It’s still pretty early in the day and we already have news that’s shaken the entire baseball world and, in particular, this slate. As reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Marlins experienced a team outbreak of COVID-19 this weekend in Philadelphia, resulting in as many as 14 total cases within the team. As such, Miami’s contest against Baltimore has been postponed and there are also concerns about New York now having to travel to Citizen’s Bank Park; with that contest being postponed, as well. All this and I haven’t even mentioned the probability of rain in Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Needless to say, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the DK Live app all afternoon long. Let’s break this all down position-by-position.
Josh James, HOU vs. SEA, $8,600 - Understandably, there are durability concerns with James, but I think I like his chances of working deeper into his first start of the season than Tyler Glasnow ($8,900), who was unable to join the Rays for most of the team’s Summer Camp. Primarily working out of the bullpen in his young career, James has registered a jaw-dropping 37.6% strikeout rate across 84 1⁄3 innings of work. That figure does fall to 30.8% in his four starts, but that’s far from the most discouraging thing in the world. I’d expect James to overpower a Seattle lineup that still projects to be one of the worst in baseball this season and if he can make it five frames, he’s got a high win expectancy, too.
Other Option: Adrian Houser ($8,300)
Mike Montgomery, KC at DET, $6,500 - I’ll start this section off by assuring you I’m aware that Montgomery is not a very good starting pitcher, but options are getting more and more limited by the second on this slate. Also, at the very least, the southpaw has the advantage of being opposed by the Tigers. Detroit somehow won two games this past weekend in Cincinnati despite the fact the team as a whole barely made any contact. Yes, Montgomery isn’t Luis Castillo or Trevor Bauer, but with the Tigers’ 43.8% strikeout rate and 19.3% swinging strike rate, he doesn’t have to be. You’ll want to have at least some exposure, especially with few truly enticing options above $9K.
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Willson Contreras, CHC at CIN, $4,800 - There’s a chance the Cubs’ catcher doesn’t start his fourth-straight game to begin the season, though David Ross did grant Contreras a half-day off with a DH role on Saturday and he could do it again on Monday. I mean, I’d want the backstop in the lineup. Chicago will face the left-handed Wade Miley ($6,000), who does have the advantage of being an extreme groundball pitcher, but I feel like the handedness is more important in this spot. Contreras managed a .307 ISO and a 161 wRC+ in his opportunities against LHPs in 2019.
Wilson Ramos, NYM at BOS, $3,800 - There’s obviously a chance that Ramos won’t even get to face the left-handed Josh Osich ($4,000), though it is worth noting that the veteran slashed .346/.423/.523 with a 151 wRC+ in his 123 plate appearances against LHPs in 2019. Still, even if Osich only goes a single inning this evening, I’m not exactly scared of Zack Godley ($5,600), who possessed a 5.43 xFIP over his 33 appearances last year. There’s a reason the Mets’ implied team total is so high on this slate.
Pete Alonso, NYM at BOS, $5,600 - Alonso’s has had an extremely rough go to start 2020, as the slugger finished up New York’s series with Atlanta 1-for-11 with five strikeouts. Still, the upside is obvious, with Alonso having maintained the league’s fifth-highest ISO for the duration of 2019 (.323). If you’re thinking about stacking the Mets, it’s sort of difficult to envision that build without Alonso in the middle of your lineup.
Ji-Man Choi, TB vs. ATL, $3,900 - So, I guess Choi’s now just a switch-hitter? It was pretty impressive to see the usually left-handed first baseman take Toronto’s Anthony Kay deep from the right side of the plate on Sunday, wrapping up a very nice series for the 29-year-old. Choi’s also been primarily serving as Tampa Bay’s leadoff hitter against RHPs, just another positive aspect you can add to Choi’s DFS profile. Considering Mike Foltynewicz ($10,300) conceded three-straight home runs in his final tune-up start last week, I like Choi’s chances of doing some damage this evening.
