July 26 MLB Draftkings Lineup

P: Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks, $10,500

Probably the most obvious pick on the slate.  Most likely will be the highest owned pitcher.  Facing the Marlins in Miami, a pitcher friendly park.  Greinke has hit double digits in fantasy in each of his last 5 games.  The Marlins don’t hit righties well, plain and simple. 

P: Daniel Mengden, Oakland Athletics, $6,200

The middle tier of pitching is a toss-up, so I am going to go with the player with the highest potential upside.  The Rangers are the highest per game strikeout team in all of baseball, averaging over ten strikeouts per game.  In 55 career at-bats against Mengden the Texas lineup has a 25%K-Rate and just a .233 WOBA.

C: Martin Maldonado, Chicago Cubs, $2,800

You have to have a punt play every now and then.  Maldonado versus a lefty in a hitter friendly ballpark makes a lot of sense.

1B: Luke Voit, New York Yankees, $4,800

Yankees stack.  Keep it simple. Voit is five for seven in his career versus Andrew Cashner.  Unless he is out of the lineup, he is a must play.

2B: Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees, $4,900 

Yankees stack. This play is based solely on Torres’s ownership of Andrew Cashner. In his short career Gleyber is six of thirteen with two bombs.

3B: Joey Wendle, Tampa Bay Rays, $2,700

One of my two low cost plays of the slate.  Wendle is coming off of his best game of the season since returning from injury. Wendle brings some speed and potential power from a lineup that may be a sneaky stack tonight. His cost is the main reason for this play.

SS: Jonathon Villar, Baltimore Orioles, $4,000

Jonathon Villar is building off of a huge 38-point night.  Villar gets a matchup with late notice starter Nick Tropeano. Villar brings both pop and speed to your potential lineup in a good spot versus a sub-par starter.

OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, $5,500

Yankees Stack. If you are trying to stack one team you need someone towards the top of the order. Judge at a steep price is my pick. Always a home run threat. 

OF: J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox, $4,500

JD hits lefties.  I can list all of the stats, but I will only include the simple ones.  .412 ISO versus lefties.  He faces James Paxton; he is a lefty.  End of story.

OF: Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals, $4,200

Soler is a reverse split player.  Higher ISO, Average and Slug facing righties. Zac Plesac gives up power to righties.  I wouldn’t look to stack the Royals but a one off with power like Soler makes a lot of sense at a very affordable price.

Potential Stacks:

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Keep an eye on:

Atlanta Braves

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)

Under Radar Free Agents

Adam Jones

Adam Jones is coming off the worst season of his professional career.  A 0.2WAR by far the lowest of his career came while his team was putting together a historic season alongside him.  The Orioles finished the season at 47-115 an astounding 61 games behind the first place Red Sox.  Jones will enter the season at 33 years old, his best days offensively and defensively behind him. But is he really not worth a look in spring training by a contending team in need of some outfield help?

Jones hasn’t been the all-star he was from 2012-2015 but he still has brought production to the table over the last three seasons.  Jones has shown power over the last three season combining for a total of 70 homers and never hitting below .265 in those three seasons. Jones also brings in league average OPS at a career mark of .779.  He has been a leader in the Baltimore club house and is respected around baseball.  Never more notably then the leadership he brought to team USA in the world baseball classic.

While he is not the based sabermetric center fielder defensively, Jones still has the ability to play all three positions. 

Teams that should consider:

New York Mets- Lagares can’t hit and Broxton hasn’t shown anything in the majors yet.

Cleveland Indians- after losing so much this off season the Indians could use some more pop and another veteran bat to sell to the fans.  Leonys Martin is not the answer.

Josh Harrison

Josh Harrison is coming off a subpar season that was marred by injuries.  Playing in only 97 games in 2018 Harrison’s productivity was not where the Pirates wanted it to be, leading to a buyout of his contract.  Harrison now sits in the wasteland of free agents.

The 31-year old utility player brings plus defense to two different positions 2b and 3b. The 2017 All-Star can bring a dynamic player off the bench for multiple playoff contenders.  In an age of versatility being a great attribute Harrison would be a perfect fit on multiple teams. 

Teams that should consider:

New York Yankees- having a player whom can come in defensively for Miguel Andujar would be a perfect fit in the late innings. His speed can also be valuable in late inning situations.

Milwaukee Brewers- This one is a bit of a stretch but he would be an upgrade over Hernan Perez because of his experience and great club house demeanor.  He could replace the underrated Eric Sogard in a utility infield role.

Tony Sipp

I have been preaching the effectiveness of Tony Sipp all off season. Sipp had a 1.86 ERA in 38 innings last season with the Houston Astros. This included a home ERA of .90 in the hitter friendly Minute Maid Park.

Sipp was as good as it gets versus lefties in 2018 holding them to a slash line of .191/.263/.294. While Sipp hasn’t had as storied a career as the players a previously spoke of he is coming off of a great season and is currently ranked as the second best reliever still on the market behind Craig Kimbrel. 

Teams that should consider-

Anyone and everyone.  I lefty specialist is not easy to find.  Sipp would fill in that role for any contending team that is worried about the left side of their bullpen.  He is going to be cheap to.

AL Wildcard Preview

The definition of David versus Goliath takes places in the AL Wild Card Game.  The mighty New York Yankees full of high priced talent vs Money Ball 2.0.  Let’s break it down.

