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Top Play SP: Cole Hamels, CHC ($9,000) vs. MIA
Today’s slate is full of awesome pitching, so feel free to choose your favorite at the top. Make sure you check the weather in Chicago before rolling this play out, but as of this writing, the wind is forecast to be blowing in at around 12 mph. That wind, combined with temperatures in the 50s, make for a low-scoring kind of day. Throw in the fact that Cole Hamels will be facing the Marlins, and that’s just the perfect storm right there. Hamels has picked up right where he left off for the Cubs in the second half of 2018, striking out 24.3% of batters faced, and his 3.19 ERA is supported by a strong 3.76 SIERA. Add to the fact that Hamels is the lowest-priced “ace” on the day, and he’s my go-to cash play on today’s slate.
Value SP: Martin Perez, MIN ($6,600) @ TOR
The new and improved Martin Perez is coming off a gem of a start against the Astros and just so happens to be the second-cheapest pitcher on this slate. Maybe that’s a testament to how good the pitching options are or the pricing just hasn’t caught up to his changes yet. To begin with, Perez’s average velocity on his fastball is up two ticks to a career-best 94.7 mph. He’s also ditched his slider and cut his sinker usage in half while adding a new cutter, which he’s throwing 35.1% of the time. That cutter has a 10.3 pVAL, which ranks as the best cutter currently in baseball. Today, Perez faces the Blue Jays, who have struggled against left-handed pitching to open the year, having just a .282 wOBA (25th in the league) and .104 ISO (27th in the league, behind the Giants).
Top Play: OF Bryce Harper, PHI ($4,500) @ STL
With so many amazing options at pitcher, that means the top bats are few and far between. Miles Mikolas has struggled in the early season. The slider that was such an asset for him in 2018 has become a liability in 2019. Mikolas has allowed a 40.9% hard-hit rate to left-handed batters, which has led to a .386 wOBA and .269 ISO. The Phillies’ best left-handed bat is Bryce Harper, who we catch at a relative bargain.
Honorable mention: OF Michael Brantley, HOU ($4,900) vs. KCR.
Top Play: 1B/OF Trey Mancini, BAL ($4,900) vs. BOS
It may go a little unnoticed because of playing for the Orioles, but Trey Mancini has been a beast in 2019. He’s crushed against both lefties (.306 ISO, .486 wOBA) and righties (.220 ISO, .371 wOBA), which will be helpful against the Red Sox in their bullpen game. The Red Sox will start Josh Smith, a 31-year old journeyman who last pitched in the major leagues in 2017. As noted in the “honorable mentions,” I’m also a fan of Jonathan Villar as well.
Value: OF Josh Reddick, HOU ($3,900) vs. KCR
Jakob Junis will be on the mound for the Royals today, and he’s struggled against left-handed batters for his career (.352 wOBA, 40.7% hard-hit rate). Junis’s primary offspeed pitch is the slider, and in 93 batted-ball events since 2016, Josh Reddick has a .338 wOBA and .258 ISO. Reddick’s been decent to start the season, sporting just an 8.9% strikeout rate to go along with a .378 wOBA against right-handed pitching.
Honorable mention: 2B/OF Steve Wilkerson, BAL ($2,900) @ TEX, 3B Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., TOR ($3,900) vs. MIN, 1B Ji-Man Choi, TBR ($3,900) vs. ARI, 2B Cesar Hernandez, PHI ($3,800) @ STL, SS Corey Seager, LAD ($3,600) vs. ATL
Top Stack: Orioles vs. Red Sox (RHP Josh Smith)
I really wish I was writing this on a day that Alex Fast got to do the First Pitch Podcast, just to hear his excitement about the Orioles, but alas, I’ll have to hope Nick doesn’t scoff when he reads it. This is not a low-risk stack at all, but overall, the stack is relatively cheap, in good hitting conditions (park and weather), and faces a reasonable pitching matchup in the Red Sox bullpen game. The Orioles lineup only feature three players who are greater than $4,000 in Mancini ($4,900), Villar ($4,600), and Dwight Smith, Jr. ($4,900), which makes them really affordable if you want to pay up for two top starting pitchers today. Steve Wilkerson ($2,900) and Chris Davis ($3,100) make for super cheap options who have some decent upside. Pick and choose your favorites today and good luck!
Honorable mention: Astros vs. Royals (RHP Jacob Junis).
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.