Saturday features a six-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:15 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($9,600) — Every once in awhile, the stats align for the perfect play. Buehler’s 3.76 xFIP, 26.7% K rate and 6% BB rate aren’t elite, but they’re very good. Arizona is terrible against right-handed pitching (80 wRC+, .290 wOBA and a .131 ISO). Those stats in and of themselves make for a great DFS play on any slate, but they’re not what make Buehler an exceptional play on this slate. In his two previous matchups against the Diamondbacks, Buehler has limited Arizona to three hits and two earned runs, while striking out 18 batters in 14 innings. His dominance over this common NL West foe may be due to the called strike. Arizona takes called strikes more than any other team in baseball (18.1%) and Buehler has the eight-highest CS% (18.4%).
Other Option: Gerrit Cole ($10,000)
Vladimir Gutiérrez, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers ($6,200) — Milwaukee has an 89 wRC+, .303 wOBA, .159 ISO and a 26% K rate against right-handed pitching, but those numbers are deceiving. The Brewers have a top 10 offense against right-handed pitching since the beginning of June. During their hot streak, they faced Gutiérrez twice within the course of a week, and he beat them handedly each time. Although the Brewers have improved their wOBA, ISO and wRC+, they still strike out too much, and that’s why they lost to the rookie. He struck out 22.6% of batters in his first start and 25% in his second start. His fastball graded out well in both starts against the Brewers, and in his last start against Kansas City his fastball’s average velocity reached a season best — 94 mph.
Other Option: Germán Márquez ($7,400)
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Editor’s Note: Yankees C Gary Sánchez is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Astros.
Gary Sánchez, New York Yankees at Houston Astros ($4,900) — On smaller slates, there aren’t very many options. On smaller slates with above average pitching, then the bar must be lowered. It’s difficult to find a good hitter matching up against a weak pitcher, and a good catcher in a prime matchup is even more rare. Sánchez has a .336 wOBA and a .207 ISO against right-hand pitching and Zack Grienke ($7,500) will give up his fair share of hits to right-handed batters (.326 wOBA, 1.4 HR/9 and a 19% K rate).
Other Option: Willson Contreras ($4,300)
Max Stassi, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners ($3,800) — Why pay for a prime matchup that does not exist? Catcher is always a popular place to spend down and Stassi is routinely an acceptable target. He has a .403 wOBA and a .200 ISO against right-handed pitching and is one of the reasons why the Angels have the third-best offense against right-handed pitching since June 1 (123 wRC+). Chris Flexen ($7,000) has solid surface numbers against right-handed batters, but his 4.80 xFIP reveals that he may be due for some regression.
Other Option: Luis Torrens ($3,400)
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners ($6,000) — With all due respect to Max Stassi, the real reason that the Angels offense is crushing right-handed pitching is Ohtani (.449 wOBA, .432 ISO, 189 wRC+ and a 46% hard contact rate). Chris Flexen strikes out 16% of the left-handed batters that he faces. Pitching to contact against the best hitter in baseball will likely result in a 120 mph bomb into the stands.
Other Option: Joey Votto ($4,800)
Rowdy Tellez, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds ($3,100) — This is the third time Vladimir Gutiérrez will face the Brewers, and his numbers indicate that he has been fairly lucky against left-handed batters. He has held lefties to a .291 wOBA and a .174 ISO, but he’s allowing a 51% fly ball rate, walking 13% and striking out 15% of left-handed batters. He has benefited from a .203 BABIP against southpaws, but he can’t hide from his 6.42 xFIP. At some point, things are going to blow. Tellez and the Brewers lefties aren’t great, and the Reds right-hander might escape again; or a cheap Brewers stack might be the key to winning a GPP.
Other Option: Albert Pujols ($2,900)
Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($5,000) — During his 10 game hit streak, he had a .398 wOBA and a 156 wRC+. Against left-handed pitching, he has a .430 wOBA, .284 ISO and a 177 wRC+. Caleb Smith ($7,100) has a 3.45 ERA because he strikes out 27% of right-handed batters, but he is walking a dangerous line. His 52% fly ball rate to righties has played to his favor so far (.244 BABIP), but it’s very close to going the other way (1.4 HR/9). Dodger Stadium is the third-most home run friendly park for right-handed batters.
