Jim previews today’s game action and shares his top Draft Kings plays for September 17th.
Today we have 9 games on the MLB schedule starting at 12:35 pm with the Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh. As always, check your lineup prior to game time for any last-minute scratches and be sure to check the weather report before game time for any potential delays and or cancellations. There is a chance of rain or Thunderstorms for the Orioles/Rays and Cardinals/Brewers game, but I don’t see either game being postponed as of now. Good Luck.
There are no all day contests today on DraftKings. There is a two game turbo for the early games, a five game turbo covering the 2:10 Oakland/Chicago game plus the four 7:00 o’clock games, a three game turbo for the 8:00 o’clock games and a seven game contest covering the games from 7:00 o’clock on. That final contest is what I will be focusing on today since you already know I think early games during the week are evil (although I do like Charlie Morton today). The good news is that there are no West Coast 10:00 o’clock games so some of us (at least on the East Coast) can actually get some sleep tonight. I doubt it will happen, but it’s nice to dream. OK then, on to today’s picks.
Studs: Yordano Ventura @Cleveland ($9,500), Corey Kluber vs Kansas City ($12,300)
His numbers say streamable, but Venture has shown flashes of brilliance in the second half. Just a few weeks ago he 2-hit Baltimore over 6 innings and allowed only 1 run to Detroit as he 5-hit them over seven frames, and in both games he had 11 K’s. While Ventura still gives up a few too many hits and walks, the Indians are 22nd in BA and 27th in runs scored in September.
I don’t usually go for matching opposing pitchers, but I’m having a tough time deciding between Ventura & Kluber. Kluber did hold the Indians to 1 run on 5 hits over 9 innings the last time they faced off. There are a few things that give me pause though. First off, this is Kluber’s first start after a hamstring pull so the Indians may be cautious and limit his innings (maybe pulled after 6). Second is the Royals have been hot in September (6th in BA, 5th in runs). Stuff-wise Kluber is the smart choice, but there is a slight risk here as well.
Regardless of which one you choose (or if you go with both), the Indians and Royals are two of the toughest teams in September when it comes to K’s so you may not see either pitcher reach double digits.
I do like John Lackey and Lance McCullers today as well; basically all 4 top priced guys on DraftKings make good plays, but McCullers does worry me with the game being in Texas.
Bang for Your Buck: Marco Estrada @Atlanta ($7,900), Tommy Milone vs Los Angeles ($7,800)
Over his last 9 starts, Estrada has given up 4 runs once and 3 runs once; that means 7 games with 2 or fewer runs. The Braves are 23rd in BA, 29th in runs scored and last in home runs (5) for the month of September. You should easily get 4 points for the win and a handful of K’s today with Estrada. I recommend this value play.
The Angels have been almost as bad as the Braves offensively in September; 26th in BA and runs scored, 27th in OBP and tied for 23rd in home runs. Against lefties they are 29th in BA, OBP and runs scored. Milone is slightly better at home and has a 3.06 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in September with 14 K’s over 17 innings; not that I’m counting on a ton of K’s, but it does up the odds some.
Hail Mary: Tanner Roark vs Miami ($4,800)
While the Marlins are 3rd in the league for batting average for the month of September, they are 28th in runs scored and 29th in home runs. A lot of empty hits. Roark was hit around by the Marlins 5 days ago, but for his career (38.1 innings) Roark has a 2.35 ERA and 1.10 WHIP against them. Plus his career home ERA is a full point lower than his road. I expect a bounce-back game here.
Studs: J.P. Arencibia vs Baltimore ($4,700)
16 of Tillman’s 18 homers have come from righties, he is more hittable on the road, and he has been on a downward spiral since mid-August. Arencibia is hitting .400 in September with 5 home runs and 14 RBIs.
Bang for your buck: J.T. Realmuto vs Washington ($3,200)
While he has a better average vs lefties, he has more power against righties, hits better on the road and is hitting .344 with a 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 RBIs over the past 14 days. Realmuto is 2-5 vs Roark this season.
