DraftKings Plays of the Day—5/24

Erik Smith details today's DraftKings slate with his must plays and best values of the day.

Pitcher List is proud to partner with DraftKings for the 2019 season. We’ll be featuring our top picks for every daily slate through the season and feature articles dedicated to the GPP.

DraftKing’s Friday night slate features every game except the early Reds vs. Cubs matchup. With 28 teams represented, the main slate will be full of options. As always, be sure to check weather reports as the first pitch approaches.


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Top SP: Blake Snell, TB ($11,400) at CLE


If you’re reluctant to pay the high price tag, I wouldn’t blame you, but it’s hard to argue against Blake Snell as the highest-upside option tonight. Snell leads all qualified starters with a 37.8% strikeout rate, and the only other pitcher over 30% among tonight’s starting pitchers is Chris Sale, who travels to Houston in a much tougher matchup. The Indians have been swinging the bats better this month against lefties with a .329 wOBA in May, bringing their season wOBA up to .298 against left-handed pitching. But this remains an exploitable matchup for Snell. Robbie Ray is intriguing against a Giants team with a .266 wOBA against left-handed pitching, but his inability to pitch more than five or six innings caps his upside and his $500 discount off of Snell doesn’t seem like enough. If you’re going to spend up on pitching today, Snell stands out as the top choice.

Honorable Mention: Robbie Ray, ARI ($10,900) at SF.


Value SP: Trent Thornton, TOR ($7,600) vs. SD


DraftKings has priced starting pitching too accurately tonight, with all of my favorite options above $9,900 and too expensive to count as a value. With none of the value options standing out, I’ll go with the cheapest starter I can stand to start, which leads me to Trent Thornton. Thornton’s 24.3% strikeout rate ranks him 11th-best on the slate, and the Padres .291 wOBA and 27% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching makes this an appealing matchup. Thornton is the 15th-most expensive option on the slate but probably deserves to be priced a bit higher, as he has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his past five starts, with the lone exception coming against the red-hot Twins. Thornton should provide a solid return on investment tonight while coming in at a cheaper price than some equally mediocre alternatives.

Honorable Mention: Pablo Lopez, MIA ($7,500) at WAS.


OF Joey Gallo, TEX ($5,500) at LAA (RHP Griffin Canning)


This one isn’t overly complicated: Joey Gallo is an excellent bet for a home run every game. With the outfield position banged up with nagging injuries to Christian Yelich, J.D. Martinez, Charlie Blackmon, and George Springer, Gallo looks like the healthiest member of the elite tier of outfielders at the lowest price. Griffin Canning isn’t without promise as the Angels number four prospect, but he likely won’t show anything that Gallo can’t handle.

Honorable Mention: Cody Bellinger, LAD ($5,900) at PIT (LHP Steven Brault, opener).


3B Nolan Arenado, COL ($5,600) vs. BAL (LHP John Means)


It’s hard to imagine a much better scenario than Nolan Arenado in Coors field against the Orioles and a left-handed starting pitcher. Arenado owns a .504 wOBA against lefties this year, with his .488 wOBA from 2018 further solidifying his lefty dominance. And while John Means has been surprisingly effective this year, his .234 BABIP allowed and 80.3% strand rate hint that the good times may not last. The Orioles are practically lapping the field in home runs allowed as a pitching staff, and a trip to Colorado’s thin air is a tough place to get right.

Honorable Mention: Jorge Polanco, MIN ($4,900) vs CHW (RHP Reynaldo Lopez).


Value Bat: 3B/OF Austin Riley, ATL ($4,300) at STL (RHP Miles Mikolas)


Austin Riley is off to a scorching hot start to his career, with five home runs in his first nine games and a .389 batting average. He has the pedigree to back it up as a top prospect and was destroying the ball in the minors with 15 homers on the year. Miles Mikolas is coming off of a start in which he allowed seven runs and didn’t escape the second inning. Keep riding Riley until his price catches up with his production.

Honorable Mention: Stephen Piscotty, OAK ($3,700) vs. SEA (LHP Wade LeBlanc).


Lineup Stack: Twins vs White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez)


The Twins have been on fire at the plate, culminating in a 16-7 victory on Thursday. I’d tend to fear there would be nothing left in their bats after such an outburst, but this appears to be commonplace for the Twins, as they scored 18 runs on Saturday and 11 runs the previous Thursday. Despite regularly topping double digits, none of the Twins batters are priced over $4,900, making this a very reasonable stack. They face Reynaldo Lopez, who has allowed 1.77 HR/9 and sports a 5.14 ERA, despite facing the Royals, Tigers, and Indians twice, as well as the Blue Jays once. Against tough competition, Lopez gave up six runs or more against the Red Sox, Rays, and Mariners. All Twins batters are in play here, most notable Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, and Eddie Rosario. Wait for the lineups to post, and stack your lineup with the Twins that fit into the rest of your lineup.

Honorable Mentions: Rockies vs. Orioles (LHP John Means).


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is eriks44) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings, and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any nonpublic information.

Erik Smith

Ohio University graduate. Former food service employee in Yellowstone National Park. Now lives in Asheville, NC, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. DFS enthusiast and Reds fan.

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