There was a song in the 80’s by the surely-it-had-to-be made up stage name of Brenda K. Starr called I Still Believe. It was a typical, run of the mill, studio pop ballad sung by an artist who clearly made it her goal to sound like Madonna. It made the Top 20 in 1988 and Brenda K. Starr vanished into pop obscurity. Incredibly, her backup singer paid tribute to her former lead by re-recording it and having success in the 90’s with it. That backup singer, whose demo tape was passed forward by Starr to CBS Records and Tommy Mottola? Mariah Carey.
Early in the baseball season, it can be easy to look at some statistics and feel unsure whether someone’s previous year’s success was real or not. Corey Kluber came from the might-be level all the way to becoming the Klu-Bot, Cy Kluber last season. This year, Kluber has not looked so good, statistically, carrying an ERA of over 5.00.
But I Still Beliiiiiiieve in Kluber and I will sing it from the mountaintops. More importantly, I am happy to continue to roll him out in my cash and tournament games. In fact, I relish the fact that there is going to be a substantial part of the public that is going to back away from Kluber because of that fat ERA.
So why I am so sure that I am willing to perm my hair and sing as a soprano? For one, his K-rates remain rock solid, with a Swinging Strike rate of 13% and a K/9 rate of 9.3. These are elite numbers. That’s probably why his SIERA is much lower than his ERA, registering at a 3.20, which is 17th in the majors for pitchers with more than 20IP for this season.
In short, he’s still a top pitcher and due for some comeback. And all my singing will have been worth it. Well, to me at least.
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Cole Hamels, SP: $10,100 – He’s pricey and, admittedly, this was a tough call for an SP2 tonight. Hamels has the weather and the Vegas total (7) on his side, but Vegas thinks his counterpart, Francisco Liriano, will be on the winning side. Hamels, though, looks to be the top strikeout guy for the day as the Pirates are extra whiffy against lefties. Yes, the Phillies can’t hit, but Hamels should be able to rack up the strikeouts, and outs in general, to make him a solid play.
Kyle Lobstein, SP: $5,800 and Carlos Frias, SP: $5,100 – If you want to dig into the discount rack, these two guys have one thing in common….they are both solid favorites against pitchers who are way worse than they are. For Lobstein, he has a tough matchup with the Twins, but his splits match up well with them and Ricky Nolasco does not look good against the Tigers. Frias is in Chavez Ravine, which is a plus for him, he has a real good strikeout outlook and has a low Vegas total on his side.
Roberto Perez, C: $2,300 – He’s incredibly low priced and hits the ball with wonderful authority….when he plays. Keep an eye on the lineups and roll with Rob if he’s in there as a solid punt play behind the plate.
Todd Frazier, 1B/3B: $4,500 – Frazier is hitting everybody right now and has a super-tasty matchup against one of the worst pitchers on the slate, if not in the league in total: Eric Stults. Play with confidence and my blessing.
Eric Hosmer, 1B: $4,700 – Watch the rain in the plains, but if things are a go for the Royals/Rangers matchup, then make room for Hosmer, who is hitting the ball with consistency and authority. Yovani Gallardo has been better against lefties than righties this year but that goes against years of stats that say otherwise, so Hosmer and the punishingly disciplined Royals lineup will be good plays, if they play.
Devon Travis, 2B: $3,300 – It’s incredible that Travis is sooooo low on DraftKings considering his lofty perch in the power-packed Toronto lineup and his production since being a full time member of the team. Miguel Gonzalez is a decent pitcher in Camden Yards, but Travis is too good and too low a cost to pass up here.
Alex Guerrero, 2B/3B: $2,700 – Also incredible is Guerrero’s sub 3K price, but since he’s not full time for the Dodgers, it messes with the price, I suppose. Whatever it is, Guerrero has been batting fifth and his power and hard hit metrics continue to be top-notch. His second base eligibility on DraftKings make him a must play in an okay matchup against the Marlins.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS: $4,500 – It’s a nice day when you can roster Tulo for 4.5K on DK against a LHP. Sure, they laid an egg against C.J. Wilson, but that makes it even better since maybe some people will forget how dominant Troy is in these sort of situations.
Nolan Arenado, 3B: $4,000 – Ditto for Arenado, who is still smashing the ball and is a great play against lefties at a sub-star price on DK of 4K . Hector Santiago is one of the worst this season and the Tulo/Arenado should be ready to strike.
J.D. Martinez, OF: $4,300 – Ricky Nolasco scored so low on my daily starting pitcher calculations that I had to bump him up just to get to my minimum score. It’s bad. So I am happy to roster one of my favorite Tigers, the hard-hitting, sometimes forgotten Martinez. He’s been batting fifth and has had lots of opportunities to hit with runners on, which I am a big fan of seeing.
Seth Smith, OF: $3,600 – Yeah, so, it’s James Shields he’s going up against. I am riding the hard hitting Seth Smith batting leadoff in Seattle train until his price gets back up to 4K.
Chris Coghlan, OF: $3,200 – Yeah, so it’s Matt Harvey he’s going up against. Wait, did I say that kind of thing already? What Smith and Coghlan have in common is that they are CRUSHING the ball right now, and I am rostering them every single dang day until their prices tell me to stop, as long as they are facing RHP. Spoiler Alert: 3.2K is not that price point.
Marlon Byrd, OF: $4,400 – A lefty crusher, DK obviously recognizes this where they are overlooking Coghlan and Smith. Still, against Stults, Byrd is a solid play.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
The game to watch out for is Kansas City at Texas Rangers, especially since there is a highly productive Royals stack potentially involved there (Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Kendrys Morales, Lorenzo Cain). The showers don’t forecast to go away either, so this could get washed out. Still, it’s an 8.5 game for Vegas total, so it’s worth watching instead of just crossing it off and moving on.
Doing Lines In Vegas
The Royals/Rangers are nice at 8.5, but there are two games at 9 today, with Washington at Arizona and Minnesota at Detroit fitting the bill. The Pirates/Phillies game is the sole game at 7, but there is a chance that the as-yet-unposted Mets/Cubs game, featuring Matt Harvey and Jason Hammel could also be a 7 games as well. There are a lot of pitchers that carry a -150 favorite label, but it’s Hector Santiago’s Angels team that is the biggest favorite at home over the Jordan Lyles-led Rockies at -168.