Every Tuesday and Friday, I am going to give you my top tournament plays for all Daily Fantasy Baseball GPPs (guaranteed prize pool). GPPs are a general term used across the industry for your big money tournaments.
GPPs are very different from your cash games and you use a different strategy with them. In our GPPs we are not interested in safe plays, since GPPs are all about UPSIDE. We want players who can explode, as all-or-nothing type players can become GPP gold, and your value players are just as important as your star players. You need your players to have huge nights in order to take down these big tournaments.
My goal is to provide players who will be underowned and have that big game upside you are looking for. I will also try to find as much value as I possibly can.
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies - I am a big fan of Aaron Nola and even though he has struggled of late, I am going to have a ton of exposure to him tonight in tournaments. The Philadelphia Phillies young right-hander has been very effective this season, thanks to a great strikeout rate (26.4%) and a terrific groundball rate (54.5%). The Minnesota Twins are a below average offense against right-handed pitching and they are striking out at an above average rate. This is a great matchup for Nola and I think we see him throw a gem tonight.
Sonny Gray, Oakland A’s - Sonny Gray is not a guy I would use in cash games tonight, but I do like his upside in GPPs. Gray has been inconsistent this season for the Oakland A’s, but in general, he has been a tough pitcher to hit throughout his career. The 26-year old has always had an excellent groundball rate, to go along with a decent strikeout rate. The Milwaukee Brewers offense continues to struggle away from Miller Park, and they are striking out at a 25.7% clip versus right-handed pitching, which is the most in Major League Baseball. I think we see six-seven quality innings from Gray tonight with possibly a strikeout per inning. With his inexpensive price across the industry, he makes a terrific play in tournaments.
Brian McCann, New York Yankees - Anytime I get Brian McCann at home against an average right-handed pitcher, he automatically climbs to the top of my catcher list. McCann is coming off a multi-homer game and he has the upside to replicate that performance again tonight.
Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles - Luis Perdomo is not a top prospect and he projects as a back of the rotation starter or bullpen arm. The 23-year-old Dominican has not had much luck in his brief Major League tenure, s evident by his 8.79 ERA and 32.3% hard-hit rate. Wieters is swinging a hot stick, with six hits in his last two games and I think we see another big game from him this evening.
Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays - Encarnacion has been one of the hottest hitters on the planet lately and he finds himself is a great spot to produce tonight. Patrick Corbin continues to struggle with both the long-ball (13 HRs allowed) and right-handed batters in 2016 (.348 wOBA, 39.2% hard-hit rate), which does not bode well for him tonight against a potent Toronto Blue Jays offense at the Rogers Centre. Edwin is firing on all cylinders and he has massive potential in this plus matchup.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants – Belt is clearly seeing the ball well these days reaching base safely in 12 consecutive games. The San Francisco Giants first baseman has also flexed his muscle during this hot streak, generating seven extra base hits. Wilfredo Boscan is another pitcher with little prospect status. Boscan has average stuff at best and his best weapon is keeping hitters off balance with his change of speeds. It has worked quite well for him at Triple-A this season, but I do not see him faring well at the Major League Level. Belt has crushed right-handed pitching all season long (.323 BA, .405 wOBA) and I love his potential in this matchup.
Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers - Anthony DeSclafani is by no means a Gas Can, but he has been a below average pitcher throughout his short career and he is certainly an arm we want to pick on tonight. Left handed-batters have done some serious damage to the Cincinnati Reds right-hander and I think we see more of the same tonight. Look for a multi-hit game from Odor in this one.
Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins - Bud Norris has pitched much better of late, but this is still a pitcher we want to attack. Norris has always had issues with hitters from the left side of the plate, and this season has been no exception (.390 wOBA, 44.6% hard-hit rate). Dietrich rakes versus right-handed pitching (.380 wOBA in 2016) and we should seem him hitting at or near the top of the order tonight.
Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays - After a terrible month of May, Donaldson is once again mashing the baseball in June. In his last six games alone, the reigning American League M.V.P. has registered 11 hits, including eight extra base hits and nine RBIs. Donaldson destroys southpaws and he is one of the top hitters to pursue in tournament play.
Ryan Flaherty, Baltimore Orioles - Flaherty has done a nice job filling in for the suspended Manny Machado, racking up four hits, including a double and two homers in his last two contests. If you plan to pay up at pitcher, Flaherty gives you some salary relief. His spot in the batting is less than ideal, but he remains a cheap source of power.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros – Hector Santiago got off to a great start in April (3.34 ERA), but May (6.75 ERA) and June (7.15 ERA) have not been as kind to him. Right-handed batters are mostly responsible for the damage against Santiago (.346 wOBA with 12 HRs allowed and a 35.4% hard-hit rate) and I do not see how facing a dangerous right-handed heavy Houston Astros team in a hitter’s ballpark is going to help with his struggles. Correa is the top dog at shortstop tonight.
Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies - Ivan Nova has surrendered 21 earned runs in his last five starts, including six home runs. Righties have abused Nova in 2016 (.313 BA, .368 wOBA) and I think he continues to get hit hard tonight. Story is very moderately priced on most sites and I love his potential versus Nova in this ballpark.
Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles – I spoke earlier about Luis Perdomo’s struggles thus far (8.79 ERA and 32.3%) and right-handed batters have done some serious damage to the young righty (.454 wOBA). Both Trumbo and Jones have double-dong potential tonight.
New York Mets Outfield - Ian Kennedy was off to a great start this season for the Kansas City Royals, but things have changed quickly. Kennedy has now been blasted in three consecutive outings, allowing 16 earned runs along with eight home runs. The Royals right-hander is a fly-ball pitcher and he has always had issues with the long-ball (31 HRs allowed in 2015, 16 already this season). This Mets trio (Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto) has big game upside this evening.
Texas Rangers Outfield - I love all the lefties for the Texas Rangers tonight. Not only does Anthony DeSclafani struggle versus left-handed batters, but we should also keep in mind that the Cincinnati Reds pathetic bullpen is right-handed heavy and the Rangers will have the splits in their favor the entire game. All three of Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Mitch Moreland have home run upside tonight.