At this point in my life, I’m pretty easily impressed. UberEats showed up five minutes early? One of the three elevators in my building isn’t currently broken? The water jug in the fridge is actually full? For any of these, I’m basically Homer Simpson seeing a dog with a puffy tail.
Still, sometimes my sense of wonder is justified, like tonight, where for the second time in the past three weekdays, we find ourselves with an elusive 15-game featured MLB slate on DraftKings.
Let’s break down this big boy with a couple studs and values.
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers, $8,800 - It’s been a weird stretch for Cease, who seemed almost unhittable back in early May. Technically speaking, the right-hander has not allowed an earned run in each of his past three starts — a span of 16.1 innings. However, Cease has also surrendered nine unearned runs in those three outings, and has been recently touched up by the Red Sox and the Yankees. Still, for the season as a whole, Cease sports a 2.84 xERA and a massive 32.7% strikeout rate. He should never be priced below $9K with that sort of upside, particularly when facing a Tigers lineup that has produced a league-worst 52 wRC+ so far in June.
Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds at Arizona Diamondbacks, $7,500 - While a 10.5% walk rate is ugly and self-inflicted, Mahle’s been one of baseball’s most unlucky pitchers in 2022. Due to a 63.6% strand rate, the RHP’s 3.69 FIP is far lower than his 5.07 ERA, and a much better indication of just how well Mahle’s actually been throwing. The statistical normalization has been slowly taking place, though. Across Mahle’s past three outings, he’s managed a 1.93 ERA and a 31.6% strikeout rate, with 10 strikeouts against this same Arizona lineup back on Thursday. For the season, the Diamondbacks’ 90 wRC+ is the fifth-lowest mark in MLB, making this a pretty nice matchup for Mahle to continue his solid run of results.
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians at Colorado Rockies, $6,100 - Ramirez will be a popular target on Tuesday, but how can you resist? Not only has Antonio Senzatela ($6,000) allowed opposing hitters to post a .418 wOBA at Coors Field so far in 2022, but Ramirez has easily been at his best going up against right-handed pitchers. To wit, Ramirez has managed a 109 wRC+ as a LHB this season, and that number jumps to a staggering 214 wRC+ as a RHB.
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles, $5,500 - Few hitters in baseball are as hot as Bichette. Going back to May 16 — a span of 116 plate appearances — Bichette is slashing .318/.371/.589 with a 170 wRC+. It’s a big reason why the Blue Jays as a whole are baseball’s top offense in June and why the team owns one of this slate’s highest implied totals. Jordan Lyles ($6,600) is another factor. The RHP has struggled pitching away from the newly renovated Camden Yards in 2022, allowing opponents to muster a .413 wOBA on the road.
Darin Ruf, San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals, $3,700 - Ruf is the dictionary definition of a platoon bat. This season, against left-handed opponents, Ruf has registered a .263 ISO and a 136 wRC+. If that sample isn’t large enough for you, for his whole career, the veteran has managed an eye-popping 151 wRC+ within the split. Ruf should have little issue with Kris Bubic ($5,400), who owns an ugly 8.30 xERA in 2022.
Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles, $2,500 - While Biggio is basically locked into the nine-spot in the Jays’ batting order, it’s getting difficult to ignore his recent success. Since returning from Triple-A on May 26, Biggio is slashing .308/.460/.487 with a 174 wRC+ over 50 plate appearances. He’ll certainly have a hard time keeping that up across a full season, but Tuesday is a different story. Lyles has been terrible against LHBs in 2022, with opposing lefties slugging .558 versus the veteran RHP. Yikes.
J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics, $5,100 - Death, taxes and using Martinez against an underwhelming left-handed pitcher. Jared Koenig ($5,600) wasn’t completely awful in his first MLB start last week against the Braves, but he did surrender two barrels, four earned runs a whole lot of hard contact. That should be more than enough opportunity for Martinez, who is slashing .410/.511/.641 with a 223 wRC+ versus LHPs in 2022. Those are video game numbers, as the kids say.
Teoscar Hernandez, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles, $4,800 - Injuries limited Hernandez in the first two months of the season, but I think it’s safe to say that the two-time Silver Slugger award winner is back. Since May 31, Hernandez is slashing .380/.426/.620 with a 195 wRC+ over 54 plate appearances. His demotion to the No. 5 spot in the Jays’ batting order isn’t ideal, yet with a price tag below $5K, it’s hard to complain.
Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres, $3,500 - Happ has been a solid option from both sides of the plate this season, but in a perfect world, you’re utilizing him in DFS against southpaws. In his 51 plate appearances within the split, Happ is slashing .348/.412/.543 with a 167 wRC+. Pretty good, right? Obviously, Sean Manaea ($8,500) is also good; however, the LHP has posted a 4.32 ERA over his last eight appearances. That’s a decent stretch, yet nothing that makes me want to avoid this spot with Happ.
Austin Slater, San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals, $2,900 - Nothing too complex here. When the Giants face a left-handed opponent, Slater hits leadoff. It makes sense. For his career, Slater is a .281 hitter with a 129 wRC+ within the split. He’s also hit RHPs pretty well in 2022, so there’s a chance he doesn’t get pinch-hit for when Bubic inevitably leaves this contest early. That’s a nice little bonus.
TEAMS TO STACK
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles - I’m not exactly re-inventing the wheel by telling you to stack the team with June’s best wRC+ (168), but you can get creative with how you stack Toronto this evening. While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,400) and George Springer ($5,300) are rightfully expensive, things get more manageable with value available at the bottom of the Jays order with Lourdes Gurriel ($3,400), Gabriel Moreno ($2,200) and Biggio. Maybe an 8-9-1 stack differentiates you from the field?
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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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