DraftKings MLB Lineup Advice: Saturday (7/15)
Locking in an SP2 is an easy choice. Picking from a smorgasbord of supremely talented aces for the SP1 was much more difficult. Great American Ball Park is a launching pad for long balls, and the Reds don’t strikeout out a ton, so that takes some shine off Max Scherzer‘s star. Of course, his upside is immense and he can strike out the most contact-oriented offenses. Still, at $12,900, I’d prefer turn elsewhere for my SP1 in GPPs — and the roster below is for GPPs. He’s defensible, obviously, but I won’t include him among the honorable mentions. Corey Kluber didn’t get the nod as the SP1 on the roster below, but he nudges out Scherzer in my pecking order for aces not used. The Athletics whiff a bunch, and Kluber is a strikeout machine. He’ll make the honorable mentions. I’m fully buying Alex Wood‘s monster season. The underlying stats support it, and he’s throwing harder this year. The Marlins are tough on lefties, though, and they don’t strike out a bunch against them, so, like Mad Max, he doesn’t make the honorable mentions cut despite his excellence. Now that I’ve gotten a lengthier intro than usual out of the way discussing pitchers who missed the cut, let’s dive into the team I’ve assembled below featuring a three-man stack and serious offensive firepower.
Author’s note: The White Sox initially listed Derek Holland as the starter, but they’ve opted to give the ball to a right-handed punching bag, Mike Pelfrey instead. The initial roster that was constructed and never published featured three Mariners who crush lefties. Their analysis is no longer useful, however, the initial starters at second base and shortstop are now honorable mentions. Instead of wasting the analysis I initially provided, I’m leaving their analysis with them in the honorable mentions section. As a result, there’s a bit of bonus info in today’s piece.
Madison Bumgarner (SF): $10,500 @ Padres
I believe it would be disingenuous to discuss Bumgarner’s pre-DL numbers this year as if they have much meaning. After suffering a grade 2 sprain of the AC joint in his left shoulder, it’s unclear what his stuff will look like in his return. Prior to his injury, you didn’t need more than two hands’ worth of fingers to count the number of pitchers who could claim to be as good or better than Bumgarner. If he comes back to his ace form, he’s a steal at his salary in a great matchup. The matchup is what this play is mostly about. The Padres rank 29th in wRC+ (69) and dead last in wOBA (.276) against southpaws while tying for the third highest strikeout rate (26.1%) against them, according to FanGraphs. They’re also bad at home ranking tied for 27th in wRC+ (86) and 29th in wOBA (.297) with the third highest strikeout rate (24.9%). The matchup and discount from the other aces will net Bumgarner some ownership, but I think he’ll carry a GPP-friendly ownership rate thanks to the presence of safer, high-upside arms as alternatives.
Danny Duffy (KC): $7,800 vs. Rangers
Duffy was a no-brainer pick as my SP2. No one strikes out more against southpaws than the Rangers with a 27.0% K% this season. When they’re putting the ball in play against lefties, they’re not doing much damage ranking tied for 27th in wRC+ (77) and 25th in wOBA (.296). In addition to being dreadful against lefties, they’re awful on the road ranking tied for 24th in wRC+ (83) and 25th in wOBA (.298) while striking out an MLB high 27.4% clip. Duffy is fully capable of exploiting their swing-and-miss tendencies with a 11.9% SwStr% that ranks 19th among pitchers who’ve pitched at least 80 innings this year. He’s done an even better job of missing bats of late with a 12.8% SwStr% over the last 30 days. The lefty was electric last year, but his results have been more pedestrian this year. Ideally, that takes a bite out of his ownership, but I don’t suspect gamers will be sleeping on Duffy at his bargain-ish salary in this dreamy matchup.
- Corey Kluber (CLE): $12,200 @ Athletics
- Jimmy Nelson (MIL): $9,700 vs. Phillies
- Aaron Nola (PHI): $8,800 @ Brewers
- Mike Foltynewicz (ATL): $6,900 vs. Diamondbacks
Tyler Flowers (ATL): $3,200 vs. Diamondbacks
Pick updated to: Kurt Suzuki (ATL): $3,000 vs. Diamondbacks
Patrick Corbin continues to struggle with right-handed batters this year, and they’ve teed off on him tallying a .364 OBP, .515 SLG, and .370 wOBA. Flowers has blossomed into an above-average offensive backstop since joining the Braves last year, and in 134 plate appearances against lefties, he’s rattled off a .366 OBP and 103 wRC+.
Logan Morrison (TB): $4,300 @ Angels
Morrison is part of the elevate-and-celebrate crowd this year with a 46.9% FB% and 46.9% Hard% against righties this season. He’s ridden the hard-hit fly balls to a .373 OBP, .340 ISO, and 152 wRC+. The lefty-swinging first baseman’s excellence against righties this year lines up perfectly with J.C. Ramirez‘s struggles with left-handed batters. The righty pitcher has yielded a .346 OBP, .574 SLG, and .381 wOBA against lefties this year.
