MLB DFS: Pitching Focus, Two Bats, and Two Stacks for June 18, 2019

Joey Ricotta | June 18th, 2019

Well, it’s one of those days where there are a ton of hitters and pitchers that make for viable options because it’s a full slate of games tonight. I’ve done my best job to try to pinpoint some players you can use in all formats. Join me as I take a look at which pitchers to target, two bats, and two stacks.

Pitching

There are reasons to play the top four priced pitchers on Draftkings tonight, and there are reasons to fade them. You will want some sort of exposure to at least one or two of them unless you are someone that makes one lineup a night. Justin Verlander always has strikeout potential. He punches out 32.8% of batters and the Cincinnati Reds strikeout 24.2% vs RHP. He is, however, going on the road to a good hitters park and we’ve seen Verlander give up some power. Clayton Kershaw has held the San Francisco Giants hitters to a .199 career average. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are a combined 10-101 (.099 avg) against Kershaw. But the price for Kershaw is also high ($11,200 on DK) and he doesn’t strike out as many batters as he once did.

His 23.6% K rate, while still a decent number, is the lowest rate since his rookie year. Cole Hamels should have the win in place for him at home vs the Chicago White Sox. Versus lefties on the road, the Sox strikeout 25.7% of the time, and have a putrid .262 wOBA and 61 wRC+. His price of $10,500 is also a tough spot. Usually, Hamels isn’t that high, and at this point, it tempts you to spend a little more on Kershaw or Verlander. Jacob deGrom is the cheapest of the four at $10,300. But he will be facing a hot offense in Atlanta against the Braves. Because of that, he is a tournament only. But he does have upside with an 11.10 K/9 rate.

Jack Flaherty ($8,700 on DK and $8,000 on FD)

Flaherty has an extremely favorable match-up on home turf against the Miami Marlins. The Marlins numbers vs right-handed hurlers on the road are terrible. They hit only 33.6% hard contact, 49.1% ground balls, and strikeout 24.3%. Flaherty has a very good 32.1% strikeout rate vs right-handed hitters and the Marlins happen to have a ton of them in their everyday lineup.

Brett Anderson ($6,200 on DK and $7,000 on FD)

No, it’s not a sexy pick by any means, but Anderson is very inexpensive and is in a good spot tonight. He’ll be at home facing a Baltimore Orioles team at -220 Vegas odds favorites to win. Anderson doesn’t strikeout many batters, only 4.92 K/9, but induces 52.9% ground balls which is very good. Baltimore also has the fourth worst hard contact rate against lefties on the road at 31.6%. Couple that with their third-worst ground ball rate of 48.8% and Anderson seems like a safe play.

Mitch Keller ($6,900 on DK and $5,500 on FD)

Even after two rough first starts to his career, Keller is still a highly thought of prospect. In seven innings tossed, he has a 15.43 ERA but an 11.57 K/9 rate. And both of those first two starts came on the road. Now, he gets a chance to pitch at home against a Detroit Tigers lineup that doesn’t hit too well against righties, or in general for that matter. Detroit holds the lowest wOBA (.281) and wRC+ (73) in the league vs right-handers. And they strikeout 26.3% of the time against them, giving Keller a bunch of upside.

Other Targets: Brandon Woodruff

1B Anthony Rizzo ($5,100 on DK and $4,200 on FD)

Rizzo hit two homers this past series against the Dodgers, including a two-run go-ahead bomb off Kenley Jansen to help give the Cubs a win on June 15th. He is crushing right-handed pitching this season, to the tune of a .415 wOBA, and 16 of his 19 bombs have come against them. Ivan Nova has really struggled with a 6.28 ERA this season. Rizzo is also 7-15 (.467) lifetime vs Nova.

OF Mookie Betts ($4,800 on DK and $4,100 on FD)

Although Betts is hitting only .266 which is down about 30 points from his career batting average, he is still averaging 9.2 fantasy points per game. He gets a solid match-up tonight against Michael Pineda. Betts is hitting .285 against righties this season, with 10 of his 11 HR coming against them. The rest of the numbers against them are terrific as well, 42.2% hard contact, .390 wOBA, 143 wRC+, and .225 ISO. Pineda gives up 49.2% hard contact and 2.01 HR/9 to right-handed hitters. Betts is also 7-23 (.304) with two homers vs Pineda.

Other Targets: Robinson Cano, Paul DeJong, Kyle Schwarber, Travis d’Arnaud, and Ketel Marte.

Stacks

Chicago Cubs vs Ivan Nova

The wind is blowing in from right field tonight at Wrigley, but only slightly. It shouldn’t have too much effect on the offensive outburst that I expect the Cubs to have tonight. They are fresh off an off day after playing 17 days straight. They are facing a pitcher they are rather familiar with, and Nova has been almost equally ineffective to both sides of the plate this season. Lefties have a .400 wOBA and righties have a .358 wOBA against him and have hit a total of 14 bombs.

Boston Red Sox vs Michael Pineda

In 13 games started, Pineda, has a 5.04 ERA and has given up 43.3% HC, and 1.81 HR/9. For the month of June, Pineda has a 3.38 ERA and .270 wOBA against in 10.2 IP. Better right? Well, his hard contact against is the highest it has been all season at 52.9% this month. The masses might be following his recent surface stats trend, but I’m not. I’ll be attacking and stacking against.

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