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On another glorious Tuesday evening with every MLB squad in action, DraftKings offers a 13-game main slate not particularly strong on pitching. At least two hurlers are reasonably priced for home starts against beatable offenses. It will be tough to pack lineups with expensive Coors Field exposure, but one hitter stands out as a borderline must-play.
Top SP: Lucas Giolito, CHW ($9,900) vs. KC
There are four viable options (Stephen Strasburg, Frankie Montas, Rich Hill, and Matt Boyd) with five-digit prices, and Boyd is particularly enticing against the Orioles. But with the clash taking place at Camden Yards, let’s put away the Boyd Boys shirt and light it up for Giolito. The former top prospect has transformed from a bust to an ace in a blink of an eye. After firing a complete-game shutout against the Astros, he possesses a 2.77 ERA and 2.80 FIP in nine starts with 59 strikeouts in 52 innings. He has now gone at least seven frames in three of his last four turns, during which he has ceded two combined runs. While the Royals aren’t exactly easy prey, they’re at best an average offense going up against a guy who just carved up Houston. This could be Giolito’s cheapest going rate for a while.
Honorable Mentions: Rich Hill ($10,800) vs. NYM; Matt Boyd ($10,200) at BAL
Value SP: Trevor Richards, MIA ($8,200) vs. SF
One of these picks is usually the pitcher facing Miami, and Jeff Samardzija indeed drew some consideration. Yet the Giants, last in OBP and second-last in wOBA, are only a hair less awful on offense than their current opponents. Richards and Samardzija each enter this matchup with both a FIP and SIERA above 5.00, but the former brings more strikeout upside to the table. Fueled by his elite changeup, Richards has recorded a 12.6% swinging-strike rate that could bolster his 21.2% K rate closer to last year’s 23.8% clip. Following a crisp turn (5.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) against the anemic Tigers, this is the perfect opportunity to keep elevating that mark.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Samardzija ($7,700) at MIA
SS Carlos Correa, HOU ($4,300) vs. CHC (LHP Jon Lester)
Correa is a career .293/.379/.476 hitter against lefties who is batting .340/.411/.640 off them this season. His matchup isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Once again off to a searing start, Lester has a 2.68 ERA and 47 strikeouts in as many innings. He has also, however, surrendered 34 hits in his last four outings and 12 runs (nine earned) in his past two starts. The 35-year-old’s four-seamer induced one swinging strike in those pair of games, and his overall SwSTR rate has dropped to a microscopic 8.2%. As of Monday, that’s the 12th-lowest clip of 113 starters with at least 40 innings pitched. Correa is an affordable stud for those unable or unwilling to pay a premium for Trevor Story ($5,500) or Eduardo Escobar ($5,700) at Coors.
Honorable Mentions: 3B Alex Bregman ($4,800) at CHC (Lester); 3B Matt Chapman ($4,300) vs. LAA (RHP Nick Tropeano); 1B Paul Goldschmidt ($4,100) at PHI (RHP Nick Pivetta).
OF David Dahl, COL ($4,200) vs. ARI (RHP Merrill Kelly)
Dahl comes with his flaws, most notably a 30.6% strikeout rate, but this is a home game against a susceptible righty—the opposing Kelly limps into Tuesday with a 4.75 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. With Charlie Blackmon on the IL, Dahl homered from the No. 2 spot Monday. He’s now a career .337/.379/.508 hitter at Coors Field and a .299/.350/.534 hitter against righties. Consider Dahl a cash-game lock at this price, and teammate Raimel Tapia as not too shabby of a pairing (or alternative if Dahl sits) for $100 more.
Honorable Mentions: 1B Daniel Murphy ($4,500) vs. ARI (Kelly); OF Raimel Tapia ($4,300) vs. ARI (Kelly); OF Bryce Harper ($4,300) vs. STL (RHP Adam Wainwright).
Value Bat: OF Jackie Bradley Jr., BOS ($3,300) vs. CLE (RHP Zach Plesac)
This may feel like scraping the bottom of the barrel, as Bradley garners an embarrassing .173/.270/.282 slash line that wouldn’t even land him a starting gig for the Marlins. Yet he’s gradually turning the corner, batting 9-for-31 with two doubles and two home runs in his last eight games. A small sample size? You bet. But hey, he only costs $3,300 against Zach Plesac, a right-handed rookie making his first career major league start.
Honorable Mentions: OF Eloy Jimenez ($3,600) vs. KC (RHP Brad Keller); OF Dexter Fowler ($3,600) at PHI (Pivetta); 3B J.D. Davis ($3,400) at LAD (Hill); 2B Keston Hiura ($3,300) at MIN (LHP Martin Perez).
Lineup Stack: Dodgers vs. Mets (LHP Steven Matz)
Although the path of least resistance, a Rockies stack probably makes the most sense. There are just too many moving parts in their lineup to identify the right ingredients. Let’s instead go a bit more off the grid in Los Angeles. While Matz is coming off a strong start against Washington, he walked a tightrope to yield one run on 10 hits. The southpaw remains a highly erratic option who has allowed seven home runs and a .389 wOBA on the road. Back to normal from a sluggish start, Justin Turner ($4,100) is batting .343 with as many home runs as strikeouts (five) in May. The former Met batted .336/.448/.580 against lefties last season. Enrique Hernandez ($3,400) has conversely cratered from a hot start, but he’s still rocking a .300/.403/.533 slash line off lefties. The platoon advantage could vault him to the leadoff role, so he’s a superior punt play to Bradley if only needing one. Since Hernandez is also eligible at second base, it’s not necessarily a one-or-the-other choice. A day after taking Jacob deGrom deep, Chris Taylor is also dirt cheap ($3,200) despite his .355 wOBA against lefties. Finally, impressive early splits keep Alex Verdugo ($3,900) in play.
Honorable Mentions: Rockies vs. Diamondbacks (Kelly); Cardinals at Phillies (Pivetta).
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).