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|Road SP||xFIP||K%||K-BB%||ML||OK%||Home SP||xFIP||K%||K-BB%||ML||OK%|
All pitcher stats seen above are from the 2018 MLB season unless otherwise noted below.
Stewart*= 2018 AAA.
Kelly**= 2019 MLB (22.2 IP)
OK%= Opponent team strikeout rate (2019 year to date).
This article was written the night before; some money lines may not yet be available (TBD).
SP: Merrill Kelly, ARI ($7,100) at PIT
I’m not in love with Cole Hamels tonight going against a tough Dodgers lineup (.357 team OBP). His price is a little inflated coming off two spike performances against weak offenses in the Marlins and Angels. In that same game, Walker Buehler also gets a tough Cubs offense on the road. Instead, I’ll take the discount route and go with Merrill Kelly. He just didn’t have his control in his last start against the Cubs, walking seven batters. But we’ve seen he has upside, evidenced by a big game against Boston in his second start. Here he’ll get a friendly draw against a Pirates lineup that hasn’t shown much power in the early going with just a .290 wOBA and 16 home runs (tied for second to last).
SP: Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS ($9,000) vs. DET
This is another tough slate for pitching. The line hasn’t been set yet but I imagine that Justin Verlander will be the night’s biggest favorite at home against Twins rookie Kohl Stewart. The night’s second-biggest favorite is Eduardo Rodriguez (-200). The southpaw will face a Detroit offense that has been very tepid in the early going, hitting just 11 home runs as a team — good for dead last.
1B: Renato Nunez, BAL ($4,600) vs. CWS
The one thing that struck me when I was looking at the lines for today’s games was seeing John Means as a favorite, albeit at just (-110) so it’s basically a pick ’em. That should give us a clue that Ervin Santana is legitimately bad. Not that that is earth-shattering news by any means (see what I did there?). Even during his excellent 2017 campaign, many saw it as smoke and mirrors (3.28 ERA, 4.77 xFIP). This is shaping up to be an excellent game for bats on both sides. We’ll see a lot of White Sox bats picking on Means, but don’t forget about the O’s too. Renato Nunez has shown some pop in the early going and he also showed it in the minors, with 32 home runs back in 2017 with the Athletics’ AAA affiliate. The O’s currently have one of the bigger implied team totals at just over five runs.
OF: Michael Conforto, NYM ($4,900) vs. WAS
Vince Velasquez conquered Coors and currently owns a tidy 2.55 ERA and a WHIP under one, so I don’t think too many will want to pick on him. But Velasquez has always had pretty extreme splits in favor of LHB. For his career, he has allowed a .346 wOBA to lefties as opposed to just .312 against righties. Of his 16 home runs allowed last year, 14 of them came against lefties. Costing $100 more than both Mookie Betts and Bryce Harper, I don’t think too many will land on Conforto at this price, especially against a surging Vasquez. But this is a matchup that the RHP-mashing Conforto can certainly take advantage of.
3B: Justin Turner, LAD ($3,400) at CHC
I know he’s hitting just .260 without any home runs this year, but I look at this as just a buy-low opportunity on Justin Turner. He’s just way too talented to be priced near the likes of Jeimer Candelario and Melky Cabrera. Keep in mind the BAT has Turner projected for a .370 wOBA and 137 wRC+ — very much an upper-tier type hitter. His adversary this evening will be Cole Hamels, who has been stellar so far with a 2.77 ERA, but that’s courtesy of two favorable matchups against the Marlins and Angels. Most projection systems have him pegged for an ERA just under 4.00, so chances are we could see some regression coming for the veteran lefty.
OF: Mike Tauchman, NYY ($4,000) at LAA
It’s unbelievable how many injuries this Yankees squad has faced as the amount of WAR currently on their IL is staggering. Enter Mike Tauchman who is now a de-facto starting outfielder for this injury-riddled roster. Felix Pena will be starting for the Angels. He was a surprise for the Angels last year, providing them with some much-needed quality innings. However, he’s shown a pretty wide platoon split for his career, allowing a .340 wOBA and 5.08 xFIP against lefties, as opposed to just a .290 wOBA and .381 xFIP against righties. Tauchman has some ability too. In AAA last year with the Rockies he posted an impressive .420 wOBA including 20 HR along with a 12.7% BB rate and 14.9% K rate.
Tournament Stack: Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Tyson Ross)
Spencer Turnbull pitched five solid innings last night and quelled this Boston offense. Tonight though they’ll face another suspect in Tyson Ross. Last year the former Padre showed very little bat-missing ability, with a K rate of just 17%, combined with poor control (9.8% BB rate). The Red Sox have been a surprisingly weak offense in the early going, with a team wOBA below .300, but that will certainly not last. This offense is just too good, having paced the league in runs scored last year. For his career, Ross has been significantly weaker against LHB, allowing a .328 wOBA compared to just .287 against RHB. So consider the lefties Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rafael Devers as lower-owned plays, along with your usual suspects of J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts.
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 on which I offer advice. 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 nonpublic information.