This is it. My final act this fine baseball season. I really hope the Hitting Coach article helped you win some money this year. I also hope it was helpful for you to see my perspective of how I build teams for slates and that it was a consistent and steady resource for you. We’ll have a nice little breather for a few months but we’ll be back in late March before we know it. Wish you all lots of luck with NFL DFS, NBA, NHL and whatever else you play.
As for the slate, it’s a good one. The usual suspects (NYY, BOS, HOU, MIN) will be in the mix for highest-owned hitters and we’re lucky (or unlucky?) enough to have a final weekend at Coors Field with the Brewers visiting. My initial thought is that the Brewers won’t be heavily owned tonight because the price tags of their studs on DK is exorbitantly high. I mean, even rookie Trent Grisham is right around Cruz/Blackmon/Betts/Story territory. The silver lining is that Antonio Senzatela is a human gas-can (6.90 ERA, 10% BB, measly 12.6% K) though shockingly he serves up a below league-average rate of homers (1.37 per nine innings). On a primary stack, I might lean towards one of the other stacks and use some Brewers on a secondary squad. On the other side, the Rockies may not even carry high ownership either because it’s such a large slate and because Zach Davies isn’t *that* bad. Well, he’s actually just lucky, carrying a 3.61 ERA despite a 5.20 xFIP and a 15.3% strikeout rate. I really don’t mind using a stack with Blackmon/Story/Arenado/Hampson.
The Yankees will probably be the stack most will try to use since it’s Joe Palumbo for about 2-3 innings then a very poor bullpen. These bats are pricey but they’re in Texas for a great showdown. The Red Sox and Twins have some bats that are usable and stackable as well.
As far as getting sneaky, I am looking at a two-percent owned stack in the Padres tonight. Taylor Clarke has had a rough rookie season allowing a whopping 23 homers (about equal to LH and RH hitters) in just 81.2 innings. If you’re building three squads tonight, make your third one a Padres stack with me.
Last, but not least, let’s consider some of the Rays’ bats. They’re in a great hitting environment in Toronto (Rogers Centre) facing a rookie pitcher playing over his head (T.J. Zeuch) and they aren’t going to be heavily owned despite a 5.6 IRT that feels a bit low to me.
On a side note, you may want to consider taking advantage of Nathan Eovaldi on DraftKings where he feels greatly mispriced as the cheapest pitcher on the slate ($4,100). Maybe he’s on a tight pitch count or there’s some other piece of news I haven’t found but that just seems as free of a square as we can get. My guess is he’ll be wildly popular though.
- Yankees (@ TEX – Joe Palumbo (L))
- Brewers (@ COL – Antonio Senzatela)
- Rockies (v MLW – Zach Davies)
- Red Sox (v BAL – Asher Wojciechowski)
- Astros (@ LAA – Patrick Sandoval (L))
- Twins (@ KC – Eric Skoglund (L))
- Rays (@ TOR – T.J. Zeuch)
- Padres (@ ARI – Taylor Clarke)
- Reds (@ PIT – Steven Brault (L))
- Athletics (@ SEA – Justus Sheffield (L))
- Red Sox
Chalk Home Run
- Aaron Judge (NYY)
Sneaky Home Run
- Nate Lowe (TB)
Same for DK/FD: Judge (OF) + G.Stanton (OF) + E.Suarez (3B) + Mejia (C )
An unattractive set of backstops with many defaulting to Grandal in Coors, but affording him on this slate is another story. Garver is in the same boat as he and Grandal are clearly the superior options but it’s very hard to afford them today (well, unless you’re running with Eovaldi). Mejia is a favorite overall play against the righty Clarke and Astudillo is coming off his best game of the season (4-for-5, 1 HR, 4 R). He scored 40.8 last night and is just 2.1k there on FanDuel.
- Yasmani Grandal (SW/MLW)
- Top Play: Francisco Mejia (SW/SD)
- Mitch Garver (RH/MIN)
- Willians Astudillo (RH/MIN)
- Punt: Andrew Knapp (RH/PHI)
A few studs are missing and with Rizzo and Freeman tending to injuries, the position doesn’t look as studly as it usually does. We’ll have to give Alonso a pass on his 0-for-4 night since he’s crushed 51 dingers as a rookie and facing a lefty (.333 ISO). Moreland and Voit are two power bats on two of the best offenses and highest implied run totals on the slate while Gurriel had the night off and should be back to mash tonight. Cron, Hosmer and Lowe are your GPP plays on lower-owned offenses that could put up plenty of runs.
