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Top Play SP: Trevor Bauer, CLE ($10,400) @ SEA
The top-end pitchers on this slate are pretty tricky. Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Nola face each other, Luis Castillo faces the Dodgers, and Trevor Bauer faces the red-hot Mariners. All of these matchups have risk involved as well as high-end upside, but I don’t see one of them as much better than the other when it comes to cash plays, thus I’ll take the pitcher who is already in midseason form. Trevor Bauer retooled his changeup in the offseason and so far has increased his swinging-strike rate from 2018 and is holding strong at a 30.4% strikeout rate. The Mariners present a decent challenge, coming into this matchup scoring seven runs per game, but they do strike out at a 24.2% rate.
Honorable mention: Joey Lucchesi, SDP ($9,000) vs. COL.
Value SP: Martin Perez, MIN ($6,400) vs. TOR
Warning, this play is not for the faint of heart. Martin Perez and his 7.56 ERA take on the Toronto Blue Jays. I drafted Perez super late in a deep 18-team, 37-man roster draft on just the news of his velocity being up two ticks in spring training, and so far, the velocity has been there. The control, on the other hand, has not, with Perez walking 20% of the batters he’s faced in the small 8.1 innings he’s pitched thus far. Alas, there are still reasons to take a shot. While the walks have been up, so has his first-pitch strike percentage, from 59.5% in 2018 to 68.9%. In addition, his swinging-strike rate is up from 7.2% in 2018 to 14.5%. Finally, allow me to introduce you to his opponent, the Blue Jays, whose projected starters sport a 25.9% strikeout rate, .301 wOBA, and .137 ISO against left-handed pitching in 2018 and 2019. Admittedly, this is more of a GPP play than a cash play.
Honorable mention: Yu Darvish, CHC ($7,800) @ MIA, Freddy Peralta, MIL ($8,800) vs. STL.
Top Play: OF Christian Yelich, MIL ($5,400) vs. STL
You don’t need me to give you a write-up on why last year’s NL MVP is a top play, do you? Christian Yelich is a stud, and on Monday he’ll face Dakota Hudson. Hudson’s an interesting pitcher. He’s thrown 37 innings between 2018 and 2019 and has a 62.2% ground-ball rate; however, to left-handed hitters, he has allowed a 39.5% hard-hit rate and a .444 wOBA. He’s also walked more lefties (20.0%) than he’s struck out (17.5%), so the Brewers lefties are very interesting to me today (foreshadowing).
Honorable mention: OF Joey Gallo, TEX ($4,900) vs. LAA.
Top Play: SS Adalberto Mondesi, KCR ($5,100) @ CHW
Adalberto Mondesi and the Royals get a matchup with Ervin Santana. Santana missed most of 2018 because of a finger injury on his pitching hand that required surgery. His 2019 has not gone swimmingly, thanks to his fastball velocity being down about 2 mph; he’s allowing a 41.2% hard-hit rate, which has led to a 17.18 ERA in the early season. I really like this spot for both Mondesi and Whit Merrifield.
Honorable mention: 1B Jose Abreu, CHW ($4,300) vs. KCR.
Value: OF Franmil Reyes, SDP ($3,900) vs. COL
Make sure you check the lineup when it comes out to make sure he’s in there, but I love Franmil Reyes for this slate. The Padres get a matchup at home against Antonio Senzatela, who for his career has reverse splits. Reyes has struggled a little to begin the year, hitting just .184, but he has a 51.5% hard-hit rate and has crushed sliders from righties (.294 ISO, .413 wOBA).
Honorable mention: C Wilson Contreras, CHC ($4,000) @ MIA, OF Nomar Mazara, TEX ($4,200) vs. LAA.
Top Stack: Brewers vs. Cardinals (RHP Dakota Hudson)
As noted in the Yelich write-up, Hudson really struggles against left-handed hitters, and on Monday, the Brewers will roll out between four and six lefties. At the least, they’ll have Yelich, Travis Shaw, Mike Moustakas, and Yasmani Grandal in the lineup, and there’s a chance we see Eric Thames and Ben Gamel as well. With Hudson giving up a .444 wOBA to left-handed batters, I’m in to stack this team up.
Honorable mention: Rangers vs. Angels (RHP Trevor Cahill).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RMoss1983) 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.