Friday night MLB DFS is here, and that means a full slate of games to choose from.
As always, be sure to remember the heavy variance that comes with baseball and to be very aware of your bankroll management. Additionally, the RotoGrinders MLB lineups page and push notifications are the best way to get all team lineups in a timely manner.
Eduardo Rodriguez (vs. Baltimore Orioles)
Projection systems typically love Eduardo Rodriguez and tonight is no different, for good reason. First off, he strikes out 10 batters per nine innings and checks in this season with a very nice 3.69 xFIP. Tonight’s matchup with Baltimore pushes him over the top, as the team only averages 4.03 runs per game this season, sixth worst in baseball. The Orioles' projected lineup features three hitters who strike out more than 30 percent of the time against left handers. Five others in this projected lineup strike out more than 20 percent of the time. Rodriguez is a -200 favorite tonight in a game in which he should be able to prevent runs while striking out a lot of batters. The bonus in all of this is that he comes in at a very reasonable price tag on both sites in comparison to the elite pitchers.
Paul Goldschmidt (vs. New York Mets)
Goldschmidt still has a very tantalizing price tag of only $3,900 on DraftKings, and that should come in handy tonight when he takes on a left-handed pitcher. Goldy has been a hitter that has thrived on left-handed pitching in his career, as last season he dropped a .273 ISO and 50 percent hard-hit rate against them. So far this season, opposing pitcher Steven Matz is allowing a 43.6 percent hard-hit rate to right-handed hitters. First base is always stacked with great players and is tough to narrow down, but I’ll take this discount in salary and play Goldy tonight.
Brian Dozier (vs. Arizona Diamondbacks)
It’s crazy to think that Brian Dozier has bounced around to his third team now in the last year. He’s always been an incredibly talented hitter that had a good long-term outlook. Dozier started off this season struggling but has picked it up recently, and tonight he gets that favorable split platoon. For his entire career he’s been exceptional against left-handed pitching, and this season hasn’t been much different. In 58 plate appearances this year, Dozier has put up a .346 ISO and .493 wOBA against southpaws. Tonight he gets a matchup vs Robbie Ray, a talented left hander that has shown vulnerability against right-handed hitters at times. Despite striking out a lot of batters, Ray has still allowed a massive 40 percent hard-hit rate to that side of the plate and can get himself into trouble with walks (13.5 percent) as well. There is still a solid discount on both sites in the price tag for Dozier, so I’m bullish on him tonight.
Jose Ramirez (vs. Detroit Tigers)
This season hasn’t been as kind to Jose Ramirez as his MVP-caliber 2018 was. It seems like he battled an injury early in the year but is trying to find his form as of recent play. Despite his struggles, he still only strikes out 9.1 percent of the time against left-handed pitching while walking 10.2 percent of the time. The appeal to Ramirez tonight is the great price tag across the industry, combined with a matchup against a left-handed pitcher who has not been good. Ryan Carpenter has allowed a .413 wOBA, .313 ISO and 90.9 mph average exit velocity to right-handed hitters this year. This is a great spot for Ramirez to continue his rebound from a rough start to the year.
Manny Machado (vs. Colorado Rockies)
When Manny Machado signed that massive contract in the offseason, I think he knew it was going to be a difficult transition to the spacious ballpark out in San Diego, and that it might detour his offensive numbers. He’s really struggled in his new environment but tonight gets a temporary reprieve. The Padres travel to Colorado to play in that thin air of Denver and I expect a surge from this offense. Playing in a hitter-friendly ballpark over the last couple years, Machado has racked up a .220 ISO, 42 percent flyball rate and 91.2 mph average exit velocity against right handers. Facing on the Rockies’ Jeff Hoffman tonight is also going to benefit Machado. Going back to the start of last season, Hoffman is giving up very limited soft contact (14.4 percent) while walking 8.8 percent of the batters he faces. The Padres don't see many 5.7 implied run totals for themselves, but they have one tonight, and I think we should take advantage of it on our rosters.
Franmil Reyes (vs. Colorado Rockies)
I want a San Diego outfielder in this spot and my initial thought was Hunter Renfroe because, based on the numbers I’m seeing, I would give him one of the higher opportunities to hit a homer if he makes the lineup. However, there’s a chance he doesn’t crack the starting lineup, and if that’s the case, it’s an easy pivot to Reyes. Sure, he will strike out a bunch, but in Coors Field you just need to make contact and with any type of power you can get it out of the ballpark. Reyes has power in spades as evidenced by the .316 ISO this year against right-handed pitching. He’s on the verge of turning 24 years old and already has 19 home runs this season. Reyes is blessed with a ton of power and this is the ballpark in which to show it off.
Mallex Smith (vs. Oakland Athletics)
MLB DFS isn’t always about hitting home runs. As I’ve talked about in this column before, sometimes it’s far easier to predict stolen bases than homers, and it’s a great way to rack up a ton of points and accentuate the upside of a player. Tonight my “one to run” is Mallex Smith. He already has 18 stolen bases in 217 plate appearances this year, so he has a green light all the time. Meanwhile, in nine games started this season, Chris Bassitt has allowed four stolen bases. Here’s another stat we have in our favor tonight: Bassitt is allowing a 13.8 percent walk rate to left-handed hitters in 2019, meaning if Smith gets on base, he is a fantastic bet to run.