Saturday features a nine-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs ($9,600) — The Cubs are a terrible team — 81 wRC+, .291 wOBA and a .130 ISO against right-handed pitching in August — that should be targeted on every slate and with extreme prejudice when an ace is facing the Southside slumpers. Worst of all, the Cubs have been striking out at a league-worst rate of 30% against right-handers since they traded away their actual major league players. On August 8, Lynn struck out eight Cubs and allowed one earned run over six innings. The wind was blowing out at Wrigley that night, but that did not seem to bother the fly ball pitcher against this weak-hitting lineup.
Other Option: Adam Wainwright ($9,200)
Editor’s Note: Dodgers P David Price will not start vs. the Rockies, but he will pitch the bulk of the innings out of the bullpen.
David Price, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies ($7,000) — It’s time for Dave Roberts to start stretching out David Price. As it stands, Price is a four-inning pitcher, but a five- to six-inning pitcher is needed for DFS relevance. Saturday night’s matchup against the Rockies — 81 wRC+, .204 wOBA, .156 ISO and a 24.5% K rate against left-handed pitching outside of Coors — is the perfect spot for Roberts to extend Price’s innings and please DFS players. Price is no longer an elite pitcher and has transitioned into the crafty veteran stage of his career. He’s limiting hard contact (28%), generating ground balls (52.8%), getting ahead (70.1% F-Strike rate) and getting called strikes (22.1%). When he is unleashed — possibly on Saturday night — he will score 30 DKFP.
Other Option: John Means ($7,200)
Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,200) — Jon Gray ($6,600) is a good pitcher that never became great. Being stuck in Colorado hasn’t helped, but nonetheless, he is not a pitcher that is feared — .328 wOBA, .165 ISO, 34% hard contact rate and 1.4 HR/9 to right-handed batters. Will Smith has been disappointing against left-handed pitching, but he is terrorizing right-handed pitchers — .411 wOBA, .286 ISO, 162 wRC+ and a 38% hard contact rate.
Other Option: Yasmani Grandal ($5,000), Mike Zunino ($4,600)
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,800) — Steven Brault ($7,500) has been a decent lefty, but the wheels could fall off of the wagon at anytime. In four starts, he has a 1.93 ERA but his xFIP is 4.95. Regression is coming for a pitcher with a 17.3% K rate, .255 BABIP and a 93.4% strand rate. His career low walk rate of 5% — last season, it was 12.4% — cannot be sustained with his other metrics. Against left-handed pitching, Molina has a .341 wOBA, .217 ISO, 116 wRC+, 39% hard contact rate and a 16% K rate.
Other Option: Austin Nola ($3,000)
Nelson Cruz, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles ($5,000) — Some DFS rules never change: Play Nelson Cruz against left-handed pitching — .401 wOBA, .231 ISO, 157 wRC+, 44% hard contact rate and a 17% K rate. John Means ($7,200) is a decent lefty, but his weaknesses make for a perfect matchup for Cruz — .232 ISO, 2.2 HR/9 and a 50% fly ball rate to right-handed batters.
Other Option: Shohei Ohtani ($6,200)
Yandy Díaz, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles ($4,300) — Brace yourself, you’re going to read about a lot of Rays today. Based on splits, Díaz will be the least popular because he is underperforming against left-handed pitching this season. However, he is affordable and he is on a five-game hit streak (.377 wOBA over that span). Based on his hitter profile, he likely only works in stacks, but the Tampa stack might be the most popular tonight. There will be home runs, but Díaz doesn’t have to hit them. He just needs to be on base when the balls fly out at Baltimore.
Other Option: Darin Ruf ($3,400)
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Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,300) — Most DFS players know that the Colorado offense struggles on the road, but their pitchers’ inexplicable struggles outside of Coors remain a mystery and are far less known. Jon Gray has allowed a .274 wOBA at home, but it increases to .348 on the road. Specifically, against right-handed batters on the road — small sample size of 22 innings — Gray has allowed a .403 wOBA and a .230 ISO. Betts has not knocked off the rust since returning from the IL, but Saturday night should be the night that he gets going.
