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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Thursday (8/13)

Aug 13, 2020

Jay Bruce has been absolutely demolishing right-handed pitching this year (266 wRC+) and should have a field day today.

As the weeks roll on into the 2020 season many value plays become more of a high-risk roll of the dice. Some teams are throwing pitchers to the wolves that have no business starting major league games, just to eat some innings. What that means for DFS is that on some days you’re better off scraping the bottom of the barrel on one position so that you can shore up another position by breaking the bank. Fellow DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy author Josh Shepardson employed this approach yesterday, and given that we only have five games in the standard DraftKings slate today, I’m going to have to follow suit. It’s time to take a couple of gambles on our starting pitching today.

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Kyle Hart (BOS) vs. TB $5,100 ⭐⭐ High
Trevor Williams (PIT) @ CIN $5,800 ⭐⭐ High
Jake Arrieta (PHI) vs. BAL $7,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
For the first budget pitcher of today’s small slate, Hart is hosting the Rays at Fenway. Hart had decent control numbers in the minors with some ability to strike batters out. While the Rays’ lineup is yet to be announced, 7 of their possible batters have posted a whiff percentage over 30% so far this season. While it’s quite a bit of a gamble, there could be some sneaky value here.

Williams is winless so far this season despite pitching respectably, keeping his walks down (2.93 BB/9), and striking batters out at a strong clip (8.22 K/9). The Reds have some free swingers in their lineup, so while this matchup is also a high-risk play, Williams has a shot at netting some strikeouts and possibly his first win of the season.

If you feel like spending a little bit of money for some security in your pitching slot, Arrieta has been walking almost no one this season (0.82 BB/9) and is always capable of getting you some strikeouts.  His peripherals indicate the likelihood of an eventual regression but for today he will look to use his command to take advantage of an aggressive Orioles lineup.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Manny Pina (MIL) @ CHC $3,100 ⭐⭐ High
Chance Sisco (BAL) @ PHI $3,700 ⭐⭐ Medium
Mitch Moreland (BOS) vs. TB $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Pina has an unfavorable game today against Yu Darvish who has looked like the Darvish of old so far, but Pina has been swinging a hot bat (including a 30 point game on Tuesday). On his career, Pina is not someone you want to count on, but if he’s in the lineup today you will save some money at the catcher position.

Sisco costs a little bit more and also has a difficult matchup against Arrieta, but unlike many of his teammates, Sisco is a very patient hitter (25% walk rate) and has made his playing time count this year (.502 wOBA).

Moreland is my pricier value option today, but he has a 253 wRC+ against right-handed pitching to go along with 6 home runs on the season. I’m getting him into all of my lineups today – over the last week he’s posted 20-point and 30-point days.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jurickson Profar (SD) @ LAD $3,100 ⭐⭐ High
Mike Brosseau (TB) @ BOS $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Adam Frazier (PIT) @ CIN $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
On the season, Profar’s numbers are very underwhelming. He has the tools to contribute in many key categories but hasn’t been able to put it together for long stretches. He has a decent matchup today against Julio Urias (129 wRC+). Brosseau has been in a platoon role this year, getting his chances against left-handed pitching (288 wRC+). While he hasn’t drawn a walk yet this season, he shows patience at the plate in his most recent minor league season (10.8 BB%) and is going up against fellow minor leaguer Kyle Hart.

Frazier is less of a value play at $4,200, but there aren’t many toys in the shallow end of the pool today, so to speak. Frazier walks more, strikes out less, and has a career 107 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Yes, his opponent has pitched extremely well this season, but for his career, Anthony DeSclafani owns a 4.82 FIP against left-handed batters. Frazier isn’t going to save you a bunch of money today, but he has a nice looking matchup and isn’t a very high-risk play.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Rio Ruiz (BAL) @ PHI $3,400 ⭐⭐ High
Kris Bryant (CHC) vs. MIL $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Manny Machado (SD) @ LAD $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
While Ruiz had an underwhelming 2019 season, he has put his at-bats to good use this year. He has a difficult matchup against Arrieta, but has posted over 10 points in each game against the Phillies in this series and has three home runs against righties so far this season. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but again if you’re looking to save a little bit of dough at third Ruiz has been strong in this series.

