A few weeks back we had a slate with nothing but ugly pitching options. That day there was a pitcher who was likely the chalk and it made the cash pitching option rather straightforward as you just played the chalk and tried to win it with the bats. Today, the pitching options are not quite as ugly as they were that week, but the pitchers are still fairly unimpressive. The problem, for cash, is that, at least as far as I can tell, there is no really chalky choice, so the “blocking” strategy is out as the ownership will be split out amongst the different uninspiring options. So it comes down to getting the pitcher right, and I’ll be honest – I believe there is a high degree of randomness and variance in terms of whether or not you pick the right pitcher today. If you “nail” the pitcher right and the others don’t do well, you’re going to be in fantastic shape, but if your choice duds and the other pitchers do well, you’re going to be pretty much done for the night. It’s definitely not an ideal cash game slate and in addition, the hitting is not my favorite (to put it lightly) as well. I’m not saying don’t play cash – if you’re a cash game player, play cash, and if you’re a GPP player, play GPPs. But if you’re the type of guy who plays a good chunk of both, today might be a good day to focus more on GPPs than cash. That said, you come here for my picks, and even though this may be not the ideal cash-game slate, I’m a professional who always makes sure to put in a high quality effort, so I’m here giving you my cash game picks. That’s what pros do – they perform under any and all circumstances.
On to the picks…
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Chad Kuhl, SP: $7,700 – The Padres as a team are legitimately terrible vs righties. They have the highest strikeout rate in the league at 26.9% and the 2nd worst ISO. They are legitimately bad. On a slate like this with no aces or anything remotely resembling an ace, picking a non jabroni pitcher in a spectacular matchup may just be the best course of action.
Tyler Skaggs, SP: $9,000 – This is expensive for Skaggs, who is a decidedly average pitcher. Since last year, his 22.2% strikeout rate and 7.5% walk rate are both decidedly uninspiring. His ground ball rate is also an uninspiring 45.2%. It’s not like you can target him with righties since he has only slight degradation of skills vs righties. He is perfectly alright. The Rays have some guys to navigate, namely Cron and Ramos, but the rest of the lineup is either lefties or really bad righties.
Max Moroff, SS: $2,000 – Max Moroff will take a walk. That’s about it as far as his skills as a batter, but a leadoff SS for stone min is pretty close to a lock as long as they aren’t facing one of the elite guys and Eric Lauer is not one of the elite guys.
Boston Red Sox – This is more of a “the Red Sox are a good offense with elite players” rather than targeting of Gausman, who’s slowly regaining his velocity, though still isn’t all the way back. Even at Gausman’s best, he’s someone who gives up a bunch of bombs and the Red Sox have some guys who can put the ball over the fence. Mookie Betts (.361 wOBA and .202 ISO vs righties in his career) and JD Martinez (.403 wOBA and .300 ISO vs righties since the start of 2016) are the top plays and Andrew Benintendi (.358 wOBA and .191 ISO vs righties in his career) rounds out the top cash plays on the Sox.
Manny Machado, SS: $4,900 – At this point in his career, David Price no longer has the elite velocity he once had. The result is that he can either strike guys out (24.6% vs righties) or not walk guys (5% vs lefties), but he can’t do both at the same time (16% strikeouts vs lefties and 9.5% walks vs righties). Since the start of 2016, Machado has only struck out 14.2% of the time vs lefties to go along with his .370 wOBA and a .230 ISO and just this year, he hits lefties pretty well, with a .400 wOBA with a .306 ISO and he’s struck out only 4.7% of the time. Machado is an elite play in all formats.
Tyler Flowers, C/1B: $2,300 – Jon Lester isn’t what he used to be, his velo is down 2 MPH from his peak, his strikeout rate has declined for 3 straight years and his walk rate has increased for 4 straight years. His strikeout rate is now sitting at 19.2% strikeouts and his walk rate at 10.6%. His groundball rate has dropped all the way to a jabroni-esque 37.6%. What’s keeping him afloat this year is a unsustainable .266 BABIP, especially with a 34.1% hard hit%. Since the start of 2016, Tyler Flowers has a .374 wOBA vs lefties. That’s pretty good for $2,300. As far as other Braves, the top of the Braves lineup tends to be really expensive and there are better point per dollar options elsewhere, but they are definitely excellent GPP plays.
Texas Rangers – Jabroni James Shields continues his descent downwards as his fastball velocity has declined again and currently sits at 89.3 mph. His strikeout rate has come down and sits at 13.5%. He has given up .75 HR/9 due to an unsustainable 6.5% HR/FB. Since the start of last year, vs lefties, Shields has struck out 16.3% and walked 13.2%. He’s been better vs righties, but given his velocity drop, righties are still definitely in play. The best cash game plays are Shin-Soo Choo (.341 wOBA and .187 ISO vs righties), Nomar Mazara (.341 wOBA and .202 ISO vs righties) and Joey Gallo (.357 wOBA and .330 ISO vs righties). Jurickson Profar is a jabroni vs righties and hits worse than a pitcher with a .241 wOBA. But, he’s still viable since he’s SS at $2,700 who hits at the top of the order and will have platoon advantage against Jabroni James Shields.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
It’s supposed to rain in Atlanta, which would take away bats vs Lester. St. Louis has the warmest weather of the day and if you’re a weather truther, by all means, target that game.
Doing Lines In Vegas
Andrew Triggs and Aaron Sanchez aren’t bad pitchers and the offenses are boom or bust so the line seems high – there’s just too many times the offenses “bust” for a 9.5 o/u. Take the under. If it’s fallen to 9 or 8.5 by the time you read this, that’s probably the “right” line so the edge isn’t there anymore.