DraftKings Plays of the Day – June 4
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Following a noticeably light Monday schedule, all 30 MLB teams will return to the diamond for a full Tuesday slate. With every game starting at 7:05 p.m. ET or later, none get excluded from the main DraftKings festivities. There are especially a handful of high-end starters on the docket, but it may make sense to fade the six five-digit aces for an early underachiever.
Top SP: Noah Syndergaard, NYM ($9,600) vs. SF
Feel free to empty your budget for Stephen Strasburg ($11,500), Hyun-Jin Ryu ($11,300) or Blake Snell ($11,000), all of whom have performed considerably better than Syndergaard this season. Even if Thor improves his 4.90 ERA closer to this 3.63 FIP or 3.82 SIERA, that’s still a major step down from a fire-breathing ace wielding a career 3.13 ERA. But if there’s ever a chance to rebound, it’s against the Giants, who rank 27th against righties in wOBA and wRC+. Syndergaard at least settled down somewhat to collect a 3.70 ERA in May, but he remains available for a discount because of May 24’s grotesque six-run outing against the Tigers. There should be enough high-profile alternatives to avoid chalk usage in cash contests.
Value SP: Max Fried, ATL ($7,800) at PIT
If using Syndergaard, I might shell out $8,000 for Eduardo Rodriguez, who gets a Royals offense with a 73 wRC+ against lefties. His massive volatility, however, makes him a better fit for tournaments. After much back and forth, I went with Fried over Chase Anderson because the latter has yet to record an out past the fifth inning. Fried also gets to perform in the spacious PNC Park while Anderson pitches at Milwaukee. While the Atlanta southpaw regressed to a 4.11 ERA in May, he also recorded 30 strikeouts and a 55.3% ground-ball rate in 30.2 innings. Pittsburgh matches Kansas City’s putrid wRC+ against southpaws with the lowest walk rate (4.4%) of any MLB club.
1B Renato Nunez, BAL ($4,900) at TEX (LHP Drew Smyly)
There’s certainly no discount to be had for Nunez, but he’s expensive for good reasons. Baltimore’s designated hitter has clobbered eight home runs in his last 13 games. He’s making life difficult for lefties, boasting a .300/.355/.629 slash line and seven of his 15 home runs in just 76 plate appearances. Nunez takes his sizzling bat to Arlington to face Smyly, who has surrendered aa 6.98 ERA and 10 homers in 38.2 innings. Gamers who want more of a track record can spend an extra $100 for teammate Trey Mancini, also listed exclusively at first base.
Honorable Mentions: 1B Trey Mancini ($5,000) at TEX (Smyly); OF Mookie Betts ($5,000) at KC (RHP Glenn Sparkman); OF J.D. Martinez ($5,000) at KC (Sparkman).
OF Kyle Schwarber, CHC ($3,900) vs. COL (RHP Jeff Hoffman)
The rest of the recommended hitters are following the same theme of exploiting atypical early-season splits. Schwarber is uncharacteristically batting .303 against fellow lefties and a full 100 points lower versus the righties he has staked to a 118 wRC+ in his career. He’s still batting leadoff when given the platoon advantage, so the slugger doesn’t need Coors Field to play for $3,900 against Colorado. Hoffman has also struggled more against righties, but he hasn’t exactly slain lefties (.335 wOBA) during his shaky career. At this price, Schwarber is a solid bet to go yard if the wind is blowing right at Wrigley.
Value: 3B/SS Manny Machado, SD ($3,800) vs. PHI (RHP Jerad Eickhoff)
Machado had a hit in 19 of 20 games before going hitless in the past four bouts. He’s hitting a pedestrian .251/.340/.423 and homered Monday night for the first time since May 14, but he’s too cheap to ignore. It’d be one thing if Eickhoff was still rolling, but he has surrendered 17 runs and 10 homers in his last four starts. While at least spared by a righty-heavy Padres lineup, the right-hander is still a reasonable target to attack after ceding a .555 slugging percentage in May. Eric Hosmer ($4,300) and Franmil Reyes ($4,100) are also in play with better splits against righties than Machado, whose .275 wOBA is far out of whack with his career .345 clip.
Lineup Stack: Braves at Pirates (LHP Steven Brault)
Brault has a 5.87 ERA this season with a .403 wOBA allowed to righties. Five Atlanta batters have a wOBA above .370 against lefties. That doesn’t include Josh Donalson, a career .282/.383/.568 hitters against southpaws who is oddly struggling mightily (.190, 0 HR) versus them in 2019. It’s only 55 plate appearances, so gamers can use those early splits to purchase the third baseman for just $4,000. The same goes for Tyler Flowers, who has gone from a Hall of Famer (.348/.511/.606 in 2018) to unusable scrub (.139/.205/.278 this season) when opposing southpaws. He’s a fine punt play at $3,500. From a less risky standpoint, Ronald Acuna Jr. has demolished lefties (.418 wOBA), making him a priority cash or tournament play for $4,500. Freddie Freeman ($5,200), Dansby Swanson ($5,000) and Austin Riley ($4,900) are at least all priced accordingly, but it wouldn’t hurt to squeeze one of them into a lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Red Sox at Royals (Sparkman); Padres vs. Phillies (Eickhoff); Rangers vs. Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy).
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).