MLB DFS Rundown — 4/5
I don’t love paying this price for a guy I don’t expect to be allowed to throw 100 pitches, but Hill’s strikeout ability and upside against this young Padres team is too much to pass up. Plenty of people will be interested in Chris Sale or Jacob DeGrom at this price tier, but I fear the matchups for these two much more, both in terms of hitting prowess and lack of strikeouts.
Paxton is just one of my guys. A once big time prospect who struggled with injuries for a few years, Paxton flashed his high level talent in the 2nd half of last season with a 3.13 xFIP and a 24% strikeout rate. He’s an interesting case from a split perspective thus far, as he’s a lefty who has been excellent against righties but struggled against lefties (albeit in a small sample). These splits shouldn’t be an issue tonight against Houston, however, as they’ll trot out a lineup of all righties aside from possibly Josh Reddick. The Astros definitely have a few dangerous hitters against LHP, but they also offer a tremendous amount of strikeout upside for a pitcher who strikes out just under 25% of right handed bats. He’s simply too cheap for his upside tonight.
I know, I know, look at his awful numbers from last year. The consensus is that Finnegan sucks, but in this case the consensus would be wrong. I went on a twitter rant about Finnegan this morning, so if you follow me, you’re probably already sick of my ranting about this kid, but fucking deal with it. Finnegan was a big time prospect who was the center piece of the Johnny Cueto deal. Talented kid. Last year, Dan Straily taught him a new changeup, and late in the year he finally started to trust it and throw it a bunch more. Starting late August, he threw the changeup more than 20% of the time alongside his fastball/slider combo. From then on, he struck out 30% of hitters he faced while bringing his hard contact rate down below 30% and soft contact up above 20%. Those are truly elite numbers. Walks and homers will still be an issue, and we obviously can’t say definitely if he has turned the corner, but he showed flashes of it late last year, and he’s the type of shot I like to take in GPPs early on before other people on if he has indeed turned the corner. The Phillies definitely have some bats who are dangerous against LHP, but Finnegan also mowed down offenses like the Diamondbacks, Angels, Pirates and Brewers late last year, and there’s strikeout upside in this spot as well. If the weather holds off and the game is good to go, I’ll have my shares of Finnegan.
EDIT: WITH THE WEATHER CONCERNS IN CINCY I’M ADDING A PITCHER IN PLACE OF BRANDON FINNEGAN.
Can’t say I ever thought I’d be recommending Brandon Finnegan and Charlie Morton in the same article, but here we are. Morton is a career mediocre pitcher who seemed to have found something in his first few starts last year before tearing his hamstring legging out a bunt. With a career K% around 16%, Morton jumped all the way up to 26.8% with a 12% swinging strike rate in his 17 innings last year while still maintaining a massive 62% ground ball rate. These bumps coincided with a velocity bump up to 94.3 MPH. He sat out the rest of last year and returned for Spring Training this year only to maintain his stellar performance with a 1.05 ERA over 17 1/3 innings. There’s obvious risk here because of a limited sample of a potentially new Charlie Morton, but this Mariners lineup is far from scary right now. Robinson Cano matches up very well, particularly with his sinker, but outside of him, only Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager offer anything in terms of true fright for opposing pitchers. The risk is priced in here, and the Mariners are off to slow start at the plate, so I’m definitely on team Charlie tonight.
This definitely isn’t contrarian, but the Dodgers are my favorite stack tonight. The Padres have the worst starting rotation in baseball backed by one of the worst bullpens, so I’ll be targeting them on an almost nightly basis, especially with high powered offenses like the Dodgers. Trevor Cahill gets the nod for the Pads tonight, and his penchant for keeping the ball down in the zone with his sinker actually plays really well into the strengths of all the Dodgers lefties.
Diamondbacks against lefties will be a frequent recommendation here. While Matt Moore proved to be a quality pitcher when healthy last year, he is also a flyball pitcher who doesn’t induce much soft contact and at times will have HR issues. Combine the Dbacks powerful righty bats with the best hitting environment on the slate, and you get a ton of upside here.
The Diamondbacks are another team I’ll be targeting very frequently with stacks. Their starting rotation has improved, at least from a talent perspective, this year, but their bullpen is absolutely dreadful and the starters are far from sure things. Taijuan Walker is a talented young kid who the Dbacks traded for in the offseason, but he has yet to really find his groove in the big leagues. He has pretty good stuff (as evidenced by a nice 10% swinging strike rate), but he has been extremely homer prone, even when pitching in Seattle, so far in his career because he simply gets too much of the plate sometimes. When he’s on his game, he can be very good and induce a ton of soft contact, but the Giants are a solid offense who won’t strikeout much which sets up well for playing in Arizona. If they can capitalize on a few Taijuan mistakes, there’s HR upside for the Giants, and then they’ll get into the terrible Arizona bullpen early and reap the rewards in that hitter’s haven.
Cash Game Plays
C — Yasmani Grandal, Wellington Castillo
1B — Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Greg Bird, Tommy Joseph
2B — Robinson Cano, Cesar Hernandez, Brandon Drury
3B — Manny Machado, Maikel Franco, Jose Reyes, Justin Turner
SS — Corey Seager, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brad Miller
OF — Corey Dickerson, AJ Pollock, Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson, Billy Hamilton, Joey Rickard