Pitcher List is proud to partner with DraftKings for the 2019 season. We’ll be featuring our top picks for every daily slate through the season and feature articles dedicated to the GPP.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I’ll be taking a look at the DraftKings MLB slate from a GPP perspective. The goal here is to come up with plays that may be overlooked (lower owned) and could pay dividends in tournaments.
Top Target SP: Sean Reid-Foley, ($8,100) vs. BAL
Both Julio Urias (Dodgers are big -200 favorites) and Matt Strahm going against a tepid Diamondbacks lineup are great targets. But if you want to go for a different look then Sean Reid-Foley may be an interesting target to consider. He showed off a really nice 27.1% K rate last year across 85.1 innings for AAA Buffalo. And he showed it wasn’t a fluke in the Major Leagues, as he held a 28% K rate across 33 innings. The one bugaboo with Reid-Foley was the walks. He was erratic during his short stint in the bigs last year as he held a rather ugly 14% walk rate. Luckily he’ll get an anemic Orioles lineup that is allergic to walks. There is very good K potential here at a plenty reasonable price point.
Value SP: Caleb Smith, MIA ($7,600) vs. NYM
In 77 innings last year, Caleb Smith showed off some impressive swing and miss skills, notching a 27% K rate. That was supported by his changeup and slider, which both carried a swinging strike rate north of 15%. Smith had some blow-up spots last year where his control abandoned him, so he’s a volatile commodity. Still, there is also significant K upside here as he was able to tally seven or more K’s in six of his 16 starts last year. Patrick Corbin was decidedly mediocre in this spot yesterday, but the Mets lineup to me still just doesn’t profile nearly as well vs southpaws. He’s a home dog (Mets are -125 favorites in this game as of this writing) and his counterpart Steven Matz should draw more interest in this game which should figure to keep Smith’s ownership down in tournaments.
Spend Up Bat: Kris Bryant, CHC ($4,700) at ATL
After scoring over 30 runs in a weekend series hosted by the pitching bereft Rangers, the Cubs will face off against Sean Newcomb and the Braves. The extreme change in venue should come with a steep drop in ownership for Cubs bats. Newcomb isn’t awful by any means, but he can be very erratic — evidenced by an ugly 11.6% walk rate last year. So Bryant could be in a position to do some damage here and he’ll also be in a favorable lefty/righty matchup.
Value Bat: 2B Chad Pinder, OAK ($3,500) at TOR
To be clear I don’t really want to pick on David Price either, but sometimes you have to try and be a little creative. You may have heard but Chad Pinder has got some pop. He’ll have the platoon advantage here too. Second base is a tricky spot; Jose Altuve is your clear spend at the position, but $5,200 is an extremely unappealing price point so I’ll gladly pay down for a bat with power upside in Pinder even if it’s not a great matchup.
Justin Smoak, TOR ($4,200) vs. BAL
Well, the Blue Jays were an absolutely massive let down against Matt Moore yesterday. This serves as an early reminder to yours truly that the Blue Jays lineup is never one to get excited about — at least until a certain rookie gets called up. But I’ll tell you what does energize my interest in the Blue Jays and that’s the sound of a toy siren powered by AA batteries. That’s right, the Hess truck is back and it is, in fact, better than ever. David Hess just was not very good last year to put it nicely as he tallied a well below average 8.3% swinging strike rate and 5.08 SIERA while allowing 22 home runs in just over 100 innings. Justin Smoak will be on the stronger side of his split here.
Justin Turner, LAD ($4,200) vs. SF
2018 was not a good year for Drew Pomeranz. Across 74 innings, he held a disastrous 6.4% K-BB rate along with a hideous 1.77 WHIP. I don’t want to completely leave Pomeranz out for dead, as he was very good before 2018: He had a K rate over 23% and a FIP well under 4.00 in both 2016 and 2017. But he’s certainly a target worth considering for an extremely talented hitter in Justin Turner whose Dodgers also have a pretty nice implied team total sitting just under five runs.
Tournament Stack: Padres vs. ARI (RHP Merrill Kelly)
The popular places to look figure to be the Astros against Drew Smyly. Once upon a time, Smyly showed some promise, but he hasn’t pitched in the major leagues in over two years and we know what’s lurking in the Rangers pen. The other spot may be the Red Sox taking on Aaron Brooks whose 18% K rate in AAA last year doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence.
I’m not quite sure what to make of Merrill Kelly, to be honest. He could certainly turn out to be pretty decent. Or not. Point being I think there is a fair amount of uncertainty here so chances are the Padres won’t be terribly popular. That could mean that there is potential leverage to be had in tournaments in the event that Mr. Kelly is in fact not good. The Padres revamped lineup is an interesting one that presents much more talent than it has in years past.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sammybaugh) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.