With only one more home opener to go — Rogers Centre will be bumping in Toronto tonight — the MLB season is starting to settle into its usual rhythm. Tuesday means every team in the league is scheduled to play, with no contest starting earlier than 6:10 p.m. ET. Still, in this space, we’re only concerned about the 10 games getting going past 7:00 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive in and find and go position-by-position.
Jacob deGrom, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals, $9,900 - The pricing on this evening’s slate is odd, with not a single arm at or exceeding $10K. That means there’s great opportunity to save with each of the two most-expensive pitchers: deGrom and Shohei Ohtani ($9,700). Both are also in phenomenal matchups, but it’s in that specific regard where deGrom has a notable advantage. For all their faults in 2023, the Nationals have the lowest strikeout rate in the National League at just 17.7%. Meanwhile, the Royals have the third-highest strikeout rate in baseball (26.8%) and they combine that with the lowest wRC+ in the sport (52). With deGrom healthy and striking out an eye-popping 16.8 opponents per nine across his first two appearance with Texas, he’s the clear top-option on Tuesday.
Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers, $7,700 - Like many, I predicted some regression for Manoah in 2023, yet that still doesn’t excuse this price tag. Less than $8K for a guy who pitched to a 2.24 ERA last season? Against the Tigers of all teams? I don’t know what to say. While Manoah had a rough outing on Opening Day, he rebounded nicely last Wednesday, scattering a single base hit and four walks across seven scoreless innings versus the Royals. Obviously Kansas City is terrible — read what I just wrote above — yet it isn’t as if Detroit is much better. In fact, the Tigers own the AL’s highest strikeout rate at 26.9% and baseball’s lowest ISO at a microscopic .088. I’d anticipate the All-Star RHP taking advantage of another juicy matchup.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies, $5,600 - It has been a very frustrating start to the season for the Cardinals, yet none of the blame can be placed at the feet of Goldschmidt. The reigning NL MVP has been his usual self in 2023, slashing .361/.489/.500 with a 176 wRC+ in his first 45 plate appearances. This 10-game stretch has also featured Goldschmidt’s normal dominance of left-handed pitching, with the veteran 5-for-9 against southpaws in a limited sample. Remember, Goldschmidt managed a .402 ISO and a 266 wRC+ within the split in 2022. All of this is bad news for Kyle Freeland ($7,200).
Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers, $4,800 - In terms of non-Coors games, the Jays have the highest implied team total on tonight’s slate. A big reason for that is Chapman, who is hotter that the face of the Sun at the moment. The veteran third baseman leads the American League in expected wOBA (.553) and barrels (11) so far in 2023, with Chapman translating that into a jaw-dropping 60.0 DKFP over his last two starts. Matt Manning ($6,400) isn’t a bad pitcher, yet he does own a career 5.73 ERA away from the spacious Comerica Park. Spoiler alert: Rogers Centre’s new dimensions were definitely not inspired by the field in downtown Detroit.
Elehuris Montero, Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $3,100 - I’m a little worried about Miles Mikolas ($6,600) surviving tonight’s start in Colorado. Though he won’t have to deal with a .529 opponent BABIP forever, no ballpark is better at inflating batting average than Coors Field. It’s also not like Mikolas hasn’t deserved some of this bad luck. He’s allowed an opponent barrel rate of 14.3% through two starts, along with an expected wOBA of .511 on opponent batted ball events. Yikes. Montero has the raw power to exploit this matchup. If he’s slotting into the six-spot again this evening, he’s incredibly viable at this price.
Orlando Arcia, Atlanta Braves vs. Cincinnati Reds, $3,100 - There are some obvious caveats to Arcia’s success in 2023. First and foremost, his .341 average and 148 wRC+ have spanned just 45 plate appearances. Secondly, no matter how well he hits, his value in DFS will always be capped by his status as the Braves’ No. 9 hitter. That being said, Atlanta clearly saw something in the 28-year-old before extending him this offseason, and its been proven right so far. The Braves are one of a handful of teams with an implied total above five runs tonight, and the presence of Luis Cessa ($6,700) or the Reds’ bullpen does not exactly elicit fear. Keep rolling with the streaking shortstop.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants, $6,200 - I want to preface some numbers I’m about to reveal by first saying that Betts is just really good — particularly against LHPs. Last season, in 174 plate appearances within the split, Betts slashed .308/.374/.609 with a 174 wRC+. Still, his individual success versus Alex Wood ($8,200) is astounding. In 14 at-bats in direct competition with the veteran southpaw, Betts has nine hits, including three long balls. That all adds up to an insane 2.188 OPS. I’m not the biggest BvP guy in the world, but when it’s backed by larger trends, even I’ll take notice.
Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies, $4,300 - While Freeland has yet to give up an earned run in 2023, his underlying numbers are gross. The lefty is surrendering fly balls at a higher rate than ever before, with his 0.58 GB/FB rate easily the lowest of his career. Freeland is also not missing bats at all, with a putrid 3.8% swinging strike rate through a pair of outings. Needless to say, that’s not going to lead to success at Coors Field. O’Neill, who has a .205 ISO and a 123 wRC+ against left-handed pitching for his career, is underpriced on this slate. Take advantage.
Jurickson Profar, Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $3,800 - Speaking of undervalued assets playing at Coors Field this evening, Profar is in an amazing spot. Though his initial results with the Rockies weren’t great, Profar’s numbers have understandably improved on the team’s homestand, with the veteran posting an .800 OPS across 20 plate appearance in Colorado. Profar also seems to be cemented into the Rockies’ leadoff role, which increases his value exponentially.
Jesse Winker, Milwaukee Brewers at Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,400 - Keep an eye on the Brewers tonight if you’re looking for a sneaky stacking opportunity. Merrill Kelly ($7,100) has looked rough to start 2023, with eight walks and a 7.45 xERA through 9.1 innings. Milwaukee also comes into Tuesday with the league’s seventh-highest wOBA against right-handed opponents (.346). For his part, Winker is hitting .308 through his first 31 plate appearances of the season, looking to rebound from an underwhelming 2022 campaign.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is theglt13) 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.