Two weeks ago I mentioned that you’re going to have to familiarize yourself with all these call-ups because a lot of them are going to be mis-priced as punts/extreme values for the first few games. Let’s see here – D.J. Stewart, $2,300, Jack Mayfield, $2,200, Yaz’s grandson, $2,700 (I’m not going to look up how to spell the last name, even though the whole point of this intro is that a good DFS player should familiarize themselves with all these guys coming up, so okay, fine, Mike Yastrzemski, $2,700). If you’re not making sure to know each and every one of these guys, even someone like Garrett Stubbs (a $2,000 catcher that you’re probably never, ever playing on FanDuel), then you’re just putting yourself at that much of a disadvantage. Last week I pointed out that Didi Gregorious is $2,000 and will be coming back sometime soon. FanDuel hasn’t fixed that yet and it will happen sooner rather than later. I will continue to include that factoid in every introductory paragraph for this article until he returns.
On to the picks…
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Blake Snell, SP:$11,800 – Snell is an elite strikeout pitcher (32.7%) who’s only problem is right handed walks (9%). Lucky for him, the Blue Jays lineup doesn’t project to be a patient one (only 6.4%) and they do project to strikeout at about a league average rate (24.5%). The price for Snell is exorbitant, but he’s the best DFS pitcher on the slate, and if you can get here in cash games you should.
Walker Buehler, SP: $11,000 – Buehler faces a Mets team who’s better than the Blue Jays, but still not that big a threat. Buehler is a pretty good pitcher who gets his strikeouts (27.3%) and avoids the free base (6.1%) and is an above average groundball pitcher (47.1%). The Mets project to strike out 22.3% with a .315 wOBA, giving Buehler a pretty solid floor. But the price tag makes him a little tough to stomach for cash games. If it winds up that there is just no value to be had and we need the $800, he’s completely fine for cash games.
Philadelphia Phillies Right Handers – I refuse to believe “Genesis Cabrera” is a real person. That’s the sort of name that a script writer or a video game designer would reject as being too stupid unless you’re writing some bizarre sequel to The Hunger Games. Despite my insistence that he’s not a real person, RazzBall, FanDuel, and MLB.com (as well as every other site for baseball information) claim he is a real person and apparently has a few years of pitching in the minor leagues to his name. Last year, Cabrera struckout 26.2% for the Rays in AA. This year he struckout 21.4% in AAA for the Cards, but command and control is lacking. Last year, he walked 12% of batters for the Rays in AA, and while he improved this year in AAA (down to 10.4%), it’s still a problem. If it was the only problem, we’d have a legitimately good pitching prospect due to the fact that he throws gas and hits 98. But there’s a second, far uglier problem. That, my friends, is his inability to get hitters to hit worm burners instead of bombs. Across numerous stops in AA and AAA over the last two years he’s consistently gotten only 34% ground balls. That’s in the minor leagues. Now he’s facing MLB hitters. So while he may get some strikeouts, he’s also going to let up bombs. Lots of them. Andrew McCutchen ($3,800) (.361 wOBA and .176 ISO), you’re a Razz darling for a reason, prove it today. And Rhys Hoskins ($4,400) has done .412/.522/.824 his last five games and is in a spectacular spot to continue the mashing (and if you’re a reasonable person who thinks it’s silly to look at just the 5 most recent games when trying to break down a player, well, I applaud you – he’s done .266/.394/.537 this year and will look to continue the mashing today). Jean Segura ($3,900) (.382 wOBA and .186 ISO), also a good play and he’s got some stolen base equity.
Ji-Man Choi, 1B: $2,800 – Trent Thornton is above average at strikeouts vs lefties (27.4%), below average at walks (9.7%) and below average at keeping the ball on the ground (37.7%). Choi is good at the hitting thing and has a .374 wOBA and .226 ISO vs righties. Austin Meadows (.394 wOBA and .237 ISO) and Tommy Pham (.366 wOBA and .198 ISO) are good hitters obviously, but a touch expensive for my tastes.
Kansas City Royals – Reynaldo Lopez so far in his career has shown none of the 3 abilities a pitcher needs to succeed. He doesn’t strike anyone out (19.5%), he walks guys (9.6%) and doesn’t keep the ball on the ground (31.5%). The closest thing to a skill he has is being average at walks vs righties (7.8%). If Nicky Lopez is leading off at $2,800, he’s a fine value play. Ryan O’Hearn ($2,400) (.382 wOBA and .285 ISO) is also a good value play. Whit Merrifield ($3,900) (.339 wOBA and .130 ISO) and Adalberto Mondesi ($3,800) (.346 wOBA and .219 ISO) are always solid plays. Alex Gordon (.347 wOBA and .180 ISO) and Jorge Soler (.338 wOBA and .213 ISO) aren’t cheap enough that it’s a comfortable play, but Reynaldo has been bad enough that they are viable, which is a theme here. Hunter Dozier ($3,800) (.363 wOBA and .255 ISO) has obviously hit like a man possessed this year and is probably the top play on the Royals, money irrelevant.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Jeff Hoffman is a below average strikeout pitcher (17.5%) pitching in Coors. Jeff Hoffman is a below average walk pitcher (9.8%) pitching in Coors. Given both of these to be true, we can load up on Arizona today. Jarrod Dyson ($3,600) is too cheap for a leadoff hitter in Coors with steal equity. Blake Swihart is another one who’s too cheap, where we actually get a sub 3k player at Coors who’s projected to hit in the top 6 of the lineup. He’s been awful at the plate the last 2 years (.303 wOBA) but he’s also $2,500 in Coors. Eduardo Escobar (.358 wOBA and .254 ISO) is the best hitter and the top play on the DBacks.
Jose Abreu, 1B: $3,700 & Yoan Moncada, 3B: $3,900 – These 2 aren’t cheap, but if you want to bomb hunt vs Glenn Sparkman, who throws a lot of strikes (6.5% this year) but doesn’t miss bats (15.3% career) and is average at keeping the ball on the ground (42.8%), these two are the places to start. Abreu (.337 wOBA and .221 ISO) and Moncada (.342 wOBA and .206 ISO) happen to also be the only two good hitters on the team, so this is probably more of a GPP play.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
It rained pretty hard last night in Philly and as of now it looks like it’s a possibility that the rain may play a factor again. Given the importance of that game to the overall slate, you better be checking the weather report all day to figure out if there’s any sort of delay or PPD possibility.
Doing Lines In Vegas
The Rockies are trash. Complete trash. Robbie Ray may have flaws, but he’s still a very good pitcher. Jeff Hoffman is not a very good pitcher. He’s not a good pitcher. He’s not….you get the idea. The Diamondbacks may be comparably trashy to the Rockies, but at least they have a real pitcher tomorrow. Right now the line’s at just -122, so I’ll happily take it, and just pray that Robbie Ray doesn’t decide to Jason Neighborgall it up tomorrow.