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 who will be in majority of my lineups)
- Dallas Keuchel – Normally, a pitcher with a 12.3-percent K rate would not be worth getting excited about, but on a slate loaded with expensive hitters worth targeting, concessions need to be made in the pitching department. Dallas Keuchel draws a matchup versus a Rangers offense that has posted just a .268 wOBA and 73 wRC+ against left-handed pitching (LHP) this season. Maybe most importantly, the Rangers rank seventh in ground ball rate in the split, and Keuchel needs to induce ground balls at a significant rate to be successful. Thus far, Keuchel has induced a groundball rate of 56.5-percent, which is in line with his 58.6-percent career groundball rate. Keuchel has been unlucky in the sense that his 57.0-percent groundball rate is by far the lowest of his career, which partially explains his 5.68 ERA (5.44 xERA). In such a fantastic matchup, he should be a solid source of per-dollar value, and that will allow a team to spend big on hitting.
- Trevor Bauer – To be fair, this is not the best matchup on the planet, especially with Fernando Tatis Jr. looking like he will be able to battle through his shoulder injury, but Bauer is by far the safest bet on the slate to exceed 100-pitches. Manager Dave Roberts has only let him pitch past 100-pitches once this year, but he has thrown 96-pitches in every game. As the season goes on, even Roberts will have to extend Bauer’s leash to his usual, and Bauer just dominated this Padres team in his last start: 6.0 innings, four baserunners, one run and seven Ks. Given the alternatives in the expensive tier are either pitching in Coors Field or facing the Dodgers, this matchup is not so daunting, even though he is facing the same team for the second consecutive start. Quietly, the Padres rank as nothing more than a league-average offense against right-handed pitching (RHP) so far, although they are a difficult team to strike out. If fading Coors Field bats, rostering Bauer can reasonably be done with most other offenses, and he provides a stable floor with a sizable ceiling.
Tier 2: Not Quite Core Pitchers
- Kevin Gausman – Instead of spending all the way up for Bauer or all the way down for Keuchel, Kevin Gausman is the mid-tier priced alternative, toeing the mound in one of the top pitching environments in the league. Despite the appearance of a breakout season from Jazz Chisholm, the Marlins as a whole have posted the 27th best wOBA against RHP to go along with just an 80 wRC+ in 2021. Furthermore, they have struck out at a 24.8-percent rate and rank dead last in ISO. Playing in another park that depreciates power (despite having moved the fences in a few years ago), the Marlins are in trouble versus a fly-ball reliant pitcher. Powerful teams could give Gausman fits, but literally, no team has displayed less power than the Marlins. If needing an alternative to either pitcher in tier one, look no further than Gausman, who is in a secondary tier of his own.
- Pablo Lopez – Beyond Gausman, whose strikeout prop is 6.5, the options drop off quickly…with Pablo Lopez up next. In this game, Lopez’s strikeout prop is only 4.5, and this will mark the second straight start he has faced this offense. Still, in his last outing, he shut out the Giants over six innings and struck out nine. Evan Longoria remained out of the lineup yesterday and is questionable to make the lineup once again on Saturday. Only the Rangers have struck out at a higher rate than the Giants in the split against RHP, so Lopez once again has a chance at an outlier strikeout performance. Normally, the Giants hit the changeup well, ranking top five in xwOBA against right-handed changeups dating back to last year, which is a bit of a scary proposition. However, if Bauer were to underwhelm, Lopez is still one of the likeliest options to give him a run for highest scoring pitcher on the slate.
- Aaron Nola – Pitching in Coors Field is never comforting, but a 4.3-run implied total for the Rockies is minuscule for a game in this hitters’ haven. Missing the Rockies bats at a furious rate is still possible in this park as they have struck out at a 26.0-percent rate overall against RHP. Additionally, their .287 wOBA in the split is extremely underwhelming for a team playing half their games in the best hitters’ ballpark in all of baseball. By comparison, only five teams have produced a lower wOBA against RHP, so Nola is not as unplayable as he may seem on the surface.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Pitchers
- Drew Smyly – Coming off the injured list (IL), so there are pitch-count concerns here. Also, the Diamondbacks lead the league in wOBA against LHP to this point. GAME IS PPD
- Blake Snell – Still having issues pitching deep into ballgames on his new team, which limits the upside (especially on a site like FD that rewards quality starts). Of course, facing the Dodgers is no walk in the park either.
- Chris Bassitt – The Orioles rank dead last in wOBA against RHP and strike out at a 27.2-percent rate. Pitching in Camden Yards constitutes a ballpark downgrade for Bassitt, but the matchup is beatable.
