If Friday’s MLB slate was a deck of cards, there would be more than four aces. Several of the game’s top hurlers are on the mound and it could be a tough night for offense. Here’s a list of some of the names in action: Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke, Garrett Richards, Michael Pineda, Gerrit Cole, Jon Lester, Lance Lynn, Carlos Carrasco, Jeff Samardzija, Noah Syndergaard, Chris Archer, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, and Andrew Cashner. Wow. It’s a good day to have MLB.tv. With a slate of pitchers like that, offense could be hard to come by on Friday night.
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The salaries listed are from DraftKings.
Here are the top teams to stack for May 22:
Baltimore – Henderson Alvarez is making his fourth start of the season for the Marlins and he showed some signs of rust in his last outing by allowing six earned on nine hits to the lowly Braves offense. It’s hard to take much from Alvarez’s stats from this season. Looking at last year, his 2.65 ERA was accompanied by a 3.58 FIP and a 3.57 xFIP. The big concern in this start is that Alvarez pitches to contact and the Orioles do a lot of damage when they make contact. Even minus a hitter playing in an NL park, the Orioles are an attractive stacking option.
Cleveland – Mike Leake gave up nine earned over five in his last start and yet regression is still coming for the Reds righty. Leake is not missing nearly as many bats this season and has been fortunate to post a .226 BABIP against, which is 64 points lower than his career average. His strand rate of 80 percent is unsustainable without striking out a lot of hitters. Lefties are slugging .495 off of him this season and, as we all know, the Indians lineup is loaded with left-handed bats.
Kansas City – Lance Lynn is a very good pitcher, but the Royals present a big problem for him. Lynn is back to struggling against left-handed hitters. Nine of the 19 hits from left-handed bats off of Lynn have gone for extra bases and his walk rate is elevated against them once again this season. Lefties have a .251/.354/.409 slash against Lynn lifetime and the Royals are loaded with left-handed sticks. A lot of people are going to stack San Francisco and Colorado, so an under-the-radar stack like Kansas City may work out favorably.
Here are the top value hitters for May 22:
Freddie Freeman ($4,000) – The Braves best hitter only costs $4,000 against Wily Peralta? Sign me up. Freeman is tied for the 22nd-most expensive first baseman in DraftKings formats, which seems ludicrous given how well he has hit this season. May has been a little bit slower than April, but Freeman still has a .306/.363/.497 slash and it is a tad higher against righties with a .310/.375/.500 slash. Freeman has struck out in nearly 42 percent of his PA against lefties and just 15 percent against righties.
Ben Paulsen ($3,300) – I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use Paulsen in DFS formats and this is it. Paulsen draws the god-awful Ryan Vogelsong and a concussion to Justin Morneau and an injury to Corey Dickerson should give Paulsen regular at bats against righties. How often can you get a player for $3,300 in a game at Coors Field? The park factor elevates just about everybody’s offensive contributions, a 27-year-old AAA call-up included.
Mark Reynolds ($3,200) – Normally I wouldn’t recommend Mark Reynolds against same-side pitching because he has massive career platoon splits, but Chris Young is a favorable matchup for him. Young is not a strikeout guy, which is Reynolds’s biggest problem, and he pitches to fly ball contact. Reynolds has good power on pitches above the belt and that’s where Young likes to work.
Here are the top value pitchers for May 22:
Noah Syndergaard ($7,500) – Listeners of my Thursday edition of The Bettor’s Box know that I am swooning over this Friday night matchup between Gerrit Cole and Noah Syndergaard. Thor has flashed some insane raw potential through his first two starts. One knock on Syndergaard may be the amount of fly balls he allows, but it won’t be an issue at PNC Park. The Pirates offense has been pretty terrible most of the season, so this is a good matchup for the kid. Be aware, however, that a lot of people are going to pick him alongside one of the aces (Felix, Scherzer, etc).
Scott Kazmir ($7,600) – Scotty Kazmir is still missing plenty of bats. The elevated walk rate is a minor concern against a Tampa Bay offense that actually ranks pretty highly against left-handed pitching. But, this is another good park for Kazmir to pitch in and nobody has struck out more often against lefties than the Rays at 24.8 percent. Kazmir opposes Chris Archer, who is pretty good in his own right, so he knows he has to keep this game low-scoring.
Ubaldo Jimenez ($7,000) – Jimenez is a lot like Tim Lincecum to me, in that teams that don’t see much of him are going to struggle. He doesn’t throw anything straight. Control is a bit of a problem, but he can be “effectively wild” against a team like the Marlins and get away with it. Jimenez should be able to pitch to the conditions at Marlins Park and the Marlins are certainly struggling right now. Jimenez may be the best lower-tier option out there to pair with one of the studs.