MLB DFS WEEK 8 PAYOFF PITCH
Welcome back to The Payoff Pitch! In this article I break down what has happened in the last week when it comes to injuries, lineups and streaky hitters (and one streaky pitcher). This is a great way to refresh your memory or catch up on a few days lost. This article couldn’t be any more relevant for those taking vacation this Memorial Day weekend.
**All stats used are from end of Saturday’s MLB action.
**All prices used are from Sunday/Monday slates.
I’m going to start this section off with a player returning to the lineup this week for the Cleveland Indians: Yan Gomes ($3,600 DK, $2,800 FD). Gomes is a middle of the order hitter for the Indians who hurt his knee against the Tigers only 20 at bats into the season. Now, he’s back and should be hitting in the same range (5-7). Watch how he does in the first few days back, and expect a day off or two, but I have a feeling his low price should make for some enticing matchups. His career wOBA against left-handed pitching is .370 compared to .317 against right-handers. The Indians play every day this week and will be facing four southpaws.
Yasmani Grandal suffering a concussion this past week isn’t necessarily a good thing for those trying to find value at catcher, as A.J. Ellis isn’t a strong hitter, but it’s a good thing for guys like Andre Ethier ($3,300 DK, $2,600 FD), Scott Van Slyke ($3,300 DK, $2,500 FD) and whoever is playing third base that day. Ellis routinely hits in the eight hole, while Grandal finds himself hitting fifth or sixth when he’s in the lineup. This should bump up those three hitters into more valuable spots in the order. The Dodgers get three home games and three road games this week against some above average pitching. There will be some times to use these guys though like against Williams Perez and Alex Wood from Atlanta, or John Lackey from St. Louis.
The injury to Yankees outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, has opened up a spot at the top of the order and it has been given to Carlos Beltran ($3,700 DK, $2,700 FD). He’s been slotted in the two-hole every game since the Ellsbury injury and has done well with it. In those three games, he has a home run and a double, but not a very high average (3-14). His wOBA in 2014 was almost 100 points higher against RHP (.343) than it was against LHP (.245), so he’s a better target when he hits from the left side. The Yankees will be facing six right-handers this week to just one left hander, so look for him as a solid play most the week.
One of the recent events that really sucks to see is the loss of Justin Morneau in the Rockies lineup due to another concussion. He has battled them in the past and honestly it might be a while before we see him back on the field. When it comes to the impact of the lineup, it comes in the way of Ben Paulsen ($3,600 DK, $2,900 FD) hitting in the five or six-hole. He has been great so far in 2015 against both left and right-handed pitchers. With him in the middle of the order, he’s going to be a solid punt option as long as he hovers around these prices. While he doesn’t get to hit at Coors Field this week, he gets to hit in two other hitter friendly parks: Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
Delino DeShields Jr. ($3,900 DK, $3,500 FD) has seen his price increase in recent days and with good reason. He has started in the leadoff position for three straight games and has gotten on base nine times in the last four games including Sunday. Before that three game stretch, he had hit in the two-hole twice and ninth in the other game. He’s hitting in a great spot in the order, but with his limited power numbers (.100 ISO in 2015) and ordinary batting average, I can’t see him as a player I will want to consistently target. He does have upside in the stolen base department and due to holding both outfield and second base eligibility on DraftKings, but he’s strictly a great matchup guy for me right now.
Keep your eye on the Brewers lineup this week because it’ll be the last few games we’ll get some potential value with Luis Sardinas ($2,900 DK, $2,200 FD). He’s the Brewers shortstop who has typically hit in the bottom third of the order since he began starting, but found himself hitting leadoff on Sunday. Before that game, he was three for his last nine against the Braves. If he can stick at that part of the order for a few more games then we’ll get some serious value at a very tough position to fill.
Everyone was ready to jump off the Ryan Braun ($5,100 DK, $4,700 FD) bandwagon coming into the season and for a short while he struggled a ton. In the last week though, he has continued to be a great hitter. This past week he added three home runs to bring him to 11 on the season while hitting .375. This week he’ll be playing at home all week long, which surprisingly hasn’t been too friendly to his power numbers. He only has two of his 11 home runs at home this season (five less at bats at home) and in 2014 had an ISO 41 points higher on the road (.207 on the road). If you’re a big fan of home and road splits then take this into account but the overall park factors do suggest Miller Park will aid Braun’s numbers in the long run. He has some favorable matchups on the week with a few starts against average right-handed pitchers.
Prince Fielder ($5,100 DK, $4,000 FD) is another guy who had a lot to prove coming into the season and he has proved himself to be back to normal this season. In the last week, he has been especially hot with a .379 batting average and three home runs. While Fielder doesn’t really face anyone overpowering in the upcoming week, his high price tag is likely to scare me away. His ISO in 2015 is surprisingly .114 points higher against left-handers compared to right-handers (.267 against LHP) and only faces one in the coming week. If you’re a fan of his career stats then you might be intrigued to know he has a .258 ISO in his career against right-handers and therefore might be the guy to pay up for in the coming week.
Andrew McCutchen ($5,300 DK) has really heated up in the past week, so much so that he has doubled his season total for home runs in just seven days. He now has six home runs with a .253 batting average on the season. He hasn’t stolen a whole lot of bags on the season and that didn’t change the past week (zero bases stolen) despite posting a .357 average. As long as the power numbers are there, I’m confident in playing him. The big negative for him this week is where he is playing. He’ll be playing in Miami and San Diego, which are two of the more spacious parks to play in.
In April, Matt Kemp ($4,000 DK) was tearing the cover off the ball to an average in the mid .300s. Nowadays in May, he’s struggling to break the .200 mark. He’s hitting .154 in the last week with just one RBI. This week he splits his games between Los Angeles facing the Angels and back home facing the Pirates. Kemp has a career wOBA of .399 against southpaws and will face two average ones this week (Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano). The only issue with these matchups is that they’re back in San Diego. Kemp’s ISO at home this season is .114, which surprisingly is 43 points higher than on the road. In other words, the power has been non-existent regardless of venue.
With the return of Yan Gomes, I think Lonnie Chisenhall ($3,900 DK, $2,200 FD) is a total fade right now. He already wasn’t hitting in a favorable spot, but now gets bumped back one more spot to the seventh or eighth spot in the order. Mix this with a .150 average with zero home runs in the last week and you have to be pretty desperate to roster him. On FanDuel I could see using him for minimum price in a GPP, but he shouldn’t be considered a cash option at all.
What hitters are you riding or avoiding this week?