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Top Play SP: Matt Strahm, SD ($9,200) vs. ARI
While his teammate Chris Paddack got most of the spring training buzz, Matt Strahm was equally filthy, striking out 25 while only walking five in 20 innings pitched. Strahm faces the post-Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks, who have a 3.4 implied run total, second-lowest on the slate. My only concern with this play is that there’s a chance we see something similar to what we saw with Paddack yesterday — five excellent innings — but truth be told, all of our decent options are in similar situations. Julio Urias and Brad Peacock, whom I also like, will most likely be on similar pitch counts.
Honorable mention: Julio Urias, LAD ($8,700) vs. SFG.
Value SP: Julio Urias, LAD ($8,700) vs. SFG
This has been a long time coming for Julio Urias. In 2016, he ranked as the No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America but was derailed by a torn anterior capsule in his shoulder. Urias only threw a combined 15.1 innings in 2018, so you know he’ll be on a strong innings limit this year. But I’m all about the premium innings he’ll get in this matchup versus the Giants. The Giants feature just one player on their entire roster who had an ISO greater than .200 versus lefties in 2018: Evan Longoria.
Top Play: OF Tommy Pham, TBR ($4,700) vs. COL
The Rays face Chad Bettis, who’s known as a fastball/changeup pitcher. That combination in a right-hander leads him to have reverse splits, a la Marco Estrada. Bettis allowed a .360 wOBA to right-handed batters in 2018 while only striking out 14.1% and walking 8.8% of the batters he faced. This makes Tommy Pham not just a really good play but an under-the-radar play. Most people will be looking for that lefty/righty matchup, which should keep Pham’s ownership down some.
Top Play: 3B Justin Turner, LAD ($4,200) vs. SFG
The Dodgers get a prime matchup facing lefty Drew Pomeranz. Justin Turner mashes lefties to the tune of .484 and .433 wOBAs in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Turner’s walked more that he’s struck out against lefties both years. Pomeranz pitched sparingly in 2018, but the season did not go as expected. He made 11 starts and 15 appearances out of the bullpen for 74 total innings. His velocity was down all year, and with that came a dip in his strikeout rate to 19.2% (23.5% in 2017) and an increase in his walk rate to 12.8% (9.3% in 2017). Overall, Turner has a really nice matchup at a pretty affordable price.
Value: OF Albert Almora Jr., CHC ($3,600) vs. ATL
The Cubs get a really nice matchup facing left-handed pitcher Sean Newcomb, everyone’s favorite regression candidate. Newcomb had a 4.54 SIERA compared witha 3.90 ERA in 2018. Newcomb’s best pitch according to pitch value was his fastball, earning a 14.5 pVAL. The Cubs’ big bats crush fastballs from lefties (Kris Bryant .545 wOBA, .480 ISO; Anthony Rizzo .593 wOBA, .615 ISO; Javier Baez .722 wOBA, .750 ISO), and as luck would have it, Albert Almora, Jr. will be at the top of that lineup. Almora doesn’t have the pop that the others do, but he got on base at a .350 clip versus left-handed pitching in 2018, and being at the top of that lineup, he makes for a really nice value play in cash lineups.
Top Stack: Astros @ Rangers (LHP Drew Smyly)
The Houston Astros have the highest implied run total on the slate at 5.4 runs, and for good reason. In 2018, the Astros led the league in wRC+ and wOBA vs left-handed pitching. This will be Drew Smyly’s first regular season major league action since Sept. 26, 2016. Smyly is a fly-ball pitcher who struggles with the long ball (1.49 HR/9 in 2015, 1.64 HR/9 in 2016) and will be pitching in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park, which had the third-highest park factor for home runs in 2018. The Astros are projected to have eight right handed bats in the lineup, so stack up Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and don’t forget about Robinson Chirinos and Yuli Gurriel at the back end.
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.