It's been a hell of a week for DFS gamers, between Miguel Sano's trio of tater trots on Monday to yesterday's 12-strikeout performance by Gerrit Cole, and the recent rash of outlier performances has effectively raised the bar for profiting on DraftKings. It might not take a three-homer game or a complete shutdown to win every day, but the youth movement is in full effect as twenty-something's continue to take over the game.
The latest member of the 30/30 club, Pederson is attempting to crack the 30 barrier in both homers and steals yet again this season. He'll have to pick up the pace on the base paths just a tad, but his power numbers are way ahead, and today's matchup with the homer-prone Kennedy should provide ample opportunity to pad those totals, as the right-hander's platoon splits have been drifting away from neutral over the past two seasons. New Brave Kennedy is also vulnerable to steals (opponents are 10-of-12 this season and have been successful on 84-percent of attempts dating back to 2015), giving Pederson the opportunity to make noise like Jose Canseco did 30 years ago.
Dozier has been smoking lefties for a few years now, such that any start against a southpaw is essentially an autoplay from a DFS perspective. The Twins' second baseman has taken over for Joe Mauer as the veteran leader on the ballclub, as Mauer's influence has dropped along with his spot in the batting order. Dozier has hit for more power over the last couple of seasons, sacrificing a bit of speed as he's put on muscle to maximize his slug. Opposing pitcher C.J. Wilson has morphed into a fairly neutral platoon split over the past few seasons with the increased reliance on his changeup, but his recent struggles play further into the hands of Dozier and his particular brand of lefty-mash vodka.
Avoid: LHB's Stephen Vogt C/1B ($3900, -57 OPS and -.023 ISO career vs. LHP), Jason Kipnis 2B ($4400, -142 OPS and -.051 ISO career vs. LHP), and Michael Brantley OF ($4800, -96 OPS and -.066 ISO career vs. LHP) against LHP Carlos Rodon ($9300, career -202 OPS and -.113 ISO vs. LHB's)
The Indians are the poster children for platoon efficiency, and as such they might be inclined to avoid Vogt altogether in tonight's matchup with the White Sox and rising southpaw Carlos Rodon. There is a good chance that Vogt will show up for an at bat or two against right-handed pitchers today, but his services are not to be rendered with a lefty starter on the mound. Likewise, Brantley is a shell of himself with southpaws on the mound, particularly in the power department, but he will likely be in the lineup for tonight's game regardless of the handedness of the opposing starter. It's a tougher call with Kipnis, especially given the paucity of talent at second base these days, but the cap room is better spent elsewhere.
RHB's Salvador Perez C ($3600, -206 OPS and -.054 ISO vs. RHP), Hunter Pence OF ($4300, -137 OPS and -.029 ISO vs. RHP), and Buster Posey 1B ($4500, -100 OPS and -.039 ISO vs. RHP) against RHP Taijuan Walker ($9200, -43 OPS and -.032 ISO vs RHB's)
Wacha no real discernible split early in his career, when his repertoire essentially consisted of a fastball and split, but the continued refinement of his arsenal has made him a headache against same-side batters. The Giants' acquisition of Perez allowed for a smooth transition after Posey moved out from behind the dish, and the former Royal survived his first-week hazing by a San Francisco fan base that had not forgotten the close call that was their last World Series victory. The Giants specialize in pummeling left-handers but are vulnerable against high-end righties such as Walker, so it is probably a good idea to look elsewhere when constructing a DFS roster for today.
Target: Byron Buxton OF ($4500, 24-for-28 SB) versus LHP C.J. Wilson (opponents 15-for-18 SB)
The power that was once promised has yet to come around, that is unless you ignore the impact of his tremendous wheels in snagging extra bases, turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples, but that speed has paid huge dividends in the field and on the bases. Wilson is the rare lefty that gives up steals, and his recent struggles with keeping the extra-base hits at bay effectively sets the stage for a big day of point collection by a Minnesota lineup that is currently third in all of baseball in run-scoring.
Bailey has improved his delivery virtually every season, save for his injury-related hiccup of 2015, and part of that improvement includes ramped up momentum that has simultaneously improved his repetition of mechanical timing and made him tougher to steal bases against. Gordon has been battling a balky hamstring recently, an element that has cut into his game on the base paths as well as his ability to get on base to begin with, as the speed-only player has watched his value evaporate while his legs have been compromised.
All eyes are on Urias, the rookie sensation who flashed his potential in a cup of coffee last season and has been let loose in 2017. The 20-year old has struck out more 25-percent of the batters that he has faced at the highest level, and though bouts of inconsistency have clouded his track record thus far, such is to be expected from a young southpaw who is still developing in terms of stuff, mechanics, physical size, and the mental side of the game.
The Tigers will be paying Verlander a hefty sum to pile up mediocre innings for another couple of seasons, that is unless they can unload the right-hander and the approximately $70 million remaining on his contract, a move that might be necessary as Detroit reboots an aging roster. He has tried but failed to reignite the fires of his MVP past, as Verlander has struggled to rediscover his old stuff and hasn't made the necessary adjustments to his delivery and/or arsenal to combat Father Time. If anything, his mechanics have fallen down a steep slope since his 2009-12 peak, and these days his presence on the mound is an invitation to stack – rather than avoid – the opposition.
Target: Andrew Cashner SP ($8500), facing the San Francisco Giants
Cashner has finally started to deliver on the promise that I made three years ago, as the K rate (24.2 percent) and run prevention (2.75 ERA) have finally fallen into harmony. It's too late for Cash to crack the value of the man for whom he was traded more than five years ago, as Anthony Rizzo has since established himself as a beast at the plate, and the Padres have to be bitter that Cashner is now figuring things out for the Seattle Mariners after signing a four-year deal in the off-season. His price is still reasonable, but a few more starts like his 11-K shellacking of the Orioles last time around and he will have officially vaulted into SP1 territory.
Avoid: Yoenis Cespedes OF ($4200), facing RHP Max Scherzer
Cespedes was on a tear in the middle of June, but the streaky slugger has hit a lowly .113/.186/.151 since the hot stretch, going 6-for-53 with just two extra-base hits (both doubles) over the last three weeks. The Phillies knew what they were getting when they signed Cespedes to man the outfield, so his streakiness comes with the territory, but he's a player that DFS owners want to roster when his performance wave is coming in rather than going out. His price is lower than usual today given the recent slump as well as the fact that he's facing the dominant Max Scherzer, officially putting Cespedes on the ice block for tonight's matchup.
Resources used for this article:
Draft Kings player prices
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now