Stop me if you’re heard this before, but we’ve got a few weather spots to keep an eye on ahead of tonight’s 14-game featured MLB slate. We could get some wet stuff in Baltimore, Detroit and Cleveland on Friday, as the seemingly never-ending rain cloud that’s been chilling over the entire east coast for the past three weeks will remain in place.
With the warnings out of the way, here’s everything else you’ll need to know to put together a few lineups tonight on DraftKings.
Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $8,800 - There’s a trio of young NL pitchers that I really like on this evening’s slate in Rogers, Jack Flaherty ($9,400) and Zac Gallen ($8,900), but let’s focus on the cheapest of the group. Rogers has been incredible in his first six starts of the season, pitching to a 2.59 FIP across 33.0 innings and generating a 16.5% swinging strike rate than trails only Jacob deGrom, Shane Bieber and Tyler Glasnow among qualified arms. In a vacuum, he might have the highest strikeout upside of anyone toeing the rubber on Friday, and that’s before factoring in opponent. Milwaukee owns the league’s third-highest strikeout rate (27.3%) and it’s fourth-lowest wRC+ (86). Sounds like a good matchup to me.
Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies, $7,700 - Morton’s due for a little positive regression this evening. While the veteran’s 5.08 ERA looks bad, his 3.41 expected ERA tells an entirely different story. Morton is actually one of just four qualified pitchers in 2021 with a ground ball rate above 50% and a strikeout rate above 25%, as the right-hander has managed at least six strikeouts in each of his past five outings. He’s still good, and I think he’ll be able to turn things around against a Phillies lineup that’s scuffling at the plate. Across the past week, Philadelphia is hitting .192 as a team with a 70 wRC+ and a robust 33.2% strikeout rate. That’s about as bad as it gets.
Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets, $5,000 - I should preface this by saying that Kelly is hitting everyone so far in 2021, but it’s important to note that he’s especially hitting well against LHPs like David Peterson ($7,900). In his first 25 plate appearances within the split, Kelly is slashing .438/.600/1.000 with a 284 wRC+. It’s easy to see why the Diamondbacks are likely going to have him batting second on Friday, right?
Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays, $4,200 - Murphy has recently been hitting clean-up for the Athletics, which might come as a shock to some people. However, it’s clear that the backstop can swing a bat. In his 295 career plate appearances, Murphy is sporting a .239 ISO and a 133 wRC+. That’s not just good, it’s positionally elite. Murphy already has three home runs in his 36 at-bats against LHPs in 2021, and he’ll be looking for his fourth this evening in a matchup with Rich Hill ($7,100).
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Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals, $5,200 - While standard procedure is to use Abreu when he’s drawn a matchup with a southpaw, Brad Keller ($4,900) and his early-season struggles supersede tradition. Keller has faced 52 RHBs so far in 2021 and he’s been absolutely annihilated within the split. In fact, righties are slashing .400/.462/.689 with 3.00 home runs per nine. Well, right-handed hitters don’t come much tougher than Abreu — the reigning American League MVP.
Willians Astudillo, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers, $3,900 - Astudillo hit clean-up for the Twins on Thursday. Yes, Josh Donaldson ($5,100) and Mitch Garver ($5,200) had the day off — putting the lineup’s validity in question — but with Byron Buxton ($5,900; hip) now hurt, it’s not hard to see how Astudillo could be batting in a premium order slot again on Friday. The 29-year-old’s aggressiveness also makes him the perfect DFS value asset. In 65 plate appearances in 2021, Astudillo has produced 61 batted ball events. He’s not up at the dish to walk.
DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals, $5,200 - While LeMahieu’s numbers are way down from where they were in his first two seasons with the Yankees, the veteran’s advanced stats tell a slightly more positive story. The infielder’s .349 expected wOBA is far more in line with the LeMahieu we’ve come to know, and a .288 expected batting average is much nicer to look at. Basically, the veteran is due for some normalization, and that could come tonight against Patrick Corbin ($6,600), who owns an ugly 7.27 xERA. There’s a reason the Yankees have the slate’s highest implied total.
Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros, $4,000 - You may not want to go with a full stack against Jose Urquidy ($8,700) — who does bring pretty drastic reserve-splits into his start versus an RHB-heavy Toronto team — but Semien is viable based on his price alone. After notching four hits and 29.0 DKFP on Thursday, the former All-Star’s salary has... dropped $600? What am I missing? Semien is batting leadoff again with George Springer (quad) back on the IL. Semien is also slashing .367/.436/.612 with a 195 wRC+ going back to Apr. 21. He should not be this inexpensive.
Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals, $4,700 - As always, you need to be using Moncada solely in matchups with RHPs, as the switch-hitter has yet to muster an extra-base knock against a southpaw in 2021. The fact that’s tonight’s right-hander is the aforementioned Keller is just a bonus. Keller’s currently pitching to a 7.71 expected ERA and opponents have managed a whopping .431 wOBA in his first six starts of the season. The White Sox should be able to put up some crooked numbers on Friday, and Moncada will be right in the middle of it all.
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins, $3,900 - Things have not been going well in 2021 for Matt Shoemaker ($6,400). The veteran is healthy, yet he’s been getting rocked early in the season, specifically by left-handed bats. To wit, Shoemaker’s conceded a .479 wOBA and 4.66 home runs per nine within the split. Yikes. Now, for his career, Candelario has been a better value as a righty, but the switch-hitter is red-hot from both sides of the plate coming into Friday, with three three-hit games in his last five starts.
Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals, $5,700 - Though Anderson is usually making his mark against left-handed pitching, the shortstop has actually been far better versus RHPs to this point in 2021. In 77 plate appearances within the split, Anderson is slashing .311/.338/.500 with a 139 wRC+ and all four of his home runs. The only issue thus far has been strikeouts, but that’s less of a worry when facing Keller. The Royals’ starter has fanned only 7.7% of the RHBs he seen this season.
Niko Goodrum, Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins, $4,100 - Another switch-hitter going up against Shoemaker. Goodrum, like most of the Tigers’ hitters, got off to a pretty slow start this season. However, even with his massive strikeout rate, he’s recently shown some signs of life. Dating back to Apr. 21, Goodrum has registered a .240 ISO to go along with a 116 wRC+. He provides some decent upside hitting in the middle of Detroit’s order, too.
Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers, $5,400 - Kinda crazy we’ve made it this far without mentioning Tarik Skubal ($5,400) by name. No pitcher in baseball has surrendered more opponent barrels than the young left-hander (14) and, unsurprisingly, that’s led to Skubal allowing 3.27 home runs per nine and owning a jaw-dropping 9.20 expected ERA. The Twins will score runs in bunches this evening and Cruz, who has a 191 wRC+ against lefties in 2021, will be responsible for some of the damage.
Randal Grichuk, Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros, $3,500 - I’m being serious when I tell you my intent was not to write up multiple Blue Jays for this slate, but the team’s pricing just seems off. Urquidy has conceded a .351 wOBA to RHBs throughout his career and, well, all of Toronto’s best hitters are right-handed, including Grichuk. The veteran outfielder is currently registering career-highs in average (.306), wOBA (.369) and wRC+ (139). He’s got multi-hit games in four of his last six starts. Why is he this cheap?
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