It took till essentially the end of May, but tonight feels like a classic weekday MLB slate. 13 games. Only a couple weather concerns. $300,000 in prizes up for grabs in DraftKings’ largest contest of the evening. Breathe it in, people. This is what Summer feels like.
Let’s break down some studs and values.
Eric Lauer, Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs, $9,900 - Let’s just say I had been mentally preparing to pay much more than $10K for Lauer in this spot. Turns out I don’t have to. While the lefty certainly won’t sustain an 89.0% strand rate all season — or maybe he’s just 2022’s Robbie Ray — Lauer’s been fantastic across his first eight starts. The 26-year-old is maintaining a 2.31 ERA with an eye-popping 29.4% strikeout rate. Also of note: The Cubs have stopped hitting after a torrid start in April. Since the calendar flipped to May, Chicago’s batting just .222 as a team with a 25.6% strikeout rate that’s the third-highest mark within the span. If Aaron Ashby can rack up 12 strikeouts, I think Lauer can do something similar.
Noah Syndergaard, Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees, $7,500 - It’s been a weird year for Syndergaard and his last two starts are a perfect microcosm of just that. On May 16 against Texas, the right-hander couldn’t even get out of the first inning. On May 24 — also against Texas — Syndergaard allowed just one earned run over eight frames. For the season as a whole, his 3.08 ERA and 3.53 FIP are solid, yet his 17.3% strikeout rate is a concern. However, nothing in his opponent contact stats suggest that the veteran shouldn’t be averaging around a strikeout per inning, aside from a well documented drop in fastball velocity. All and all, it’s a mixed bag in 2022, but I still think he’s too cheap on Tuesday’s slate. Particularly when you factor in the Yankees’ current injury woes.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres, $5,700 - All good things must come to and end, but Goldschmidt is going to be sad waking up on June 1. The veteran has put together an incredible month, entering play on Tuesday with a 255 wRC+ dating back to May 1. A huge part of his recent success has been hitting left-handed pitching at an insane clip. To wit, in 38 plate appearances within the split in 2022, Goldschmidt is slashing .515/.579/.970 with a .646 wOBA. Blake Snell ($8,100) has looked fine in his first two outings coming off the IL, yet this Cardinals team will make for a difficult opponent.
Editor’s Note: Tonight’s game between the Marlins and the Rockies has been postponed due to inclement weather.
Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies , $5,100 - Though Chisholm’s overall numbers have been hurt by his complete inability to hit LHPs, his splits against right-handed opponents are deadly. The 24-year-old owns a .318 ISO and a 175 wRC+ in his 124 plate appearances versus righties in 2022, and while he’s also tended to hit better at home, I’m sure he won’t be averse to an away game in Colorado. The presence of German Marquez ($6,300) is key, as well. Left-handed batters have combined to hit .336 off of Marquez this season with an impressive .405 wOBA.
Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays, $3,600 - Pretty simple formula here. When Heim’s less than $4K against a left-handed opponent: Use him. The switch-hitting backstop has been brilliant when facing southpaws in 2022, slashing .357/.500/.643 with a 232 wRC+ in 36 plate appearances. It’s not like he’s facing prime Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday, either. Ryan Yarbrough ($7,400) is the dictionary definition of a soft-tossing lefty and his 4.97 xFIP through five outings this season isn’t anything special. Heim could be in store for a huge performance.
Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners, $2,800 - The Orioles’ lineup has been producing well the past two weeks and Mountcastle’s return from the IL has been a massive part of the shift. In fact, since May 22, Mountcastle has registered an .811 OPS to go along with a 130 wRC+. Also working in the RHB’s favor is that George Kirby ($6,600) will be taking the mound for the Mariners on Tuesday. Kirby has all the potential in the world, yet he’s been rocked by right-handed bats in the majors, surrendering a .431 wOBA within the split.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $6,300 - There are several reasons the Dodgers own this slate’s highest implied team total, but the two biggest ones are Betts and Mitch Keller ($6,800). Betts has been arguably the best hitter in baseball in the month of May, slashing .355/.419/.773 with a .418 ISO in 124 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Keller has been awful in 2022, pitching to a 6.05 ERA over 38.2 innings. Specifically, Keller’s had his issues with RHBs, as he’s allowed opponents within the split to hit .300 with a .381 wOBA. Betts should easily take advantage.
Taylor Ward, Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees, $4,800 - This is just too cheap a price tag for Ward. The outfielder’s early success was a shock to everyone, yet we’re now two full months into the season and Ward still ranks in the 98th percentile or better in expected slugging percentage (.659), barrel rate (18.4%) and expected wOBA (.454). He’s also absolutely crushed left-handed pitching, as Ward comes into tonight’s contest with a .489 xwOBA within the split. Jordan Montgomery ($8,000) would be wise to pitch carefully to the Angels’ newest star.
Editor’s Note: Nationals OF Nelson Cruz is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Mets.
Nelson Cruz, Washington Nationals at New York Mets , $3,500 - You know how it takes longer to get up in the morning as you get older? Well, Cruz was clearly stretching his back at the foot of the bed all April. However, May has been a completely different story. Cruz is slashing .318/.379/.459 in the month with a 136 wRC+. The power has yet to fully return to form, but regardless, Cruz’s price tag is no longer a meaningful reflection of his results. He’s a screaming value option as long as he stays below $4K, especially with the likes of Trevor Williams ($7,000) on the mound for the Mets.
Jesus Sanchez, Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies, $3,400 - Sanchez has been slumping throughout May, but he still owns a .239 ISO and a 130 wRC+ against RHPs in 2022. Also, this:
Jesus Sanchez just crushed a 500-foot bomb over everything in the third deck. Hot damn. pic.twitter.com/EWKzIRI9Dg— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) May 30, 2022
TEAMS TO STACK
Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies - Would it surprise you to know that only the Los Angeles Dodgers have a higher wRC+ against right-handed pitching than the Marlins among NL teams? It shouldn’t. Sneakily, Miami has put together a decent lineup, with the likes of Chisholm, Jorge Soler ($5,600) and Jesus Aguilar ($4,400) providing some serious pop. Joey Wendle ($4,800) and Garrett Cooper ($3,700) have been productive, as well, and all make for solid plays on Tuesday’s slate.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.
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