It’s Memorial Day, so we all reflect and honor the men and women that have died in service of America. It also means firing up the grill and enjoying America’s Pastime. The Memorial Day slate features six games, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:10 p.m. ET. Let’s quickly break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups, so you can spend the rest of your day choking down hot dogs, waving flags and enjoying your favorite holiday beverages.
Drew Rasmussen, Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers ($10,100) — It was first considered a “win-win” trade when Rasmussen came to the Rays last season. Willy Adames has been an above-average infielder for the Brewers, and Rasmussen had an exceptional season as a rookie reliever for Tampa. By the end of the season, the scales tilted in Tampa’s favor. Now, it’s a win for the Rays. Rasmussen’s traditional stats (5-1, 2.68 ERA) and advanced stats (3.11 xFIP, 24% K rate and 28% fly ball rate) are unbelievable for a second-year pitcher making his first go as a starter. On Monday night, he’ll pitch in a pitcher’s park against a pitcher’s team. The Rangers have an 84 wRC+, .279 wOBA, .121 ISO and 24% K rate against right-handed pitching.
Other Option — Walker Buehler ($9,200)
Erick Fedde, Washington Nationals at New York Mets ($7,000) — The Mets can hit (120 wRC+ and a .334 wOBA vs. right-handed pitching), but savings at pitcher are hard to find on small slates. However, the Mets are due for some regression based on their hard contact rate (28%) and BABIP (.320). It seems that this offense has been a little more fortunate than their numbers suggest. They’re still not to be trifled with, but it’s possible that Fedde can return value against this lineup. Fedde is averaging around five innings and five strikeouts per start. He’s only had one bad outing in nine starts. Since that bad outing, in the next six (against tough competition), Fedde has a 2.23 ERA (4.41 xFIP) and 21% K rate. His last outing was against the best offense in baseball, the Dodgers, and he held them to four hits and no runs across six innings.
Other Option — Rich Hill ($7,700)
Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves ($4,800) — It feels strange to recommend a catcher, but this kid is good. In 118 at-bats against right-handed pitching, he has a .389 wOBA, .271 ISO, 148 wRC+ and a 44% hard contact rate. Charlie Morton is struggling with left-handed batters and the Diamondbacks’ lineups is heavy with lefties that can hit right-handed pitching. Varsho is not 100%, but he received a day off on Saturday. A little bit of DH work isn’t a bad thing for catchers.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles ($5,400) — Boston will be a popular stack on Monday night. Tyler Wells ($5,400) has a 5.30 xFIP, .337 wOBA, .196 ISO, 1.7 HR/9, 53% fly ball rate and 12% K rate against right-handed batters across 21 innings. There are a lot of bad numbers there. His splits were fine as a rookie last season, but he was a reliever last season. As a starter, this season has been a struggle.
Other Options — Rafael Devers ($6,000)
Edwin Rios, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,700) — Zach Thompson ($8,500) is not a great pitcher. He’s allowing a .374 wOBA and 1.5 HR/9 to right-handed batters. That’s a green light on a full slate, let alone a small slate. Rios has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games — .377 wOBA and a .257 ISO over that span.
Rougned Odor, Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox ($2,800) — His 11-game hit streak got snapped during the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, but he started a new streak by homering and knocking in three in the second game. He’s hit safely in 18 of 22 games this month. In May, Odor has a .332 wOBA, .247 ISO and 118 wRC+.
Other Options — Luis Guillorme ($3,300)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($6,200) — No one is hotter than Mookie Betts. Over the last week, he has five home runs, 11 runs scored and nine RBIs (.679 wOBA, .564 ISO and a 345 wRC+). This season, Betts is in the top 10 in wRC+, home runs, wOBA and ISO. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s a top-10 hitter vs. cutters and that’s what Zach Thompson throws 36% of the time.
Editor’s Note: Rays OF Manuel Margot is not in the lineup tonight vs. the Rangers.
Manuel Margot, Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers ($4,500) — The twice traded top prospect is on the verge of having his breakthrough. He entered Sunday on a 15-game hit streak. On that streak, Margot has a .550 wOBA, .319 ISO and 281 wRC+. He also has four stolen bases during this streak. Last but not least, every one of those games were played at pitchers' parks.
Other Options — J.D. Martinez ($5,700)
Pavin Smith, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves ($3,200) — Arizona has cheap outfielders and Charlie Morton is struggling to retire left-handed batters — 5.25 xFIP, .423 wOBA, .266 ISO, 1.9 HR/9 and a 46% fly ball rate in 18.2 innings pitched. On a small slate, it’s not easy and not necessarily wise to try to diversify picks. If the matchup works, it works. Exploit it. Smith has a .342 wOBA, .191 ISO and 117 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and he’s hot — .519 wOBA and .474 ISO over the last week.
David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves ($3,700) — He’s not as hot as his teammate, but he ranks in the top 100 in wOBA over the last week (.355). That number should be higher based on his 55% hard contact rate, 95.5 mph average exit velocity and average launch angle of 16.1 degrees. He’s a lefty in a good spot just like his teammate, and just like his teammate, his splits are strong — .359 wOBA, .267 ISO and a 128 wRC+ against right-handed pitching.
Other Options — Gavin Lux ($3,800)
TEAMS TO STACK
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves — Nearly all of the Diamondbacks lineup is listed above. Charlie Morton has struggled with left-handed hitters this season. Against the opposite side, Morton predominantly tosses a fastball and a curve. The curve isn’t working. Left-handed batters have a .431 wOBA vs. the curve. Last season, that number was .167. When they’re not hitting his curve, they are sitting on this fastball (.363 wOBA). If Morton hasn’t fixed the curve by now, there is no indication it will suddenly correct itself on Monday night. Besides the Arizona left-handed batters mentioned above, add Ketel Marte ($4,500), Josh Rojas ($4,100), Alek Thomas ($3,400) or any of the other cheap lefties in this lineup (this is an extreme lefty-heavy lineup) to your stacks.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates — If you can afford the Dodgers on this small slate, then jam them into your lineups. This isn’t rocket science. On a full slate, this would be a great stack. It’s the best offense in baseball vs. a pitcher with a 4.45 xFIP and 16% K rate. Betts, Freddie Freeman ($5,500) and Trea Truner ($5,900) are at the top of the list, but it will be hard to afford them all. Edwin Rios provides some salary relief. A wrap around stack with Gavin Lux ($3,800) makes this stack hurt a little less in the salary department. Lux is not a complete punt. His K-rate is 17% and his OBP is .354. That’s exactly what this stack wants — Lux on base when the top of the order comes around.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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