Like many batters this year, Kris Bryant has had a tough go of it so far. In turn, his salary has dropped to a point where he’s now hitting “value play” territory on my list. He’s always hit left-handed pitching better than righties and he’s raking lefties so far this year (244 wRC+, .455 BA). He’s primed for a great day and for $4,100 it’s hard to find a better value pick at third.

Machado has been heating up as of late and on paper has an excellent day ahead against Urias. He has a 161 wRC+ against left-handed pitching in the abbreviated 2020 season, is on a four-game hitting streak, and has two multi-hit games during that time.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Willy Adames (TB) @ BOS $3,000 ⭐⭐ Medium
Freddy Galvis (CIN) vs. PIT $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Shortstop is a bit shallow today, but I’ve picked a couple of guys that I like for the abbreviated slate. Adames is susceptible to the strikeout but has good patience at the plate and a favorable matchup against Hart in Boston. His 124 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, 174 wRC+ in away games, and higher tendency to pull the ball this season than in seasons past (46.9%  vs 34.4% career) are all checks in the plus column for his matchup.

Galvis is such an aggressive hitter that he’s almost always a high-risk play, yet this season he’s been walking at a much higher rate than his career average (10.9% vs 5.5%). On top of that, he has a 149 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this year to go along with a .928 OPS. His knack for striking out and struggles against left-handed pitching keep his price low on most days, but he’s a strong pick for today’s slate.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Manuel Margot (TB) @ BOS $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Jay Bruce (PHI) vs. BAL $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Anthony Santander (BAL) @ PHI $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Joc Pederson (LAD) vs. SD $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐ High
J.D. Martinez (BOS) vs. TB $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
I’ve hit a few different price points while digging through the value plays today. Starting with the bargain big selection: Margot seemed to scuffle to start this season but was largely impacted by a low BABIP. As of late, he’s seen that luck turn as his BABIP has risen to .281. During this series with Boston alone he’s gone 6/8 at the plate and has another favorable matchup today. I realize many of these TB picks go in contrast with my selection of Hart earlier, but you know what you’re getting into when you spend that little on a pitcher.

Bruce has been absolutely demolishing right-handed pitching this year (266 wRC+) and should have a field day today.

Santander has a difficult game against Arrieta, but has posted over ten points five games in a row now and is still under the $4,000 price point.

Pederson has had a strange year in that he’s managed to hit lefties better than righties, in contrast with his career averages. He’s a high-risk play today due to his struggles, but we all know what he’s capable of and is more likely to turn it around against a right-hander.

Like many batters, Martinez has been slow out of the gate this year which has caused his price to dip. He doesn’t have a pristine matchup today, but his opponent has a 5.24 FIP versus right-handed batters this year and we know that Martinez won’t be kept down for long.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Anthony DeSclafani, CIN ($8,200): Pitching has been king this year and DeSclafani comes at a bargain for his performances so far.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr., SD ($5,400): Seemingly matchup-proof, Tatis Jr. continue to tear the cover off the ball in 2020.
  • Bryce Harper, PHI ($5,400): Three multi-hit games in a row and a 1.156 OPS at home. Harper has been worth the price.
  • Yu Darvish, CHC ($10,400): Over $10,000 is a difficult salary to work with, but Darvish has had pinpoint control this year and the Brewers are 24th in the league in wRC+.
  • Nick Castellanos, CIN ($4,800): Castellanos has a 202 wRC+ against right-handed pitching at home.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Josh Bell, PIT ($5,000): Bell has been atrocious outside of one game so far this year. He needs to show more to stay in the $5,000 club.
  • Mookie Betts, LAD ($5,500): Betts is a threat to go off on any night, but at this price I’d prefer to buy in on someone who is riding a hot streak, which Betts is not.
  • Max Muncy, LAD ($4,800): Muncy has hit four home runs but done little else this year. He’s a talented guy, but he needs to do more for this price.
  • Rafael Devers, BOS ($5,300): Devers has a favorable matchup today, yet has seen his early-season struggles continue. He has to show more consistency.
  • Julio Urias, LAD ($9,600): Urias has had a good year so far, but I don’t like his matchup today and he has had trouble going deep into games.

All advanced statistics sourced from FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

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Tyler Burgess is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, check out his archive and follow him @ty_burg.

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