Other Options: Mitch Moreland ($3,700), Yuli Gurriel ($3,700)
Brandon Lowe, TB vs. ATL, $4,300 - It seems like Lowe is seeing the ball pretty well right now. The 26-year-old only had six batted ball events in the Rays’ weekend series with the Blue Jays, but half of them had an exit velocity of over 95 mph and two of them could be defined as barrels. This isn’t a guy who generally has a hard time squaring the ball up, anyway. Yes, there’s a lot of swing and miss in Lowe’s bat but he also posted a .243 ISO in his rookie campaign. He’s dripping with upside.
Other Options: Jose Altuve ($5,000), Whit Merrifield ($4,000)
Nico Hoerner, CHC at CIN, $3,400 - You’d love to see Hoerner a little higher in the Cubs’ batting order, but it’s hard to be overly picky at this price. The middle-infielder finished 2019 as Chicago’s No. 1 prospect and he clearly possesses the tools to be dangerous in the batter’s box. At the always hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in a right-on-left matchup, I’d be willing to give the 23-year-old a serious look.
Rafael Devers, BOS vs. NYM, $5,200 - Of the 104 pitchers to throw more than 120 innings in 2019, Michael Wacha ($7,900) surrendered the 11th-most home runs per nine (1.85) while also possessing the group’s fourth-worst FIP (5.61). In layman’s terms, the right-hander was terrible and I’m doubtful he’s fixed all his issues in an extended offseason. Devers owned the MLB’s eighth-highest wOBA against RHPs last year (.407) and his .996 OPS within the split was 252 points better than his mark versus southpaws. This is a nice spot for Devers to breakout.
Other Options: Alex Bregman ($5,100), Jose Ramirez ($5,000)
Yoshi Tsutsugo, TB vs. ATL, $3,300 - We still don’t have a ton of information on Tsutsugo, but we do know a few things to be true. First and foremost, there’s a lot of pop in the import’s bat, which became abundantly clear when he took Hyun-Jin Ryu deep to dead center field back on Opening Day. Aside from that, with Austin Meadows (illness) sidelined, we also know that Tsutsugo projects as a middle-of-the-order bat for Kevin Cash, as he’s hit third and cleanup in his two starts. That’s a lot of ceiling for an asset this inexpensive.
Javier Baez, CHC at CIN, $4,700 - Like a handful of his teammates, Baez was spectacular against southpaw pitching in 2019, putting together a slash line of .304/.348/.618 with an impressive .391 wOBA in 112 plate appearances. I’ll be optimistic and bank on the shortstop’s lengthy track record and not focus on his ugly 8.00 GB/FB ratio through three games. Launch angle, Javier. Get that ball up.
Other Option: Francisco Lindor ($4,900)
Adalberto Mondesi, KC at DET, $3,500 - There is no doubt that Mondesi can be a frustrating DFS commodity, as his low contact rate makes him incredibly inconsistent. However, in what essentially amounts to a bullpen game for the Tigers how could you not be enticed by the speedy switch-hitter? Mondesi has hit out of the two-spot in all three of the Royals’ games so far in 2020 and it just takes one hit to set the 25-year-old loose on the base paths. The dollar-for-dollar upside here is fantastic.
Nick Castellanos, CIN vs. CHC, $4,500 - Few players in the world were better against left-handed pitching that Castellanos last year, as the veteran posted insane marks in both wOBA (.460) and wRC+ (190) within the split in his 120 plate appearances. Plus, if you’re into the whole BvP thing, Castellanos is 7-for-12 with three home runs in his career off of Jon Lester ($9,200). I’d buy more into the overall numbers, but that’s sort of the cherry on top of the sundae, right?
Other Options: Michael Conforto ($5,000), J.D. Martinez ($4,700)
Jorge Soler, KC at DET, $3,800 - Similar thought process for both Soler and the aforementioned Mondesi. There’s just no reason to not invest a little salary in the top-half of Kansas City’s lineup this evening. Michael Fulmer ($6,500) hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since all the way back in 2018 and Gregory Soto ($5,900) had a 5.65 xFIP in his 57 2/3 innings of work in 2019. We know Soler has the power to completely flip a slate and this appears to be a great matchup.
Other Options: Lorenzo Cain ($3,700), Andrew Benintendi ($3,700)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.