DraftKings MLB Lineup Advice: Friday (8/11)
One arm stands out as the clear top choice. A second near five-figure arm also has elite upside. Beyond that, the middle tier isn’t terribly enticing, and the bargain bin has a couple of viable arms. There are few awful pitchers getting the ball, and the beauty of that is there is no shortage of great hitting options and punts with soft matchups. In other words, it’s possible to use both the clear top choice and second choice at starting pitcher together while fleshing out a decent lineup. Below, I’ve highlighted my two favorite pitching options, a couple cheap options worth a look, and some strong hitting selections.
Rich Hill (LAD): $12,200 vs. Padres
Hill’s career has been something else, so when he hit a rough patch during this season, it was fair to wonder if he could bounce back again. He has, and over the last 30 days, he has a 2.86 ERA (3.77 FIP, 3.02 xFIP, and 3.08 SIERA), a 1.09 WHIP, 5.6% BB%, 31.1% K%, and 11.7% SwStr%, according to FanGraphs. The Padres make for an exceptionally soft matchup ranking dead last in wOBA (.286) and tied for last in wRC+ (76) against southpaws this year while striking out at a staggering 25.3% clip. The veteran southpaw and the Dodgers are one of the biggest money-line favorites of the year at -342, according to Pinnacle, and he’s easily the top pitching selection tonight. Hill faced the Padres on July 1 in San Diego and held them scoreless in seven innings allowing just four hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts. He once again has the upside to eclipse 35 fantasy points.
Carlos Carrasco (CLE): $9,700 @ Rays
I mentioned a rough patch in Hill’s write up, and Carrasco is in the midst of one at the moment with a 6.58 ERA in five starts over the last 30 days. He’s still missing bats, though, with a 24.1% K% and 11.7% SwStr% during that stretch. One troubling number in his statistical profile over that stretch is just a 26.9% O-Swing%, but it’s possible that’s just small sample noise. I’m banking on Carrasco righting the ship and returning to the form that’s produced a 4.06 ERA (3.66 FIP, 3.56 xFIP, and 3.61 SIERA), 1.16 WHIP, 6.8% BB%, 26.8% K%, and a 12.5% SwStr% overall this year. One reason I believe he stops scuffling tonight is the location of the game. Carrasco has been much better on the road this year than at home, and that’s not a recent development. Since 2015, he has a 4.72 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 3.29 xFIP, 1.32 WHIP, 6.3% BB% and 25.1% K% at home compared to a 2.73 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 2.99 xFIP, 0.96 WHIP, 5.9% BB%, and 29.4% K% on the road. Carrasco’s upside is immense tonight against a Rays squad that has struck out in 25.0% of their plate appearances against righties this year. He and the Indians are -128 favorites.
Jose Urena (MIA): $6,600 vs. Rockies
Urena’s significantly outpitching his advanced stats with a 3.70 ERA compared to a 4.82 FIP, 5.34 xFIP, and 5.07 SIERA as well as a 4.70 DRA, per Baseball Prospectus. He has a live arm, though, pumping out a four-seamer with an average velocity of 95.5 mph, according to FanGraphs. He backs it with a slider and changeup, and his mix of secondaries has allowed him to avoid a notable platoon split (.299 wOBA allowed to lefties and .308 to righties this season). Overall, he’s probably not as good as his ERA, but there are some interesting components that suggest he’s not as bad as advanced measures, either. Splitting the difference, he’s a viable option at a minimal salary commitment when factoring in his opponent. The visiting Rockies rank dead last in wRC+ (79) against righties while striking out at a 22.9% clip against them. They also struggle mightily on the road ranking 29th in wRC+ (79) and 28th in wOBA (.298) with a 24.7% K%. A 15-20 point output is attainable for Urena tonight.
Reynaldo Lopez (CHW): $5,500 vs. Royals
Searching for a little more scoring upside out of your bargain bin arm? Lopez is the guy for you if you’re also willing to embrace more volatility. In 22 Triple-A starts spanning 121.0 innings this year, he has a 3.79 ERA (4.17 FIP and 3.85 xFIP), 1.24 WHIP, 9.5% BB%, 25.4% K%, and a 11.9% SwStr%. He made 11 appearances (six starts) for the Nationals last year with inconsistent results. The righty’s swing-and-miss ability provides him more strikeout upside than Urena has tonight, and Lopez has a favorable matchup, too. The visiting Royals rank 23rd in wRC+ (90) against righties and 23rd in wRC+ (86) on the road this season. The Pale Hose are underdogs at home with the visiting Royals at -151 on the money-line. The game’s over/under total of 9.5 runs is also likely to dissuade gamers from using Lopez. The combination should result in Lopez being low owned, adding to his appeal in GPPs.
This trio of hitters slotted third, fifth, and sixth, respectively, in the order against a southpaw last night. They make for a high-ceiling, low-cost stack that I’m completely enamored with. All three crush lefties, and opposing starter Clayton Richard is extremely giving to right-handed batters. The southpaw has coughed up a .376 OBP, .545 SLG, 18 homers, and a .386 wOBA to 462 right-handed batters faced this year. You can use any of these three in isolation, but using all three is doable with a Hill/Carrasco pairing, and I intend on using the five together on at least one roster tonight.
Miguel Cabrera (DET) : $3,600 vs. Twins
Miggy’s year has been a forgettable one, but he’s continued to punish righties at home. This year, he has a .367 OBP, .269 ISO, and 145 wRC+ in 147 plate appearances at home. The sample this year is small, but as you can see here, he has an extensive history of hammer righties at home. Kyle Gibson‘s a good righty to draw tonight, too. Gibson has yielded a .378 OBP, .495 SLG, and .373 wOBA to righties this year. Miggy is my favorite value bat tonight and a strong play in all game types.
Bryce Harper (OF – WAS) : $5,600 vs. Giants
Harper is the second most expensive hitter on this slate, so I’m not exactly going out on a limb calling him my favorite hitter tonight. Rookie righty Chris Stratton has allowed 43 hits and 13 walks to left-handed batters in 38.1 innings at the Triple-A level this year, according to MiLB.com, and Harper’s a tiny bit better than a Triple-A hitter. Since 2015, Harper ranks second in OBP (.436), tied for third in ISO (.296), and tied for second in wRC+ (169) against righties among all qualified hitters. Harper’s the guy to spend up to if you opt to use a value SP2 with Hill or Carrasco.
Eric Thames (1B – MIL) : $4,100 vs. Reds
Thames set the world on fire in his first month back in MLB. He hasn’t been able to sustain that silly start, but he’s remained a thorn in the side of righties. Since May 1, he has a .356 OBP .240 ISO, and 113 wRC+ against righties. Arm injuries have taken their toll on Homer Bailey, and he’s been terrible this season. Left-handed batters have ripped him to the tune of a .388 OBP, .482 SLG, and .375 wOBA. The Brewers will likely be a popular stack option — and a good one at that — but I like Thames as a one-off selection.
Aaron Hicks (OF – NYY) : $3,600 vs. Red Sox
Hicks was activated from the disabled list yesterday, and he promptly went 0-5 in five plate appearances. The toolsy switch-hitting outfielder is having a breakout season, though, and he’s hammered southpaws with a .384 OBP, .250 ISO, and 150 wRC+. His patience (10.4% BB% in his career against lefties and 11.0% BB% this year) should play well against Eduardo Rodriguez (9.0% BB% allowed to righties this year). The Yankees are -117 favorites, and the game has an over/under total of 9.5 runs. Those betting numbers are favorable for Hicks’ upside from the two-hole in the Yankees’ lineup.