Listen, I get it. You’re thinking about football tomorrow. So am I, quite frankly. BUT, this is a great chance to add to that ol’ bankroll of yours with a nine-game slate of baseball taking place at 7:05 p.m. ET (a normal start time!). Let’s take a look at what tonight offers and some of my favorite plays to consider.
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Zac Gallen, ARI vs. SEA, $9,400 - Gallen wasn’t great for the first time this season his last time out, as he allowed four runs on five hits through five innings against the Giants. He still managed to strike out six but his 11.1 DKFP at a $9,200 salary wasn’t welcomed. On a positive note, Gallen boasted a 1.99 FIP in that game despite the five runs allowed, so we have a lot of reasons to not think he’s hit a wall after one bad start. The Mariners against righties are nothing imposing, entering this game with a .323 wOBA, a .154 ISO and a 23.6 K%.
Other Option: Kyle Hendricks ($8,700)
Carlos Hernandez, KCR vs. PIT, $5,700 - If you’re dangling a sub-$6K pitcher with good strikeout potential and a matchup against the Pirates in my face, I’m going to take the bait. Hernandez has only pitched 6 1⁄3 innings in the majors, so the sample in the bigs is quite irrelevant. To that end, during his time in the minors, which has seen him in only rookie and A ball, he’s posted at least an 8.9 K/9 in each season. Last year through seven starts in A ball, he boasted a 10.7 K/9 with just a 2.2 BB/9 and a 3.65 FIP. Against a Pirates team with the lowest wOBA and ISO against righties, I’m more than willing to take the chance.
Other Option: Justus Sheffield ($7,700)
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James McCann, CWS vs. DET, $4,700 - This is more about the match against Daniel Norris ($5,400), who is expected to be the long reliever after Michael Fulmer ($6,400). McCann has always been a strong option against lefties and backs that up with a .503 wOBA and a .217 ISO against them in 2020. Norris has been good in this long relief role but with a rather lackluster pool of options at the top of the catcher position, McCann is the strongest option.
EDITOR’S NOTE: McCann is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Tigers.
Other Option: Willson Contreras ($4,600)
Tony Wolters, COL vs. LAA, $2,700 - I never get excited to play Wolters and neither should you. Nonetheless, he gives you one of the cheapest ways to grab exposure to Coors Field. His numbers aren’t great but the appeal he does bring is his matchup against Jaime Barria ($6,300), who has a .352 wOBA and a 4.26 FIP against lefties on the season. Is it an ideal matchup? Not exactly, but I’ll take the savings any day.
Other Option: Carson Kelly ($2,600)
Joey Votto, CIN at STL, $4,200 - First base is a mess between postponements, injuries and bad matchups. So I’ve found myself going all the way down to Votto against Dakota Hudson ($8,300). Hudson historically has struggled immensely against lefties and despite his .197 wOBA against them this season, he also has a 4.29 FIP and three of the five home runs he’s allowed. Last year, Hudson had a .347 wOBA with a 5.54 FIP. At $4,200, I’m rolling with Votto.
Other Option: Miguel Sano ($5,200)
Albert Pujols, LAA at COL, $3,400 - Man, this is a dirt-cheap price for Pujols at Coors Field against a lefty. His .206 wOBA and .122 ISO is nothing impressive by any means but he’s hit them well throughout his career. For example, last season he had a .340 wOBA with a .255 ISO. At this price, it’s extremely reasonable to take a shot here against Kyle Freeland ($6,700) at Coors.
Other Option: Hunter Dozier ($3,700)
Whit Merrifield, KCR vs. PIT, $4,600 - Second base is another tough position tonight to pay up for. I’m usually not on Merrifield against righties, as he’s usually a better option against lefties. With Trevor Williams ($6,500) taking the hill, Merrifield is in play for me. On the year, Williams has a .454 wOBA, a 9.45 (!) FIP and eight of his 10 home runs allowed against righties. These are truly some putrid numbers so if you’re looking to roll with an expensive option, this would be your guy.
Other Option: David Fletcher ($5,200; expected to be activated ahead of this game)
Nico Hoerner, CHC at MIL, $3,100 - Hoerner isn’t someone that has much power but you’re not exactly getting that from anyone in this range. He does have decent numbers against lefties and will be facing Brett Anderson ($6,800) at Miller Park. Hoerner has a .318 wOBA but a minuscule .037 ISO. He does occasionally swipe a bag so all is not completely lost with this play but it’s a way to save some salary, allowing you to pay up elsewhere.
Other Option: Adam Frazier ($3,200)
Anthony Rendon, LAA at COL, $5,400 - If you haven’t noticed a trend here, the Angels are truly in a great spot at Coors this evening, stop me if you’ve heard that before. Whatever. Anyways, Rendon has some great power against lefties with a .302 ISO to go with a .403 wOBA and three of his eight home runs. It’s a very expensive play to make but with a .361 wOBA and a 4.71 FIP at home against righties, Freeland is in a really bad spot.
Other Option: Jose Ramirez ($5,600)
Maikel Franco, KCR vs. PIT, $3,800 - It’s easy to miss because not many of us pay attention to the Royals (apologies to their families) but Franco has put together a really solid run as of late. He’s knocked in 11 runs over his past 10 games, boosting his average DKFP total over that span to 9.3. Against righties on the season, he has a .326 wOBA with a .228 ISO and all seven of his home runs. Remember those awful numbers for Williams against righties? Yup. Franco!
Other Option: Yolmer Sanchez ($3,400)
Tim Anderson, CWS vs. DET $5,600 - Just as we talked about with McCann, the matchup we’re specifically targeting is against Norris. Anderson has been a beast against lefties and sports an insane .692 WOBA with a .667 ISO and six of his seven home runs. He’s an extremely expensive option and is only $200 less than Trevor Story ($5,800), who of course, is playing at Coors Field. Nonetheless, it’s very hard to ignore the numbers that Anderson has posted.
Other Option: Carlos Correa ($4,700)
Nick Ahmed, ARI vs. SEA, $3,900 - I’m a fan of Justus Sheffield ($7,700) against a Diamondbacks team that has been VERY poor against lefties. However, Ahmed is one of the lone bright spots on this team in this matchup. His .321 wOBA and a .184 ISO don’t blow you away but believe me when I say, it’s one of the stronger splits on this team. I suspect Sheffield will be a popular play tonight and rightfully so. I would use Ahmed more in tournaments than cash but if you’re paying down at this position, he makes for a fine low owned play.
Other Option: Adalberto Mondesi ($2,700)
Charlie Blackmon, COL vs. LAA, $5,600 - As I noted earlier, Barria has struggled against lefties, so who better to take in Coors Field than Blackmon? While he isn’t posting a ton of power with just a .155 ISO against righties at home, he’s consistently getting on base and knocking hitters in with 35 RBI on the season.
Other Options: Mike Trout ($6,000), Ian Happ ($4,700)
Christin Stewart, DET at CWS, $2,400 - We have a lot of expensive bats we’re looking to pay up for, so sacrifices will need to be made. Steward is a great pay down spot to save some salary as he faces Reynaldo Lopez ($5,900), who has a .371 wOBA with a 5.73 FIP and 18 home runs allowed. Steward isn’t much of a power bat with a .149 ISO against righties but at this salary against someone who really can’t get lefties out, it’s a good salary saver.
Other Options: Byron Buxton ($3,500), Justin Upton ($3,000)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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 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.