DOMINATE today’s DraftKings and FanDuel MLB GPP contests with these pitchers, stacks and one-off players!
Tier 1: The Core Pitchers (these are pitchers that will be in a majority of my lineups)
- Alex Wood – By far the safest pitcher of the night is Alex Wood in a National League ballpark versus a Rangers team that has struggled to hit lefties even when they enjoyed the benefit of a designated hitter (DH). Tonight, they will lose that benefit, and will be playing in one of the most pitcher-friendly stadiums in the entire league: Oracle Park. Thus far, the Rangers active hitters sport a .306 wOBA, 98 wRC+, .147 ISO, 5.7-percent BB rate and 24.1-percent K rate in the split against lefties. Wood rarely ever walks anyone, and the Rangers walk at the lowest rate in the league, so there likely will be a healthy number of swings-and-misses given Wood’s career-best 13.1-percent swinging strike rate to this point (and career-best 33.3-percent CSW rate). Typically a pitcher with a short leash, Wood has lasted six-plus innings in half his starts this year, so he certainly should rack up a quality start if he is rolling. In both cash games and tournaments, rostering Wood is easily the most comforting play of the evening, and he possesses as much upside as anyone as well.
- Kyle Gibson – In a game with an implied total of just 7.5-runs, why not target both the starting pitchers? Currently, only the Tigers active hitters have struck out at a higher rate than the Giants against right-handed pitching (RHP), and Kyle Gibson does appear like a slightly improved pitcher. Of all his improved statistics, the one that sticks out is the downtick in barrel rate (which would be his lower number in the category since his 2016 season). He is walking hitters at just a 7.9-percent rate and is inducing ground balls at an excellent 52.2-percent rate (his best number since 2015). Along with the strikeouts, the Giants do possess some pop and rank in the top eight of fly ball rate. If Gibson is able to keep the ball on the ground, he should be able to negate their biggest strength, and could pitch at least six-plus innings for the seventh straight time (yes, he is amidst a stretch with six straight quality starts). Instead of targeting the next (chalky) guy in a matchup with very little strikeout upside, go ahead and use Gibson as your SP2 instead.
Tier 2: Not Quite Core Pitchers
- Tyler Mahle – Of course, the pitcher being alluded to at the end of the Gibson tidbit is none other than Tyler Mahle, who will take on a Pirates team whose active hitters have struck out at just a 21.0-percent rate against RHP. In the past, Mahle’s issues have stemmed from being beaten by the long ball and ineffectiveness against left-handed hitters (LHHs). Bryan Reynolds is questionable to make the lineup tonight, as he deals with lower body soreness, and that could lead to as few as two lefties in the lineup. Furthermore, this game will be played in PNC Park, which is a lot less power-friendly than Mahle’s home park. Basically, between the lineup and the park, both of Mahle’s potential kryptonite factors are virtually eliminated, making him a strong play in all formats. On DK, he will be incredibly popular, but Wood will almost assuredly be the most popular option on FD.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Pitchers
- Mitch Keller – Nearly double-digit BB rate allowed to both sides of the plate over the course of his young career and the Reds rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO. Even so, they still strike out at around the league average, so if Keller has his best stuff, he could factor into the GPP conversation.
- Luke Weaver – On paper, the Marlins are a poor offense against RHP, but Weaver owns a 5.95 xERA and a SIERA 20 percentage points above his career average so far. He is always on red alert to allow homers given the minuscule ground ball rate and Chase Field plays a lot more power-friendly than the Marlins home park.
- Luis Garcia – Coming off a start where he finished with 92 pitches and struck out eight but he relies heavily on strikeouts and the Angels strike out at one of the lowest rates in the league versus RHP.
- Dinelson Lamet – Weather looks awful in Coors Field and Dinelson Lamet has yet to eclipse 2.0 innings in either of his starts so far this year. Beat writers would have to acknowledge a lengthening of the leash here and the weather would need to hold. It would take some guts to roster Lamet. UPDATE: Game has been PPD
Tier 1: The Core Stacks
- Houston Astros – Probable starter Jose Suarez has arguably been the worst pitcher in baseball against right-handed hitters (RHHs) since the start of the 2019 season: .443 wOBA, 3.22 HR/9 rate, .349/.431/.640 slash line, 50.9-percent hard hit rate and a ridiculous 8.22 FIP allowed in the split. The middle of the Astros lineup is loaded with right-handed power: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa to name a few. Once the starter Suarez leaves the game, the Angels bullpen ranks in the bottom 10 of SIERA, so the fun should not be expected to stop. If Coors Field looks like it may play, this stack becomes even more intriguing as a leverage stack on other chalk, and this is easily my favorite stack of the night. UPDATE: Junior Guerra will start instead of Jose Suarez. That changes the matchup and Yordan Alvarez becomes the top play of the bunch. Guerra likely does not last long, and we still may see Jose Suarez in the long role, so not too much changes (and the Astros are still the top stack).
