Normally in a Coors Field Slate, the first thing you want to do for the bats is look at the two teams playing in Coors. However, today we’ve got the extremely rare scenario where a Coors Field game may not be the juiciest spot out there. That’s because we have a pitcher who legitimately creates his own Coors Field effect. That pitcher? Chris “Seriously Why Am I Still Allowed To Be A Major League Starting Pitcher” Tillman. Since the start of 2017 Chris Tillman has walked more than he’s struck out vs lefties. That’s right. He has 10.7% strikeouts and 18% walks. If your K-BB is below 5, that’s really bad. If it’s 0, that’s extremely bad. If your K-BB is negative, I don’t even have a word to describe it. Chris Tillman’s K-BB versus lefties is -8.3.
If your K-BB is -8.3?!? Just for reference, James Shields since he became a human gas can is at 7.1% overall and 3.2% vs lefties. James Shields, who right now can give up home runs in Yellowstone, can’t quite match Tillman in futility. No one can match Chris Tillman in futility, because if you have a negative K-BB, you don’t stay in the Majors. Except apparently Chris Tillman. Even with last outings dominance of the Tigers, Tillman is at -.8% on the season and it’s not like he’s getting lucky with ERA with a 7.84 mark last year and a 9.24 this year. It’s a historic run that we, as DFS players, can only hope continues all year.
On to the picks…
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Miles Mikolas, SP: $8,500 – The Padres are terrible and strike out the most vs right handed pitchers. Miles has elite command (1.2% walk rate) and gets ground balls (51.2%) and again, the Padres strike out the most vs right handed pitchers.
Walker Buehler, SP: $8,400 – Buehler throws gas and has the strikeouts to match. He is an elite prospect and even though the Dodgers likely won’t let him go that long, he will prevent runs pretty well and strike out boatloads of Reds. This is likely a GPP play since the Reds don’t strike out much as a team (6th hardest team to strike out), but if you want to play the upside play and play Walker in cash, I won’t argue against it.
Mike Moustakas, 3B: $4,100 – When you start your article by pointing out how absurdly bad a starting pitcher is, then you better list the best hitter from the other team first. Mike Moustakas is the best hitter on the Royals (at least against right handed pitching). He has a .288 ISO and a .370 wOBA vs righties since the start of 2017. And again, he’s facing a guy who shouldn’t be in the major leagues anymore. Also, just in case you were wondering “well, what happens when Tillman does somehow throw a strike” – lefties pound him with 39.1% hard hit ball % with 1.8 HR/9. It’s just mind-blowing that he is allowed to keep on making starts for a Major League team. Calling it a “very nice spot” for Moose is putting it mildly.
Lucas Duda, 1B: $2,500 – I mean. $2,500 for a guy who has a .266 ISO and a .354 wOBA vs righties and gets to face the worst pitcher in the Majors vs lefties? Click the little green plus button next to his name for your C/1B and move on.
The Rest of the Kansas City Royals – Everyone is in play vs the tire fire that is Chris Tillman. He is not a Major League Pitcher vs lefties and vastly improves his pitching to righties to the point where he’s barely not the worst pitcher in the big leagues. In other words, targeting him with right handed bats is still a very profitable decision for your DFS lineups. He actually manages to have above average control (5.8% walks) combined with well below average strikeouts (15.5%) but he has no ability to keep the ball on the ground vs righties (35%) and gives up 38.5% hard hits.
Charlie Blackmon, OF: $5,000 – After figuring out how to hit for power the last 2 years and becoming an elite player, Blackmon has figured out that swinging at balls is not a good idea. His walk rate has gone from 6.7% to 9% to 13.9% over the last 3 years while his out of zone swing rate has dropped from 34% to 30.2% to 25.9%. So to recap, at age 30, Blackmon learned to hit for massive power and at age 31 he learned how to to take a pitch. Jhoulys Chacin since the start of 2017 vs lefties has a terrible 13.2% strikeout rate and an 11% walk rate with a not terrible 47.8% ground ball rate. But, that all adds up to a terrible pitcher and someone who doesn’t even remotely come close to Tillman’s terribleness, but is still terrible. Chacin is pretty decent vs righties (22.8% K, 7.5% BB and 49.5% ground balls) but lefties can pretty much do whatever they want with him and Blackmon wants to not swing at balls and crush strikes. If you can afford him, play him, but the question is will you be able to afford him? It’s highly likely you will, because of two reasons. First, there’s no expensive stud pitcher on the slate, and second, well, let’s just move on over to the visitor’s dugout to fully explain why Blackmon is going to be affordable, shall we?
