DOMINATE today’s DraftKings and FanDuel MLB GPP contests with these pitchers, stacks and one-off players!
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Tier 1: The Core Pitchers (these are pitchers who will be in majority of my lineups)
- Jacob deGrom – On DK, Jacob deGrom is an absolute no-brainer at a price point below $11,000 versus a Juan Soto-less Nationals team. Not only are the Nationals being implied to score a minuscule 2.6-runs, but the K prop for deGrom is 9.5 across the industry with juice to the over. In other words, deGrom is a favorite to strike out double-digit hitters, which is not shocking given he has struck out exactly 14 hitters in back-to-back starts (including one in Coors Field). On FD, it is a tougher proposition to fit him at a $12,500 price point, but there are still offenses cheap enough to make it work. He projects as above and beyond the top-scoring pitcher of the night, given the tough matchups for other aces, so feel free to spend for him if you can find bats you like alongside him.
- Mike Minor – Thus far, the Tigers rank dead last in wOBA by over 40 percentage points against left-handed pitching (LHP) and have produced a putrid 41 wRC+. By comparison, the Rangers rank second to last with a 72 wRC+, so this has been by far the worst offense in the split. To make matters worse for this year, they have struck out at a ridiculous 30.8-percent rate, so basically any left-hander is worth targeting against them. Miguel Cabrera remains out of this lineup, leaving this team without by far their best bat against southpaws dating back to 2019 (.416 wOBA, 163 wRC+). To this point, Mike Minor has not exactly been lights out, but his best start did come against the Rangers, who are the next worst team at hitting lefties. The swinging strike rate for Minor is still on par with his levels from the past two seasons, so this should be the breakout start.
Tier 2: Not Quite Core Pitchers
- Sandy Alcantara – Sandy Alcantara’s new changeup-heavy approach has worked quite well for him as he sports by far a career-best 1.80 xERA heading into Friday’s start. While he will not be pitching in the friendly confines of home, Oracle Park is a fantastic alternative, and the Giants lineup is quite banged up. Evan Longoria left last night’s game, and he is not the only one questionable to make the lineup tonight; Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are each dealing with injury issues of their own. Essentially, Alcantara could be facing a watered-down Giants team in one of the best pitching environments in the league and will not have to face designated hitters in the process. It should be noted the Giants own the third-best xwOBA against right-handed changeups dating back to the beginning of last season, but multiple players missing from the lineup would negate that concern.
- Tyler Glasnow – According to Baseball Savant, Tyler Glasnow has added a slider to his repertoire in the 2021 season, and that pitch has been no joke. In 18 plate appearances ending in sliders, hitters have gone 3-17 (.176) with four strikeouts, and he has generated a 39.0-percent whiff rate with the pitch. Previously, it is not like Glasnow had been ineffective as a two-pitch pitcher, as only two starters had yielded a lower OPS than Glasnow (.591) across the 2019-20 seasons. Now, with an effective third pitch locked and loaded, Glasnow is a nightmare for opposing hitters. Heading into this game, Glasnow has struck out six-plus hitters in all four of his starts this year, including 30 over the course of his last three starts, and he has historically pitched better at home. The supposedly potent Blue Jays offense is struggling out of the gates (.292 wOBA, 85 wRC+ against RHP), so this may be the perfect time to have to face this group. Of course, deGrom is the safer option of the two, but going down to Glasnow can buy you an additional bat over on FD.
- Clayton Kershaw – Speaking of buying an additional bat, Clayton Kershaw is even $200 cheaper than Glasnow on FD, but it should be noted the Padres implied total is even higher than Blue Jays (despite the lack of a designated hitter). Since returning from a slight labral tear, Fernando Tatis Jr. has struck out at a 32.1-percent rate and is slashing .160/.250/.320 with a .257 wOBA. Harold Reynolds had a great breakdown of his post shoulder injury swing change on MLB Network, which laid out how he is being forced into finishing his swing two-handed for the first time in his career. Like any adjustment, this could take some time, and it is possible he never finds any sort of groove until the shoulder heals (which will take surgery after the season). Basically, without a 100-percent Tatis, this lineup is not nearly as potent. Kershaw has begun the year looking like his best form since 2017, with the swinging strike rate being the one number jumping off the page (13.9-percent). Similar to Glasnow, Kershaw seldom throws a changeup presently, resorting to relying extremely heavily on his two breaking balls. If you believe in the formula for Glasnow, it is hard not to believe in Kershaw, an all-time great, as well.
