I was thrilled to find out that Saturday featured a monster 12-game night slate that begins at 7:05 p.m. ET this evening. The day didn’t start off with great news, as the Cardinals-Brewers game was cancelled after four more positive COVID-19 tests out of the Cardinals’ camp as three of them were staff members but one was a player. The MLB season continues, but I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t worried.
As for the rest of this slate, we have some really enticing matchups to target and we’ll talk all about that below. As always, feel free to throw me a follow on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Tyler Glasnow, TB at BAL, $9,300 - I originally had Jack Flaherty penciled into this spot before the COVID-19 test results came down like a hammer. With Flaherty off the slate, it really limits the number of pitchers I want to pay up for. Glasnow looked filthy in his first start against the Braves, striking out nine batters through just four innings. He allowed just one hit and a run, good for 23.2 DKFP. To be fair, the Orioles have been a much tougher matchup than you’d expect and have one of the lowest K% in the league thus far. That certainly isn’t sustainable, but truly, Glasnow is one of the only options I’d be willing to pay up for on this slate.
Other Option: Zack Greinke ($10,800)
Drew Smyly, SF vs. TEX, $7,300 - Smyly doesn’t come without some risk but I do like this matchup for him against the Rangers. Last season the Rangers tied for first for the highest K% in the league against lefties at 26.4%. Texas does have power against lefties but with this start happening in San Francisco, I’m not worried about that as much if this was coming on the road. I cannot imagine Smyly will garner much ownership at all, so this could be a really good way to differentiate your lineup, especially if you’re taking Glasnow as your SP1.
Other Option: Mike Fiers ($8,000)
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Yasmani Grandal, CWS at KCR, $4,400 - The catcher position is not one I’m necessarily looking to pay up for, but if you are, Grandal would be my choice. His matchup against long reliever Glenn Sparkman ($5,500) is where I’m enticed. Lefties gave Sparkman plenty of trouble last season, as he allowed a .370 wOBA with a 6.51 FIP and 18 of his 30 home runs. It’s been a slow start for the White Sox catcher thus far, but he’s far too talented a hitter to stay down for too long.
Other Option: Gary Sánchez ($4,700)
Carson Kelly, ARI at LAD, $3,300 - Kelly had the day off on Friday, so I expect him back in the lineup this evening against Julio Urías ($9,900). I mostly saw him in a relief role last season, but he will draw the start tonight. While this isn’t a great spot for the Diamondbacks overall, I do like the numbers for Kelly on the cheap. Last season against lefties, he had a .453 wOBA with a .310 ISO and six of his 18 home runs.
Other Option: Victor Caratini ($3,800)
Wil Myers, SD at COL, $4,800 - The Padres are going to be a very popular option today taking on Kyle Freeland ($5,500) at Coors Field. Freeland was nothing short of a disaster, especially at home, posting an overall .428 wOBA with a 7.35 FIP. Myers has a fantastic matchup here as his .405 wOBA and .289 ISO on the road against lefties indicates. Even better, you can use Myers in the OF spot as well if you’d rather.
Other Option: Anthony Rizzo ($5,000)
Matt Adams, ATL vs. NYM, $3,900 - I think the first base position is one worth paying up for, but if you need to save some salary, Adams could be your guy. Michael Wacha ($7,800) really struggled against lefties, specifically on the road. They tagged him for a .362 wOBA with a 5.32 FIP and five home runs. Adams is always a pinch-hit candidate late in the game if they use a lefty reliever, but his .238 ISO against righties last year is a good enough reason to use him.
Other Option: Carlos Santana ($3,700)
Whit Merrifield, KCR vs. CWS, $5,000 - Using Merrifield against a lefty is always a plausible strategy at second base. He didn’t have much pop against righties last year with just a .141 ISO but it jumped all the way up to .207 against lefties. I can never trust Gio Gonzalez ($7,200), who had a .328 wOBA and a 4.26 against righties in limited action last season.
Other Option: Jurickson Profar ($4,900)
Ty France, SD at COL, $3,800 - If France draws the start tonight, he’ll be a cheap way to grab some exposure to Coors Field. He only appeared in 69 games for the Padres last season but still was able to collect a .316 wOBA and a .273 ISO against lefties. His eligibility at both first and second base also gives you a bit more flexibility if you want to save at one position and pay up at the other.
Other Option: Robinson Cano ($3,500)
Rafael Devers, BOS at NYY, $4,800 - Masahiro Tanaka ($7,500) is expected to be on a pitch count today, but he should be out for at least four innings (barring he doesn’t get shelled). Lefties were the way to go after him last season and Devers is a perfect batter on the Red Sox to do that with. Home runs have been an issue for Tanaka and lefties cracked 15 of them off him last season. It’s been a slow start to the season for the Red Sox third baseman but he had a massive .296 ISO and a .425 wOBA against righties on the road in 2019.
Other Option: Manny Machado ($5,200)
Eduardo Escobar, ARI vs. LAD, $3,400 - This is more of a play on how cheap Escobar is rather than his matchup. This is someone who was easily around $4,500 last season, so getting him this cheap feel like a steal, especially since he is a switch-hitter. He had tremendous power against lefties with a .257 ISO to go with a .362 wOBA. I’m not crazy about the matchup against Urias but I’ll take Escobar at home against the lefty where he had a .292 ISO.
Other Option: Colin Moran ($3,100)
Marcus Semien, OAK at SEA $5,000 - I’m really liking this matchup for Semien for a couple of reasons. To start, he’s the third most expensive bat after Fernando Tatis Jr. ($6,100) and Trevor Story ($5,900), both of whom are at Coors Field and in their preferred matchups against lefties. With that in mind, if someone is paying up at shortstop, they aren’t landing on Semien. Make no mistake, Semien is in a great spot himself against Yusei Kikuchi ($5,100), who was rocked for five runs on five hits in his first start against the Astros. Against lefties, Semien produced a .388 wOBA with a .230 ISO. I’m really hoping this ends up being a strong game for Semien at extremely low ownership.
Other Option: Fernando Tatis Jr. ($6,100)
Carlos Correa, HOU at LAA, $3,900 - Such a crazy low salary for Correa at just $3,900. Griffin Canning ($8,700) is not a pitcher I’m avoiding rostering batters against, so this is simply a salary play for Correa. He missed a good chunk of 2019, but when he was on the field, his .307 ISO against righties did the talking. With so much attention on the more expensive bats at this position, you could get Correa at some favorable ownership as well.
Other Option: J.P Crawford ($3,500)
Tommy Pham, SDP at COL, $5,100 - It’s so hard not to want multiple Padres bats in your lineup. With how poor the numbers are for Freeland at Coors against righties, it’s only natural to want San Diego’s cleanup hitter in your lineup. To be fair, I expected Pham to be a bit more expensive than he is, even after jumping $300 from last night. I’m completely expecting Freeland to get knocked around early, so Pham batting fourth with his .407 wOBA against lefties is needed.
Other Options: Michael Conforto ($4,900), Mark Canha ($4,700)
Stephen Piscotty, OAK at SEA, $3,300 - It’s been a slow start to the season for my guy Piscotty, who has yet to record a home run or an RBI. TONIGHT, IS THE NIGHT (I hope). I can never ignore how good his numbers were against lefties, and I’m a firm believer that the A’s will feast on Kikuchi. This will serve as your friendly reminder that Piscotty posted a .419 wOBA with a .267 ISO against lefties last year. On the road? Just as good at a .413 wOBA and a .220 ISO.
Other Options: Alex Dickerson ($3,700), Michael Brantley ($2,900)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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.