Happy Good Friday everyone! It’s a wonderful day for baseball and fantasy baseball!
Tonight’s slate is awesome. We have a ton of games, a great array of starting pitchers to choose from, including Clayton Kershaw, and some interesting ways we can attack this slate.
Considering this is a freebie Friday for the Value Index, it’s Good Friday and I am off duty from my teaching job, I figured I would do something a little different today. But only a little. And by a little, I mean a few more picks.
But these aren’t just any picks, these picks make up what will LIKELY be one of my main cash game lineups on DraftKings. Yes, this is a free edition of the Index, but also a free lineup you can try and roll out there. Again, the picks below are with cash games in mind, so I don’t care about ownership, whether low or high.
Remember, we are still offering a free 7-day trial membership for all of our premium content. It’s a great way to get a sneak peek into all that we offer here at DO without any risk to you. What do you have to lose?
Here are my official picks, which all fit into one DraftKings lineup to use or if you want or pick and choose for your own cash games. Good luck!
Analysis: If you do a quick scroll, you don’t see Thor or Kershaw here. I am usually a 1-lineup cash game guy, but I like today’s slate so much that I am probably going to play 2 or 3 and use Kershaw and Thor in those, MAYBE. There’s so many pitching options tonight that I am not certain you need them in cash games as I expect ownership to be pretty spread out at the position. But anyway, Porcello is my overall favorite cash game play and it’s because of his consistency against the Rays and their strikeout tendencies. Last year, Porcello faced the Rays 6 times. In those 6 games, whether at Fenway or not, he was 4-0. In those games, he went at least 6 innings and gave up no more than 3 ER in any of those starts. His strikeout totals in those 6 games – 9, 6, 8, 8, 7 and 9. The Rays are striking out at a 27% clip against RH pitchers this season, that’s phenomenal data favoring Porcello’s upside and floor.
Analysis: So Jason Vargas owns the A’s apparently. The plodding lefty almost hurled a shutout against a vaunted A’s offense that can hit lefty pitching. But let’s face it, the A’s aren’t a very good team 1 through 9. While they don’t strike out a lot, Khris Davis is really the only threat to left-handed pitching, and you can pitch safe to him and make everyone else beat you. While I don’t normally target Keuchel on the road, this is an exception because the lineup is weak and the ballpark is big. Keuchel is an elite ground ball pitcher and has allowed just 24% hard contact to RH bats and only 20% hard contact to lefties the past three seasons. He had two no decisions against the A’s last season, but pitched at least 6 innings in each start, gave up 3 total ER and struck out 11. I think Keuchel saw a lot of regression come his way last year after a stellar 2015 CY Young campaign, and with that comes with some unlucky streaks. His ERA was near 5 at the end of the season. I like for things to normalize for Keuchel this season and he’s already tossed one gem this year, so why not two in a row?
Analysis: Catcher is a wasteland tonight, so I am relying heavy on BvP and current form for this pick. The Astros are taking on one-pitch pony Kendall Graveman tonight in Oakland. While Graveman has shown some stellar movement on his fastballs, it’s one pitch and if that pitch fails you, then you are doomed, which is why I like the Astros and McCann tonight. I like what I am seeing from McCann recently. He’s drawn 5 walks in his past 3 games and has reached base in all games this season except Opening Day. That’s what we want in cash games, guys that won’t goose egg you and his in the heart of the order. McCann may hit in the 6 or 7 hole tonight, but he’s on the road, so the opportunity for an extra at-bat is in play even that far down in the order. McCann was 0-for-4 with 2 walks against Graveman last year, but that was on a lackluster Yankees squad. This year McCann hits in a lineup that is one of the most potent in baseball when it’s clicking, so there should be opportunity for McCann to do damage with runners in scoring position. Overall, McCann is 3-for-7 with a HR and those two walks, so it’s a small sample size, but one I like already for a cheap lefty catcher with some pop.
Analysis: Aaron Sanchez isn’t a guy I like to target bats against, but Chris Davis has some astounding BvP numbers against him that really give Davis a solid floor in cash tonight, despite his strikeout tendencies. Davis is 6-for-16 with 3 HR, 1 2B, 5 runs scored 4 RBI and NINE walks vs. just 5 Ks. That’s the kind of stat line you want in BvP – lots of walks over strikeouts. I have said that a lot in my BvP articles in the past. Sanchez is great against RH bats, but he does slip up against lefties, owning a .314 wOBA vs. a .214 wOBA to righties in his career. He also has a 4.64 BB/9 against lefties and a 1.25 HR/9 rate. I will have Sanchez in tournaments, but I love Chris Davis tonight overall, especially playing at the Rogers’ Centre.
