Four weeks into the MLB regular season and we’re still dealing with odd pitch counts and questionable major league debuts. However, when it comes specifically to the top-end of tonight’s pitcher pricing list for DraftKings’ 11-game featured slate, there’s actually some really nice arms to invest in.
Which power pitcher should you be focusing on this evening? Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you need to know from a DFS perspective.
Set your DraftKings lineups here: MLB $300K Relay Throw [$100K to 1st]
Editor’s Note: Tuesday’s game between the Reds and the Royals has been postponed
Luis Castillo, CIN at KC, $9,500 - There’s a few amazing pitchers in favorable spots this evening, but my main target has to be Castillo. Despite a .393 opponent BABIP through four starts, the RHP has been dominant, registering a massive 30.7% strikeout rate to go along with just a .324 expected slugging percentage. In fact, due partly to some of Castillo’s bad luck, the 27-year-old comes into this slate with the lowest qualified FIP in all of baseball (2.03). Expect him to make quick work of a Royals team that sits fifth in chase rate (32.8%), seventh in swinging strike rate (12.3%) and dead-last in the AL in runs scored the past seven days (19).
Other Option: Carlos Carrasco ($9,900)
Nate Pearson, TOR at BAL, $7,400 - It’s been downhill for MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 pitching prospect since five shutout innings in his debut against Washington, but it’s not like the stuff that made Pearson a household name in Toronto before throwing a pitch in the majors has suddenly vanished. In fact, the RHP’s average fastball velocity in his last outing versus the Marlins was 97.4 mph — he just couldn’t control it. There’s really not a precedent for this issue, either. In the minors, Pearson walked a mere 2.39 opponents per nine across 101.2 innings of work in 2019. I’ll take a chance on his upside and pedigree at a depressed salary on Tuesday’s slate.
Other Option: Corbin Burnes ($6,300)
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J.T. Realmuto, PHI at BOS, $5,300 - This is a pretty hefty price for Realmuto, but getting exposure to the Phillies seems like a good idea on Tuesday. Philadelphia has one of the slate’s highest implied team totals thanks to the presence of Zack Godley ($5,600) on the mound for Boston. In the three games Godley’s started in 2020, he’s surrendered 4.35 home runs per nine and an eye-popping .492 opponent wOBA. That’s an enticing matchup for the catcher that currently sits third in the league in slugging percentage (.717).
Other Option: James McCann ($4,300)
Travis d’Arnaud, ATL vs. WAS, $3,000 - I’m not sure what weird pricing quirk is keeping d’Arnaud this cheap, but the 31-year-old is slashing .333/.364/.588 with a 150 wRC+ across his first 55 plate appearances of 2020. He’s also been primarily hitting out of the two-spot in the Braves’ order for the past week. With the struggling Austin Voth ($8,300) scheduled to pitch for the Nationals, I don’t understand what’s not to like about this situation.
Other Option: Danny Jansen ($3,900)
Pete Alonso, NYM at MIA, $5,200 - To say we don’t yet have much of a book on Humberto Mejia ($5,000) would be an understatement. The rookie threw just 3.2 innings in his MLB debut and only allowed three batted ball events in the process. Still, two of those three BBEs were barreled, which supports the theory that taking a pitcher directly from High-A and tossing him in the big leagues might be pressing your luck. Between the inexperienced Humberto and a Marlins bullpen that owns a 6.18 FIP, this is a good spot for Alonso and the Mets.
Other Options: Rhys Hoskins ($4,900), Jose Abreu ($4,500)
Edwin Encarnacion, CWS vs. DET, $3,900 - It’s been an incredibly slow start to the season for Encarnacion, but this is a nice price to get the veteran slugger in a matchup with a left-hander making his MLB debut in Tarik Skubal ($6,600). Plus, Encarnacion’s value could really be found more in that later innings. Skubal’s going to be limited to around 50 pitches, meaning we’ll see a lot of the Tigers’ bullpen on Tuesday. It’s a grouping that owns the lowest strikeout rate in the American League (19.7%).
Other Option: Ji-Man Choi ($3,300)
Brandon Lowe, TB at NYY, $4,900 - While Masahiro Tanaka ($7,900) has looked good in his small sample of work in 2020, there’s no reason for Lowe to be priced below $5K on this slate. There seriously might not be a hitter in the American League more dialed in coming into Tuesday’s action. Lowe ranks first among qualified hitters in slugging percentage (.738), third in barrels per plate appearances (13.5%) and fourth in wOBA (.467). Put all that into a ballpark design that’s favored left-handed hitters for a century and it’s easy to see that Lowe is a good play.