- Jordan Montgomery – Dating back to last season, the Indians have ranked in the bottom half of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against LHP, and that was never more personified than by when Carlos Rodon no-hit them last week. The problem is this Indians squad is also tough to strike out, which does limit the upside a bit for pitchers against them in theory. Nevertheless, on FD (where Jordan Montgomery is priced at just $7,500), a massive strikeout performance is not necessarily needed for him to be in the tournament-winning lineup. What will be needed is a quality start with a respectable number of strikeouts…and Montgomery’s swinging strike rate (swstr%) and called plus swinging strike rate (CSW%) are both up this year. For those reasons, he is worth a shot at next to no ownership.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Pitchers
- Alex Wood – Limited to 61-pitches in his season debut, so the potential short least is the main concern here.
- J.A. Happ – Like Alex Wood, there are longevity concerns with J.A. Happ, as he has not made it through more than 4.2 innings in either of his starts. However, the Pirates rank just 21st in wOBA against LHP and have struck out at a 26.5-percent rate this year, so this will be Happ’s best chance yet for a quality start.
- Yu Darvish – Upside potential matches any pitcher on the slate typically, but the Dodgers both rarely strike out (22.5-percent K rate) and lead the league in wOBA against RHP. For those reasons, Darvish is significantly riskier than the other aces, and there is not much of a price difference.
Tier 1: The Core Stacks
- Oakland Athletics – Probable starter Jorge Lopez has rated amongst the worst starting pitchers in baseball across the board over the past few seasons, but his numbers to begin the year are not so bad. For one, he has induced ground-balls at a career-best rate and has been limiting the hard contract (30.6-percent) as well. Even so, he has still allowed five total homers in three starts, including back-to-back games with multiple bombs (and nine runs allowed in those two starts combined). One outlier strikeout performance is propelling his strong K rate, and he still has yet to finish a game with under a 5.67 FIP this season. To me, this means regression is coming, especially in power-friendly Camden Yards, against a powerful Athletics offense. Over 119.1 career innings versus left-handed hitters (LHHS), Lopez has been roasted to the tune of a .300/.365/.530 slash line, .376 wOBA, 40.4-percent hard hit rate and 2.04 HR/9 rate. Consequently, Matt Olson, Jed Lowrie, Mitch Moreland and company match up well against him, and it is not like he has been lights out versus right-handed hitters (RHHs) either (career 4.68 FIP, 4.47 xFIP). A pitcher-friendly ump is the only knock on a fantastic matchup for this squad.
- Colorado Rockies – Playing in Coors Field, the Rockies will take on a pitcher who ranks second amongst hurlers on the slate with a 44.0-percent hard hit rate allowed and dead last in fly ball rate allowed (43.0-percent). Fly balls that are hit hard in Coors Field often leave the yard, which means this Rockies team is on red alert for multiple homers. Over the entirety of his career, Velasquez has been hit hard by lefties (.351 wOBA versus .322 to righties), so Ryan McMahon and Charlie Blackmon are the top two targets in the lineup. Beyond those two, the power bats are preferred, but at least Raimel Tapia has a chance to score multiple runs in the leadoff spot also.
