This should be a fun one. Not only do we have a stuffed-to-the-brim 14-game featured slate tonight on DraftKings, but its one that includes more than a few big-name pitchers at the top, with the likes of Jacob deGrom ($10,900), Clayton Kershaw ($10,200) and Tyler Glasnow ($10,100) all taking the mound. Also — and this is key — it’s Friday. This will be much better than if deGrom was pitching on a Tuesday. Believe me.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down what should be an interesting evening of almost weekend baseball.
Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays, $10,100 - There had been some hope among Jays fans that either or both of George Springer or Teoscar Hernandez would be ready for tonight’s matchup with Glasnow, but that does not appear to be the case. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about Toronto’s struggles with right-handed pitching. The team comes into Friday’s slate with the seventh-lowest ISO (.134) and the eighth-lowest wRC+ (85) within the split. Simply put, they can’t seem to string hits together right now and I doubt that changes against Glasnow. The 27-year-old, equipped with his new slider, has been almost un-hittable in 2021, owning the American League’s lowest expected wOBA (.184) and a 40.0% strikeout rate. It’s crazy to say about someone with a five-figure salary, but Glasnow should probably be more expensive.
Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins at San Francisco Giants, $7,400 - The depth of the slate is probably a factor, but it’s curious to see Alcantara’s price point drop this low. To wit, in his most recent outing on a main slate, the Marlins RHP was $8.5K versus the Braves. Now, in ostensibly an easier matchup, he’s over $1,000 less. I’ll take it. Alcantara has been incredible so far this season, with his 1.81 expected ERA sitting third-lowest in National League and only trailing the likes of Corbin Burnes and the aforementioned deGrom. Alcantara’s also surrendered just a single opponent barrel in 100 plate appearances, with a 28.0% strikeout rate certainly helping in that regard.
J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies, $5,100 - I’m not going to suggest for a second that Realmuto is cheap on Friday’s slate, yet it is common for the backstop to be $300 or $400 more expensive than his current price — and he’s not usually playing at Coors Field. I’m going to exploit the mini-discount. Realmuto has been as advertised so far in 2021, his expected batting average is .301 and, through 62 plate appearances, he’s sporting an impressive 142 wRC+.
Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees at Cleveland Baseball Team, $4,100 - Sanchez has cooled significantly since starting the season on a hot streak, but tonight has the potential to be a nice spot for his powerful bat. Logan Allen ($8,100) has struck out just 14.9% of opponents throughout his career, pretty much negating one of Sanchez’s biggest flaws. Really, this is a matchup where one can almost guarantee that Sanchez will produce batted ball events, and a career .279 versus left-handed pitching suggests those BBEs will be impactful.
Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles, $5,000 - Olson is in a serious groove at the plate right now, as the slugger is slashing .389/.439/.944 with six home runs in his past 10 games. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll continue to do damage this evening, but I very much like his chances against Jorge Lopez ($6,000). Going back to the beginning of 2019, Lopez has faced 381 LHBs. He’s allowed those lefties to hit 2.4 home runs per nine and compile an eye-popping .394 wOBA. He just can’t survive within the split.
Mitch Moreland, Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles, $3,100 - Unfortunately, with neither possessing dual position eligibility, you won’t be able to play Olson and Moreland as part of a single stack. However, Moreland does provide massive savings if you can’t pay up for his teammate. This is a classic Milk versus Malk situation. Anyway, Moreland’s generally hit fifth or sixth for the Athletics this season and he owns a 151 wRC+ when drawing a right-handed opponent. There’s no question he’s viable, even if slightly less than Olson.
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Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles, $4,800 - I swear I’ll start picking players from another team soon, but Lowrie is the final big left-handed bat in the middle of Oakland’s lineup. Well, he’s technically a switch-hitter — which will give him more value in the later innings of this contest — but against Lopez, it’s the left-handed abilities that matter most. The Athletics are one of only two non-Coors teams with an implied total of at least five runs on tonight’s slate and Lowrie’s 165 wRC+ is a big reason why.
Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves, $4,000 - After managing just a single hit in his first five games of the season, Escobar is slashing .320/.417/.760 with a .440 ISO in his last 60 plate appearances. Is it likely that the veteran will be able to continue at this torrid pace? Of course not. However, a matchup with Huascar Ynoa ($7,500) might keep the good times going a little longer. Of the 40 BBEs Ynoa has surrendered in 2021, 20.0% have been barrels. That’s the second-highest mark of the 207 pitchers to induce at least 25 batted ball events. Yikes.
Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies, $5,200 - You know what’s not fun? Pitching at Coors Field. You know what’s even less fun? Making your first start of the season at Coors Field. With Matt Moore on the COVID-19 injured list, Vince Velasquez ($5,900) will be making the emergency appearance tonight for the Phillies. Dating back to the beginning of 2017, the RHP has surrendered a .283/.367/.503 slash line to opposing left-handed batters. The split has long been his Achilles heel. McMahon should be in a nice position to take advantage.
Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies, $3,500 - Bohm continues to struggle immensely at the dish in 2021, but that hasn’t effected Joe Girardi’s thought process when putting together a lineup. Heck, after hitting his second home run of the season on Tuesday, Bohm batted clean-up for the Phillies in their most recent contest against the Giants on Wednesday. A low salary paired with a premium lineup position can’t be ignored in the altitude.
Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals, $4,600 - There’s a couple things to consider with Suarez. First and foremost, the infielder hit a 441-foot blast to the moon yesterday, so maybe he’s starting to come out of his slump. Beyond that, I like the matchup with Kwang Hyun Kim ($6,700). While the Korean import has mostly thrived in his time in MLB, Kim’s struck out just 11.9% of the RHBs he’s faced. With Suarez’s biggest issue being consistent contact — and his biggest strength being his ability to hit southpaws — he should be in a situation to thrive on Friday.
Freddy Galvis, Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics, $4,000 - While the most obvious stack in this game is the Athletics, let’s not ignore Cole Irvin ($6,200) and his ghastly numbers to begin 2021. The left-hander has surrendered an inflated .397 expected wOBA through 15.2 innings of work, which is directly correlated to his 6.29 expected ERA. Meanwhile, Galvis has been red-hot. The veteran is slashing .433/.500/.800 across his past 10 games and he hit sixth the last time Baltimore faced an LHP.
J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners, $6,000 - There probably isn’t a lot that needs to be said in favor of Martinez. In 80 plate appearances, the veteran is sporting a 215 wRC+, the fourth-best qualified mark in baseball, and throughout his career, Martinez has absolutely destroyed left-handed opponents like Yusei Kikuchi ($7,200). With the Red Sox possessing this slate’s highest non-Coors team total, Martinez is an easy choice if you can find the means.
Kole Calhoun, Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves, $2,900 - It’s hard to complain about Calhoun’s production since returning from the IL. In 40 plate appearances, the veteran has hit .289 with a 110 wRC+. He’s also batted second in the D-Backs order in every game he’s started this season. Going up against Ynoa, who has been consistently hit hard so far in 2021, it’s difficult to believe Calhoun is less than $3K.
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