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)
- Adbert Alzolay – Prior to his last start against a Nationals team that rarely ever strikes out, Adbert Alzolay had struck out six-plus hitters in five consecutive starts. Not that the Cardinals strike out at an extremely high rate (23.3-percent) against right-handed pitching (RHP) but they are not a patient bunch either (7.9-percent BB rate). Impatience is a nice bonus for Alzolay who has improved upon his control and owns a borderline elite 3.30 SIERA. The Cardinals matchup, other than strikeouts, is quite favorable given they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA and hard hit rate. On a per-dollar basis, Alzolay is a slam dunk investment, especially on FD where he is priced at just $6,800. Start Alzolay and enjoy rostering any expensive bat you want alongside him.
- Walker Buehler – Yesterday, Trevor Bauer struck out 11 Giants, personifying the upside of an RHP against the Giants if all goes well. In fact, the Giants active hitters have struck out at the highest rate in the league in the split. My only real issue with Buehler is the price point, especially on DK, but values on this slate pave a path to fitting him in. Also, it needs to be noted that the Giants rank in the top 10 of both ISO and BB rate, and Bauer did walk four Giants hitters last night. Buehler is one of the best control pitchers in the league, so the control is unlikely to impact him as much as Bauer, giving him the most reliable combination of floor and upside.
Tier 2: Not Quite Core Pitcher
- Robbie Ray – Since Robbie Ray has cut down on the walks, he has morphed into a much more effective pitcher, and just in time for a matchup versus a strikeout-prone Rays squad. At a 30.1-percent K rate in the split, the Rays have struck out at the fourth-highest rate against left-handed pitching (LHP) including the third-highest rate in the American League (AL). The offense is in a great spot to rake and Ray’s 3.37 SIERA would be easily the best of his career (including his previous-best years with the Diamondbacks). Hell, the hard hit and line drive rate are way down and the swinging strike rate is way up (16.2-percent compared to a previous career-best of 14.2-percent). Pitching in Dunedin has not been incredibly kind to Ray (.349 wOBA) and yet the strikeout potential is off the charts enough to consider him an elite GPP option.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Pitchers
- Justus Sheffield – Somehow, a team with Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against LHP this season and Sheffield will enjoy a positive league shift (where he will not have to face a designated hitter). He typically does not allow a ton of fly balls but does not offer much K upside either.
- Nathan Eovaldi – Most of his numbers are improved this year including, maybe most importantly, his effectiveness in the split against left-handed hitters: .268 wOBA, 2.23 FIP, 3.97 xFIP and just a 27.5-percent hard hit rate.
- Chris Bassitt – Opened as a -144 favorite (down to -135) against an Angels team whose implied total has decreased to just 4.0-runs (and they are missing Mike Trout). Strangely, the current version of the Angels squad has struck out at a 24.8-percent rate, so there is more upside now for opposing pitchers against this team now that they are without Trout.
Tier 1: The Core Stack
- Toronto Blue Jays – Youngster Shane McClanahan features some excellent stuff but he is pretty darn close to just being a two-pitch starting pitcher; he has thrown his slider 45-percent of the time to righties and a whopping 60-percent of the time to lefties. Although he has struck out a combined 12 batters over the course of his last two starts (spanning 9.1 IP), he has also allowed 13 baserunners and seven earned runs (ERs) during that span. Dating back to the start of 2020, the Blue Jays rank 12th in xwOBA against the combination of left-handed fastballs and sliders, so this is an above-average offense at handling what McClanahan is throwing. The two specific standouts would be Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Randal Grichuk who each own .475-plus xwOBAs against the pitch types and those are two of the top overall plays on the entire slate. Dunedin, FL has been playing like a hitters’ paradise, especially recently, and the Blue Jays are the more likely team to exploit the conditions.
Tier 2: The Not Quite Core Stacks
- San Diego Padres – Thus far, the Padres have underwhelmed in the split against LHP and that is partially because the team often rolls out three-plus lefties regardless of pitcher handedness. Overall, the team’s active hitters rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA against southpaws but that comes one season after posting a .340 wOBA in the split (eighth-best in the league). In other words, these poor stats are likely overblown by the small sample size, and the offense should be expected to improve moving forward. Opposing starter Justus Sheffield has improved his control a bit this year but his K rate is also down and his barrel rate allowed is by far a career-worst (10.2-percent). Combine that with the fact he has induced just a 7.7-percent swinging strike rate and it is easy to understand why the xERA sits at 5.28. Likely, Sheffield has benefited from playing in one of the worst power parks in the league, and Petco plays as a league-average park in terms of power for right-handed bats. Basically, the right-handed power bats are the most intriguing here, with names like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado who each own a .345-plus wOBA and 120-plus wRC+ in the split since the start of 2020. Even Trent Grisham (who left last night’s blowout win with a heel bruise) and Eric Hosmer are fine additions to the stack given their solid numbers in the split as well.
