As we move into Super 2 season, we are coming to the point of the season where there are going to be a lot more call ups and you’re going to see names that you may or may not recognize but you should know to succeed on FanDuel. Obviously you will know who Keston Hiura is, but there are a couple hundred players who might get called up due to injuries or just dominating performances. Do you know who Oscar Mercado is? Cleveland called him up after he hit .294/.396/.496 this year in AAA. Given how bad Cleveland’s offense is, he could easily be moved up to the 2-slot sooner rather than later, and I doubt his price will be particularly high. Do you know who Charlie Tilson is? He can’t hit, but he steals bases as good as anyone, and the White Sox called him up and threw him right into the leadoff spot on Monday (and he was $2,600). Do you know who Shed Long is? Yes, that’s his actual name. Do you know who Luthor Tyrell is? Oh you do? Really? Because that’s not a prospect who has been or will be called up to the major leagues soon. Luthor Tyrell is a minor character from Game of Thrones, he was Olenna’s husband but died before the events seen in the television show began – and while it’s not related to baseball, the way he died is so absurdly comical I feel it has to be said here he rode off a cliff to his death during a hawking accident because he was too focused on the sky. Still more reasonable writing than most of Season 8. Anyway, the point is, we’re going to see new names in the coming weeks, even a few we probably won’t recognize. And, if you’re aggressive about familiarizing yourself with those players, you’ll have a noticeable edge on all the players out there who simply ignore unknown prospects.
On to the picks…
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Justin Verlander, SP: $12,000 – Verlander owns an elite 33.3% strikeout rate and 5.2% walk rate. The Tigers vs righties are a pretty good matchup with 25.7% strikeouts and 8% walks with a .141 ISO. There isn’t much else to say, Verlander is elite with an elite matchup.
Patrick Corbin, SP: $9,500 – Corbin’s performance has degraded from last year, but it’s still plenty solid. He’s gone from 30.8% strikeouts to 28%. His walks have increased from 6% to 8.2%, and his groundballs went from 48.5% to 44.2%. He’s still a solid pitcher, and the price tag is a nice discount on Verlander. The matchup isn’t the easiest, but the Mets (in a small sample size) do strike out a lot vs lefties (28.2%), and their .168 ISO is pretty solid. But Corbin is pretty solid himself, and Teamonator has the Mets only scoring 3.8 runs.
Kenta Maeda, SP: $8,500 – Right handers vs the Padres are going to be in play all year since the Padres strike out a lot vs them (26.7%). Maeda has gone from 28.8% strikeouts last year, to 21.5% this year, but the last 2 starts have been 25% and 28.5%. I’m confident we’re back to at least non crappy Maeda.
Texas Rangers – Jorge Lopez is a pitcher who does nothing vs lefties except throw the ball to home plate and hope you get yourself out. He’s not what you would consider a strike thrower (9.6%), and doesn’t keep the ball on the ground (38.7%). So, Shin-Soo Choo (.393 wOBA and .210 ISO) and Joey Gallo (.370 wOBA and .297 ISO) are the 2 best plays, and Nomar Mazara (.332 wOBA and .167 ISO) is a solid value play. Asdrubal Cabrera (.352 wOBA and .234 ISO) would be a much better cash play if he was in the top half of the lineup. But he’s not cheap enough to be a priority cash play, and would be someone I’d be happy with landing on as a last piece. Of course, if he is in the top half of the lineup, he becomes someone to play.
Atlanta Braves – Michael Wacha is another pitcher who doesn’t do anything well, and thus is an easy target. He’s got a below average 20.2% strikeout rate, a below average 11.% walk rate, and an average 43.3% groundball rate. He also is a fairly neutral split pitcher, so we can target away. The two best hitters on the Braves are Freddie Freeman (.379 wOBA and .183 ISO) and Ronald Acuna Jr (.378 wOBA and .224 ISO), and both are affordable options. Josh Donaldson (.346 wOBA and .206 ISO) is an excellent play, but he does tend to hit a few too many groundballs vs righties (47.4%). Dansby Swanson so far in his career has been a bad hitter, but he’s hitting the ball harder this year (91.1 MPH), and has a 46% hard hit %. His xwOBA is .373 this year, and he could be a breakout player. In this matchup, if he’s batting 2nd at $3,200, he would be an excellent play. Nick Markakis is a very nice play since he’s a pretty solid hitter (.372 wOBA and .159 ISO) but lacks the power we generally are looking for.
Houston Astros – Left hander Gregory Soto is starting for the Tigers. I had to do a double take that a pitcher had a projection that with more walks than strikeouts, but that’s what we have here. In the minors he had a slight groundball lean, but in his first start it sat at 31.6%, so I’m not avoiding anyone here because they like to hit a lot of groundballs (I’m looking at you George Springer). Anyways, like always, the Astros start with Alex Bregman (.381 wOBA and .235 ISO), George Springer (.387 wOBA and .238 ISO) and Carlos Correa (.372 wOBA and .161 ISO), with Tyler White (.372 wOBA and .191 ISO) being nearly free. Yuli Gurriel (.381 wOBA and .186 ISO) is getting a little expensive for me, but if he fits, he’s a solid play. Robinson Chirinos (.363 wOBA and .210 ISO) and Aledmys Diaz (.299 wOBA and .179 ISO) are also fine plays. Which Astros you play will depend on your roster construction and price points, but you need to have Astros in your cash game lineups, this is the spot of the day.
Justin Turner, 3B: $3,400 – This is still too cheap for a player of Turner’s caliber with the platoon advantage. As a starter, Matt Strahm looks like a strike thrower who struggles with getting hitters to swing and miss (21.5%). If you don’t get guys to swing and miss the Dodgers are going to make you pay, and Justin Turner (.402 wOBA and .218 ISO) is one of the best vs lefties. The other Dodgers 3B, David Freese (.403 wOBA and .212 ISO), has remarkably similar numbers and is dirt cheap. If he lets you get some more Astros, it’s a good play. You do run the risk of Freese being pinch-hit for, but at the same time, did I tell you he’s dirt cheap? $2,300 for someone with good stats and is likely batting cleanup with a platoon edge? Tasty.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
It’s going to be a bit chilly in Boston, otherwise a mostly clear night.
Doing Lines In Vegas
It’s an early game, but the over in any game David Hess pitches seems like a good bet to me.