Happy Friday everyone and it is a VERY happy Friday over at FanCave! As of yesterday, one of my good friends and one of the best people to work alongside that I’ve met in the industry, Justin Savage, is BACK with the FanCave team after a brief stint away. Make sure to give him a warm welcome back via Twitter or Discord when you get the chance.
As for tonight’s MLB DFS slate, we have a loaded 14-game slate on tap full of stud pitchers, hot batters and Coors Field.
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Now, let’s get into the Quick Hits:
Boston Red Sox @ Baltimore Orioles
When Mookie Betts visits Camden Yards, wonderful things happen. Over his career, Betts has slashed 0.296/0.383/0.606 in Baltimore with 13 home runs in 142 at-bats. To put this into perspective, the only other stadium that he’s hit double-digit home runs in is Fenway Park, his home stadium. 31% of his hits in Baltimore have left the yard and he is fresh off of a 4-4 game in which he hit for the cycle. There are enough cheap options at pitcher to help you jam him into your lineup tonight, something I would strongly consider doing.
Texas Rangers @ New York Yankees
Throughout his 9-year career, Giancarlo Stanton has blistered left-handed pitching to the tune of a 0.427 wOBA, 0.340 ISO and a 46.1% hard-contact%. In 2018, he’s raised those numbers to a 0.455 wOBA and a 0.349 ISO. It only helps when the lefty that Stanton is squaring off against is prone to the long-ball, as Mike Minor of the Rangers has allowed 1.46 HR/9 and a dreadful 39.5% hard-contact% this season. If Betts isn’t in your lineup, Stanton may be the next best option.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Toronto Blue Jays
Expected to take on a normal workload tonight against the Jays, lefty Blake Snell is primed to go under people’s radar tonight with this being only his second game off of the DL. Before his stint, he was posting Cy Young caliber numbers, posting a 28.3% strikeout rate, 2.27 ERA (backed by a 3.58 xFIP), and an impressive 43.4% ground-ball rate. The Blue Jays have been a hot offense, but still ranking in the bottom half of the league in ISO and wOBA against lefties with a 21.5% strikeout rate. The Blue Jays 4.2 IRT will have the masses avoiding Snell, making this a prime buy-low option on a player who is about $2,000 too cheap.
Minnesota Twins @ Detroit Tigers
If you want to roster a stud like Gerrit Cole tonight, value is going to be a must. Luckily, we have the inexpensive Twins squaring off against gas-can Jordan Zimmerman (44.9% fly-ball rate, 34.7% hard-contact%). He’s been frustrating to stack against seeing as he’s avoiding implosion, but the Twins have a trio of players with an ISO over 0.200 against RHP (Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, Logan Morrison) and none of which cost more than $3,000 on FanDuel.
New York Mets @ Miami Marlins
The fact that the O/U on this game is the lowest on the slate does not surprise me. The fact that the O/U is 7.5 runs surprises me, as that feels 2 runs too high. Neither Zach Wheeler nor Jose Urena are aces by any means, but these are two offenses that are not hard to hold in check. This is likely a game that will be completely avoided, but if you insist on rostering anyone in the game, turn your attention to Michael Conforto in GPPs, as Urena has allowed a 0.347 wOBA, 0.192 ISO and a 44% hard-contact% against left-handed hitters with an average exit velocity of 89.4 mph. He comes with GPP-winning upside and ownership likely under 5%.
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Cincinnati Reds
I refuse to buy into the Clay Buchholz resurgence, as his xFIP is almost 2 points higher than his ERA (4.19 compared to 2.68) and his hard-contact% (37.2%) is too high to maintain this success. The Reds are a team that can open up the can of worms, as Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett all post wOBAs north of 0.370 against right-handed pitching with average exit velocities of at least 87 mph. In GPPs, you want to get ahead of the implosions, and this is a prime example of a stack to do so that could come under 10% owned.
