MLB DFS: Cash Games and GPP Pivots for May 20, 2021by Joe Ricotta May 20, 2021 0 comments
It’s a small slate tonight, and an ugly one on the pitching side of things. Why does this always seem to be the case when I decide to write the DFS article for the day? Be that as it may, there are still some exploitable areas to attack, and I’ve gone ahead and written up what’s most to like. Let’s take a look at some cash game options and GPP/Tournament pivots for tonight’s action.
You can check out our past DFS plays from multiple sports to see how we are doing here.
On The Mound
Sandy Alcantara ($9,300 DK and FD)
Alcantara is the best real-life pitcher on the slate. I don’t think that’s a hot take. The Philadelphia Phillies rank second-worst on the slate (to the Miami Marlins) in strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers. And if you’re asking whether to trust Alcantara or Vince Velasquez more, the answer is Alcantara, hands down. Outside of the clunker he put up his last time out against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Alcantara has a 2.72 ERA and 15 percent swinging-strike rate. Also, six of his nine starts have been quality starts. Take off your flip-flops and dip your toes in the sand. Let’s get Sandy.
Drew Smyly ($8,400 DK, $7,300 FD)
We probably don’t need to run down the stat sheet to explain why pitching against the Pittsburgh Pirates is advantageous for the pitcher, but we’ll do so anyway. The Pirates have hit the fewest home runs of any team in the majors with 27. They also have the lowest hard-hit rate, barrel rate, xSLG, and xwOBACON. Smyly’s 5.23 ERA is a little skewed because of his poor start to the year. Over his first four starts, he had an 8.05 ERA. However, he’s strung together back-to-back quality starts and has an ERA of 0.75 over the last those games. Look for Smyly to continue that trend tonight.
Nick Pivetta ($9,600 DK, $9,800 FD)
No one will want to pay the hefty price for Pivetta going up against an excellent offense in the Toronto Blue Jays. Pivetta has a career-high 12.8 percent walk rate, but he’s been a solid pitcher overall this season. He’s increased his four-seam fastball usage by over four percent from 2020, and the velo is up almost two full miles per hour, which has led to a .179 batting average against that pitch. Pivetta is also throwing a lot more sliders and decreased his curveball and changeup usage. While his price and matchup aren’t ideal, I’ll go against the grain and make sure to roster him in at least one tournament lineup, even if it’s against a team that sits near the top of every offensive category.
At The Dish
1B/3B/OF – Yoshi Tsutsugo ($2,100 DK, $2,000 FD)
Tsutsugo has done nothing to prove himself as a major league player. However, he finds himself hitting in a good lineup against an inferior pitcher in Merrill Kelly. Kelly’s career 4.52 xFIP isn’t as bad as his 5.24 season ERA. However, that’s not a good enough number against a team like the Dodgers that ranks fourth in wOBA. Tsutsugo hit fourth in the lineup yesterday and went 1-for-4 with an RBI. Look for him to come up to bat with men in scoring position again tonight. Just a few points from him would pay off his cheap salary in Cash Games.
1B – Freddie Freeman ($5,200 DK, $4,100 FD)
As some people (some being me) like to call him, “Free Money Freddie” is in a good spot to produce. He’s caught fire recently, with hits in six of his last seven games and three homers over that span. Freeman has tremendous patience, and Crowe struggles with command while also not getting many strikeouts. Crowe has a career 5.2 percent K/BB. Lock and load with Freeman and see if he can continue raising his batting average.
2B/OF – Enrique Hernandez ($3,500 DK, $2,700 FD)
Freshly activated from the injured list, Kike smashed last night, racking up three hits, including a homer. Why not go right back to the well? Going back to his Dodger days, he’s always hit left-handed pitchers well. Kike has hit the same number of homers against lefties as he has against righties in 265 fewer at-bats. He also has a career 119 wRC+ against them, which means he’s 19 percent above league average.
1B – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($6,000 DK, $4,500 FD)
Guerrero is one of only four players to hit at least 10 homers with a batting average of .320 or higher this season. With the combination of how Pivetta has pitched this season and the available first base options on the slate, he’s going to be overlooked in tournaments.
OF – Ketel Marte ($5,400 DK, $3,600 FD)
Marte was just activated before the Dbacks’ game yesterday and was not in the starting lineup. He did, however, get his feet wet with a pinch-hit appearance in the 8th inning. I haven’t seen an official announcement of who the Dodgers will be starting on the mound this evening, but it sounds like a bullpen game. In the six games he played prior to getting hurt, Marte was batting .462 with two home runs. His salary remains high, so he’s a sneaky option to use against the field that might take a wait and see approach with him.
OF – Garrett Cooper ($3,400 DK, $2,400 FD)
He has hits in each of his last four games, two of those have been doubles. Usually, when a guy starts hitting extra-base hits, the home runs follow shortly after. Six of the seven bombs Velasquez has allowed this season, have been to right-handed hitters. Cooper will be hitting cleanup for the fish and he’s a good value play.
It’s a small slate which allows us to basically do whatever we want when it comes to stacks. It’s easier to get exposure to just about everything, but there will be a lot of overlap and high ownership percentages. I hate to say, “play whoever you want,” but that’s exactly what you can do. My favorite contrarian stack on the slate is the Miami Marlins.
Follow Joey Ricotta on Twitter @theriot326
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