Other Option: Brendan Rodgers ($4,600)
Ramón Urías, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($3,000) — During the first half of the season, Urías bounced between the majors and minors, but by July he established himself as a permanent part of this offense with his bat — .367 wOBA, .135 ISO and a 41% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching. Luis Patiño ($8,000) is 21-years-old and might be great one day, but that day is not today. In 34 innings against right-handed batters, he has allowed a 37% hard contact rate, 1.6 HR/9, 45% strand rate and a 52% fly ball rate. Those stats will not play well for a Tampa Bay pitcher in Baltimore.
Other Option: Jahmai Jones ($2,000)
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($5,400) — In 12 innings against right-handed batters, Steven Brault has allowed a 42% hard contact rate, 45% fly ball rate and 1.1 HR/9. That’s a small sample size, but based on his career numbers, he should get worse not better. Brault has a career ERA of 4.52; his current 1.93 ERA is a matter of good fortune not fundamental pitching changes. Against left-handed pitching, Arenado has a .386 wOBA, .319 ISO, 145 wRC+, 38% hard contact rate and a 16% K rate.
Other Option: Patrick Wisdom ($4,900)
Aledmys Díaz, Houston Astros at Texas Rangers ($3,900) — Dusty Baker is old school, so a player like Díaz that can play every position in the field, will play every day. If Díaz couldn’t hit, old school Baker would still play him, but Díaz can hit — .381 wOBA, .221 ISO, 148 wRC+, 34% hard contact rate and a 16% K rate (the old school guys really like low strikeout batters).
Other Option: Kelvin Gutierrez ($2,000)
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles ($5,100) — John Means is a fly ball pitcher — 50% fly ball rate and 2.2 HR/9 to right-handed batters — pitching in a hitter’s park. It’s expected that he should be worse at home, but he is really bad at home — 6.44 home FIP vs. 3.73 away FIP. All of his home splits are through the roof, but in order to keep this blurb short, here are a just a few: .367 wOBA, .292 ISO and 2.7 HR/9. Against left-handed pitching, Franco has a .413 wOBA, .243 ISO, 170 wRC+ and a 13% K rate.
Other Option: Brandon Crawford ($4,900)
Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($3,900) — There always seems to be a shortstop that falls through the cracks and goes unrecognized by the DraftKings pricing algorithm. Polanco has a .363 wOBA, .226 ISO, 131 wRC+, 33% hard contact rate and a 17% K rate in 296 at-bats against right-handed pitching. It is unfathomable why he is priced below $4,000 against an average right-handed pitcher in Adrian Houser ($7,700) — .329 wOBA, 16% K rate and an 11% BB rate against right-handed batters.
Other Option: Ha-Seong Kim ($2,000)
Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($4,900) — At the moment, this game has the second highest projected total on the slate (9.5 O/U), but it would not be surprising to see that number increase. Both starters are suspect and so is the Baltimore bullpen (4.56 xFIP). Tampa has the best home bullpen in baseball (3.19 FIP), but on the road away from the pitcher-friendly confines of the Trop, they’re numbers dip to average (4.31 FIP). Against right-handed pitching, Mullins has a .394 wOBA, .245 ISO, 153 wRC+, 37% hard contact rate and an 18% K rate.
Other Option: Juan Soto ($5,400)
Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles ($5,000) — The Rays struggle against left-handed pitching because their lineup is full of left-handed batters, yet they’re projected to score 5.5 runs and win on the road. John Means is a home run dream machine (2.1 HR/9 to right-handed batters at Camden Yards over his career). Against left-handed pitching, Arozarena has a .384 wOBA, .235 ISO and a 150 wRC+.
Other Option: LaMonte Wade Jr. ($3,800), Anthony Santander ($3,200)
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