DraftKings MLB Lineup Advice: Tuesday (9/26)
What if I told you it’s possible to squeeze Chris Sale, a solid SP2, Mike Trout, and Giancarlo Stanton against a lefty at Coors onto your roster while filling the remaining spots with more than garbage, is that something you’d be interested in?
You’re in luck. Sale headlines the pitching options, and I offer a pair of high-ceiling SP2 options. The lefty ace and other arms are joined by the aforementioned duo of superstar outfielders, and some bargain picks to help fit everything together.
Chris Sale (BOS): $13,400 vs. Blue Jays
Sale is in a two-horse race for the AL Cy Young Award with Corey Kluber, so it goes without saying the lefty is having a hell of a first season in Beantown. In 31 starts spanning 209.1 innings, he owns a 2.75 ERA (2.22 FIP, 2.62 xFIP, and 2.55 SIERA, per FanGraphs, as well as a 2.19 DRA, according to Baseball Prospectus), 0.95 WHIP, 5.0% BB%, 36.3% K%, and 14.8% SwStr%. He’s in great form and coming off of a 13-strikeout gem against the O’s and has 20 strikeouts in his last three starts combined.
Boston and their ace are -230 favorites in a game with an over/under total of just eight runs, according to Pinnacle. He’ll be the chalkiest pitching selection even with a game at Coors that gamers will want to shell out some salary to get a piece of, but Sale’s worth it.
Kevin Gausman (BAL): $8,200 @ Pirates
Gausman’s an erratic pitcher and can turn even a dream matchup into a nightmare for daily gamers who roll the dice on him, but he’s finishing the year up well. Over the last 30 days, he’s made five starts totaling 31.2 innings in which he’s recorded a 1.71 ERA (2.62 FIP, 3.89 xFIP, and 3.97 SIERA), 1.01 WHIP, 7.3% BB%, 24.2% K%, and 11.9% SwStr%.
He and the visiting Orioles are -120 favorites in Pittsburgh tonight, and no matter how you slice it up, the Pirates are a great matchup. Pittsburgh ranks tied for 27th in wRC+ (85) against righties this year, 29th in wRC+ (89) at home, and tied for 26th in wRC+ (71) over the last two weeks. This is a golden opportunity for Gausman to stay on a roll and pile up fantasy points.
James Paxton (SEA): $7,600 @ Athletics
Paxton’s a bigger risk than Gausman since this will be just his third start this month after being activated from the disabled list for a September 15 start in which he threw 50 pitches. He upped his pitch count to 73 in his last start, but he only pitched 3.2 innings before hitting that number and allowed two earned runs on four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. The lefty’s velocity was up significantly from his first post-DL start, and he generated seven whiffs on his 73 pitches after netting only two on his 50 pitches in the prior start, according to Brooks Baseball.
Paxton took a bit to settle into a groove after a DL stint earlier in the year, but then he returned to his ace-like form ripping off a 2.39 ERA (2.34 FIP, 2.70 xFIP, and 2.92 SIERA), 0.94 WHIP, 5.3% BB%, 30.8% K%, and 13.1% SwStr% in 10 starts totaling 64.0 innings from June 21 to August 10. There’s certainly risk he’s still shaking the rust off, but he doesn’t have to be that guy to hit value on a modest salary of $7,600.
Furthermore, the A’s offer him a sky-high ceiling with MLB’s fifth highest strikeout rate (24.5% K%) against southpaws this year. Paxton and the Mariners are -120 favorites in a game with an over/under total of 8.5 runs, which is identical to the betting odds and total for Gausman in Pittsburgh, in case you thought those numbers sounded familiar.
Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM): $3,000 vs. Braves
I hate batter vs. pitcher numbers because it’s often noise for a variety of reasons such as small sample and the number of years the sample could have been accumulated over. For example, a player might have done the bulk of their damage against a pitcher during that hitter’s peak, and they could be post-peak at this point. Anyway, I lead with my disdain for BvP, but knuckleball pitchers are a unique breed, and it would be disingenuous to cite a player’s numbers against righties when a knuckleball pitcher isn’t a typical righty.
With that in mind, I’ll point out that Cabrera is 8-for-26 with a 12.9% BB%, 9.7% K%, two doubles, a triple, and three homers against R.A. Dickey in his career, per Baseball Savant. The switch-hitting infielder also hits third for the Mets, so there’s enough to like here to justify using him as a punt at shortstop or second (preferably second, as you’ll see below).
Matt Chapman (OAK): $2,700 vs. Mariners
Chapman’s been a regular fixture among my DraftKings suggestions of late, yet his salary remains too low for his hitting ability. He faces the previously touted Paxton, but on rosters, you’re not using Paxton, Chapman’s an outstanding punt.
In his rookie season, he’s rattled off a .333 OBP, .225 ISO, and 116 wRC+ against lefties. There’s his combo of power and being 16% better than the average hitter against lefties should result in a sub-$3,000 salary.
Dansby Swanson (ATL): $2,400 @ Mets
You can be forgiven if you haven’t noticed Swanson staying afloat as a hitter since his recall from Triple-A Gwinnett. Since August 9, he has a .377 OBP and 103 wRC+ overall, and in that same time frame, he owns a .371 OBP, 12.9% BB%, and 105 wRC+ in 124 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers. Rafael Montero is a great matchup for a patient righty like Swanson.
Montero has allowed a .400 OBP, 12.8% BB%, and .369 wOBA to 265 right-handed batters faced this year. You don’t need much from Swanson to hit value at $2,400, and he’s a key piece of salary relief for loading up on a three-headed monster of Sale/Stanton/Trout.
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA): $5,700 @ Rockies
Speaking of Stanton, the game’s premier lefty-kill faces one at Coors Field tonight. Among hitters with a minimum of 300 plate appearances against lefties since 2015, Stanton ranks 11th in OBP (.406), first in ISO by 81 points (.411), and first in wRC+ by 11 points (183).
Seriously, he’s unarguably the top lefty masher in baseball; he’s far and away the top terrorizer of southpaws. As a bonus, Tyler Anderson has yielded nine homers, a .547 SLG, and .367 wOBA to 152 right-handed batters faced in Colorado this year.
Mike Trout (LAA): $5,300 @ White Sox
Trout concludes the plays with a bang, and while I don’t highlight his other teammates, I’m a fan of stacking the value bats around him in the lineup with him. Chris Volstad is filling in for Carson Fulmer tonight, and the 31-year-old righty recorded a 5.81 ERA in 18 starts at the Triple-A level this year. Does that sound like a guy capable of mowing down a lineup in the majors or keeping the game’s best player in check? Of course not.
It’s also worth pointing out that the 6-foot-8 starting pitcher has major issues controlling the running game. In his last season starting in “The Show” (2012), he allowed 19 stolen bases in 21 starts, and for his career, he’s allowed 92 stolen bases in 123 starts (135 appearances overall).