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Day four of baseball! Do you know what that means? We get to see teams SP4s. The aces have nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of called strikes dance through their heads. What I’m trying to say is, pitching is hot garbage today. Making money today is going to depend on wading through that garbage to see if we can find the proverbial cream that rises to the top. The main slate on DraftKings starts at 6:40 with nine games, while FanDuel’s starts at 6:05 with 10 games. One last note before we dive into it, there’s some rain in the forecast in Cincinnati and Cleveland. If you end up playing the Cubs, Reds, Indians, or White Sox, make sure you keep an eye on the weather leading up to game time. Let’s take a look at the top plays, as well as a couple of value plays from Fade The Noise for the Opening Day slate.
Top SP: Adrian Houser, MIL ($8,300 DK, $6,000 FD) at PIT
Yeah, this is how rough the pitching on this slate is. Here’s the thing, most of these pitchers aren’t stretched out. Tyler Glasnow is behind due to showing up late to Summer Camp due to a positive COVID test. He threw 49 pitches on July 14th, so realistically, we’re looking at around 75-80 pitches max against the Braves. I feel like Michael Fulmer has been hurt so often that we need to fill out HIPAA paperwork. The plan is for Fulmer to be an opener, so I’m definitely not on board with his price for two innings of work.
So, I’m turning to Adrian Houser to save us from our misery. The last report I was able to find had Houser at 76 pitches two weeks ago. That should place him close to full strength heading into his matchup with the Pirates. The game is in Pittsburgh, where he’ll face a Pirates team that scored 10 runs in their first three games. Houser put together a nice run of starts in 2019, throwing 111 innings with a 3.72 ERA and a 9+ K/9. On this slate, we just need a solid start from Houser to make us some cash.
Our friends over at Fade The Noise love Josh James today and I’m on board with him as well. If you’re looking for strikeout upside, James is your boy as he sported a 37.6% K% last year. That’s easily the highest strikeout rate on today’s slate. As of July 16th, James was built up to four innings. He was then slated to throw on the 22nd but was scratched due to weather concerns. Logically, we’re hoping for five innings of a high-strikeout rate.
Value SP: Pablo Lopez, MIA ($7,500 DK, $6,900 FD) vs. BAL
With the pitching slate being the disaster it is, I’m turning to the high upside of Pablo Lopez for my value pick. There is some concern with how deep Lopez will go. He missed some time from Summer Camp after the passing of his father and the last time he pitched on July 22nd, he threw just 37 pitches. He was dominant, but that pitch count doesn’t scream “going deep into games”. Just like with Houser, I’m looking to Lopez to not ruin our lineup. Lopez gets a matchup with the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles, who just took 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox. The Orioles might have dominated Martin Perez and the Red Sox bullpen, but I’m hoping for better things from Lopez in Miami.
OF JD Martinez, BOS ($4,700 DK, $4,000 FD) vs. NYM
Once again, Fade The Noise has JD Martinez as their highest project hitter and who am I to argue with them? They have the Red Sox team total as the second highest at 6.0 runs. Martinez gets a matchup against Michael Wacha, who sports reverse splits. Last year, he allowed .371 wOBA against right-handed batters. He wasn’t much better against lefties, so I love what you can get from Andrew Benintendi and Alex Verdugo.
1B Pete Alonso, NYM ($5,600 DK, $3,600 FD) at BOS
Last year’s home run king, Pete Alonso is not off to the hottest start ever. The Met’s slugger went 1/12 in the opening series against the Braves, striking out five times. Relief is on the way in the form of Red Sox pitching! The Red Sox are throwing Josh Osich as an opener, followed by Zack Godley, who just signed with Boston on July 17th. This whole series screams “GET RIGHT!” for the Mets. While Alonso is pretty pricy on DraftKings, the price on FanDuel is really affordable. FTN has the Mets total at 6.1, the highest total on today’s slate.
Value Batter: 1B C.J. Cron, DET ($3,300 DK, $2,900 FD) vs. KC
FTN has CJ Cron as one of the best values on today’s slate. Cron has mashed lefties and gets a matchup against Mike Montgomery, whose 17.2% strikeout rate scares nobody. In 2019, Cron put up an eye-popping .313 ISO against lefties with a .422 ISO. I wish the Tigers has some better bats to make a mini-stack, but I’m not against a cheap Cron one-off. Below are some other cheap bats that are mostly from teams that I’m interested in stacking.
Honorable Mentions: Michael Brantley, OF ($3,300 DK) vs. SEA; Miguel Cabrera, 1B ($3,100 DK; $2,500 FD) vs. KC; Brandon Nimmo, OF ($2,400 FD) at BOS; Andrew Benintendi, OF ($2,700 FD) vs. NYM; Jean Segura, 3B/SS ($3,300 DK; $2,700 FD) vs. NYY
We just saw the Orioles put up 14 runs over the last two games against this Red Sox pitching staff. Surely he Mets can match that, right? Yesterday was a full bullpen game for the Red Sox, so most of their “decent” relievers have pitched over the last two days. A worn-out bullpen is a bullpen to attack. You’ll have to find some values to afford the Mets on DraftKings as the top four hitters are pretty pricy – Brandon Nimmo ($4,200), Jeff McNeil ($5,300), Pete Alonso ($5,600), and Michael Conforto ($5,000). There is some value if you’re willing to travel down the lineup in Yoenis Cespedes ($4,300), Robinson Cano ($3,900), and J.D. Davis ($4,400). Over on FanDuel, these bats are much more affordable with Alonso topping the list at $3,600. Good luck today!
Honorable Mentions: Brewers at Pirates; Astros vs. Mariners; Red Sox vs. Mets
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