Milwaukee Brewers @ Atlanta Braves
SunTrust Park has been more of a pitcher’s park on the season, but is notorious for being a launchpad for left-handed hitters, putting the Brewers lefties squarely in play against Kevin Gausman. Gausman has allowed a 0.343 wOBA, 4.52 xFIP and a 1.41 HR/9 rate to lefties this season while striking them out under a 20% clip. Four of the Brewers have ISOs over 0.200 against righties. Christian Yelich (0.214), Mike Moustakas (0.237), Travis Shaw (0.288) and Eric Thames (0.313) are the targets here and make for one of my favorite GPP stacks of the slate.
Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox
Through his rookie season, Shane Bieber has posted an impressive 3.84 xFIP, 23.5% strikeout rate and a 44.3% ground-ball rate. He’s been especially effective against right-handed batters, holding them to a 0.288 wOBA and 0.089 ISO, but not so much against lefties (0.399 wOBA, 0.242 ISO). The White Sox are rolling out 5 left-handed batters, but none of which are the most menacing opponent. At his price, he makes for a great value play at pitcher.
Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros
If it weren’t for Chris Sale, Gerrit Cole would be the frontrunner for AL Cy Young. He’s posted an insane 35.1% K-rate and 3.15 xFIP. He’s also managed to make out when the ball is in play (0.271 BABIP), with his only issue being the fly-ball (43.5%). The Mariners are a rather neutral matchup, but given the Vegas data (-200 favorite, Seattle IRT of 3.1), Cole should be the highest owned pitcher on the slate.
St. Louis Cardinals @ Kansas City Royals
Royals righty Burch Smith has allowed 11 earned runs in his last 9 innings on 12 hits and 5 walks and is backed by an even worse bullpen, making the Cardinals an enticing stack. With or without a stack, Matt Carpenter deserves as much consideration as anyone on the slate. he homered again yesterday, making that 5 of his last 6 games with a long-ball. Since the All-Star Break, Carpenter has posted a 0.526 wOBA, 0.519 ISO and a 17.4% walk rate. He’s right up there with Betts and Stanton as one of the top plays of the slate.
Los Angeles Dodgers @ Colorado Rockies
Dodgers in Coors? Yes ple…wait. Hold your horses. While the Dodgers in Coors field may seem like the lock button of the century, Jon Gray has really turned a corner since being called up from AAA. Since then, he’s pitched more towards strategically, rather than strictly trying to blow guys away, as evidence by his tempered 23.3% strikeout rate. He’s also posted a 3.51 xFIP, 0.139 opponent batting average and only a 32% fly-ball rate. I’m not saying fade the Dodgers entirely, but expectations should be tempered a bit, as there may even be some GPP appeal in Gray.
Oakland Athletics @ Los Angeles Angels
As one of the streakiest players in baseball, it’s wise to hop on board with Justin Upton as soon as he catches fire, as opposed to in the middle of the streak. He’s homered in back-to-back games and in a matchup with Brett Anderson of the A’s, this may be the perfect time to pounce. Anderson has allowed a 0.373 wOBA and 0.220 ISO to right-handed batters and only strikes them out at a 13.5% clip. Couple all of that with Upton’s career dominance of lefties (0.374 wOBA, 0.236 ISO) and you have one of the best point-per-dollar plays on the slate.
Philadelphia Phillies @ San Diego Padres
One pitcher that will go completely overlooked tonight? Zach Eflin. A matchup with the right-handed heavy Padres is exactly what the doctor ordered, as Eflin has held righties to a 0.268 wOBA and 0.127 ISO on the season with a 22.4% strikeout rate. The Padres, projected to have 6 righties in their lineup tonight, strike out at an anemic 26.4% clip against right-handed pitching, heightening Eflin’s ceiling more than usual. He comes in as the -139 favorite and the Padres are implied for under 4 runs on the night, making him a sneaky-good option.
Pittsburgh Pirates @ San Francisco Giants
To the surprise of almost everyone, Derek Holland has been effective over the last 6 weeks and he’s posted a 4.28 xFIP and 24.2% K-rate. He has, however, posted a 37.7% hard contact%, which warrants a one-off with a Pittsburgh power bat. Surprisingly, the left-handed hitting Gregory Polanco has had the most success against lefties this season, posting a 0.339 wOBA and a 0.200 ISO. He should carry virtually no ownership tonight, but is the only piece in this game worth playing at all.