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4/11 MLB DFS Early Slate: Wacha, Wacha
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April 11 MLB DFS Early Slate: Wacha, Wacha

TODAY’S SHOW OUTLINE

00:46 Starting Pitchers
04:29 Catchers
06:00 First Base
07:40 Second Base
09:23 Shortstop
13:22 Third Base
12:26 Outfield
16:28 Cash Game Roster Construction
22:38 Stacks

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April 11 MLB DFS Early Slate Pro-Tip

Starting Pitchers

Tier One

1) Michael Wacha (STL)

2) David Price (BOS)

Tier Two

3) Aaron Nola (PHI)

4) Andrew Cashner (SD)

Tier Three

5) Justin Verlander (DET)

6) Jose Quintana (CHW)

Michael Wacha (STL) isn’t the most skilled pitcher on the slate, but he does rank as our top overall starter for the early slate. David Price (BOS) faces a RH heavy Orioles lineup in Fenway Park with the forecast calling for heavy winds blowing out to LF (20+ mph). The game has an 8.5 total and the Orioles have a solid 3.6 implied run total. Wacha’s facing a weaker offense as the Brewers are getting a park downgrade and they hold just a 3.3 implied run total. Price has a slight advantage on the projected K Rates but it’s not as significant as the gap in run scoring environments. Wacha also comes at a significantly cheaper cost making him our preferred primary target at the position.

Aaron Nola (PHI) is our preferred secondary target on multiple starting pitcher sites. Nola gets a Padres team traveling west to east that projects as one of the weaker offenses against RHP in the league. Nola will hold the platoon advantage over all of their best hitters (Kemp, Norris, and Myers) and their lineup against RHP yesterday featured just two left-handed bats. Nola was pretty dominant last season (.270 wOBA, 27.5 K Rate, 5.2 BB Rate against right-handed bats). He’s a -125 favorite in a game with a 7.5 total, giving the Padres an implied run total of 3.6 runs which is tied with David Price for the second lowest on the slate.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

3) Francisco Cervelli (PIT)

4) Matt Wieters (BAL)

5) Derek Norris (SD)

The catcher position has a big gap in our model after Victor Martinez (DET) and on most sites he’s not catcher eligible. The second tier of catchers is all bunched together with the model showing no real strong preference among the group with all of them ranking outside our Top 50 hitters for the short slate.

First Base Rankings

1) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

2) David Ortiz (BOS)

3) Jose Abreu (CHW)

4) Wil Myers (SD)

5) John Jaso (PIT)

6) Brandon Moss (STL)

7) Ryan Howard (PHI)

8) Chris Davis (BAL)

Miguel Cabrera (DET) and David Ortiz (BOS) are the Top Two hitters in our model. Both have the platoon advantage against below average pitchers and their teams have implied run totals above 4.5 runs. If fading Price in cash games, it shouldn’t be difficult to get exposure to one of the top first baseman. If you want to play Price’s strikeout upside, the bottom of the rankings will allow for some value at the first base position as John Jaso (PIT) cracks our Top 20 hitters on the slate and is cheap around the industry. Brandon Moss (STL) is just outside the Top 20 and also pretty cheap. Both have the platoon advantage against RHPs that are backed up by weak bullpens.

Second Base Rankings

1) Cory Spangenberg (SD)

2) Brian Dozier (MIN)

3) Ian Kinsler (DET)

4) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

5) Cesar Hernandez (PHI)

Cory Spangenberg (SD) is a surprise number one in our model as the positive park shift could unlock some power and Carlos Ruiz projects as a below average catcher at controlling the running game. Along with Spangenberg in the top tier, Brian Dozier (MIN) and Ian Kinsler (DET) have more power upside with the platoon advantage in better overall lineups. Its fine to choose among that tier of second baseman where priced similarly as they rank closely.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

2) Jimmy Rollins (CHW)

3) Freddy Galvis (PHI) – assuming leadoff

4) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

5) Alexei Ramirez (SD)

Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is the top shortstop option a slate that is really devoid of options. Where he’s priced aggressively ahead of the other shortstop options, you can defer to Jimmy Rollins (CHW) or Freddy Galvis (PHI). Neither are particularly skilled hitters but should come with premier lineup spots and the platoon advantage. On a small slate and at a shallow position, that’s enough to separate from the rest of the options.

