Home Run Derby: Tuesday, April 23rd
Calling home runs, besides great fun, often makes the difference between a wildly profitable night in DFS and missing the cash line. Throughout the 2019 MLB season, I will endeavor to find a few home runs in three salary tiers on DraftKings. Join me throughout the year and call your home runs for monthly and seasonal RotoGrinders prizes. Without further ado, let’s play Home Run Derby!
Throughout this season, I will produce the Home Run Derby for main slates on DraftKings 2-3 days per week — selecting a home run from three different pricing tiers. If you want to call your home runs, please use these tiers for your selections to be eligible for any Derby prizes. Here are the tiers.
Luxury Box – $4,500 and above
Club Seats – $3,500 – $4400
Bleachers – Below $3,500
Hitters must be selected from the DraftKings Main Slate.
Schedule this Week: Monday, Tuesday, Friday
Happy Tuesday, Grinders! The MLB supplied 29 home runs on Tuesday — none of which were selected by me. Indeed, my picking prowess is questionable at best as of late — now going on five slates without a home run. Yikes! Fortunately, many contestants did find a home run or two and we had a handful of shifts in our leaderboard — including a tie for the top spot. I will certainly go over yesterday’s slate and the leaderboard but first, here are my picks for today.
Unless specified, the statistics provided for each hitter and pitcher are combined for 2018 and 2019. I will note when I switch over to exclusively using statistics for 2019.
Juan Soto – OF – $5,000
Soto in 18-19 – 25 HR, .220 ISO, 28.9 FB%, 34.0 Hard%, 89.3 MPH aEV
Bettis vs LHH – .215 ISO, 87.0 MPH aEV, 23.7 FB%, 31.0 Hard%
Note – Chad Bettis will not start for the Rockies and it appears that the Rockies will use Jeff Hoffman. I will stick with Soto.
Of course, the White Sox were able to tally two home runs yesterday — neither of them off the bat of Yoan Moncada. Admittedly, that makes me feel a bit better especially considering that the White Sox put up a double-digit number in Baltimore last night. That said, I am going to keep chasing great hitting environments by taking a flight to the Rocky Mountains tonight.
Juan Soto is putting up prodigious numbers since arriving on the MLB scene last season. While he leans more towards being a line-drive hitter, Soto hits the ball hard and finds himself in an environment where hard-hits are rewarded.
Chad Bettis is making a spot start after being, ahem… relieved of his duties as a starter last week and sent to the bullpen. Bettis is giving up a lot of hard contact in 2019 — his 49% number is not what you’d like to see from a pitcher in Coors Field. Since last season, Bettis yields 1.5 HR/9 to lefties while only striking them out at a 17.1% rate. This game could get out of hand very quickly — get yourself some Washington exposure tonight.
Hunter Dozier – OF – $4,200
Dozier in 18-19 – 17 HR, .190 ISO, 38.4 FB%, 45.3 Hard%, 90.3 MPH aEV
Beeks vs RHH – .188 ISO, 86.2 MPH aEV, 29.8 FB%, 29.0 Hard%
Looking through this tier, I am going to take a shot on a younger player who is really flashing the type of skill-set we want to see in an emerging power hitter. Hunter Dozier hits baseballs really hard and has collected 17 home runs since last season. He homered again last night in Tampa Bay — so I am not too worried about park effect because of his raw power.
Jalen Beeks has actually flashed some nice skills against RHH since being called up in Boston last year. Now a Ray, Beeks has the benefit of a pitching environment and has yet to yield a ton of hard-contact or fly balls. While it might seem like I am making a case against myself — I might be — I need to be reminded that this sample is very small. So we have a powerful small sample against a power-limiting small sample. Which will win out tonight?
Note – I will pivot to Jose Abreu with Hunter Dozier not making the lineup.
Billy McKinney – OF – $3,400
McKinney in 18-19 – 7 HR, .181 ISO, 39.3 FB%, 34.8 Hard%, 87.2 MPH aEV
Samardzija vs LHH – .192 ISO, 87.5 MPH aEV, 48.1 FB%, 35.8 Hard%
Lastly, I arrive at the gross tier where I clearly missed the boat on Stephen Piscotty and Travis Shaw at remarkably cheap prices yesterday. Due to their home runs, we will see some movement in our leaderboard while I stand still. Shucks. In any event, the tier looked pretty bad at first glance today and while you will all have the benefit of seeing lineups — I need to find someone with potential in the morning. Enter Billy McKinney, who should see his fair share of at-bats in a good enough park against Jeff Samardzija.
While I cannot offer a glowing endorsement of McKinney’s skill set, I can mention Samardzija’s penchant serving up the type of contact we like in this article. 48.1 FB% and a 35.8 Hard%… a shift out of his home confines should probably exaggerate those numbers. I will take my shot with McKinney.
Leaderboard (sortable by column)
Well, finally a slate provided some drama. While erichanlon might prefer a different genre, last night two of our players moved into a tie for first place with our early leader. WestCrook1 collected two homers and shanekern03 found a single tater — moving both into a three-way tie for the lead. WestCrook1 is white hot — collecting all 11 of his home runs over the last 8 slates. Piscotty and Shaw definitely helped our cause — tallying at least one home run for many contestants last night.
Will I finally break this horrifying slump? Will we still have a three-way tie atop our leaderboard after tonight? Can Juan Soto hit a couple of balls in the air tonight? All of these questions will be answered when I come back on Friday for the large-slate article. Until then, good luck, everyone.
I am happy to announce that at the end of each month I will be rewarding the highest home run total with a RotoGrinders T-shirt. Having a rough month? Don’t let up. The RotoGrinders member with the most home runs throughout the season — until the end of August — will be awarded a 3-month Combo Premium subscription to start the NFL season!
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed the article, stick around for the rest of the MLB season. Want to compete against me? Drop your expensive, mid-tier, and cheap home run calls in the comments (DraftKings pricing). Otherwise, give me a follow on Twitter where I typically post slate-relevant statistics and embarrassing comments about professional wrestling.
Statistics for this article are obtained from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, RotoGrinders Daily Research Console, and Baseball Savant.