Any rainout will impact the slate, but when a game in Colorado gets suspended it can have a ripple effect that is felt across DFS rosters. There is similar risk today, as the rains in Denver could once again thwart the Diamondbacks' attempt to face Tyler Matzek in the thin air. The value of Paul Goldschmidt ($5700) hangs in the balance.
Jason Kipnis, 2B ($5000)
vs. RHP: .275/.355/.433, with 93-for-102 SB in 1408 PA
Kipnis tends to be streaky, and he was on an absolute tear against the Blue Jays over the weekend. In his last three games, the second baseman is 8-for-12 with three walks, two homers, and a double. He scored six runs over that stretch and drove in three more. Kipnis had no homers over his first 20 games of the season but has three bombs in his last five contests, and his recent performance is baked into the $5k price tag. This would normally be the time to hitch to the Kipnis wagon, but his career-long struggles against southpaws (facing LHP Jason Vargas today) make Kipnis too rich for my blood or my Draft Kings roster.
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Details ($3 Moonshot):
Freddie Freeman, 1B ($4600)
vs. LHP: .257/.335/.403 in 899 PA
vs. RHP: .300/.380/.498 in 1825 PA
Home: .294/.379/.487 in 1336 PA
Road: .279/.352/.447 in 1388 PA
There's nothing about Turner Field that suggests a heavy split, and in fact the park has been tougher than average against left-handed hitters (Runs factor of 96), but Freeman has enjoyed a healthy boost when playing in front of the home crowd. He has the home field advantage today against the Phillies and right-hander Chad Billingsley, who will be pitching in his first big-league game since 2013. The combination of a home game plus a right-hander on the mound holds the secret sauce for rostering Freeman, and the fact that he is facing a pitcher who is on the comeback trail from multiple elbow surgeries (and was hit pretty hard in Triple-A) conspire to make Freeman a strong value.
Lucas Duda, 1B ($4000)
vs. LHP: .224/.303/.332 in 500 PA
vs. RHP: .261/.362/.482 in 1486 PA
That's an OPS split of 210 points, folks. Duda is one of those players who's an automatic avoid when facing lefties but who becomes very enticing when a right-hander is on the mound. The Mets lost David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud to disabled list in mid-April, putting more pressure on Duda to do the heavy lifting for the Mets' offense, but in the two weeks since d'Arnaud was sidelined Duda has managed just two extra-base hits among a sea of walks as opposing pitchers are wisely avoiding his left-handed bat. He's playing against a homer-bequeathing machine in righty Bud Norris; the odds are pretty strong that Norris will give up at least one longball today, and if I had to bank of anyone hitting said homer then it would be Duda.
Duda vs. Pitch Types (AVG/SLG)
Hard: .301/.534 in 994 AB
Breaking: .161/.294 in 429 AB
Off-speed: .216/.346 in 283 AB
Duda is a dead-red fastball hitter, and though he gets hold of the occasional off-speed pitch, the trick will be to stay in fastball counts against Norris. Expect the slider in two-strike counts, and Duda will have to balance the temptation to swing at early fastballs with the patience to get the count in his favor. He is the equal of Mike Trout when it comes to hitting the hard stuff, but the similarity ends right there.
Jeff Samardzija, CHW vs. DET ($8700)
The Shark drowned in his last start, coughing up eight runs (seven earned) at Baltimore. He may have been spooked by the empty stadium at Camden Yards that day, particularly given that six of the runs crossed the plate in the first inning, but Samardzija stayed in the game long enough to register 15 outs. He may have simply fallen victim to the powerful Oriole lineup, a possibility that raises the fear factor for those starting him today against the Tigers. The Cell is a friendly venue to opposing hitters, and though Samardzija has kept the ball in that yard so far (zero homers in six career games, four starts), the Tigers are loaded with over-the-fence bats that could dent his stat line.
