MLB Grind Down: Thursday, June 20th - MIN @ KCR
Minnesota at Kansas City – 8:15 PM ET
In a vacuum, it’s weird to see Jake Odorizzi priced at where he’s at. But this slate lacks top-tier pitching, and Odorizzi by default fills that void. Additionally, Odorizzi has been fantastic this season. He’s increased his strikeout rate from 22.8% last season to 28.3% this season, and he’s cut down both his HR/9 and BB% rates. Odorizzi actually had a string of four straight 20+ DraftKings point performances broken in his last start against these Royals, where they got to him for four earned runs and two homers.
This is hard to analyze because yes, Odorizzi is a great play. But is he worth $10,800 on DraftKings / $10,000 on FanDuel? I think your answer partially depends on how risk tolerant you are. Those who value “safety” will probably say he is on this slate that lacks quality arms. I don’t think Odorizzi is necessary for cash games and personally prefer a few cheaper options (ex: Dylan Bundy) as I don’t think Odorizzi is the best point-per-dollar option. But is he a bad play? No – I think he carries a solid floor with a high ceiling, but you’d be sacrificing elsewhere.
Quick Breakdown: I have no problems with Odorizzi in all formats, but I don’t consider him a cash game must today at his price point. I think it just comes down to your risk tolerance and if you can build a team with bats you like around him.
Sparkman just faced this Twins offense and he struggled mightily, allowing two home runs and four earned runs over just five innings. This is a tough matchup on paper against an elite offense, and Sparkman has just a 13.0 K%. I see no reason to use Sparkman on this slate, as I don’t see much upside.
Quick Breakdown: Sparkman isn’t on my radar today.
Batter Grind Down
The Twins have the highest implied team total on the slate and should have a decent amount of ownership, but it’s hard to ignore them in this spot. Sparkman’s low 13.0 K% suggests the ball should be put in play a whole lot today, and that’s not a good thing for Mr. Sparkman. He has shown wide splits this season, with lefties holding a .910 OPS against him versus a .596 OPS by righties. If the goal is to load up lefties, the Twins have plenty we can choose from. Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco are my primary targets, and I like them in that order. I’d add Jason Castro into that list if he’s starting over Mitch Garver. For some salary relief, you can also consider Jake Cave if he cracks the lineup or Marwin Gonzalez.
I’m viewing the right-handers of C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver (if he starts over Castro) and Jonathan Schoop as more secondary plays. It’s the lefties I’m going to prioritize, but I would absolutely get shares of these righties in full Twins stacks.
The big thing to watch here is projected ownership. I’ll be reading the SlateIQ article to see how much leverage, if any, the Twins offer. The upside here is immense, but I will need to balance that with likely high ownership.
Stackability – BLUE
Odorizzi has been hit harder by left-handed batters this season, but over his career he’s been a reverse-splits pitcher, meaning righties have hit him better. I’m going to side with the longer sample and continue to view him as having reverse splits. This means I’m more focused on the right-handed batters against Odorizzi. With Odorizzi being one of the best pitchers on this slate, I’m not very interested in a contrarian Royals stack. I’d be more interested in using some of their power right-handed bats as one-offs or as a mini stack. Jorge Soler sticks out as the Royals’ best bat here, as he’s been on a power surge this season and owns a .313 ISO against right-handed pitching. Whit Merrifield also profiles well, as he leads the current lineup with a 130 wRC+ against righties. For what it’s worth, both Soler and Merrifield hit home runs off Odorizzi in their last meeting (small sample BvP!).
Elite Plays – Jorge Soler
Secondary Plays – Whit Merrifield
Stackability – ORANGE