DraftKings Plays of the Day—6/17
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Top Play SP: Kenta Maeda, LAD ($9,000) vs. SFG
If I’m paying up at pitcher, I think Kenta Maeda is the only one I’m willing to pay for. Jose Berrios faces the Red Sox, Luis Castillo gets the Astros, and Mike Soroka doesn’t have the strikeout upside for me to pay more than $10,000 for him. Maeda gets a premium matchup against the Giants, who have just the 25th-best wRC+ against right-handed pitching. While Maeda has just a 25.3% strikeout rate on the season, his 14.1% swinging-strike rate says there might be a little bump in strikeouts coming.
Value SP: Felix Pena, LAA ($6,700) at TOR
As of this writing, Fangraphs has Felix Pena scheduled to be the starter, but FantasyLabs has Luis Garcia going as the opener, with Pena following him. I actually prefer Pena to come in as the long-man, as he’s really thrived in the role, but I’m happy to play him at this price either way. The Blue Jays rank 28th in wRC+ against right-handed pitching this year and strike out 25% of the time against them, good for the fifth-highest rate in baseball. For the record, I could see myself rolling out two of these value pitchers to give myself some extra salary to pay up at bats today.
Top Play: OF Mike Trout, LAA ($5,600) at TOR
If I’m taking advantage of some of the value pitching on today’s slate, I’m going straight to the top in terms of batters and locking in Mike Trout. This year, Trout’s solidified himself as the best player in baseball. Against right-handed pitching this year, he’s walking more than he’s striking out, has a 50.9% hard-hit rate, and sports a .336 ISO and a .459 wOBA. Oh, and on Monday he faces Edwin Jackson, who has been nothing short of terrible against righties this year, allowing a .517 ISO and .580 wOBA in 67 plate appearances.
Honorable mention: OF Shohei Ohtani, LAA ($5,100) at TOR; 2B/OF Whit Merrifield, KCR ($4,500) at SEA.
Top Play: 1B Freddie Freeman, ATL ($5,200) vs. NYM
Rarely do I look at batter vs. pitcher as my go to argument for why to play someone, but Freddie Freeman owns Zack Wheeler. Freeman has 33 total plate appearances against Wheeler, in which he’s gone 10-20 with five extra-base hits and 12 walks. To me, that just says he sees the ball really well against Wheeler. For the season, Freeman is crushing righties, as noted by his 54.8% hard-hit rate, which has led to a .284 ISO and .421 wOBA.
Honorable mention: 1B Luke Voit, NYY ($4,600) vs. TBR; 3B Matt Chapman, OAK ($4,300) vs. BAL.
Value: 2B Jason Kipnis, CLE ($2,700) at TEX
Overall, this is just a straight-up punt play. Jason Kipnis is projected to bat fourth in the Indians lineup today, so at $2,700, in Arlington, this is just too cheap to pass up. I’ll usually pay down at catcher anyway, so if I get to pay down at second base, maybe I pay up at catcher and grab Gary Sanchez. I just really like the roster flexibility this type of play gives me and, again, batting in the middle of the Indians lineup, which has an implied run total of 5.1 runs, certainly isn’t a bad thing.
Honorable mention: OF Khris Davis, OAK ($4,o00) vs. BAL; 2B/SS Jonathan Villar, BAL ($3,600) at OAK, OF Alex Verdugo, LAD ($4,000).
Top Stack: Angels at Blue Jays (RHP Edwin Jackson)
Any time Edwin Jackson is pitching, I’m going to look to take advantage because who knows when that 10.22 ERA is going away to the IL with a phantom injury. In six appearances this year, Jackson has allowed a 40.9% hard-hit rate to all batters, which has led to a .200 ISO and .382 wOBA to lefties and a .517 ISO and .580 wOBA to righties, so we can feel comfortable with stacking whoever you’d like. If you are stacking the Angels, number one has to be Trout, but after that Shohei Ohtani ($5,100) and Tommy La Stella ($4,700) pique my interest. According to FantasyLabs, Justin Upton ($3,900) is currently questionable to be in the lineup today, so if he’s back, I really like that price for his upside. Good luck today!
Honorable mention: Cardinals vs. Marlins (RHP Elieser Hernandez); Athletics vs. Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner), Dodgers vs. Giants (RHP Tyler Beede).
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.