DraftKings Plays of the Day – May 21
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As usual, Tuesday’s MLB slate into filled to the brim. With every team in action, DraftKings’ evening slate features all but one game. Even without an intriguing showdown between Cleveland’s slumping ace Trevor Bauer and Oakland’s unexpected breakout Chris Bassitt, two pitchers in particular have eye-popping matchups at generous prices.
Top SP: German Marquez, COL ($9,200) at PIT
For all the back and forth about Marquez’s true worth, the formula becomes must easier to solve in DFS. He still sports a 2.55 ERA and .179 opposing batting average away from Coors Field despite ceding five runs to the Red Sox last Wednesday. These struggles only feel so magnified because he dominated at Miami, Tampa Bay, and San Francisco to open 2019. He has the perfect chance to rebound at Pittsburgh against the Pirates, who are 20th in wOBA against righties and 24th in wOBA at home, as of Monday. Icing what could have been a difficult choice, Marquez costs considerably less than Justin Verlander ($11,300), Caleb Smith ($10,400), and Zack Greinke ($10,200).
Value SP: Spencer Turnbull, DET ($7,800) vs. MIA
Turnbull’s 2.40 ERA is highly misleading. His 3.71 FIP and 4.28 SIERA point to considerable regression, and he avoided calamity by getting spared five unearned runs in his last start against Oakland. Luckily, DraftKings does not price him as a pitcher with a 2.40 ERA facing the Marlins. He’s a cost-effective option despite drawing baseball’s worst offense at home. The only drawback: Detroit will struggle to scrape together run support against Smith.
Honorable Mentions: Shaun Anderson ($6,900) vs. ATL; Sonny Gray ($6,700) at MIL.
OF Michael Brantley, HOU ($5,000) vs. CHW (RHP Dylan Covey)
I’m typically hesitant to tout such a high-cost hitter, especially since it’s usually an obvious superstar with an obviously advantageous matchup. Yet Brantley is an unassuming stud who merits the hefty expenditure. Among 390 pitchers who have faced at least 50 batters, Covey carries the second-worst xwOBA (.472) behind Alex Cobb. Lefties are hitting .270/.362/.472 against him. Brantley, meanwhile, is bashing righties to a .346/.393/.617 slash line with 10 walks and 10 strikeouts in 145 plate appearances. It feels weird paying full freight for Brantley when J.D. Martinez ($4,900) and Ronald Acuna Jr. ($4,800) are cheaper, but he’s on fire and getting the perfect opportunity to stay hot.
OF Max Kepler ($4,200) at LAA (RHP Trevor Cahill)
After teasing a turnaround with a quality start (6 IP, 2 ER, 5 K) at Baltimore, Cahill got shelled for six runs at Minnesota. He now holds a ghastly 6.95 ERA with 14 home runs relinquished in nine starts. His sinker has surrendered a .440 wOBA, and lefties have dismantled him to a .350/.416/.663 line. Seems like a good spot for a lefty with pop batting leadoff. Although he’s having an up-and-down season, Kepler entered Monday night boasting a .258 ISO against righties. He’s a great bet to go yard at a mid-range price.
Honorable Mentions: 1B Christian Walker ($4,400) at SD (LHP Matt Strahm); 3B/OF Jeff McNeill ($4,300) vs. WAS (RHP Erik Fedde)
Value Bat: 2B Nicky Lopez, KC ($3,400) at STL (RHP Michael Wacha)
Since last week’s promotion, Lopez is batting .320/.393/.440 in six games, all served in Kansas City’s No. 2 slot. After striking out just five times in 31 Triple-A games, the 24-year-old rookie has three strikeouts and walks apiece in 28 major league plate appearances. He’s averaging as many DraftKings points (7.3) as Howie Kendrick, who costs $4,700 against Zack Wheeler. Lopez draws a susceptible opponent in Wacha, who has surrendered a 4.93 ERA, 5.57 FIP, and 40.2% hard-hit rate (per FanGraphs) in eight starts. This all adds up to a player worth more than $3,400.
Lineup Stack: Yankees at Orioles (RHP David Hess)
This doesn’t need to be a full stack, as the Bronx Bombers are understandably expensive against Hess. Righties are slugging .649 with 11 homers against Baltimore’s beleaguered righty, so the matchup plays right into New York’s favor. There’s one stellar value pick to make room for one or two pricier teammates. While Giancarlo Stanton began his rehab assignment with a home run last night, Kendrys Morales remains the Yankees’ DH for the immediate future. This is going to sound familiar, but his Statcast numbers (.280 xBA, .378 xwOBA) are more favorable than his actual results (.203 AVG, .271 wOBA). He’s worth a buy-low flier at $3,600 for those who can’t stomach spending $5,300 on Luke Voit. Generating all of their power against fellow righties, Gary Sanchez ($5,200) and Gleyber Torres ($5,100) each merit a close look at Baltimore. They already have already staked Hess to three and two home runs, respectively.
Honorable Mentions: Rangers vs. Mariners (LHP Tommy Milone); Mets vs. Nationals (Fedde).
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).