DailyRoto’s MLB Solo Shot Host, Logan Hitchcock, gets you headed in the right direction with his September 12 MLB DFS Picks. Check out where his mind is at today when it comes to roster construction at FantasyDraft – where they put players first – Daily fantasy baseball on a level playing field. Check them out tonight. Now, on to the the picks for tonight’s action.
Where to focus?
The most logical place to start tonight is Fenway Park in Boston. The Red Sox draw a juicy home matchup with left-hander Wade Miley and currently hold an implied run total at just below six runs. Miley has been a fairly easy target this year, posting a mid-five ERA while allowing a ton of power (1.67 HR/9) to right-handed hitters. Moving back to Fenway, the Red Sox righties receive a notable park shift but with a gravy matchup, they have received considerable price increases. Hanley Ramirez ($10,800) and Xander Bogaerts ($10,000) have typically been value options for this Red Sox offense, but tonight Mookie Betts ($9,900) outshines them from a value perspective. Betts has put himself in the A.L. MVP discussion this season and since the start of his brief career has posted a .204 ISO and a .357 wOBA against southpaws. Dustin Pedroia ($9,400) and southpaw specialist Chris Young ($8,400) should fall right behind Betts in cash game builds tonight.
While the Red Sox might be the primary cash game target, the Toronto Blue Jays offense will provide valuable alternatives. The Jays have a date with Jake Odorizzi, a flyball pitcher who will need to beat a negative park shift to the Rogers Centre if he wishes to lower his 4.52 xFIP. Odorizzi has been susceptible to hard contact this season (33%) and his patented reverse splits make the Jays offense even more enticing. This season, Odorizzi has allowed a 5.11 xFIP to right-handed hitters while allowing more home runs and striking out fewer hitters per nine innings. The Jays right-handed power bats, Edwin Encarnacion ($8,400), Josh Donaldson ($9,300) and Jose Bautista ($7,500) are all relatively easy to fit and the majority of the surrounding offense fits too.
Another team that has found my radar, especially for tournaments is the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have quietly built the fifth best wRC+ in the league this season against right-handers and their experiencing a massive positive park shift to Yankee Stadium. Not only is the park shift notable, but they’ll also be receiving a positive league shift which will add yet another hitter to the lineup. Right-hander Bryan Mitchell was serviceable in his first start, but a ZiPS projected ERA and FIP over five proves him a mere mortal. Much like the Blue Jays, the Dodgers have accessible price tags and an implied run total just below five runs on a night where it’ll be important to pay up for pitching. Corey Seager ($10,200) and Justin Turner ($9,200) stand out as two of the best options, but Adrian Gonzalez ($9,000) and Chase Utley ($7,600) are among the most valuable.
On the Bump..
As I mentioned, it’ll be important to grab a top starting pitcher tonight as the foundation for successful lineups. In terms of pricing, the top starting pitcher is Carlos Carrasco ($23,700). Carrasco is deserving of the honor, facing a White Sox team that ranks 23rd in wRC+ against right-handed starters while posting a strikeout rate approaching 21%. Carrasco has been marvelous this season, posting a 3.30 xFIP, and 9.34 strikeouts per nine innings. The White Sox have an opposing implied run total of 3.7 runs and Carrasco is a notable road favorite in this game. While he’s not a necessity given some of the other top starting pitching options, Carrasco has a ton of strikeout upside and an accessible price tag should you decide to filter in some Blue Jays or Dodgers on offense.
Aside from Carrasco, my eyes are gravitating towards David Price ($20,800), Jeff Samardzija ($20,700) and Gerrit Cole ($15,300).
For Price, the matchup with the Baltimore Orioles isn’t the safest, but provides us with plenty of upside. The O’s have been much worse this season against left-handers, posting the fourth worst wRC+ against southpaws (while posting the second best wRC+ against right-handers) and a 21.6% strikeout rate. Price has been his typical self this season, posting notable strikeout numbers, working deep into games and posting a 3.42 xFIP in the process. Price is listed as the second largest favorite on the slate and his price tag provides a bit of salary relief from Carrasco, with just as much upside. If I were looking to start my cash game lineup construction, Price is the guy I’m doing it with.
Samardzija is the largest favorite on the slate given his matchup with the San Diego Padres in his home ballpark. The Padres hold an implied run total of just 3.1 runs and while Samardzija has been less than stellar this season, his matchup with the worst team in the league against righties in terms of wRC+ and second worst in terms of strikeout percentage makes him a viable option in both formats.
Last but not least, Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole draws a matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies. Despite a drop in his strikeout rate and an increase in xFIP this season, and a negative park shift, Cole’s price tag ($15,300) is a huge value tonight against the Phillies. The matchup with a bottom wRC+ team (tied for last against righties) and one that strikes out at a 22.6% clip makes him a near must as the second starting pitcher on FantasyDraft tonight. Using Cole as a second starter will allow you to pair him with any other starting pitcher and grab a few extra bats to solidify your offense.