Tier 2: The Not Quite Core Stacks
- New York Yankees – Woah nelly, these Yankees prices on FD are absolutely ridiculous, with half the lineup priced at $2,700 or below. If attempting to fit an ace, pairing them with cheap Yankees is a way to load a lineup with potential upside. Thus far, Allen’s 7.8-percent swstr% is the lowest of his career, and his control is as wild as ever (9.6-percent BB rate). Sure, he induces ground balls, but there are enough negatives to his game to be concerned about…including his .265 BABIP against. The Yankees are loaded with right-handed power, and Progressive Field is amongst the most hitter-friendly parks in the American League. Beyond Allen, the Indians bullpen ranks below the league average in terms of both FIP and xFIP, so a short Allen outing would not hurt the potential of the lineup.
- Boston Red Sox – In 2021, Yusei Kikuchi is throwing harder than ever, but the matchup against the Red Sox is not very favorable for him. The Red Sox are loaded with powerful righties in Kike Hernandez, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Hunter Renfroe and even Bobby Dalbec. With a 4.74 ERA currently, Kikuchi’s xERA is even higher, and he has once again struggled with the long ball. Playing on the road in Fenway Park, power is a lot more likely than pitching at home, so this is just one of those situations that is not ideal for Kikuchi.
- Kansas City Royals – Dating back to the start of 2019, Wilson Ramos has allowed 43 more stolen bases than any other catcher in the league (and no that is not a typo). Additionally, base stealers have been caught at an absurdly low nine-percent rate against pitcher Casey Mize. Once this Royals team gets on base, they will be running, and the Tigers bullpen is the absolute worst in the league behind him. Mize is an underrated pitcher, as he is a former number one overall pick and is oozing with talent, but his 5.44 xERA suggests he has been a bit lucky (.283 BABIP) as well. Through 44.1 MLB innings, he has allowed a HR/9 rate over 2.00, so multiple homers are within the range of outcomes against the starter also. Combine all that upside, and it is easy to see why the Royals make a ton of sense as an under-the-radar squad. UPDATE: Grayson Greiner is catching for the Tigers which downgrades the speed matchup a tiny bit.
- New York Mets – Okay, this team never ever scores runs for Jacob deGrom, but that has to change at some point, right? Erick Fedde owns a career 5.08 SIERA, 5.41 FIP and 4.75 xFIP, and his HR/FB rate is about one-third of his career average to this point. Either he has improved as a pitcher, or the 15.6-percent barrel rate should continue to haunt him. I am leaning towards the latter and the Mets finally producing runs for deGrom. Hopefully, Brandon Nimmo returns to the lineup tonight as he has been the team’s spark plug. Otherwise, 1-7 are all in play.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Stacks
- Philadelphia Phillies – Simply going to be too chalky for my liking but worth having MME exposure to given the hitting environment (Coors Field). Rockies are throwing their ace, and this is expected to be the most popular team.
- Baltimore Orioles – Cole Irvin’s 6.25 xERA and 38.5-percent hard hit rate tell the story of a pitcher who is worth targeting against most times out. No Anthony Santander is a knock on the lineup, but there is still plenty of right-handed power in the middle.
- Minnesota Twins – J.T. Brubaker has pitched well this season, but the 91.8-percent LOB rate is a mirage.
Top Players By Position
- Sean Murphy
- Dom Nunez
- Wilson Ramos/Gary Sanchez
- Matt Olson/Mitch Moreland
- D.J. LeMahieu
- Freddie Freeman
- Whit Merrifield
- Ryan McMahon
- Jed Lowrie
- Matt Chapman
- Yoan Moncada
- Gio Urshela
- Gleyber Torres
- Trevor Story
- Francisco Lindor
- Charlie Blackmon
- Ronald Acuna Jr.
- Ramon Laureano
- Kike Hernandez/J.D. Martinez
- Ryan Mountcastle
- Michael Conforto
- Dominic Smith
- Mitch Haniger
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Niko Goodrum/Bryan Reynolds
Highest Scoring Hitter
Highest Scoring Pitcher
Highest Owned Pitcher by Me
Jacob deGrom/Mike Minor
Biggest Bust Hitter
Biggest Bust Pitcher
Top Value Play
Kyle Lewis/Gleyber Torres/Austin Hays
Hit me up on Twitter @RSandersDFS or visit the MLB Chat Room with any lineup questions!