There are 14 games scheduled on the main-slate this evening in the MLB on DraftKings. With 28 teams playing, you would think there are some great pitching options… However, we have a couple of elite arms mixed with a whole lot of landmines. Ironically, selecting the right hitters on a slate this big should be the path to success. But with hardly any good value pitching options, paying up for bats will be a challenge.
Gerrit Cole (HOU): $13,900 @ LAA
The matchup in LA is not an easy one, but Gerrit Cole has been one of the MLB’s top starting pitchers of 2018. And, according to Trevor Bauer, Cole is cheating anyway. Ranked second in the MLB in K/9, the Astro’s starter has increased his strikeout rate by nearly 20%. He has lowered his HR/FB rate, ERA, SIERA, and WHIP significantly and is also a -180 favorite. The change of pitch frequency has helped Cole become as dominant as advertised when drafted. He has relied less on the fastball and leaned on his elite breaking stuff. This has induced much more swing and misses while creating a higher soft contact rate. The price is steep, which will hopefully keep ownership low enough to swallow. I foresee the majority of people pivoting to Noah Syndergaard at a discount in a seemingly good matchup. There is plenty of reason to fade, due to the lack of dominant performance we are used to seeing and a stingy Blue Jays lineup. With the lack of other pitchers on the board, Gerrit Cole is a top GPP pitcher this evening.
Anthony Banda (TB): $5,500 @ KC
One of Tampa’s top pitching prospects will take the mound this evening against a very weak Royals lineup. Instead of looking for a mid-tier pitcher, paying all the way down may be the strategy for GPP’s tonight. Everyone in the $9-$6,000 price range has a ton of risk attached making a guessing game. Instead, why not pay down for a talented arm in a great matchup while also being able to afford good hitters? Banda is 4-2 in AAA with a high 27.9% K rate and a 3.50 ERA. He made a few appearances last season and held his own over eight games. The lefty should be able to neutralize the toughest hitters in this lineup and will have to navigate through a very mediocre lineup.
Jaime Garcia (TOR): $5,500 @ NYM
The savvy veteran will travel to New York to take on the Mets. This is another low-priced, low-owned, GPP play. Looking at the box score will not convince you to play Garcia this evening, however, this Mets team is not good. They have overperformed to start the season and have already shown signs of regression. During the last 14 days, the Mets are ranked in the bottom five for all hitting stats. They have increased their strikeout rate to 25.1% while decreasing their wRC+ to just 75 (last in the MLB). This is not a confident recommendation by any means. But other than a few of the highest priced pitchers, it is hard to feel good about any other pitcher going tonight.
After letting a lot of people down last night, the Indians are very much in play, once again. In my opinion, they have one of, if not the toughest 1-9 lineups in the MLB. With so many switch hitters who hit for contact and power, Cleveland can also showcase speed. They are tough to navigate through for any starting pitcher, let alone a washed up lefty who can’t get strikeouts. Not only is Francisco Liriano a nice matchup for Cleveland, but the Tigers bullpen is nothing to be scared away from either. The top two relief arms have pitched in three straight games and will either be unavailable, or extremely fatigued. Francisco Lindor and the rest of the right-handed hitters for Cleveland are all in great spots and will go overlooked due to the chalk flopping last night. Bold call – Edwin Encarnacion hits two homeruns.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have the highest implied run total this evening and will likely come in as the highest owned stack. With 14 games though, the “chalk” will not be an overwhelming ownership percentage. Tonight, A’s starter, Daniel Mengden takes the mound in a scenario where he will struggle. The Red Sox have a ton of great righties in their lineup but hit right-handed pitchers significantly better. At home in the small ballpark, Boston should surpass their 5.84 implied runs.
This is my “sneaky stack” of the night. For starters, I do not foresee the O’s being very popular. Nick Pivetta is a respectable young talent who has shown flashes of brilliance early on in his career. I think he will actually see quite a bit of ownership on DraftKings this evening as well. Which makes this a great leverage stack. The Baltimore Orioles are on absolute fire right now. I am of the opinion that teams and players go on hot streaks. They were terrible at the start of the season and led the league in K% for almost all of April. Well now, they have scored 58 runs in their last seven games. Coming off a 17-1 win against the Rays, Baltimore has as much power in their lineup as anyone and will hit homeruns in bunches. Manny Machado is always an option any night, but the rest of this team has woken up and will be a very contrarian stack.
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