Smyly had a late start to the season as he recovered from an ailing shoulder, but all indications are strong after two starts for the left-hander. He has 15 strikeouts already through 10.7 innings, having allowed just one walk, though his mistakes have been punished with three homers allowed. Many have pointed to his outstanding stretch with the Rays last season, but that performance included an unsustainable BABIP of .186, and the Red Sox are likely to raise his current .250 BABIP due to the sheer number of menacing bats in that lineup. That said, Smyly does get a break as he faces a Red Sox club that will be without Hanley Ramirez, and Smyly also has the platoon advantage against David Ortiz, elements that should play into his favor.
Bartolo Colon, NYM vs. BAL ($7500)
Colon continues to mystify, flashing pitching prowess despite a bowling ball physique and an extreme reliance on his fastball. His career was essentially over five years ago, but he has rebounded with a 3.53 ERA (an ERA-plus of 109) with a K-to-walk ratio of better than four-to-one across 742 innings in his age-38 through age-42 seasons. He has four quality starts in five turns this season, with only his last start versus Miami (four earned over 6.7 innings) standing in the way of a five-start run. He goes interleague after a month of starts against the NL East, and though Colon is intimately familiar with the American League, he is tasked with slowing down an Orioles club that has the second-most runs per game in the majors and the highest slugging percentage in the American League.
Stephen Strasburg, WAS vs. MIA ($10200)
Strasburg can be maddening to watch. His stuff is insane, from the high-90s velocity to the sharp curve and what has become the most effective arrow in his quiver, a high-speed changeup that plays extraordinarily well off of the fastball. The issue comes with hitting specific sides of the strike zone, as Strasburg has had a major problem with hitting targets on the left side of the zone. Strasburg consistently over-rotates those pitches, pulling off the ball and falling off to the first-base side as he attempts to force the baseball to the left side of the plate. He has no problem with the right side, allowing Stras to stay away from left-handers and get inside to righties, but his lack of command across the zone makes every outing a high-wire act. Giancarlo Stanton knows this, apparently, given his .400/.486/.900 line and nine extra-base hits in 35 career head-to-head meetings, while he and Freddie Freeman are the only two players with three career homers against Stras.
Many of the great pitchers improve their mechanics over time, typically with a steady increase of stability by improving both balance and posture. Stras had made no such improvements, and in fact his delivery looked better before his 2011 Tommy John surgery than at any time since. The balance continues to waiver and the posture changes with every pitch, engaging extra spine-tilt when he is targeting the left side of the strike zone, and his pitch command will likely suffer until he finds a stride pattern that gets him better aligned with the strike zone on a pitch-by-pitch basis.
Hanley Ramirez (shoulder, $4900) is considered day-to-day after running into a wall on Monday. He's expected to be out for today and the Red Sox are considering a DL move.
Matt Carpenter (dizziness, $4300) left Sunday's game early due to feeling light-headed. He's expected back in the lineup today.
Adam LaRoche (illness, $4200) had a short day on Sunday due to his feeling under the weather
Adam Eaton (illness, $4000) has missed three consecutive games due to illness, and the White Sox are hoping that the extra day off will be enough to get him back in the lineup.
X-rays came back negative on Leonys Martin (wrist, $3800). and he is considered day-to-day
Jean Segura (head, $3800) has been cleared for action and is expected to be in the lineup today.
X-rays came back negative on Zack Cozart (finger, $3500), but there's a good chance that he will be out for a day or two until he can throw without impediment.
Steve Pearce (illness, $3400) had to leave Sunday's game early due to an illness, and he is considered day-to-day.
Tyler Flowers (illness, $3100) caught the bug that's been floating around the White Sox clubhouse. He's day-to-day.
Jose Iglesias (groin, $3100) is day-to-day.
Lorenzo Cain ($3900) will be out today, serving the second game of a two-game suspension.
Denver (ARI-COL) is still dealing with thunderstorms today, following the cancellation of yesterday's Diamondbacks-Rockies tilt. Expect possible delays, but the rain is supposed to thin out this evening – click here for updates
Chicago (DET-CHW) is expecting rain this afternoon, but things are expected to clear in time for the game – click here for updates
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