It’s Friday. It’s Friday. You’ve gotta get down on Friday. However, and this is key, you don’t necessarily have to pay down. Heck, I’d say you should have the option to spend up at each and every position on the field. If only there was an article that provided you with both an expensive and inexpensive asset all across the diamond, just so you knew what your choices truly were.
Friends (and likely my Mom), this is that article. Let’s go position-by-position for tonight’s 13-game slate and break it all down.
Editor’s Note: Tonight’s Astros-Tigers game has been postponed due to inclement weather.
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Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox vs. Seattle Mariners, $10,700 - This is a slate that lacks raw upside in terms of pitching. Only two of the 26 starters are averaging over 20.0 DKFP per game this season, and the strikeout rates across the board are underwhelming. So, with that in mind, we have to be willing to eat a little chalk at the top. Rodon is easily the best arm taking the mound this evening, as the lefty is equipped with a 36.6% strikeout rate and a 2.44 xERA. The left-hander has also allowed one earned run or fewer in 10 of his 12 outings in 2021 and has held opponents to a modest .210 wOBA so far in June. With Seattle owning a massive 27.6% strikeout rate against LHPs, Rodon could easily be looking at another 30.0 DKFP performance on Friday.
Wil Crowe, Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals, $6,900 - While I think the safest thing you can do in this spot is utilize the $8K tier — Chris Paddack ($8,800), Mike Minor ($8,700) or Alek Manoah ($8,100) are solid options — Crowe is actually someone I’d consider a real value in terms of his price point. The numbers aren’t amazing by any means, but the right-hander does possess a 4.73 xFIP and an 8.41 K/9 through 10 appearances this season. Still, let’s not pretend his viability isn’t completely tied into his matchup. The Cardinals haven’t been able to hit for about a month now and, in the past two weeks specifically, they rank dead-last in baseball in wOBA (.245), wRC+ (56) and ISO (.080). It’s worth taking a shot that St. Louis will continue to stink.
Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, $4,600 - Sanchez and Martin Perez ($6,800) are two people currently trending in opposite directions. Gary has been on absolute fire in June, slashing .313/.371/.734 with a .422 ISO and a 191 wRC+ in the month. Conversely, Perez has allowed opponents to hit to a .512 wOBA in his past three starts, a span of time where the LHP possesses a higher walk rate (12.8%) than strikeout rate (10.6%). I’m thinking Sanchez has the advantage here.
Reese McGuire, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles, $2,400 - Yesterday, I called McGuire “the ultimate punt play at the position.” He proceeded to rack up three hits and 11.0 DKFP in a 9-0 Blue Jays’ victory. Well, much like Thursday, Toronto owns the slate’s highest implied team total, now going up against the struggling Matt Harvey ($5,200). McGuire won’t stay this hot forever, but he’s 10-for-14 (.714) in his past four games and has a 127 wRC+ for the season. There are much worse ways to save.
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Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles, $6,200 - It’s hard to come up with a Vladdy stat that isn’t jaw-dropping, but allow me to blow your mind for a second. Guerrero is hitting .360 with a 212 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season. He’s also hitting .393 with a 246 wRC+ wherever the Blue Jays happen to be calling “home” at the time. So, when I tell you that Guerrero is hitting .416 with a 275 wRC+ versus RHPs in his home ball park, you really shouldn’t be all that shocked. Good luck, Matt. You’ll need it.
Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds vs. Atlanta Braves, $4,200 - While Drew Smyly ($7,100) has pitched better his past two starts, I’m not sure how impressive wins over the Marlins and the Cardinals are in the grand scheme of things. For the season, the lefty still owns a 5.73 FIP and he’s surrendered 2.19 home runs per nine — both numbers that make me question the likelihood of his survival at Great American Ball Park. For his part, Stephenson has been great versus LHPs in 2021, posting a .914 OPS and a .383 wOBA.
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs, $5,300 - Though it doesn’t feel incredible dropping over $5K on any element of a team that just got no-hit, Friday should have a vastly different script for the Dodgers. Jake Arrieta ($7,000) and his 5.84 xERA will be taking the mound for the Cubs, and the veteran has continued to struggle with opposing LHBs, giving up a .368 wOBA within the split so far in 2021. Heck, he’s struggled with Muncy specifically, as the infielder has two career home runs off of Arrieta in just 10 at-bats.
Tony Kemp, Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants, $3,400 - So, I guess Kemp is just going to keep leading off for the A’s against RHPs? It’s hard to argue with the formula, especially with how red-hot the veteran has been as of late. In fact, Kemp is slashing .339/.452/.610 with a .271 ISO so far in June. That’s really, really good and I wouldn’t expect the good times to come to an end against Johnny Cueto ($8,200), either, as the righty has given up a .368 wOBA to LHBs in his 11 starts.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals, $4,300 - It’s only a sample of 45 career plate appearances, but Hayes’ numbers against LHPs are noteworthy. The 24-year-old is hitting .429 in his opportunities to face a southpaw, while he’s also sporting a .514 wOBA and a 230 wRC+ within the split. With the contact-oriented Kwang Hyun Kim ($7,500) on the mound for the Cardinals tonight, I think Hayes can do some serious damage.
Abraham Toro, Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers , $3,500 - Obviously it isn’t ideal that Toro is likely going to be relegated to the bottom-third of this Astros’ lineup; but, because he’s a Houston asset, you know he’s been crushing the ball in every opportunity he’s received. In fact, in his 45 plate appearances in 2021, Toro has registered a .360 wOBA and just an 8.9% strikeout rate. Combine that with one of the slate’s highest implied team totals, and you’ve got yourself a viable value play.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers, $5,200 - The Tigers will be turning to Wily Peralta ($5,000) to make the start this evening, a man who owns a 6.05 FIP and a 13.4% strikeout rate going back to the beginning of 2019. Things are probably going to get lopsided in a hurry and I suspect Correa will be at the center of it all. The shortstop has a .500 wOBA and a 227 wRC+ so far in June. That’s ridiculous.
Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, $3,500 - There’s honestly like a 70% chance that Torres is actually broken and the hitter we’ve seen the past two seasons is just now who is he. Still, when it comes to tonight’s slate specifically, the former top prospect is drawing an opposite-hand matchup against the struggling Perez. The Yankees have an implied team total of well over five runs. Torres almost has to do something and pay-off this modest price tag, right? ...Right?!
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, $5,100 - The whole key to using Judge as a DFS asset is being able to project contact. That’s where the presence of Perez comes into the forefront, as the lefty has surrendered an 88.0% zone contact rate so far in 2021, while his whiff rate is bottom five percentile in the league. When Judge does make contact, good things happen. In fact, 19.4% of his batted ball events are barrels. The All-Star also owns a .466 expected wOBA against LHPs — the sixth-best mark among batters with at least 50 plate appearances within the split.
Aristides Aquino, Cincinnati Reds vs. Atlanta Braves, $3,700 - I’ll make this short and sweet. In limited action this season, Aquino has 17 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. In those 17 PAs, the outfielder has registered eight batted ball events and three hits. All three hits are home runs. Aquino’s floor is cavernous, but the guy has stupid amounts of power. He’s the ultimate upside play if he’s in the lineup against Smyly.
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