Happy Saturday! Tonight we’ve got a nine-game slate to look at, well, ten games technically if you’re playing on DraftKings as they’ve opted to include the second game of the scheduled double-header between Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. I’m going to ignore that game here for the most part other than to say that the Brewer bats do get a good matchup against Mitch Keller who has struggled all year, but the top of the Brewer lineup is priced way up so there are probably better plays on paper with nine other games to look at.
The Top Tier
Walker Buehler has been on a roll. His last time out against the Angels was another good outing (6 IP, ER, eight K’s, and 34.7% CSW). He’ll face the free falling Mets tonight at Citi Field, who have been a below-average group offensively (.306 team wOBA, 20th). This is a light sort of pitching slate and in terms of floor, I think Buehler leads the way by a considerable margin tonight.
Joe Musgrove has put together a couple of excellent outings, so we know the ceiling is there. His 21.8% K-BB is just behind Luis Garcia for the best on the slate and overall he’s been fantastic limiting hitters to just a .261 wOBA allowed (.290 xwOBA). The Padres are huge road favorites tonight in Arizona (-200). After Buehler, Musgrove is second for me followed by Garcia (lower pitch count).
Speaking of Garcia, he has been a revelation for the Astros this year. He actually leads the slate with a 22.4% K-BB. And it’s a good matchup against a light-hitting Angels team whose only legit threats are Shohei Ohtani and Jarred Walsh. But again, the only knock against Garcia is pitch count, as he has not cleared 90 pitches in his last five starts.
In terms of K rate, Dylan Cease leads with a 30.8% K rate. He’s been one of the year’s biggest pitching breakouts this year turning around last year’s 3.9% K-BB to 21.3% this year. He brings some added volatility with walks but he has as much K upside as anyone on the slate making him an excellent play for tournaments. The Yankees, meanwhile, have power but have been the definition of mediocrity this year (.314 wOBA, 14th).
James Kaprielian is probably a little overpriced based on his skills alone but he gets the matchup we love in the Rangers whose .286 team wOBA ranks dead last.
The middle tier is a little difficult tonight as I don’t think there’s one that truly stands out from the rest. Kenta Maeda’s price is intriguing, however, this is a tough spot for him as the Rays are just a different sort of offense with Nelson Cruz in town. They’re also a lineup that’s a bit tougher against RHP with bats like Austin Meadows, Brandon Lowe, and Ji-Man Choi getting the platoon advantage. Still, Maeda has definite upside at this salary so the appeal is there as an SP 2 on DraftKings. I’m encouraged by his slider which returned a 39.6% CSW his last time out against a difficult Astros lineup.
Jameson Taillon is worth a mention too at his salary. The White Sox have a ton of power, but they’re a lineup that runs almost exclusively right-handed, which could work in Taillon’s favor considering that he has been very stout against RHB limiting them to just a .275 xwOBA on the year.
The Mariners/Blue Jays game features two potential options. Yusei Kikuchi has strikeout upside but faces a very tough Jays lineup, leaving him as just a dart-throw contrarian option for tournaments. Hyun-jin Ryu is a solid road favorite (-142) and is on the board, more so on DraftKings, as an SP 2 considering the Mariners offense hasn’t been too good this year (.297 team wOBA, 27th).
Bats and Stacks
- HOU (5.3) at Jaime Barria (RHP) 2.8% K-BB, .360 xwOBA, 1.21 WHIP, 5.73 xERA: On paper, you have to like the Astros’ chances at blowing up the slate. They are my favorite stack of the night and they all just seem too cheap on DraftKings. Barria has only made three starts but thus far he’s not giving us much reason to think that he can bottle up an offense of this caliber as the Astros are just behind the Jays with a .336 team wOBA. Over his career (270 IP), Barria owns a 4.43 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. The outfielders in Yordan Álvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Michael Brantley are priority plays in all formats with José Altuve as a top option at 2B. You should take advantage of Tucker and Brantley, as they are both criminally underpriced on DraftKings and are two of my favorite values of the night. Carlos Correa too, has power upside and is under $4,000 on DraftKings. Álvarez too seems very much miscast at $4,300 on DraftKings against a questionable righty in Barria.
- OAK (5.3) at Jordan Lyles (RHP) 10.4% K-BB, .356 xwOBA, 1.48 WHIP, 5.58 xERA: No surprises here, Lyles has been a target for a while. Matt Olson is the jewel here in terms of power upside and should be fairly popular as he always is facing lower tier RHP. Lyles has allowed an xwOBA of .350 or greater to both sides of the plate so I wouldn’t hesitate to target anyone in the top half of the Oakland lineup including the righties Starling Marte and Mark Canha. Jed Lowrie (.352 xwOBA) has been productive as well and presents an option at 2B.
- LAD (4.9) at Taijuan Walker (RHP) 13.3% K-BB, .330 xwOBA, 1.21 WHIP, 4.69 xERA: Walker got off to a tremendous start but there are clear shades of regression lurking considering his .299 wOBA and .330 xwOBA along with a modest K rate of 22.3%. The Dodgers are down Mookie Betts, but they can still string together some impressive names so there is stack appeal here but probably more so for tournaments considering the prices on Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Max Muncy on DraftKings. Corey Seager, though, is still at a playable salary at $4,600 on DraftKings. And on FanDuel where he is an excellent value at $3,200.SD (5.5) at Tyler Gilbert (LHP): Gilbert has just three innings on his ledger so far this year and he’ll be making the first start of his major-league career. He was at least decent for Triple-A Reno with a 14.2% K-BB across ten starts and 51 IP, but he’s an inexperienced pitcher so you know how these things can go. Manny Machado is an excellent spend at 3B. Tommy Pham makes sense here too as the likely leadoff man, while Jake Cronenworth is probably too cheap at $3,800 on DraftKings in spite of the L/L matchup.
- MIN (5.0) vs Michael Wacha (RHP) 13.8% K-BB, .369 xwOBA, 1.44 WHIP, 6.08 xERA: The Twins get a good matchup against Wacha, who has been absolutely torched by RHB this year allowing a .381 xwOBA to them. He’s been getting the old man on a dead team treatment, but if he’s in the lineup tonight, Josh Donaldson is a superb value on both sites, especially on DraftKings where he’s just $3,600. His batted ball data is outstanding (16.7% barrel rate, .387 xwOBA). There are some other potential values here too in Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sanó (tournaments, and Mitch Garver if you’re looking for a catcher with power upside.STL (5.3) at Brad Keller (RHP) 8.1% K-BB, .383 xwOBA, 1.71 WHIP, 6.64 xERA: In his last time out against this same Cardinals lineup, five walks and five earned runs. Keller has allowed a ton of baserunners and loud contact so even though the Cardinals aren’t the most exciting lineup, they should be on your radar. Paul Goldschmidt is at a nice price on DraftKings at $4,500. Tyler O’Neill is a crush of mine given his power (.398 xwOBA) and he’s just way too cheap on DraftKings at $3,300.
- TB (4.9) at Kenta Maeda (RHP): We mentioned Maeda as a potential SP 2, I don’t really want to pick on him, but this is an excellent Rays lineup, especially against RHP, so they are absolutely a stack option for tournaments where you’re probably getting a good discount in terms of % owned relative to their upside.
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