May 27th MLB DFS Picks: Build Your Lineup With Help From a Carpenter
Max Scherzer, SP, Washington – I know recommending Scherzer is a contrarian, shocking pick (sarcasm) but this matchup is too juicy to pass on. The Cubs rank middle of the pack (between 13th and 18th overall) in wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against opposing RHP. However the reason the matchup is particularly juicy is because the Cubs strike out against righties more than any other team in baseball (25.70 percent K rate). Wrigley Field can be particularly treacherous during daytime games with the sun shining and wind blowing out but this game is scheduled at night with an expected cloudy forecast. There is no line out for the game yet but I expect it to be around seven with both team’s aces (Jon Lester) on the mound. With an elite pitcher in a prime game environment and strikeout prone opponent, Scherzer is as safe as they come (as per usual).
Gerrit Cole, SP, Pittsburgh – Pop quiz: What are only two teams in baseball that rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO and also have a strikeout percentage in the top 10 among all Major League teams against opposing RHP? Essentially all four categories are favorable to start opposing pitchers against them. The answer: the Twins and the Marlins. Cole draws a matchup against the Marlins in PNC Park during the day slate. Aside from Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton, there really are not many threats in the lineup. Christian Yelich is struggling mightily this season and Justin Bour/Michael Morse (also struggling) rotate in and out of the lineup. Both have decent bats (.345 or greater career wOBA) but Cole is amidst a career season where he’s sporting a career best 2.05 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.20 FIP with 9.9 K/9. He isn’t allowing a wOBA greater than .295 to either side of the plate so this dream matchup in a poor hitter’s park, which makes him nearly impossible to pass on. UPDATE: The Marlins have placed Michael Morse on the disabled list with a finger sprain.
Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets – If eyeing some high-priced bats, Syndergaard is the salary relief starting pitcher to target although his price is admittedly rising. Syndergaard is a pitcher whose strikeout rate consistently sat above 10 in the minors. In 17.1 IP, he has struck out 8.31 batters per nine innings while allowing mostly fly balls. He will pitch in pitcher friendly Citi Field on Wednesday, which played as a bottom 11 home run park last season – not surprising considering the dimensions. In fact the park was so big to begin with that the team keeps moving the fences in. Regardless, it’s a favorable park to pitch in. The over/under is 7.5 and Syndergaard is facing off against a very mediocre Sean O’Sullivan. In 2015, the Phillies rank last in the Major Leagues with a .275 wOBA and 71 wRC+ against RHP so there literally is not a better matchup. Summon Thor to lead your Avengers if you cannot fit both Scherzer and Cole into your DraftKings (DK) lineups.
Adam LaRoche, 1B/DH, Chicago White Sox – As a lefty, it’s not surprising LaRoche much prefers hitting against RHP. For years, LaRoche has been a pure power hitter with an uppercut swing and almost never goes the other way. He’s limited offensively in a way but continuously finds Major League teams in need of his service. Over a 162 game average for his career, LaRoche strikes out approximately 141 times per season and averages 26 HR, 91 RBI. The Sox remain in Toronto on Wednesday for the series finale in a game that Vegas has pegged as the highest scoring of the day even with Jeff Samardzija on the mound. This is most likely because Marco Estrada was 2014’s leader in home runs allowed with 29, slightly edging out Hector Noesi. It’s pretty simple: start a lefty, who crushes right-handed pitching, against a home run prone RHP in an elite game environment. LaRoche will even be priced significantly less than the elite 1B bats. Thank you sir, may I have another? (That’s an “Oliver” reference).
Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis – Watching Carpenter is an absolute delight as a baseball fan. That guy is just a professional hitter who can slap the ball to all fields as well as get a hold of one when it’s right in his wheelhouse. It’s no wonder that he is hitting .325 through the 40 game mark in 2015; he is a career .296 hitter as well with a .380 OBP and .448 SLG. Josh Collmenter relies mostly on his deceptive windup because, according to FanGraphs, all three of his pitches rank below average this season. The past two seasons his fastball had been a plus pitch for him but he has not found it this season. After going through the league a few times, the deceptive windup loses some of its luster. With Collmenter lacking any sort of out pitch, this should end up being a multi-hit game for Carpenter….possibly even a multiple extra base hit type game. He’s as safe of a cash option as you will find and also holds tournament upside.
Scott Van Slyke, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers – Starting a hitter in the best pitching environment of the night according to Vegas will likely come as contrarian. In this instance, there are a variety of reasons to make this start worthwhile. First, Alex Wood is not having the greatest of years especially by his standard. After a 2.78 ERA last season in 171.2 IP, Wood’s ERA is up to 3.83 in 47 IP so far this year. His K rate has dropped from 8.91 in 2014 to 6.13 this year. Looking deeper into the numbers, there is a glaring cause for his struggles. Despite allowing a .260 OBP to left-handed hitters, he has only allowed a .300 SLG and .263 wOBA. Even though they have hit him at a decent clip, they haven’t done much with the balls they have hit in play other than singles. He has allowed two extra base hits to lefties in 12.2 IP. On the other hand, right-handed batters have dominated him so far. Wood’s slash line against righties sits at .314/.390/.439 with a .367 wOBA. Van Slyke is the Dodgers right-handed half of the outfield field platoon that specializes in hitting lefties. For his career, he has a .382 wOBA and 148 wRC+ against lefties versus a .329 wOBA and 112 wRC+ against lefties. I’m betting on Wood continuing to struggle and Van Slyke continuing to rake on Wednesday night.