MLB Payoff Pitch Week 2
Welcome back to the Payoff Pitch! What a great first week of baseball we had. Life is good for Tigers and Braves fans, while Yankees and White Sox fans are probably freaking out at this point after what was supposed to be a “better year.” It’s too early for any of those kinds of reactions, but there was a lot that happened this past week that we do need to react to. We saw a few injuries impact some lineups and some unbelievable starts by players that have jumped their prices. As I typically like to do, let’s start with where we’ll find value this upcoming week.
Brandon Belt tweaked his groin this past week and therefore only has six at bats on the season. He’s likely to be ready early this week, but if he’s not (or if he reinjures himself) then there are multiple players impacted. Because Buster Posey can play first base, Hector Sanchez ($2,700 DK, $2,200 FD) has seen extra starts this past week at catcher. He’s a switch hitter, but started against just RHP since the Belt injury. Options at first base for the Giants are Joaquin Arias ($2,600 DK, $2,400 FD), and Matt Duffy ($3,300 DK, $2,400 FD). Neither player is that impressive, but Arias did hit a home run on Saturday night and Duffy had a two-hit game in one of his starts. Update: Brandon Belt returned to the lineup yesterday so appears to be ready to go. Yan Gomes has recently been replaced at catcher by Roberto Perez ($2,100 DK) due to a knee injury. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of value due to his spot in the order. He’s likely to hit eighth or ninth while Gomes is out. Perez did have a two-hit game including a home run earlier in the week, but don’t expect a lot of that. He should be utilized in matchups against LHP and when you want to punt the position.
Ryan Rua left a game late this past week due to an ankle injury and has been put on the DL because of it. This should open up some opportunities for a few guys. Jake Smolinksi ($3,200 DK, $2,700 FD) has been getting consistent time and has also been hitting in the five hole, making him a nice punt play on DraftKings due to his shortstop eligibility. That’s a very solid spot in the order behind some good bats in Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder. Carlos Peguero ($3,200 DK, $2,200 FD) got a start in the two hole the other day and if he hits there and is priced where he is now then he’s a great value. Delino Deshields Jr. ($3,400 DK, $2,200 FD) is the final guy gaining at bats from Rua’s injury and provides some value due to being eligible at second base on DraftKings. He’s likely going to hit lower in the order, but if finds a way in front of Beltre then he’s a solid option there as well as a punt play with stolen base upside.
The Astros are a great team to target against for pitching due to their high strikeout percentages, but I think this week we could see a lot of value out of their hitters. After the crazy rise in pricing on DraftKings for Rockies players plus their opponents, players like Jose Altuve ($4,400 DK, $4,000 FD), Jed Lowrie ($3,800 DK, $2,800 FD), Chris Carter ($4,400 DK, $2,900 FD), and George Springer ($4,700 DK, $3,800 FD) could all provide value in the right matchup. Well, the Astros face a few lefties this week with games against Scott Kazmir, Drew Pomeranz and C.J. Wilson. While Kazmir won’t be a great target, the Astros will have great matchups plus the platoon advantage against Pomeranz and Wilson. It’s also worth noting they face Kendall Graverman who was roughed up for seven runs in his start against the Rangers last week.
The Royals bats are hot right now and it’s time to start considering them as more viable plays. They are averaging just under seven runs per game and suddenly have some pop in the lineup. Through six games, they have eight home runs and Salvador Perez ($3,900 DK, $3,600 FD) is extremely hot. He has 10 hits on the season and a home run in three of his last four games. Surprisingly enough, Mike Moustakas ($3,600 DK, $2,900 FD) is feeling it as well with two home runs and a three-game hit streak. Alex Rios ($4,800 DK, $3,300 FD) has seen his price catch up to him on DraftKings, but is still a value on FanDuel. With three multi-hit games so far this season and a middle of the lineup hitting position he’s a strong play as well for them right now. The games to target these Royals hitters will be early with a three game set against the Twins on tap. Trevor May, Kyle Gibson and Tommy Milone is not a fearful threesome at all.
Through the first three games of the season, the Cubs struggled to get anything going at the plate, but not surprisingly they got it going against the Rockies in Colorado. Sometimes all you need is a few great matchups to really get your offense going and we’ll see if that’s true in their first series of the week. They start the week with the bottom half of the Reds rotation and then get tough matchups against the Padres to end the week. Dexter Fowler ($4,500 DK, $3,400 FD) finds himself a value and had two triples and a home run in the final two games of the Rockies series. His DraftKings price continues to stay low as well as another Cubs outfielder. Chris Coghlan ($3,500 DK, $3,500 FD) had a very productive series in Colorado, but sees a huge drop in price down to 3.5k on DraftKings. He hit a home run in game two of the series and then added a hit, two walks and a stolen base in the final game. Mike Leake and Jason Marquis are the two Reds pitchers I could see Fowler and Coghlan against easily.
You can’t talk hot hitters without talking Miguel Cabera ($4,900 DK, $4,800 FD). The man had 11 hits against the Indians this past weekend! His price on DraftKings did go down $400, but in comparison to the other hitters, the $4,900 price tag isn’t much value. He’s the second highest priced hitter of the early slate Monday and the ninth highest of both slates combined.
Lorenzo Cain ($4,300 DK, $3,600 FD) is another Royals player to like this week, but has seen his price increase $400 from Sunday. He’s hitting .429 on the season with six runs, six RBI and one home run. He has a hit in each game this season and has added a second or third hit in three of six games. While I do think the Twins have some bad pitchers on the mound this week, the price increase and park factors for Target Field scare me away unless used in a stack.
Paul Goldschmidt ($4,700 DK, $5,100 FD) has had himself a nice first week with seven hits in his first 19 at bats including two home runs and even a stolen base. This week though, I don’t think I’ll be on him much if at all with those kinds of prices. He won’t be hitting at hitter friendly Chase Field, but instead will be at two dreadful hitting parks in 2014, Petco Park and AT&T Park. Those two parks ranked in the bottom six for runs, bottom seven for home runs and ranked 11th worst for doubles per game in 2014 according to ESPN’s park factors.
The coldest of cold hitters in baseball right now is Evan Gattis ($4,100 DK, $3,100 FD). He’s not only 0-20, but he has 12 strikeouts in those 20 at bats. His price really isn’t that cheap Monday even with him struggling. As bad as it sounds, when you use Gattis, you’re looking for that bomb that shoots you right up the leaderboards. Well, I’m not exactly sure that’s coming his or your way soon with him hitting in Oakland and Los Angeles (AL) this week. Those two stadiums ranked 21st and 23rd in home runs per game in 2014.
Robinson Cano ($4,100 DK, $4,000 FD) is about to see a nice shift in park factors when going from Seattle and Oakland to Los Angeles (NL) and Texas this upcoming week. He’s going to need it too with the way he’s been hitting (3 for 23 with two doubles). His price on DraftKings is becoming nice with him being only the fifth highest priced second basemen for his slate on Monday. His price has shot down from $5,000 on DraftKings Sunday to $4,100, which screams great value to me to start the week.
There are many struggling Yankees hitters, but Chase Headley ($4,100 DK, $2,900 FD) is the one I want to talk about. After starting the season 3 for 22 (Sunday night game not included), he has somehow found his way to over $4k on DraftKings. For that price, I can’t condone using him especially with him hitting in the seven hole. You’re not getting any value at that price. Over on FanDuel I can understand that price more with a series at the Orioles to start the week, but it doesn’t jump at me as something I want to use.