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Top Play SP: Justin Verlander, HOU ($10,800) @ MIN
I’ll be honest: This slate doesn’t have any no-brainers. No elite pitchers in perfect matchups. So with that in mind, I’m going to the top pitcher on the slate for my cash games in Justin Verlander. Verlander’s been his usual studly self in the early season, striking out 30.5% of batters, while having a 3.32 SIERA. The Twins don’t have the highest strikeout upside on the slate, but I have the most confidence in Verlander’s ability to keep their bats quiet. For what it’s worth, from 2017-present, the Twins’ active roster has a triple slash of .156/.182/.333 against Verlander over 99 plate appearances.
Honorable mention: Kenta Maeda, LAD ($9,700) @ SFG, Zach Wheeler, NYM ($9,300) vs. CIN.
Value SP: Manny Banuelos, CHW ($7,500) vs. BAL
Spoiler alert: This is not a play that I’m in love with. I thought I would love Mike Soroka more, but looking into his numbers, he has reverse splits and will face seven righties in the Padres lineup. I still listed him below because he’s one of the better cheaper pitchers on this slate. Manny Banuelos is here because he faces the Orioles. This is a small sample, but it appears that he has reverse splits also and should face at least six or seven Orioles bats, and they strike out at a relatively high rate. Banuelos faced the Orioles on April 22 and went four scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Hopefully, if he’s cruising again today, he’ll be able to at least go five innings. Seriously, though, I might be paying up for my SP2 today and just piece my bats together.
Honorable mention: Mike Soroka, ATL ($8,600) vs. SDP.
Top Play: OF Michael Brantley, HOU ($4,800) @ MIN
This is a tough slate to get the expensive bats in — so I might not end up with him in my lineup — but Michael Brantley gets a really nice matchup against Jake Odorizzi. Brantley’s plate discipline is elite, striking out just 9.5% of the time in 2018 and 11.3% of the time so far this year while maintaining a 92.2% contact rate. For context, the league average is 75.9%. Brantley also comes into this game with multihit games in five of his past eight games. Odorizzi has been relatively average to start the year, sporting a 4.62 SIERA. In his five starts this year, he’s thrown his fastball 70.6% of the time to left-handed batters, and I’ll tell you that’s not going to fool Brantley.
Honorable mention: OF Michael Conforto, NYM ($4,800) vs. CIN.
Top Play: 2B Ozzie Albies, ATL ($4,500) vs. SDP
On Sunday, Ozzie Albies showed us exactly why we play him against left-handed pitching — he destroys it. Albies will look to build off his two-homer day from Sunday. Since the start of 2018, he has a .376 wOBA versus lefties against just a .305 wOBA versus righties. Today, Albies will face Nick Margevicius, who is giving me Jamie Moyer flashbacks with his 88 mph fastball. Margevicius has held his own in five starts, sporting a 22.8% strikeout rate and 4.19 SIERA. He’s mostly a two-pitch pitcher against left-handed batters, throwing his fastball 57% of the time and his slider 33% of the time. In 25 batted-ball events of sliders thrown by left-handed pitchers, Albies has a .250 ISO and .375 wOBA. The Braves overall are a really good team against left-handed pitching, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Honorable mention: 3B Josh Donaldson, ATL ($4,600) vs. SDP.
Value: SS Corey Seager, LAD ($3,900) @ SFG
While it’s not exactly the highest bar, I’m happy to see ole Loose Lips himself, Jeff Samardzija, looking better than his 2018 season. That being said, his 4.62 SIERA doesn’t exactly back up his 3.00 ERA, and he’s still getting hit really hard by lefties. In his five 2019 starts, Samardzija has allowed a 54.8% hard-hit rate to lefties, which has led to a .222 ISO and .373 wOBA. Corey Seager’s price makes him a really attractive option on today’s slate, where I’m looking to pay up at both my pitcher spots in my cash lineups.
Honorable mention: SS Carter Kieboom, WAS ($3,700) vs. STL, 3B/OF Johan Camargo, ATL ($3,900) vs. SDP, 3B Justin Turner, LAD ($3,600) @ SFG, 2B/OF Steve Wilkerson, BAL ($2,400) @ CHW.
Top Stack: Braves vs. Padres (LHP Nick Margevicius)
Check out Albies’ writeup for the breakdown against Margevicius, but this has just as much to do with the entire Braves’ lineup. For the season, the Braves strike out at an 18.4% rate, good for fourth-lowest in the league, while having the league’s highest wOBA at .387. The only bat in the projected lineup that doesn’t have a lot of pop is Nick Markakis ($4,300), but even he has a .428 wOBA against lefties in 2019. Of course, I love the big bats of Albies, Josh Donaldson ($4,600), Freddie Freeman ($5,100), and Ronald Acuna ($4,900), but you can even get low and go to Markakis, Dansby Swanson ($4,400), Tyler Flowers ($4,100), and my personal favorite Johan Camargo ($3,900). As of this writing, the Braves have the second-highest implied run total of 4.9 runs, just behind the Red Sox at 5.0 runs.
Honorable mention: Astros @ Twins (RHP Jake Odorizzi).
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.