Living in North Carolina, I have the opportunity to watch plenty of minor-league baseball, from Class A to Triple-A. It has been a great chance to see many organization’s top prospects in action before some become stars. But nothing is more special than attending a Major League Baseball game in person, and I’ll be doing just that with my family Friday when the Washington Nationals visit the Miami Marlins.
The excitement doesn’t just stop there, though. There is excitement for DFS purposes, as well, as these teams see each other frequently, and a few of the biggest sluggers have big-time production against their division rivals. Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper ($4,600) might be hitting just .265 overall, but he has a .296 mark (8-for-27) with three doubles, four homers, 11 RBI, 10 walks and just four strikeouts with a 1.326 OPS against the Marlins. And since the start of the 2013 season Harper is hitting .356 with a 1.036 OPS in 59 at-bats at Marlins Park. Unfortunately for Harp, he will miss Marlins SP Tommy Koehler ($6,300), but remember these stats. Harper is 10-for-29 (.345) with a double, six homers, 11 RBI and a 1.441 OPS in his career against the Miami right-hander.
Not to be outdone, Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton ($4,500) is hitting .281 with 11 doubles, a triple, 12 homers, 31 RBI and over 1.000 OPS since the start of the 2013 season against Washington pitching. Like Harper above, Stanton missed the guy he hits the hardest. That’s SP Stephen Strasburg ($13,400), who is set to start Thursday. But any weather cancellations in New York Tuesday through Thursday puts Strasburg into Friday’s series opener in Miami. Stanton is a ridiculous 14-for-38 (.368) with seven doubles, three homers, 10 RBI and a 1.231 OPS in his career against Strasburg. If Mother Nature makes other plans for the Nationals-Mets mid-week, remember Stanton against Strasburg. OF Marcell Ozuna ($3,600) is also 10-for-28 (.357) with a double, triple, two homers and six RBI with a 1.079 OPS against Stras.
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DraftKings.com salaries included below where applicable. (*** salaries subject to change ***)
PROBABLE PITCHERS TO START
TUESDAY (15 games)
Chris Archer, SP, Tampa Bay ($9,800 at TOR): Archer started off terribly this season, but he is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays with just four runs and six hits allowed over 11 innings, and the opposition is hitting just .150 against him. Arch seems to have the number of the Jays.
Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco ($12,500 at SD): MadBum already has a win under his belt against San Diego this season, allowing two runs and six hits over 6 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts April 25. The Padres strike out more than any other team in the National League, so take advantage.
WEDNESDAY (15 games – 11 after 7 pm ET)
Chris Tillman, SP, Baltimore ($8,400 vs. SEA): Tillman has been nearly untouchable at home with a 4-0 record, 1.89 ERA and .209 opponent batting average in 33 1/3 innings over six starts at Camden Yards. The key to his success overall has been the fact he has coughed up just one homer in 45 1/3 innings. Keep that in mind when selecting hitters, too. He just doesn’t give up the long ball.
Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit ($9,500 vs. MIN): Verlander is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in seven starts against the Minnesota Twins since April 2013, and he has 50 strikeouts over 45 1/3 innings during the impressive span.
THURSDAY (11 games – nine after 7:05 pm ET)
Jeff Locke, SP, Pittsburgh ($6,300 vs. ATL): Locke doesn’t have great numbers on the surface, but he has turned in three quality starts over his past four outings, and he faces a favorable matchup against the Braves and SP Mike Foltynewicz.
Michael Wacha, SP, St. Louis ($7,000 vs. COL): Wacha is 1-2 in four home starts, and 1-2 in four road starts. The difference is that he is hot at home despite the poor record, mostly due to a lack of run support. He has a 2.08 ERA in 26 home innings while allowing just two homers with 26 strikeouts and a .234 opponent batting average.
FRIDAY (15 games)
Justin Nicolino, SP, Miami ($5,100 vs. WAS): Nicolino hasn’t exactly been Cy Young against the Nationals, but he faces Tanner Roark who has been abysmal against the Fish. Use a Marlins hitting stack Friday night, and go with Nicolino since he figures to get plenty of run support. Roark is 0-3 with an 8.60 ERA in three starts against the Marlins this season. Nicolino is an ultra-low price DFS option allowing you to load up on high-priced hitters.
SATURDAY (15 games – five after 7:05 pm ET)
Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle ($8,100 at CIN): King Felix has been a little shaky lately, especially in his last outing on the road May 4 in Oakland. Still, he bounced back with a quality start and nine strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings last time out against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and it’s hard to envision the struggling Cincinnati Reds giving him much trouble. At this rate he is a great buy for his strikeout potential.
Adam Morgan, SP, Philadelphia ($4,700 vs. ATL): Morgan was fabulous in Atlanta May 10, allowing just one earned run and four hits with a walk and four strikeouts over seven innings in a win. He’ll be a nice contrarian play since he pitched for the lowly Phillies, but against the equally lowly Braves he should shine.
SUNDAY (15 games)
Drew Smyly, SP, Tampa Bay (at DET): Smyly is 1-4 in seven starts overall, but he has 3.63 ERA over 44 2/3 innings. Lack of run support has been an issue for the southpaw. He’ll work against his former organization, and is a strong play for his strikeout potential. He also won his only day start of the season at N.Y. Yankees April 24, allowing one run over seven innings. He has six or more strikeouts in six of his past seven outings.
HITTERS TO START
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit ($4,400 vs. MIN): Miggy hasn’t been performing to his standards this season, but he could pile up some giants numbers Tuesday. He is 18-for-41 (.439) with five doubles, six homers, 14 RBI and a 1.465 OPS against Minnesota Twins SP Phil Hughes.
Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Boston ($3,700 at KC): The only thing that could cool Bradley down is Mother Nature, as Monday’s game in Kansas City was washed out. Bradley carries a 21-game hitting streak into play Tuesday, but he hasn’t extended the streak cheaply. He is hitting .402 (33-for-82) with 14 runs, six homers and 26 RBI with a .768 slugging percentage.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay ($3,400 at TOR): Longo is one of a few Rays not particularly fooled by the knuckleball of Toronto Blue Jays RHP R.A. Dickey. He has five doubles, two homers and eight RBI among his 12 career hits against Dickey while posting a respectable .840 OPS.
Kole Calhoun, OF, L.A. Angels ($2,400 vs. LAD): Calhoun should be in the starting nine against veteran LHP Scott Kazmir, as Calhoun is hitting .342 (13-for-38) with a double, homer, nine RBI and an .869 OPS against left-handers.
Justin Bour, 1B, Miami ($3,100 vs. WAS): Bour has plenty of power potential, especially against Roark and the Nationals Friday night. He has a pair of homers in 14 career at-bats against the Washington righty.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami ($3,600 vs. WAS): Ozuna has been red hot lately, and he is a career .304 hitting with four RBI in 23 career at-bats against the Washington RHP. Use him as part of your Miami stack.
Martin Prado, 3B, Miami ($3,200 vs. WAS): Half of Prado’s 18 career at-bats have gone for hits against Roark, including a homer. Overall he has a 1.193 OPS against the Washington righty.
J.T. Realmuto, C, Miami ($2,900 vs. WAS): Realmuto doesn’t have a lengthy history against Roark, but when they have met it has been Realmuto rolling up a strong average. He enters play Tuesday hitting .340 with four doubles, seven RBI and a .769 OPS in the month of May.
Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore ($4,400 vs. SEA): Jones has finally enjoyed a giant week, hitting .520 (13-for-25) over the past seven games with two doubles, four homers and nine RBI. He’ll keep it going against Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim RHP Matt Shoemaker, who was temporarily banished from the rotation.