Wednesday MLB DFS Picks: Go and Crush Your Shoulders Off
Johnny Cueto, SP, Cincinnati – Hopefully the Brewers offensive outburst on Tuesday got that out of their system. Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Brewers had scored the least amount of runs in the MLB. 10 runs later and they’re officially out of the basement. Still, it’s not a very good offense and Johnny Cueto is one of the best starting pitchers around. Cueto will face a Brewers lineup missing Scooter Gennett, Jonathan Lucory and Carlos Gomez at the very least. In other words, they are a weakened weak lineup. Only four healthy plays have a career wOBA greater than .325 against right-handed pitchers (RHP): Ryan Braun, Adam Lind, Aramis Ramirez and Khris Davis. Considering Ramirez has looked absolutely awful at the dish and has a .191 SLG so far, it’s hard to imagine facing Cueto is when he gets going. That being said, Cueto ranks well above average against right-handed bats (.300 career opposing wOBA) and pretty similarly against lefties as well (.303 opposing wOBA). The over/under in this game is seven which is tied for the lowest of the night aside from Dodgers/San Francisco battle of the aces. Without much resistance in the opposing lineup, and pitching in a bottom seven hitter’s park in 2014, Cueto makes for the best non-Clayton Kershaw starting pitcher play of the day.
Joe Kelly, SP, Boston – Like the little girl with the spinning head from “The Exorcist,” Kelly is pitching like a man possessed. According to Fangraphs, Kelly’s average fastball velocity this season is 96.5 MPH. His previous career high was last season’s 95.1 MPH. His breaking balls are also all moving more than ever so it appears we are just looking at an overall improved pitcher. The 7.8 K/9 would be a career high as would be the 2.75 SO/BB and just about every number across the board. Kelly faces off against a struggling Tampa Bay Rays team in a game with an over/under of eight. In terms of wOBA, Tampa Bay’s career leaders against RHP are Kevin Kiermaier, David DeJesus, John Jason (on the disabled list) and Evan Longoria (struggling). There doesn’t seem to be much resistance for a streaking, improved pitcher so Kelly makes for my favorite mid-tier play. He’s a near lock for a quality start.
Eric Stults, SP, Atlanta – Sometimes you have to be bold to win all the monies. This play is mostly recommended for those using multiple lineups because this has the potential to backfire but tomorrow is the day to fire up Eric Stults. Don’t get me wrong; Stults is a terrible pitcher. If the Braves traded him for a bag of baseballs, they would win the trade by a landslide. That being said, I am not betting on the talent in this game but rather the lack of LHP hitting talent on the Mets. Michael Cuddyer (.381 wOBA) and John Mayberry (.367 wOBA) are really the only threats in the lineup over their career against LHP besides the injured David Wright. They are the only two with career wOBA’s above .318 (which is considered slightly below average). With plenty of hitters who struggle, even Eric Stults should be able to put together a decent outing in pitcher-friendly Citi Field. If you have the guts, Stults could be an incredibly risky lottery ticket.
Alex Avila, C, Detroit – As a cheap catcher option, there are a couple reasons Avila makes a lot of sense on Wednesday. He hits behind a lot of great hitters who should be on base and present him with RBI opportunities against struggling RHP Adam Warren. For as cheap as he’ll come, you may not find another player at his position with career splits of .178 ISO, .348 wOBA and 118 wRC. He’ll likely hit seventh or eighth, which limits his upside some but also may leave him under-owned. Fire him up at a weak position and load up elsewhere.
Chris “Crush” Davis, 1B/3B, Baltimore – While many owners spend their time stacking the game in Coors Field, the players from Baltimore/Toronto will be criminally under-owned. The over/under in this game is 8.5 and features a pitching matchup of Ubaldo Jimenez versus Aaron Sanchez. Both of these starters are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde types where they have the potential to be very good but also nauseatingly bad. Although Sanchez has the talent, he has yet to make it past 5.1 IP in two starts this season. He has allowed nine baserunners in 3.1 IP and eight baserunners in 5.1 IP. The game in which he didn’t make it out of the fourth inning was his first start also against the Baltimore Orioles. Unsurprisingly, Chris Davis is the Orioles career leader in both wOBA (.361) and ISO (.249 !!!!) against RHP. Toronto played as the number seven ranked hitters park in baseball and number three in home runs allowed last season according to ESPN. Davis has an excellent chance to dong in this one or at least be put in situations to contribute runs. Don’t be surprised if he goes upper deck in this one similarly to the way Edwin Encarnacion did in the series opener.
Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City – Welcome to the 2015 season, Alex Gordon. On Tuesday night, Gordon finally hit his first dinger. Sometimes all it takes is one to get a good hitter going. Beyond just the “getting going” theory, there are actually numbers to back him up in this one. Kansas City faces Mike Pelfrey who Tony Cincotta refers to as one of the “10 worst starting pitchers in baseball.” 10 may be too generous honestly. Pelfrey allows a .277 AVG to lefties for his career and .284 AVG to righties. According to wOBA however, he allows more meaningful hits (.344 wOBA) to lefties than to righties (.335). Any way you chop it, he stinks; against righties, lefties, big people, small people, blue people, purple people, fast people, slow people, obese people, skinny people and probably even some species of the animal kingdom. Bottom line is you want hitters going against Pelfrey and Gordon is the Royals career leader in wOBA against RHP. Lock and load Smash Gordon and sleep like a baby.
Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs – RHP see Jorge Soler coming up and be like:
It makes sense none of them would want a piece of him considering how he has terrorized them since arriving in the bigs: .283 BA with all seven of his major league home runs, 24 (of his 29) RBI, .382 wOBA, 144 wRC+ and .283 ISO (!) in 113 AB. He’s more frightening to righties than even Anthony Rizzo, which is saying something considering the year he had last season. Soler and the Cubs square off against Vance Worley who is a middle of the road righty at best. His pitches have some excellent movement to them but Soler has one of the best eyes in baseball. Ignore the slightly below average ballpark because Soler could be hitting in the old Polo Grounds and still have a field day. He’s a lock to reach base at least once and really should end up with at least one extra base hit in a plus matchup for him.