There are still a few seats left in the DraftKings Live Final on August 26th in Denver. We’ll only address the night games here as we’re focusing on the qualifier. Here’s how I’m going to attack the slate.
Corey Kluber will be on all of my teams. He has the highest ceiling and highest floor on this slate. The former Cy Young Award winner has rattled off double-digit strikeouts in three straight starts and eight of his last nine. He’s expensive, but don’t overthink it. The Yankees rank 11th in K% versus right-handed pitching and haven’t faced the Indians ace yet this year.
Parker Bridwell doesn’t have overpowering stuff, yet he’s still a little underrated. The Angels rookie features a curveball, slider, change and a sinker. He’s an intelligent pitcher that has enough in his arsenal to limit the damage. Fastball ranges from 90-95, with a changeup that separates up to 9 mph at about 86. The change breaks away from lefties and the slider fools righties. I’ve seen Bridwell pitch at least thrice and he hasn’t given up much hard contact and has struck out enough to be useful in daily leagues. The 26-year-old faces the Phillies, who rank sixth in K%, making Bridwell worth the $8,300 on this slate. Most likely, I’m going to pair Parker with Kluber. However, I might have one team in which I am going to move all the way down to Miguel Gonzalez at $4,500 simply because I don’t like the other matchups. Miguel's stuff is not impressive, but for some reason he not too infrequently ends up with a serviceable box score for a dirt-cheap price. He’s not for the risk averse though as he receives his share of beatdowns.
Alex Wood – Some will look for the Dodger southpaw with a quirky delivery to bounce back, and as a lefty, Wood can limit some of the park effects working against him in SunTrust Park. This makes sense and I don’t blame you if you play him. I just find it hard to trust him coming off two rough outings, including yielding nine runs in four-plus innings against the Braves just two weeks ago. I never liked back-to-back outings against the same opponent in a short time span, the recall on the delivery, release angle, velocity, and movement is still fresh.
Tigers – Will be very chalky obviously vs. Chris Tillman and for good reason. Lefties and righties both excel against the Oriole, but right-handed hitters deliver the power.
Astros – Hiding somewhere inside Blake Snell is an elite pitcher. However, he thinks he can walk the bases loaded every inning and get away with it. Even when he’s not walking the store, Snell pitches from behind. In fact, "Ball One" should be his nickname, for that seems to be his favorite pitch. When you get behind in the count, terrible hitters become mediocre, and mediocre bats turn into All-Stars. I could see lots of base runners and numerous fastball counts in this one. This sets up the Astros hitters. In particular, I love Derek Fisher in this matchup. Fisher is a name to file away for the NFBC next year. I LOVE his approach, displaying great pitch recognition and plate discipline.
Beyond Detroit and Houston, I’m not recommending any stacks. Outside of Tigers and Astros, my hitters will be diversified.
Catcher – James McCann, John Hicks, Brian McCann, Evan Gattis
First Base – Lucas Duda, John Hicks, Mike Napoli, Josh Bell
Second Base – Robinson Cano, Scooter Gennett, Ian Kinsler
Third Base – Alex Bregman, Manny Machado, Miguel Sano
Shortstop – (nothing worth spending on, so I would punt, use as little salary as possible) - Dixon Machado, Jorge Polanco/Eduardo Escobar
Outfield – Mike Trout, Justin Upton, all Detroit outfielders, Derek Fisher, Carlos Beltran, Jake Marisnick, Andrew McCutchen, Marwin Gonzalez