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Tuesday’s MLB slate is loaded with premium pitchers. Aces old (Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw) and new (Chris Paddack, Noah Syndergaard, Caleb Smith, Jack Flaherty) take the hill as part of DraftKings’ 12-game slate. Then there’s a handful of streaking mid-tier hurlers (Luke Weaver, Brandon Woodruff, Jerad Eickhoff, Kyle Gibson) who would merit more appeal with a better cost or matchup. Instead, let’s turn to an expensive veteran drawing the best matchup in baseball and a struggling hurler who went from an ace to albatross in weeks.
Top SP: Charlie Morton, HOU ($10,500) at MIA
Morton is expensive, but this is a matchup at Miami. The Marlins are slugging .316 at home and possess the worst strikeout rate (27.1%) and wRC+ (65) against righties. The 35-year-old righty enters the start brandishing a 2.64 ERA and 30.4% strikeout rate. Only the Red Sox have managed to stake him to more than two runs in an outing. It’s still far from a lock, though. He doesn’t work deep into games, and the Rays could struggle to provide him run support against Caleb Smith. The positives, however, are too grandiose to ignore in cash contests.
Value SP: Joe Musgrove, PIT ($6,500) at ARI
This is a highly risky selection, as Musgrove has mustered -7.4 and -9.9 DraftKings points in his last two starts, so that’s not ideal. Before that downturn, however, he held a 1.54 ERA following five consecutive quality starts. He still sports a 2.96 FIP and an 11.6 swinging-strike rate that lends credence to a strikeout uptick. As of Monday, the Diamondbacks held a 93 wRC+ against righties and 96 wRC+ at home. Musgrove is ultimately only in play because of his dirt-cheap price. Taking this gamble allows gamers to pony up for a top-tier ace and still save enough to splurge for some top bats.
A healthy Conforto is reaching star heights. While he has also developed into an above-average hitter against lefties, he has desecrated righties to the tune of .412 wOBA with more walks (27) than strikeouts (26) in 125 plate appearances. Hellickson, meanwhile, has gotten tattered to a 5.52 ERA with seven home runs allowed.
OF Nicholas Castellanos, DET ($4,100) vs. HOU (LHP Wade Miley)
Miley nearly received the Value SP nod, but his strikeout rate is too low to play against a lineup with some dangerous righties. Castellanos has crushed lefties to the tune of .298/.352/.509 during his career, and he has even mustered a 219 wRC+ versus them during a tame start to 2019. Although Miley wields a 3.18 ERA and .271 xwOBA, this is too good a price to pass up the 27-year-old outfielder. He’s also heating up a bit with two doubles, a triple and a homer in his last three games.
Value Bat: 1B Ryan O’Hearn, KC ($3,600) vs. TEX (RHP Shelby Miller)
O’Hearn is batting a grotesque .186/.306/.354 this season, and his wOBA has plummeted from .398 to .289. Most of the blame goes to him failing to record a hit in 23 plate appearances against lefties. He has at least plastered a passable .325 wOBA with the platoon advantage. His power is still present versus righties, and he’ll oppose a right-handed pitcher with a 7.48 ERA and more walks (21) than strikeouts (19). The rest of Kansas City’s hitters rightly cost a fortune for this opportune matchup against Miller. Perhaps playing O’Hearn gives contestants the flexibility to afford one of his teammates.
Lineup Stack: A’s at Mariners (RHP Mike Leake)
Last week, I targeted Tyler Mahle against an A’s lineup loaded with righties. Leake, however, has already surrendered a .410 wOBA and six of his 11 home runs to righties this season. The platoon advantage isn’t needed in this matchup.
Matt Chapman ($4,500) has fared just as well against righties (.362 wOBA) as lefties (.360 wOBA) during his career and he has elevated his game to an MVP-caliber level so far this season, with 10 home runs and a severely slashed strikeout rate. A slump and hip injury have diminished Khris Davis‘ cost to $4,000. He hadn’t touched them all since April 12 before going deep twice on Monday, giving star slugger 12 this year. It was only a matter of time before he caught fire again. Matt Olson ($3,900) is also affordable fresh off his hand injury. Without the handedness advantage, Marcus Semien ($3,900) and/or Stephen Piscotty ($3,600) can round out a lineup nicely for someone on a tight budget.
Honorable Mentions: Mariners vs. A’s (Anderson); Royals vs. Rangers (Miller).
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).