DraftKings MLB Lineup Advice: Saturday (7/8)
I’m headed back to the GPP well with tonight’s lineup. The pitching is thoroughly unimpressive tonight, and this roster is anchored by two pitchers with legitimate swing-and-miss stuff on a slate that lacks bat-missing pitchers. To further elaborate, only three pitchers have double-digit swinging strike percentages (SwStr%) this season, according to FanGraphs, and the two pitchers on this squad have the top two marks in that category among this slate’s pitchers. And to really belabor the point, the two pitchers on this roster are the only two on the slate who have a SwStr% of 10% or higher over the last 30 days. Their abilities to miss bats gives the duo high ceilings and also elevates their floors a bit. Since they account for such a small portion of the salary cap, the lineup is loaded with pricey bats. It features a 4-man stack and a handful of one-off big bats.
Mike Clevinger (CLE) : $7,800 vs. Tigers
Clevinger’s not a pitcher without faults, but this entire crop of pitchers on today’s slate feature plenty of shortcomings in their profiles. Clevinger’s biggest issue his is control. He’s walked 13.3% of the batters he’s faced this season. He’s mitigated the damage of the free passes by punching out 28.4% of the batters he’s faced and backing his high strikeout rate with a 13.8% SwStr%. Clevinger’s fastball is not a bat-missing offering, but his slider, changeup, and curveball all are with each featuring a SwStr% between 23% and 24%, per FanGraphs. Strikeouts are not plentiful on tonight’s slate, and Clevinger brings them to the table. The Tigers make for a favorable matchup when they’re away from Comerica Park. Detroit ranks tied for 22nd in road wRC+ (85) and has punched out at a 24.3% clip. They’re also merely a middle-of-the-pack offense versus right-handed pitchers ranking tied for 14th in wRC+ (97). Clevinger and the Indians are -155 favorites, per Pinnacle, and the 9.5 runs over/under total isn’t alarming relative to the other over/under totals on the slate.
Luis Castillo (CIN): $5,900 @ Diamondbacks
Like Clevinger, Castillo has sported below-average control with a 12.3% BB% this year. He did feature better control in the minors with just a 4.1% BB% in 14 starts spanning 80.1 innings at the Double-A level, so there’s room for improvement. The rookie righty is one of the hardest throwers in MLB, but his four-seamer’s 10.8% SwStr% pales in comparison to the 20.0% SwStr% on his slider and 23.2% SwStr% on his changeup. He’s used his nasty arsenal to punch out 30.1% of the batters he’s faced, and he’s done an elite job of keeping the ball on the ground with a 61.9% GB%, something that could help him navigate the pitfalls of homer-friendly Chase Field. The 24-year-old wasn’t great in his last start, but he didn’t embarrass himself at Coors Field striking out eight batters while allowing four earned runs on nine hits and one walk in 5.2 innings. Even with a mediocre line, the righty’s strikeouts helped him score 14.8 fantasy points. The Diamondbacks are a fearsome offense against righties and at home ranking sixth in wRC+ (106) against righties and seventh in wRC+ (111) at home, but they’re somewhat prone to punching out with a 22.5% K% against righties and 22.3% K% at home. At under $6,000, Castillo’s bar for returning positive value is extremely low, and another 15-point outing would be plenty good enough.
- Jeff Samardzija (SF): $9,400 vs. Marlins
- Taijuan Walker (ARI): $7,000 vs. Reds
- Brandon McCarthy (LAD): $6,900 vs. Royals
Buster Posey (SF) : $4,300 vs. Marlins
Posey is a luxury item on this roster. He’s having a great year offensively at a position lacking offensive firepower, and he draws a rookie lefty making his debut in The Show. Chris O’Grady has a 3.29 ERA in 12 appearances (nine starts) at the Triple-A level, but his 4.40 FIP and 4.28 xFIP are less impressive. Posey is a lefty killer with a .388 OBP, .201 ISO, and 149 wRC+ against them since 2014.
Joey Votto (CIN): $5,400 @ Diamondbacks
Votto is an elite hitter, and it’s great seeing him get his due as advanced metrics are becoming more widely discussed and accepted. Since 2014, he has a .443 OBP .233 ISO, and 161 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. He’ll be treated to these luscious park factors at Chase Field tonight.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) : $5,300 vs. Tigers
Ramirez is the first member of our 4-man Tribe stack, and while you can also use him at the hot corner, there’s another player who I have my eye on there. Ramirez is going nuts this year, and the switch-hitter has creamed right-handed pitchers with a .392 OBP, .302 ISO, and 169 wRC+ against them this year. Justin Verlander and his .341 OBP, .423 SLG, and .330 wOBA surrendered to lefties this year shouldn’t provide much resistance to Ramirez.
Nolan Arenado (COL) : $4,900 vs. White Sox
Yesterday I refused to offer an honorable mention at third base with a lefty facing the Rockies at Coors Field, and even though the lefty starting against Colorado is better tonight, I’m digging my heels in with Arenado again. Jose Quintana is having a down year, and righties have totaled a .327 OBP, .425 SLG, and .324 wOBA against him. Those numbers don’t scream out for attacking, but they don’t suggest they’ll halt Arenado’s elite production against southpaws at home. Since 2014, Arenado has ripped off a .415 OBP, .367 ISO, and 159 wRC+ against lefties at Coors Field.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) : $4,100 vs. Tigers
Usually, I don’t offer an honorable mention at a position featuring a stack hitter, but I’m okay with dropping Lindor from the top of the stack if you can find the extra money to pony up to Corey Seager in a plus matchup. Having said that, Lindor offers another piece of exposure to Verlander. Lindor’s 86 wRC+ against righties this year is underwhelming, but his 13.8% K% remains excellent, and his .208 ISO is quite good. The combo of contact and thump against righties should lead to better results. Also, for his career he has a .343 OBP, .160 ISO, and 111 wRC+ against righties, so he has a track record of fairing better against them than he has in the first half of this season.
- Corey Seager (LAD): $4,700 vs. Royals
Michael Brantley (CLE): $4,000 vs. Tigers
Brantley’s rebounded nicely from a nearly completed lost 2016 season. In 175 plate appearances against righties this year he has a .389 OBP, .166 ISO, and 133 wRC+. He’s a terror against righties at home with a .421 OBP, .204 ISO, and 169 wRC+ since 2014.
Lonnie Chisenhall (CLE) : $4,100 vs. Tigers
Chisenhall has joined the elevate-and-celebrate crowd this year with a career-high 46.2% FB% and the best power numbers of his career. The left-handed swinging outfielder has a .342 OBP, .282 ISO, and 133 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season.
Cody Bellinger (LAD) : $4,200 vs. Royals
Bellinger is scuffling of late with an 84 wRC+ and 28.3% K% over the last two weeks, but he’s retained his patience with a 13.2% BB%, and Ian Kennedy is just the pitcher to help him get right. Kennedy’s .304 OBP, .397 SLG, and .306 wOBA allowed to lefties mask the fact he’s ceded a staggering 43.1% Hard% to them, and 50.5% of the balls in play have been in the air. Hard hit balls in the air have a tendency to do damage, and Bellinger knows all about that. The powerful youngster has a .365 ISO against righties that’s fit for punishing Kennedy’s approach of allowing hard-hit fly balls.
- Adam Duvall (CIN): $4,700 @ Diamondbacks
- Melky Cabrera (CHW): $4,500 @ Rockies
- Cameron Maybin (LAA): $4,300 @ Rangers