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Top Play SP: Justin Verlander, HOU ($12,000) vs. SEA
This one is easy. Justin Verlander leads the board today with a superb 33.7% K rate (28.4% K-BB%). Needless to say, the veteran Verlander has been scintillating with a 2.73 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. There’s really nothing to not like here the only thing that stands out a little is a nearly spotless .199 BABIP and 90% LOB%. There may be some pushback there in the final two months but that seems like nitpicking at this point. Verlander gets a great matchup too against a Mariners lineup that’s been gutted by trades of both Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce as well as injury with the loss of Mitch Haniger. So this current lineup is much weaker than it was ealier in the year. In the past month, the Mariners have the 5th highest K rate at 25.5%. Verlander and the Astros are absolutely massive (-400) home favorites this afternoon. Outside of elevated ownership in tournaments, there doesn’t look to be much of a reason to not start your lineup with Verlander today.
Honorable mention: Bieber, CLE ($10,900) vs. LAA (Jaime Barria).
Value SP: Drew Smyly, PHI ($6,600) vs. CWS
Since being traded to the Phillies lefty Drew Smyly has posted two solid games. As our own Ben Palmer illustrates here there could be something worth keeping an eye on here. Once upon a time, Smyly was someone who showed some ability way back in 2015 with the Rays when he posted a 28% K rate. Or maybe it is just simply taking advantage of a shift to the National League and against two weak opponents who have struggled against LHP in the Giants (.286 wOBA vs LHP) and the Pirates (.283 wOBA vs LHP). Whatever the case may be Smyly gets a great shot at keeping the good times rolling this afternoon with a draw against the White Sox who have been, while not quite as bad, certainly below average with a .313 wOBA and 24.5% K rate as a team against LHP this year. Smyly and the Phillies are also solid (-160) home favorites this afternoon.
Jake Odorizzi has struggled of late with a few clunkers two against Oakland and one against the Yankees. Still, he’s had a fantastic 2019 overall posting a career-best 25.3% K rate. He’s in a potential bounce-back spot at home against the Royals. The Twins are also one of the top home favorites of the afternoon at -209.
OF: George Springer, HOU ($5,400) vs. SEA
As of this writing, there isn’t a line out yet for the Astros game but I think it’s fairly safe to assume the Astros will carry a large implied total for this afternoon’s tilt against the Mariner southpaw Tommy Milone. Milone hasn’t been all that bad in fairness with a 13.1% K rate and a 1.10 WHIP, but still, we know that this Astros lineup is just quite simply on another level as they’ve posted a .372 wOBA (138 wRC+) against lefties this year. George Springer looks like an excellent play today if you’re spending up in the outfield as he should be right in the thick of things as the leadoff man.
Honorable mentions: 3B/SS Bregman ($4,800) vs. SEA (Milone), 2B Altuve ($5,100) vs SEA (Milone), 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.($4,900) at BAL (Eshelman), OF Kepler ($5,300) vs. KC (Keller), SS Correa ($4,900) vs SEA (Milone).
OF: Eddie Rosario, MIN ($4,500) vs. KC
Currently, the Twins boast the highest implied total of this afternoon’s slate at just under six and a half runs. They’ll face off against Royals righty Brad Keller. To his credit, he has pitched reasonably well this year with a 4.01 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and he’s done a superb job at keeping the ball on the ground with a 1.91 GB/FB ratio. Still, a closer look reveals that he also has the lowest K-BB% of the slate at 6.9%. That’s disconcerting as he’ll face the Twins and their powerful offense. A look at his splits shows that you’ll want to target lefties here (.319 wOBA allowed vs LHB and just .282 vs RHB). The likely cleanup hitter Eddie Rosario will hold the platoon advantage and is priced nicely here in relation to the other big bats in Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, and Miguel Sano.
Honorable mentions: OF Conforto ($4,700) at PIT (Musgrove), OF Harper ($4,400) vs CWS (Lopez), SS Polanco ($4,400) vs KC (Keller), SS Bichette ($4,300) at BAL (Eshelman), 1B Smoak ($4,300) at BAL (Eshelman), 2B/OF Biggio at BAL (Eshelman), OF Puig ($4,400) vs LAA (Barria).
Value: OF Nick Castellanos, CHC ($3,900) vs. MIL
It was a dismal first four months for Nick Castellanos of the season as he tallied just 11 home runs and 37 RBI. Part of that though has to be attributed to a woeful supporting cast in Detroit (.285 team wOBA, 2nd lowest). The newly acquired outfielder has been hitting 2nd and that figures to be a boon to his counting numbers in an infinitely more talented lineup with the Cubs. This afternoon’s matchup against Brewer’s RHP Adrian Houser doesn’t really stand out all that much as he has held his own with a very respectable 24.4% K rate and 4.17 FIP, and 3.74 xFIP through 58 innings. Still, this is a really nice price for a hitter who, prior to this year, had posted a wOBA over .340 in each of the past three seasons.
Value bats under $4,000 look to be really hard to find on this afternoon’s slate but another name to consider is the Red’s Josh VanMeter who has posted a .385 wOBA in albeit really small sample size of 96 plate appearances. However, a similarly successful showing in AAA this year evidenced by a .453 woBA and .429 OBP presents rooms for optimism. He’ll hold the platoon advantage against Julio Teheran who has struggled against lefties throughout his career (.335 wOBA allowed).
Top Stack: TOR at BAL (Eshelman)
Orioles righty Tom Eshelman (Jimmy Yacabonis is the likely opener) has not been too good this year. In just over 22 innings this year he has just a 16.5% K rate (the lowest of today’s slate) in addition he’s allowed a .350 wOBA to LHB and .380 to RHB. This is a small sample certainly but keep in mind he was also rocking a 6.00 xFIP (13.3% K rate) in AAA with the Orioles too so this really looks like a pitch worth attacking. The nice thing about the Blue Jays bats is that they come at a cheaper price point relative to the Astros and Twins. Starting with Bo Bichette ($4,300), Cavan Biggio ($4,400), and Vladimir Guerrero Jr./strong> ($4,900) there is some excellent upside at sub $5,000 price tags. Also Justin Smoak ($4,300) despite lackluster results has shown some excellent batted ball data (.390 xwOBA).
Honorable mentions: MIN vs KC (Keller), HOU vs SEA (Milone), CLE vs LAA (Barria)
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.