Tier 1: The Core Stacks
- Atlanta Braves – By now, everyone and their mother realize Madison Bumgarner is a shell of his former self, as he owns a 6.69 xERA this season after posting a 7.84 xERA over nine starts in 2020. At this point, Bumgarner just looks like one of the most hittable starting pitchers in the league, and he rarely ever induces ground balls. Seriously, his 26.3-percent groundball rate ranks ninth lowest amongst pitchers with at least 10 IP this season. Right-handed hitters (RHHs) have mashed Bumgarner to the tune of a .443 xwOBA, .411 wOBA, .668 xSLG and a .324 xBA since the start of 2020, and the Braves are loaded with right-handed power: Ronald Acuna Jr., Marcell Ozuna, Travis d’Arnaud, Guillermo Heredia and Austin Riley to name more than a few. All of their righties are playable, and even Freddie Freeman can be added to the stack if expecting Bumgarner’s outing to be short (which is a reasonable expectation). Given Bumgarner’s struggles, the Braves stand out as the top stack on the slate, and they may come in as the third most popular (so there is a nice ownership discount). GAME IS PPD
- Philadelphia Phillies – Throughout his career, Antonio Senzatela has produced just around even splits, meaning both lefties and righties are equally as viable against him. Strangely, he has pitched better in Coors Field than he has on the road, dating back to 2019. Senzatela is a ground-baller, which can be frustrating to target against, but he still gives up his fair share of homers (1.20 HR/9 rate for his career). His 4.91 career SIERA suggests he is a subpar pitcher, and the Phillies rank 10th in wOBA against RHP to this point. Start with Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto, but feel free to target lower in the lineup to differentiate from the field.
Tier 2: The Not Quite Core Stacks
- Oakland Athletics – Expected to be extremely popular again tonight, it is tough not to like the prospects of the Athletics versus a fly-ball reliant lefty in power-friendly Camden Yards. Like the aforementioned Bumgarner, LeBlanc is a pitcher who in recent years has struggled to reach a 40.0-percent groundball rate, which has led to massive home run rates against him. The last time a HR/9 rate was under 2.00 against him was in the 2018 season, and his HR/FB rates against have consistently been in the upper-teens since that time. Mark Canha is the clear top play, but Matt Olson can bring the power bat versus both sides of the plate, as well (especially if they do not miss his bat). Only the Phillies feature a higher implied run total on the slate, which is the reason the public is not going to overlook this team.
- Chicago White Sox – My favorite semi-contrarian stack of the evening is none other than the White Sox at home against Kyle Gibson. After producing an xERA over 5.00 in back-to-back seasons, Gibson’s currently sits at 2.36 in the early-going of 2021. Basically, he is due for regression, and the wind should be blowing out tonight in Chicago. The White Sox lineup is potent from 1-8, and it should be noted Gibson’s career HR/9 rate to righties is higher than against lefties. Why is this important? Well, seven of the nine White Sox projected in the lineup are right-handed, and six of those are legitimate power threats (Nick Madrigal being the exception). Unfortunately, the Rangers bullpen has pitched quite well to this point, so the matchup is certainly not perfect. Since it is not perfect on paper, the public will lean elsewhere, and that may end up being a mistake.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Stacks
- Baltimore Orioles – Great ballpark but not a potent offense (dead last in wOBA versus RHP).
- Colorado Rockies – Lower-owned team in Coors Field is always a Brian Healy special.
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Facing an upper-echelon pitcher in Blake Snell but possess the firepower to knock around any pitcher.
Top Players By Position
- J.T. Realmuto
- Travis d’Arnaud
- Yasmani Grandal/Yermin Mercedes
- Rhys Hoskins
- Jose Abreu
- Trey Mancini/Freddie Freeman
- Ozzie Albies
- Jazz Chisholm
- Jed Lowrie
- Austin Riley
- Alec Bohm
- Yoan Moncada
- Didi Gregorius
- Tim Anderson
- Trevor Story/Fernando Tatis Jr.
- Bryce Harper
- Ronald Acuna Jr.
- Marcell Ozuna
- Mark Canha
- Luis Robert
- Guillermo Heredia
- Mookie Betts
- Mike Yasztremski
- Stephen Piscotty
- Andrew McCutchen
Highest Scoring Hitter
Highest Scoring Pitcher
Highest Owned Pitcher(s) by Me
Trevor Bauer/Dallas Keuchel
Biggest Bust Hitter
Biggest Bust Pitcher
Top Value Play
Hit me up on Twitter @RSandersDFS or visit the MLB Chat Room with any lineup questions!