I’m fascinated by things that are outside of the box and things that challenge what is considered the “norm”. A good knuckleballer is a joy to watch. Trevor Bauer and his pregame routine and training regime is so intriguing. I wish he’d have some success so people might take it a little more seriously. Basically, it’s no fun doing things the exact same way every, single time and there’s no way to evolve and learn if we don’t try something new. In this same vein, we have Hector Santiago, the only pitcher in the major leagues to throw a screwball last year. He will also probably be the only pitcher to throw one in the majors this season. This pitch was very popular back in the early days of baseball but has since become almost entirely extinct due to the threat of injury it possess. I get it, but you’d think if you’re the only pitcher throwing a pitch that funky in MLB, you’d have an advantage. Well, Mr. Santiago is having himself a year so far in the early going, but I’m not so sure it’s screwball related. Santiago has raised his K/9 from 8.07 last year to 8.71 so far this year and he’s lowered his BB/9 from 3.54 to 2.61. Also of note is the 2 MPH he’s added to his fastball. Early jumps in fastball velocity are typically a great sign that a pitcher’s early season success might be more than just a fluke. Another sign that something has changed for Santiago is the change in GB/FB ratio. Santiago has typically been an extreme flyball pitcher, which wasn’t always wonderful in US Cellular field. His flyball percentage is still high-ish, but it’s dropped from an average of 48% for his career to 44% this year. The big change though is in his ground ball percentage which has jumped from his career average of 33% up to 47% so far this year. That has lead his GB/FB to jump from a career norm of 0.7 to over 1.0. So, we’ve got a pitcher with increased fastball velocity, with better control and who’s inducing more grounders. Did I mention he’ll be facing the Mariners where he’ll have the platoon advantage against just about everyone outside of Nelson Cruz? At $8,400 he’s the perfect compliment to Jose Fernandez for the night slate.
New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.
Steven Matz, SP: $8,700 – If you prefer to load up on those Coors field bats tonight, then a Santiago/Matz pairing is for you. This will probably be my preferred 1-2 punch of the night. The Braves are bad, very, very bad. They will be a steady target of mine all season long. They currently hold the second worst team wOBA vs. LHP. Steven Matz looked much better last time out and I think he keeps on rolling tonight.
Carlos Rodon, SP: $8,400 – I like this price today apparently. I’m going to talk mostly about the night slate, since that tends to be the more popular time slot, but if you’re playing the early slate, jump all over Carlos Rodon. With any luck his horrendous 135.00 ERA last time out will scare everyone off him. I’m willing to forgive and forget, especially if he can help put some dough in my pocket. The White Sox opened as a favorite and the line has only grown in their favor (-128 to -150). If nothing else, he’ll be very well rested for this start and will have a chip on his shoulder.
Dan Straily, SP: $4,900 – If you have brass ones and feel like getting frisky with a tournament lineup, Dan Straily is your man. Straily is the lowest priced pitcher on the board tonight and actually hasn’t pitched half bad. The Cubs are obviously molten hot at the moment, but the Vegas line has actually moved a little bit in Cincinnati’s favor. It’s a risk, but not a complete sucker’s play.
Yadier Molina, C: $3,100 – Cheap catchers make me happy. Cheap catchers with .345 batting averages make me giddy. Molina might not win you a match-up, but he’s almost a lock to give you something.
Josh Phegley, C: $3,200 – Cheap catcher de jour for the early games. I like the A’s for several reasons, not the least of which is they like to hit their catchers high in the order. This makes for great DFS fodder as you get some extra run out of that catcher spot. Phegley will typically snag the #2 spot when the A’s face a lefty. Watch the lineups and pounce if that is indeed the case.
Ben Paulsen, 1B/OF: $3,300 – Adrian Gonzalez is obviously the play of the day here, but for 2 grand less, Paulsen is a more than adequate fill-in. Any cheap Coors exposure is good Coors exposure in my book.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B: $3,600 – I love early season over reaction. I can’t be 100% certain that is what is leading to Miggy’s depressed price tag or if it’s the fact that he’s facing Corey Kluber. Either way, I’ll gladly take the discount and run. Just for good measure, Swiggy has owned Kluber to the tune of 19/35 (.543) with 5 HRs and even a SB!
Scooter Gennett, 2B: $4,000 – I would check the Dodgers lineup to see if Kike Hernandez is in it before I plugged in Scooter. They are the same price, I just can’t say for certain Kike would get the start. If not, Scooter is a fine pivot. He crushes RHP (for a middle infielder) and is at home at Miller Park which can be just as hitter friendly as Coors.
Brett Lawrie, 2B: $3,400 – The options at 2B for the day games aren’t very inspiring. When that happens I go to the bottom of the list and find the cheapest playable option I can find. Lawrie draws Colby Lewis who has given up 5 HRs in 3 games started so far. Hey, it’s not nothing.
Maikel Franco, 3B: $3,800 – The regression fairies already started getting to work on Chase Anderson’s ERA last start and just like at the bacon bar, they’ll be back for more. Franco just bopped two HRs last night and while we might be chasing HRs a little here, he’s the type that could go ham the next few days.
Todd Frazier, 3B: $4,200 – The early three baggers are a bit depressing. I can’t find a lot of nice things to say about any of them and their match-ups so I’ll just take the $1,000 discount from Donaldson to Frazier and call it a day.
Gregory Polanco, OF: $4,300 – The Pirates @ Diamondbacks have the highest non-Coors over/under on the night and the Pirates are slight favorites. Polanco should be in position to score some runs as well as drive a few in.
Domingo Santana, OF: $3,400 – Santana has been occupying the leadoff spot for the Brew Crew and I’m not expecting very much from Charlie Morton in Miller Park. This is a great price tag for plenty of ABs and some serious upside.
Mookie Betts, OF: $4,800 – As hot as Mookie is right now, there’s not a price that can contain him. My Mookie love knows no bounds. Fade at your own risk.
Oswaldo Arcia, OF: $3,600 – Strikeouts have no impact on our daily game which is good news for us and for Oswaldo, as that is his biggest detriment. Instead, we can kick back and hope he stays hot and drives one out of the park since power is his biggest attribute. Power is where the points are…now where’s Oswaldo?
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
There isn’t a rain drop in sight for the day or the night.
Doing Lines In Vegas
As mentioned above the game at Coors South (Chase Field) has the highest non-Coors over/under at 9.5. Oakland at Toronto follows that with a 9 over/under. There are a lot of late pitching changes for today’s games that are holding up some of the lines and some of these will have an impact on match-ups as well, so keep an eye out. The biggest favorites today are John Lackey and the Cubs with a -160 followed by Carlos Rodon at the Pale Hose at -148.