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MLB DFS 5/17/19 – Battle of the Bales

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Pitcher

Justin’s Pick: Joey Lucchesi

Lucchesi has seen a few ups and downs this season, but he has looked outstanding at home. Through five starts in San Diego, he owns a 3-1 record with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He could be in line for positive regression overall, as well, as Lucchesi enters this game with a 3.91 xFIP and a 4.09 SIERA. His strikeout rate is down to 22.2% this season, but that could also see positive regression, as he owns an 11% swinging strike rate in 2019. Lucchesi has found plenty of success with the long ball, as well, holding his opponents to 32% fly ball and 10% HR/FB rates this season. As if that isn’t enough, his opponents have posted only a 29.1% hard hit rate against him, while also recording a 23.6% soft hit rate. Lucchesi gets a matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who rank third on the slate in strikeouts per at-bat, while also ranking in the bottom-five of the slate in team wOBA. He’s a -158 favorite in a game set at 7 runs, and he’s an elite option in all leagues.

Jason’s Reaction: Lucchesi is the second best pitching option on the board tonight.

Jason’s Pick: Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom can be rostered in both cash games and tournaments tonight against the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are the worst team in the league right now, and possibly the worst team in MLB history. It is early in the season, but Miami has been shutout nine times already, and deGrom has the ability to add another shutout loss to their record. He has an 11.9 K/9 ratio, and the Marlins strikeout 0.276 times per at-bat. The New York Mets are -193 favorites in a game set at 6.5 total runs, giving the Marlins an implied run total of 2.7. As an added bonus, deGrom has the highest strikeout prediction on the slate tonight. There is absolutely no reason to avoid him tonight.

Justin’s Reaction: deGrom is a lock in cash. Elite play if you can get up to him.

 

Infielder

Justin’s Pick: Justin Turner

It was only a bit ago that we were getting Justin Turner for a sub-$4K price tag. That’s no longer the case, but he’s still an outstanding option. He’s hitting .316 with a .763 slugging percentage and a 1.172 OPS over his last 10 games. Turner also owns 7 extra-base hits (5 home runs) and 11 RBIs over that span. He has posted 56% hard hit and 51% fly ball rates with a 98 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days, as well. Turner has been at his best against left-handed pitching, but he still gets a plus matchup against Anthony DeSclafani tonight. The latter has struggled with a 45% fly ball rate to go along with a 14.3% HR/FB rate. Furthermore, he has allowed a 41.1% hard hit rate this season. Turner gets an added bonus for playing in the Cincinnati Reds’ hitter-friendly stadium, as well. He could potentially go overlooked for his price tag on this slate, but he makes an outstanding option, specifically in tournaments.

Jason’s Reaction: Turner hitting in Cincinnati is never a bad option in tournaments. He has serious home run potential tonight.

Jason’s Pick: Justin Smoak

Justin Smoak is an interesting option in tournaments tonight due to his lower price tag and peripheral circumstances. He gets a good matchup against Ivan Nova, who is allowing 1.5 HR/9, and while hitting in Chicago is not always easy, this game is set at 9 total runs. Smoak enters tonight’s game with a .121 ISO differential against right-handed pitching, and he has 0.049 HR/AB. In the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance of 245 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 96 MPH, a fly ball rate over 30%, and a hard hit rate at 60%. Smoak is expected to hit third in the Toronto Blue Jays’ batting order, and he is sub-$4K right now. On a slate without cheap pitching options, Smoak will offer some much needed salary relief, but without sacrificing upside.

Justin’s Reaction: Smoak is a strong option to use so you can pay up for deGrom.

 

Outfielder

Justin’s Pick: Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper has been ice cold recently, posting a .171 average with a .286 slugging percentage and a .611 OPS over his last 10 games. He owns two extra-base hits (one home run) and five RBIs over that span. With that being said, he owns 47% hard hit and 43% fly ball rates with a 97 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. In other words, Harper is in line for a breakout soon. Last season, he posted a .250 average with a .508 slugging percentage and a .904 OPS against right-handed pitching. Those numbers were down a bit, and he gets a solid matchup against Jon Gray tonight. Gray has held his opponents to a 28.9% fly ball rate, but he has also allowed a ridiculous 24.3% HR/FB rate in 2019. Harper will benefit from playing in one of the more hitter-friendly stadiums in the MLB, and he makes a strong option in tournaments tonight.

Jason’s Reaction: Harper makes a good, high upside play.

Jason’s Pick: Cody Bellinger

Add Cody Bellinger to Justin Turner for the ultimate high-upside Los Angeles Dodgers’ mini-stack. Anthony DeSclafani is not one of the better pitching options in the league, and the Dodgers have an implied run total of 5.1 tonight. Bellinger has a .123 ISO differential against right-handed pitching, and he is hitting 0.062 HR/AB. The temperate is going to be over 80 degrees in Cincinnati, which only adds to Bellinger’s home run upside. Cincinnati is one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in the league, especially for power hitters, and over the last 15 days, Bellinger is sporting an average batted ball distance of 241 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 95 MPH, a 36% fly ball rate, and a 46% hard hit rate. He is hitting fourth in one of the most explosive offenses in baseball, and his upside is nearly unlimited. Yes, his price tag is high, but he is worth it.

Justin’s Reaction: I love the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight, but it’s going to be extremely difficult getting deGrom and Bellinger in the same line. If you can do it, feel free.

 

Be sure to follow Justin (@BalesSJustin) and Jason (@BalesTJason) on Twitter!

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