RotoWire Partners

DraftKings MLB: Saturday Picks

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.


Jake Arrieta CHC at ATL ($13,500): Arrieta looks worthy of the investment Saturday, despite the fact that Braves bats have started to show some signs of life. Atlanta still sports the second-lowest wOBA against right-handed pitching (.279), along with a minuscule 0.95 ISO that’s easily the worst in the majors. Arrieta finally had a hiccup in his last start, but he still scored 23.3 fantasy points in defeat. His upside is unquestioned, as he’s exceeded 30 fantasy points on three occasions over his last 10 starts, and has eclipsed 40 in another outing during that span.

Francisco Liriano, PIT vs. STL ($5,500): Sometimes you find an unexpected bargain on the clearance rack, a scenario that describes the opportunity to roster Liriano at this price. The Pirates lefty has certainly struggled, but this still seems like an exceedingly low price for a pitcher with Liriano’s upside and track record versus the Cardinals. While he carries some risk, he is 2-0 against St. Louis this season, with 20 strikeouts in just 13 innings. The Cardinals are also a much less-potent offense against southpaws, sporting an ordinary .310 wOBA and 20.5 percent strikeout rate versus left-handed pitching.


Salvador Perez, KC at CWS ($2,800): When rostering the most expensive arm on the slate, it’s imperative to find some value elsewhere. One of the best places to hunt for it is at catcher, and Perez seems nicely underpriced given his potential production, as evidenced by his three games with double-digit fantasy points over his last 10. He’s enjoying another solid season at the plate, and owns a .326 wOBA and .220 ISO versus southpaws. He’s also experienced some success against tough lefty Jose Quintana, as he’s slashed .375/.412/.625 against him with four doubles, a triple, two homers and eight RBI over 48 career at-bats. Perez may go somewhat under the radar in GPPs given Quintana’s solid profile, but the White Sox southpaw has been increasingly hittable over his last few starts and has also yielded a 32.3 percent hard contact rate to right-handed bats this season.


Brandon Belt, SF vs. LAD ($3,700) Belt has thrived against either handedness of pitcher this season, so his lefty-on-lefty matchup versus Scott Kazmir is not a deal-breaker by any means. The Giants first baseman owns a .390 wOBA, .222 ISO and 35.4 percent hard contact rate against southpaws, and a .500 average (5-for-10) with three homers and six RBI versus Kazmir over his career. Kazmir has certainly pitched much better lately, but he left his last start against the Braves early due to a leg cramp.


Darwin Barney, TOR vs. BAL ($2,600): Barney is another value-based pick that provides some Rogers Centre exposure versus Orioles starter Mike Wright. He’s been a nice surprise for the Blue Jays while hitting near the bottom of the order and is now hitting .316 after another multi-hit outing Friday. He’s even got a little pop in his bat, as evidenced by his three doubles, triple and three homers. The second baseman has enjoyed his encounters with righty arms in particular, as he’s tallied a .369 wOBA against that handedness. Wright has given up five of his nine homers on the season to right-handed hitters, and a .340 wOBA and 35.9 percent hard contact rate when facing them on the road.


Manny Machado, BAL at TOR ($4,000): Machado gives you some exposure to the other side of the matchup, as he draws a lefty in J.A. Happ, who has given up all nine of his homers this season to right-handed bats. Machado has been better against right-handed pitching, but he’s still boasting a .379 wOBA and solid 30.2 percent hard contact rate against southpaws. Rogers Centre doesn’t hurt his prospects either, as Machado posted a .309/.356/.511 line with 10 doubles, three homers and 14 RBI over a 94 at-bat sample there during the previous three seasons. Moreover, he comes at a significant discount over a slew of other options that he matches or exceeds in upside.


Xander Bogaerts, BOS at MIN ($4,600): Speaking of pricing anomalies, Bogaerts still seems like a value at $4,600, given his production and upside. After a four-hit outburst Friday that netted his fifth double-digit fantasy point-outing in the last 10 games, the Red Sox shortstop is hitting a whopping .349 on the season, while contributing all across the box score. He has a .378 wOBA and 30.4 percent hard contact rate versus righties this year, while Twins starter Kyle Gibson has yielded a 5.58 xFIP and 24 of his 39 career homers to right-handed bats.


Carlos Gonzalez, COL vs. SD ($5,500): Gonzalez provides with Coors Field exposure to Padres starter Erik Johnson, who certainly drew the short straw for his first start in a Padres uniform. Gonzalez’s average is now up to an even .300 after a recent hot streak that’s seen him post double-digit fantasy points in five of his last 10 games. He’s also decimated right-handed pitching this season to the tune of a .399 wOBA, .238 ISO and 22.0 HR/FB rate. Johnson has been tough against lefty bats this season over a limited sample but this seems very much like an outlier, as he’s given up a .401 wOBA, 6.06 xFIP and 36.3 percent hard contact rate to left-handed hitters over a 238-batter sample in his three-plus major league seasons.

J.D. Martinez, DET at NYY ($4,300): Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka isn’t typically a fantasy target, but there are spots in which to take a shot against him, particularly at Yankee Stadium. Martinez embodies one such opportunity Saturday, as he’s generated a .667 average with two doubles, two homers and three RBI against Tanaka in just six career at-bats. He’s also been wielding a hot bat, as the Tigers slugger is slashing .343/.400/.514 over his first 35 at-bats in June, and owns a .352 wOBA, .229 ISO, 36.3 percent hard contact rate, and nine of his 12 homers on the season against right-handed pitching. Meanwhile, Tanaka has surrendered a .350 wOBA, four of his six homers on the season, and a 41.7 percent hard contact rate to right-handed hitters at Yankee Stadium.

Melky Cabrera, CWS vs. KC ($3,500): Cabrera’s selection gives some exposure to the vulnerable Chris Young, who’s yielded an absurd .512 wOBA, 12 homers and a 52.5 percent hard contact rate to left-handed hitters. Cabrera has a .328 wOBA against right-handed pitching, and a .444 average (4-for-9) and a pair of doubles in his career against Young. He’s also been tearing the cover off the ball thismonth, slashing .381/.409/.667 over his first 21 at-bats, with three multi-hit games over the last four.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.