Friday night MLB DFS is here and that means a full slate of games to choose from. Remember the heavy variance that comes with baseball and be very aware of your bankroll management. As always, the RotoGrinders lineups page and push notifications are the best way to get every teams lineup in a timely manner. Now let’s dig in for some picks for FanDuel and DraftKings.
We’ve got a slate of games tonight that doesn’t feature top pitching that I would classify as elite. There are not even many second-tier guys on the slate. It feels like Carlos Carrasco is the best option on the board and after him there is a severe drop off. J.A. Happ probably falls in that next range of pitchers as his opponent, the Chicago White Sox, have only a 3.77 implied run total right now, the sixth lowest on the slate. Happ is a very serviceable starting pitcher and at times last year flashed very solid stuff. So far this year, the innings haven’t been there but eventually he should be able to string together a 6+ inning outing. The most appealing part of him tonight is the matchup against the White Sox. They strikeout 26.1 percent of the time (seventh most in MLB), don’t hit for much power as evidenced by a .144 ISO (9th worst in MLB) and their wOBA/wRC are both in the bottom 12 of the league. After Carrasco and Patrick Corbin, both high priced options, the rest of that next tier is extremely volatile. Happ has a good matchup and has proven to be a solid fantasy option in the past.
Catcher/ First Base
David Hess looks like a pitcher we can attack tonight. It’s too early to start looking at 2019 stats, so I like to look at the previous year for now. Last year, Hess surrendered a .259 ISO to left-handed hitters and only struck them out at a 13.9 percent clip. Those are putrid numbers. Meanwhile, Mitch Moreland has found a home as the third-place hitter in this powerful Boston lineup. Last year he racked up a .204 ISO against right-handed pitching, and compared to the studs that surround him in this lineup, his salary is extremely affordable.
The Texas Rangers are back home tonight in the small confines of their very hitter-friendly ballpark. That should bode well for these offenses looking to have a good game. Odor figures to land in the number two spot in the batting order against right-handed pitching after putting up a .201 ISO and .337 wOBA against right-handers last year. We don’t have a ton of power at second base, but Odor is one of the guys who has demonstrated power from this position and last season racked up a 44.7 percent hard-hit rate against right-handed pitching. The starting pitcher for Oakland, Mike Fiers, is average at best and most of his stats on our RotoGrinders plate IQ page come back as red, which is favorable towards the hitters.
I’m always going to look to get Nolan Arenado in my DFS lineup when he’s taking on a left-hander. His numbers vs. lefties last year were a microcosm of what he’s done his entire career. In 207 plate appearances against left-handers last year he racked up a .377 ISO, 48.3 percent hard-hit rate and he walked nearly as much as he struck out. Those are staggering numbers in his favor, and tonight he gets a left-hander that has struggled recently. Drew Pomeranz was once a highly touted prospect, but last season he hit the skids. His average exit velocity versus right-handers last year was 90.4 miles per hour. Arenado is expensive and this is a ballpark that nobody wants to pick on, but that should drive down the ownership and we’re going to get a phenomenal player all to ourselves.
Trevor Story (vs. San Francisco Giants)
Everything I said about Nolan Arenado rings true for Trevor Story, also. I’m not finding a ton of options at shortstop that I like so I might as well go with a guy that has shown a big-time pedigree in his platoon split. Just like Arenado, Story has smashed left-handed pitching for a while now. The ISO and wOBA numbers are similar to Arenado’s, as is the hard-hit rate. Story strikes out a little bit more and walks a little less than Arenado, but the home run power is there in this matchup. Even though San Francisco has a very pitcher-friendly ballpark, I think there is merit to a two-man stack for Colorado featuring these three and four hitters against a weak left-hander.
Joc Pederson (vs. Milwaukee Brewers)
Joc Pederson has an extremely reasonable salary across the sites tonight in a matchup of which I think he can take advantage. Last season, he simmered down on some of those inconsistencies at the plate and ended up with a very solid season against right-handed pitching. In 385 plate appearances he racked up a .294 ISO with a 91.5 mph average exit velocity while cutting down the strikeouts to only 20 percent. What I really like about him tonight is the matchup at home against Milwaukee. The Brewers are starting right-hander Corbin Burnes, who was a short reliever last year and making the transition to starting pitcher early in 2019. The results have been extremely interesting to say the least. In two outings he does have a total of 18 strikeouts, but when he’s not striking people out, he’s giving up home runs, with not much middle ground. Burnes has 10 innings pitched this year between his two starts and he’s given up three home runs in each of those outings. So, 10 innings, 11 earned runs and six home runs. I don’t get penalized for strikeouts from my hitters so I’m swinging for the fences and taking a chance with Joc Pederson tonight.
Brandon Nimmo (vs. Atlanta Braves)
Brandon Nimmo is strictly a value play. There are times through the course of your research you must throw out the numbers and just look at how good a hitter is in comparison to his salary. Nimmo is disrespectfully underpriced at $3,800 on DraftKings and $3,200 on FanDuel tonight. At the very least he is a leadoff hitter vs. a mediocre pitcher who’s had troubles retiring left-handed batters in the past in Kyle Wright. That alone is enough to justify rostering him at those salaries. Throw in the fact that Nimmo is probably the second or third best hitter on his team and racked up a .248 ISO last year against right-handed pitching while walking 16.8 percent of the time, and that’s just icing on the cake.