MLB Payoff Pitch Week 3
Welcome back to the Payoff Pitch where I break down the week that just happened and the implications for the week ahead. Think of me as the person who takes notes for you if you ever have to pull an all nighter because your girlfriend forced you to go to the opening of the Lily Pulitzer collection at Target. This week’s edition was pretty easy (unfortunately for those that were injured). One team hogs the article and with good reason. The Brew Crew will be providing for some value for us this upcoming week. So, without further ado…
*All stats are from end of Saturday’s MLB action.
**All prices shown are from Sunday/Monday MLB slates.
Carlos Gomez was sent to the DL this past week, but there is no real addition to the lineup that is DFS worthy. Instead, the value lies within Khris Davis ($3,800 DK, $2,600 FD), an outfielder already in the lineup. We saw an interesting lineup on Saturday with Ryan Braun hitting leadoff and Davis being moved up to fourth in the order. If this is the case then this is a huge boost from his usual spot in the six hole. He’s sporting an average over .300, but with zero home runs on the season. Worst case scenario, he moves from sixth in the order to fifth, which is still a nice boost.
The Royals saw two of their key players fall to injuries since the last time we spoke, so now we get plenty of value out of this team. Alex Rios went to the DL, so Paulo Orlando ($2,800 DK, $3,000 FD) has found himself in the leadoff position in recent games. He has a hit in every game this season with four triples in just five games. Christian Colon ($3,300 DK, $2,200 FD) is not going to be hitting in an opportune spot in the order, but he is fairly cheap across the industry. The Alcides Escobar fill-in, Colon will really only be usable if he moves up the order or as a pure punt play.
When Jonathan Schoop went to the DL, the Orioles lost some depth, but not a huge piece of their order. They have a solid replacement in Ryan Flaherty ($3,300 DK, $2,400 FD) who has already seen some time this season. Schoop had outplayed him, but now Flaherty will get a chance to prove himself. He’ll likely be at the bottom of the order, but could be a punt play here and there with all the good hitter’s parks the Orioles find themselves in as part of the AL East.
I’m going to start this section off the way I did ‘The Injuries’ section, by talking about the Brewers. They really did some interesting things to their lineup moving Braun ($4,000 DK, $3,600 FD) from third to leadoff and then moving Davis from sixth to fourth in the order. Braun’s value seems to have moved down a tick if he’s hitting leadoff as he’ll have less RBI opportunities. He’s struggling, but a great buy low candidate right now. I already talked about Davis, so let’s talk Jean Segura ($3,700 DK, $3,000 FD). The young shortstop moved from the bottom part of the order to the second spot to even leadoff on Sunday. Keep an eye on how the Brewers put together their lineup this week. It’s all over the place, but I’m betting we’ll see increased value to Segura and Khris Davis.
Denard Span made his season debut on Sunday and didn’t do anything special, but he should impact this lineup as the season goes on. For one, this lineup gets deeper with guys like Yunel Escobar moving down in the lineup. Also, you have to love when a speedy runner like Span gets on base. This should give Ian Desmond ($4,600 DK, $3,900 FD) a few more fastballs. And lastly, it should give Bryce Harper ($4,600 DK, $4,500 FD) more RBI opportunities. Overall, I see this lineup being much better once Span starts getting in a groove.
Since Kris Bryant ($4,200 DK, $3,600 FD) made his debut, there has been a nice shakeup in the Cubs lineup. We see consistency with Dexter Fowler ($4,000 DK, $3,800 FD) at the top, but we see differences immediately after that. Anthony Rizzo ($4,700 DK, $4,500 FD) moves from the two hole to third and Bryant fills in at the four spot instead of Miguel Montero or Chris Coghlan. The biggest impact I see is Jorge Soler ($4,300 DK, $3,800 FD) hitting second and getting more opportunities for fastballs with that much protection.
Josh Donaldson ($5,500 DK, $4,300 FD) is hot right now, particularly in the power department, with three home runs during the Braves series to add to his over .400 batting average. As you can see though, his price has risen quite a lot lately. In fact, DraftKings boosted his price over $1,000 from Saturday to Sunday. For me, he’s a target against LHP, as his wOBA against them in 2014 was .429. He’s only on tap to face one in the upcoming week, Drew Smyly, so tread lightly with Donaldson at his current price.
One player I’m surprised to see crushing the baseball right now is Alex Rodriguez ($4,200 DK, $3,700 FD). He has three home runs in the last seven days and is hitting .314 on the season. In his career, he’s a better hitter against RHP than LHP and that’s the case in 2015. He’s only 2 for 14 against LHP on the season. His career wOBA against RHP is .403, 15 points higher than against southpaws. His price isn’t that bad, but his upcoming matchups aren’t that great. He also hits in very neutral parks for right-handed bats, Detroit and New York (NL) in the coming week.
Nick Markakis ($3,200 FD) is one of the cheapest three-hole hitters you’ll find out there even though he’s been playing great. He has a five game hit streak (including Sunday) with 10 total hits. His only problem is his lack of power. During that span he only has one extra base hit. While he does bring six walks to the table as well, the Braves offense isn’t potent enough to give him consistent run scoring opportunities. His price is average at best, and he needs a really good team matchup to be considered.
Aramis Ramirez ($3,700 DK, $2,800 FD) is starting to see his price drop and with good reason. He is struggling mightily at the plate with a .140 average and just two RBI on the season. Not only is he struggling, but his team is as well. It’s amazing that he only has two RBI no matter how bad he is hitting with the lineup they have. The Brewers face a really good group of pitchers for the most part this week, so this is likely a fade. Carlos Gomez going to the DL doesn’t help this lineup or Ramirez at all.
Another NL Central player who is really struggling is Marlon Byrd ($3,800 DK, $2,200 FD). He’s also another guy hitting in the .100s (.143) with zero home runs. Byrd showed some good power last season but hasn’t gotten anything going in 2015. He’s minimum priced on FanDuel to start the week, so that can be appealing, but I wouldn’t touch him on DraftKings. You have to at least show me something before getting in my lineup. Byrd had very similar wOBAs against RHP and LHP in 2014, but he did flash more power against southpaws. His 2014 ISO was .47 points higher and he’ll face Jon Lester and Travis Wood at the end of the week.
You can’t have a “cold” section without having an Astros player in it, so I’m throwing Chris Carter ($3,600 DK, $2,600) into the fire this week. He’s hitting .083 and hasn’t even hit a home run this season. That is literally what we pay him to do in DFS, but he can’t even do that right now. He’s starting to fall down in the order (hit seventh on Sunday) and is about to hit in two terrible parks for power (Seattle and Oakland). The only thing he has going for him is that he had a wOBA of .370 against LHP in 2014 and will face three (Happ, Kazmir, and Pomeranz) by the next time we talk.