Wednesday MLB DFS Picks: Spice Up Your Lineup with Some Carrasco Sauce
Baseball season is upon us once again. Whether you’re already raking in the money from DFS winnings or had to resort to peeing in cups, at the very least you must admit the baseball time of year is exciting.
We almost witnessed a no-hitter on Opening Day, the offensively challenged Braves scored 12 runs on Tuesday Night and Mark Trumbo already has two triples (he had one in 2014 and two in 2013). Part of what we love about the game is the unpredictability night-to-night and the frequency of being able to see things you’ve never seen done before. So in such a crazy game, how can we predict things to come?
Despite all the chaos, there is still some sort of pattern over the long haul. Although Barry Bonds struck out against some of the weakest pitchers in the game on occasion, more often than not he’d crush them. Playing the percentages will have you come out a winner when the season is all said and done. Finding the right categories to focus on is a great start. Much of what will be mentioned in the content today will talk about the statistic weighted on-base average. To accurately explain the metric in a nutshell, here’s a tidbit from FanGraphs:
“Weighted On-Base Average combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value. While batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage fall short in accuracy and scope, wOBA measures and captures offensive value more accurately and comprehensively.”
Here is a general way to gauge the scale of wOBA:
Keeping all of this information in mind about this statistic, here are the players you want in your lineups on a 15 game Wednesday night slate:
Carlos Carrasco, P, Cleveland – Pitching in a hitter’s ballpark against an American League (AL) team may seem scary but do near fear. Although there has been some overhaul to the Houston roster over the offseason, the team finished first in the AL in strikeouts last year and second in baseball behind just the Cubs. Carrasco is coming off of a season where he struck out 9.40 batters per nine innings (K/9) and surrendered 0.47 home runs per nine innings (HR/9), which would have ranked sixth in baseball had he pitched enough innings to qualify (134.0). Not that it really matters but it helps put the icing on the cake knowing he produced a 0.60 ERA against Houston in 15.0 innings pitched (IP) last season. He is only $8,800 on DraftKings (DK) so he should make for an excellent tournament option with nice profit potential.
Michael Pineda, P, New York Yankees – Obviously the preference would be to pick on National League (NL) pitching but Pineda cannot be ignored. Although he seems likely to have natural regression from last season, he still produced a 1.59 ERA at home. Pineda also preferred pitching at night where he sported a 1.86 ERA. The sample size last season was limited (76.1 IP) but he has always been considered a top talent dating back to his prospect days. As long as he is healthy enough to take the mound, he is an excellent pitcher and worth considering. The over/under is not yet out for Blue Jays/Yankees officially, but according to masseyratings the line will be 7.5 making it a projected neutral scoring matchup. Considering opponent R.A. Dickey is prone to complete meltdowns, the odds of a Pineda easy win are greatly increased. Even if the game stays competitive, Pineda provides nice upside. Despite his 6.96 K/9 last season, he’s been closer to 9 for the majority of his career (finished with a 9.11 K/9 in 2011 which was his only true full season in the bigs). Yankee Stadium is definitely an obstacle, as are the Blue Jays lineup, but Pineda has what it takes to succeed despite the difficult environment.
Victor Martinez/J.D. Martinez, Detroit – Ricky Nolasco was nothing short of awful last season. In 159.0 IP, Nolasco struggled to the tune of a 5.38 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. His 22 HR allowed tied for 27th in the majors despite only 159 IP. Only Marco Estrada and Franklin Morales pitched less innings and allowed more home runs. As Jake Ciely pointed out on Twitter, Comerica Park plays neutral to lefties and slightly above average to righties. Basically, it is a fine atmosphere to hit in. Victor Martinez will be hitting lefty against Nolasco (he’s a switch hitter) while J.D. Martinez will attack from the right side. Both Martinez’s have excellent weighted on-base averages (wOBA) against righties: J.D.’s was .379 last season and Victor’s was a team-high .390. The Martinez’s also had the top two batting averages on the team versus righties (both hit at least .318) and hit a combined 34 of their 55 HR. Oh by the way, the over/under in this game should be the highest of the night according to Ken Massey (the masseyratings guy). If you are looking for a cheaper mini-stack (meaning one that doesn’t include Miguel Cabrera), these two definitely fit the bill.
A.J. Pollock, OF, Arizona – According to ESPN, the Giants/Diamondbacks game in Chase Field will have the highest over/under of the night (nine runs). Chris Heston will make his second career start in this game. Heston is a pitcher coming off of a AAA season where he struck out 6.50 batters per nine innings and finished with a 4.50 FIP. The season before, his FIP was even worse (4.98 in 108.2 AAA innings). Basically, he isn’t an elite pitching talent by any means and Pollock should get plenty of looks against him likely hitting leadoff. Pollock ranked second behind David Peralta on the team in batting average versus righties last season (.307). His .364 wOBA ranked third behind Paul Goldschmidt and Peralta against RHP. Pollock will have plenty of opportunities on base and monsters like Goldschmidt hitting behind him giving him run scoring opportunities. He also stole 24 bases in 75 games last season so if he gets on he will be a threat to run. All in all he is an excellent cash option for Wednesday night.
Hanley Ramirez, SS/OF, Boston – Even if you do not subscribe to the batter versus pitcher (BvP) theory, it’s hard to ignore the success Ramirez has had against Aaron Harang. In 26 career ABs against Harang, Ramirez has 10 hits (.385 AVG) with five HRs. Ramirez sported a healthy .355 wOBA against righties last season and Harang is downright awful. Ramirez hit two homers on Opening Night and appears to be healthy once again. Similarly to Pineda, this is a top talent when he’s on the field and the matchup is borderline elite.