DraftKings Plays of the Day—9/21

Rich Holman previews the Sept. 21 slate on DraftKings with his must-plays and best values of the day.

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This covers the nine-game slate starting at 7:05.

 

Top Play SP: Jose Berrios, MIN ($10,900) vs. KC

 

With just nine days left of baseball, motivation is a big factor for me in choosing who to start in DFS. Currently, the Twins hold a four-game lead on the Indians with each team having nine games left to play, so I feel like I can count on their ace, Jose Berrios, to show up big tonight against the Royals.  Berrios has always been better at home than on the road, and this year is no different. In his happy place, Berrios has a 3.25 ERA versus 3.90 on the road.

Berrios’s opponent, the Royals, have stayed in the bottom tier of hitting against right-handed pitching all year. For the season, the Royals rank 26th in wRC+ against righties, while striking out 22.6% of the time. However, if we look at some more recent results, we get an even tastier matchup. Since the beginning of August, those numbers worsen to a 75 wRC+ and 24.3% strikeout rate. Want the matchup even tastier? Over the last two weeks, they’re down to a 74 wRC+ and 30.4% strikeout rateask and you shall receive.

Honorable mention: Walker Buehler, LAD ($12,300) vs. COL.

 

Value SP: Wade Miley, HOU ($5,700) vs. LAA

 

Wade Miley has had two starts recently that everyone wishes they could forget. On September 5th, Miley allowed five earned runs on six hits while getting zero outs for an infinity ERA against the Mariners. He then followed it up with an outing against the Athletics in which he finally got an outone out. He allowed seven runs on nine hits in one-third of an inning pitched. Finally on the 15th, against the Royals, Miley remembered what he was supposed to do and went six innings pitched, allowing two earned runs.

Miley and the Astros face the Trout-less Angels. For the season, the Angels have put up a 96 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, while striking out just 19.4% of the time. Since September 8th, Trout’s first day out of the lineup, the Angels have put up a respectable 90 wRC+ against lefties, but their strikeout rate has spiked to 26.3%. Wade Miley should be able to navigate an Angels lineup that is sans Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

Honorable mention: Asher Wojciechowski, BAL ($7,000) vs. SEA; Cal Quantrill, SD ($5,200) vs. ARI.

 

Top Play: 1B/OF Cody Bellinger, LAD ($5,300) vs. COL

 

I really struggled with making this selection, not because Cody Bellinger doesn’t deserve the writeup, but because, of course, Bellinger is the top play. In 2019, Bellinger has set new career highs in homers, runs, RBIs, batting average, strikeout rate (lowered 7.4% to 16.5%), and walk rate. He has even matched his 14 stolen bases from last year. Against right-handed pitching this year, he’s put up an other-worldly 169 wRC+.

These stats make Bellinger playable on every day. So, what makes today better? Today, the Dodgers face Chi Chi Gonzalez and his 6.24 SIERA. For the year, Gonzalez has struck out just 13.5% of the batters he’s faced while walking 12.7%. In his most recent start against the Padres, he walked five batters. If he lets up that many free passes to the Dodgers today, he’s gonna have a bad time.

Honorable mentions: OF Bryan Reynolds, PIT ($4,300) at MIL; OF Nelson Cruz, MIN ($5,500) vs. KCR; OF Oscar Mercado, CLE ($4.300) vs. PHI.

 

Top Play: 1B Carlos Santana, CLE ($4,700) vs. PHI

 

As a Phillies fan, I have to give so much credit to the Mets organization for selling Jason Vargas at the trade deadline. At the time Vargas had the most unsustainable 4.01 ERA (5.10 SIERA). Everyone knew regression was coming, except the Phillies, who were so desperate for left-handed starters and rotation stability that they brought in Rangers’ castoff Drew SmylyTHERE’S A REASON HE GOT CUT BY THE RANGERS! Unsurprisingly, in nine starts with the Phillies, Vargas has put up a 5.48 ERA (5.53 SIERA), who could’ve seen that coming?

Today the Phillies play the Indians and thanks to interleague play, Carlos Santana gets to play against his teammates from a year ago. Santana is in the midst of a career year, matching his season-high, 34 home runs while setting new highs in runs, RBIs, and batting average, and while walking more than he’s struck out for the second straight year. The kicker to this play is that Santana, who’s a switch hitter, has been much better against lefties this year, batting .335 and putting up a .239 ISO and .419 wOBA.

Honorable mentions: SS Francisco Lindor, CLE ($5,300) vs. DET; 3B Miguel Sano, MIN ($5,200) vs. KC.

 

Value: 2B/3B Hanser Alberto, BAL ($3,500) vs. SEA

 

I really, really want to like Justus Sheffield today, but the Orioles have gotten better and better against left-handed pitching as the year has gone on. Since August 1st, they have a wRC+ of 104 and have struck out just 19.0% of the time. But wait, there’s more. Since September 1st, that strikeout rate is all the way down to 16.1%.

Hanser Alberto has been one of my favorite sneaky batters against left-handed pitching this year. He has a .409 wOBA against southpaws and has struck out at just an 11.1% rate. Since August 1st, Alberto is batting .397 against lefties and has improved his walk rate (5.2% since August 1st; 2.9% for the season).

Honorable mentions: 2B/OF Luis Arraez, MIN ($3,900) vs. KC; 3B Matt Chapman, OAK ($4,000); OF Jake Cave, MIN ($3,400) vs. KC. 

 

Top Stack: Twins vs. Royals (RHP Glenn Sparkman)

 

To be fair, there are four teams that I like as stacks today and I’ll touch two of them briefly. The Twins are probably my tops stack due to the upside (6.9 implied run total, noice) and the value in their lineup. The expensive bats that I want from this team is Nelson Cruz ($5,500), Jorge Polanco ($4,700), and Eddie Rosario ($4,800). While those guys are solid, Luis Arraez ($3,900) provides some salary relief and is projected to lead off and Jake Cave ($3,400) is having a nice second-half, batting .295 with five bombs since August 1st.

The Dodgers are stacking choice numero dos. Chi Chi Gonzalez will allow plenty of baserunners and, with some timely hitting, a Dodgers stack will put up a lot of points in bunches. I’m starting my Dodgers stack with Bellinger and adding Joc Pederson ($4,100), Max Muncy ($4,400), Corey Seager ($4,100), and Justin Turner ($4,500). This is a lineup you’ll have to keep an eye on and if Muncy or Turner is out of the lineup, I like the value in Gavin Lux ($3,700).

Honorable mentions: Dodgers vs. Rockies (RHP Gonzalez); Athletics vs. Rangers (LHP Brock Burke); Indians vs. Phillies (LHP Vargas).

 

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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.

Rich Holman

Tax Auditor by day (I promise I'm not the devil), dad to twin velociraptors by night. Complete sports junkie. Philly fan that only boos occasionally.

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