Starter- Advantage Yankees

The Yankees had three solid options going into the Wild Card game, Masahiro Tanaka, JA Happ an Luis Severino.  Boone choose the young fireballer Luis Severino to match up with a powerful A’s lineup.  The choice was clear due to the power pithing ability of Severino, the hardest thrower of the bunch.  Against fastballs thrown 97 mph or harder, the A’s xwOBA was a feeble .260, the third-worst mark of any team, ahead of only the Giants (.225) and Rays (.245). Severino has an average fastball velocity of 97-mph.  Unlike Tanaka and Happ, Severino has the ability to miss bats within the strike zone.  The A’s are a team that’s success was based on not chasing out of the zone.  Severino will look to attack their hitters with hard 4-seamers in the zone.

The Athletics decided to take a different approach, relying on their biggest strength which is their bullpen depth. They have chosen to go with an “opener” with veteran Liam Hendricks. Hendriks will be the fourth pitcher to start a postseason game after a winless season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Virgil Trucks started twice for Detroit in the 1945 World Series after returning from World War II.  Don’t expect Hendricks to be in the game long.  Bob Melvin will look to use all of his bullpen assets to matchup with the power Yankees lineup.  With a right handed heavy Yankees lineup this matchup may be ideal for the As bullpen.

Lineup- Advantage Yankees

The Yankees are very right handed heavy with two projected lefties in the lineup, Did Gregorious and switch hitter Aaron Hicks.  Despite being right handed heavy they still have one of the top lineups in all of baseball.  They broke the record for homeruns in a season so… yea they have a little pop up and down the lineup.  The key to the game will be jumping on the A’s early.  McCutchen and Hicks will have to be table setters for Giancarlo Stanton and red hot Luke Voit.

The A’s lineup is no joke.  Khris Davis had a career year and veteran Jed Lowrie has good career numbers vs Severino.  The key to the lineup will be projected lead off man Nick Martini, Martini had an on-base percentage of .397 during the regular season and has performed extremely well in the leadoff spot. If the A’s are going to pull off the upset they will need Martini on base as much as possible disrupting Severino’s flow and forcing projected starting catcher Gary Sanchez to lose focus.  The A’s have the power to put up runs but it will be important to give Davis and Matt Olson a chance to drive in runs with more then just a solo shot.

Bullpen- Advantage A’s?….Maybe

The A’s have enough trust in their bullpen to not name a traditional starter.  We saw in the NL Wildcard game the impact a good starter can have with great performances from both Kyle Freeland and Jon Lester.  But in the end it was the bullpens that may have been most impressive on both sides.

The Yankees have the names at the end, Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Dellin Betances can end the game in the 7th if they have a lead.  But it may be the A’s that truly have this season best reliever in Blake Treinen whom I fully expected to be in the game as soon as Bob Melvin can realistically make the move.  The A’s can match the big priced arms.

I see this game playing out similarly to last years AL Wild Card game.  The A’s may jump out to a lead early but the depth and power of the Yankees lineup will be to much.

Reluctantly I have the Goliath changing the historic fable on this night.

Yankees win 6-4.

Trading Carlos?

When Mike Matheny was finally let go by the St. Louis Cardinals a large portion of the fanbase rejoiced.  Matheny the subject of  ridicule since his hire has left Cardinal Nation with a gleaming light of hope at the end of the longest mediocrity tunnel this era has seen.  Now that he is gone it is time for the Cardinals to look to the future, as they rebuild the culture and the team they have to figure out who they should take a long for the ride.  Bill DeWitt and John Mozeliak have to look at this roster and figure out who they want to be a part of the next ERA of Cardinals baseball.  Is Carlos Martinez a part of those plans?

Let’s look at the positives of Carlos Martinez.  At the end of the 2018 season Carlos will be 27 years old,  he will have a contract that is team friendly based on the price of quality starting pitchers.  Earning just $11.5 Million per year over the next three seasons he will not hurt your budget.  Carlos currently ranks 33rd in the league in starting pitcher salary per season behind guys like James Shields, Tyler Chatwood and our old St. Louis friends Lance Lynn and Mike Leake.

Carlos has been great for three straight season propelling himself to the top of the rotation accumulating 43 wins and averaging 30 starts per year during that span.  He proudly represented the Cardinals in two All- Star games, 2015 and 2017.  Despite some minor injuries Carlos has stayed healthy enough to keep his spot at the top of the rotation.  While other such as Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright have broken down, Carlos seems to come back from injuries strong and capable.   Outside of a handful of pitchers in the league he would be an ace on most staffs.

Now let’s look at the negatives. Carlos has been known to be an emotional player,  during the stress of a playoff run and/or series he has been known to get a little flustered.  The veteran presence of Yadier Molina has been able to hide some of those issues.  Martinez can be wild at times his BB/9 has reached a career high so far in 2018 at 4.67.

While erratic at times Carlos will still find himself on the list of top potential targets of any team if made available.  With the firing of Matheny, Cardinals management has made it clear that they are not afraid to shake things up.  While moving Martinez may be looked at as giving up on the 2018 season, would he not bring back the most of any player on your current roster?

Imagine you are the Yankees, stacked with a loaded farm system and the Cardinals have made this great cost controlled pitcher available.  How can you not offer up some of your top prospects to get him. As a Cardinals fan can you really be that upset if you move on from Carlos, when you have seen the strength of your developing pitchers.

Cardinals get: Gleyber Torres,  Domingo German, Dermis Garcia

Yankees get: Carlos Martinez, Jedd Gyorko

While this is obviously hypothetical, I cannot see any way as an organization you cannot at least open up the negotiation.  The Cardinals have been looking for a dynamic position player to take the reigns of the team since the departure of Albert Pujols. Moving on from Carlos Martinez will have backlash,  while he is great on the field he is also a charismatic personality that people are enthralled in seeing. The Cardinals will have a better idea of where they are right out of the All- Star break heading to Chicago for 5 games that can make or break your season.  At that point they have to decide whether Martinez is the future himself or is the key to bringing in the future.