All thirty teams are in action tonight as we are headed into the final stretch of the regular season. There are several top-flight pitchers taking the mound as well as games in hitting friendly Coors Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Wrigley Field and Miller Park. Let’s get into the numbers and see what bubbles to the surface.
Jose Fernandez – MIA vs WAS – $12,500 – Fernandez is at a career high for innings pitched (2013: 172 2/3, 2014: 51 2/3, 2015; 64 2/3, 2016: 174 1/3) and with the Marlins four games back from the second National League Wild Card berth, there is an above average chance that JoFer is on a short leash if he struggles at all. He has had a good history against current Nationals batsmen with a .201/.269/.295 slash line across 149 at bats, allowing just eight extra base hits and posting an eye-popping 32.2% strikeout rate. While there is risk of a shortened outing, Fernandez is the top pitching option on the night.
Rich Hill – LAD vs SFG – $11,300 – Over his last 22 starts (16 this year and four to close out last season) Hill has been phenomenal with a .172 woBA against fellow lefties with no home runs allowed over 104 batters faced. Against right-handed hitters he has allowed a .236 wOBA and just five home runs versus the 399 opposite-handed hitters he has squared off again. Two concerns here, the blister issue that has plagued him for the last several weeks and a tough matchup with the Giants who have had the second lowest strikeout rate this season against southpaws and who are running out their #2 starter, RHP Johnny Cueto. These two teams met at the end of August with Hill and the Dodgers coming away with the victory on the strength of six shutout innings with just five baserunners allowed, albeit with just three strikeouts.
J.A. Happ – TOR at SEA – $8,300 – Situationally, I do like several Mariners hitters, but I also am intrigued by Happ in this matchup. He has been outstanding this season and has better splits at home (in the hitter friendly Rogers Centre) than he does on the road (home: 14 82 2/3 innings, 3.05 ERA; road: 93 2/3 innings pitched, 3.45 ERA). When he faced the Mariners in Toronto at the end of July he spun a six inning gem with one hit, five walks and six strikeouts with no runs allowed. He is a solid SP2 option tonight in all formats.
Archie Bradley – ARZ at SDP – $7,400 – RHP Archie Bradley has been awful against batters swinging the stick from the left-side of the plate allowing a .364 wOBA over his last 31 starts, and unlucky against righties with a 5.82 ERA which is nearly two runs higher than his 3.89 xFIP over the same time period. This is one of the more dramatic ballpark shifts in the League from Arizona to San Diego and as long as he can work around the core of young lefties on the Padres, he has tournament winning upside.
Anthony Rizzo (1B) – CHC vs CIN – $5,500 – RHP Josh Smith will be coming out of the bullpen to make his first start for the Reds. He had a long relief appearance in his last outing and should be able to get close to 70 pitches. That means Rizzo would likely have two shots at a pitcher who has allowed a .426 wOBA and a 2.56 HR/9 rate to the last 162 hitters he has faced. Batter up!
Ryan Schimpf (2B) – SDP vs ARZ – $4,100 – This is a great matchup for Schimpf who has tremendous power, evidenced by his 19 home runs this season in just 250 at bats. RHP Archie Bradley has been a bit uneven this season and though he has been better over his last couple starts, he still has a 5.97 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. This will be the fourth time he has faced the Padres this season and while he has been solid with 18 strikeouts in as many innings, he has also allowed a dozen earned runs. The Padres left-handed hitters are sneaky tonight and we can look to Alex Dickerson (OF) – $3,400 and Travis Jankowski (OF) – $3,500 to form a synergistic trio.
Mike Trout (OF) – LAA at TEX – $5,400 – This is a nice matchup for Trout against RHP A.J. Griffin, as he has been making same-handed pitchers pay this season with a .426 wOBA and a .250 ISO. Add in the park shift to hitting friendly Globe Life Stadium in the Texas heat and we have our top outfield option.
Nelson Cruz (OF) – SEA vs TOR – $4,800 – Cruz is facing a left-handed flyball pitcher in J.A. Happ and if you can’t find enough salary to get up to Mike Trout, grab the discount for a hitter with 15 home runs this season in 180 at bats against southpaws.
Josh Donaldson (3B) – TOR at SEA – $4,500 – Remember when we really only wanted to take Josh DONGaldson against southpaws? Well that has all changed and he is one of the best all-around hitters in the game. In 493 plate appearances this season against right-handed pitching he has posted a .399 wOBA and a .270 ISO with excellent plate discipline as evidenced by his .940 OPS.
Stephen Piscotty (OF) – STL at COL – $5,100 – Piscotty has had a fine season against southpaws with a .424 wOBA and a .280 ISO and this game is in Coors Field. Enough said!
Brian Dozier (2B) – MIN vs DET – $5,500 – LHP Matt Boyd has talent, but he has a long way to go before he is going to be a frontline starter. Dozier on the other hand is having a phenomenal season with 41 home runs, and he is just two shy of the all-time single season record for players who primarily played second base. Boyd has allowed fifteen home runs through sixteen starts this season, so it would not be a surprise to see Dozier rack up another great game.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B) – ARZ at SDP – $4,800 – Goldy got the night off on Monday to get a mental rest in the hopes it will wake up his bat. I think the matchup with RHP Paul Clemens will cure what ails him. Over his last 142 righty/righty matchups, Clemens is allowing a .433 wOBA, a 40.7% hard contact rage and a 2.67 HR/9 rate. Goldschmidt’s power plays in any park, even spacious Petco.
T.J. Rivera (2B/3B) – NYM vs ATL – $2,400 – Rivera has had homeruns in his last two games and while it is not an easy matchup against RHP Julio Teheran, who is very good at suppressing same-handed hitters, he is dirt cheap and should get a favorable spot in the batting order.
Franklin Gutierrez (OF) – SEA vs TOR – $3,600 – Gutierrez has the same appealing matchup as teammate Nelson Cruz and he comes at a nice discount. In 173 at bats this season against lefties, he has a dozen home runs and a terrific .920 OPS. He can be utilized as a “one-off” play or as part of a Mariners mini-stack with Cruz, Dae-Ho Lee (1B) – $3,200 and Mike Zunino (CATCH) – $2,900 and their low salaries will allow us to work in Jose Fernandez or Jon Lester into our lineups with ease.
Josh Bell (1B/OF) – PIT at MIL – $2,900 – Bell has regained his outfield eligibility and he comes at a nice discount in this matchup with RHP Matt Garza. The Pirates have a 4.65 implied team run total and if Bell is in the upper half of the batting order, he is a tremendous play on Tuesday night at this discounted price point.
Andrew Benintendi (OF) – BOS at BAL – $2,500 – Though he has been hitting at the bottom of the order for the Red Sox, they are still one of the best offensive teams in the MLB this season. In each of his last three September starts, the rookie has popped a double which is nice production for this near minimum price tag.
Brad Miller (SS/1B) – TBR vs NYY – $3,600 – Miller has been struggling with just five hits over his last ten games, of course he has a double and two home runs, so the power is still there. On the season he has 28 home runs and this cold streak has pushed his price down into bargain territory. I don’t mind paying rolling with him across the board as my shortstop if he is once again in the middle of the Tampa Bay batting order.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is emac) 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