DraftKings Plays of the Day – June 18
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Tuesday’s full MLB slate is stuffed with premium pitching. The high-end choices, however, are not coupled with playable low-end starters. The uneven catalog will especially force those playing DraftKings cash contests to spend on pitching and go bargain hunting for bats. Contestants can still submit a worthwhile lineup by turning to slumping veteran stars priced at a pittance.
Top SP: Jacob deGrom, NYM ($10,300) at ATL
Gradually rediscovering his ace form, deGrom has delivered a 2.35 ERA in his last five starts. Unfortunately, the Mets have also returned to their 2018 ways, shielding him from a single victory over that dominant stretch. Since the start of 2018, he’s 13-15 with a 2.16 ERA. Wins are dumb. While Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw each have a better chance of notching one, they’re also each priced astronomically at $11,900 and $11,200, respectively. Because he’s facing a mighty Braves lineup, deGrom comes at a more generous cost even after returning to his Cy Young roots. He’s conjured at least 23 DraftKings points in each of his last three winless starts, so play him and hope the baseball gods throw him a bone.
Value SP: Jack Flaherty, STL ($8,700) vs. MIA
Flaherty has surrendered four runs in consecutive road starts against the Cubs and Mets, elevating his ERA to 4.28. Don’t look to a 4.38 FIP or .321 xwOBA for any solace; he’s not the ace supporters hoped to see in 2019. He’s still, however, a high-upside hurler with a 26.3% K rate who faces the Marlins on Tuesday night. While this juicy matchup is traditionally best served inside Miami’s spacious park, St. Louis’ 23-year-old righty has registered a 2.97 ERA at home and 4.71 ERA on the road early in his career. His recent struggles offset any Marlins tax, so pay up for a high-end No. 2 on an evening with few clearance-aisle options.
OF Joc Pederson, LAD ($4,300) vs. SF (RHP Shaun Anderson)
Pederson merits consideration against any questionable righty, especially when available at a reasonable rate. As of Monday, his .366 ISO against right-handed pitchers ranks fourth behind Christian Yelich, Derek Dietrich, and Mike Trout When given the platoon advantage, the outfielder leads off for a prolific Dodgers lineup and has contained his strikeout rate to an impressive 17.7%. While Anderson has held his own in six starts for the Giants, an 84.9% contact, 7.2% swinging-strike and 15.3% strikeout rate all depict a highly hittable opponent for Pederson.
1B Paul Goldschmidt, STL ($3,800) vs. MIA (RHP Jordan Yamamoto)
Maybe Goldschmidt is priced accordingly for a .258/.349/.427 hitter facing a hurler who just tossed seven scoreless frames. However, it’s awfully hard to ignore the discount for a decade-long superstar facing Yamamoto, who will make his second career major league start after posting a modest 3.58 ERA in Double-A and never pitching an inning in Triple-A. This is hardly an overwhelming adversary for the first baseman, who ended a rough week by touching them all Sunday. Most of his struggles have occurred in June, during which he has a .186 BABIP, so take the buy-low gambit.
Honorable Mentions: 2B/OF Jeff McNeill ($4,000) at ATL (RHP Julio Teheran); OF Lorenzo Cain ($3,900) at SD (LHP Logan Allen); 3B Matt Carpenter vs. MIA (Yamamoto).
Value Bat: 2B Robinson Cano, NYM ($3,100) at ATL (RHP Julio Teheran)
Cano’s streak of 10 seasons with a wRC+ above 110 is in grave danger, as an 81 wRC+ accompanies his .240/.288/.385 slash line. The 36-year-old has aged brutally this year, making two trips to the IL in the last month, and the opposing Teheran has allowed four earned runs over his last eight starts. But come on, Cano costs $3,100. Capable players are rarely so cheap. Despite his struggles, the second baseman possessed a 90.5-mph average exit velocity and .328 xwOBA before taking Mike Soroka deep Monday night. Teheran, meanwhile, has not transformed into an unbeatable ace. He still holds a 4.23 FIP and 5.01 SIERA, and lefties have a .336 wOBA against the veteran righty throughout his career. The rare opportunity to punt with a future Hall-of-Fame candidate makes it far easier to build a potent lineup around two pricey pitchers.
Honorable Mentions: 1B Jesus Aguilar ($3,300) at SD (Allen); C Buster Posey ($3,100) at LAD (Kershaw); OF Carlos Gonzalez ($3,100) vs. CWS (Nova).
Lineup Stack: Oakland A’s vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Gabriel Ynoa)
Oakland’s righty-heavy lineup is a terrible matchup for Ynoa, who has ceded a .355/.402/.592 slash line to right-handed hitters. Despite these reverse splits, lefty Matt Olson ($4,600) is the most expensive of the AL West squad’s regulars. Matt Chapman has also harnessed more power (.242 ISO, 128 wRC+) against same-handed opponents over his career, but he only costs $4,200 for this opportune matchup. A percolating Khris Davis, who has gone deep three times in his last eight games, is a tremendous value at $4,000. Although a bit pricier at $4,500, Marcus Semien should get plenty of chances to extend his 14-game hitting streak from the leadoff role. The streaking Ramon Laureano ($4,100) is also in play due to his stout power and speed upside.
Honorable Mentions: Cubs vs. White Sox (Nova); Cardinals vs. Marlins (Yamamoto).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is akgould4) 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.
Graphic by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter).