Neil previews today’s game action and shares his top Draft Kings plays for September 2nd.
Today we have 15 games on the MLB schedule kicking off at 12:10 p.m. As always, make sure to check your lineup prior to game time for any last-minute scratches, and be sure to check the weather forecast for any potential cancellations.
As I begin writing this column, I am currently in 1,382nd place out of 67,081 in the Tuesday Moonshot contest. In this lineup (1 of my 3), I decided to invest heavily in pitching with Bumgarner and Sale and then find some good hitting discounts. In doing so, I decided to mini-stack the Phillies, picking Darnell Sweeney, Aaron Altherr, Carlos Ruiz and Jeff Francoeur, who are all playing great and adding in some nice platoon players like Seth Smith. So why am I beating myself up? Because my favorite platoon split player among all Phillies, and one of my favorites plays in DFS against lefties is Darrin Ruf. I have written about him many times and almost always play him against lefties. And today, for some reason, despite mini-stacking Phillies, I left out Ruf. And, of course, Ruf (thus far) is 3/4 with a homer and 6 (!!) RBI. I would have been up near the top of the Moonshot with Ruf in my lineup (and MadBum yet to pitch) and for the life of me, I don’t know why I didn’t slot him in. Let’s hope Prince Fielder has a great night for me (he is in my 1B slot).
Alright, I’ll try to put my bitterness aside and give you some good insight for today. Here we go:
Studs: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers ($14,400), Sonny Gray, Oakland A’s ($11,600)
- Kershaw is 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA in the 2nd half. And he has had great success against this Giants lineup, holding them to a .179/.231/.220 line and striking out 32.3% of batters.
- The Angels finished in last in almost all offensive categories in August – including nose hair (a little joke for you Harry Doyle of Major League lovers). On top of the Angels’ struggles, they have not been able to hit Gray as he has held them to a .141/.200/.203 line while striking out 28.2% of their hitters.
Bang for Your Buck: Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds ($9,200), Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals ($7,700)
- Iglesias has quietly been dynamite in the 2nd half. He has struck out double-digit hitters his last 2 times out and has a 2.86 xFIP and 10.52 K/9 since the all-star break.
- Ventura hasn’t been quite as good as Iglesias, but he has been dominant in his own right since the break. His FIP sits at 3.57 and his K/9 at 9.19.
Hail Mary: Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles ($6,200), RA Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays ($6,000)
- Gausman is fantastic at home with an ERA at Camden Yards of 2.19, a wOBA allowed of 2.44 and a FIP of 3.18. A bargain at this price.
- The knuckler runs hot and cold and Dickey has been especially hot as of late. His ERA in the 2nd half is a pretty 3.05 and he has been effective at the Rogers Centre all season with a 3.36 home ERA.
Studs: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers ($4,000)
Lucroy is 8/21 with a BB against Pirates’ starter Jeff Locke. He also had a .361 wOBA and 125 wRC+ in August as he has started to heat up.
Bang for your buck: Josh Phegley, Oakland A’s ($2,900)
Phegley is always a nice play against left-handed pitching, even a tough lefty like Andrew Heaney. He holds a .354 wOBA and 130 wRC+ against southpaws on the year
Hail Mary: Geovany Soto, Chicago White Sox ($2,500)
If Soto plays, he gets to hone his craft against Tommy Milone, who really struggles against righties, allowing a .357 wOBA and .498 slugging percentage. Soto has a .417 wOBA and 170 wRC+ against southpaws.
Studs: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians ($4,100)
I don’t love any of the super-high priced options at first, so I am opting for Santana as my most expensive play. Santana loves playing in Toronto with a .345/.479/.527 line, the 2nd highest OPS that he has in any stadium where he has more than 50 at-bats.
Bang for your buck: Ben Paulsen, Colorado Rockies ($3,700)
Always the most reasonably priced Rockie, Paulsen faces Chase Anderson who has allowed a .350 2nd half wOBA and .338 wOBA on the road for the season. At home versus righties, Paulsen hits .291/.351/.530
Hail Mary: Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers ($3,100)
I don’t usually play Victor when he is hitting left-handed as he is a below average hitter from that side these days. That having been said, he is 4/10 with 2 homers and 2 BB against Yordano Ventura in his career.
Studs: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros ($5,200)
This is a pretty hefty price tag for Altuve against a pretty good pitcher in Taijuan Walker, but Altuve has enjoyed facing Walker in his career going 6/16 with 3 extra-base hits.