Third Base Rankings

1) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Matt Carpenter (STL)

4) Todd Frazier (CHW)

5) Trevor Plouffe (MIN)

Miguel Sano (MIN), Manny Machado (BAL), and Matt Carpenter (STL) all rank inside the Top 20 hitters in our model with Sano inside the Top 10. All three will have the platoon advantage on Monday but Machado faces an elite starter in David Price. He’s a better target in tournaments, creating some leverage against a field that will likely over-own Price. Carpenter is the steady good bet to get on-base, while Sano has all the power upside. Todd Frazier‘s (CHW) priced up a bit so even in tournaments, he’s more of a secondary target. Trevor Plouffe (MIN) is the value alternative to the first tier of options. He also ranks within our Top 30 hitters overall, so he’s a fine target to get some salary relief if you are paying up for Price.

Outfield Rankings

1) Justin Upton (DET)

2) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

3) Starling Marte (PIT)

4) Mookie Betts (BOS)

5) J.D. Martinez (DET)

6) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

7) John Jaso (PIT) – where eligible

8) Matt Holliday (STL)

9) Matt Kemp (SD)

10) Odubel Herrera (PHI)

11) Brandon Moss (STL) – where eligible

12) Ryan Braun (MIL)

13) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

14) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

15) Jon Jay (SD)

Justin Upton (DET) ranks as the top outfielder in our model and a Top Five overall hitter on this slate. Upton has historically hit LHP very well (.378 wOBA, .232 ISO in his career) and he’s facing Jon Niese who allowed a 31 percent hard hit rate to RHBs last season. The Tigers have the second highest implied run total on the slate and Upton has been hitting second which gives him a little extra probability of that coveted fifth plate appearance. The two Pittsburgh outfielders (Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte) follow Upton but we’re more likely to use them in tournaments than cash games. Justin Verlander‘s baseline is still difficult to evaluate after his wide first and second half splits last year and some of the model ranking is being amplified by a very weak Tigers bullpen that isn’t in play when Verlander is right. If Verlander’s off, there is big upside in both because of that pen. Mookie Betts (BOS) is priced out of cash game territory a bit but if you’re going to get exposure to the Red Sox slate-leading implied run total of five runs it’s likely coming from Betts or Ortiz. Like teammate Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez (DET) is too cheap for his Top 10 ranking in our model. This is a little like the C.C. Sabathia spot on Saturday, so let’s hope for better results this time out as Upton and Martinez grade out strongly as top plays that are undervalued. If looking for value in the outfield you’ll find it with guys like John Jaso (PIT), Matt Holliday (STL), and Odubel Herrera (PHI). Jeremy Hazelbaker (STL) doesn’t project as well as this group in our model due to a weaker minor league track record but he’s earned a strong lineup spot and is hovering near minimum price earning him consideration as well.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

2) Detroit Tigers

Tier Two

3) St. Louis Cardinals

4) Pittsburgh Pirates

5) Chicago White Sox

6) Minnesota Twins

The Red Sox and Tigers are the clear top offenses to target on this slate. Our model agrees with Vegas giving a slight run-scoring edge to the Red Sox, but the Tigers are easier to build around due to softer pricing and the platoon advantage throughout. We expect these will represent the chalkier stacks in tournaments.

The second tier is largely where you want to focus on in tournaments. The Cardinals and Pirates get a boost in our stack rankings due to poor bullpens behind the opposing starters. The Pirates lineup is on the road and has a bit more event opportunity with all their speed, so they’re likely a higher upside stack while the Cardinals are a higher probability stack.

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