- Oakland Athletics – In three consecutive starts, Patrick Sandoval has allowed at least one homer and he has not lasted more than 4.0 innings in any of those games. Furthermore, the Angels bullpen is spent, with Raisel Iglesias and Mike Mayers having each thrown 20-plus pitches last night and Aaron Slegers/Hunter Strickland/Tony Watson/Steve Cishek all having pitched at least two of the last three days. Following Sandoval, Alex Claudio and Dillon Peters are the two freshest relievers, which means a lefty is likely to follow the lefty starter. Of course, that makes a stack easier to construct, as the righties will own the platoon advantage deeper into the game comparatively to a typical Sandoval start. Chad Pinder returned last night and he is priced near the bare minimum across the industry which increases the possibility of stacking this team alongside Buehler. Dating back to the start of last season, Ramon Laureano, Mark Canha, Matt Chapman, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson (in order) are the team wOBA leaders in the split and each owns a 110-plus wRC+ versus lefties also. Lastly, the ballpark is an upgrade for power potential, so the Athletics are clearly one of the top targets of the night.
- Tampa Bay Rays – On paper, the Rays rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA and ISO against LHP and have struck out at a ridiculous 30.1-percent rate against the handedness, so there is clearly downside to targeting this team…especially against a pitcher sporting a 28.9-percent K rate. However, the conditions are such a gigantic upgrade from the Rays home park that they simply must be considered versus a pitcher that has historically struggled with power (including a 2.45 HR/9 rate in 2021). On a smaller slate, flashing power is going to propel offenses to viability, and Ray objectively has benefitted from some good luck (.263 BABIP, 95.1-percent LOB rate). Since multiple homers are clearly within the range of outcomes, and Ray’s luck is bound to run out at some point, the lower-owned side of this game is quite intriguing too.
- Boston Red Sox – Saturday marks Spencer Howard’s first true start of the year and, while he is one of the Phillies top prospects, fly balls are plentiful against him. Since joining the MLB, he has induced just a 37.8-percent ground ball rate and that has led to a 1.88 HR/9 rate against him. As if that were not enough, he has walked hitters at nearly a double-digit rate, and his 38.1-percent K rate in 2021 is likely inflated because he has been pitching out of the bullpen. In four outings, Howard has topped out at 44-pitches, so he is unlikely to last much more than 60-70 pitches tonight. To this point, the Phillies bullpen has seemed much improved, as they rank 12th in bullpen SIERA and 11th in xFIP. An above-average bullpen following a solid prospect is not a perfect setup but the Red Sox rank in the top 10 of wOBA and wRC+ plus they are guaranteed nine innings worth of at-bats (ABs).
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Stacks
- Chicago Cubs – Probable starter Miles Mikolas relies heavily on ground ball outs but, in the off-chance the sinker is not sinking, the Cubs do rank 11th in wOBA against RHP.
- Los Angeles Dodgers – As of writing this, the projected starter for the Giants is unclear, but it’s looking like Scott Kazmir is the likeliest candidate. Given the Dodgers struggles against left-handers this year, that would leave them as nothing more than a mass-multi entry (MME) target (with sporadic pieces able to be used as one-offs or mini-stacks in other lineup constructions).
- Seattle Mariners – Ryan Weathers has been extremely lucky in the split versus RHHs given his 53.3-percent hard hit rate and 44.4-percent fly ball rate. If playing this offense, target the righties in the middle of the lineup: Mitch Haniger, Kyle Lewis, Tom Murphy and Jacob Nottingham.
Top Players By Position
- Willson Contreras
- Austin Nola
- Christian Vazquez/Tom Murphy
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- Matt Olson
- Eric Hosmer/Anthony Rizzo
- Marcus Semien
- Brandon Lowe
- Max Muncy
- Manny Machado
- Matt Chapman
- Yandy Diaz/Rafael Devers
- Fernando Tatis Jr.
- Bo Bichette
- Xander Bogaerts
- Randy Arozarena
- Mark Canha
- Bryce Harper
- Randal Grichuk
- Teoscar Hernandez
- J.D. Martinez
- Ramon Laureano
- Mitch Haniger
- Kyle Lewis
- Alex Verdugo
Highest Scoring Hitter
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Highest Scoring Pitcher
Highest Owned Pitcher(s) by Me
Biggest Bust Hitter
Biggest Bust Pitcher
Top Value Play
Randal Grichuk ($2,900 on FD)/Chad Pinder (both sites)
Hit me up on Twitter @RSandersDFS or visit the MLB Chat Room with any lineup questions!