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.
DraftKing’s Friday night slate features 14 games with numerous aces on the hill, making this an intriguing end to the work week.
Top SP: Zack Wheeler, NYM ($9,700) vs. MIA
For all the handwringing about Zack Wheeler’s beginning to the 2019 season, there is actually a lot to like. He’s throwing harder than ever (97.5 mph average fastball velocity), has increased his strikeout rate to 25.8%, has two double-digit strikeout games in his past three starts, and has thrown either six or seven innings in each of his past five starts. It’s not all good news, as Wheeler’s walks are up, opposing batters are chasing less out of the zone, and he has been unable to strand runners on base (74.6% strand rate in 2018 to 66.3% this year). A matchup at home against the pitcher-friendly Marlins gives Wheeler an excellent chance at a stat-correcting performance, as the Marlins have a slate-worst .264 wOBA against right-handed pitching (Toronto is a distant second with a .280 wOBA). Throw in the lowest Vegas total of the day, and Wheeler is in a get-right spot if there ever was one. Take the savings from the higher-priced top options and use it on your hitting.
Honorable Mention: Luis Castillo, CIN ($10,600) at SF.
Value SP: Jake Odorizzi, MIN ($8,800) vs. DET
Another big-time home favorite, Jake Odorizzi is far from an exciting option. Odorizzi has been good this year, however, and actually sports a very respectable 26.6% strikeout rate. He has upped his curveball usage significantly, and while hitters are chasing less often in general, they are also swinging less and making less contact. Coming off six shutout innings with eight strikeouts in Yankee Stadium, Odorizzi should be confident against a Tigers squad that owns a .291 wOBA against right-handed pitching. Odorizzi should receive plenty of run support as well, as the Twins have been knocking the cover off the ball and face Tyson Ross and his 5.34 ERA. Odorizzi is a solid bet for a quality start and a win on Friday night.
Honorable Mention: Pablo Lopez, MIA ($8,100) at NYM.
OF Shohei Ohtani, LAA ($4,900) at BAL (RHP Dan Straily)
Recently activated from the IL, Shohei Ohtani is underpriced here against an extremely hittable righty. Ohtani posted a .433 wOBA against right-handed pitching last year despite splitting his focus between hitting and pitching. And the Angels showed their confidence in him by batting him third and second against left-handed pitching in his first two starts, while Ohtani got things rolling with two hits and a walk in his third game of the year yesterday. What could be more fun on a Friday night than watching a discounted Ohtani feast on Dan Straily and his shockingly high 3.13 HR/9?
Honorable Mention: OF Mike Trout, LAA ($5,700) at BAL (RHP Dan Straily).
3B Alex Bregman, HOU ($5,200) vs. TEX (RHP Lance Lynn)
After a sluggish start to the season, Alex Bregman has caught fire with six homers in his past eight games, yet his price still hasn’t caught up all the way. Bregman is posting a .427 wOBA against right-handed pitching this year, and while Lance Lynn continues to avoid the home run ball, he’s already had starts allowing five, seven, and eight runs this year. While Nolan Arenado is an elite play in Coors Field against a left-handed pitcher, he’s sure to be heavily owned. Bregman would be a nice pivot with a $500 savings while still allowing you to roster an elite third baseman.
Honorable Mention: 3B Nolan Arenado, COL ($5,700) vs. SD (LHP Eric Lauer).
Value Bat: OF Gregory Polanco, PIT ($4,000) at STL (RHP Adam Wainwright)
Gregory Polanco is back from the injured list and beginning to heat up, homering in two of his past three games. Locked into the third spot in the Pirates lineup, Polanco will face Adam Wainwright on Friday night. Wainwright has struggled against left-handed hitters in 2019, allowing four home runs and a .428 wOBA so far this year. Polanco broke out last year, and if he’s healthy (which it appears that he is), this is a bargain against a pitcher struggling to retire lefties.
Honorable Mention: Justin Smoak, TOR ($4,000) vs. CWS (RHP Dylan Covey).
Lineup Stack: Angels at Orioles (RHP Dan Straily)
While the rest of the field targets stacks in Coors Field, the Angels vs. Orioles game is tied with the Coors Field game for the highest projected run total by Vegas. I’ve already mentioned why, as Straily has an astronomical home run rate in 2019. An added bonus awaits after Straily departs, as the Orioles feature one of the league’s worst bullpens. Ohtani and Mike Trout are the obvious centerpieces of a stack, and maybe you end up choosing just to play a mini-stack with them. But lefties Brian Goodwin and Kole Calhoun may also be able to take advantage of Straily’s struggles against left-handed hitters, while right-handed hitters David Fletcher, Andrelton Simmons, and Albert Pujols all have premium lineup spots that could be useful in a high scoring game.
Honorable Mentions: Rockies vs. Padres (LHP Eric Lauer).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is eriks44) 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.