We’re almost at the end of August and I’m here to remind you that projections are still more important than what a player has done so far this year. MGL did a study a few years ago and found that a “hot” player, after 5 months, can have his projection bumped up a few points of wOBA, but a “cold” player hits what the projection says he’ll hit. Obviously if you’re reading this you’re statistically inclined, but even the best of us can weight the current season too much, especially for players who are in a big time slump. And in DFS when salary moves based on streaks and people get fearful after cold streaks, you should jump all over these guys.
On to the picks…
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Justin Verlander, P: $12,200 – The clear top pitcher of the slate is also facing a garbage lineup. .292 wOBA and 25.4% strikeouts for the Tigers. Verlander on the other hand has 34.3% strikeouts and 5.1% walks, so yeah, he’s really good and should start here for cash games.
Walker Buehler, P: $11,000 – Buehler combines above average strikeouts (28.8%) with well above average walks (5.6%) and above average groundballs (46.5%) to be one of the better pitchers in the game. This year, he’s been even better than that in strikeouts (29.1%) and walks (4.6%) but he’s lost some of the groundball ability (43.5%). We DFS players will take that because strikeouts are where the money is at. He’s facing a Toronto team that has some pop (.240), but will strike out a bunch (26.1%) and is in the NL so lost the DH. It’s a good matchup for Buehler, but the savings from Verlander isn’t enough to knock him off the cash game perch, but is a good GPP play and if the value doesn’t materialize and you need the $1,200, he’s a fine cash game play.
Julio Teheran, P: $9,000 – Marlins still can’t hit and Teheran is useful vs righties and the Marlins aren’t going to throw out lefties vs him. Vs righties, Teheran strikes out 24.4%, walks 7.1% and gets 43.7% groundballs. It’s definitely not world beating, but for $9,000 it’s not bad on this slate.
Boston Red Sox – Once Drew Smyly arrived in Philadelphia and out of the American League, he’s been roughly a league average pitcher. He’s back in an American League park facing a good offense with good right handed hitters. JD Martinez (.478 wOBA and .347 ISO) is the top play with Mookie Betts (.414 wOBA and .250 ISO) being slightly behind him. Xander Bogaerts (.368 wOBA and .200 ISO) is a fine play as well. If you’re looking for value, Sam Travis is the good value play since he can hit a little (.349 wOBA and .240 ISO) and his groundball (46.7%) tendencies are neutralized by Smyly’s extreme fly ballness (31.1% groundballs). Chris Owings and Sandy Leon can’t hit, but they are dirt cheap and gives you access to one of the highest totals of the day.
Joe Panik, 2B: $2,400 – Panik has been abysmal this season but he’s showed some spark since coming over to the Mets with a .352 wOBA. For $2,400 against Adam Plutko, who can’t get any lefty to swing and miss (11.6% strikeouts) nor hit the ball on the ground (28.1%) Panik is a pretty good value play.
Houston Astros – Daniel Norris throws a decent number of strikes (7.3% walk rate) and is just a touch below average in strikeout rate (21.8%) and he’s a little below average in ground balls (39.8%). The Astros on the other hand are a pretty good offense and at home. There is a chance, however, that the Tigers limit Norris to just one time through the order, in which case, this is still a pretty good spot since the Tigers bullpen has an ERA, FIP and xFIP all above 5. Alex Bregman (.418 wOBA and .279 ISO) is the clear top play on the team. Jose Altuve (.394 wOBA and .219 ISO) is the other guy i’d look to play at the top of the order. George Springer (.375 wOBA and .201 ISO) is a perfectly fine play at the top of the order. Jack Mayfield ($2,000) is a great stone min play as he gets you access to the Astros for stone min and he hit a decent ..298/.363/.599 in AAA this year. If Robinson Chirinos (.359 wOBA and .187 ISO) plays today, he’s another decent way to get cheap access to the Astros, albeit at the bottom of the order.
Texas Rangers – It’s going to be hot in Texas and Patrick Sandoval hasn’t shown an ability to strike guys out at an above average clip nor has he shown an ability to limit the walks to an acceptable amount. He does seem to have a moderate ground ball ability. The good news for Sandoval is the Rangers have built an offensive team that isn’t good (92 wRC+) and they are equally not good vs lefties (92 wRC+). But, it’s going to be almost 100 degrees so they will have some plays that are OK. Danny Santana (.373 wOBA and .263 ISO) is one of them. Hunter Pence (.347 wOBA and .237 ISO) is the other decent hitter. Elvis Andrus (.319 wOBA and .137 ISO) can’t really hit, but he’s kind of cheap and did I mention it’s going to be nearly 100 degrees today in Texas? Logan Forsythe is only $2,700, so he’s got that going for him.
Mike Trout and the Troutkateers – It’s going to be nearly 100 degrees in Texas and Mike Trout (.428 wOBA and .270 ISO) is facing an average lefty. The other Angels aren’t great, Justin Upton (.264 wOBA and .143 ISO) is a decent price but that’s about it for the Angels, who are squandering the prime of the best player in MLB history.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
It’s supposed to rain in Baltimore and St. Louis. It’s also supposed to be really hot in Texas.
Doing Lines In Vegas
I’ll take the under of 8.5 in Houston, especially if the Tigers throw a bullpen game.