8/11 MLB DFS Picks: Activate the Klubot
DailyRoto’s MLB Solo Shot Host, Logan Hitchcock, gets you headed in the right direction with his 8/11 MLB DFS Picks. Check out where his mind is at today when it comes to roster construction at FantasyDraft – where they put players first – Daily fantasy baseball on a level playing field. Check them out tonight. Now, on to the the picks for tonight’s action.
Where to focus?
The night slate is only comprised of four games, shrinking our focus at the outset. Offensively, two teams stand above the rest. The Cleveland Indians draw a home matchup with Los Angeles Angels right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, looking to expand on their impressive fifth best wRC+ against right-handed starters. Since the beginning of July, Chacin has been coming out of the bullpen and in that time he’s pitched quite effectively. Given that he hasn’t gone longer than four innings at once in that span, don’t expect him to work too deeply in this game, giving the Indians plenty of turns at a rather mediocre Angels bullpen behind him. With an implied run total just below five runs, the Indians are set to be one of the better offenses on the night, but unfortunately their prices also reflect that fact. Four different Indians are priced above $10,000, making it quite difficult to load up on the Tribe. One way to grab more realistic exposure is with Francisco Lindor ($9,600) or even settling for a platoon bat like Lonnie Chisenhall ($8,000).
The highest implied run total on the slate belongs to the Boston Red Sox in their matchup with Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda. Unfortunately, the Sox are likely to be without designated hitter David Ortiz after he fouled a ball off himself last night. Filling in around Big Papi won’t be an issue for the Red Sox who carry a lot of depth in an offense that still ranks first in terms of wRC+ against right-handed starters. Pineda has been better than his ERA indicates, but he still allows a large difference between soft and hard contact and has struggled with the home run ball this season (1.51 HR/9). All of the Red Sox pieces are extremely easy to fit into your lineups as they actually received a price decrease, but picking on Pineda can easily turn into zeroes. If you’re looking to hedge some bets tonight, throw Pineda on a tournament lineup or two.
Last but not least, the Kansas City Royals draw a matchup with right-hander Miguel Gonzalez. While the Royals have been anything but a solid offense in recent months, their matchup tonight should instill some confidence in the bats. Gonzalez is a flyball arm that pitches to contact and has pitched to a 4.50 xFIP so far this season. Much like Pineda, he’s allowed a 14% difference between soft and hard contact and is on the wrong end of an implied run total of 4.5 runs for the Royals. The Royals price tags are essentially free spaces, so using one or two of them will open up a lot of room for top offensive players elsewhere or the best starting pitchers on the slate.
The Cubs shouldn’t go overlooked in their matchup with Carlos Martinez, but they rank well below the rest of the teams on the slate. Similar to the Red Sox, they received a notable downgrade in price and are a bit more affordable this evening. If there is ever a time to grab the Cubs while they are contrarian, tonight might be the night.
On the Bump…
With four decent options in terms of offense there isn’t much to choose from in terms of starting pitching. The obvious top choice is Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber ($21,200) in his matchup with the Los Angeles Angels. While the Angels are not a heavy strikeout team, their offensive ineptitude puts Kluber at the forefront of tonight’s pitchers. Despite a top ten wRC+ against right-handers, the Angels have an implied run total of just 3.1 runs tonight as Kluber and the Indians are huge (-213) favorites in their home park tonight. You’ll receive a bit of a discount from the top using Kluber, but it’s likely that you’ll be paying for the top arm as well.
The top priced starting pitcher is left-hander Danny Duffy ($24,000) and his matchup with the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox have built up the 18th best wRC+ against left-handed starters this season while producing the 10th highest strikeout percentage against southpaws. Duffy’s emergence this year has come in large part thanks to added control as he’s seen his walk rate drop by more than one hitter per nine innings. His flyball nature plays well in front of a solid defense in a spacious ballpark and his strikeout rate got a big boost (10.30 K/9) thanks to an absurd increase in his SwStr%. Duffy will face a White Sox team that carries an implied run total of just 3.5 runs tonight, the second lowest on the slate. Given the relative ease with which you can fit Royals, Red Sox or Cubs bats, you can make a premier pairing of Duffy and Kluber work in cash games tonight.
If you’re looking elsewhere, you’ll find Jon Lester ($20,000) and Carlos Martinez ($16,200) squaring off against each other. The Cardinals are typically not a team that we try to pick on with starting pitchers, but the matchup tonight catches them on the right side of the coin. The Cardinals have pieced together a bottom ten wRC+ against southpaws and are still without shortstop Alemdys Diaz. While their unlikely to strikeout often against Lester, the addition of Jedd Gyorko and Tommy Pham to the starting lineup will send a boost to Lester’s strikeout projection.
I mentioned the ability to pick on Martinez given the short slate, but he’s also a way to grab exposure to a starting pitcher with decent upside. While the Cubs carry the league’s best walk rate, a potential detriment to a pitcher who walks more than three hitters per nine, they also hold the seventh highest strikeout percentage in the league against right-handed starters. Martinez has seen a dip in his strikeout rate this season but some positive regression is still expected by ZiPS and Steamer the rest of the way. It’s not the best you can do, but on a short slate we are forced to take more chances.