- Baltimore Orioles – Known as a ground-baller earlier in his career, Martin Perez no longer induces ground balls at an above-average rate. In fact, since the beginning of last year, his ground ball rate sits under 40.0-percent, or 10 percentage points below his career number. In his elder age, opponents have started to life the ball against him, and that has led to higher home run rates in recent years. With all those fly balls, Perez has been quite lucky this year, as his HR/FB rate currently sits at 3.7-percent or 1.5 percentage points below his career best number and almost 10 percentage points below his career average. Camden Yards plays as an above-average power park to both sides of the plate but especially to RHHs. Meanwhile, the Orioles rank 11th in both wOBA and wRC+ against left-handed pitching (LHP) while posting a monster 24.1-percent line drive rate in the split. In a park like Camden Yards, line drives often leave the yard, and most people will prefer the Red Sox side of this game. Give me this right-handed heavy Orioles lineup at half the ownership as the other side of the game and for cheaper.
Tier 2: The Not Quite Core Stacks
- Boston Red Sox – Okay, so the Red Sox are not exactly a bad play in their own right given Jorge Lopez will toe the mound for the Orioles. Before diving into what is wrong with Lopez’s skill set, it needs to be noted that his velocity is a career-high this year, and is a full mph higher than last season in the fastball departments (fastball and sinker). The uptick in velocity has led to a career-best xERA so far (although that number, 4.93, is not impressive). Additionally, Lopez has held opposing offenses to a .167 wOBA the first time through with a 1.71 FIP/2.68 xFIP in the process. Everyone is going to expect the Red Sox to come out firing and, if his sample so far is any indication, that may not be the case. Once the Red Sox order comes up for the second time through and beyond, that is when the potential for fireworks increases, and the Orioles bullpen appears to be slightly below the league average. Combine all these factors and the Red Sox look like a good play but…enough to be the slate chalk? That, of course, is for you to decide.
- Miami Marlins – Opposing starter Luke Weaver relies heavily on fly ball outs (35.6-percent ground ball rate this year) and that has led to a HR/9 rate around 1.75 since the beginning of last season. Playing in a much more power-friendly park, the Marlins may get completely overlooked here. Sure, they sit in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against RHP but they play half their games in one of the worst power parks in the league. Since the start of 2020, Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson and Brian Anderson are the team leaders in wOBA against RHP, and those three should be the basis for any Marlins stack.
- Los Angeles Angels – Luis Garcia is a pitcher to consider rostering from here on out in most scenarios but tonight is not one of those situations. Through May 10, only seven teams have struck out at a lower rate against RHP than the Angels, and Jared Walsh playing every day (now that Albert Pujols is gone) only assures the Angels lineup should look like their best. Anthony Rendon on the injured list does not help the team’s cause but Garcia has struggled mightily against lefties since his call-up: .369 wOBA, 1.72 HR/9 rate and a 44.4-percent fly ball rate. Naturally, Shohei Ohtani and Walsh match up well against that setup, and that is before including Mike Trout in the conversation. Jose Rojas is the only other expected lefty in the lineup and he offers a nice source of salary relief. If Garcia continues his struggles against lefties tonight, Ohtani has a great chance to make him pay, and he is a top five overall hitter for me on this slate.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Stacks
- Arizona Diamondbacks – Diamondbacks own great numbers versus lefties so far, and Ross Detwiler is likely to start this game, but he probably only lasts a few innings. Behind Detwiler, Jordan Holloway is expected to be the long man, and he has been lights out in his five appearances. Looking at the underlying numbers, Holloway has clearly been lucky (3.76 xFIP), but not so lucky that is destined to regress into a terrible pitcher any time soon. Bullpen games are often overrated in daily fantasy and the Diamondbacks are only on my radar typically in full games versus lefties.
- Cincinnati Reds – A gigantic park downgrade and recent cooling off of the offense is the reason why the Reds have fallen into the third tier.
Top Players By Positions
- Carson Kelly
- Pedro Severino
- Christian Vazquez
- Shohei Ohtani
- Jared Walsh
- Yuli Gurriel/Jesus Aguilar
- Jose Altuve
- Adam Frazier
- Isan Diaz/Marwin Gonzalez
- Alex Bregman
- Maikel Franco
- Rafael Devers
- Brian Anderson
- Carlos Correa
- Xander Bogaerts
- Miguel Rojas
- Mike Trout
- Yordan Alvarez
- Austin Hays
- Alex Verdugo
- J.D. Martinez
- Trey Mancini
- Ryan Mountcastle
- David Peralta
- Corey Dickerson
- Adam Duvall
Highest Scoring Hitter: Alex Bregman
Highest Scoring Pitcher: Kyle Gibson
Highest Owned Pitcher(s) By Me: Kyle Gibson
Biggest Bust Hitter: Christian Vazquez
Biggest Bust Pitcher: Luke Weaver
Top Value Play: Maikel Franco/Brian Anderson
Slate Edge: Austin Hays