It’s Friday, which tends to mean a huge featured MLB slate on DraftKings, and tonight is no exception. There are 14 games taking place past 7:00 p.m. ET, though this is a slate that comes with a few weather situations to monitor, as it’s looking like we could get the wet stuff in both Washington and Pittsburgh.
Well, I don’t know how to properly read a doppler, but I do know which players are in good spots for DFS success this evening. Let’s go position-by-position and break it all down.
Robbie Ray, Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners, $9,200 - This is the cheapest Ray has been since late June, which certainly makes him an enticing option on Friday. The left-hander has continued to look good in the second-half of the season, pitching to a 2.12 ERA and a 3.65 FIP since the All-Star break. Ray is also one of just six qualified starting pitchers with a strikeout rate above 30.0% for the season as a whole, a trait he definitely showcased the last time he faced the Mariners, striking out 10 opponents across six innings of work. Seattle simply appears to be a great matchup for Ray, as the team has struggled to a .299 wOBA against LHPs in 2021 — the fourth-lowest mark in the league.
Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins, $7,800 - There are several affordable pitchers in intriguing matchups this evening — Adbert Alzolay ($7,600) and Jesus Luzardo ($6,700) spring to mind — but McClanahan brings the best mix of floor and ceiling to the table of the assets available below $8K. It would appear we’re currently watching the ascension of the next Tampa Bay homegrown ace, as the lefty has posted a 3.75 ERA, a 3.29 xFIP and a 28.1% strikeout rate over his 17 outings this season. The numbers have been ever better when isolating McClanahan’s past eight starts, a span where he’s maintained a 3.05 FIP and registered 20-plus DKFP five times. With Minnesota hitting a putrid .214 as a team so far in August, I’d expect McClanahan to roll through another overmatched lineup.
Omar Narvaez, Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates, $4,500 - What a stretch for the Brewers. After spending all week teeing-off on the Cubs’ collection of Triple-A arms, they’ll now head to Pittsburgh for a little more of the same. Mitch Keller ($6,900) and his 6.10 xERA are taking the mound for the Pirates this evening, and that should be music to the ears of Narvaez, who is slashing .305/.388/.487 with a 133 wRC+ against RHPs in 2021.
Wilson Ramos, Cleveland Guardians at Detroit Tigers, $2,800 - This definitely says more about Cleveland than it does about Ramos at this stage of his life, but the 34-year-old hit fifth in the team’s lopsided loss to Oakland on Thursday. Actually, Ramos has looked pretty good since joining his new club, with five hits, three RBI and a pair of home runs during his first three starts. Will that statistical pace continue? No. However, Ramos has a career .300 average and .825 OPS versus LHPs. He won’t be an easy out for Tyler Alexander ($5,400).
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Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals, $4,700 - Goldschmidt really hasn’t been making many headlines this season, but the veteran has been great going back to the beginning of June. In that span, Goldschmidt is slashing .301/.373/.504 with a 138 wRC+ and a .204 ISO. That’s an elite level of production any way you slice it. Historically, Goldschmidt has also been known to crush left-handed pitching, so tonight’s matchup with Mike Minor ($6,400) is a juicy one. Especially considering Minor’s sporting a 7.16 ERA across his past eight outings.
Lourdes Gurriel, Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners, $3,400 - Couple things to note here. First, last week Gurriel picked up first base eligibility on DraftKings. That’s fun. Second, as usual, the Jays have an implied team total hovering around five runs on Friday night. Third, Gurriel has been amazing since the All-Star break, with a .242 ISO and a 134 wRC+ in 72 plate appearances. If he starts hitting anything like the 2019 or 2020 version of himself, this Blue Jays lineup somehow goes up another level.
Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins, $4,600 - Speaking of hitters who have been on fire since the All-Star break, Lowe has turned things up a level the past month. The infielder is slashing .292/.402/.551 with a 163 wRC+ since the Midsummer Classic, showcasing the type of raw power that makes him such a dangerous DFS asset. Really, Lowe’s only flaw is his propensity to strike out, but that risk is mitigated this evening by the presence of Michael Pineda ($5,900), who has registered a modest 13.9% strikeout rate since the start of June.
Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $3,600 - When in doubt, use Merrifield for less than $4K. Honestly, this is an asset that has spent roughly 80% of the 2021 season priced above $5K, so this is a massive discount. Sure, Merrifield isn’t hitting as well as he has in seasons past. However, he also leads the league in stolen bases (33) and has now swiped one in four-straight games. Add in that he’s still batting leadoff for the Royals and it’s hard to deny that Merrifield’s ceiling remains high.
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles, $5,800 - The Red Sox have far and away the highest implied team total on tonight’s slate, and most of that is due to Spenser Watkins ($5,100) taking the mound for the Orioles. I mean, it’s a little damning when you’ve allowed more earned runs (12) than you’ve picked up strikeouts (9) in your past three starts. Anyway, Watkins is also right-handed, which means Devers should be in a position to thrive on Friday. In fact, Devers owns a 1.007 OPS when facing RHPs at Fenway so far in 2021.
Charlie Culberson, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics, $2,300 - Let’s try this again, shall we? Yesterday, I suggested using Culberson at $2.1K in his matchup with a left-handed opponent and he proceeded to hit a home run. Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen again with Cole Irvin ($8,200) on the mound for Oakland, but Culberson is slashing .337/.376/.554 with a 152 wRC+ in his 112 plate appearances versus LHPs in 2021. When he’s this cheap, he’s definitely worth a look.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles, $5,400 - You can pretty much copy and paste everything I wrote about Devers and apply it to Bogaerts. Well, everything except for the fact that Devers is left-handed. In any case, Bogaerts just loves hitting at Fenway Park. In 219 plate appearances at home this season, the shortstop is batting .326 with a .244 ISO and a 152 wRC+. Between the aforementioned Watkins and a Baltimore bullpen that owns an AL-worst 5.29 ERA, I’d anticipate Bogaerts doing something special this evening.
Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres, $2,800 - Recently, Ahmed has been hitting leadoff for the Diamondbacks when the team is opposed by a left-handed pitcher. When you dig into the stats, it’s not hard to see why. The veteran comes into Friday’s slate slashing .293/.360/.515 with a .222 ISO in his 111 plate appearances within the split. Yes, Blake Snell ($8,400) is starting to look better as of late, but it’s difficult to not like an asset below $3K against a pitcher with a 5.40 xERA for the season.
Kris Bryant, San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies, $5,200 - There’s not much to unpack here. You just always want to be using Bryant when he draws a matchup with a left-handed pitcher, as he’ll do this evening in the form of Austin Gomber ($6,800). Bryant is slashing .330/.416/.760 with a .341 ISO and a 183 wRC+ within the split so far this season. There’s a reason he’s a former National League MVP.
Robbie Grossman, Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Guardians, $3,200 - Grossman has been on fire since the All-Star break, posting a .939 OPS and a .399 wOBA in his last 102 plate appearances. That alone makes him a viable option on tonight’s slate, but the recent struggles of Zach Plesac ($8,800) don’t hurt, either. Since coming off the IL in early July, Plesac has pitched to a 6.16 ERA, the direct result of surrendering 2.3 opponent home runs per nine within that span. The Tigers might put up a few crooked numbers on Friday.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (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 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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