It’s a 4 ace slate today on FanDuel and we have to figure out which one we want to play in cash. Let’s see how the numbers compare:
Aaron Nola – 26.3% K, 7.2% BB 3.34 xFIP
Max Scherzer – 34.5% K, 5.5% BB, 2.96 xFIP
Corey Kluber – 25.6% K, 5% BB, 3.4 xFIP
Jacob deGrom – 32.9% K, 5.9% BB, 2.68 xFIP
Obviously Scherzer and deGrom are the best pitchers of the group, but how do their matchups compare?
Tigers (vs Nola) – 26.6% K, 8.6% BB, .138 ISO
Cardinals (vs Scherzer) – 21.3% K, 9.2% BB, .191 ISO
Marlins (vs Kluber) – 27.5% K, 7.1% BB, .110 ISO
Reds (vs deGrom) – 23.9% K, 8.2% BB, .164 ISO
The best pitcher of the group gets the worst matchup, and the worst pitcher gets the best matchup (for the purposes of this exercise, because this is DFS and we care about strikeouts). Power is way up this year, and Scherzer has a propensity to give up bombs. He also has the worst matchup, and costs the most, so he’s not my cash game pitcher. Jacob deGrom is the next best pitcher, but the Reds have some pop and they don’t strike out as much as the Marlins or Tigers. Especially this year, we want to target teams that have trouble hitting the ball out, and the two teams that really struggle with hitting for any kind of power are the Tigers and Marlins. The Tigers lose the DH from a team that already strikes out a lot and don’t hit for power, and the Marlins are the worst offensive team in the league and will swing at any pitch remotely near the plate. I would play the matchup and go with Corey Kluber ($10,100), since the Marlins are really bad. But, if you need the money to get to the studs you want to get to, I don’t have a problem with playing Aaron Nola ($9,100) at the $1,000 discount.
On to the picks…
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Francisco Lindor, SS: $3,600 – Lindor is still too cheap at $3,600. He has demolished lefties since the start of last year (.426 wOBA and .238 ISO) and even though he’s in a bad park for offense, the price combined with the talent overrides the concern with the environment.
Travis Shaw, 3B: $2,500 – Antonio Senzatela really struggles to get strikeouts, with a 16.9% rate overall, and 15.8% vs lefties. Shaw happens to bat lefty and hits a boatload of fly balls (33.9% groundballs), and hits them well (.371 wOBA and .272 ISO). The fact that he’s $2,500 is a function of him hitting like a good pitcher. I’m not expecting this to continue, and we should take advantage of this price when we can.
Eric Thames, 1B: $3,000 & Mike Moustakas, 2B, $3,500 – All of the above applies to Thames and Moustakas, who have shockingly similar numbers vs righties: .354 wOBA and .352 wOBA and 30.6% groundballs and 30.7% groundballs. The difference is Thames has a lot more power with a .272 ISO, versus .235 for Moustakas. Thames is the better value, but both of these guys are in good spots. If you want to get even more crazy, Yasmani Grandal (.355 wOBA) and Jesus Aguilar (.350 wOBA) round out the Brewers similar batters. The reason why Grandal isn’t the play that Thames and Moustakas are is that Senzatella is solid at getting groundballs (52.6% vs lefties and 46.7% vs righties) and we want guys to be able to lift the ball vs him. Grandal at 42.5% groundballs isn’t as elite as Thames and Moustakas. Aguilar may not be in the lineup, but he’s got a solid 34.9% groundball rate, and the above .350 wOBA. Combined with a $2,500 price tag, it could make him a very solid play.
Houston Astros – I do not like picking on Martin Perez. Historically he has a 50.8% ground ball rate and will walk the good hitters to get to the riff raff. And since most lineups have some riff raff, you’re more likely to not get those precious bombs. This year he is throwing harder than he has previously, and has added a cutter to get righties out. This year as a starter, in a small sample size, he’s dropped his walk rate to 4.1%, and his strikeout rate to 15.1%. His groundball rate has tanked to 36.8%. The Astros have a bunch of good hitters who can take advantage of either version of Martin Perez. Either he’s walking a lot and he’s forced to pitch to guys, or he’s pitching to contact. The Astros can launch bombs vs a flyball pitcher who doesn’t rack up strikeouts. Either way, it starts with Alex Bregman (.393 wOBA, .235 ISO and 32.3% groundballs) and Jose Altuve (.356 wOBA, .174 ISO, 38.4% groundballs). Then George Springer (.365 wOBA, .216 ISO, 47.7% groundballs) and Carlos Correa (.386 wOBA, 34.5% groundballs) are next in line. Yuli Gurriel (.385 wOBA, .191 ISO, 35% groundballs) and Tyler White (.401 wOBA, .225 ISO, 43.5% groundballs) are solid value plays, and can be played in cash if you need the value.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
The weather in Philly is pretty bad for hitters, if it gets bad enough, maybe it will push Nola past Kluber.
Doing Lines In Vegas
Miami can’t hit worth a lick and that 3.6 for Cleveland looks low, so jump all over Cleveland.