This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thanks to one early game (Nats-Rays), one ace (Max Scherzer) is removed from the mix on DraftKings on Tuesday.
The group of top-end arms is strong, however, and there are a few other considerations below $10,000 that help to create interesting combos on the pitching front.
As bats go, the interest should be focused on the high over/under totals in Boston (Red Sox/Angels), Texas (Rangers/Padres), Atlanta (Braves/Reds) and Detroit (Tigers/A's).
Weather is a concern in a few places, with the Twins-White Sox matchup in Chicago facing the greatest threat of getting postponed as of lunch time Tuesday.
As noted over the last couple weeks, I'm making a concerted effort to indicate the type of contest I prefer to use players in – cash (50/50) or tournaments (GPPs) – which is generally an exercise in estimating ownership rates (or "finding the chalk") and making sure to have enough variation around the highly-coveted top value plays to have a dangerous lineup.
A strong cash-game play isn't necessarily a "bad" tournament play, but too many "chalky" players can create a limiting factor in big-field tournaments.
Your constructive feedback is appreciated, and always welcomed.
For those interested, we've started an MLB DFS Slack channel for paid RotoWire subscribers. (There is a season-long one as well.) To join those channels, e-mail email@example.com.
Corey Kluber, CLE at STL ($12,900) – The Cards have been a slightly below average offense against right-handed pitching in 2018, while they've struck out at a slightly above average clip along the way. Given that he's $200 cheaper than Luis Severino, he's the best cash option on the board Tuesday.
Luis Severino, NYY at PHI ($13,100) – Entering the season, there was a four-player cluster at the top of the starting pitcher ranks. Severino belongs in that group, regardless of how you adjust your projection for Clayton Kershaw going forward. Severino's matchup against Philadelphia gives him the clearest path to double-digit strikeouts, but he's a hair behind Kluber thanks to a more pitcher-friendly environment in St. Louis.
Ross Stripling, LAD vs. CHC ($10,500) – The steep drop from the four highest-priced arms to Stripling might pump up his ownership rate Tuesday. The skills have been elite since he took over a spot in the rotation in mid-May, and it may continue with his second consecutive start against the Cubs, thanks in part of the potential absence of Kris Bryant (shoulder). Even if Bryant is back in the fold for Chicago, Stripling is trending toward a regular price in the $11,500-$12,000 range.
Charlie Morton, HOU vs. TOR ($12,000) – Morton is pitching well despite a surge in walks, as he's missing enough bats to work out of jams regularly. Houston has the highest win probability on the board Tuesday night, thanks in part to a matchup against Toronto lefty Ryan Borucki in his big-league debut.
James Paxton, SEA at BAL ($12,500) – The Orioles don't strike out as much as you might think against left-handed pitching, but Paxton is good enough to pile up whiffs against any lineup when he's on. With his last two starts coming against the Yankees and Red Sox, expectations may have been knocked down a bit, as he entered that part of the scheduled with a 77:13 K:BB over 63.2 innings in his previous nine starts.
Freddy Peralta, MIL vs. KC ($7,900) – Peralta's first home start comes against Jake Junis and the Royals, and he's one of the bigger favorites on the board (-250). The low price, paired with two very impressive turns on the road through his first three turns in the big-league rotation figure to make him a popular tournament play Tuesday. Given the limited options around this price point, I am tempted to use him as an SP2 in cash-game lineups.
David Price, BOS vs. LAA ($8,300) – The Red Sox will draw Angels lefty John Lamb at home Tuesday, giving Price a nice -180 moneyline in an otherwise difficult matchup. The concern is that the Angels don't whiff much, and the ceiling for GPPs may be somewhat limited as a result. At least as a cash-game play, Price appears to be solid in this spot.
Lance Lynn, MIN vs. CHW ($7,300) – *Rain is in the forecast* – Weather permitting, the Twins' home matchup against the White Sox is one to consider. Lynn has posted a 47:23 K:BB over his last 50 innings (nine starts) dating back to the start of May. After signing late in free agency, and dealing with an unusual schedule following a string of postponements early in the season, Lynn appears to have settled down, with a sub-3.00 ERA (2.88) despite the elevated walk rate (4.1 BB/9) during that span. The skills aren't *that* good, but they're not as bad as his 4.64 ERA and 1.60 WHIP over the season suggest either.
Zack Godley, ARI at MIA ($9,200) – Did the trip to Coors three starts ago fix him? Godley has averaged 23 DraftKings points per game over his last three outings, with a 21:8 K:BB over 18.1 innings. The Marlins have been a frequent tournament target in 2018, and while I'm not completely comfortable with Godley in cash-game lineups, I would take the chance here in tournaments if you're looking to pivot away from the $12K+ options atop the board in the SP1 spot.
