Top Tier: Zack Greinke/Noah Syndergaard- Zack Greinke and Noah Syndergaard take the top spots for me tonight, edging out Gerrit Cole based off his price tag on Draftkings. Do I think Cole is a good play? Yes, but I need double-digit strikeouts at $13,900 and I'm not sure if I can predict that against this Angels team.
Greinke gets a solid matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers, who are striking out at the 6th highest clip in the MLB against right-handed pitching (24.6%). His hard contact is up this season to 42%, but so is his strikeout rate which has risen to 27.2% (26% last season). His walk rate is all the way down to 5.6% and he has pitched really well this season despite the hard hits. He profiles well for this matchup given his strikeout abilities, and we have talked about how much better he has thrown at home over the last two season numerous times on our daily livestream.
Thor has an equally enticing matchup with the Blue Jays who are just behind the Brewers in terms of strikeout rate (7th). He also gets the advantage of having the Blue Jays travel to the NL park tonight and lose their DH. Syndergaard is third on the slate with a 27.6% strikeout rate, which even I'll admit feels a bit too low for him. He has as much upside as anyone on the slate, and it's hard not to use him when factoring in his $1000 discount off of Greinke.
Mid Tier: Masahiro Tanaka- The mid tier is packed with "meh" options today, which naturally has me looking to #StayOnBrand with Masahiro Tanaka should the weather hold up. Tanaka has been his same old self this season, his strikeout rate has dipped down below to 24% but his SwStr% is still very elite at 13.6%. The matchup with the Nationals is not ideal, but none of the other options in this tier (Darvish/Rodriguez/Wood) are any safer. I wouldn't use him in any thing other than tournaments tonight, but he always has the strikeout ability to pay off in DFS...and he's always overlooked.
Low Tier: Jaime Garcia- I really hate this play, because there are six right-handed batters in the Mets lineup tonight, but he is so cheap that he's in play and the righties that the Mets have stuffed into the lineup are far from intimidating. If Garcia had pitched well this season it would ease my mind a bit, but naturally he's having one of his worst seasons ever. His typical ground ball tendencies have taken a huge hit, his ground ball rate is over 50% for his career yet sits at just 42% this season...which is concerning. But, there is some good news! Despite there being six righties in the lineup tonight, the Mets are far and away the worst team against left-handed pitching this season with just a 60 wRC+. Garcia also owns at least some strikeout ability with a 22% K rate on the season. This could be an all-time war between bad pitcher and bad offense, and given Garcia's price I have to consider him tonight.
Top Tier: Edwin Encarnacion- Everyone played the Indians last night and they let everyone down, which hopefully will keep people away tonight against Francisco Liriano. Liri's 3.35 SIERA looks good, until you note his 5.15 SIERA and a massive 12.5% walk rate. Edwin owns a 46.5% fly ball rate thus far this season and we know the power upside that he possesses.
Mid Tier: Justin Turner- It's Justin Turner's first day back from the DL and I'm going right to him immediately at his price. Wei-Yin Chen has been a stone disaster this season posting a 6.84 SIERA (highest on the slate) and just a 10% strikeout rate (yikes!). Turner has hit lefties well throughout his career and put up a monster .324 ISO against them last season. Take advantage of the price now!
Low Tier: Daniel Descalso- Descalso has turned into one of my favorite value plays on the slate once I dug into his numbers a bit this season. So faring 2018, Descalso owns a .384 wOBA and a .210 ISO against right-handed pitching. He also has been making solid contact as shown by his 41% hard contact rate and 49% fly balls. He should be near the top of the order once again for the Diamondbacks, and he has an extremely positive matchup, which transitions us to the next section...
Trend of the Day
Jhoulys Chacin and the Lefties- Jhoulys Chacin has had a pretty rough season for the Brewers posting a 5.39 SIERA (5.29 xFIP) and just a 14.6% strikeout rate. Those numbers actually get significantly worse against left-handed batters...let's take a look:
.384 wOBA allowed, 6.90 xFIP, 6.5% strikeouts (!!!), 39% hard hits
He's literally shown no ability to get left-handed batters out, which puts all of the Arizona Diamondbacks lefties in play tonight. I highlighted Daniel Descalso above, but others like David Peralta and Ketel Marte are in play as well. Chain has been bad enough that I'm completely fine with full stacking against him as well, so you don't want to leave out Paul Goldschmidt and company in GPPs.
Tournament Stack of the Day
Texas Rangers- For whatever reason, people love Mike Leake. He was semi-chalky a few weeks ago and he got absolutely shelled by the Chicago White Sox, and it seems like the price tag is drawing people in once again tonight against the Texas Rangers. Do the Rangers strike out a lot against right-handed pitching? Yes, they in fact are the highest strikeout team in the majors against RHP this season (27.2%). Does Mike Leake strike out a lot of batters? NO! He owns just a 16% strikeout rate this season, and the Rangers have enough capable hitters to make me not want to use the corpse of Mike Leake against them. The advanced numbers for the Rangers against righties aren't great, but Leake owns a 5.29 xFIP and just a 12.6% strikeout rate against left-handed batters. The Rangers have three very capable left-handed hitters in Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo. Does anyone want to tell me that Joey Gallo and his 50% fly ball rate isn't going to hit one out against a guy with no K ability? Yeah, I didn't think so. I don't love the Rangers tonight, but if people are going to play Leake sign me all the way up for the leverage plays.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)