Welcome to our MLB DFS Building Blocks, DraftKings and FanDuel picks for 4/9/22! In this article, I’ll break down by top overall plays for today’s main slate. Last year was an extremely big year for the Karma team in MLB, and we are looking to continue that success in 2022. I will be providing Core Plays for every main slate (and day baseball) this season — you can gain access to that as well as our premium discord here. You can also try out the Core Plays package with a $5 daily pass. Let’s get to the plays…
Peralta has clearly been the best pitcher on this slate in recent years, striking out over 32% of the batters he’s faced. At times last year we were simply plugging and playing pitchers against what was a very high strikeout lineup…I want to pump the brakes on that. This is not the same Cubs lineup as years past, and the strikeout rates of guys like Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant are gone. In fact, the Cubs lineup is striking out just 21% of the time since the start of 2020 — a much lower number than we saw in 2021. Now, Freddy Peralta has the stuff to strike out any lineup, but it’s just not an elite match-up like we saw last season. I think he is the clear top arm here, but I will come in underweight. All of these pitchers are going to throw around the same length in their first start, and his match-up is not at the top of the board. If he’s going to be chalky, I would rather drop down today.
I actually don’t mind Zach Eflin at all today, and this is a guy we have used at times in past seasons. For starters, the Oakland A’s completely tanked this season by trading almost anyone of value on their team in the lead up to Opening Day. That leaves their starting lineup with a combined .262 wOBA since the start of 2020…yikes! Eflin isn’t an ace, but just a solid overall pitcher with 25% strikeouts over the last two seasons. He struggles with left-handed power, but good news for him is that Oakland doesn’t have any power to speak of. He’s also been very good at home in recent years. This is a match-up play, but Eflin is good enough to get it done and he is my top overall pitcher on Sunday.
I’ve never been a huge Steven Matz guy, but he wins the Pittsburgh Pirates lottery on Sunday. We’ve already used Adam Wainwright against this team this season, and Matz is firmly in play on Sunday. Pittsburgh is arguably the worst lineup in baseball and their projected lineup carries a combined .300 wOBA and 24% strikeout rate into today. Matz biggest issue has always been power allowed to right-handed batters, and the good news here is there’s not a single righty in this lineup that is even touching a .190 ISO. I hate playing pitchers that I think are average, but that’s what we have to do sometimes early in the season and this is the top overall match-up on the slate. If you’re looking for higher upside with some more risk, look no further than…
If you enjoy pitching as much as I do, I highly recommend tuning into today’s White Sox/Tigers game to watch Kopech take on Tarik Skubal. Two promising young arms will be facing off, and I have to mention Kopech in this article due to his sub-$6,000 price tag on DK. I’ve written a ton already this season about how the first and second time through the rotations, these guys are unlikely to go their full pitch limits. That makes it tougher to spend top dollar on any pitcher, and we can pivot to the cheaper guys that have any ability to rack up strikeouts in 4-5 innings of work. Kopech fits that mold, and he’s finally back in the rotation after being used out of the bullpen last season when he returned from Tommy John surgery. Kopech has electric stuff, and was regularly sitting upper-90’s in spring training. A big factor here is the control we saw in 2021 — he walked 8% of batters last season which is a good sign for a young pitcher that had struggled with control at times in the minors. He likely won’t get past five innings, but has as much strikeout ability as anyone. Definitely viable in tournaments as an SP2.
I will likely be fading Peralta on my main team and my two cheaper SP approach will allow me plenty of room to spend up for bats. We can start that off with the future AL MVP, Vlad Guerrero Jr. Toronto is one of the top spots today against Spencer Howard — a promising young pitcher that has looked overwhelmed to begin his MLB career. He profiles as a fly-ball pitcher and that could be bad news with how much power there is up and down in this Blue Jays lineup. He also throws primarily fastballs, which Guerrero crushes — .441 wOBA and 47% hard hits since getting the call to the major leagues. This isn’t a sneaky pick, but he’s my top overall bat on Sunday.
Philly is another team that’s in a great spot today. Daulton Jefferies is one of Oakland’s younger arms, but he has shown little to no strikeout ability even in the minor leagues. We have under a 40 plate appearance sample size for him, but he primarily throws his sinker. That’s good news for Schwarber — who owns monster splits vs the pitch. Over the last three seasons, he sports .465 wOBA, .412 ISO and 47% hard-hit rate vs sinkers. He’s back in the lead-off spot for Philly today and a top option in all formats.
Bobby Witt Jr
Anyone that knows me personally knows that I am in love with this kid, and I’ll go to say that I haven’t felt this strongly about a young player being a certified star in a long time. Witt Jr is not a household name yet, but this is the number one prospect in baseball and he’s primed to take over the American League this season. He ripped up the minor leagues, and did so well in Spring Training that the Royals couldn’t possibly start him in Triple A this season. His first MLB hit was a go-ahead double in the 8th inning on Opening Day, and I feel like that really set the tone for what’s to come. He has one of the smoothest swings I’ve ever seen, and I will continue to buy into him on DK at this price until it gets moved up. A bonus is KC loves to run, so if he gets on base he will likely be attempting steals as well.
There are some strong offenses in play today including the Phillies, Blue Jays and Cardinals. I’m going to go with St. Louis as my favorite because I think they’re likely to be lower-owned than both Toronto and Philly. Wilson has been overmatched in the big leagues thus far in his career — and the Pirates bullpen continues to be flat out terrible. If they get into the bullpen early, they could flash that Opening Day GPP-winning upside. Given that we are attacking the bullpen, you don’t need to isolate batter handedness and can focus on the full five man stack.
Bobby Witt Jr goes reverse home run – single/steal/steal/run!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)