Scouting The MLB

Scouting The MLB

Our expert helps with your Daily Baseball lineup at Draftkings.

Stackable Menu:

  1. New York Yankees (lefties) hosting RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
  2. Colorado Rockies hosting RHP Marco Estrada
  3. Oakland A's hosting LHP Felix Doubront
  4. Milwaukee Brewers visiting RHP Christian Bergman
  5. Chicago White Sox visiting RHP Ricky Nolasco

Longshot stack: St. Louis Cardinals hosting RHP A.J. Burnett



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Pitchers

Two Studs:

Stephen Strasburg (WAS) vs. ATL: $10,900 – Facing LHP Mike Minor

Some may have the impression that Strasburg is struggling through his 3rd full MLB season, but that's not really the case. The big righty is posting a 10.62 K/9, 5.1% walk rate, and 2.56 SIERA (skill interactive ERA) that indicates he's pitched better than his 3.06 ERA would indicate. Those numbers would all be career bests for a full season if they hold up, and Stras is a much better pitcher than the man who lost to the Braves in his second start of the 2014 season.

Opponents have just a .274 wOBA against Strasburg this month, which is a huge improvement from the .316 wOBA posted against him in April. He's averaging 8 Ks and 24.2 DK points over his last four starts and has been markedly better at home, where he will face the strikeout-prone Braves lineup tonight. Atlanta's hitters have struck out the 5th most times in the MLB, giving Stras enough upside to gamble on him exacting revenge after the Bravos touched him up in early April.

Corey Kluber (CLE) vs. DET: $8800 – Facing RHP Rick Porcello

Kluber has gone through a slight regression since he earned the classification of "Ace" with an outstanding May, but I think he avoids those lapses in concentration to get a Win at home tonight. He'll start opposite Rick Porcello, who has had his share of troubles with the Indians dangerous lefties, so run support likely won't be an issue.

What has been an issue for Kluber is walks- he issued 8 free passes in 3 June starts after giving out 8 walks in 6 May starts. That leads to a higher pitch count, hurting his value in terms of IP, and robbed him of a Win when David Ortiz hit a 2-run HR (following a BB) of him in his last home start. Overall, he's been very comfortable at home with a stellar 5.90 K/BB ratio and 10.5 K/9, so even though he'll have to deal with Cabrera and Victor Martinez, I'd gamble on a bounce back performance tonight.



Two Duds (Value Plays):


Dan Haren (LAD) @ SD: $8100 – Facing RHP Ian Kennedy

I usually avoid Haren, who throws straight-line fastballs and allows dangerously deep fly balls, but when he takes the mound in Petco Park tonight, he should be able to take advantage of the stadium's spacious confines. Haren dominated the Padres in his season debut, allowing 4 hits and 0 ER despite recording 9 fly ball outs. For a pitcher with a poor 12.8% HR/FB ratio, it's important to have a margin for error, and of course, it doesn't hurt when you're facing the statistically worst lineup in baseball. The Padres have scored 46 fewer runs than any other Major League team. They're hitting a collective .214, and have struck out the 7th most times against RHP this season. It's simply never a bad time to target that anemic offense.

Henderson Alvarez (MIA) vs. NYM: $7300 – Facing RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka

Most pitchers enjoy pitching in Marlins Stadium, which has an insanely deep center field and is below the league average in Home Run Factor. For the Marlins pitching staff, it represents a certain comfort level, especially for Alvarez, who has a 1.62 ERA and has thrown 3 CGSO at home this season. One of those dominant performances came against the Mets on May 6, as it took him just 111 pitches to throw nine scoreless innings against their weak lineup. He's an extreme groundball pitcher that pounds the bottom of the zone with two-seamers and a slider, which explains how he can cruise through innings while throwing very few pitches. He has a 59.5% ground ball rate, and opponents are hitting just .232 against him at home this year, so he seems like a safe bet to exceed value at this price.


Batters


Catcher:

Wilson Rosario (COL) vs. MIL: $4000 – Facing RHP Marco Estrada

Sometimes a pitcher comes to Coors Field and you have to expect the worst for them, this is one of those times. Estrada is a hard-thrower that has been extremely vulnerable to the long ball. In fact, his 2.46 HR/9 is the worst in the Majors and his 18.7% HR/FB ratio is second worst. He's allowed 14 HR in 47 IP on the road this season, and faces a Rockies team that is lethal at home. The likelihood of multiple homers in Colorado is high enough to recommend Rosario, whose value is essentially dependent on producing an XBH. Like most Rockies his average is markedly higher at home (.276 vs. 167 on the road) but you'd be targeting him in the hopes he hits for power, not average.

Potential Values:

Chris Iannetta (LAA) has much more power against LHP and should be in the lineup against Joe Saunders tonight.

Kurt Suzuki (MIN) is batting .305 and represents a much safer option than these power-hitting catchers for 50/50 or H2H formats.



First Base:

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) vs. SF: $5400 – Facing RHP Tim Lincecum

We try not to get too wrapped up in Batter vs. Pitcher stats, since after all, it's simply a history of what happened from night to night when two pros clashed. But sometimes, those numbers jump off the page and force you to consider paying up for a stud like Goldschmidt, who is 13 for 24 with 7 HR and 17 RBI against Tim Lincecum. He has an OPS near 2.000 against the former ace, and Lincecum has been awful with a 6.84 ERA on the road this year. These two athletes met in Lincecum's first two 2014 starts, and (you guessed it) Goldy went yard both times. At this point, the lanky RHP may just have to pitch around the D'Backs best hitter, but I think you'll take a few walks and the potential for a couple runs as insurance, to go along with the high likelihood of an XBH should Lincecum try to get him out.

