With 14 games on the slate, we don’t have a ton of quality pitching, but we do have numerous hitters in great spots. Jake Arrieta takes the bump for the Cubs tonight; can he mow down the Pirates? Which pitchers should we look to for value to open up some salary to afford Arrieta? For the hitters, can Bryce Harper get back to his elite hitting that we saw to start the season? Should we still be targeting Blue Jays’ hitters even though they’ve collectively struggled early in the season? Let’s have a look!
Editor’s Note: Cincinnati SP, Jon Moscot has been scratched from his start tonight. John Lamb will start in his place.
Jake Arrieta – CHC at PIT – $12,100 – While Arrieta is the clear cut top pitcher of the night, we do need to remember that the current collection of hitters for the Pirates have actually posted the seventh highest weighted runs created plus (an advanced metric that neutralizes park factors and creates a league-wide scoring baseline of 100) at 108 wRC+ which means they score 8% more efficiently against right-handed pitchers than the average team since the beginning of 2014. On the flipside, PNC Park is a much more favorable place to pitch than Wrigley Field and the Pirates have struck out the thirteenth most against right-handed pitching with a 20.2% strikeout rate.
Pushing it all over the top for me is that the Cubs are large favorites to garner the win, which is worth four DraftKings points (and of course the fact that Arrieta has two no-hitters in his last dozen starts).
Michael Wacha – STL vs PHI – $9,000 – Heading into Monday’s game in St Louis, the Phillies had compiled a 15-10 record despite a -16 run differential. While they have been frisky at times this season, they have scored the fifth fewest runs in the league and are plating just over three per game. Over the last two seasons, their current hitters rank dead last with an 84 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, tied with the Padres for the worst weighted on base percentage at .296 and the fifth highest strikeout rate at 21.8%. While he does not seem to have a ton of tournament winning upside, Wacha is a fine option in cash game formats.
Jose Quintana – CHW vs BOS – $8,100 – Of the thirteen hitters who have faced LHP Jose Quintana that are currently on the Boston roster, none have had more than two hits. Collectively it is a small sample size of just 79 at bats; however, there have been just six doubles and 15 strikeouts with a ridiculously low .215/.225/.291 slash line. While Quintana has been excellent this season through five starts with just over a strikeout per inning and a 1.47 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP, the BoSox have been in the top 5 to 10 over the last two seasons against southpaws in most relevant hitting categories.
These mixed numbers have me leaning towards using Quintana in tournaments; however, it would not be a complete surprise if he was the highest scoring pitcher on the slate.
Tanner Roark – WAS at KCR – $6,900 – Yeah, yeah yeah… we shouldn’t take pitchers against the Royals because they don’t strike out much. This is very true and since the beginning of 2014, their current batsmen have a stingy 17.0% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching which is the third lowest in the league over that time frame. They also have a .307 wOBA and a 93 wRC+ both of which are 25th over the same period. Good news, Roark does not rely on strikeouts. Bad news, the Royals do not have many easy outs in their lineup. I am looking for a quality start and a decent shot at the win with RHP Chris Young as the opposing pitcher. At his low price point I would be thrilled with a 18-20 DraftKings points from Roark.
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Lucas Duda (1B) – NYM vs ATL – $4,000 – After a cold start to the season, Duda has pulled out of his slump, and he notched his fifth home run of the season Monday night. We are benefiting from his suppressed price point and need to keep in mind that since the beginning of 2014 he has crushed right-handed pitching with a .372 wOBA and a .250 ISO. RHP Matt Wisler is definitely someone we will want to target with more Mets swinging the stick from the left-side of the plate.
Bryce Harper – (OF) – WAS at KCR – $5,100 – On Sunday, Harper had a rare 0-4 game where he struck out all four times at bat. That is baseball for you! Tuesday night he gets a fine lefty/righty matchup against flyball RHP Chris Young. In his last 685 at bats against righties, the reigning NL MVP has tallied a .424 wOBA, a .280 ISO and a 172 wRC+ which are pretty much video game numbers.
