August 25 MLB DFS Picks: X-Rayted
Where to focus?
Despite a short slate there is no shortage for potential run scoring tonight. The team with the highest potential to wreak havoc on the opposing pitching though is the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays have an implied run total of six runs in their home matchup with right-hander Jered Weaver. Weaver has been horrific this year. Horrific to the point that he doesn’t actually deserve a job at the highest level anymore. He’s pitched to a 5.91 xFIP while allowing nearly two homers per nine and striking out less than five hitters in the same span. Furthermore, he’s allowed a difference of nearly 18 percent between his hard and soft contact rates. The Blue Jays saw some incremental increases in their prices, but the majority of the lineup is still accessible. Josh Donaldson ($9,900) and Edwin Encarnacion ($9,600) lead the charge, but any Blue Jay that finds himself in the lineup will be worthy of a roster spot tonight. Even with expectations that Weaver won’t be long for this game, the Angels have built the third worst bullpen xFIP this season at 4.49. We will all be singing “O Canada!” tonight.
The Blue Jays will undoubtedly be the chalk, but the Nationals, Mariners and Pirates should all fight for complementary ownership in both cash games and tournaments. The Nationals will draw a matchup with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez in their home ballpark tonight, sporting an implied run total of just over five runs. While Ubaldo has always been able to rack up strikeouts, his inability to throw strikes presents a lot of opportunity for opposing teams. Ubaldo has walked more than five hitters per nine innings this season and is closing in on an ERA of seven. Left-handers have amassed an outstanding wOBA of .423 this season, so Bryce Harper ($10,800) and Daniel Murphy ($10,200) stand out, but you’ll be able to get plenty of opportunity from any Nats bat.
The Mariners draw a matchup with right-hander Anthony Ranaudo as they embrace a positive park shift to the south side of Chicago. Much like the previous two arms I’ve talked about, Ranaudo has been horrible this season, pitching to a 7.35 xFIP while allowing 3.14 HR/9 in his short sample of work. The Mariners have feasted on right-handed pitching this season, boasting the league’s fourth best wOBA against them. Robinson Cano ($10,000) holds the most expensive price tag on the team, but you’ll be able to find plenty of value surrounding lineup pieces like Seth Smith ($7,200) and Nori Aoki ($8,400).
Last but not least, the Pirates look to take advantage of a notable positive park shift in their matchup with Wily Peralta in Milwaukee. This season, Peralta has once again proved worthy of stacking against, pitching to a 4.69 xFIP while striking out less than six hitters per game and allowing more than 3.5 runners on via the free pass.The Pirates don’t come cheap, as both Starling Marte ($10,400) and Gregory Polanco ($10,500) will stretch you thin, but you can get Andrew McCutchen ($9,200) at a reasonable cost and some of the complementary pieces for a decent bargain.
On the Bump…
The slate starts with a reasonably priced Max Scherzer ($22,400). Scherzer was priced for his matchup with a tough Baltimore Orioles offense, but the fact that he gets them on a negative league and park shift makes him a solid option. Despite their second best wRC+ in the league against right-handers, the Orioles have also built a top ten strikeout rate which will be exploitable for the near 32% rate that Scherzer has built. Furthermore, while the Orioles will be primarily right-handed, Scherzer has dominated righties this season, posting a .213 wOBA and a 14.88 K/BB ratio. Given that you can fit him in your lineups without breaking the bank tonight, he’s a lock for cash games.
After Scherzer, the ball rolls into the hands of Robbie Ray. Ray has been a fun DFS commodity this season, posting solid strikeout numbers but always having an edge of drama due to his command. He posted a solid 3.29 xFIP and has been able to amass a strikeout rate just below that of Scherzer at 28.3%. While Ray will have to deal with the solid run scoring environment produced by his home ballpark, he also gets a matchup with the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have produced the second worst wRC+ in the league against southpaws and tonight should be no issue for Ray. You’ll have to pay to acquire his services against the Braves, but if you can make a duo work with him and Scherzer, you’ll be reaping the rewards later.
After Ray and Scherzer the options are much less exciting. J.A. Happ ($21,300) draws a matchup with the Los Angeles Angels but the park shift in their favor and their contact heavy ways have me leaning in the other directions. Furthermore, it’s difficult to rationalize paying for Happ when Scherzer and Ray are in the exact same price tier and come with the cushion of high strikeout potential.
Cole Hamels ($18,800) draws a matchup with the Cleveland Indians, but it’s not one that we’re usually foaming at the mouth to take advantage of. The Indians boast a middle of the pack strikeout rate against southpaws and have produced the 12th best wRC+ in the league against them. While Hamels comes at a slight discount, he comes with less of a strikeout projection and faces a much better offense from top to bottom than either Ray or Happ.
The lone cheap option that deserves any merit is Matt Moore ($13,200). Moore draws a difficult start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his price tag and the ballpark put him in play as a potential complementary starter tonight. The Dodgers rank towards the bottom half of the league in terms of strikeout rate against southpaws, but they’ve posted the fourth worst wRC+ in the league against lefties this season. Moore hasn’t exactly thrived in his league shift, but it doesn’t hurt that he’s facing one less hitter every time through the order.