Here are my favorite DraftKings plays for Saturday’s nine-game MLB main slate.
For additional picks across all MLB games, find me on Twitter (@Race4thePrize)
Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers, $9,700 — There are plenty of good pitchers on the bump on Saturday night, but Gausman is in the best spot. He’ll face a weak Texas lineup in a pitcher’s park. The Rangers are average, but they have a 13% swinging strike rate and 23% strikeout rate. Against right-handed pitchers, their numbers only get worse — 93 wRC+, .297 wOBA, .140 ISO and a 24% K rate. Despite a .368 BABIP, Gausman has a 3.12 ERA (2.80 xFIP and 0.6 HR/9). No pitcher can control what happens to the ball once it leaves the bat, but no other pitcher is better at controlling whether the bat hits the ball — 42% O-Swing Strike rate (chasing outside of the zone), 68% F-Strike rate (first pitch strike) and a 15% Swing Strike rate.
Chase Anderson, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers, $5,400 — “Revenge is a dish best served cold” — Old Klingon proverb. Anderson is back in the Bigs and he’ll face his old team on Saturday night. After drawing the worst possible matchups in his return (two rough outings against the Cardinals), Anderson looked good in his last start vs. the Rockies, minus a little bit of wildness. He pitched well in the Minors this season, but he wasn’t a part of Detroit’s future, so he was released. He signed with Tampa for a month and ran into the same problem. The Reds traded away their rotation in order to build for the future and two rookie starters are on the injured list, so they needed a professional arm to finish the season. Enter Chase Anderson. So far, his fastball and curveball are grading out well, and Milwaukee is the third-worst offense against curveballs. It’s a small sample size, but Anderson had posted a career-high swinging strike rate of 11.7% in his return.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers, $5,700 — This is going to be a popular stacking spot (see below), so Vlad is the obvious play. Against right-handed pitching, he has a .362 wOBA, .216 ISO, 139 wRC+ and 40% hard contact rate. Kohei Arihara ($5,700), the pitcher that most DFS players will be targeting on Saturday night, has surrendered a .419 wOBA, .200 ISO, 1.2 HR/9 with just a 17% K-rate to right-handed batters.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at Seattle Mariners, $5,700 — George Kirby ($8,200) is having a tremendous rookie season, but like many prospects, he is not without flaws. He is allowing a .378 wOBA, .188 ISO, 35% hard contact rate and 1.6 HR/9 to right-handed batters. Riley has a .359 wOBA, .243 ISO, 129 wRC+ and 40% hard contact rate against right-handed pitchers. Riley has cooled over the last several games, but from Aug. 24 to Sept. 3, Riley scored 8 DKFP or more in nine of 10 games and over 15 DKFP in five of those games.
Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers, $2,700 — How about some more Kohei Arihara negative stats? Against left-handed batters, Arihara has allowed a .380 wOBA. That happens when a pitcher only manages to strikeout 15% of the left-handed batters he faces. Biggio has a .333 wOBA, .180 ISO and 119 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitching. Since Aug. 29, Biggio has a .509 wOBA and .500 ISO.
Jose Miranda, Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Guardians, $3,500 — Triston McKenzie ($9,500) has been solid against right-handed batters, but he has allowed a 35% hard contact rate along with a 51% fly ball rate. Miranda has a .381 wOBA over the last week and is leading the Twins’ charge up the standings. Twins OF Jake Cave ($2,000) is a cheap outfield option worth considering.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros, $5,800 — This is simple. Trout is good — .396 wOBA, .346 ISO and 161 wRC+ vs. RHP (he’s always been better against right-handed pitching). Jose Urquidy ($9,000) is good but not great — .333 wOBA, .208 ISO, 2.0 HR/9 and 46% fly ball rate vs. RHB. Also, Trout is hot. Over his last 10 games, he has a .497 wOBA and .425 ISO.
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves at Seattle Mariners, $5,700 — The same George Kirby stats listed above apply here. All of the top outfielders are in tough spots on Saturday night. Acuña is not in a great spot, but he’s in a better spot than the rest. Over the last 5 games, Acuña has three multi-hit games. This has been a disappointing season for him, but he is making contact and it has been hard contact. It’s only a matter of time before he finds his groove.
Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals, $3,700 — Jon Heasley ($5,900) has allowed a .372 wOBA, .258 ISO, 2.3 HR/9 and 49% fly ball rate to right-handed batters. Making matters worse, he’s only struck out 17% of them while walking 13%. Greene has a great chance at making contact, and when he does make contact, it’s typically hard (45% HardHit rate). On top of this, the Royals’ bullpen is weak — 4.46 xFIP and 69% strand rate.
Owen Miller, Cleveland Guardians at Minnesota Twins, $2,600 — Chris Archer ($6,500) hasn’t been terrible vs. RHB (.324 wOBA, .166 ISO and 1.1 HR/9), but he is allowing a 40% hard contact rate with just a 16% K-rate. Miller hasn’t been great, and his price is a clue to his mediocrity, but he’s been a decent value option. He’s hit safely in five of the last six games.
TEAMS TO STACK
Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers — Why make things complicated? There are a handful of really good pitchers taking the hill on Saturday night. Those are obviously places to avoid. Everyone is going to stack against Kohei Arihara, and rightfully so. On Aug. 28, he allowed six earned runs in 3.1 innings against Detroit — yes, Detroit. In his most recent start, he lasted two innings and surrendered four hits, two runs and a walk. The whole Blue Jays lineup is in play because the right-handed pitcher struggles with batters on both sides of the plate. If everyone is playing the Jays, then DFS players can pivot away or go with two value options from Toronto’s lineup. This will allow for differentiation and make it easer to access the top arms on the slate.
Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks — It’s a Coors slate, too. Lefty Madison Bumgarner ($6,200) is scheduled to start for Arizona, so load up on the right-handed Rockies. Bumgarner has a 4.65 xFIP vs. RHB, and he’s allowed a .366 wOBA, .210 ISO, 40% hard contact rate and a 17% K-rate.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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