DraftKings MLB Lineup Advice: Saturday (9/30)
This is the last DraftKings MLB Lineup Advice article of the season from me, so I’d like to start by thanking those of you who’ve read all year. Now, moving on to tonight’s slate, it’s a GPP only slate for me. Clayton Kershaw is on a pitch limit, Max Scherzer threw fewer than 90 pitches in his last start, and Corey Kluber gets the ball for the Indians, and there’s no incentive for Cleveland to overexert him before the playoffs. Today’s picks advocate fading the trio and spending up on hitters.
Taijuan Walker (ARI): $8,500 @ Royals
Walker’s actually my second-favorite starting pitcher in this contest, but on a night of slim pickings, if you’re fading the potential pitch-count restrictions of the Big 3, he’s viable. The game’s over/under is only nine runs with the visiting Diamondbacks serving as -113 favorites, per Pinnacle. The Royals rank 20th in wRC+ (92) against righties this year, according to FanGraphs, and they rank tied for 23rd in wRC+ (92) at home. Kansas City’s non-threatening offense fuels this pick, but Walker’s pitched respectably this year with a 3.54 ERA (4.12 FIP, 4.41 xFIP, 4.38 SIERA, and a 4.26 DRA, per Baseball Prospectus), 1.35 WHIP, 9.0% BB%, and 21.0% K%. The righty’s control has been shaky over the last 30 days with a 14.5% BB%, but it could be argued he’s been effectively wild with a 3.51 ERA and 25.6% K% during that time frame.
Jake Junis (KC): $7,600 vs. Diamondbacks
Junis doesn’t strike out as many batters as Walker with an 18.9% K% in his rookie season, but he avoids free passes with a 5.8% BB%. He’s also a matchup-driven suggestion. The Diamondbacks’ bats don’t travel. They rank tied for 24th in wRC+ (82) on the road, and their strikeout rate explodes to 24.0%. There’s also the potential for any of the Diamondbacks regular starters to sit for rest in advance of their Wild Card game. Furthermore, the Diamondbacks’ road struggles line up nicely with Junis’ favorable home/road splits. Junis has been much better at home, and he has a 3.49 ERA (3.52 FIP and 3.97 xFIP), 1.34 WHIP, 6.0% BB%, and 22.2% K% in 38.2 innings pitched at home. He’s my favorite pitching selection tonight.
Seth Lugo (NYM): $6,300 @ Phillies
My second favorite option at pitcher tonight is the bargain-bin priced, fill-in starter Seth Lugo. Jacob deGrom was scratched from tonight’s on Friday, and Lugo will replace him. The Phillies rank tied for 24th in wRC+ (90) and have an exploitable 23.7% K% against right-handed pitchers this year. Philadelphia is also in an offensive rut ranking 29th in wRC+ (60) over the last two weeks while striking out in more than a quarter (25.1% K%) of their plate appearances in that time frame. Lugo got rocked in a September 14 start, but he’s allowed one earned run or less in three of his last four starts. The 27-year-old’s 4.72 ERA this year is considerably higher than his 3.92 FIP, 4.19 xFIP, and 4.36 SIERA. I’m not expecting a huge game from Lugo, but at his tiny salary, reaching the teens in scoring would suffice, and he’s coming off of a 30.3 DraftKings points showing with a 22.5 points effort on September 8 on his ledger, too.
Justin Bour (MIA): $4,200 vs. Braves
You’d never know Bour was on the disabled list from late July to early September, as he hasn’t skipped a beat since returning on September 8. Since then, he owns a .390 OBP, .231 ISO, and 140 wRC+. He’s done well against righties this year with a .380 OBP, .255 ISO, and 142 wRC+, and since 2015, he owns a .354 OBP, .245 ISO, and 132 wRC+ against right-handed hurlers. Rookie starting pitcher Lucas Sims has yielded a .377 OBP, .440 SLG, and .353 OBA to left-handed batters this season.
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA): $5,600 vs. Braves
Sims hasn’t been any great shakes against righties, either. The rookie pitcher has coughed up a .483 SLG, .337 wOBA, and seven homers to 132 plate appearances by right-handed batters. Stanton has been a monster this season, and he’s smacked 44 homers with a .356 OBP, .331 ISO, and 146 wRC+ in 528 plate appearances against righties. Stanton’s going to be exceptionally chalky, but I wouldn’t advise pivoting off of him.
Freddie Freeman (ATL): $5,200 @ Marlins
Freeman’s one of the best hitters on the planet, and he probably doesn’t get the attention he deserves. Since 2015, he has a .402 OBP, .274 ISO, and 156 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. This year, he’s been even better against righties piling up a .418 OBP, .290 ISO, and 160 wRC+. Odrisamer Despaigne is a below-average pitcher who’s ceded a .388 OBP, .438 SLG, and .357 wOBA to left-handed batters this year. Freeman should knock him around.
Mike Trout (LAA): $5,600 vs. Mariners
Among qualified hitters since 2015, Trout ranks third in OBP (.423), seventh in ISO (.289), and first in wRC+ (174) against right-handed pitchers. He’s the best player in the game, and Andrew Moore’s pitch-to-contact approach (12.8%) is ill-advised against Trout. Moore’s flyball approach (43.6% FB% allowed to righties) lends itself to Trout’s extra-base hit potential.
Nomar Mazara (TEX): $4,400 vs. Athletics
Mazara got the nod in yesterday’s piece, and he gets the nod against a righty at home again. Against right-handed pitchers at home, Mazara has pummeled them to the tune of a .384 OBP, .225 ISO, 140 wRC+, 27.4% LD%, 37.2% FB%, and 42.1% Hard%. Sign me up for that production against Daniel Gossett’s .375 OBP, .478 SLG, and .366 wOBA allowed to left-handed batters this year.