- Pete Alonso (RH/NYM)
- Mitch Moreland (LH/BOS)
- Luke Voit (RH/NYY)
- Yuli Gurriel (RH/HOU)
- C.J. Cron (RH/MIN)
- Eric Hosmer (LH/SD)
- Nate Lowe (LH/TB)
Punting makes sense at 2B today with Garcia, Blandino or Wendle who are all cheap and could all be their team’s respective leadoff guys. Though no guarantee of 4-5 at-bats, especially for Garcia. If you’re spending up, then Hiura or Torres make plenty of sense while Schoop represents an affordable bat in a nice RvL matchup you can take advantage of.
- Jose Altuve (RH/HOU)
- Keston Hiura (RH/MLW)
- Brandon Lowe (LH/TB)
- Ryan McMahon (RH/COL)
- Gleyber Torres (RH/NYY)
- Jonathan Schoop (RH/MIN)
- Punts: Greg Garcia (LH/SD), Alex Blandino (RH/CIN), Joey Wendle (LH/TB)
The hot corner has been loaded all season long and tonight is no different. Lo and behold, Suarez has outlived the likes of Yelich and Trout and is now second in all of baseball in homers, just one away from 50. He’s got a good shot to get there against lefty Steve Brault or perhaps a member of this bullpen. Sano and Moustakas are my ‘most likely to go yard’ while Devers and LeMahieu feel safest (cash game viable). Machado literally hasn’t done anything in weeks but might get the ball rolling tonight before the season ends.
- Eugenio Suarez (RH/CIN)
- Miguel Sano (RH/MIN)
- Nolan Arenado (RH/COL)
- Manny Machado (RH/SD)
- Punt: Travis Shaw (LH/MLW)
- Mike Moustakas (LH/MLW)
- Rafael Devers (LH/BOS)
- DJ LeMahieu (RH/NYY)
Not a very attractive group of options here today but we do have some usual suspects on the pricey end like Story, Bogaerts and Lindor. Believe it or not, Semien has more homers than any of these guys over the past month and the highest average (.347) over that span ahead of every shortstop not named Bregman or Anderson. A matchup against the rookie lefty Sheffield could be a nice one with four to five at-bats. Speaking of Lindor he’s been uncharacteristically cold at the plate over the last 30 days with an on-base percentage below .300. Arcia is simply a Coors play as a semi-punt.
- Trevor Story (RH/COL)
- Marcus Semien (RH/OAK)
- Xander Bogaerts (RH/BOS)
- Jorge Polanco (RH/MIN)
- Francisco Lindor (SW/CLE)
- Orlando Arcia (RH/MLW)
Lots of options listed and I really do like the Yankees’ duo first and foremost. Of course, any time I can get Cruz or Springer against a lefty, I’ve got to give it due consideration. Meadows is having an absolutely incredible fantasy season (32 HR – 88 RBI – 12 SB – 82 R – .293) and I hope he’ll be undervalued in drafts next season, but I don’t think he will be. As for today, I like him in that park (Rogers Centre) as a pivot off some of these bigger bats – very reliable. By the way, I know that Bellinger isn’t facing a lefty (it’s an already-tired Johnny Cueto) but did you know that he leads the NL in homers against lefties? Tied with Martinez for the MLB lead (though Martinez doesn’t get a lefty tonight either).
- Aaron Judge/Giancarlo Stanton (RH’s/NYY)
- George Springer (RH/HOU)
- Charlie Blackmon (LH/COL)
- Nelson Cruz (RH/MIN)
- J.D. Martinez/Mookie Betts (RH’s/BOS)
- Austin Meadows (LH/TB)
- Cody Bellinger (LH/LAD)
- Ryan Braun (RH/MLW)/Trent Grisham (LH/MLW)
- Bryce Harper (LH/PHI)
Not a huge list here because the options aren’t overly abundant. That and playing Eovaldi on DK gives us the opportunity to play two stud OF’s along with a cheapie in the value section. Rookie Aquino has picked up the pace a bit after a cold stretch and now has crushed three bombs in his last eight games including one last night. Hampson ranks third in stolen bases over the past month (10) behind only Adalberto Mondesi and Jonny Villar. Maybin and Bradley are sneaky bottom-third of lineup guys to differentiate your chalky stacks. Renfroe hits bombs but you already know that.
- Aristides Aquino (RH/CIN) – better price on FD
- Garrett Hampson (RH/COL)
- Hunter Renfroe (RH/SD)
- Jackie Bradley Jr. (LH/BOS)
- Cameron Maybin (RH/NYY)
A few intriguing bats in the value range but not many of them offer power outside of Marisnick and LaMarre and in GPPs we’re usually chasing power.
- Phillip Ervin (RH/CIN)
- Jake Marisnick (RH/HOU)
- Kevin Kiermaier (LH/TB)
- Nick Martini (LH/SD)
- Ryan LaMarre (RH/MIN)
Let’s crush this slate and finish the season off with a bang! Thanks for reading this year.