Some things are obvious and should not be questioned. Right now the Chicago White Sox are awful and should be exploited as much as possible in your DFS matchups. How’s that for a lede?
Target: Danny Salazar ($10, 100) @ Chicago White Sox
The White Sox strike out 25.1% of the time against right-handed pitching. Only the Brewers, Rays, and Diamondbacks strike out more. The Sox are punchless, though, with a .131 ISO and .256 wOBA against RHP so far in 2017. They don’t take walks (5.8% walk rate vs. RHP) and they don’t run (only three stolen bases against RHP). In short, you can expect very good production from a solid starting pitcher who gets to face them. Danny Salazar is that guy today, and he strikes out lefties and righties at very high rates—over 26 percent to each handedness. He is priced $900 more than John Lackey today, but the matchup and Salazar’s skill set make him enticing nonetheless.
Stack Against: Bronson Arroyo with Chicago Cubs
The Bronson Arroyo comeback tour should hit a massive bump in the road tomorrow against the defending World Series champions. Arroyo’s return is commendable, but the dude is still 40 years old and pitching in a tiny ballpark against some scary hitters. Left-handed hitters have touched him up worse over the course of his long career, sporting a .354 wOBA and 1.56 HR/9. Meanwhile, Cubs lefties are in fine form, as both Anthony Rizzo ($4,200) and Jason Heyward ($2,800) went deep on Saturday night. Rizzo, Heyward, and Kyle Schwarber ($3,600) are the lefties of note—Ben Zobrist would be a consideration but he has missed three games in a row with back soreness. Miguel Montero ($2,600) has been hot so far this season—so if he cracks the lineup he is a fine cheap play at the catcher position.
Mookie Betts ($4,400) hits both handedness of pitching very well, but he is better against right-handed starters. His opponent, Kevin Gausman, is a right-handed pitcher who is more susceptible to right-handed hitters (.340 wOBA). Gausman has not looked great this year and got shelled in his last start against the Reds (8 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks). Watch out!
The Yankees versus Ivan Nova ($7,300) is going to be fun to watch. The Yankees are one of the best teams in the bigs against right-handed pitching so far this season (.350 wOBA, 132 wRC+). Nova, meanwhile, has been a legitimate stud for the Pirates. The sample size is small at this point in the season, but Nova is inducing ground balls at a 60.5% rate against right-handed hitters and limiting hard contact against them (only 25% hard). Lefty bats have touched him up with a 36.7% hard contact rate, but only one of those hits was a home run and left-handed bats are only slashing .250/.273/.438 with a .306 wOBA against Nova. For my part, I am interested in Nova and the Pirates today—the Pirates have too many solid right-handed hitters to not figure things out against southpaws, and Nova just seems to have “it” this season. He’s also facing his former team for the first time, so he might have a little bit more vinegar today. I’ll have at least one share.
If you decide not to pay up for Danny Salazar today, you may want to skip over John Lackey as well. Current Reds players have a .319 batting average (44 for 138) against Lackey and only strike out 14.1% of the time against him. Zach Cozart, Scooter Gennett, Billy Hamilton, Eugenio Suarez, and Joey Votto are ALL batting over .300 against Lackey and each of them have at least 15 AB, so the sample size isn’t irrelevant. Lackey sketches me out today. The Cubs will be a popular play today, but maybe the way to be sneaky is to stack both sides of this game and find a value at pitcher (Nova, anyone?!?).
Edwin Encarnacion (.233 ISO, .377 wOBA) mashes lefties for his career and has good history against White Sox southpaw Derek Holland (6 for 12 with 3 home runs). Encarnacion hit a home run last night, too. This game is in a hitter’s park...don’t overthink things. Carlos Santana (.162 ISO, .359 wOBA) is a quality hitter against southpaws but is far less powerful than Encarnacion...so if you’re choosing between them on FanDuel I think you can safely go E5. Santana ($4,000) is $400 more expensive, too.
The Cardinals remind me of the Reds today. The Redbirds have a collective .316 batting average against Nelson, with Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler, and Stephen Piscotty being the standouts. Add in Aledmys Diaz and you’ve got yourself a stack that has yet to really take advantage of Miller Park in this series. Perhaps today is the day.
Last but not least, Justin Upton ($3,400) is a notoriously streaky hitter who has hits in his last three games and went 2 for 4 with a walk and a home run last night. If this is the beginning of one such streak, I’ll be riding the wave—even against a quality starter like Michael Fulmer.
Good luck out there today and be sure to check the pesky weather!