Let’s be honest…the vast majority of times someone claims in a DFS-article some super secret strategy or piece of information that will give you a massive edge, they’re entirely full of it. For once, I can actually offer you something quite useful: Chase Field (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks) is about to take a massive decrease in its offensive-friendliness. As of today, Chase Field is the 2nd best stadium in 2017 for offense, and it’s always been a top-3 hitter friendly park. The Diamondbacks announced before the season started that they would begin using a humidor similar to what is used in Coors Field, but they could not give an exact timeline as to when it would begin being used other than it wouldn’t be immediately. It appears it’s going to be very, very soon. My best guess would be it begins being used right after the All-Star Break, and I doubt it will garner a lot of attention, but there’s a very good chance the humidor will turn Chase Field into a ballpark that is offense-neutral (specifically, power-neutral).
On to the picks once Chase Field uses a humidor…
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Carlos Carrasco, SP: $22,500 – Carrasco is pretty boring excellent pitcher. He’s a 25%-29% K%, a 5-7% BB% and a moderate ground ball pitcher. Texas on the road really is really quite bad this year with a 79 wRC+. It’s pretty tough to fit Sale and Carrasco in this slate, so you’re likely going to choose between the 2 and go cheap with the 2nd pitcher. But, if you are feeling frisky and don’t want to use Sale, Carrasco is a good choice to anchor your team.
Jeff Samardzija, SP: $16,400 – If this was 1970, people would think Shark’s having a horrible 2017 as he’s 2-9. But he’s actually been pitching well, with a career best K% (27.7%) and BB% (3.2%). Over his last 10 starts, he’s struck out more than a batter per inning in all but one of them (the only time he did not was when he pitched in Coors Field). While you can certainly argue that he’ll regress to his career numbers of 21.8% and 7.2%, it’s almost July – at some point you have to consider that there’s an actual improvement there. Even if you go by his career numbers, he’s still a decent enough pitcher that in an ideal matchup, he’s playable and today he happens to have that matchup. He’s facing the Rockies who are already pretty bad on the road (22nd in team wOBA on the road), and now put them in one of the best pitcher’s parks in all of baseball. Finally, my best friend’s wife thinks that he looks like Eric Balfour (an actor who was on her favorite show of all-time, Haven; he was also Milo Pressman on 24) and therefore always chooses him whenever she makes a lineup. Is that relevant? No, but it’ll make her happy to read this, and thus make my best friend happy, so there’s that.
German Marquez, SP: $14,800 – Lower priced option is Marquez since he’s facing the putrid Giants and their 78 wRC+ vs righties. They don’t strike out a lot, so he’s not a tremendous option or anything, but he’s cheap and this slate, you may need the extra money.
Any Right Handed New York Yankee – The New York Yankees have the highest implied Vegas total and the second highest Teamonator total today. They’re facing David Holmberg (career 12.6% K%, 10.9% BB%, 40% GB %, all of which are not good), so any right handed bat is in play here. The one caveat is that the two most obvious ones – Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, are quite expensive ($10,800, and $9,900), so working them into a lineup with Chris Sale isn’t particularly easy.
Brian Goodwin, OF: $7,500 – Brian Goodwin isn’t a good hitter, but he’s doing a fine impersonation of one this year with a .369 wOBA and he’s likely going to hit at the top of the lineup with a platoon advantage in a high total game. He did steal a modicum of bases in the minors, although so far in his major league career he has a whopping total of one so if you’re playing him for the stolen base potential, don’t until he shows some sort of ability to steal bases at the major league level. That said, he’s relatively cheap on a day you need to find value with Chris Sale on the slate.
Bryce Harper, OF: $10,400 – Any time Brian Goodwin’s a play, that means that Bryce Harper also has the platoon advantage. I’m fairly certain that no two players are more correlated in my lineups than these two. There’s no need for analysis on how good Bryce Harper is. He’s got the 4th best wOBA against righties this year for a reason (see if you can guess the top three; I can assure you that you will only get two of them…answers at the end). Want a bigger sample? He’s got the 4th best wOBA against righties since 2015 (the other three here are all familiar names: David Ortiz, Mike Trout and Joey Votto). Finally, from a game theory perspective, there may be value in playing a Nationals stack that includes Goodwin but not Harper in order to differentiate your lineups, and hope that the Nationals you pick hit the homers and Harper does something like 0-3 with 2 walks and 2 runs.
Daniel Murphy, IF: $10,000 – He’s probably a little too expensive in cash games on a site that does not differentiate by positions (he’s only worth the price if you’re considering him relative to the other second baseman, most of whom are unimpressive), but if you’re stacking the Nationals, you’d be foolish to omit him, particularly if you’re trying to build a no-Harper stack.
Carlos Santana, IF: $7,200 – Santana is cheap, he hits everyone about the same (.353 wOBA vs lefties, .349 vs righties) and Cleveland has a high total. Hamels has struggled getting swings and misses this year and has pitched like he’s a right-hander forced to pitch with his left hand.
Andrew Benintendi, OF: $8,000 – Benintendi has only been average this year, but he’s got the tools and skills to be a much better hitter. He also has the platoon advantage and Berrios has been super lucky, with a 4.27 xFIP vs a 2.67 ERA, so it’s a pretty decent matchup.
Chase Utley, IF: $6,400 – Chase has the platoon advantage, facing one of the worst pitchers on the slate and likely at the top of the lineup. And just like Brian Goodwin, he’s a solid value play when you’re looking to build a lineup with Sale as your SP1.
Cody Bellinger, IF/OF: $10,800 – Bellinger has 24 homers, is hitting like the best player in the DFS and only has a 157 wRC+. He’s struck out a whopping 28.8% of the time and his BABIP is .282, but he still gets to face Ricky Nolasco. He lacks in strikeouts and has fly ball tendencies, which is, you know, good for Bellinger. Walks and OBP may win real life baseball games, but homers win DFS games, and Bellinger currently does that as good as anyone.
Corey Seager, IF: $10,000 – Corey Seager added walks to his already stellar set of skills. He’s an excellent hitter vs righties (.397 wOBA), and just like Bellinger, has the platoon advantage vs Ricky Nolasco.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Chance of rain and thunderstorms in Cleveland, other than that looks like a clear day.
Doing Lines In Vegas
I’ll take this year’s Shark at -134 versus the Rockies, even if the Giants offense is utterly and completely worthless. And if for some reason Charlie Blackmon (the only reason the Rockies offense is not entirely trash) isn’t in the lineup, I would bet whatever money I had available that day on the Giants.