Tournament Plays are written to help find high-risk, high-reward players and team stacks that can help you catapult up the leader board each day. Plays will range from sleepers who might be able to steal a few bases at a low price point to against-the-grain stars who might not be the popular play of the day on DraftKings.
Adam Wainwright vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($9,500) – Opening day at Busch Stadium is a special event, and Waino should be as excited to take the mound as the fans are in the stands. He owns a 62-35 record with a 2.74 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 111 career starts at the new Busch Stadium. Wainwright battled through some elbow discomfort down the stretch last season which sunk his strikeout rate to a five year low of just 7.10 K/9, but at 100% health, that number should return spike back up this season. He was solid in the season opener and posted a 3-1 record with a 2.97 ERA over 30.1 innings against this Brewers team last season.
Andrew Cashner vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,300) – After an ugly 2015 debut, Cashner’s ownership percentages will almost certainly be down and that makes it a great time to pounce on the right-hander. He was absolutely dominant at Petco Park last season, compiling a 1.43 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 75.1 innings at his spacious home park. The big man can flat out throw gas and Arizona owned the league’s third worst wOBA on the road last season.
James Paxton vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($7,300) – With Scott Kazmir (next) sitting $100 cheaper and facing the Houston Astros, Paxton is almost guaranteed to be well under-owned given his skill set. A shoulder injury derailed his 2014 rookie campaign before he could gain too much momentum, but he now owns career 2.68 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in his first 104 innings. There are a few road blocks in this Dodgers lineup, but Paxton forces a healthy dose of groundballs (54.8 GB%) and his mid-90’s fastball is destined to miss more bats.
Scott Kazmir vs. Houston Astros ($7,200) – A solid matchup for Kazmir will likely draw some attention his way, but his ceiling tonight is too high to ignore at this price. This Astros lineup is a bit more formidable than the 2014 version, but their 23.8% strikeout rate was the second worst in baseball last season. Kazmir was brilliant on Wednesday allowing just one hit while striking out ten Rangers in seven shutout innings. Kazmir mowed down this Houston team last season; posting a 2.30 ERA and 1.06 WHIP (with 26 K’s) in 27.1 innings.
Bryce Harper vs. Rick Porcello, Washington Nationals ($4,600) – Porcello’s main weakness during his career has come against left-handed batters as they now own a .298 average off of him during his career. Harper is easily the most dangerous left-handed batter in this Washington lineup and hit his second homerun of the season on Sunday. He has a flair for the dramatic and it wouldn’t be at all surprising for Harper to find the seats near Pesky’s Pole in this rare visit to Fenway Park.
Jose Altuve vs Scott Kazmir, Houston Astros ($4,400) – Despite his small stature, Altuve flat out destroyed left-handed pitching last season. He posted a ridiculous .440 wOBA against southpaws last season and has annihilated Scott Kazmir in the past, going 9 for 19 with three doubles. You won’t find a second basemen with more upside today and he may be overlooked after Kazmir was dominant in the opener.
Matt Adams vs Matt Garza, St. Louis Cardinals ($4,300) – “Big City” was rested yesterday but will retake his spot on first base for the Cardinals home opener. Adams posted a .367 wOBA against right-handed pitching last season and launched his first homer of the season in Saturday’s game. Adams owned a .318 batting average at Busch Stadium last season and has absolutely owned Matt Garza in their prior meetings; going 7 for 9 with two doubles and a homerun.
Dalton Pompey vs Jake Odorizzi, Toronto Blue Jays ($4,000) – Odorizzi was masterful in his first start and his overall numbers in 2014 we solid (4.13 ERA), but his splits tell a different story. Odorizzi was dreadful away from Tropicana Field, posting a 6.32 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 14 road starts. Enter Dalton Pompey who homered yesterday in Baltimore and who clearly looks more comfortable from the left-side of the plate. He’s been sandwiched between Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista at the top of the Blue Jays order and the price is definitely reasonable.
Devin Mesoraco vs. Jon Lester, Cincinnati Reds ($3,900) – It’s a tough matchup and he’s been ice-cold to start the season, but Mesoraco’s raw power makes him a fantastic GPP option against the Cubs hard throwing lefty. Mesoraco sported an impressive .398 wOBA and .215 ISO in 2014 versus left-handed pitching and put dents all over Wrigley Field last season as he racked up a .435 average and 1.393 OPS in 23 AB’s.
Yonder Alonso vs Rubby De La Rosa, San Diego Padres ($3,600) – Alonso was once a highly regarded prospect for Cincinnati, but his production fell off the table in 2014. He’s rebounded nicely with a hot start to the 2015 season and has posted a solid .283 batting average against right-handed pitching during his career. De La Rosa was shelled by left-handed pitching last season to the tune of a .364 wOBA and Alonso should find himself in the middle of the Padres batting order.
Stack Em Up
Stacks below are based on most likely lineups. Be sure to check the MLB Lineups feed from any DraftKings draft screen throughout the afternoon to make sure players are in the lineup.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Ross Detwiler, Texas Rangers – With a lineup loaded with guys who handle the bat very well against left-handed pitching, it’s not a surprise that the Angels .336 team wOBA last season was the third best in MLB. The big names won’t come cheap, but the value guys like Freese, Cron, Iannetta and Cowgill all have favorable matchups and help offset some of the cost.
Chicago Cubs vs. Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds – They may no longer be playing a mile above sea level, but the trip to Coors looks to have finally awoken the Chicago bats. Mike Leake was victimized by left-handed batters last season (.352 wOBA against) and this Cubs lineup can load up pretty well from the left side. Both Dexter Fowler and Miguel Montero had nice weekends and Anthony Rizzo and Chris Coghlan have wreaked some serious havoc on Leake in their prior meetings. Vegas has yet to drop an over/under on this game which is an indication that the wind very well may be blowing out at Wrigley tonight!
Kansas City Royals vs Trevor May, Minnesota Twins – Trevor May takes the bump for the Twins this afternoon owning an ugly 7.88 ERA and 1.76 WHIP through his first nine career starts at the MLB level. He was blasted by guys from both sides of the plate (.892 OPS against lefties, .907 against righties) and hasn’t taken the mound in over two weeks. May really struggled with his command last year, posting 4.34 BB/9 and this very patient Kansas City team should find their way on base frequently.
Good Luck today!
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)