The purpose of this column is to highlight some players with upside and well-suited for tournaments. While the majority of the hitter picks will likely have power upside, that's not necessarily the case for all the listed options. Other contextual factors such as batting order, ballpark, opposing pitcher, price, speed, etc also come into play, and you'll see these items sprinkled into the write-ups below. Along with that, we'll be gauging the ownership levels, giving you some plausible pivots from the popular choices in a given game slate.
James Paxton - SP - New York Yankees
DK: $10,100, FD: $9,400
This is Game 2 of the doubleheader, and James Paxton will take the hill as a -208 home favorite. The Mets have a 3.7 implied total. Paxton is one start removed from his IL trip, and looked rusty. Still viable in GPPs tonight, as we can carry some risk. He gets a Mets lineup that has a 24.7% strikeout rate against left-handed hitters since last season. Paxton has a 33% strikeout rate in 2019, and a 32.5% strikeout rate dating back to 2018. He has a 37% whiff rate on his cutter, and a 24% whiff rate on his fastball. The curveball remains elite with a 41% whiff rate and 51% groundball rate. Paxton is a high upside bat to use in tournaments.
Top GPP Hitters
Joey Votto - 1B - Cincinnati Reds
DK: $3,900, FD: $3,000
Trevor Bauer's 2019 has looked a lot different from 2018. He has a 4.50 xFIP and 1.28 HR/9 in 2019. His 2018 was a 3.14 xFIP and 0.46 ERA. The groundball rate is lower, and his HR/FB rate has fallen more in line with 2017. Walks are up, and Bauer is creeping towards over a four ERA. He has been good against right-handers, but has allowed a .357 wOBA and eight home runs to lefties. The strikeout rate drops to left-handed hitters, sitting at 20.7%. His xFIP is over 5.50. Joey Votto is heating up a bit and his hard-contact is 10% higher in the month of June compared to May and April. Votto still has a .375 wOBA off right-handers since last season. Votto has a .439 wOBA off curveballs and a .473 wOBA off Bauer's fastball range. Both are thrown a combined 67% to lefties.
Max Kepler - OF - Minnesota Twins
DK: $4,800, FD: $3,800
The Twins are a team to load up on, and that can be said for most slates where they play. They take on Mike Leake tonight, who has allowed a .221 ISO to left-handed hitters this season. Max Kepler has a whopping .291 ISO off right-handers this season, and a .379 wOBA. Moving to last season, Leake has allowed a .326 wOBA and .160 ISO to lefties. Kepler still retains over a .200 ISO. Strong spot for all Twins bats tonight.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 3B - Toronto Blue Jays
DK: $4,000, FD: $3,000
Vladimir Guerrero Jr is fairly cheap on both sides, and has a .206 ISO off lefties so far in the bigs. His strikeout rate is just at 11.1% and his hard-contact is 40%. The production will start to come around. He will take on John Means tonight, who has allowed a .317 wOBA and .184 ISO to right-handers. He brings some pop for a cheaper price tag, and there are a lot of pay up options at this position to keep his ownership low.
Jonathan Villar - 2B/SS - Baltimore Orioles
DK: $4,300, FD: $3,100
Trent Thornton has some good stuff, but has allowed a .360 wOBA and .258 ISO to left-handed hitters. Jonathan Villar is a cheap middle infield option, and will find himself fairly low owned. He has a .323 wOBA against right-handers since last year, which isn't anything to write home about. In 2019 he has a .349 wOBA and .171 ISO off right-handers, and the 80% contact rate is a plus. Villar offers some speed upside, but has power in this ballpark and matchup.