Tournament Plays are written to help find high-risk, high-reward players and team stacks that can help you catapult up the leaderboard 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.
Cole Hamels vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($9,800) – Hamels hasn’t been great to start the season, but he was impressive in his last start and his struggles should keep the masses off of him today. He’ll head to Busch Stadium tonight to take on a Cardinals team whose most dangerous hitters predominately swing the bat from the left-side of the plate. Hamels mowed down this Cardinals lineup in their only meeting last season and is a strikeout-an-inning type of pitcher who can flat out be dominant when locating his pitches.
John Lackey vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($8,000) – Opposing Hamels in this one if another terrific GPP target. After a rough outing in Washington his last time on the bump, he’ll likely be under-owned in this terrific matchup. Lackey tossed seven shutout innings in his only start at Busch Stadium this season and posted a 2.38 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in five home starts after being acquired by the Cardinals last summer. The Phillies are the lowest scoring team in MLB thus far in 2015 and owned an ugly .294 wOBA against right-handed pitching in 2014.
Taijuan Walker vs. Texas Rangers ($6,500) – Walker enters tonight’s start sporting an unattractive10.66 ERA and 2.29 WHIP. However, he looked much better in his last start; allowing just one run on four hits against the Astros while racking up eight strikeouts. He needs to do a better job of finding the strike zone, but his .439 BABIP thus far in 2015 implies that he’s been very unlucky so far. He was absolutely brilliant during the spring (0.67 ERA in 27 innings) and the matchup against the Rangers isn’t all that scary. His cheap asking price will let you load up on some big bats.
Nelson Cruz vs. Yovani Gallardo, Texas Rangers ($5,100) – He’s expensive, but there’s a lot to like here. Not only is there the “revenge” factor as he takes on his old team, but Cruz has been an absolute beasts at the plate so far in 2015. If his .324 average, 1.111 OPS and nine homeruns in 18 games doesn’t sell you, then maybe the fact that he’s 5 for 5 with a pair of homeruns off of Gallardo will?
Adam LaRoche vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, Baltimore Orioles ($4,600) – LaRoche is a GPP only option for me at this point in his career, but he has several things going in his favor tonight. Ubaldo Jimenez was blasted by left-handed batters last season for a .354 wOBA and LaRoche posted a .384 wOBA and .221 ISO against right-handers last year. He’s also 7 for 20 with three doubles and a homerun off of Ubaldo in their previous meetings.
Ryan Zimmerman vs. Eric Stults, Atlanta Braves ($4,500) – GPP’s are often won and lost thanks to homeruns, and that’s why you’ll want to attack Eric Stults as the left-hander served up 1.33 HR/9 last season. After surrendering 26 long-balls last season, Stutz has already been taken deep three times in his first three starts of 2015. Right-handers owned a .342 wOBA off of the southpaw last year and Zimmerman owns a .309 average and .894 OPS against lefties during his career.
Adam Lind vs. Jason Marquis, Cincinnati Reds ($4,300) – Lind flat out destroyed right-handed pitching last season, posting a .410 wOBA and 164 wRC+ against them during the 2014 season. Lind took Lance Lynn deep last night and the baseball should look like a beach ball to him with the soft-tossing Jason Marquis on the bump for the Reds.
Jordy Mercer vs. Travis Wood, Chicago Cubs ($3,400) – While McCutchen and Marte grab most of the headlines against left-handed pitching, Mercer has really swung the bat well against southpaws during his career. He enters tonight’s game sporting a .340 average and .909 OPS against left-handers and is 5 for 11 with two doubles and two homeruns off of Wood. He should be rather highly owned, but his slow start to the season may very well end up scaring many users off.
Nick Markakis vs. Doug Fister, Washington Nationals ($3,400) – He may not possess the power that you’re usually looking for in a GPP play, but his price-tag is certainly desirable. Markakis has been on a tear lately and has punished Doug Fister in their past meetings; going 8 for 22 with two doubles and a homerun. He sets the plate for this Atlanta lineup and will need to keep swinging a hot bat if they’re going to get to Mr. Fister.
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.
Boston Red Sox vs. Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays – After surrendering 18 runs in yesterday’s game, this should be an angry Boston Red Sox team tonight. Aaron Sanchez may develop into a great pitcher sooner rather than later, but expecting the 22 year old to have success at Fenway Park tonight is a bit much. Sanchez issued seven free passes in just 5.1 innings in his last start and will quickly get into trouble against this dangerous Boston lineup if he can’t find the strike zone. We saw Hanley Ramirez explode for a pair of homeruns last night and the Boston left-handers look particularly appealing as Sanchez has been blasted by lefties thus far this season (and they hit .327 off of him at the AAA level last season).
Chicago White Sox vs. Ubaldo Jiminez, Baltimore Orioles – I mentioned earlier that Ubaldo has struggled with left-handed pitching during his career. Unfortunately for him, this White Sox team can roll out a very left-handed lineup (with Abreu looming in the middle). A bunch of these White Sox hitters (Eaton, Abreau, LaRoche, Garcia, Gillaspie) have had success against Ubaldo in the past and all should find their way into the top six of this White Sox lineup.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Kyle Kendrick, Colorado Rockies – While this game may not be being played in Coors Field, it’s not like Chase Field is a pitchers paradise as it played as the second highest scoring park in the big leagues last season. Kyle Kendrick is a gas-can and the right-hander enters tonight’s game sporting 6.85 ERA and 1.65 WHIP through his first four starts. He’s served up six homeruns in his last three appearances and only Paul Goldschmidt will but a dent in your wallet.