It's an interesting slate for DFS this evening, with 10 games on the schedule but only one starter that costs more than $10k on Draft Kings (Gerrit Cole at $10500, at home against the Reds). Cole will be heavily owned for obvious reasons, but the swath available options at the SP2 slots should make for an entertaining evening. The next two arms on target might just be Jordan Zimmermann and Shelby Miller, two pitchers who are known to throw hard while lacking stuff in the off-speed department; both pitchers excel despite low strikeout rates, and the latter point puts a massive dent in their respected fantasy values.
Starling Marte, OF ($4500)
vs. RHP: .265/.325/.420 with 84-of-113 SB in 1278 PA
vs. Mike Leake: .200/.250/.333 in 32 PA
Marte is one of a handful of Pirate hitters who have been silenced by Mike Leake in his career Others include Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez). The multi-tool outfielder is just 6-for-30 lifetime against Leake, with two extra-base hits, nine strikeouts, and zero walks in 32 plate appearances. Marte's on pace for double the homers this season without sacrificing any steals, but all of the other indicators are heading south for the right-handed hitting speedster as he heads into today's game against Cincy. The platoon splits reflect a 211-point detriment in OPS when Marte is facing right-handers as opposed to lefties, and he is just 2-for-22 over his last six games; of course, he was 15-for-26 in the five games prior, so feel free to throw those small samples out the window.
Join Doug in playing Baseball Prospectus Beat the Expert League on Draft Kings – click here for tournament lobby.
Details ($3 Entry):
Buster Posey, C/1B ($3900)
vs. LHP: .325/.386/.561 in 765 PA
vs. RHP: .299/.368/.453 in 1971 PA
vs. Ian Kennedy: .405/.463/.486 in 41 PA
Rostering Posey against a left-handed pitcher is automatic at this point, but his price tag can be prohibitive and it pays to invest wisely/cautiously when enlisting his services. Ian Kennedy presents just such an opportunity. The only pitcher that Posey has faced more times than Kennedy is Clayton Kershaw, and suffice to say that Posey has enjoyed more success against IPK despite the blatant platoon split. The interaction has been mostly saturated with singles, as Posey has just three extra-base hits (all of them doubles) and four walks against five strikeouts in his career against the right-hander. The Giants cornerstone costs just $3900 for tonight's ballgame, a bargain price for a middle-order hitter who is up against a struggling starter.
Salvador Perez, C ($3500)
vs. LHP: .301/.337/.497 in 486 PA
vs. RHP: .279/.302/.416 in 1353 PA
As a club, the Royals have the second-lowest homer count in the AL, but for what it's worth Perez leads the team with 11 jacks this season. Four of those bombs have come against southpaws (in 71 plate appearances) and five of the 11 have erupted in June as the young catcher has started to heat up the lumber. The plate discipline is atrocious, with just four walks this season in his 244 plate appearances, but his bat-to-ball skills are evident in the .280 average and just 33 strikeouts on the year. He gets to face lefty Roenis Elias of the Mariners in tonight's contest, a whose magnetism for the gopherball has resulted in nine homers across 11 starts this season, an element which could play right into Perez's hands.
Mat Latos, MIA vs. STL ($7100)
Latos was a completely different pitcher last season. He morphed his delivery to emphasize stability over power and similarly adjusted his repertoire (increasing the use of his split), as the 2.3-mph drop in velo was likely to dent his performance if left unchecked. His first two months were more of the same, but the pitch-speed has come roaring back over his last few turns, with a 93.4 mph average in June that jives more closely with his numbers from 2013 (his single-month peak from '14 was 91.6 mph, looking at the weighted average of all fastballs). The velo uptick has coincided with Latos' return from the disabled list, where a knee injury knocked him out for a full month, and the mechanical underpinnings of his pre-2014 delivery have been in full view, from the extra torque to the late spine-tilt, and his arm-side run on the sinker has been devastating at times. His success tonight against the Cards will likely be linked to the right-hander's ability to bury the curveball.
Jimmy Nelson, MIL vs. NYM ($6100)
Carrying a mid-90's fastball and a pair of breaking pitches, Nelson was hailed as an interesting sleeper heading into the season, but there have only been flashes of intrigue this year. His 2015 game log is chock-full of disaster starts, having allowed seven runs three different times and spinning a total of five quality starts in 14 turns this season. Even his 11-K game involved three homers and four earned tack to his statline. Nelson's fastball has been hammered this season, including a .709 slugging percentage with six homers allowed in just 55 at bats that end with the four-seamer; the sinker is better but hardly a solution with a .485 slug. His last two starts have been especially brutal, including 10 runs allowed and 25 baserunners in 10.0 innings of work, and his only salvaation might be a Mets lineup that has been bitten by the injury bug.
Shin-soo Choo, OF ($3800)
Choo has struggled heavily since joining the Rangers, a team that shelled out $130 million on the strength of his on-base skills and gap power, for which they have received a combined .239/.333/.379 slash over 811 plate appearances across the past two seasons. At least these have been the cheap years of his deal, with Choo earning $14 million per season in 2014-15, but his yearly compensation escalates to $20 million next year and continues at that level through 2020. Now Choo is experiencing back spasms, an ailment that will keep him in day-to-day status for now but could linger for awhile, further compromising an already anemic performance at the plate.
Chicago (LAD-CHC) is the main city to keep on watch this evening – check here for details
Denver (ARI-COL) is worth a look, as well – check here for details
Resources used for this article:
Draft Kings player prices