May 22, 2015
The Young and the Splitless
After a couple of thin days in a row, the DFS gamer's cup runneth over with high-end pitching options today. There is a full stable of pitchers poised to wreak havoc today, a market dynamic that should spread out the ownership of those arms while infiltrating the decisions on the batter end of the player pool. There will be a lot of tough matchups for hitters to navigate in order to score their points today, and the pitching crop is so bountiful that one could setup four unique tandems of pitchers and roll those lineups into a GPP. There's a full slate of 15 games that start at 7:05 EST or later, so expect a heavy day on the DFS market.
Carlos Gomez, OF ($4800)
vs. RHP: .263/.316/.412, with 160-of-197 SB in 2438 PA
Gomez has been relatively neutral on the platoon front for most of his career, both in terms of performance at the plate and on the basepaths. He's had a bit more power against southpaws and his success rate on steals takes a hit, but the RHP power spike was mostly contained to the 2013 season and he is just as likely to take off regardless of the handedness of the opposing pitcher. He started slowly this season and endured a two-week stint on the disabled list, but over his last 10 games Gomez is hitting .351/.400/.649 with three steals in five attempts.
Gomez vs. Wood's pitch types, 2012-2015 (AVG/SLG)
vs. Sinker: .328/.534 in 326 AB
vs. Curve: .273/.488 in 209 AB
vs. Change: .237/.439 in 148 AB
Today he faces southpaw Alex Wood, against whom Gomez has homered and walked in three career plate appearances. The stuff matches up extremely well for the Brewer center fielder, as Gomez has wrecked Wood's two main weapons against right-handed batters (the sinker and curve), particularly when viewing the time window in which Gomez has ascended to stud status.
Manny Machado, 3B ($4400)
vs. LHP: .275/.310/.418 in 409 PA
vs. RHP: .280/.320/.446 in 1011 PA
There was a time when Machado's name was spoken in the same breath as Trout and Harper, but a series of knee injuries derailed Machado's career track. He has gotten back on the rails this season, with a .281/.344/.468 line in 158 plate appearances and a reminder that the 22-year old is still young enough to be putting up these numbers at Double-A and earning rave reviews (with elite defense to boot). He already has 14 extra-base hits, but most surprising are the career-high seven steals in eight attempts this season as his team reaches the quarter mark. Machado is facing the 6.23 ERA of right-hander Henderson Alvarez to provide an extra advantage due to the Oriole's reverse platoon split, though Machado's odds of breaking his eight-game homerless drought are diminished against a pitcher who has given up just 15 homers in his last 204 innings of work.
Steven Souza Jr., OF ($4100)
vs. LHP: .278/.422/.667 in 45 PA
vs. RHP: .200/.281/.328 in 139 PA
The major-league sample is small enough to be negligible, but Souza's ability to stick it to southpaws was readily apparent in the minor leagues, as well. Last season, he hit .337/.442/.568 against left-handers in 113 plate appearances split between Triple-A and the majors; in '13 it was .314/.396/.523 in in 101 PA. He was hitting as well (or better) against right-handers during that stretch, so the numbers support more of an all-around level of domination as opposed to a lefty-specific skill, though it certainly doesn't hurt his stock to be facing a southpaw today in Scott Kazmir. Souza leads the majors with 58 batter K's, so gamers who roster him will breathe a sigh of relief that Draft Kings does not penalize batters for strikeouts.
Andrew Cashner, SD at LAD, ($8100)
Cashner has an unsightly 1-7 record that will surely turn off a certain subset of old-school voters, but his background numbers have been excellent this season and the Padres have the offensive firepower to give Cashner the run support that he needs to gets some tallies in the W column. He has responded well in the early-going to two of the biggest question marks surrounding his game entering the year: K's and innings. Owner of a, 18-percent K rate over the past two seasons, Cashner has upped the ante to 23.9 percent and a strikeout per inning this season, utilizing both his high-90s heat and his biting slider to register punchouts. The right-hander has also thrown six or more complete innings in seven consecutive starts and has thrown between 93 and 110 pitches in every start this season. The Dodgers are a formidable opponent in a game that could very well have playoff implications, but L.A. is also coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Giants in which the Dodgers failed to cross home plate even once in the entire series.
Chris Young, KC vs. STL ($7400)
The sub-1.00 ERA won't last and his strikeout ceiling is low enough for the 6-foot-10 right-hander to duck his head, but the veteran (who turns 36 on Memorial Day) has been quietly effective over the past two seasons, with 193.7 innings of 3.25 ERA baseball. The peripheral stats suggest that Young has been helped by the gloves behind him in that span, with just 7.2 hits per nine innings yet higher-than-average rates of walks and homers allowed. His 85-89 mph velocity isn't fooling anyone, and the Cardinals have the lineup depth to post some big innings against Young tonight.
His price tag might be the lowest that I have seen for a starting pitcher this season, and yet Kendrick will likely struggle to score the mere eight points necessary to justify his salary. With a 6.70 ERA and just 26 strikeouts in 47 innings this season, Kendrick has been a favorite among stack-savvy gamers all season, though opposing batter prices have skyrocketed when he has pitched in Coors. Many of the Giants have received similar treatment for tonight's game, but Brandon Belt could pose a particular threat to the Rox. In addition to his recent surge, Belt has been particularly strong against off-speed pitches in his career yet weak against breaking balls, stacking the deck for a a prime matchup against a right-handed Kendrick that has thrown just six-percent curves this season.
Max Muncy, 1B ($2300)
Used mostly as a fill-in during his first three weeks on a big league roster, Muncy has been given an opportunity to prove himself and responded with a Rabbit-like performance. He has started four of the past five games for the Athletics, cracking four extra-base hits (including a pair of homers) to go with three walks and no strikeouts, a.k.a the type of performance that will earn a rookie more playing time. It helps that Muncy can cover both infield corners, and though his long-term position is likely at first base, for now the flexibility will help to get his bat in the lineup.
He only took a seat against tough lefty Dallas Keuchel on the mound, and the A's emphasis on platoon manipulations will likely enforce a continuation of that pattern for the lefty-swinging Muncy. His 2014 season was marred by a broken finger, but he was on tear prior to the injury and has the minor league track record (career MiLB slash of .271/.384/.434) to suggest that his OPS spike is not just a fluke; the power is likely to come back to earth but the patience is a longstanding piece of Muncy's profile, including 87 walks in 122 games last season to pace the Texas League in free passes. Expect the 24-year old to be in the starting lineup for Oakland today against Chris Archer and the Rays.
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