Josh Donaldson (3B) – TOR vs TEX – $5,200 – Yes, this is a little spendy; however, we should be able to pick a couple premium hitters with the lack of premium pitching that we will need to spend on. In his last 292 at bats against southpaws, Donaldson has a .443 wOBA and an absolutely insane .363 ISO built on 26 home runs, 24 doubles and two triples during that time frame.
“. . . we should be able to pick a couple premium hitters with the lack of premium pitching”
Robinson Cano (2B) – SEA at OAK – $4,100 – We have Cano against another “name” pitcher in RHP Sonny Gray. This should have him at a very suppressed popularity level in tournaments, making him a fine contrarian option in this lefty/righty matchup.
Anthony Rizzo (1B) – CHC at PIT – $4,900 – With most gamers shying away from batters in lefty/lefty matchups, they may miss the fact that Rizzo does just fine against same-handed pitching as evidenced by his .385 wOBA over his last 325 at bats against southpaws.
Evan Longoria (3B) – TAM vs LAD – $4,200 – Longoria often gets overlooked these days with all of the options at the hot corner, but we should remember that he is a certified lefty masher with a .375 wOBA and a .893 OPS over the last two seasons. Besides, it is a lot of fun being able to yell Longo Dongo when he hits one out!
Carlos Correa (SS) – HOU vs MIN – $5,000 – Another Twins rookie RHP going against the Houston Astros. In this case it is the major league debut for Alex Meyer. He was solid in AAA with a 1.04 ERA through three starts; however, there is a strong chance that the Astros lineup will chew him up and spit him out.
Curtis Granderson (OF) – NYM vs ATL – $4,500 – Most gamers will blanch at this price point, but we want to target RHP Matt Wisler as much as possible on Tuesday. While I would not want to play Granderson as a one-off, I will make him a part of any Met mini-stack I put together.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF) – COL at SD – $3,900 – Anytime we can get Cargo for a sub-$4k price point against a right-handed pitcher, we need to jump on it regardless of the ball park. Over his last 634 at bats in lefty/righty matchups he has compiled a .395 wOBA and an eye-popping .290 ISO (.200 is considered elite).
Corey Seager (SS) – LAD at TBR – $3,400 – Yup, back to Corey Seager. While LHP Matt Moore has his moments, at this near punt level price point we can definitely consider Seager and his career .350 wOBA against left-handed pitchers.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B) – TOR vs TEX – $3,800 – E-squared will be one of the more popular options on Tuesday at this ridiculously low price, but I would be remiss in not pointing him out.
Mitch Moreland (1B) – TEX at TOR – $3,400 – Since Moreland and Prince Fielder both qualify as first basemen on DraftKings, Moreland is often overlooked by gamers. Even though he will likely be hitting sixth for the Rangers, the Rogers Centre is an excellent hitting environment and RHP Marco Estrada is another gas can just waiting for a match on Tuesday.
“. . . the Rogers Centre is an excellent hitting environment”
Welington Castillo (CATCH) – ARZ at MIA – $3,700 – While we prefer when Castillo is in his home park, he is a fine play against left-handed pitchers as evidenced by his .373 wOBA and .225 ISO over his last 214 at bats in righty/lefty matchups.
Trayce Thompson (OF) – LAD at TAM – $2,700 – Thompson is an excellent play any time the Dodgers are facing a right-handed pitcher because we can typically get him at a deep discount. If he is in the Los Angeles lineup, we will want to be sure to get him in a couple of ours so we can really load up on other BIG BATS.
Michael Conforto (OF) – NYM vs ATL – $3,700 – RHP Matt Wisler is prone to big innings, and the Mets have enough lefties that they should be able to have the opportunity to exploit their strength in numbers.
Josh Reddick (OF) – OAK vs SEA – $3,600 – Reddick is a tremendous option when he is against right-handed pitching because his weakness against southpaws usually keeps him at a reasonable price point. Over his last 724 at bats against righties, he has accrued a .361 wOBA and a solid .210 ISO. He is a threat for multiple extra base hits and is a fine option on Tuesday.