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Sunday’s slate features some great offenses who are set to go against some suspect pitching. The Red Sox against the O’s and Wade LeBlanc jump off the page but the Twins, Reds, and Astros aren’t far behind.
On the pitching side, Zack Greinke and Trevor Bauer look like your clear top options both being massive home favorites facing anemic offenses. Patrick Corbin gets a difficult matchup against the Yankees, who despite losing both Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge for a large portion of the season, were 3rd in team wOBA vs LHP at .355. Meanwhile, Corey Kluber makes for an interesting tournament swerve against the road Rockies.
Top SP: Trevor Bauer, CIN ($10,100 DK, $9,700 FD) vs. DET
If you’re considering Blake Snell and his 33.3% K rate keep in mind he’s going to be on a very tight leash pitch count wise so its unlikely we see him go past four innings.
Instead, we’ll go with Trevor Bauer who has the highest projected ceiling per FTN. He gets an excellent matchup against the Detroit Tigers who had the highest team K rate and second-lowest team wOBA last season. The Reds are also this afternoon’s second-largest home favorite (Astros).
Value SP: Carlos Carrasco, CLE ($8,600 DK, $8,100 FD) vs KC
This might not technically be a value play but I think relative to true talent level this is a favorable price for Carlos Carrasco who will remarkably be making his first start in the rotation since beating Leukemia. How can we not root for this? Anyways, I think its best to ignore last year’s ugly 5.29 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. This is an incredibly talented pitcher who posted a 24% and 22.6% K-BB% in 2018 and 2017 respectively. During summer camp he built his pitch count up close to the 90 mark and in his last tune-up, his fastball velocity reportedly ticked back up to 94. He’ll get a matchup against a Royals team that was among the bottom five in team wOBA last season.
You don’t need me to tell you how amazing a talent Shohei Ohtani is. He’ll be making his first start since returning from Tommy John Surgery. What’s more, he won’t be on a strict pitch count. Unfortunately, this game isn’t included on the DraftKings main slate but an $8,000 price tag on FanDuel is awfully tempting.
Chances are if you’ve been playing MLB DFS for any length of time, Vince Velasquez has burned you at one point or another. I still feel like I’m chasing that 16 strikeout game against the Padres from oh so many years ago. Anyways he’s apparently made some significant changes to his arsenal this past offseason in his bid to stay in the rotation including adding a changeup and cutter to help him combat lefty hitters which has long been his weakness. He’s an extremely risky play but he’s also very cheap and going against the Marlins.
OF Nelson Cruz, MIN ($4,500 DK, $3,600 FD) at CWS
J.D. Martinez will be chalk city this afternoon with the Red Sox set to finish their series with the O’s against the soft-tossing lefty Wade LeBlanc. The Red Sox team total is approaching six runs so he’s undoubtedly a great play and the projections agree.
But another top play is Nelson Cruz who comes in at a decent discount. He’ll be opposed by the hard-throwing but erratic Reynaldo Lopez, who allowed the second-highest wOBA among starters who threw 150 IP last season at .330.
3B Mike Moustakas, CIN ($4,000 DK, $3,500 FD) vs. DET
The Reds have an excellent implied team total in excess of five runs as they get an exploitable matchup against Spencer Turnbull who struck out just 18.8% of the lefty batters he faced last season. This is a great price for Mike Moustakas who will hold the platoon advantage and bat 4th or 5th for the Reds.
Honorable Mentions: Xander Bogaerts, SS ($4,600 DK, $3,600 FD) vs. BAL; Josh Donaldson, 3B ($4,200 DK) at CWS; Max Kepler, OF ($4,100 DK, $3,000 FD) at CWS; Carlos Correa, SS ($4,400 DK, $3,200 FD) vs. SEA.
Value Batter: OF Shogo Akiyama, CIN ($2,000 DK, $2,600 FD) vs. DET
The Reds boast one of the highest implied run totals of the slate so the projections at FTN are very bullish here. Spencer Turnbull has shown to be significantly weaker against LHB, allowing a .295 average, .347 wOBA, and .370 OBP to them last season. Keep an eye on how the Reds lineup shakes out as either/or Shogo Akiyama and Jesse Winker (.384 career wOBA vs RHP) could be appealing value plays. Akiyama is a wild card at this point as we don’t know how his skills will translate but the main draw is the minimum price on Draftkings. At $2,000 he adds a ton of flexibility for roster building.
Honorable Mentions: Jesse Winker, OF ($2,300 FD, $3,500 DK) vs. DET; Didi Gregorius, SS ($3,100 FD, $3,500 DK) vs. MIA; Jose Peraza, 2B/SS ($2,700 DK, $2,600 FD) vs. BAL; Avisail Garcia, OF ($2,300 FD) vs. CHC; Andrew McCutchen, OF ($2,700 FD) vs. MIA; Josh Donaldson, 3B ($3,100 FD) at CWS; Bryan Reynolds, OF ($2,400 FD, $3,400 DK) at STL; Ji-Man Choi, 1B ($2,500 FD) vs. TOR; Justin Smoak, 1B ($2,600 FD) at CHC.
Lineup Stack: Astros vs SEA (LHP Yusei Kikuchi)
Yusei Kikuchi reportedly added some velocity this past offseason in an effort to address what was an incredibly difficult debut season, to say the least. Last year among starters who threw more than 150 innings he was dead last in wOBA allowed at .351, 4th worst in K rate at 15.3% while also being tied for 2nd at home runs with 36. Against righties in particular he allowed an ugly .374 wOBA and 28 home runs. Maybe he’s improved but I still think this is a positive matchup for the Astros and the oddsmakers seem to agree installing the Astros as the biggest favorite on the board today. FTN also projects the Astros bats very favorably today with George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Jose Altuve leading the way. Carlos Correa is yet another, slightly more affordable but equally high upside Righty bat to consider here too.
Honorable Mentions: Red Sox vs. Orioles (LeBlanc); Reds vs. Tigers (Turnbull); Twins at White Sox (Lopez).
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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)