Jacob deGrom- deGrom checks in as the top overall option on Friday’s loaded slate, with an elite matchup with the Miami Marlins. There are other aces in Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole, but both have tougher matchups than deGrom against the Cubs and Red Sox respectively. The Marlins come into tonight striking out almost 25.0% of the time against right-handed pitching, and this is a matchup that deGrom posted 30 DraftKings point in, in his last start. He is the clear lock of the trio in my opinion, and the top place to go for cash game builds tonight.
Max Scherzer- Mad Max has been his usual self in 2019, boasting a 2.83 SIERA, 32.2% strikeouts and only 4.1% walks thus far. The Cubs offense is quite a bit more intimidating than the Marlins, as they come in to Friday top-ten in the MLB in wRC+ against righties, however they do strike out nearly 23.0% of the time. We pretty much know the story with Max every start, he could surrender a solo homer or two, but he will bunt for strikeouts and is still one of the safest pitchers every fifth day. He also has gotten a touch unlucky this season, with a 3.64 ERA compared to his sun-3.00 SIERA. I will be passing over him for deGrom on DraftKings, but on FanDuel where he is $1,200 cheaper I can definitely see the case for dropping down to him in cash games.
Joey Lucchesi- Lucchesi fits the mold as your cash game SP2 on DraftKings tonight, priced at $8,200 in a matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates. We do have some pitch count concerns with him, but he seems pretty mispriced on FanDuel as well at $6,200. I don’t think I would be looking to bypass the safety/upside deGrom (or even Scherzer) on a single pitcher site, but I do think you could play around with Lucchesi cash game builds given his cheap price in an attempt to jam in all the bats. He isn’t my typical brand of pitcher, with only 22.0% strikeouts this season, but he gets the same matchup against the Pirates than Eric Lauer saw last night, a team that ranks bottom-five in wRC+ against southpaws while also striking out at a top-five rate. I’m not sure how high the upside really is, so if I end up rolling him out in cash on DK I will most likely be underweight in tournaments.
Frankie Montas- One of the pivots I’m considering to Lucchesi tonight in GPPs is Frankie Montas against the Detroit Tigers. Montas has taken a big step forward this season with the help of some pitch mix changes, as he’s trimmed his SIERA down to a more than respectable 3.85 to go along with 22.0% strikeouts. Again, 22.0% strikeouts is nothing crazy, or even what I typically chase, but the matchup against the Tigers is what has me interested here. The Tiger should be sending six or seven right-handed batters to the plate tonight, and Montas has dominated them this season with the help of over 64.0% ground balls. The Tigers are a free-swinging team as well, so there could be some extra K’s in the fold on Friday night.
Tournament Pool: Gerrit Cole (ELITE GPP PIVOT), Miles Mikolas, Dylan Bundy
Matt Carpenter- Honestly, how many times have I written up Matt Carpenter over the last two seasons, O/U 75? It’s insane that he’s always affordably priced, but we can go right back to the well tonight against Adrian Sampson, who will get the bulk of the work after Jose Leclerc opens. Sampson has been one of the worst pitchers in the MLB this season surrendering 47.5% hard hits and 41.3% fly balls. His splits don’t improve to either side of the plate, and the Cardinals are by far the top offensive spot tonight starting with Carp at the top of the lineup.
Willie Calhoun- Calhoun was once a heralded prospect for the Rangers, and while the love for him has faded somewhat from the initial projections, this doesn’t change that he has the pedigree to excel as a hitter and he was batting over .300 at Triple A before being called up. He has had a string of big games since joining the big league club, and draws Miles Mikolas tonight who owns a 5.04 xFIP with a big ground ball hit against lefties this season. This is more so about the price, as the sites have refused to bump him up and that makes him playable in all formats tonight even as a one off.
Max Muncy/Joc Pederson (FanDuel)- I will talk about their matchup below, just note that they are both extremely cheap on FanDuel are borderline locks for me in cash games.
Austin Riley (FanDuel)- This is another example of incorrect pricing, as FanDuel has left Riley at $2,100 despite posting 18 and 21 fantasy points in his first two big league games. Riley is one of the top third base prospects in all of baseball, and while he will eventually slow down, it’s simply too cheap and hard to avoid in cash at expected high ownership.
1. Dodgers- The Dodgers draw Anthony DeSclafani tonight, who has put up some extreme splits this season against lefties/righties. Against left-handed batters this season, DeSclafani owns a 5.49 xFIP — compared to 3.40 against right-handerd batters, along with 44.0% hard hits and 55.0% fly balls. The Dodgers have way too much power from the left side for him to contain in my opinion, and that’s what nets them the top overall spot for me tonight.
2. Royals- I like this a lot for tournaments because they have an exceptional matchup with Matt Harvey, and Vegas doesn’t “love” them so there’s a great chance that we get them under-owned. I would want to focus on the left-handed bats here like Adalberto Mondesi, Ryan O’Hearn, Alex Gordon and newly promoted Nicky Lopez seeing as Harvey sports a 55.0+% hard-contact rate to lefties this season, but we can include the likes of Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier as well for stacking purposes.
Chalk Stacks: Cardinals, Astros, A’s (ON DK, because they are cheap)
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)