MLB Tournament Thoughts with ShipMyMoney

Tonight on FantasyDraft, we have a $5,000 Home Run with a reasonable $25 entry fee and a 6-entry limit, so we will not see the field overrun by anyone one player with deep pockets.  There are 15 games on the slate, so here are some of the players I am eyeing for my tournament lineups.

Starting Pitchers

Justin Verlander, Houston Astros, $24,400

Verlander is the most expensive pitcher on the slate against the Angels in Houston.  Verlander has been excellent of late, striking out 35.0 percent of hitters over the last 30 days with a 2.56 xFIP.  While the Angels do not have a lot of strikeouts in their lineup, they did increase their expected strikeout percentage by replacing Cameron Maybin with Justin Upton.  Over the last 30 days, the Angels’ 20.8 percent strikeout percentage is up from their 19.2 percent season average.  Probably not coincidentally, their o-swing percentage in the last 30 days is 32.8 percent compared to their season average of 30.5 percent.  Verlander’s numbers suggest that he should be able to take advantage of this aggressiveness as his 32.0 o-swing percentage is well above league average.  In his September 12th start against the Angels, Verlander recorded a 15.2 percent swinging strike percentage and 35.7 percent o-swing percentage on his way to a dominant 8.0 inning, 1 hit, 9 strikeout performance.

 

Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks, $23,400

Grienke has been elite at home this season, striking out 30.1 percent of opposing hitters while walking just 4.9 percent and pitching to a 3.06 xFIP.  The Marlins are in the middle of the pack with a 22.2 percent strikeout percentage over the last 30 days so there is some upside here for Greinke.  It is a more dangerous matchup for Greinke than for Verlander, but it is likely that we see Greinke come in at lower ownership as well.

 

Ivan Nova, Pittsburgh Pirates, $13,200

Nova is likely to go completely overlooked on this slate but he is a pitcher that has been drastically better against right-handed hitters and drastically better at home this season.  It is likely that the Cardinals will have a right-handed heavy lineup tonight and the game is in Pittsburgh.  If the Cardinals cooperate with their lineup, this could be a very sneaky tournament spot for Nova.  Nova has a 20.8 percent strikeout percentage against righties this season compared to 12.5 percent against lefties.  Against righties at home, he has an 18.2 percent strikeout percentage, 2.6 percent walk percentage, 48.3 percent groundball percentage, 27.0 percent infield flyball percentage (these are just as good as groundballs) and a 3.80 xFIP.  Nova is not “exciting” regardless of where he is pitching or who he is pitching against but, if the Cardinals use their normal righty-heavy lineup, he does make for an intriguing tournament play at an inexpensive price point.

Infield

Lucas Duda, Tampa Bay Rays, $6,800

Duda disappointed last night against Gabriel Ynoa but he gets another great matchup tonight against Ubaldo Jimenez in Camden Yards.  Jimenez’s biggest weaknesses are left-handed power and speed and, while Duda is not fast, he has plenty of power.  Jimenez has allowed 2.81 home runs per nine innings to left-handed hitters this season while Duda has a .366 wOBA and .306 ISO against righties this season.

 

Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds, $9,200

Rick Porcello is far from the worst pitcher on the slate but he has had major issues with left-handed power this season.  Porcello ranks second behind Erasmo Ramirez in hard contact allowed to lefties this season at 42.2 percent.  He also has allowed over 46 percent flyballs to lefties.  Hard hit flyballs do not usually stay in Great American Ballpark.  Porcello has also only walked 5.9 percent of left-handed hitters this season, which increases Votto’s upside since he is so patient and willing to take walks.  Rostering Votto against pitchers who struggle with control is risky because we do not want to pay up for 3 walks in a game.  That should not be the case tonight as Porcello will work in the strike zone and challenge Votto.

 

Outfield

Mallex Smith, Tampa Bay Rays, $5,400

We saw Smith lead off against Ynoa last night and, if he is at the top of the order again tonight, it will be a prime spot for Smith as he will be able to run freely against Jimenez.  Smith does not offer power like Duda does, but the easy stolen bases will more than make up for it.  If Kevin Kiermaier ($8,800) is back at the top of the lineup he is an elite play as well as he has more pop than Smith and is also very capable of stealing bases.

 

Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies, $10,800

Blackmon is not in Coors Field, which is normally a knock against him.  Petco Park is not a bad park for hitters, especially left-handed power, contrary to popular belief, however.  Blackmon has an excellent matchup against former teammate Jordan Lyles.  Lyles has thrown 26.2 innings against left-handed hitters this season and has been touched up for 2.70 home runs per nine innings with just a 14.1 percent strikeout percentage.  Blackmon’s hard contact percentage is 7 percentage points higher than his season average over the last 15 days and Lyles has been average to slightly below average at holding runners throughout his career so it is possible that Blackmon swipes a bag as well.

 

Best of luck in taking second place tonight! ~ShipMyMoney

Adam Scherer

Adam Scherer

Adam Scherer (aka ShipMyMoney) has been playing full time DFS for the last two years since taking a “sabbatical” from law school. He specializes in MLB and NBA and has a couple live finals appearance under his belt along with a couple high five figure victories in tournaments. Adam likes to dig into the analytics as well as use the “eye test” particularly for his pitcher analysis and understanding NBA game flow and coaching strategies. You can find his work on FanVice.com for both articles as well as the Deeper Dive live video show airing regularly at 5pm ET or on Twitter @ShipMyMoneyDFS

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