Mike Trout of the MLB Los Angeles Angels

MLB Deep Dive 9/23/16 by DraftCheat

In the MLB Deep Dive, Peter Christensen (aka DraftCheat) brings you the most hard hitting, in-depth, MLB DFS analysis available in the industry today! Be sure to check out his thoughts on the days slate before you set your lineups and remember… it’s “Analysis so good… it feels like cheating!”

Pitching

Cole Hamels @ Oakland A’s:

There are a few pitchers with higher price tags at various sites around the industry, but Hamels is the top tier option I’m considering for my rosters. Yes, Hamels has been poor lately, struggling with command over his previous four starts with shockingly low 20:14 K:BB ratio during that time span. There doesn’t really appear to be anything wrong with Hamels though – his velocity hasn’t dipped, and the swinging strikes, whiff rate, and first-pitch strike rates have all remained steady. Expect Hamels to right the ship tonight in Oakland which is one of the friendlier ballparks for opposing pitchers, even if this same Oakland team did drop 6 earned runs on him last time out in Arlington. Hamels’ price has been reduced from it’s typical levels due to his recent struggles, and that’s something we can take advantage of tonight. If you’re looking to spend on pitching, Cole Hamels may be your guy.

Drew Pomeranz @ Tampa Bay Rays:

Like Hamels, Red Sox’ LHP Drew Pomeranz has really struggled lately. Over his last two outings against the Orioles and Yankees he’s managed to throw just 5.2 innings while giving up a whopping 9 ER. Not good. There are some rumors circulating that Pomeranz is experiencing fatigue issues as he’s thrown more innings this year than at any point in his MLB career, but despite the recent struggles the metrics don’t really validate those concerns. All of Pomeranz’ pitches have maintained the same velocity and movement that we’re used to seeing, and his recent poor performances likely have more to do with command issues, bad luck, and bad matchups. I’m expecting a big performance out of Pomeranz at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay tonight. The Rays continue to strike out at absurd rates against left-handed pitching, and Pomeranz has fared well against them since being traded over to the Red Sox mid-season.

James Paxton @  Minnesota Twins:

Mariners’ LHP James Paxton is a player that often flies under the radar, but has as much start-to-start upside as anyone outside the very top tier of pitchers. That’s no different tonight in Minnesota against a team who has seen their strikeout rate steadily climb throughout the season. I do prefer to roster James Paxton when he’s pitching in the friendly confines of Safeco Field, and we’ll have to see just how strikeout-prone the Twins lineup is tonight, but as of this writing he’s certainly in play as a pitcher that is priced pretty comfortably in the mid-tier, should be underowned, and has tremendous upside.

Francisco Liriano vs. New York Yankees:

I’ll start by saying that Francisco Liriano is NOT SAFE, ever. Even in the best of matchups Liriano can go completely off the rails, lose his command, and disappoint those who invest DFS dollars in him.

With the knowledge that Liriano can disappoint at any time, it’s worth pointing out that he’s looked quite good since moving to the bullpen for a few outings and then back into the rotation. Those moves were pre-planned with the idea to work on Liriano’s mechanics and increase his velocity, and we’ve certainly seen an increase in velocity since the moves. Indeed, Liriano’s highest average fastball velocities have both come in his last two starts. The command has also improved as Liriano has averaged a very solid 66.5% first-pitch strike ratio in those two starts. A version of Liriano that is throwing harder and throwing more strikes is a Liriano that has tremendous upside in any matchup, and although this matchup against a decent Yankees offense isn’t ideal, Liriano can miss bats with the best of them when he’s on his game, and he appears to have his good stuff right now. I wouldn’t use Liriano in cash games or go “all-in” on him in tournaments, but as a GPP flier that is underpriced and likely underowned tonight? Sign me up.

Trevor Bauer vs. White Sox:

I cringe a little bit when I type in “Trevor Bauer” as a recommended play to you, my loyal readers. I wouldn’t use him on FanDuel, where he’s priced to high, but on Fantasy Draft and DraftKings where he’s priced at just $6,300, he is very much in play tonight if you are looking to spend big on bats (and really, who doesn’t love getting all the best bats?). Bauer’s results have been just mediocre recently, but he’s run into some terrible batted ball luck. Two starts ago against what should be a very similar White Sox lineup to what we see tonight, Bauer struck out 7 Sox over just 5.1 innings, issued just one walk and no home runs. He pitched quite well in that game despite giving up 6 earned runs, and I expect him to pitch well again tonight at home against a strike out happy White Sox team, though perhaps lady luck will be more friendly this time around. Bauer has seen a pretty substantial uptick in his velocity over the past two starts, and if he’s able to maintain that it’s possible we see a big performance out of him tonight. I’ll certainly have some shares.

Hitting

Blue Jays vs. Bryan Mitchell:

The Toronto Blue Jays return home this weekend after a week long West Coast trip, and they land in a nice spot against Yankees RHP Bryan Mitchell. Mitchell is simply #notgood, as his minor league numbers are unimpressive and he’s struggled so far in his few MLB innings. The Blue Jays roll out primarily a right-handed lineup, and in Mitchell’s brief MLB career so far he’s faced 31 right-handed hitters and struck out exactly one of them. Against a Blue Jays team that is full of powerful hitters like Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin, and Troy Tulowitzki, it’s easy to see Mitchell getting blown up tonight. I’ll have a lot of exposure to the Blue Jays, especially Russell Martin who is my number one overall catcher tonight when pricing considerations are factored in.

Orioles vs. Shelby Miller:

Occasionally a matchup rolls around where I genuinely feel bad for a pitcher and worry about his well being due to all the rockets that are going to be headed back his way. That’s the case for poor Shelby Miller tonight in Camden Yards against an Orioles team that has as much power as any team in baseball. Miller has struggled all season long, particularly against left-handed hitters, but honestly I like just about every single bat in this lineup. Miller isn’t missing many bats lately and is giving up more hard contact than just about any pitcher in baseball, and all of the Orioles big right-handed bats (Jones, Machado, and Trumbo) actually hit right-handed pitching better than left-handed pitching. Stack this team up and watch the runs pile in.

Diamondbacks vs. Yovani Gallardo:

I don’t love the D-Backs side of this ballgame nearly as much as I like the Orioles, but this is still a targetable spot for the Diamondbacks bats as they’ve got a lot of power against a pitcher in Gallardo who doesn’t miss many bats. The usual suspects from the Diamondbacks, lead by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, are all solid options here.

Kendrys Morales and Eric Hosmer vs. Michael Fulmer

These two should fly under the radar but are two of my favorite plays at their price points around the industry. Both are smashing the baseball right now with some of the highest batted ball velocities in the game over the last couple of months, and both have been able to square up Fulmer in nearly every plate appearance this year. Nobody every rosters either guy but they are both tremendous plays tonight in Detroit and come at a steep discount on DraftKings and Fantasy Draft.

George Springer and Jose Altuve vs. Alex Meyer

While the entire Astros stack is certainly in play vs. talented but wild fireballer Alex Meyer, it’s Springer and Altuve who really stand out to me as outstanding plays. Meyer is essentially a two-pitch pitcher, relying heavily on his fastball and curveball, and those are the two pitches Altuve and Springer fare best against. Both guys have the power-speed combo to take advantage of this matchup as well and need to be on your short list at second base and outfield tonight.