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Top Play SP: Max Scherzer, WAS ($11,100) vs. MIA
Max Scherzer hasn’t exactly been the Cy Young winner he’s been in the past, but what better of a get-right spot than facing the Marlins. Despite his slight struggles, Scherzer still has a 32.4% strikeout rate to go along with a 2.99 SIERA. The Marlins, on the other hand, have legit struggled. They’re dead last in wOBA and ISO against right-handed pitchers and have the fourth-worst strikeout rate at 26%. Scherzer has a hefty price to pay, but in cash games, he’s worth the security as my SP1.
Honorable mention: Clayton Kershaw, LAD ($10,200) vs. NYM.
Value SP: Yonny Chirinos, TB ($7,900) vs. TOR
Any time the Rays actually announce that Yonny Chirinos is starting the game and I don’t have to play their opener shell game, I’m happy. Chirinos has been decent this year, sporting a 3.20 ERA; however, his 4.30 SIERA predicts some darker days ahead. Diving in a little, Chirinos has some troubling numbers this year in his swinging-strike rate and strikeout rate being down from last season. He relies heavily on his sinker, throwing the pitch almost 60% of the time, but only has a 38.5% ground-ball rate. While Tropicana Field will help to hide some of those fly balls, I’d be weary of using him in a more batter-friendly park. Thankfully, we get him at home today against a Blue Jays team that has struggled against right-handed pitching. They have the sixth-highest strikeout rate at 25.4% and the fifth-worst wRC+ against righties.
Honorable mention: Mitch Keller, PIT ($5,900) at CIN.
Top Play: OF Andrew Benintendi, BOS ($4,500) vs. CLE
This is my favorite play on today’s slate. I get the top of the Red Sox lineup at this price against Jefry Rodriguez, who’s allowed a .377 wOBA to left-handed batters, while striking out just 15.6% of batters. The Red Sox will put the ball in play all day, and I get their leadoff hitter, Andrew Benintendi, at $4,500? Yes, please.
Top Play: 1B Matt Olson, OAK ($4,000) vs. LAA
The Athletics have a matchup with Trevor Cahill and frankly, Cahill has been lit up against left-handed batters. He’s allowed a 50.7% hard-hit rate to lefties, which has led to a .283 ISO and .423 wOBA. Batting in the middle of the Athletics’ lineup is Matt Olson. Since the beginning of 2018, Olson has a 47.8% hard-hit rate against lefties, along with a .243 ISO. At this price, Olson is an easy lock into my first base slot in cash games.
Honorable mention: 1B Mitch Moreland, BOS ($4,800) vs. CLE, 1B Dan Vogelbach, SEA ($4,700) vs. TEX.
Value: C Tucker Barnhart, CIN ($3,400) vs. PIT
Sorry Nick, but today we’re picking on Nick Kingham. Kingham’s struggled this year to a 5.09 SIERA, and left-handed hitters have crushed him to the tune of a .388 ISO and .516 wOBA, along with giving up a 44.2% hard-hit rate. So Tucker Barnhart fits multiple categories for me. Numero uno is that he fills the catcher position with a relatively nice pay-down price. Numero dos is that he actually has upside at this pay-down price. This combo makes it easy to lock Barnhart into my catcher spot.
Honorable mention: OF Geraldo Parra, WAS ($3,900) vs. MIA, 2B Nicky Lopez, KCR ($3,600) at CHW.
Top Stack: Red Sox vs. Indians (RHP Jefry Rodriguez)
The Red Sox have the highest implied run total on today’s Memorial Day slate at 5.8 runs. They get a matchup with right-handed pitcher, Jefry Rodriguez, who is only striking out 15.2% of the batters he faces, while having a 5.14 SIERA. Since the start of 2018, Rodriguez has done a relatively decent job of limiting damage by right-handed batters but has gotten lit up by lefties, allowing a .257 ISO and .387 wOBA. While I’m not against playing Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts, the left-handed bats will be my primary targets. As I mentioned earlier, I love Andrew Benintendi, and we can add Mitch Moreland ($4,700), Rafael Devers ($5,300), Brock Holt ($4,200), and the suddenly hot Jackie Bradley Jr. ($3,500) to our stack. Devers is the only one whose price makes him a little tough to fit in if I’m paying up for Scherzer, but that should keep his ownership somewhat low as well.
Honorable mention: Twins vs. Brewers (LHP Gio Gonzalez).
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.