The Reds and the Jays offenses are drooling in anticipation of stepping into the box tonight while Steven Wright’s opponents are praying that something floats in straight and juicy – something that has happened rarely so far this season. Bryce Harper is hoping to get pitches to hit while the Yankees are unlikely to hit much of anything they get. All on the DFS baseball slate in this spooky Friday the 13th in mid-May.
Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays – $10,400 vs. Martin Perez
One of the best match ups of the night is the Toronto Blue Jays power right-handed bats against Texas Rangers left hander Martin Perez. Donaldson has a home run and three doubles, a .400 batting average and 1.326 OPS against Perez in his career. Perez struggles versus right-handers and the Rogers Centre isn’t the place for a lefty to get well.
Joey Votto, Reds – $8,400 vs. Jeremy Hellickson
There are some good match ups for batters tonight, but Votto against Jeremy Hellickson in Philadelphia stands out. Citizens Bank Park ranks ninth in home runs while Jeremy Hellickson leads tonight’s starting pitchers in home runs allowed with nine, in seven starts and 36.2 innings pitched. Votto has hit two home runs with five runs batted in in his last four starts. Votto has a high floor in a match up that should result in three or four home runs at a minimum. Votto is the best of the Reds bashers tonight, but you should be looking to stack a few others as well (Brandon Phillips $7,600 and Jay Bruce $7,800).
Bryce Harper, Nationals – $10,000 vs. Tom Koehler
You don’t need a lot of reasons to start Bryce Harper but the numbers versus Tom Koehler are a nightmare for Marlins fans. He is 9-28 with six home runs, 11 RBI’s, a .321 batting average and OPS of 1.387. Harper is at a point now that the best reason to avoid starting him is that he walks too much. Yes, “Bryce Harper gets on base too often” is the strongest case against paying his $10,000 salary. In his previous seven games he walked 18 times. The strange thing is that there is some validity to this argument and if this trend continues his salary should drop, but for tonight against Tom Koehler whom he absolutely pounds, I am on board. If he gets two strikes he should end up with at least one home run.
Ryan Braun, Brewers – $9,300 vs. Christian Friedrich
Braun is on a tear and the peripherals are ideal for a big night in this one. Friedrich has allowed 22 home runs in 167.1 career innings pitched while Miller Park is fifth in home runs – just slightly less home-run friendly than Coors field. Braun has two home runs and 1.176 OPS in his previous seven games, a .400 batting average and he kills left handed pitching both in 2016 and for his career.
Chris Sale, White Sox – $24,000 vs. NY Yankees
I don’t love starting the consensus best starting pitcher each night, even in cash games, but when its an overwhelming situation you have to grin, bear it and sign them up. The Yankees are heavily left handed and lefties have batted .181 with an OPS of .452, zero home runs, 144 strikeouts and 23 walks in their previous 397 at bats. Sale is a lock for at least seven strikeouts and should finish the night with a dominant stat line and a win. Sale is too good and it is too likely to be a dominant performance to avoid him in both cash and tournament contests.
Steven Wright, Red Sox – $17,700 vs. Houston Astros
It’s a strange night of baseball when two knuckleballers are flicking flutterers on the same slate, but that’s what we have this Friday the 13th. One of them can’t get anyone out (R.A. Dickey) while the other is in the discussion for best pitcher in the American League in 2016 (Steven Wright). The Astros lead baseball in strikeouts (357) while Steve Wright ranks third in the American League in ERA (1.52) and has 38 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched. When a knuckleballer is going bad you run for cover, but when they are going good you have to show some faith and ride the wave and Wright is going as good as it gets right now. An added bonus, the Red Sox offense is punishing opposing pitching and makes it seem likely that Wright is in store for a strong outing and a win.
Rich Hill, Athletics – $18,900 vs. Tampa Bay Rays
There are a lot of respectable #2 starting pitcher options tonight and Hill has the most upside of them. He has 46 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched, a 2.39 ERA and 1.17 Whip. His opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays, are ranked sixth in strikeouts, 19th in OPS, 28th in runs scored and they are batting .224 as a team. Hill is priced like a second tier pitching play (Chris Sale being the only #1), but he has the upside to be the best starter of the night against a lite hitting Rays roster who strikeouts a lot. I love him in tournaments and he is a strong cash game play as well.