struggles with a higher average and more home runs to left-handed bats. Cano owns a .369 wOBA and a .207 ISO score since the start of 2015. Cano has also owned Tillman his entire career. Cano has a robust sample size of 31 at-bats that yielded 14 hits, including two home runs. That’s a large enough sample size to conclude he hits Tillman well, so I think he is one of the safest plays on the day.
“He gets a matchup with Julio Teheran who has allowed over a .300 average to left-handed bats in 2016”
Gregory Polanco – Pirates v. Braves – $4,200 – Polanco is the best value on the board today. He has been moved up into the 3 hole and is hitting, stealing bases, scoring runs and knocking runs in since the move. He gets a matchup with Julio Teheran who has allowed over a .300 average to left-handed bats in 2016. Teheran has also been tagged for about a homer every 5-6 innings on average against lefties, so I love this spot for Polanco.
Bryce Harper – Nationals v. Mets – $5,000 – Bartolo Colon has struggled more with left-handed bats recently, and Harper is certainly a big left-handed bat. His .468 wOBA since 2015 and .352 ISO score are among the best in the league against either handedness of pitcher. He has seen limited success against Bartolo with three hits in thirteen at-bats and only one home run.
Chris Davis – Orioles v. Mariners – $4,900 – Davis has a matchup with Taijuan Walker today. Walker is much worse on the road and really struggles with left-handed power bats who have a higher average and more HRs against him. Davis owns a .412 wOBA with a robust .343 ISO score and definitely qualifies as lefty power. He hits very well in home run friendly Camden Yards too, so he has a lot of upside in this matchup today.
Stephen Piscotty – Cardinals v. Rockies – $4,400 – The two hole hitter for the Cardinals is having a really nice year. He is currently batting .307 and has hit safely in 8 of the last 9 games. Piscotty’s .423 wOBA and .299 ISO score are not only tops on the team, but make him a top 20 guy against left-handed pitching in baseball since the start of 2015. He always goes low owned and he has a lot of upside in this matchup.
Lorenzo Cain – Royals v. Red Sox – $4,300 – The matchup with David Price should hold down his ownership, but Cain is already 4-11 off Price with a home run. His profile backs up his success as he owns a .403 wOBA and a .238 ISO score against left-handed pitching since the start of last season. Price has been dominant at times and horrible at others. He is very tough on left-handed bats, but prone to some mistakes against righties.
Jake Lamb (3B) – Diamondbacks v. Yankees – $3,900 – Lamb has been batting clean up lately for the Diamondbacks and doing a commendable job. He gets a matchup at home in his hitter friendly park against Nathan Eovaldi today. Eovaldi is a guy who has struggled with left-handed bats. He also throws a lot of fastballs, and Lamb can make him pay for missing his spots with one of those. $3,900 is not too expensive for a guy in a good RBI spot in a great hitter’s park.
Steven Souza Jr. (OF) – Rays v. Blue Jays – $3,800 – Souza draws the knuckleballer in R.A. Dickey tonight, who has not been good this year. This Tampa team is on fire right now, and Souza has moved up into the middle of the order batting out of the 4 or 5 hole as of late. He 3-8 against Dickey with a home run, so he is seeing the ball well off of him and hitting it hard.
Justin Turner (3B) – Dodgers v. Angels – $3,300 – Turner is not having the greatest year, but he is way too cheap for a guy who has been hitting in the 3 hole for a pretty solid offense. Turner hits very well in righty/righty matchups, and Nick Tropeano has allowed both left and right-handed bats to hit over .270 against him this year. The value he offers is tough to find elsewhere, and the salary savings lets you pay up for pitching today.
“The value he offers is tough to find elsewhere . . .”
Michael Saunders (OF) – Blue Jays v. Rays – $3,400 – Saunders has done well for the Blue Jays as a fringe option this year. He is one of the few lefty bats they have to go and attack Odorizzi today. I would shy away from all Blue Jays in cash because Odorizzi can pitch well at times. He is also prone to blow ups though, and Saunders would be a great addition to a Blue Jays stack if one of those occurs.
Justin Smoak (1B) – Blue Jays v. Rays – $3,300 – A lot of what we said for Saunders rings true here for Smoak. He has a ton of power against right-handed pitching from the left side. He can make Odorizzi pay with the long ball. He has been hitting fifth behind the big bats of Donaldson, Encarnacion and Bautista, so he tends to hit with at least one guy on. In home run friendly Toronto, that makes hm a dangerous hitter.
Adam Duvall – Reds v. Indians – $3,800 – No one talks about this guy, but he has been killing it lately. He is averaging over 12 fantasy points per game in his last five and has double digit fantasy points in 5 of the last 8 games. He is hitting .277 on the year with seven home runs already and faces a solid pitching prospect, Mike Clevinger, who is making his major league debut on the road in Great American Ballpark today.