Anyone Notice Dakota Hudson?

The Cardinals had very few bright spots over the month of May.  One that has gone under the radar was the development of Dakota Hudson.  Hudson quietly established himself as the benchmark of consistency while covering for the struggles of other higher touted staff members.  It’s time to notice that Hudson is stepping up in a time when the team needs him the most.

Entering May the Cardinals were on a roll but Hudson was seen as a likely candidate to be put on the bus back to Memphis. There wasn’t much of an argument to keep Hudson in the rotation over the first month and a half of the season.  In the months of March/April Hudson gave up a slash line of .327/.400/.594.  Hudson had become a punching bag for opposing offenses because he was not pitching to his strengths.  Hudson was averaging 7.13 K/9 rate going along with a 55.4% ground ball rate.  For him to be effective Dakota has to utilize what works for him by limiting hard contact and raising his ground ball percentages. 

Hudson has rediscovered what makes him effective in May.  Utilizing his sinker has seen his groundball rate raise by 10% in the month while limiting what was essentially his doom.  Hudson has given up just one homer in his last seven starts, his ability to keep the ball down limiting the hard contact rate has made him a huge asset to the pitching staff.  The reduction in his FIP is the most noticeable statistic showing a decrease from the astronomical 7.52 in March/April to 3.49 in May.  Six of seven starts Hudson has went at least six innings giving up over two runs just one time, while giving up just no more than five hits over his last four starts. Finding his strength has meant a reduction in strikeouts per nine to 5.86, but that reduction has allowed him thrive on his strengths.

Lefties are still a problem for the young Cardinals hurler, giving up an wOBA of .420 during the 2019 season. Building off of his most recent start where he was able to hold down a left-handed heavy Reds middle of the order featuring Joey Votto, Derek Dietrich and Jesse Winker. This could be a sign of things to come as he has had a bit of bad luck against lefties with a BABIP of .367.  His overall hard hit percentage has decreased by 3% in the month of May,  with continued regression in this statistic Hudson can find himself improving his numbers against left handed hitters. 

St. Louis is much maligned for not making moves to try and bolster their rotation and/or bullpen.  Passing on Closer Craig Kimbrel and Starter Dallas Keuchel has St. Louis fans wondering whether John Mozeliak is really committed to winning in 2019.  While Mo has made questionable decisions, his steadfast commitment to stick with developed players has not always been a terrible decision.  When others were giving up on Hudson the Cardinals stuck with him and it is paying off with quality start after quality start. 

MLB DFS Lineup June 25

P: Nester Cortes Jr, New York Yankees ($4,000)

Cortes Jr. is a wild card on this slate.  The Yankees bullpen was forced to over work themselves thanks to the late inning comeback by the Toronto Blue Jays.  Cortes Jr. will be looked to eat up innings against a team that is in the bottom five of strikeout percentage by a team. 

P: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants ($8,200)

Bumgarner is a bargain at 8.2k.  A matchup with the Rockies seems like trouble but the Rockies lineup is missing two right-handed bats.  Ian Desmond and Trevor Story will both most likely miss this game.  The Rockies also have a 24% strikeout rate during the 2019 season.  Playing in San Francisco is also a huge ballpark downgrade for the Rockies offense.

C: Pedro Severino, Baltimore Orioles ($3,700)

Severino is one of my favorite plays against lefties.  Batting cleanup against lefties Severino has shown great power this season with a .609 slugging percentage and .281 ISO.   

1B: Dan Vogelbach, Seattle Mariners ($4,900)

Vogelbach brings a lot of power against a pitcher that gives up a lot power especially to lefties.  Brewers starter Zach Davies gives up a .497 slugging percentage to left handers as well as been struggling all June.  Vogelbach will most likely go low owned tonight due to the potential Yankees stack. 

2B: DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees

I am jumping on the Yankees stack train tonight and DJ LaMahieu is where I am getting started.  DJ has been hitting everyone all season and with the lineup so stacked up you can all but guarantee that LeMahieu will at least give you runs scored.

3B: Manny Machado, San Diego Padres ($5,500)

Machado returning to Baltimore will not be the same as the recent reunion we saw with Albert Pujols returning to St. Louis, but it should still have an emotional effect for Machado. It doesn’t hurt that Machado is red hot coming into this matchup.  Ten straight games Machado has reached double digits in fantasy points, he will continue that tonight.

SS: Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees ($5,300)

Torres is a continuation of my mini-Yankees stack.  Torres brings power and speed to your lineup.  He does have surprisingly rough numbers versus lefties but that doesn’t worry me heading into a matchup with Clayton Richard.

OF: Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees ($4,600)

Stanton hit a dinger last night.  He is facing a lefty tonight.  He will have huge ownership, if you want to be different then don’t play Stanton.  I don’t want to be different here.

OF: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies ($4,500)

Still being priced down thanks to his slow start, Bryce Harper brings a lot of value to your lineup at just 4.5K.  The Phillies finally came to their sense and moved Harper out of the lead-of spot back into a productive role in the middle of the order. 

OF: Dominic Smith, New York Mets ($4,000)

Long time top prospect Dominic Smith is finally getting some at bats while playing the outfield for the Mets.  Smith bring a lot of power to the plate.  Check to make sure he is in the lineup, if he is, he is a bargain.

Breaking down the AD Trade

The deal is finally done.  Anthony Davis finally got his wish, the six-time All-Star was traded to Los Angeles over the weekend finalizing a saga that started last season.  Davis’s wish to move on from New Orleans

Obvious winners:  Lebron James – Anthony Davis

Lebron James went from best player in the world to aging star in a two-month span during last season.  James was tasked with mentoring a group of talented unproven players.  Entering his 15th NBA season James did not have the energy to overcome the deficiencies of his team and the relative inexperience of the coaching staff.  Lebron has reached a point in his career where he can’t develop the talent, he needs established players that agree with their role on the team.  Now that he has a running mate with the same skills that he possesses, the Lakers will now just have to fill in the gaps of their roster with affordable role players.

Anthony Davis got what he wanted, moved to a franchise that will allow him to build his brand.  Davis sees himself as the future of the NBA, playing alongside the NBA’s best promoter in Lebron James as well as the center of the basketball universe LA is right where he wants to be.

No-so obvious winner:  Zion Williamson

Most would assume that Zion losing a potential All-NBA player from his potential new destination would be a bad thing. With the loss of Davis there will be no immediate team expectations.  Zion will be able to come into the league and not have the weight of immediate success on his back.  The Pelicans will now be able to build completely around their future #1 pick.  The Pelicans already transitioned to a run and gun team last season averaging the second fastest pace of play in the league, with the addition of Lonzo Ball and Williamson, Alvin Gentry should continue his upbeat play. Williamson will have a chance to excel in this situation.

Losers: Boston Celtics

Danny Ainge has done his best to rebuild the Celtics by accruing assets over the past few years.  They have yet to bring in the star that will bring the championship back to Bean Town.  Kyrie Irving was supposed to be the missing piece to the championship puzzle but he was unable to mesh with the young talent of the Celtics.  While Kyrie was the appetizer for the Celtics the main course was supposed to a be a player that Ainge could bring in to be the long term future star.  Anthony Davis seemed like the perfect fit for the organization, unfortunately Davis was added to the list of stars that seem to have no interest in playing in Boston. With Davis off of the table and Kyrie out the front door what do the Celtics do now???

Final Thoughts

Anthony Davis got what he wanted.  Good for him.  Hopefully he and Lebron mesh because it would be fun to watch.

The Pelicans got themselves the talent they need to build around.  With the #4 pick they can add a player like Darius Garland to help on the perimeter or Jarrett Culver to help on the defensive end.  If all of my personal dreams come true New Orleans could have RJ Barrett fall to them at put together a Dukes dynamic duo to build a future juggernaut. 

Both the organizations did well in this trade.  But as the old saying goes, the team that got the best player wins the trade and the Lakers undoubtable got the best player.

Draftkings Lineup June 8 (Early Slate

Going to keep this one pretty quick as the targets seem pretty obvious on the offensive end.  favorable matchups that can be exploited today.  Good Luck.