Other Option: Robinson Cano ($4,500)
Jason Kipnis, CHC vs. STL, $2,700 - The sample size is small and Kipnis tends to hit towards the bottom of the Cubs’ order, but the early results have been eye-opening for the veteran infielder in 2020. Kipnis comes into Tuesday’s matchup with Daniel Ponce de Leon ($7,000) slashing .333/.436/.667 with a 192 wRC+ in his 39 plate appearances. That’s all surely set to regress, yet it’s hard to ignore in the moment with a price tag so affordable. Plus, how will three weeks without throwing a real pitch affect Ponce de Leon?
Other Option: Kiké Hernandez ($3,600)
Justin Turner, LAD vs. SEA, $4,900 - It almost goes without saying at this point in his career, but you always have to at least consider Turner when he draws a southpaw pitcher. From the start of 2017 to the end of 2019, Turner has slashed .333/.425/.622 with a .290 ISO and a .433 wOBA in nearly 500 plate appearances versus LHPs. The contact-oriented Marco Gonzales ($6,800) is the kind of matchup that gets Turner out of bed in the morning.
Other Option: Yoan Moncada ($4,700)
Luis Urias, MIL at MIN, $2,600 - With Milwaukee struggling to generate offense, Urias finally got the call to join the big club last week and he has not disappointed. The 23-year-old comes into today’s slate with multi-hit performances in three of his past four games; a span that includes a 3-for-4 showing on Sunday where Urias collected a triple and two runs. Historically, Kenta Maeda ($9,700) is very tough on RHBs, but at this price, Urias at least provides some upside.
Tim Anderson, CWS vs. DET, $4,700 - After smacking two home runs off of Matt Boyd on Monday night, Anderson comes into Tuesday’s matchup with Skubal hitting .643 (9-for-14) against LHPs in 2020. It’s obviously a small sample, but it’s still one that includes six extra-base hits and a 2.330 OPS. It’s not like this is coming out of nowhere, either. For his career, Anderson is hitting .320 with a 127 wRC+ within the split. If anyone’s going to get two cracks at the rookie on a pitch count, it’s Chicago’s leadoff man.
Other Option: Didi Gregorius ($4,900)
Chris Taylor, LAD vs. SEA, $3,200 - Last season, in his 162 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, Taylor sported a .262 ISO and a 120 wRC+. Knowing that, it’s not hard to see why Dave Roberts tends to stick the 29-year-old right in the middle of his batting order when the Dodgers are set to face a southpaw. With Los Angeles possessing the highest implied team total on the slate, Taylor should be a popular and cost-effective addition to stacks.
Other Option: Willy Adames ($3,600)
Teoscar Hernandez, TOR at BAL, $4,700 - While Hernandez isn’t the type of name that people usually feel comfortable spending nearly $5K to own, the numbers speak for themselves. The 27-year-old enters Tuesday’s matchup with Wade LeBlanc ($5,900) sitting in the 98th percentile in exit velocity (95.3 mph), the 98th percentile in hard hit rate (61.1%) and the 97th percentile in expected slugging percentage (.685). Conversely, no pitcher with 130-plus innings since the beginning of 2019 has surrendered more home runs per nine that LeBlanc (2.07). I’m expecting some fireworks.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hernandez is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Orioles.
Other Options: Mookie Betts ($6,100), Bryce Harper ($5,500)
Randal Grichuk, TOR at BAL, $3,900 - While Grichuk doesn’t have the same gaudy advanced statistical profile as his teammate, he does draw the same tantalizing matchup. Also, with the recent injury to Bo Bichette (knee), the veteran outfielder has been moved up to the two-spot in Toronto’s batting order. It’s not difficult to see why he was chosen for the promotion, either. Grichuk is slashing .327/.393/.509 with a 149 wRC+ through 61 plate appearances in 2020. He’s also got nine hits in his past five games.
Other Options: A.J. Pollock ($3,900), Jesse Winker ($3,800)
Set your DraftKings lineups here: MLB $300K Relay Throw [$100K to 1st]
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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.