Potential Values:

Lefites have a .906 OPS against A.J. Burnett this year and Matt Adams (STL) is a slugging 1B that could take him deep. For $3,900 he's a nice replacement if you can't afford the BvP all star listed above.



Second Base:

Matt Carpenter (STL) vs. PHI: $4100 – Facing RHP A.J. Burnett

The Cards offense is in a funk, and it starts with Carpenter, whose wOBA is down nearly 40 points to .341 so far this season. He's been uncharacteristically risky in DFS, but followed up two duds with 28 DK points over his last two games, and it would be stunning if he doesn't produce against the rapidly aging A.J. Burnett. The Phillies RHP found a bit of a rhythm in his last two starts, but quality outings against the Cubs and Padres don't mean too much. Prior to that, he was struggling with control and serving up meatballs to LHB, as lefties are now slugging .506 against him this season. If Carpenter can reach base multiple times, it will be a long night for Burnett, and I fully expect St. Louis to bounce back from getting shut down last night.

Potential Values:

Kolten Wong is another LHB that could be part of a Cardinals mini-stack if you slide Carpenter over to 3B.

If he's in the lineup, I'd consider Logan Forsythe (TB) as an extreme value play against mediocre RHP Jarred Cosart



Third Base:

Josh Donaldson (OAK) vs. BOS: $4500 – Facing LHP Felix Doubront

Donaldson broke out of his horrible slump and has hit straight in 5 straight games, but the power hasn't come yet. That could change when he faces one of the worst LHP (depending on the night) in the Major Leagues, as Doubront makes his return from a mild shoulder injury in Oakland tonight. Donaldson has immense power against lefties, as indicated by his impressive .368 ISO (slugging minus average) against southpaws this season. Doubront allows lefties to hit for a higher average, but 38 of the 45 HR he's allowed over the last four seasons have come off RHB. Oakland Coliseum is not an easy park to leave, but Donaldson and company should give Doubront a harsh welcome back to the Majors as they hang some crooked numbers.

Potential Values:

Pablo Sandoval (SF) is heating up again with 38 DK points over his last 3 games, he's facing Josh Collmenter, who is vulnerable to LHB with power.



Shortstop:

Troy Tulowitzki (COL) @ LAD: $5600 – Facing RHP Marco Estrada

As mentioned in Wilson Rosario's section above, Estrada is one of the most homer-prone pitchers in baseball, and it's not a coincidence that Tulo has 2 HR in just 6 AB against the Brewers starter. The Rockies MVP has more power than anyone at his position in the "post-steroid era" and takes full advantage of the thin air at Coors Field with 11 HR, a .477 average, and an incredible 1.063 OPS at home this season. If you can find value elsewhere, tonight is the night to pay up for Tulowitzki.

Potential Values:

Alexei Ramirez (CWS) happens to be 6-10 in his career against RHP Ricky Nolasco. He also has power at the SS position and could be a cheap substitute for Tulo in GPP formats.



Outfielders:

Carlos Gomez (MIL) @ COL: $5300 – Facing RHP Christian Bergman

The Rockies aren't the only dangerous lineup playing at Coors Field tonight, and Gomez will love to try and extend his 15-game hit streak in their ballpark. He's facing a rookie in Bergman that skated through his first start in Coors (thanks, Braves) but is certainly a candidate to get shelled this Friday. He posted a HR/9 over 1 in each of his last two Minor League seasons, and didn't face anyone like CarGo, who is hitting .400 (10-25) with 2 HR and 4 SB in Colorado over the last three seasons.

Josh Hamilton (LAA) vs. TEX: $4400 – Facing LHP Joe Saunders

Bad Josh Hamilton has returned as he hasn't produced double digit DK points since June 10 and is slashing just .266/.375/.694 this month. That means his price tag is very affordable in time for a good matchup with Joe Saunders, whose soft-throwing approach has allowed LHB to slap 13 singles off him this season for a collective .342 average. Hamilton is hitting LHP this season, as he's .429 with 2 HR and 8 RBI in a small sample size (28 at bats). He's also hitting .400 at home and will likely bat cleanup tonight, putting him in a great position to bust out of his mini-slump as the Angels could figure Saunders out.

Brett Gardner (NYY) vs. BAL: $4200 – Facing RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

While Gardner's speedy teammate Jacoby Ellsbury has better career splits against Jimenez, the Yankees leadoff man has been the picture of consistency over the last few weeks and is a bit cheaper. He's put up double-digit DK points in 7 of his last 10 appearances, and is averaging 9.6 DK points per game at home this season. Jimenez has been good on the road this year, but not in Yankee Stadium, where he gave up 4 ER in just 4.2 IP during an early April start. The short porch in RF will give him problems and could even allow a light-hitting LHB like Gardner to go deep.

Potential Values:

Carlos Beltran is another LHB Yankee that has had success against Jimenez. He found his groove recently and is very cheap at just $3600.

Kevin Kiermaier has really impressed for the Rays and went yard last night. He should produce against Jarred Cosart and is just $3000.

Stephen Vogt (OAK) extended his DK-point streak to 8 games last night and should be able to reach base against Doubront tonight.


Will answer any lineup questions on twitter @nweitzer7

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