Milwaukee Brewers – Let’s play the FanDuel mispricing game at Coors because no one knows that Coors increases runs. They gave the Brewers one of those super modest salary bumps at Coors Field right before they jack up their prices to unreasonable amounts. $3700 for Braun? $4000 for Yelich? $4100 for Shaw? $3600 for Cain? In Coors? Enjoy it this game before they all jump to 4500+. German Marquez is not usually someone to attack on a slate, but when he’s in Coors on a warm night against a team with a lot of power and that team is underpriced, you attack German Marquez.
Non-Blackmon Rockies – Against right handed pitching, I’m hesitant to play most of the Rockies in Coors unless price simply doesn’t matter. The truth is, they’re not very good against righties – Nolan is fine but rarely worth the price, Story really needs the platoon edge to negate the insanely high strikeout rate of his, and the rest of the righties aren’t very good at all. Additionally, as mentioned in the Blackmon write up, Chacin is decent against right handed batters. The result is that the right handed rockies have to be relegated to GPP only. As for the lefties, Carlos Gonzalez used to be good, but then Blackmon Shang-Tsunged him, leaving a broken, soulless mess (I do maintain that Blackmon only hits well when Carlos Gonzalez is on the active roster – when Gonzalez went on the DL earlier this year, Blackmon had his worst 10-day run of the season. The Shang-Tsung theory is real, folks, it’s real). The only other Rockie I really like today is David Dahl if he plays. I like Dahl because he’s priced only at $3,000 and hasn’t been Shang Tsunged (note that Gonzalez, despite no longer having a soul, is fine at 3k as well). That said, if you are a GPP player and are running a cheap pitcher and looking for a stack, stacking the Rockies at home is always a viable strategy for winning a GPP, but I’d focus on the lefties first and foremost here.
Toronto Blue Jays – What happened to Mike Leake this year? All of a sudden after a career of being awesome at getting ground balls, it’s absolutely tanked this year to 40.7%. His strikeouts are a career low, but not so far out of the ordinary that we’d be worried if he was his normal self otherwise. His walk rate has completely spiked and close to 3% above his career rate and around 4% above the last 2 years. It looks like the lack of velo has finally caught up to him as he’s down another mph last year and 2 mph the last 2 years. As he’s someone who walks on the edge, the lack of velo is a major problem. By the way, Leake is still better than Chris Tillman. Anyway, Curtis Granderson at leadoff is the only cash viable play on the team. Most of that is just due to there being better options at 1B and 3B than Donaldson and Smoak. That said, the Blue Jays are in a good spot so it’s definitely an appealing GPP stack as they’ll be low-owned and could easily crush.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
It’s projecting to be a warm night in Colorado. Tasty. Also, possible light rain in Baltimore, so be sure to check on the weather there since it’s a pretty key game.
Doing Lines In Vegas
I’ve spent plenty of time on Chris Tillman, but the pitcher opposing him (Ian Kennedy) isn’t exactly a good pitcher either. Combine that with a game at Camden Yards and there’s simply no reason for the O/U to be anything less than 10. Right now it’s sitting at 9.5 Take the over and run to the bank to cash your money. Also, these 2 lefty starting pitchers at Yankee Stadium are getting a touch too much respect. I’ll gladly take the over (currently sitting at 9) there considering how good the offenses are and how many of those elite guys are righties with platoon advantage (Betts, JD, Judge, Stanton, Sanchez).