P: Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins, $9,700

Targeting a starter versus the Detroit Tigers is an obvious choice.  The Tigers have a number of career at bats against the Twins hurler but a combined .200 average as well as an OPS barely above .600 makes him an easy target for your number 1 pitcher option.

P: Framber Valdez, Houston Astros, $7,400

Framber Valdez will make his first start of 2019, building off of a great four innings of relief against the Seattle Mariners.  There is some risk to starting a lefty versus the right handed power of Baltimore but Valdez has strikeout upside and high probability to get four points for the W.

C: Grayson Greiner, Detroit Tigers, $2,300

1B: CJ Cron, Minnesota Twins, $4,400

Cron crushes lefties.  Gregory Soto has not been impressive to start the season for Detroit.  Looking at a mini stack of the Twins, starting with Gibson pitching and power right -handed bats.

2B: Jonathon Schoop, Minnesota Twins, $4,200

Twins stack continues with a potential power bat in Schoop.  Schoop can provide a little speed as well.

3B: Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics, $5,100

A’s Stack

SS: Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics, $4,200

A’s stack

OF: Stephen Piscotty, Oakland Athletics, $4,300

A’s Stack

OF: Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins, $4,200

Nelson Cruz will homer today if he gets four at-bats

OF: Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics, $4,200

A’s Stack

Stackable teams:

Houston Astros, Oakland A’s, Minnesota Twins

NBA Finals Preview and Prediction

Why the Warriors will win.

They are the Warriors.  While I am going to get more into why I think they can win the facts are that they are the two-time defending champions.  They have the two best shooters in the NBA, Draymond Green has returned to form, cementing their legacy as the greatest basketball dynasty since the Bulls of the mid-90’s. 

The Warriors that are able to play are well rested after a four game sweep of the Portland Trailblazers.  Even without Boogie Cousins and Kevin Durant the Warriors should they were a superior team shooting the lights out against a Portland team that seemed to run out of steam after two hard fought early round series against the Thunder and the Nuggets.  The story of the series though was the reemergence of the Splash Brothers both having defining moments in the series.  Steph Curry showed the world that he is still the engine that runs the machine averaging 36.5 PPG and shooting a ridiculous 47% from the field.  

The Warriors will most likely be without Durant for a large portion of this series but they have rediscovered themselves during the Western Conference Finals.  They remember what it’s like to be hungry.  The game plan will be obvious against the Raptors, force Kawhi to give up the ball and make the formally playoff refugee Kyle Lowry make big shots.  The Warriors will most likely play small if Demarcus Cousins is unable to play forcing the Raptors to take Marc Gasol off the floor and running with an inconsistent Serge Ibaka as a small lineup center.  While the Raptors can play fast they won’t be able to stay with the speed of the Warriors, fall down early and that will be it. 

Why the Raptors will win.

The Raptors made a move in the offseason that potentially could cause the entire franchise to begin a rebuild after the 2019 season.  Picking up Kawhi Leonard was a gamble.  That gamble has paid off getting over the hump in the Eastern Conference on the back of their free agent to be. 

Leonard has excelled as a member of the Raptors while also elevating the play of the players around him.  Pascal Siakiam will most likely take home the NBA Most Improved Player Award, while Kyle Lowry has discovered how to win in the playoffs thanks to the KLAW. 

The Raptors have the perfect player to lead them into battle against the “evil” dynasty Golden State Warriors.  Kawhi Leonard never lets his emotions get in the way of his game, something that can’t be said for many previous contenders to the crown.  The Raptors also feature by far the best defense that the Warriors have played so far in the playoffs. If the Raptors get a lead like the Blazers they will have the defense to take control of the game.  Sure Steph Curry is going to get his but they rest of the Warriors will not.  Golden State will need the services of Kevin Durant or this series is going to “The North”.

My Prediction:

No Durant means big problems for the Warriors.  No home court means big problems for the Warriors.  Kawhi Leonard means big problems for the Warriors. 

This series is going to be tougher than people think for the Warriors without Kevin Durant.  I am going to go with the underdog.  Raptors in 7.

May 24 MLB Draftkings Lineup

SP: Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets, $10,100

Thor is facing the Detroit Tigers who basically strikeout as if it was their personal hitting approach.  While he has had a few clunkers this season its hard not to think Syndergaard isn’t looking at ten strikeouts tonight

SP: Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals, $7,300

Multiple stud pitchers going on the slate tonight you have to find someone to pair with them.  Mikolas is coming off of his worst start of the year but at 7.3K he has the highest upside of the low to mid-tier plays.  Worth a dart throw.

C: Yan Gomes, Washington Nationals, $3,200

Gomes is cheap but brings double digit DK points in 2 of 3.  Catcher is a tough position go with the veteran that is swinging well.

1B: Pete Alonso, New York Mets, $5,300

The Mets are another stackable team tonight going against Tigers prospect Gregory Soto.  Soto has stunk in his first three career starts. There is no other way to sugar coat it.  Alonso will have opportunity with men on to do damage, most likely homers tonight.

2B: Michael Chavis, Boston Red Sox, $5,000

Four homers in 29 at-bats on the season versus lefties makes Chavis a nice play.  Chavis has been at the top of the Boston order over the last few games which also gives him value with more plate appearances. While I like Wade Miley I can see him as a potential fade at hitter friendly Minute Maid Park.

3B: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, $4,200

Matt Carpenter has had a few slow starts in his career but I think it’s finally time for a breakout. Matching up with Mike Foltynewicz who gives up a .270 ISO against lefties this season.  Carpenter has had some bad luck this season with his hard hit percentage being high yet his BABIP has not. 

SS: Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics $4,000

Semien matchups up with with Leblanc’s favorite pitch, the changeup.  Semien has an iso of .250 for the season against that pitch.  Look for Semien to use his sneaky power to drive the ball for multiple extra base hits tonight.

OF: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates $4,000

Marte is coming off of his best game of the 2019 season. Surprisingly Marte has also been hitting righties much better then lefties so a matchup with the tough Walker Buehler can scare a lot people off of him but with his great value and huge upside he is a perfect fit for your lineup.

OF: Steven Piscotty, Oakland Athletics, $3,700

Piscotty has a .441 wOBA versus lefties this season.  They face struggling Wade Leblanc.  He only costs 3.7K.  Any other questions?

OF: Steve Pearce, Boston Red Sox, $3,000

He should really be named chalky chalkerson for tonights game.  His career against lefties going along with his extremely low price will make him a most start in your lineup to save room for some pitching studs.

The right choice for Michigan

The legacy of the Fab Five lives on in college basketball history.  Any time there is a vaunted recruiting class they are compared to the greatness of the 1991 Michigan rookie class.  Three notable future NBA players Jalen Rose, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard highlighted a group that was able to reach two national championship games. Despite not winning either their impact on the game and their style of play was a look into the future of college basketball.

The Fab Five’s greatness was tarnished after leaving Michigan, allegations of paying players forced the university to take down banners that were earned from the sweat and hard work of 19-year-olds.  Whether or not you find the allegations right or wrong in the landscape of college basketball, I will never agree with a university ultimately punishing is student athletes by trying to take away the history they built in their time there. 

Michigan basketball has quietly been one of the most consistent programs in college hoops, since 2013 they have been in the national title game twice, reaching the sweet sixteen twice and the elite eight twice.  Only in 2015 did Michigan not make the NCAA tournament.  Add in one Big10 regular season title and two tournament title and you can see why the loss of longtime coach John Beilein was a punch in the gut to the program.  The loss of Beilein accompanied by the loss of last season top three scorers, Ignas Brazdeikis, Charles Mathews and Jordan Poole, all have announced they’ll being entering the draft and signing with agents temporarily left Michigan with a lot of questions heading into next season.  But with the quick acquisition of Howard as Head Coach things are looking positive for the future of the program.

Howard will have a tough test in his first season.  Returning team leaders Zavier Simpson, Jr., Guard and Jon Teske, Jr., Center will be the cornerstones of the rebuilding process.  While Howard brings a lot of name recognition and NBA star endorsements he is still going to be starting from behind in recruiting.  While eventually this will be a projected strength Howard has spent all of his coaching career within the NBA ranks and will most likely have to rely on his staff for current recruiting efforts.  Still based on the recent success of NBA stars to college coaches the turnaround of talent in the program shouldn’t be a multi-year problem. 