Hail Mary: Matt Wieters @Tampa Bay ($2,500)
Wieters may be struggling, but so is opposing pitcher Matt Moore. Wieters is 8-14 (.571) with a double and 2 home runs vs Matt Moore. He also has a career .346 average at Tropicana Field with 7 doubles and 5 home runs over 42 games.
Studs: Chris Davis @Tampa Bay ($4,600), Prince Fielder vs Houston ($4,500)
Davis is batting .300 with 7 doubles and 10 home runs off lefties. He’s also batting .413 with 7 home runs, 15 RBIs and 16 runs scored so far in September. Don’t forget that Davis also qualifies for the OF.
Fielder is batting .317 at home, .340 against righties and .345 in the past week. Lance McCullers has a road ERA and WHIP of 4.93 and 1.51 and was smoked in August at Texas lasting one-third of an inning.
Bang for your buck: Adam Lind vs St Louis ($4,100), C.J. Cron @Minnesota ($3,400)
Lind mashes righties (.299 with all his home runs), loves hitting at home (.322) and has killed Lackey over his career (.432 – 16 for 37). Lackey has struggled against lefty bats this year as well as on the road, and neither of his starts at Miller park have been kind.
Over the past 2 weeks Cron is batting .279 with 2 doubles, 4 home runs and 12 RBIs. He hits lefties and righties equally well (although more power against righties) and his average is 20 points higher away from Angels Stadium. 13 of Milone’s 16 homers have been to righties.
Hail Mary: Matt Adams @Milwaukee ($3,200)
He’s fresh off the DL and only has a few at bats under his belt, but he has had some success in Miller Park. For his career, Adams has a .311 batting average with 4 home runs and 14 RBIs over 17 games. Today’s starter Jimmy Nelson seems to be running out of gas and has a .298 BAA versus lefties.
Dee Gordon @Washington ($4,800)
Only Mookie Betts has been hotter at second base over the past two weeks. With the exception of July, Gordon has been a .300 hitter regardless of which hand the pitcher was throwing with. He’s also batting .333 at Nationals Park and is 2-4 against Tanner Roark.
Bang for your buck: Kolten Wong @Milwaukee ($3,800)
Wong is another lefty bat who has turned things around in September after a three months of declining numbers. He’s hitting .333 this month and is 3-12 with a double and a homer against Jimmy Nelson. Wong is also batting .280 with 21 doubles, 10 homers and 7 steals versus righties.
Honorable mention to Anthony Rendon ($3,900) who is only $100 more, has a nice matchup and has found his swing in September.
Hail Mary: Martin Prado @Washington ($3,200)
Prado isn’t really a Hail Mary, but he is a bargain today. He has a career .291 average at Nationals Park with 21 doubles over 50 games. He’s hitting .320 in Washington this season and .370 with 4 doubles and 10 RBIs in September.
A few other cheap 2B options with good matchups (if you really need to save a buck) are Ryan Goins ($2,500) and Jose Ramirez ($2,600). Both players also qualify for SS which is where I might use them.
Josh Donaldson ($6,000) is obviously the man to own and unless you’ve been living under a rock you already know why, but that’s a big price tag that not many can afford. After Donaldson (price-wise) you’ve got Sano who appears to be hitting that rookie wall, Machado who is hitting well but only .153 at Tropicana (.143 this year) and Matt Carpenter (.216 in September). The next two are Adrian Beltre and Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe has hit the ball well in September and Beltre is playing at home; while both appear to be good options, both players come with baggage. Considering their price tag ($4,100), I would skip both and go for a player that could (and should) produce better numbers (see below).
Bank for your buck: Evan Longoria ($3,900) vs Baltimore
Longoria has a nice track record versus Tillman, going 16 for 46 (.348) with 4 doubles and 6 home runs. He’s also hitting .306 in September with 4 homers and 10 each for RBIs and runs scored. Hot hitter + slumping pitcher = Bang for your Buck! Don’t look any further at third, just plug in Longoria – he’s my guaranteed play of the day.
There are a number of players in the mid $3,000 range who would make good plays based upon recent numbers and stuff, but if you’re going to spend $3,500 why not go a few more bucks for Longoria.