Carlos Martinez, STL vs. CLE ($8,000) – This is not an endorsement, but a reminder that Martinez seems broken. If you disagree, this is a very low price for a guy who looked like a top-15 starter before he went on the DL with a lat injury. Interest should be tepid against the Cleveland offense, and with Corey Kluber taking the ball on the other side.
Max Stassi, HOU vs. TOR ($3,600) – The Astros are facing Toronto rookie left-hander Ryan Borucki on Tuesday, which will drive up ownership rates on Houston stacks. Even if you're fading the big bats, Stassi is a nice one-off play to get exposure to the matchup, as he continues to crush left-handed pitching. Since the start of last season, Stassi is hitting .296/.351/.563 (.914 OPS) against lefties, the highest mark among catchers with at least 30 at-bats in their splits on Tuesday's slate.
Eric Hosmer, SD at TEX ($3,800) – Hosmer gets a big park boost almost any time the Padres are on the road, which is the case Tuesday along with a nice matchup against Austin Bibens-Dirkx in Arlington. Hosmer still hits the ball on the ground too much (his current 58.9% GB% matches his previous career-high from 2016), but the over/under for this matchup is an even 10, and more of that should come from the San Diego bats against Bibens-Dirkx than from the Rangers' bats against Tyson Ross.
Asdrubal Cabrera, NYM vs. PIT ($4,100) – Cabrera has been quiet in June, posting a .205/.250/.337 line and averaging just 5.4 DraftKings points per game. Paying up for a premium bat might be the optimal way to go, but that could be particularly difficult for those who are using one of the $12K+ starting pitchers. The appeal with Cabrera for Tuesday night comes from his matchup against Pirates starter Chad Kuhl, whose 2.1 HR/9 against lefties is even worse than the 1.2 and 1.3 HR/9 marks he's had in that split in the previous two seasons.
Justin Turner, LAD vs. CHC ($3,600) – Turner's splits against lefties since the start of last season are comparable to the marks that Nolan Arenado has against southpaws, and the damage done by Jose Ramirez against righties. Both of those alternatives are priced up more than $2,000 above Turner, who faces Jon Lester at home Tuesday night. The low price will steer a few people toward Turner, but he looks cash-game and tournament viable to me when you consider the way Lester has put together his surprisingly strong 2018. The underlying splits against righties include an 18.7% K% – his lowest since 2013 – and a 1.0 HR/9, a mark right in line with his three-year average.
Alternatives: Adrian Beltre, TEX vs. SD ($3,900)
Elvis Andrus, TEX vs. SD ($3,800) – Andrus is just 3-for-25 since returning from the DL, and the matchup isn't a complete layup against Tyson Ross on Tuesday, but the pricing on DraftKings is tough on this slate, since a lot of the elite options are cost prohibitive or matched up against top-end arms. In any case, the over/under for the Rangers-Padres game is an even 10, and Andrus' splits against righties over the past year-plus (since the start of 2017) are comparable to Xander Bogaerts' results against lefties during that same span, and Bogaerts costs $1,200 more than Andrus on Tuesday night.
Michael Conforto, NYM at PIT ($4,000) – There have been whispers of a possible demotion for Conforto, but he's quietly played at his pre-injury 2017 levels in recent weeks, stringing together a .302/.415/.535 line with a pair of homers and an 8:11 BB:K over the last 12 games. Tuesday's matchup is a very favorable one against Pirates righty Chad Kuhl, whose ongoing major skills flaws is a propensity to allow damage to left-handed hitters. Although he's improved his K% and BB% in that split, Kuhl is carrying a 2.1 HR/9 against lefties after posting a 1.2 HR/9 in 2016 and a 1.3 HR/9 in 2017.
Jesse Winker, CIN at ATL ($3,500) – Winker has been getting to his power more frequently in recent weeks, swatting all four of his June home runs over his last 15 games (.283/.421/.543, 8.6 DKpts/game). The excellent plate skills he possesses makes him a safe cash play at this price, but I have no reservations about using Winker in tournament situations with a road matchup against Anibal Sanchez at SunTrust park. While Sanchez has been a pleasant surprise in 2018, he's posted a career-worst 2.2 HR/9 in 2018, following marks of 1.3, 1.3, and 1.8 in each season since 2015.
Chad Pinder, OAK at DET ($3,300) – The song remains the same with Pinder. When he gets a start against lefties at his low price, he's an excellent source of salary relief. There is nothing sneaky about it at this point, but saving cash in the outfield in order to spend up on pitching is my preferred approach to this particular slate. Pinder continues to hit lefties well (126 wRC+) despite a rising strikeout rate in that split (30.2% K%).