Justin Verlander- Unlike last night, there is an elite pitcher (and others) to spend up on, so there’s a much tougher decision to be made when building your optimal lineup. There are no questions that Justin Verlander is the top overall pitcher on this slate, it just comes down to whether or not you feel comfortable jamming in value bats to get in his salary. Verlander has been his usual self this season striking out over 30% of the batters he’s faced with over 15% swinging strikes, and he’s coming off a start in which he allowed three homeruns, but still managed a monster fantasy score backed up by his 15 strikeouts. As I’ve said a few times this season, strikeouts are even more prevalent this season than in years past, because at the rate in which starters are allowing runs this season, you absolutely need to have strikeout ability to counteract those negative fantasy points. His matchup tonight comes in a hitter-friendly ballpark (Cincinnati), but is also a positive one on terms of strikeouts as the Reds are much more vulnerable against right-handed pitching. I haven’t made any firm decisions on my rosters yet for tonight, but I can tell you that Verlander is 100% my top option and I would love to have him anchor my cash game team on Tuesday night.
Jack Flaherty- On DraftKings, I think that a Verlander + Flaherty pairing is definitely in the cards for tonight, while on FanDuel, you need to make the decision between $12,000 for Verlander and value bats, or only $8,000 for Flaherty and getting in pretty much whatever bats/stack you want to. He’s been under-priced ever since the Cubs got to him in just 3.2 innings a few starts ago, and I am completely comfortable taking advantage of the price in a home matchup with the Miami Marlins. Flaherty has been extremely splitsy in 2019 posting a 3.07 xFIP with over 30% strikeouts to right-handed batters, compared to a 5.04 mark with only 20% punch-outs to lefties. He will benefit from seeing a right-handed heavy Marlins lineup that is striking out nearly a quarter of the time against right-handed pitching. Flaherty is the top overall mid-tier option on this slate, and I would expect to end up pretty chalky given his price tag.
Brandon Woodruff- If you’re looking for a lower-owned pivot off of Jack Flaherty, look no further than Brandon Woodruff who comes in $600 more on DraftKings, and $1,300 more on FanDuel. Woodruff has completely broken out for the Milwaukee Brewers this season, pitching to a 3.62 SIERA with 29% strikeouts, backed up by 11% swinging strikes. He has an equally strong matchup for strikeouts against the San Diego Padres, who lead the MLB in strikeouts against righties (over 26%), but come with a much better offense than the Marlins. The Padres team ISO ranks 16th in the MLB compared to dead-last for the Marlins, and their 89 wRC+ isn’t great (vs RHP) but it’s better than the Marlins at 76. Unlike Flaherty, however, Woodruff doesn’t lose his strikeout ability against left-handed batters, and ultimately I think he has similar/greater upside to Flaherty in tournaments with what should be significantly less ownership.
Tournament Pool: Jacob deGrom, Cole Hamels, Brandon Woodruff, Mitch Keller (FD ONLY)
Giancarlo Stanton- I guess we will need to double-check the lineup once it comes out, but it appears that Giancarlo Stanton will be back in the Yankees lineup tonight, just in time to see the left-handed Ryan Yarbrough. There’s shouldn’t be any questions about Stanton’s form as he has been putting on a home run derby on his rehab assignment, and he has been the definition of a lefty-masher in his career — owning a .336 ISO in this split. Yarbrough strikes out just 16% of right-handed batters, which is crucial for a free-swinger like Stanton. If he’s in the lineup, I will be building around him in all formats, and if not I will update this spot with someone else in his place!
Matt Adams- Adams was one of my top overall plays last night, and ended up getting screwed over by the PPD in Washington. The good news is, he has the exact same matchup tonight, and we don’t have to choose between him and Justin Bour, who was as good/better of a play last night. If you didn’t catch my article yesterday, enjoy my piece of why I like Adams so much tonight:
Adams is someone I have played quite a few times already this season, given his always cheap price tag, and coming off a two-homer game on Sunday he is my contingency plan at first base should Justin Bour not be in the lineup. The Nationals draw Jake Arrieta tonight, who has been extremely splits-dependent in 2019. Arrieta’s ground balls are cut by 20% to lefties compared to righties, and his strikeouts fall all the way down to 14% in the split as well. Someone that doesn’t have huge K ability is the perfect matchup for a free-swinger like Adams, and his huge .280 ISO is exactly what we target for upside as well. Furthermore, Arrieta is throwing his sinker 50% of the time to left-handed batters this season, a pitch that Adams has crushed the past few years to the tune of a .460 xWOBA and a .300 ISO.
Kyle Schwarber- Schwarber should continue to lead-off for the Cubs, and seems to be under-priced for what feels like the 100th slate in a row. He, and his Cubs teammates, have one of the top matchups on the board against Ivan Nova, and while I am interested in this team as a whole, I can’t pass up Schwarber as a building block at his price. There is set to be some good pitching weather in Chicago tonight, but I don’t think that will keep me off of Schwarber because we have seen multiple instances this season where the wind is blowing in, and while it may keep homeruns in the yard, it won’t stop the XBH’s and runs from being scored against bad pitchers, like Nova.
Francisco Lindor/Jason Kipnis- Opposing pitcher Adrian Sampson has seen some success recently, in part due to his slider. He has bumped his slider usage up from 17% last season to 31% this season, and over his last three starts he’s ramped it up even more to almost 40%. Even with those changes he’s allowing over 45% hard hits to lefties this season, and while I don’t think the Indians offense is very good, Francisco Lindor certainly is and they’re going to be able to send out at least five lefties tonight in the Arlington heat. Lindor homered last night, and he is one of the top spend ups on this slate. You can also include Kipnis for value, and I think both players are strong starting points for cash game rosters tonight.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)