MLB Grind Down: Saturday, August 17th - DET @ TBR

Detroit at Tampa Bay – 6:10 PM ET

Jordan Zimmermann sports a painfully low 15.8% strikeout rate on the year, and his 5.23 SIERA isn’t doing his 7.13 ERA many favors. He has allowed 21 homers across just 15 starts, and this will be his first outing since August 4 following a brief IL stint. The Trop is a nice place to pitch, but the Rays have hit right-handed pitching well all year and Zimmermann is obviously bad. I still think you can punt with him in tournaments at $4,600 on DraftKings and pray that he manages to survive a few innings, especially considering there isn’t a ton of opportunity cost at pitcher on this slate. It’s hard to feel overly confident in Zimmermann, though.

Quick Breakdown: Zimmermann is a viable tournament punt on DraftKings if you’re the risk-tolerant type, but that’s as far as I’d go.

Ryan Yarbrough is basically an average pitcher across the board, but the fact that he’s facing what is probably the worst lineup in baseball in his pitcher-friendly home park means he’s the best pitching option on this afternoon slate. The lefty owns a middling 20.4% strikeout rate this season, and he’s kept the ball on the ground at a 45.6% clip. He’s definitely expensive around the industry given his skill set, but the projected Tigers lineup has a K-rate of 24% against lefties. They have more power than they do against righties, but that’s not saying much. The fact that Yarbrough is starting gives him more upside, as the Rays typically limit his pitch count whenever an opener starts the game instead. The pitching is so bad that I’m inclined to just play Yarbrough and figure out the rest later on this slate.

Quick Breakdown: Yarbrough is the top pitching option on the slate.

Batter Grind Down

Targeting Rays pitching with bats hasn’t been a fruitful endeavor this year, especially when they’re at home. Yarbrough has only allowed 9 homers all year and he’s been tough on hitters of either handedness. Brandon Dixon and Jake Rogers have a little power, so I suppose they’re viable if you absolutely must play Detroit hitters. There’s leverage with Tigers, but the upside just isn’t there. Miguel Cabrera has a .408 wOBA against lefties this season, but his power has been sapped. He’s cheap enough to be worth a look in GPPs.

Elite PlaysMiguel Cabrera

Secondary PlaysJake Rogers, Brandon Dixon


Zimmermann has yielded a .405 wOBA to left-handed hitters in 2019. Tropicana Field is a tough park for power, but Austin Meadows, Ji-Man Choi, Kevin Kiermaier and Eric Sogard have all posted solid numbers against RHPs so far this season. Meadows (.396 wOBA, .254 ISO) is clearly the best option of the group. Zim hasn’t been much more effective against righties (.328 wOBA allowed), so Tommy Pham Jesus Aguilar and Travis d’Arnaud look like serviceable value options. Tampa Bay’s 5.86 implied run total is huge, especially considering their home park typically stifles offense to a degree. I’m a little more bearish on the spot than Vegas seems to be, but Zimmermann is bad enough to where playing some Rays makes plenty of sense.

Elite PlaysAustin Meadows, Tommy Pham

Secondary Plays – Ji-Man Choi, Kevin Kiermaier, Eric Sogard, Travis d’Arnaud, Jesus Aguilar

StackabilityGREEN / YELLOW

About the Author

  • Taylor Smith (tcsmith031)

  • Taylor Smith is a native Texan (required by all fellow Texans to report this at all times) and Southern California-based sports writer. He has been playing daily fantasy sports regularly since 2012, going back to the days of DraftStreet (RIP). He specializes in MLB and NBA while dabbling in a few other sports like a true degen when the other two are out of season. He has written about DFS in the past at Bang The Book, and you can find some of his previous work on SB Nation and FanRag Sports.


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