Other Option: Max Muncy ($5,500)
Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs ($2,700) — This blurb is about expected outcomes. Zach Davies ($6,600) has a .224 BABIP and a 5.95 xFIP against left-handed batters. Carpenter has been the king of expectations this season (.370 xwOBA and a .295 wOBA). He has a 51% fly ball rate and a 40% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching, but it has not translated into actual hits. His matchup against the sinker ball pitcher might be the time that he finally cashes in (.351 wOBA and a .456 xwOBA vs. right-handed sinkers). Davies is allowing a .377 wOBA and a .418 xwOBA when he uses the sinker against lefties.
Other Option: Jace Peterson ($3,700)
Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($5,200) — That stats lie, Caleb Smith is not a good pitcher. The first part of his line against right-handed batters looks great .300 wOBA, .169 ISO and a 27% K rate — but under the hood, there are issues — 12% BB rate and a 52% fly ball rate. If he were in control, he would not have a walk rate four percentage points higher than the league average. He’s striking out batters and his fly balls are falling short of the fence. His luck might run out on the road. His home park in Arizona is rated as the third-most friendly park for pitchers in terms of home runs. Statcast ranks Dodger Stadium as the opposite. Smith will have a hard time striking out Justin Turner (18% K rate vs. LHP) and keeping Turner off of the bases (.387 wOBA, .241 ISO, 150 wRC+ and a 44% hard contact rate vs. LHP).
Other Option: Nolan Arenado ($5,500)
Editor’s Note: Rockies 3B Ryan McMahon is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Padres.
Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres ($4,800) — He has a .352 wOBA, .255 ISO and a 109 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. His numbers drop significantly away from Coors Field, but that’s the reason for the slight discount. However, a 45% hard contact rate with a 15-degree launch angle against right-handed pitchers can work anywhere. Joe Musgrove ($7,700) is allowing a 37% hard contact rate and 1.5 HR/9 to left-handed batters.
Other Option: Kyle Seager ($3,800)
Willy Adames, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds ($4,900) — The Brewers offense came alive in June, and it no coincidence that their offensive surge coincides with the acquisition of Willy Adames from the Rays on May 29. Adames has a .384 wOBA, .261 ISO and a 143 wRC+ in 159 plate appearances with the Brewers. Vladimir Gutierrez is allowing a .382 wOBA, .259 ISO, 44% hard contact rate and 2.3 HR/9 to right-handed batters.
Other Option: Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,900)
Jose Iglesias, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners ($4,000) — Since returning from the IL on June 5, he has recorded 29 hits with a .284 AVG, 3.7% BB rate and a 15.9% K rate. The advanced metrics aren’t great, but he’s affordable and he puts the ball in play. This is the kind of value pick that works well in a stack. He gets on base and scores runs, but more importantly, he puts the ball in play which helps others players in the stack score runs or advance along the base path.
Other Option: Gio Urshela ($3,700)
Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers ($5,600) — The pitcher does not matter with a quality hitter like Winker, but targeting an ace is always risky. Freddy Peralta ($9,200) might compete for the CY Young this season, but he does have holes in his game. He is allowing a 13% BB rate and a 54% fly ball rate to left-handed batters, and his xFIP is 4.53 despite a 30% K rate. His BABIP is an impossibly unsustainable .159. Winker has a .449 wOBA, .310 ISO and 183 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. This seems like the perfect time for Peralta to get lit up in the hitter’s park in Milwaukee.
Other Option: Aaron Judge ($5,400)
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees ($3,700) — It appears that Gerrit Cole is suffering from the crack down on sticky substances. Against left-handed batters, he allowed a 43% hard contact rate in his last start and a 33% hard contact rate in the start before that. Over his last three starts he’s allowed a .401, .505 and .510 wOBA to left-handed batters. His FIP in those games were 9.17, 5.67 and 8.32. Tucker has a .372 wOBA, .231 ISO and a 141 wRC+ against right-handed pitching.
Other Option: Wil Myers ($3,400)
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