DailyRoto’s MLB Solo Shot Host, Logan Hitchcock, gets you headed in the right direction with his September 13 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?
How many times is too many times to focus on the Red Sox? The Sox hold an implied run total of 5.3 runs as they draw a matchup with right-hander Dylan Bundy a night after displaying offensive dominance at Fenway Park. Bundy has been serviceable for most of the season, but he’s struggled in his last five starts and his 4.55 xFIP and flyball prone ways won’t matchup well against the league’s best team against right-handers in terms of wRC+. The pricing on the Red Sox has flipped back to the typical script, headed by David Ortiz ($10,800) and Mookie Betts ($10,800) but you can still find valuable players surrounding them in the lineup in Dustin Pedroia ($9,300) and Xander Bogaerts ($8,400).
Perhaps the most valuable team to grab exposure to tonight though is the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays draw a home matchup with flyball oriented left-hander, Drew Smyly. Smyly has struggled mightily this season, allowing a 4.51 xFIP and 1.70 HR/9. The Jays hold an implied run total similar to the Red Sox, but their price tags are much more valuable. Sluggers Josh Donaldson ($9,200) and Jose Bautista ($8,400) both are incredibly easy to fit and display heavily positive platoon splits. Since 2015, Donaldson has amassed a .298 ISO and a .424 wOBA against left-handers while Bautista has .220 ISO and .348 wOBA in the same span. The Jays will get very right-handed and display other positive values throughout the lineup, but Bautista and Donaldson should be the primary targets.
Last but not least, the Tigers and the Pirates fill out two more teams to focus on tonight. The Tigers draw a matchup with the contact-heavy Kyle Gibson of the Minnesota Twins. Gibson is an easy target because of his inability to strike hitters out, but so far this season the rest of his game has been putrid as well. He’s managed a 5.34 ERA (4.48 xFIP) while allowing over 30% hard contact and 1.32 HR/9. Furthermore, he has only allowed less than four earned runs one time (in six tries) since August 12th. The Tigers tattooed him for five earned in five innings a few weeks ago and I expect a similar outcome tonight. Miguel Cabrera ($10,000) has been price appropriately for the last few weeks but the rest of the Tigers’ top five is fairly accessible. Ian Kinsler ($9,200), Cameron Maybin ($7,800), Victor Martinez ($7,100) and J.D. Martinez ($8,800) should all also be on your radar against Gibson.
The Pirates don’t join the aforementioned crowd of offenses with implied run totals over five runs but their matchup with right-hander Alec Asher is a worthy target. Asher has only made one start this season, but after a lowly display last season and taking into consideration a huge positive park shift for the Pirates, I’m excited for their usage in tournaments. ZiPS projects Asher at a 5.83 ERA for the rest of the season and given his inability to rack up the strikeouts at any level, the Pirates should have no trouble creating hard contact. Without Starling Marte they are a bit less dynamic, but Gregory Polanco ($9,300), Andrew McCutchen ($8,400) and Josh Bell ($6,000) stand out as solid values tonight.
On the Bump…
On the mound our eyes should gravitate towards Danny Duffy ($20,100) and Noah Syndergaard ($22,800). Let me start with Duffy. Duffy draws a matchup at home with the Oakland Athletics who hold the lowest team implied run total on the slate (3.4 runs). Duffy has been a revelation this season, bursting through the “bust” claims that had been attributed to him after a few difficult seasons in the majors. This year though, he’s posted a 3.72 xFIP while increasing his strikeout rate from 17.4% to 26.7% and nearly cutting his walk rate in half. The A’s have built the 25th best wRC+ against southpaws this season and despite a rather pedestrian strikeout rate as a team for the season, they’ve posted the 10th highest strikeout rate in the last 30 days. Duffy provides a bit more safety and a hint of a discount over Syndergaard, earning him the top spot among starters tonight.
Syndergaard is Syndergaard, but the matchup with the Nationals is not one to be taken lightly. The Nats have built a middle of the pack wRC+ against right-handers, striking out less than 20% as a team. While he’s posted incredible numbers (2.72 xFIP, 10.51 K/9) part of the balancing act with Syndergaard has been some inefficiency. Since the beginning of July, “Thor” has only gone seven or more innings on four different occasions, including only a five-inning performance against the Reds last time out. He’s dominant, but this isn’t a sure thing.
After the top two my attention is turning to Drew Pomeranz ($19,600) and Marcus Stroman ($17,600). Pomeranz has the same allure that David Price did last night. Despite being a brutal offense to try and get through, the Orioles have been noticeably worse against left-handers (27th in wRC+ compared to 2nd against righties) while posting a 21.8% strikeout rate. Pomeranz has been able to shake off whatever initially plagued him on the transition to the American League as he has not allowed more than three earned runs since the start of August – posting a 2.76 ERA and 9.35 K/9 in that time. This matchup isn’t a reflection of run prevention, but merely an upside tournament play, or a secondary cash game option.
Stroman takes his surging strikeout rate into a matchup with the strikeout prone Tampa Bay Rays. Since the beginning of July, Stroman has been fantastic, posting a 2.51 xFIP and 9.39 K/9. His matchup with the Rays should be one that is exploitable as the Rays are middle of the pack in terms of wRC+ against right-handers and third in the league in terms of strikeout percentage. While perhaps Stroman would have benefitted a bit more if this was being played in Tropicana Field, his incredible ability to put the ball on the ground (60.5% GB) keeps him out of trouble and makes him less susceptible to park shifts than others. The matchup makes him a strong play as a second starting pitcher option and one that should be considered for cash games and tournaments tonight.
If you’re looking for potentially off the board tournament plays, Dan Straily ($15,000) fits the mold. Straily has been a frequent target of offensive stacks this year, but in a matchup with a horrible Brewers team he actually warrants some consideration. The Brewers have posted the fifth worst wRC+ in the league against right-handers and have stuck out more than 25% of the time against them (tops in the league). Straily will allow you to be a bit more flexible in terms of your offensive salary allocation and he should be able to mitigate some earned run disaster with strikeouts.