MLB DFS Notes for 8/22/2020: Dustin May, Matthew Boyd, Bryce Harper, and more!

Here are a few questions I had in my first pass through today’s slate.

What is Dustin May’s ceiling?

First off, look at this filth:

May worked up to 88 pitches (62 strikes) in his last turn on August 16th. At first I thought he was way undervalued on FanDuel at only $7,000. But he hasn’t delivered a ton of strikeouts like you’d think. Here are his tallies so far: 4, 3, 8, 2, and 2. He has an 8.2% swinging strike rate so far, which backs up the (relatively) low strikeout totals. He’s doing well overall at limiting hard contact, ranking in the 82nd percentile for hard hit rate and 72nd for exit velocity. But Statcast backs up the average K-rate, at just the 10th percentile in whiff rate.

Overall I think May is still undervalued at 7K on FanDuel (10th most expensive SP). But you can’t deny he’s not having the same success in 2020 as he did in 2019. Last year he dominated righties, for instance (.188/.226/.250). This year he still has the upper hand (.250/.280/.417) against RHH, and he’s shown growth against lefties. But he’s done so while decreasing his strikeouts. Overall I’d say he’s a floor play right now, not the upside play that fantasy sports Twitter would have me believe. But it is nice to see the pitch counts rising: 60, 76, 82, 83, and 88. If he goes 90+ today, maybe he can pitch more than six innings for the first time in 2020. My initial lean is that May might be more popular than he should be in GPPs, especially on FanDuel. He’s the third-most expensive SP on DraftKings, so at least that algo is making you mull it over some more.

Why can’t I stack the Phillies?

LHP Robbie Erlin takes the mound for Atlanta. The Phillies are at 4.60 implied, which seems low. Erlin is living on the edge with a fastball that averages 89.9 MPH. Erlin’s xStats actually look good, but we’re talking about a guy with a career 4.60 ERA here. Erlin has allowed a stunning 69.2% fly ball rate thus far in 2020, and Bryce Harper taking him oppo for at least one dinger looks like the easiest call of the night. For reference, Erlin is allowing a 55.6% hard contact rate to lefties, as well as a 55.6% fly ball rate.

I don’t know how Erlin has the strikeout totals that he does this year, but it seems like a given that those are coming down. J.T. Realmuto is a given for Philly, while Didi Gregorius and Alec Bohm have the highest marks in wOBA over the last week. Of course, Bohm could be a head case after a brutal string of errors last night, so let’s see what the lineup looks like before we lock it in.

As of right now, I’m finding my four favorite Phillies to roll against the lefty Erlin. Phil Gosselin (2 HR, .500 BA) and Jean Segura (2 HR, .353 BA) have the best season-long marks in the split, aside from Harper and Realmuto. Again, we’ll have to see what the lineup holds…but Segura batted cleanup and Gosselin batted fifth for the Phillies on Friday against lefty Max Fried. That’s leaving off Rhys Hoskins, who has zero homers in the split, but a whopping 50.0% hard contact rate and 68.8% pull rate, as well as a 56.3% fly ball rate. Might be good to weave him in.

How bad is Matthew Boyd against right-handed hitters?

In 2020, Boyd has allowed seven of his eight homers to RHH. RHH are slashing .358/.430/.741 against him, with an epic .478 wOBA. For reference, he’s limiting LHH to one homer and a .238/.273/.429 slash line and .298 wOBA. The Indians should roll out a full nine-man righty lineup tonight, given all their switch-hitters. Righties have a 49.2% hard contact rate against Boyd thus far, and a 3.63 HR/9. And whereas Boyd has truly been better to lefties (3.84 FIP), he’s carrying a 7.90 FIP versus RHH.

So far against southpaws, Jose Ramirez (3 HR, .292 BA) leads the way. He’s followed by Carlos Santana (2 HR, .250 BA), the only other Indian with a dinger in this split. Franmil Reyes (.222 BA, 0 HR) has all of his homers versus righty pitching (6 HR, .315 BA). Last year’s lefty-basher, Jordan Luplow, is 1-for-12 against lefties with a single. Lindor is hitting .269 with no dingers, but he’s only struck out twice against lefties so far (7.1% of the time) and is still a must-own when it comes to Cleveland. For me it’s Ramirez, Santana, and Lindor–then you can weave in whoever else you like. Or just roll with those three. Most of Cesar Hernandez’s limited power comes versus righty pitching, so just know that if you’re looking there.

Summary

I know that’s not a full overview, but I’m trying to at least share some things and research some things (slightly) early in the day. Make sure to check out the wind in Wrigley…the Cubbies have an implied 6.11 run total against Reynaldo Lopez, and the wind is blowing out around 9 MPH right now. And maybe I’ll move away from fully getting on Philly, but it’s definitely tempting (Harper and Realmuto, at least).

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