DraftKings MLB Lineup Advice: Friday (6/16)
Friday nights are often fun for playing in GPPs because the slate is usually full and the options are vast. Max Scherzer is on the bump, so there’s a massive-ceiling pitcher to anchor your team with. There’s a game at Coors Field, too, so you know there’s potential for run scoring there. The roster below is built for GPP purposes, and it features a stack away from Coors Field. The beauty of a game in Colorado is you can always count on high ownership there. I don’t think this particular stack will fly way below the radar, but it should benefit from running against the game in Colorado as well as the presence of a pricey Mad Max and some other top-flight starting pitchers who command top dollar. As usual, I won’t include honorable mentions at the positions featuring a player from the stack since the stack makes up the backbone of the roster.
Max Scherzer (WAS): $12,900 @ Mets
Scherzer will be a popular play even with some other excellent pitchers toeing the slab and plenty of high-priced boppers of interest. Part of the reason Mad Max will still draw ownership is because there are some rock-solid SP2 options such as the one I have paired with him and a couple of honorable mentions who will net their share of ownership, too. The other reason the righty stud will be popular is because he’s so damn good. Among qualified starters this year, Scherzer ranks second in strikeout rate (35.1%), first in WHIP (0.85), fourth in ERA (2.36), second in FIP (2.80), seventh in xFIP (3.04), second in SIERA (2.71), and second in SwStr% (15.6%), according to FanGraphs. If DRA is your cup of tea for advanced pitching metric, Scherzer ranks second among pitchers who’ve totaled at least 50 innings this year with a 1.81 DRA, per Baseball Prospectus. No matter how you slice it, he’s been a terror for opposing hitters. The Nationals are only -149 favorites at Citi Field, per Pinnacle, but that’s partly because he’s opposing a very good pitcher, Steven Matz. Citi Field has been the fourth hardest ballpark to score runs in this year, according to ESPN’s 2017 MLB park factors, and it checks in as a pitcher-friendly park using StatCorner’s 3-year rolling average as well. Scherzer is coming off a 30.1 fantasy point effort in his last turn and three straight of more than 43 points before that. His four-start scoring outburst speaks to his upside, and another monster scoring effort is well within reach.
Joe Biagini (TOR): $6,900 vs. White Sox
I suspect the most popular cheap starter (sub-$7,500) will be Junior Guerra. He’s listed as an honorable mention, but my preference is to spend a little more to net a guy who should carry lower ownership. Of course, I don’t prefer to use Biagini due to a lower ownership rate, I also am completely enamored with his work as a starter. He opened the year in the bullpen, but he’s since been stretched out to starting. He’s made three straight quality starts and pitched seven innings allowing three runs in each of his last two appearances. He’s struck out five or more batters in each of those turns, and during that three-start stretch he’s reeled off a 2.70 ERA (2.58 FIP, 3.60 xFIP, and 3.60 SIERA), 1.00 WHIP, 4.9% BB%, 22.2% K%, 58.6% GB%, 23.7% Hard%, and 9.6% SwStr%. He has a few bat-missing strikeout offerings and the arsenal depth to keep lefties and righties in check. There’s a ton to love here. The Blue Jays are -148 betting favorites, and the White Sox are a soft matchup. The Pale Hose rank tied for 26th in wRC+ (84) against righties with an exploitable 22.8% K% this season. They’re also no great shakes on the road with an 88 wRC+ this year.
Cameron Rupp (PHI): $2,200 vs. Diamondbacks
Rupp is a lefty killer. Since 2014, he’s tallied a .360 OBP, .249 ISO, and 141 wRC+. He draws struggling southpaw Patrick Corbin at Citizens Bank Park. Corbin’s yielded a .385 OBP, .546 SLG, .393 wOBA, and 11 homers to the 262 right-handed batters he’s faced. His homer struggles will really be challenged by CBP’s right-handed park factor of 141 for homers.
Hanley Ramirez (BOS): $3,300 @ Astros
Han-Ram isn’t exactly smacking righties around this year, but he’s been a few ticks above average against them with a 106 wRC+, and his .347 OBP and .176 ISO are solid, though, not spectacular. I’m drawn to using him as a valuable source of salary relief for two reasons beyond his slightly above average work against righties. The first is that he’s part of a high-powered offense that’s a slight underdog (Houston’s a -122 favorite) in a game with an over/under total of 9.5 runs. The second and more important reason I’m drawn to using him is a matchup with Mike Fiers. The veteran righty hurler has faced 130 right-handed batters this year and coughed up 12 long balls, a .357 OBP, .650 SLG, and .416 wOBA.
