DraftKings Plays of the Day—8/23
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Top Play SP: Jacob deGrom, NYM ($11,300) vs. ATL
Mets ace Jacob deGrom owns the best K-BB rate of tonight’s slate at 25%, and he’s in a tier of his own, with Jack Flaherty a distant second at 20.5%. He’s also held righties to a .260 wOBA and lefties to .280 mark this year. The only minor thing going against deGrom tonight is that it’s not the best of matchups against the Braves (.336 wOBA, 103 wRC+, and 22.5% strikeout rate vs. right-handed pitchers). Still, deGrom easily has the highest floor of any arm going tonight.
If you’re wanting to save a little salary, Jose Berrios is your daily pitcher, going against the Tigers and their league worst 26.7% team strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers. Though, he has been no where near as sharp as deGrom skills-wise (16.9% K-BB rate, 4.31 SIERA). And James Paxton (19.8% K-BB rate, 4.04 SIERA) looks like a great boom/bust target for tournaments at just $9,000 in a tough matchup against the Dodgers.
Honorable mention: Berrios, MIN ($10,000) vs. DET (Drew VerHagen); Paxton (GPP), NYY ($9,000) at LAD (Hyun-Jin Ryu).
Value SP: Vince Velasquez, PHI ($7,800) at MIA
Vince Velasquez is never an arm who warrants much comfort, but I’m obliged to mention that he is the recipient of tonight’s matchup du jour in the Marlins (.283 team wOBA, 75 wRC+, and 25.1% strikeout rate). The righty-heavy Marlins should, in theory at least, play into Velasquez’s strength as he’s been noticeably more effective against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .317 wOBA as opposed to a .347 mark against left-handed hitters.
If you’re looking to fade a likely popular Velasquez, I absolutely can’t blame you. There are a couple of interesting arms to consider, one of them being Mitch Keller, who gets a Reds offense that in addition to being below average for the year (.314 wOBA, 88 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers) is also dealing with a couple of injuries to Jesse Winker and Joey Votto, further weakening a lineup that also lost Yasiel Puig at the trade deadline a few weeks ago. The way-too-early returns in his MLB career have been ugly, but we know there is upside here (28.2% strikeout rate in 103.2 innings in Triple-A). The same can be said of fellow rookie Dylan Cease (24% stsrikeout rate in 68.1 innings in Triple-A).
Honorable mention: Keller ($6,600) vs. CIN (Anthony DeSclafani); Cease ($7,900) vs. TEX (Lance Lynn).
Top Play: C Yasmani Grandal, MIL ($4,300) vs. ARI
The Brewers are back home tonight and will get to square off against a below-average right-handed pitcher in Merill Kelly (12.5% K-BB rate and 4.81 SIERA). Kelly has been a little more vulnerable to left-handed hitters this year, allowing a .332 wOBA and just a 15.6% strikeout rate. Yasmani Grandal will be on the stronger side of his split (.355 wOBA, 115 wRC+, and .372 OBP vs. righties in 2019) and has been hitting second in front of Christian Yelich lately. Grandal is a really nice way to get affordable exposure to the Brewers and their robust implied team total of more than 5.5 runs.
Honorable mentions: 1B Rhys Hoskins ($4,200) at MIA (Hector Noesi); OF Michael Conforto ($4,600) vs. ATL (Mike Foltynewicz); 3B Jose Ramirez ($4,700) vs. KC (Jake Junis); OF David Peralta ($4,500) at MIL (Jordan Lyles); 1B Paul Goldschmidt ($4,500) vs. COL (Peter Lambert).
Top Play: 3B/SS Alex Bregman, HOU ($5,500) vs. LAA
As of this writing, the Astros are the only team with an implied total in excess of six runs. They’ll get a matchup against the lefty Jose Suarez, who has been below average this year with a 21.3% strikeout rate (12.5% K-BB rate) and 4.85 SIERA. He’s also allowed an alarming .431 wOBA against right-handed hitters this year. Meanwhile, Alex Bregman has dominated lefties the past two years with a .397 wOBA and 156 wRC+.
Honorable mentions: OF George Springer ($5,300) vs. HOU (Suarez); SS Francisco Lindor ($5,000) vs. KC (Junis); OF Christian Yelich ($5,900) vs. ARI (Kelly); OF Bryce Harper ($5,200) at MIA (Noesi).
Value: 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr, TOR ($4,000) at SEA
Justus Sheffield will get the call for the Mariners this evening. The former Yankees prospect hasn’t looked too sharp across 55 innings in Triple-A as he’s tallied a really troublesome 15.8% walk rate (2.7% K-BB). Simply put, that’s just not going play in the majors. This looks like a fine time to invest in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., whose visiting Jays carry a respectable implied total just shy of five runs. Teoscar Hernandez (.227 ISO vs. left-handed pitchers 2018-19) and Randal Grichuk (.231 ISO vs. left-handed pitchers 2018-19) could also provide some power potential at a discount.
Honorable mentions: OF Trent Grisham ($3,500) vs. ARI (Kelly); 1B Jesus Aguilar ($3,900) at BAL (Ty Blach); 3B Matt Duffy ($3,100) at BAL (Blach); OF Randal Grichuk ($3,800) at SEA (Sheffield); OF Teoscar Hernandez ($3,700) at SEA (Sheffield).
Top Stack: TB at BAL (Blach)
As mentioned earlier, the Astros currently hold tonight’s highest implied run total, but they are an incredibly expensive team to stack. We’ll look instead to the Rays, who get a great opportunity to tally some crooked numbers in the run column this evening going against Blach, who has been dreadful (3.7 K-BB%, 5.86 SIERA, and 2.30 WHIP), especially so against right-handed hitters, with .342 wOBA allowed for his career. The two expensive bats at the top of the order here are Tommy Pham (.395 wOBA, 152 wRC+ vs. lefties) and the lefty Austin Meadows (.317 wOBA, 99 wRC+ vs. lefties). But the real potential appeal here is the value in some of the righty bats in Duffy ($3,100), Willy Adames ($3,900), Mike Brosseau ($3,800), and Aguilar ($3,900), who had a .389 wOBA against left-handed pitchers last year. Travis d’Arnaud ($4,400) has also hit left-handed pitchers well this year (.357 wOBA, 126 wRC+). And even Mike Zunino ($3,300) is worth considering if you’re looking for a cheap catcher with power potential.
Honorable mentions: TOR at SEA (Sheffield); MIL vs. ARI (Kelly); ARI at MIL (Lyles); MIN vs. DET (VerHagen).
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.