Hail Mary: Adonis Garcia vs Toronto ($2,800)
It may appear I’m smoking something with this recommendation, but if the Braves are using him at cleanup there must be something to it. While he prefers lefties, he can hold his own against righties and is batting .326 in Atlanta. Adonis is hitting .375 in September and has 8 home runs in 155 at bats. If you feel the need to go cheap at third then go here, but third (and first) are not the place to save money; at least in my opinion.
Studs: Francisco Lindor vs Kansas City ($4,100)
I would love to own Carlos Correa today in Texas against Colby Lewis who he is 2-6 against with 2 home runs, but for $900 less I can own Lindor. All Lindor has done since July is hit, and sandwiched between Kipnis and Brantley he sees his fair share of good pitches and gets plenty of opportunities to score and drive in runs.
Bank for your buck: Eduardo Escobar vs Los Angeles ($3,700)
Escobar has been solid all season, but he is especially enjoying September batting .346 with 5 doubles and 3 home runs. He prefers hitting lefties over righties and 9 of his 11 homers have come at home. Hector Santiago appears to be bouncing back, but don’t be fooled; the increased innings and season are playing against him.
You may see write-ups elsewhere recommending Jean Segura since he is hitting .333 in September and is 8 for 13 (.615) against John Lackey. Keep in mind that Segura’s main asset is speed and the Cardinals have the second lowest stolen base total allowed. He’s only $100 less than Escobar and not worth the risk, you can get similar numbers at a cheaper price.
Hail Mary: Erick Aybar @Minnesota ($3,000)
Aybar is 9 for 24 (.375) against Tommy Milone and has a career .293 average at Target Field. Aybar is slumping right now so you’re risking his BvP stats win out here.
Studs (other than the obvious Harper and Bautista adds): Jason Heyward @Milwaukee ($4,400), Shin-Soo Choo vs Houston ($4,700)
Heyward is 3-4 versus Nelson this season. More importantly though he’s hitting .306 with 25 doubles, 11 homers and 14 stolen bases versus righties. He’s also hitting .333 at Miller Park (7 for 27) with 4 doubles and 2 home runs.
Choo is a man possessed, with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers, 8 RBIs, 11 walks and 10 runs scored over the past 14 games. He homered in his only plate appearance against Lance McCullers.
Special shout out to Aaron Hicks ($4,300) who is 2-5 with 2 home runs vs Hector Santiago.
Bang for your buck: Ben Revere @Atlanta ($4,100), Adam Jones @Tampa Bay ($3,900), Khris Davis vs St Louis ($3,700)
Opposing pitcher Matt Wisler has a .350 BAA vs lefties. Ben Revere is batting .325 since moving to Toronto, prefers righties and has 4 steals in the past two weeks. If A.J. Pierzynski is catching for Atlanta, that’s even more incentive since he is 6th in the league for stolen bases allowed.
Jones is another struggling Orioles hitter but with a good track record vs today’s starter. Versus Matt Moore, Jones is batting .524 (11-21) with a double and 2 homers. Jones is also batting .294 at Tropicana Field this season.
Davis had 10 homers in August and has 4 so for in September – 3 in the past week. He’s 3 for 12 against John Lackey, but 2 of those 3 hits were homers. Davis has hit for a decent average the past few weeks so we may see more than one hit from him today.
Hail Mary: Nolan Reimold @Tampa Bay ($2,400), Jake Marisnick @Texas ($2,900), Mike Mahtook vs Baltimore ($2,800)
Albeit a small sample size, Reimold is batting .309 versus lefties and .345 with 3 homer, 7 RBIs and 10 runs scored in September. Could be a sneaky play against Matt Moore today if he’s in the lineup.
Marisnick has been sneaking more and more into the everyday lineup. He’s 2-7 w/a homer vs Colby Lewis and is batting .421 at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rays Rookie is hitting .333 at home and .357 in September. With the way Chris Tillman has been pitching, I could probably get a hit off of him.
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @TheJimFinch
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