Bang for your buck: Ben Zobrist, Kansas City Royals ($4,200)
Randy Wolf has somehow been effective thus far this season against both lefties and righties in both of his starts. But last year he allowed a .322/.348/.584 line with a .404 wOBA to righties and in 2012 (his last full year in the majors) he allowed a .386 wOBA and .521 slugging percentage to righties. Zobrist is a lefty killer with a .393 wOBA and 156 wRC+. If I write more than two lines, it means I love this play.
Hail Mary: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,600)
Probably the best player in the majors named Neil, but that is not why I am taking him today. Walker has a .514 slugging percentage at Miller Park and he gets to face some rookie named Zach Davies. Could be a good night.
Studs: Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,900)
The more I watch of Kang the more I love him, and he has been one of the best shortstops in the majors in the 2nd half with a .409 wOBA and 166 wRC+. He should be able to handle the above mentioned Davies.
Bang for your buck: Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox ($3,300)
If you want proof of Tommy Milone’s struggles against righties, take a look at my section of Geovany Soto above. Ramirez has gotten hotter in the 2nd half with a .329 wOBA and 108 wRC+.
Hail Mary: Clint Barmes, San Diego Padres ($2,000)
Barmes has handled Cole Hamels nicely in his career going 4/11 with 3 extra-base hits.
Studs: Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,400)
A great hitter at a good price. Turner has been slumping but collected his first extra base hit in some time on Monday night and is showing some signs of busting loose. He is also 5/10 in his career against Mike Leake.
Bank for your buck: Adonis Garcia, Atlanta Braves ($3,400)
Adam Conley of the Marlins has a 7.11 road ERA and a .369 wOBA allowed in the 2nd half. The Braves don’t have too many dangerous hitters, but Garcia hits great against lefties with a .465 wOBA and 201 wRC+. He is actually more expensive than I thought he would be, but still a great play.
Hail Mary: Carlos Sanchez, Chicago White Sox ($2,500)
The switch-hitter has an abysmal .219 wOBA and 32 wRC+ against lefties, but he has hit well against Tommy Milone in his young career, going 3/5. A real dart throw but maybe worth a flyer in tournament play.
Studs: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies ($5,300), Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals ($5,000), Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies, ($5,000)
- I already outlined Chase Anderson’s problems in the 2nd half and on the road. Blackmon is great against righties at home with a .402 wOBA. Good source of guaranteed points.
- I think Randy Wolf is going to get destroyed and Cain will do much of the damage. The Royals’ all-star outfielder has a .351/.410/.570 line on the year against lefties.
- Carlos Gonzalez is dynamite at home against righties with an other-worldly .466 wOBA and a wRC+ of 185. Could be a rough night for Chase Anderson.
Bang for your buck: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers ($4,800), Franklin Gutierrez, Seattle Mariners ($3,900), Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox ($3,900)
- Jeff Locke may be in for a rough time against Braun who has a .429 wOBA and 172 wRC+ against lefties.
- Gutierrez has loved facing Scott Kazmir in his career, going 9/21 including 3 long-balls. He also smokes lefties with a .443 wOBA and 192 wRC+.
- Avisail Garcia is 5/9 with a BB against Milone in his career. And he has hit a respectable .323 with a 104 wRC+ on the year against lefties.
Hail Mary: Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,800), Jonny Gomes, Kansas City Royals ($2,300), Trayce Thompson, Chicago White Sox ($2,700)
- Ethier is 7/15 in his career against Mike Leake with 2 homers. He is also still very dangerous against right-handed pitching where he has a .389 wOBA and 152 wRC+.
- I have mentioned that Wolf cannot get righties out. He especially cannot get Gomes out who is 12/23 with a BB and 3 extra base hits against him.
- Not only is Trayce Thompson the brother of one of my favorite NBA players, Clay Thompson, but he is also a baller himself. Granted it is a limited sample size, but Thompson is 12/24 with 6 extra base hits against lefties thus far. I think he’ll be able to handle Milone.
POSTCRIPT: – As I finish writing the column, Fielder has homered, and maybe can catch up to Ruf’s point total. I am safely in the money in the Moonshot and will tweet out how I finish. Or maybe post it in the comments section. (I have another entry also cashing in the Moonshot as well).
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @nschnurbach
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