May 29th MLB DFS Picks: The Indians Will Go Wild Like Ricky Vaughn
Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia – Two very important notes in regards to this matchup: these are not the dominant Rockies bats of the 90’s any longer and this game will not be played in Coors Field. Last season, Philadelphia tied for the 17th friendliest hitter’s ballpark according to FanGraphs (below average) and even further below average (24th) according to ESPN Park Factors. It did, however, play favorable to home runs where Hamels has been susceptible this season. He has allowed eight homers in 66.1 IP or 1.1 per nine innings which would be his worst rate since 2010. Colorado is tied for 12th in the majors with 46 HR so far this season but ranks below average in terms of runs scored. Furthermore, the Rockies will be tossing Chad Bettis and his season 4.19 ERA. The funny part is his season ERA is actually substantially better than his career ERA of 6.29. For this reason, Hamels and the Phillies are the second biggest favorite of the day with Vegas setting them at -156. The Rockies may be middle of the pack in homers, which would seem to be a reason not to use Hamels, but they have been dreadful against lefties. They rank bottom 10 in wOBA, wRC+ and ISO while they struck out the third most (24.7 percent) against LHP. Oh by the way, Hamels dominated the Rockies in Coors two starts again with 7.1 innings with seven base runners and one ER. He’s the surest bet on the slate and is worthy of both cash and GPP consideration because I expect a lights out performance.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland – This is a pure matchup play because Trevor Bauer can get wild at times but I actually believe he is a pretty safe bet on Friday night. As you’ll quickly learn in this article, I think Taijuan Walker is a matchup DFS’ers just have to exploit at this point. According to CBS Sports’ player ranker, only Ross Detwiler, Bud Norris, David Buchanan and T.J. House have pitched worse than him this season amongst all pitchers to throw a pitch thus far. Walker ranks 1,311 among pitchers in terms of Fantasy value and that’s approximately how terrible he has been in DFS as well. Bauer will be pitching on the road in a park much friendlier to pitchers than his home park. According to FanGraphs, Safeco Field tied for the eighth friendliest pitchers park last year and ESPN’s Park Factors said it actually played dead last. Basically it’s the park you want your American League pitchers pitching in. The Mariners rank in the bottom 10 in wOBA versus RHP and K in the top 10 as well. They do possess a fair amount of raw power (Mike Zunino for example) but it’s not the easiest park to hit one out of. With Bauer pitching against literally one of the worst pitchers in baseball, and doing so in a great park, all the stars are aligned for this to be the time you fire him up. Despite the occasional spotty control, I think it is a fine time to use him in cash as well on two pitcher sites.
Dan Haren, SP, Miami – Feel like being a contrarian? Dan Haren faces off against the Dark Knight Matt Harvey himself tomorrow. Haren is far from favored tomorrow because not only is Harvey a stud but Vegas likes to inflate New York team lines since they are among the most heavily bet. Harvey heads into this game as a -186 favorite (the largest of the day). However, there are a variety of reasons not to just head nod with Vegas’ assessment in this one. First and foremost Harvey is heading into the game coming off of dead arm. For that reason alone there is reason to believe he will not be as sharp as usual. If Harvey gets hit a little, it may be all Haren needs because the Mets are just brutal against RHP. They rank in the bottom two in wOBA and wRC+ against RHP. Even worse, they are dead last in ISO. The home run ball has killed Haren so far this year (1.3 HR/9). He has limited the overall base runners (1.08 WHIP) but the ERA remains high (4.24) because of the big flies. Facing a team devoid of power, he shouldn’t have to worry about that here. If you like being contrarian, this could be one of those tournament plays with huge returns because he will likely be low-owned as well.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland – Did I mention Taijuan Walker was bad? It hasn’t been righties specifically that have killed him nor lefties specifically…just batters in general. Lefties have happened to have killed him slightly more as he sports a .392 wOBA to lefties this year versus .382 against righties. Kipnis meanwhile has been on the exact opposite end of the suck spectrum. Heading into Thursday, it hasn’t matter what pitcher has faced him in the last month because he has killed them all. Prior to Thursday’s game, Kipnis was 46 for his last 103 (.447/.529/.748) in his last 25 games. The hitting environment in Safeco Field is definitely below average but you just cannot ignore the matchup. As you’ll see with my next matchup, I think the Indians stack is worthy of playing all over the place.
Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Cleveland – Moss is one of the Indians main threats in the middle of the lineup and makes for a perfect complement to Kipnis in the Cleveland stack. Strangely, Moss’ career average against both righties and lefties for his career are exactly .246. His wOBA against righties is 22 percentage points higher against righties and he spots a wRC+ of 117 against them as well. Moss hit the ball out of Safeco against lefty James Paxton on Thursday night so he certainly will not be shy taking some big hacks against Walker either. Walker’s 1.84 WHIP this season shows he is allowing nearly everyone he faces to reach base and the wOBAs show he is allowing solid contact as well. If Moss gets a hold of one, it’s going to travel a long way. Again, I can’t state enough how confident I am in the middle of Cleveland’s order on Friday night. I legitimately would be shocked If Walker makes it past the fifth inning in this one because he only has done so twice in his last five starts.
Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers do not draw the easiest matchup of the night as they head to St. Louis to face off against the Cardinals and John Lackey. Through nine starts, Lackey sits at a 3.18 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. St. Louis is a slight favorite in this game, which projects to be about average in terms of overall scoring (the over/under is 8.0). Although Lackey is a good pitcher, it should be an extremely tough task for him because the Dodgers are the number one wOBA team against RHP this season. Most of their lineup just destroys them and it begins at the top with Joc Pederson. This season all 12 of his HRs have come against RHP. I repeat all 12 of his HRs have come against RHP. He currently holds a .424 wOBA against RHP with a .397 OBP and .615 SLG. Yeah, it’s going to be tough for Lackey to retire him three or four straight times.