DraftKings MLB Lineup Advice: Saturday (9/9)
The top pitcher on the slate, Chris Sale, is an easy selection. Beyond him, it’s a little dicey. There is a cheap-ish SP2 who stands out from the pack, in my opinion, and another potential high-strikeout option as an SP2 on a pitcher-heavy team or as an SP1 pivot in GPPs who brings the total to three featured pitchers in today’s piece. Tonight’s touted hitters are a mix of bargain-bin selections and high-priced studs, and three make for a nice stack from the same club.
Chris Sale (BOS) : $12,900 vs. Rays
Sale’s a no-brainer as the top pitching selection on tonight’s slate. The lefty and the Red Sox are -233 favorites against the Rays, and the game’s over/under total is just eight runs, per Pinnacle. The Rays are awful against left-handed pitchers ranking 22nd in wRC+ (88), according to FanGraphs, and striking out at the second highest rate (25.8% K%) against them this year. A punch-out prone lineup like that should be easy pickings for Sale and his qualified pitcher leading 36.1% K% and 15.0% SwStr% that ranks third highest. The last time he faced the Rays he pitched eight innings of shutout ball in which he surrendered just two hits and a walk with 13 strikeouts and amassed 46.2 DraftKings points. As his last start against the Rays illustrates, he legitimately has 45-plus point upside.
Zack Godley (ARI) : $9,000 vs. Padres
I teased Godley as a potential pivot from Sale in the intro, but that’s only a GPP move — and only one I’d suggest making if you’re entering a bunch of lineups. There are quite a few bargain bats who make rostering Godley with Sale possible. In fact, if you just drop the priciest hitter from the touted plays below, you can use all of the other hitters are well as a few other decent ones to flesh out a lineup around a Sale/Godley pairing. Getting back to Godley specifically, he has a favorable matchup against the Padres. The Friars rank tied for 28th in wRC+ (87) against right-handed pitchers this year, and their 25.0% K% against them is the second highest. Godley is enjoying a breakout season, but there is one major fly in the ointment in the second half. In 10 second-half starts, Godley has a 10.3% BB% that’s not ideal and has helped contribute to a 1.35 WHIP. He’s been able to work around the free passes with an elite 28.1% K%, 13.0% SwStr%, and 50.0% GB%, but he does carry some risk. The upside is enough to justify taking on the risk as an SP2 as part of a pitcher-heavy roster in GPPs, though. He and the host Diamondbacks are -185 favorites.
Chad Kuhl (PIT): $7,100 @ Cardinals
Kuhl isn’t the same pitcher he was to begin the season. In his May 31 start he began using a curve regularly, and it’s been a part of his arsenal ever since. In 18 starts spanning 97.1 innings since that pitch became a regular part of his arsenal, the righty has totaled a 3.42 ERA (3.75 FIP, 4.27 xFIP, and 4.69 SIERA), 1.36 WHIP, 11.3% BB%, and 21.9% K%. The numbers aren’t eye-popping, but they’re decent, namely at his bargain price. Also worth noting, he’s tightened things up against lefties with his new pitch and held them to a .319 wOBA, which isn’t great, but it’s leaps and bounds better than the .393 wOBA he’d coughed up to lefties prior to May 31 of this year. Additionally, the Cardinals have a righty-heavy lineup, and Kuhl’s held righties to a .300 wOBA this season after tying them up for a .295 wOBA as a rookie last year. The host Red Birds are -200 favorites with Carlos Martinez on the hill, so a win might be tough for Kuhl to come by, but the game’s over/under total of eight runs is good for him, too, and he doesn’t need a win to hit value at his salary.
Mike Zunino (SEA): $3,400 vs. Angels
Zunino is a repeat visitor after getting the nod in yesterday’s piece, and I like him even more tonight. The right-handed hitting backstop has a .346 OBP, .256 ISO, and 128 wRC+ against lefties since taking a major offensive step forward last season. Opposing pitcher Andrew Heaney has been crushed by right-handed batters in his return from Tommy John surgery, as the southpaw has allowed a staggering 11 homers, .357 OBP, .815 SLG, and .473 wOBA to 72 righties faced this year.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) : $3,100 vs. Marlins
The switch-hitting Albies force his way up to the Majors this year after smacking nine homers with a .285/.330/.440 slash, 112 wRC+, and 21 stolen bases in 448 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. He’s hit at a slightly above-average clip in The Show, but he’s been a thorn in the side of lefties thus far with a .438 OBP, 15.2% BB%, .333 ISO, 184 wRC+, and 42.3% Hard% in 33 plate appearances against them. The sample is small, but he was also giving them fits in Triple-A this year with a .970 OPS in 100 at-bats, per MiLB.com. Adam Conley has surrendered a .337 wOBA to right-handed batters this year, furthering an already great case for using Albies as a super valuable source of salary relief at the keystone.
Jake Lamb (ARI) : $4,900 vs. Padres
No one is going to call Jhoulys Chacin a road warrior with a 6.96 ERA away from Petco Park this year. The right-handed pitcher has been knocked around for a .419 OBP, .622 SLG, and .426 wOBA by lefties on the road. Lamb has knocked right-handed pitchers around at Chase Field since breaking out last year with a .366 OBP, .297 ISO, and 132 wRC+.
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) : $5,700 @ Braves
Stanton doesn’t have enough plate appearances since 2015 to be a qualified hitter, so among hitters who’ve totaled a minimum of 300 plate appearances against lefties in that time frame, he ranks 13th in OBP (.401), and first in ISO (.410) and wRC+ (182). Remarkably, he has a 96-point advantage in ISO over the second highest mark (.314) tallied by Todd Frazier. To put that gap into perspective, it’s equal to Frazier’s advantage in second over Evan Gattis ISO (.218) in 39th. Max Fried — owner of a 5.54 ERA (3.97 FIP) in 21 starts at Double-A (19) and Triple-A (2) combined prior getting the call up — is no match for Stanton. Pony up for this homer-hitting machine.
Nelson Cruz (SEA) : $4,400 vs. Angels
Cruz is piece two of exposure to Heaney’s disastrous numbers against right-handed batters, and he’s the best piece of exposure. Since 2015, Cruz has a .409 OBP, .299 ISO, and 172 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers. He should be priced in the $5k range, making him a steal at his salary.
Guillermo Heredia (SEA) : $2,400 vs. Angels
Heredia is the cheapest piece of the M’s stack, but he’s been quite good against lefties in his young career. Since reaching the Majors last year, he has a .357 OBP and 114 wRC+ against southpaws. He’s kicked things up a notch in his sophomore campaign and totaled a .379 OBP and 131 wRC+ against them this year.