- Brandon Belt (SF): $4,600 @ Rockies
- Miguel Cabrera (DET): $3,800 vs. Rays
- Tommy Joseph (PHI): $3,700 vs. Diamondbacks
- Yonder Alonso (OAK): $3,600 vs. Yankees
Robinson Cano (SEA): $4,100 @ Rangers
Cano kicks off our Mariners stack, and at $4,100, I imagine he’ll be a very chalky play even as a standalone option. Tyson Ross is making his first start of the year for the Rangers, and while on a rehab assignment at the Triple-A level, he tallied a 7.71 ERA (6.69 FIP and 6.45 xFIP) while allowing 1.45 HR/9 with a 12.9% BB% and 12.9% K%. Yikes! The 30-year-old starting pitcher’s numbers don’t suggest he’s ready to retire hitters in the Bigs. He missed almost all of last year, and in his last healthy season (2015), he wasn’t death on lefties with a .358 OBP and .323 wOBA allowed to them. Cano and his .371 OBP, .206 ISO, and 143 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers since 2014 is well equipped to punish Ross in his first start in The Show in 2017.
Kyle Seager (SEA): $3,700 @ Rangers
Seager’s another piece of left-handed hitting exposure to Ross. He hasn’t been quite as productive against righties as Cano has since 2014, but he’s not far behind with a .358 OBP, .200 ISO, and 131 wRC+. Cano, Seager, and all of the members of the M’s offense will get a park factor boost playing at Globe Life Park in Arlington, as it enhances run scoring by 13% for lefties and 9% for righties, per StatCorner’s rolling 3-year averages. Also not previously mentioned, the Mariners are -134 favorites in a game with an over/under total of 10 runs. Comparatively, the game in Coors has an over/under total of 10.5 runs, but it’s nearly a pick ’em.
Brandon Crawford (SF): $3,800 @ Rockies
Crawford isn’t having a banner year at the dish by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s helped keep his salary south of $4,000 despite playing in Colorado tonight. The left-handed hitting shortstop has shown off above-average power against righties away from his pitcher-friendly home park tallying a .201 ISO on the road against right-handed pitchers since 2014. If you lop off 2014, his ISO rises to .216 against righties on the road.
- Trevor Story (COL): $3,800 vs. Giants
Mitch Haniger (SEA): $4,600 @ Rangers
Haniger is our only right-handed piece of exposure to Ross, which means I’m advocating dropping Nelson Cruz from the stack. I suspect the vast majority of M’s stacks will include their cleanup hitter, and in order to further differentiate ourselves from the pack, my preference is to spin down to a $4,000 outfielder. Consider the $1,000 salary savings our way of either moving up from Guerra to Biagini or avoiding the dregs of shortstop and rostering Crawford. Getting back to Haniger, he’s proven to be a hell of a get for the Mariners. Jean Segura and Taijuan Walker headlined the trade, but the 26-year-old is stealing the show with a .429 OBP, .257 ISO, and 176 wRC+ in his first 120 plate appearances with Seattle. The right-handed hitting outfielder has creamed right-handed pitchers to the tune of a .457 OBP, .260 ISO, and 191 wRC+.
Ben Gamel (SEA): $4,200 @ Rangers
Haniger hasn’t been the only pleasant breakout in the outfield. Former Yankee Ben Gamel owns a .407 OBP, .129 ISO, and 142 wRC+ in 195 plate appearances this year. The lefty-swinging 25-year-old has rattled off a .417 OBP, .127 ISO, and 146 wRC+ against righties. The power isn’t impressive, but he’s not exactly just a singles hitter, either. He’s doing an elite job of getting on base, and as the spark plug atop the order, he’ll be in a great position to pile up runs and fantasy points if Ross proves overwhelmed by Seattle’s lineup — which I obviously expect to be the case.
Eric Thames (MIL): $4,000 vs. Padres
Thames rounds out the outfield, and he allows me to pivot away from Cruz as a result of having a great matchup at home. Rookie Miguel Diaz was a Rule 5 pick of the Padres in the offseason, and it’s not shocking he’s getting pounded after never pitching an inning in the upper minors. Diaz owns a 6.92 ERA (6.24 FIP, 5.91 xFIP, and 5.38 SIERA) with a staggering 1.73 HR/9 in 22 appearances (one start) totaling 26 innings. Left-handed batters have amassed a .440 OBP, .619 SLG, and .442 wOBA against the rookie righty. Thames can knock the cover off the ball of below-average pitching, and in his return stateside, he’s totaled a .422 OBP, .322 ISO, and 157 wRC+ against righties.
- Jose Bautista (TOR): $4,200 vs. White Sox
- Carlos Gonzalez (COL): $3,700 vs. Giants
- Hunter Renfroe (SD): $3,600 @ Brewers