I believe that Juwan Howard will be a great college coach but most importantly Michigan made a choice that is great for the school and allows the alumni to remember a great time in their sports history.  Jalen Rose recently spoke about the hiring of Howard squashing the beef between the Fab Five and the university.  With Rose on board and Howard at the helm the next step will be to bring back Chris Webber and finally end this unfortunate saga.

Kudos to Michigan on getting a great coaching and reigniting a legacy that shouldn’t have been forgotten.

The Right Choice for Michigan

The legacy of the Fab Five lives on in college basketball history.  Any time there is a vaunted recruiting class they are compared to the greatness of the 1991 Michigan rookie class.  Three notable future NBA players Jalen Rose, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard highlighted a group that was able to reach two national championship games. Despite not winning either their impact on the game and their style of play was a look into the future of college basketball.

The Fab Five’s greatness was tarnished after leaving Michigan, allegations of paying players forced the university to take down banners that were earned from the sweat and hard work of 19-year-olds.  Whether or not you find the allegations right or wrong in the landscape of college basketball, I will never agree with a university ultimately punishing is student athletes by trying to take away the history they built in their time there. 

Michigan basketball has quietly been one of the most consistent programs in college hoops, since 2013 they have been in the national title game twice, reaching the sweet sixteen twice and the elite eight twice.  Only in 2015 did Michigan not make the NCAA tournament.  Add in one Big10 regular season title and two tournament title and you can see why the loss of longtime coach John Beilein was a punch in the gut to the program.  The loss of Beilein accompanied by the loss of last season top three scorers, Ignas Brazdeikis, Charles Mathews and Jordan Poole, all have announced they’ll being entering the draft and signing with agents temporarily left Michigan with a lot of questions heading into next season.  But with the quick acquisition of Howard as Head Coach things are looking positive for the future of the program.

Howard will have a tough test in his first season.  Returning team leaders Zavier Simpson, Jr., Guard and Jon Teske, Jr., Center will be the cornerstones of the rebuilding process.  While Howard brings a lot of name recognition and NBA star endorsements he is still going to be starting from behind in recruiting.  While eventually this will be a projected strength Howard has spent all of his coaching career within the NBA ranks and will most likely have to rely on his staff for current recruiting efforts.  Still based on the recent success of NBA stars to college coaches the turnaround of talent in the program shouldn’t be a multi-year problem. 

I believe that Juwan Howard will be a great college coach but most importantly Michigan made a choice that is great for the school and allows the alumni to remember a great time in their sports history.  Jalen Rose recently spoke about the hiring of Howard squashing the beef between the Fab Five and the university.  With Rose on board and Howard at the helm the next step will be to bring back Chris Webber and finally end this unfortunate saga.

Kudos to Michigan on getting a great coaching and reigniting a legacy that shouldn’t have been forgotten.

MLB Picks May 18

Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees

This matchup seems like I’ve played it recently.  Oh.. I did and won the ML with the Yankees.  Blake Snell could arguably be the best pitcher in baseball, but he has had his struggles against the Yankees with a 3-5 record and a 4.52 ERA in his career versus the bronx bombers.  The Yankees are also quietly getting healthier with the return of Gary Sanchez Aaron Hicks.  Did you know they moved into first place in the AL East?  Most probably didn’t. 

Betting an against the best pitcher in baseball is probably not the best idea but getting +112 for a first-place team with their ace on the mound is always worth a gamble.  The Yankees are hot, ride this one while you have the value.

Pick: Yankees +112

Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels

I’m going to start by saying that the Angels are 26-17 ATS this season.  This lineup is one of the more underrated sources of power in the league with the return of Shohei Otani. They now feature a lineup that goes pretty deep as career utility man Tommy La Stella has emerged from the scrap heap to lead the Angels in homers (11).  Even players at the bottom have found ways to contribute most notably Kole Calhoun is slugging .490. 

The Angels will get a chance at Jakob Junis who couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning in his most recent start and has a problem with giving up the long ball.  The Royals have had bullpen issues as well sitting at the bottom of the league in most statistics including saves (obviously).

