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Top Play SP: Zack Greinke, ARI ($9,000) vs. COL
Patrick Corbin will start the first game of tomorrow’s doubleheader at Washington. As of this writing, there’s some uncertainty with regards to who will start the second game. A bad bounce during a bunting drill evidently broke Max Scherzer‘s nose, but if he’s cleared to play today, he’s the easy top arm of the slate. Mad Max has been nothing short of spectacular this year as his 33.6% strikeout rate leads the slate (excluding Andrew Heaney with only 21.2 innings pitched). No disrespect whatsoever to Lucas Giolito ($11,300), but if you’re paying up tonight for a pitcher, Scherzer is the clear top play at just $700 more.
If Scherzer does not start tonight’s nightcap, we can look to Zack Greinke. The 35-year-old wily veteran has paid no mind whatsoever to Father Time as he is currently rocking an incredible 2.65 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Those numbers will almost certainly regress; regardless, this is a really nice price for Greinke, who had been priced in excess of $10,000 throughout the year. He’ll get the Rockies here, who have been a sneakily bad road offense this year with a dreadful .283 team wOBA, which is good for second-worst just ahead of the Cincinnati Reds.
Value SP: Daniel Ponce de Leon, STL ($7,800) vs. MIA
Daniel Ponce de Leon has admittedly not looked that great through 55.1 innings pitched in Triple-A this year with just a 19.2% strikeout rate (6.9% K-BB rate). However, he’ll get a chance to once again conquer Florida and the Marlins’ league-worst .279 team wOBA. The Cardinals and Ponce de Leon are notable favorites (-170) tonight.
1B: Josh Bell, PIT ($4,800) vs. DET
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell is having himself a truly incredible breakout season with 19 home runs along with a gaudy 1.041 OPS. His remarkable results are backed by superlative batted-ball data, including a .397 xwOBA, 14.1% barrel rate and a 51.2% hard-hit rate, all of which are good for top 10% in the league. He’ll get a chance to victimize the long-declining Jordan Zimmermann, who will be making his triumphant return to the Tigers rotation after missing time with an ailing elbow.
OF: Juan Soto, WAS ($4,300) vs. PHI
Jake Arrieta‘s bat-missing skills have continued their precipitous free fall as his current 18.9% strikeout rate would be the lowest it’s been since way back in 2013, when he was last a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Enter Juan Soto, who has continued to build off his sensational rookie campaign, humming right along to the tune of a sharp .383 wOBA (.375 xwOBA) along with a terrific .387 OBP. This seems like too cheap of a price as he’ll hold the platoon advantage against what looks to be a declining pitcher in Arrieta.
Value: 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR ($3,600) vs. LAA
Through 21.2 innings this year, Andrew Heaney has been missing an impressive amount of bats with a 34.1% strikeout rate and 16.2% swinging-strikeout rate, which is coincidentally tied with Scherzer, so Heaney doesn’t really jump off the page as someone I really want to attack with hitters. However, this is just a fantastic price point for the otherworldly talented rookie. It’s difficult to find bats at this price point that carry great upside. Case in point: At this price point, you’ve also got guys such as Robinson Cano ($3,500) and Brandon Belt ($3,600), who both get bad lefty/lefty matchups tonight against Max Fried and Rich Hill.
Honorable Mentions: OF Corey Dickerson, ($3,600) vs. DET (Jordan Zimmermann), OF Gregory Polanco, ($3,900) vs. DET (Jordan Zimmermann), 3B Jose Ramirez, ($3,800) at Tex (Joe Palumbo LHP), 1B Paul Goldschmidt, ($3,700) vs. MIA (Trevor Richards).
Top Stack: CLE at TEX (Joe Palumbo)
After scoring 10 runs last night at Texas, the Indians will again find themselves in a spot to stack up some crooked numbers in the run column. The Rangers will be calling up the rookie southpaw Joe Palumbo. To his credit, he’s shown some good bat-missing ability in Double-A this year, posting an 11.57 K/9 (30.8% strikeout rate) through 53.2 innings. Regardless, this will be just the second big league appearance for the lefty, who is also working his way back from Tommy John surgery (he only threw 45 innings last year). Worth noting too that his control has been a bit lacking this year as he’s tallied an elevated 11.2% walk rate in Double-A this year. So the Indians could certainly look to take advantage here if he struggles with his efficiency.
Also worth mentioning are the Angels, whose implied team total of more than 5.5 runs currently leads the slate. Their lineup got a big boost recently with the return of Justin Upton ($4,100). They’ll get the righty Aaron Sanchez, who has struggled mightily this year with an unsightly 5.04 ERA and 1.60 WHIP (12.6% walk rate).
For those playing multiple lineups in GPPs and looking to be really contrarian, the top half of the Cubs lineup in Kyle Schwarber ($3,800), Kris Bryant ($4,300), Anthony Rizzo ($4,400), and Javier Baez ($4,100) are all priced affordably, so there is certainly upside relative to their deflated price points should Giolito struggle tonight.
One last thing to note is the prices of the Phillies bats. They are priced as if they are facing Scherzer. Though as previously mentioned, there is at least a reasonable chance he doesn’t start the nightcap. If we see someone such as Austin Voth make the start tonight, then there is some exceptional value here, starting with Bryce Harper at just $3,800, Rhys Hoskins ($4,100), Jay Bruce ($4,100), and Jean Segura ($3,600).
Honorable Mention: LAA at TOR (Aaron Sanchez).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sammybaugh) 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.