Analysis: The Blue Jays have been the most frustrating DFS team to date in 2017. I have stacked, and stacked, and stacked, and stacked this season and I’ve lost, and lost and lost and lost. So I am going to keep stacking, and stacking and stacking and stacking until something big happens, and it’s going to happen, it’s only a matter of time. Will tonight be the night? I am a Wade Miley hater, but he’s facing an ice cold Blue Jays’ lineup that will be without Josh Donaldson. But we should see Steve Pearce, a former Oriole and lefty masher, move up in the lineup (maybe the 2-hole?) in place of Donaldson. Since 2014, Pearce has a ridiculous .378 wOBA and a .268 ISO against lefties. Against Miley, he is 5-for-12 with 2 HR and 3 RBI in his career. The ballpark favors Pearce and the Jays and so does Miley’s .340 wOBA, 3.12 BB/9, 1.12 HR/9 and 30% hard contact rate against RH bats (all since 2014). I will be stacking lots of Blue Jays tonight.
Analysis: The Moose is loose! Moustakas continues to be underpriced hitting in the 2-hole for the Royals. Tonight he gets to face off against an inexperienced J.C. Ramirez. While this game is at Kaufmann, I don’t really care. Moustakas is a perfect, cheap cash game play hitting atop of the order for KC. Moustakas already has 10 hits this season, including a handful of multi-hit efforts. I love Joey Gallo at a similar price point, but he is reserved for tournaments, so for this cash game play, I like Moose to pay off for us tonight.
Analysis: For the simple fact that I needed to spend a little of my salary is why I landed on Corey Seager. Troy Tulowitzki will very much be in play in tournaments at a cheaper price, but I can’t very have a 3-man Blue Jays stack in cash game due to their recent struggles.. I like Seager’s opposing pitcher tonight too – Zack Greinke – but as a one-off, Seager fits the cash game bill. He’s super consistent, his atop the order and crushes at home, despite it’s pitcher-friendly nature. Against Greinke, Seager is 5-for-8 with 2 HRs, 1 2B, 4 RBIs and 2 BBs. He’s a rising star and a stud while Greinke is crawling out of his prime. Greinke has pitched well in his career at Dodger Stadium, but that mostly comes from him being the home pitcher, not a road pitcher against this Dodgers’ lineup.
Analysis: Crruuuuuuuuz. When Cruz faces a lefty, I am in, always. Cruz is one of the best RH bats in the majors. Crus has a .412 wOBA and a .311 ISO against lefties. He has a 12.2% walk rate as well. Also, Cruz has yet to hit a home run this season. He has 2 in 10 ABs against Martin Perez, who is an elite ground ball pitcher. Cruz is also 5-for-10 with a double and a walk against Perez. (Insert .gif of a guy pushing his chips all in).
Analysis: Sweeping declaration – if I recommend Jose Bautista this year, I will use this .gif everytime! For all the turmoil the Blue Jays’ offense has been through this season, Bautista is the lone model of consistency. He’s reached base in every game this season and hits in the 2-hole or leads off. He crushes left handed pitching. He is 3-for-9 with a HR, 3 RBis and 3 walks in 9 ABs against Miley. Bautista also hasn’t hit a home run this season and will have more pressure on him to produce with Donaldson on the shelf.
Analysis: A little game theory note here – The Mets are priced like they are facing a lefty pitcher, but they aren’t. Initially, Adam Conley was the probable starter for the Marlins Thursday, but then he had to pitch in extra innings, so insert Edinson Volquez, a RH plodder that gets a red hot Mets’ lineup. Jay Bruce is only $3,500 and crushes RH pitching. Bruce is 9-for-19 with a double, 2 HR, 3 RBIs and 4 BBs against Volquez. This is a big ballpark, but Bruce’s power can launch HRs in this venue. Bruce is in the midst of a 6-game hitting streak with 9 hits, 3 HRs and 6 RBIs.