DailyRoto’s MLB Solo Shot Host, Logan Hitchcock, gets you headed in the right direction with his September 15 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?
At first glance, I thought tonight’s slate wreaked of offensive value. Unfortunately though, after reevaluating the best offensive run scoring environments, a few stand above the rest.
First and foremost, my eyes are turning to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Chase Field. Chase Field has been like Coors Field South in the last few nights, spewing tons of runs as the Rockies and Diamondbacks put their mediocre pitching staffs to the test. Tonight, the Dodgers will receive a solid positive park shift in their matchup with right-hander Archie Bradley. Bradley has finally been able to record the strikeout, but he’s still allowing an absurd 37.1% hard contact and is struggling with his command. Furthermore, this season he’s been dismantled by left-handed hitting, allowing a .393 wOBA as compared to just .299 to righties. The good news? The Dodgers are full of left-handed bats and have fared much better against right-handers this season posting the fifth best wRC+ in the league against right-handers. You’ll have to pay for NL MVP candidate Corey Seager ($10,500), but other left-handers Chase Utley ($7,200), Josh Reddick ($8,100) and Adrian Gonzalez ($8,400) can be fit rather easily. Load up on the Dodgers tonight.
While the Toronto Blue Jays will undergo a massive negative park shift away from the Rogers Centre tonight, their matchup with young righty Daniel Wright is one of the most enticing on the slate. Between 12 starts at AAA and three big league starts, Wright has been horrendous this season. He posted a 6.13 ERA in 83.2 innings at AAA and so far in the big leagues has allowed two home runs per nine innings to go along with a 5.80 xFIP. The park shift did actually aid the Blue Jays pricing though, as they’ve received a bit of a discount in tonight’s matchup. Josh Donaldson ($9,200) has taken some rest in each of the last few days, but if he’s in there, he makes for a solid play along with Edwin Encarnacion ($9,300), Jose Bautista ($8,400) and Michael Saunders ($7,600). The Blue Jays are a way to the top of a GPP tonight.
You’ll need to diversify just a bit if you wish to complete tournament rosters tonight, but most of the other value to be had is lineup contingent. The Kansas City Royals draw a home matchup with right-hander Daniel Mengden, putting Eric Hosmer ($9,000), and Kendrys Morales ($8,400) firmly in play. Mengden has struggled mightily with his command this season (4.79 BB/9) and has largely been aided by a big ball park, masking his flyball prone ways at just 1.12 HR/9. The park won’t do the Royals any favors tonight, but this has the potential for plenty of runs.
Last but not least, the Cubs draw a home matchup with right-hander Jimmy Nelson. Nelson is far from the worst pitcher on the slate, but he draws the short end of the stick against the Cubs offense. He’s pitched to a 4.88 xFIP and will have to take a 10.6% walk rate into the home ballpark of the most disciplined team in the league. Anthony Rizzo ($10,800) and Dexter Fowler ($10,000) got the price bump, but Kris Bryant ($9,200) is grossly underpriced while Jason Heyward ($5,700) is the punt play of the night.
On the Bump..
Unfortunately, while the offensive choices are all fun and games tonight, the pitching side of things is rather bleak. Rich Hill ($23,400) is the most expensive starting pitcher, but his matchup in Chase Field against the Diamondbacks doesn’t grin with safety. The Diamondbacks have posted the best wRC+ in the league against southpaws this season and have the propensity to get very right-handed. While the risk is there, Hill’s strikeout rate does provide some reward as well. The Diamondbacks have posted the sixth highest strikeout rate against southpaws (23.5%), giving Hill (29.3% strikeout rate) plenty of room to work with. An opposing implied run total of 3.8 runs might indicate that run prevention won’t be the strong suit here, but mitigating earned runs with strikeouts seems like a safe bet.
After Hill, four other pitchers are vying for spots in your lineup. J.A. Happ ($16,200) draws a road matchup with the Los Angeles Angels, but the park shift that is haunting his offense is actually in his best interest. Happ’s flyball problems will be minimized in Angels Stadium, but his upside is limited given the Angels bottom of the league strikeout rate against left-handers (16.5%). Their implied run total is a just 3.7 runs and Happ is a notable road favorite (-167) that is probably worth a shot as one of your two starting pitchers.
Johnny Cueto ($20,800) and Adam Wainwright ($15,300) want a chance to be your starting pitchers too, but really only one deserves a shot. Cueto faces a Cardinals team that was shut down a pair of times in their series with the Cubs but is still ranked fourth in terms of wRC+ against right-handers this season. Still though, despite the Cardinals prowess against right-handers, I’m inclined to give Cueto a shot. His run prevention skills (2.90 ERA, 3.11 FIP) are the best on the slate and although he doesn’t possess elite strikeout numbers (7.90 K/9) he’ll provide you with enough upside to warrant a roster spot. The Cardinals have the lowest implied run total on this slate at just 3.2 runs and Cueto is a (-140) favorite.
Wainwright on the other hand is a little less enticing. His price tag is quite valuable and the ballpark at least puts him in the conversation, but his lack of strikeout skills coupled with the Giants contact heavy nature (17.5% strikeout percentage as a team against right-handers) kills any upside that he might have had. If you’re trying to decide where to take a cheap flier tonight, side with the strikeouts.
Last but not least, some strikeout potential comes from Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery ($9,300). Montgomery was acquired as a bullpen arm from Seattle but has been used off and on as a starter throughout his career. Joe Maddon has moved the Cubs to a six-man rotation to help grant some extra rest for the playoffs and Montgomery has been more than serviceable in his shot in the rotation. Since starting for the Cubs, Montgomery has posted an 8.35 K/9 and pitched to a 4.15 xFIP in 18.1 innings. Of course, the innings part is a huge detriment to his game. Since he’s not been fully stretched out this season, Montgomery hasn’t eclipsed five innings and isn’t likely to do so tonight. Nevertheless, his near punt price tag allows you a ton of offensive flexibility and despite the Brewers being better against left-handers (13th best wRC+) they still strikeout at an astronomical rate (24.9%). You’re going to be inheriting risk with your second starting pitcher tonight, side with the strikeouts and leave some flexibility for your offense.