Griffin Canning will take the mound for the Angels.  He has had a problem giving up the long ball this season but will face off with a Royals lineup that will not provide as many power threats as the Angels. 

Pick: Angels RL (+110)

Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers- 9.5

The Tigers will send hard luck Mathew Boyd to the mound against the Athletics on Saturday.  I call him hard luck because he may be the best pitcher in baseball no one is talking about.  Boyd currently sits 3-4, 3.15ERA and .99WHIP.  Boyd will have a challenge with the Oakland A’s, a team that is tough against lefties but has overall underperformed in 2019.

Boyd should be able to hold his own while the Detroit lineup has struggled ultimately the entire 2019 campaign. I am going to bet on bad offense from Detroit and solid pitching from Boyd. 

Pick: Under 9.5 (-120)

NBA Draft Sleepers

Carsen Edwards, Purdue Boilermakers

Let’s talk about Carsen Edwards.  The best player in the south regional during the NCAA tournament carrying Purdue all the way to the elite eight until fate intervened for the Virginia Cavaliers.  Edwards has negatives, he is small, defense is questionable, he will undoubtable have to sped up his footwork on that end.  Edwards became accustomed to having the ball in his hands constantly his junior season, that won’t be the case in the NBA. 

Those are the negatives, but there are a lot of positives.  Edwards is a scorer, that is the equivalent to a great hitter in baseball if you can’t play defense they still find a way to use you.  In today’s NBA team defensive concepts have become more of a team concept.  His defensive deficiencies can be masked in the right concept. 

Edwards can score. That works in the NBA.

Louis King, Oregon Ducks

The Oregon Ducks were a force to be reckoned with out of the Pac12 to start the season.  Then the injury to Bol Bol and suddenly they went into a downward spiral.  The Ducks forced their way into the tournament and began their drive to the sweet sixteen.  A big reason why, Louis King.  King seemed to mature overnight waking up NBA scouts from a dream of Zion to a reality of stealing a role player late in the draft. 

King’s measurables are NBA gold.  6’8” 205LBS with a 7foot wingspan.  Those equate to a future potential star in the NBA.  King also developed more as a scorer as the season went on. He shoots the ball at almost 39 percent from beyond the arc and 43.5 percent overall from the floor. He also scored 13.5 points per game while snagging 5.5 rebounds and dishing out 1.3 assists per game.While his overall shooting percentage might be concerning, a lot of that can be chalked up to extra shots taken with his teammate Bol Bol having missed the majority of the season.

King may not be a top pick but he has everything it takes to be a future NBA star.

Admiral Schofield, Tennessee Volunteers

Admiral Schofield is a mystery to me.  Good size, solid shooter a grinder in the paint or outside.  But what kind of NBA player can he be?  Jae Crowder has been the biggest comparison.  That doesn’t seem too bad, but I see more from the Tennessee senior.  Schofield will enter the league with an NBA level body type, he should be able to develop as an event better shooter.  His ability to shoot will be an asset for whatever team chooses to give him a chance, he has the athleticism to become a diverse player on the offensive end.

Dedric Lawson, Kansas Jayhawks

Dedric Lawson lacks one thing the NBA looks for: 3-point shooting.  But he brings with him something that most teams lack, toughness in the paint. We have seen the improvements of Montrez Harrell as an interior scorer that brings toughness.  If Lawson can put on some more mass and improve his footwork he can be a similar type player. 

Lawson will take some time to develop, which is why he is a projected second round pick.  Give him a few years in the league and we see the production.  He is a future force in the middle off of a contenders bench.

Marial Shayok, Iowa State

Seniors in the NBA draft often go overlooked unless they have made a big run the NCAA Tournament.  Marial Shayok out of Iowa State could be that player in the 2019 draft.

Shayok starred at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a showcase for some of the best college basketball seniors in the country. From there, he was invited to the NBA’s G-League Elite training camp. From there, he transferred to the big-time NCAA Draft Combine. Most will forget Shayok spent time with the Virginia Cavaliers where he learned to play defense.  Transitioning over to the more offensive minded Big12 he developed an offensive game.

Shayok will enter the draft at 24 years old, he is a matured player that has played in multiple systems that will allow him to play for almost any NBA team.