- Eric Thames (MIL): $4,300 vs. Phillies
- Jose Abreu (CHW): $4,000 vs. Mariners
- Lucas Duda (NYM): $3,100 vs. Rockies
Robinson Cano (SEA): $4,700 @ White Sox
With Mike Pelfrey getting the ball instead of Derek Holland, the M’s left-handed bats swap places with their right-handed bats as elite plays. Pelfrey’s been beaten around the park for a .377 OBP, .504 SLG, and .369 wOBA against lefties this year. That lines up nicely with Cano’s excellence against righties. Since 2015, the veteran second baseman owns a .357 OBP, .225 ISO, and 138 wRC+. He wasted little time getting back into the swing of things after the All-star break by slugging a long ball last night.
- Brad Miller (TB): $3,500 @ AngelsMiller’s not as exciting a piece of left-handed exposure to Ramirez, but he’s a cheap one. He’s hit a dinger since his return from the disabled list, and since last year, he has a .230 ISO and 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. The left-handed hitter’s power has been way down this year against righties (.090 ISO), but his patience has been amazing (22.3% BB%) and resulted in a bloated .377 OBP. Perhaps his homer since his return from the DL is an indication his missing power is returning. Regardless, there’s enough to like here to make him a solid play at a value price.
- Brian Dozier (MIN): $4,100 @ Astros
- Jonathan Villar (MIL): $3,700 vs. Phillies
- Ben Zobrist (CHC): $3,300 @ Orioles
Miguel Sano (MIN): $4,500 @ Astros
Sano has punished right-handed pitchers since reaching The Show in 2015 with a .348 OBP, .241 ISO, and 125 wRC+. He’s been a bit better against them this year with a .355 OBP, .249 ISO, and 127 wRC+. Righty Joe Musgrove struggles in same-handed matchups and has ceded a .363 OBP, .538 SLG, and .381 wOBA to right-handed hitters this year.
- Kris Bryant (CHC): $5,100 @ Orioles
- Jake Lamb (ARI): $4,800 @ Braves
- Travis Shaw (MIL): $4,400 vs. Phillies
- Todd Frazier (CHW): $3,900 vs. Mariners
Javier Baez (CHC): $3,600 @ Orioles
You’ll notice in Brandon Crawford‘s write-up below that Baez was initially a tough cut due to salary cap restrictions. Reshuffling the lineup after news of Pelfrey starting has freed up the necessary cap space to use Baez. Since 2015, he owns a .364 OBP, .203 ISO, and 124 wRC+ against southpaws. Wade Miley‘s ill equipped to slow Baez down, too, since he’s surrendered a .393 OBP, .469 SLG, and .373 wOBA to right-handed batters this year. As an added bonus, Baez will take his cuts in a ballpark that features a right-handed batter park factor of 114 for homers, per StatCorner’s rolling 3-year average.
- Brandon Crawford (SF): $3,200 @ PadresLike last night, shortstop makes for an attractive punt spot. Either of the Cubs shortstops are defensible, with Javier Baez being the far more attractive option of the duo. He doesn’t fit under the salary cap of this roster, though, and Crawford is a great consolation prize. He’ll take his cuts against Jhoulys Chacin‘s .370 OBP, .497 SLG, and .363 wOBA allowed to lefties this season. PETCO Park is a pitcher-friendly venue like AT&T Park, but it doesn’t suppress left-handed homers to the same degree. AT&T Park’s left-handed batter park factor of 61 is a full 28 points below Petco Park’s 89 park factor. Crawford’s shown off his pop on the road against righties, and since 2015, he has a .214 ISO under those conditions. He’s also been an above-average hitter with a 109 wRC+ against righties on the road since 2015.
- Addison Russell (CHC): $3,200 @ Orioles
Ben Gamel (SEA): $3,900 @ White Sox
Gamel provides this roster with another piece of lefty exposure to Pelfrey. The former Yankee has blossomed with the Mariners, and he’s given righties fits with a .384 OBP and 124 wRC+. The speedy outfielder has only stolen two bases this year, but he’s demonstrated better stolen base skills in the minors and faces one of the easiest pitchers to run on. Pelfrey has allowed 15 stolen bases in 16 games (14 starts), tied for the most allowed by a pitcher this year.
Corey Dickerson (TB): $4,100 @ Angels
Dickerson was touted for yesterday’s team, and even with a $500 salary bump from Friday night, he’s still under priced. This year, he has a .356 OBP, .251 ISO, and 142 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. Ramirez’s struggles with left-handed batters should help Dickerson add to those already sterling numbers tonight.
Matt Kemp (ATL): $3,200 vs Diamondbacks
Kemp rounds out this team as a hell of a bargain. He’s been a lefty killer throughout his career, and he’s not slowing down. Since 2015, he has tallied a .348 OBP, .245 ISO, and 131 wRC+ against southpaws. His ability to mash against lefties pairs well with Corbin’s ineptitude against right-handed batters.
- Bryce Harper (WAS): $5,500 @ Reds
- Mike Trout (LAA): $5,300 vs. Rays
- Jay Bruce (NYM): $4,400 vs. Rockies
- Cody Bellinger (LAD): $4,400 @ Marlins
- Michael Brantley (CLE): $4,300 @ Athletics
- Michael Conforto (NYM): $4,200 vs. Rockies
- Mallex Smith (TB): $4,100 @ Angels
- Giancarlo Stanton (MIA): $4,100 vs. Dodgers