Saturday features an eight-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs ($10,500) — For being a monster favorite, Burnes’ highest salary on the slate isn’t that high. This is a potential Cy Young winner matching up against Cy Young at the plate. That’s an exaggeration, but the Cubs have struggled against right-handed pitching since unloading their stars — 91 wRC+, .308 wOBA, .172 ISO and a 29.1% K rate. Burnes may not have the wins, but he’s the sabremetricians dream. Here’s a test — Burnes has a 50% ground ball rate, 30% fly ball rate, 5% HR/FB rate, 7.1 WAR, 2.30 xFIP, 38% chase rate, 66% contact rate, 62% first pitch strike rate, 16% swinging strike rate, 34% CSW, 35% K rate, 5% BB rate and 24% hard contact rate. If that sounded like a string of made up statistics, then you’re a dinosaur, and that’s okay. I’ll put it in simpler terms — Burnes has a 2.25 ERA and 210 strikeouts.
Other Option: Aaron Nola ($9,800)
Yusei Kikuchi, Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals ($7,000) — After a decent start to the season, Kikuchi wore down in the summer months. It remains in question how much gas is left in the tank, but he has been solid in two of his last three starts, scoring 21.1 and 19.6 DKFP. The exception was the second of back-to-back games against Houston, and the second time around, Houston beat him around. Even with his struggles, Kikuchi seems underpriced in this matchup against the Royals. Overall, the Royals have been average against left-handed pitching, but most of the stats are buoyed by Salvador Perez’s MVP season. If Kikuchi pitches around Sal Perez, then he should be fine.
Other Option: Kris Bubic ($5,400)
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals vs. Seattle Mariners ($5,300) — On Thursday, Perez tied the record for the most home runs by a catcher in a season. His 45th home run marked his third consecutive game with a home run. He’ll continue his ascent up the record books on Saturday night. Yusei Kikuchi — a value pitcher for a reason — has allowed a .353 wOBA, .213 ISO and 1.8 HR/9 to right-handed batters.
Other Option: Yasmani Grandal ($5,200)
Tom Murphy, Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals ($3,900) — Against left-handed pitching, Murphy has a .351 wOBA, .225 ISO, 127 wRC+ and 41% hard contact rate. On Saturday night, he faces a below-average lefty. Kris Bubic has allowed a .352 wOBA, .190 ISO and a 1.7 HR/9 to right-handed batters.
Other Option: Cal Raleigh ($2,400)
Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels ($5,700) — Very rarely does a lefty-lefty matchup qualify as a stud play. When a lefty hitter that mashes southpaws matches up against a left-handed pitcher that struggles with left-handed batters, it’s as uncommon as an eclipse and other rare astrological events. Matt Olson vs. José Saurez was surely foretold on the Mayan Calendar. Olson has a .396 wOBA, .325 ISO and 158 wRC+ vs. LHP and Saurez allows a .406 wOBA, .233 ISO and 2.1 HR/9 vs. LHB.
Other Option: Freddie Freeman ($5,500)
Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics ($4,200) — There were times this season, when Walsh was one of the most expensive batters on the slate. Walsh did not completely breakout this season and become an All Star, but he’s on the cusp of having a 30 home run year in his first full season. The A’s will start Daulton Jefferies ($5,500). He is consider a top prospect in the organization but his mid-September call up with not much fanfare says otherwise. Even if Jefferies is a solid young arm, he’ll likely struggle with the opposite side of the plate like most rookies.
Other Option: Brad Miller ($3,600)
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Jose Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($5,100) — Humberto Castellanos ($5,300) has been a decent pitcher, but at best he’ll last five innings then hand the ball over to the worst bullpen in baseball (5.03 xFIP). Altuve has hit in 13 of the 15 games this month and is carrying a .451 wOBA, .291 ISO and 195 wRC+ in September.
Other Option: Josh Harrison ($5,000)
Adam Frazier, San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals ($3,300) — His trade to the Padres has been a disappointment, but his bat is coming alive right when they need him. The Padres are battling the Cardinals and Reds for the final wild card spot, and Frazier has stepped up in these high pressure games. He has hit in four straight with nine hits in total.
Other Option: Tommy La Stella ($3,800)
Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels ($5,500) — José Saurez has been good against right-handed batters as a reliever, but since becoming a starter on July 5, he’s been average against right-handed batters (4.27 xFIP). Chapman has a .359 wOBA, .280 ISO and 133 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Other Option: Austin Riley ($4,500)
Eduardo Escobar, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs ($4,400) — Justin Steele ($6,200) is a rookie and he’s struggling like most young pitchers. Someday he might be good, but for now it’s open season with right-handed batters (.341 wOBA and 1.7 HR/9). Escobar is nothing special, but he is above average against left-handed pitching — .351 wOBA and a .233 ISO.
Other Option: Nolan Arenado ($4,300)
Fernando Tatis Jr. San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals ($6,100) — The playoff hunt is on, it’s time to see what Tatis is made of. Is he just a flashy Zoomer or does he truly represent the next generation of baseball? Tonight’s game against the Cardinals is a must-win and is the biggest of the season. Tatis was hitless last night, and it doesn’t get any easier against Cy Young contender Adam Wainwright ($8,400) on Saturday night, but if Tatis is the next great player, then he’ll put this team on his back.
Other Option: Tim Anderson ($5,500)
Freddy Galvis, Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets ($3,700) — In September, Galvis has a .407 wOBA, .378 ISO and 156 wRC+. Carlos Carrasco ($7,900) is allowing a 42 % hard contact rate and 33% strand rate to left-handed batters. It’s hard to prevent RBIs when everything is being hit hard.
Other Option: Dansby Swanson ($3,900)
Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets ($6,000) — Carlos Carrasco has stabilized over his last handful of starts, but two were against the Marlins and one was a Sunday night game — offenses have been notorious for phoning these games in this season. Even if Carrasco were good, he would be no match for the soon-to-be NL MVP. Over the last month, Harper has a .515 wOBA, .452 ISO and 226 wRC+ with 12 home runs, 24 runs and 28 RBIs in 29 games.
Other Option: Avisail Garcia ($5,300)
Jose Siri, Houston Astros vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($2,000) — How is he still $2,000? Sure, a lot of his stats come from a two-home run performance, but even without the home runs, Siri has too much upside to be priced at $2,000. In his last six games, he has eight hits and three stolen bases. He’s not going to run into home runs very often, but he can get on base, swipe bags and score runs in this potent offense.
Other Option: Kyle Tucker ($4,400)
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