I don’t want to jinx anything, but for the first time all season, we might actually be able to have a massive MLB DFS slate without insane weather complications. I mean, I’m not one to complain too often, but we’re less than three-full weeks into the schedule and we’ve already had multiple games effected by not just rain, but snow.
Anyway, let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups for tonight’s 13-game extravaganza.
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Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres, $10,800 - Burnes is going to be incredibly popular this evening, especially considering the other pitchers priced above $9K. Don’t get me wrong, Milwaukee’s RHP has done enough to stand on his own merits so far this season, but it certainly helps the decision-making process when your other options are Chris Paddack ($10,000) or Jameson Taillon ($9,200). Through 18.1 innings in 2021, Burnes is sporting a 0.86 FIP with a 48.4% strikeout rate. He has a 19.7% swinging strike rate and opponents are hitting just .056 off the 26-year-old their first two times through the batting order. Ownership is a concern, but it’s hard to not get some exposure to Burnes this evening.
Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $6,600 - I’m going to keep going back to this well until I strike oil. Castillo surrendered three barrels and four earned runs in his last outing against the Giants; however, there were some positives to take from the start. First and foremost, Castillo’s fastball, which had averaged a velocity of 94.8 mph in his first appearance of 2021, was now back up to 96.0 mph. He also threw 98 pitches and struck out seven opponents in five innings of work. Castillo is incredibly talented and we’ve seen him be dominant at this level in the recent past. Heck, even through three disappointing games, he’s generating a massive 41.4% chase rate. Arizona is missing Ketel Marte, Christian Walker and Tim Locastro. Tonight’s the night it finally gets back on track for the hard-throwing RHP.
Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics, $4,100 - Garver hasn’t quite yet re-found his form at the plate from 2019, but he has been given some high-leverage opportunities by his manager. To wit, the past two times the Twins have faced an LHP, as they will tonight against Sean Manaea ($8,000), it’s been Garver batting leadoff. The reasoning here isn’t too complex, either. In 307 career plate appearances within the split, Garver owns a .362 OBP and a .244 ISO.
Omar Narvaez, Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres, $3,600 - The Brewers are currently missing some key pieces in Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, which has led to Craig Counsell getting creative with his lineups. One recent solution to his unoccupied two-spot? Narvaez. The backstop hit second against the right-handed Joe Musgrove on Monday and I suspect he’ll do so again this evening versus Paddack. Narvaez is currently slashing .368/.419/.553 with a 162 wRC+ when facing an RHP and Paddack has been relatively underwhelming to begin 2021. It’s a very nice spot at a bargain price tag.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals, $5,000 - Goldschmidt broke out of his mini-slump in a big way last night, racking up three hits, two RBI and two runs in the Cardinals’ blowout victory over these same Nationals. I expect the good times to continue on Tuesday with the struggling Patrick Corbin ($7,200) taking the mound. Not only has the veteran surrendered five barrels in just 6.1 innings of work in 2021, but Corbin’s left-handed. Goldschmidt loves lefties. In fact, for his entire career, the first baseman owns an impressive 166 wRC+ within the split.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies, $3,000 - This isn’t at all about Zack Wheeler ($9,800), who has been pitching quite well so far this season, but I did want to take note of Belt. The veteran is on the heels of a fabulous 2020 campaign, one that saw him post a .309 ISO and a 197 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Now, after a slow start to 2021, Belt has four extra-base hits in his past three contests, hitting from a premium spot in the Giants’ order. He’s simply too cheap.
Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals, $4,900 - Coming into tonight’s slate, the Cardinals own baseball’s best wRC+ against left-handed pitching (153). It’s a small sample, of course, but this lineup should be able to do damage from top-to-bottom against the husk of Corbin. Edman, in particular, is in a very enticing spot. He’ll bat leadoff on Tuesday, giving him the possibility of five plate appearances, and the infielder has always tended to favor batting from the right-side. For his career, Edman is hitting .313 with a .231 ISO and a .381 wOBA when facing an LHP.
Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins vs. Baltimore Orioles, $3,900 - Until Chisholm’s price tag rises above $4K, you can almost make the case he’s viable on every slate. The 23-year-old comes into Tuesday with three multi-hit games in his last five starts and an eye-popping 199 wRC+ for the season as a whole. Chisholm possesses speed and power, and I doubt the presence of Matt Harvey ($5,700) will do much to slow down the rookie’s hot start.
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals, $5,000 - Might as well finish out the stack, right? While I’m still slightly hesitant to pay up for the former Rockies third baseman away from Coors, some of Arenado’s key offensive indicators through 69 plate appearances have been around his career marks, including ISO (.250) and wRC+ (125). So, while we don’t quite know how much of Arenado’s career .997 OPS against southpaws can be chalked up to altitude, I’m willing to say the veteran is viable against a struggling LHP.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees, $3,000 - I’m very curious to see how the Braves lineup shakes out on Tuesday, especially if Ronald Acuna ($6,000) and Ozzie Albies ($4,700) are unable to start. In such a scenario, there’s a chance that Riley moves up in the order, which would be an interesting development with Taillon having already conceded three home runs in 8.1 innings of work. There’s certainly some swing and miss concerns with the the young infielder, but Riley has power to spare, especially at Yankee Stadium.
Francisco Lindor, New York Mets at Chicago Cubs, $4,700 - Lindor is still scuffling at the dish, but a matchup with Jake Arrieta ($7,900) might be able to turn things around. Arrieta has basically been unable to get an LHB out dating back to the start of 2019, a span of time where he’s allowed a gargantuan .377 wOBA within the split to go along with 1.84 opponent home runs per nine. Hitting near the top of an order stuffed to the brim with left-handed power, Lindor could be set up for his first huge DFS performance as a member of the Mets.
Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals, $3,700 - A little bit of value to mix in with the expensive bats in the Cardinals’ lineup. DeJong is actually red-hot entering action on Tuesday, at least he’s as red-hot as an asset with a .189 batting average can be. The shortstop is currently riding a six-game hitting-streak, while he went deep twice in Monday’s 12-5 win over Washington. I mean, if you’re only going to have 10 hits on the season, make sure half of them a home runs.
Editor’s Note: Nationals OF Juan Soto (shoulder) has been scratched from tonight’s lineup vs. the Cardinals.
Juan Soto, Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $5,900 - No one’s stopping you from making this a full-game stack, especially considering Adam Wainwright ($5,900) has allowed LHBs to compile a .413 wOBA so far in 2021. It’s not like this is the first instance we’ve seen of the veteran struggling with left-handed opponents, either. Back in 2019, Wainwright saw lefties slash .328/.429/.573 when he was pitching away from Busch Stadium. Soto, arguably the best left-handed bat in baseball, could have a very productive evening.
Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets at Chicago Cubs, $3,500 - I’m still having trouble figuring out why Nimmo is consistently this inexpensive. Yes, his OBP (.543) is higher than his slugging percentage (.526), but that’s not that big an issue when you’re hitting .447 overall. You’re not going to hit many home runs with an average launch angle of -3.0 degrees; however, Nimmo should see five plate appearances on Tuesday, most of them against a pitcher who can’t seem to figure out LHBs. I’ll take that volume at this price any day of the week.
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