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4/11 MLB DFS Late Slate: Sparkle Motion
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April 11 MLB DFS Late Slate: Sparkle Motion

TODAY’S SHOW OUTLINE

00:38 Starting Pitchers
08:48 Catchers
10:26 First Base
13:02 Second Base
14:36 Shortstop
16:47 Third Base
18:09 Outfield
12:42 Cash Game Roster Construction
24:24 Stacks

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April 11 MLB DFS Late Slate Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Max Scherzer (WAS)

2) Jon Lester (CHC)

Tier Two

3) Sonny Gray (OAK)

Tier Three

4) Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA)

5) Steven Matz (NYM)

Tier Four

6) Collin McHugh (HOU)

7) Jarred Cosart (MIA)

8) Nick Tropeano (LAA)

9) Brandon Finnegan (CIN)

Max Scherzer (WAS) is by far the safest choice on a shortened night slate as he’ll face a meek Atlanta team that has the lowest projected matchup-adjusted wOBA in our model. He’s an extreme favorite at -300. It’s fine to pay up for that safety in cash games on a short slate, but the hefty price tag and Atlanta’s heavier contact ways has us looking towards Jon Lester (CHC) as the best value. It’s a less stable skill set, but Lester is also a massive favorite (-240) and has our highest projected K rate while coming in at a more affordable price tag.

It’s too tough to pay up for both Scherzer and Lester on multiple SP sites. You’ll have to go the value route. Where priced in line with the tier three options, we’d take Sonny Gray‘s (OAK) safety. The Angels won’t K much but the ballpark and Gray’s ability to induce weak contact make him a high floor play. If Gray is way more expensive than the tier three guys, both Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) (not a lot of upside but mediocre home matchup against the Rangers; a safe option that could arguably pushed to tier two) and Steven Matz (NYM) (higher risk/reward option than Iwakuma as he’s likely to record more strikeouts) are viable.

If really needing cap relief at the pitcher position in tournaments, look the way of either Jarred Cosart (MIA) (not a lot of K upside, but betting on talent and ability to limit hard contact/keep the ball on the ground) or Brandon Finnegan (CIN) (giant risk against the Cubs but K and GB rate combination points towards upside).

If you’re not satisfied with paying up for middling K rates out of Gray/Iwakuma as a second pitcher on multi-SP sites, Nick Tropeano (LAA) is a punt option there. He’s got strong K rates, but there’s uncertainty with his baseline, and Oakland does not project to strike out much.

Catcher Rankings

1) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

2) Devin Mesoraco (CIN)

3) David Ross (CHC)

The catcher position is horrific tonight. If you’re able to fit in Stephen Vogt (OAK), he’s a fine option against a weaker RHP but the ballpark and the potential to get pinch hit for still make him mediocre. Meanwhile, Devin Mesoraco (CIN) has flashed power potential in the past (meshes with prospect status) and has strong splits against LHP. It’s tough to use him against Lester, who we like, but the position is so thin he’s fine. We’re really okay punting anywhere though, and if any catcher pops up as super cheap or in a good lineup spot, we’ll look that way. In the interim, David Ross (CHC) (platoon edge and deep offense) is the best punt option for stricter pricing sites.

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) Lucas Duda (NYM)

3) Joey Votto (CIN)

4) Eric Hosmer (KC)

5) Adam Lind (SEA)

6) Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)

7) Prince Fielder (TEX)

Perhaps our baseline on Lucas Duda (NYM) is a bit high, but the power skills he’s shown against RHP over the years (combination of high fly ball and hard hit rates) points towards serious upside. Keep in mind however that Jarred Cosart is able to keep the ball on the ground and has a bit of a reverse split. With the emphasis on paying up for a top pitcher on a short slate, the best cash game alternative to Lucas Duda is Adam Lind (SEA). He carries some pinch hit risk but also carries serious upside for a low price given his skills against RHP (nearly a .400 wOBA past three seasons and .200-plus ISO) and the massive upside in picking on Colby Lewis against LHBs (career .355 wOBA and 1.30 HR/9 allowed). Hitting cleanup for a Nationals team with the second highest team total (4.5), Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) is a fine cash game alternative.

Second Base Rankings

1) Robinson Cano (SEA)

2) Jose Altuve (HOU)

3) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

4) Dee Gordon (MIA)

5) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

6) Neil Walker (NYM)

7) Jed Lowrie (OAK)

Robinson Cano‘s (SEA) hot spring has carried over to the start of the actual season and the elite matchup against Colby Lewis pushes him atop our rankings. Jose Altuve (HOU) isn’t far behind, though, leading off for an Astros team with the highest team total and facing pitcher Chris Young, who struggles at holding runners on. Ben Zobrist (CHC), as usual, gives you easy access to the Cubs offense. If you need to save some money here, both Daniel Murphy (WAS) and Neil Walker (NYM) hold the platoon edge against average RHPs. Murphy rates higher in our model given Bud Norris’ splits (.354 wOBA, 1.31 HR/9).

Shortstop

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Ketel Marte (SEA)

3) Jed Lowrie (OAK)

4) Alcides Escobar (KC)

5) Eugenio Suarez (CIN)

6) Zack Cozart (SS)

7) Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM)

Carlos Correa (HOU) is the clear-cut top shortstop due to a combination of skill set (25-25 guy over a full season; ZiPS projected .355 wOBA and .219 ISO) and high team total. However, it’s a bit difficult to pay his expensive salary in cash games. We’d look to Ketel Marte (SEA) (especially if hitting second) and Jed Lowrie (OAK) (poor man’s Ben Zobrist in the sense that platoon edge due to switch hitting and lineup spot always leave him as a viable option at a scarce position). We prefer Eugenio Suarez and Zack Cozart (CIN) in tournaments against a pitcher we like, but both hold the platoon edge and low price points at top of the order lineup spots.

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Kyle Seager (SEA)

3) Anthony Rendon (WAS)

4) Mike Moustakas (KC)

This is a position where we’ll strong advise to pay up for on of our top two third basemen. As we’ve discussed, Kris Bryant‘s (CHC) combination of loft and raw power (as evidenced by his hard hit rate) indicate massive power upside. He’ll face Brandon Finnegan, who we’re struggling to get a true baseline on but has a ZiPS projected 1.10 HR/9 allowed. Bryant could move up to third against a LHP. Kyle Seager (SEA) is also likely to benefit from a bit better lineup spot as he’s moved up to second against RHP. Seager was able to duplicate his 2014 success in 2015 thanks to a reduced K rate and continued ability to generate loft.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

3) Mike Trout (LAA)

4) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

5) George Springer (HOU)

6) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

7) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

8) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

9) Josh Reddick (OAK)

10) Lorenzo Cain (KC)

11) Jason Heyward (CHC)

12) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

13) Carlos Gomez (HOU)

14) Billy Burns (OAK)

15) Michael Taylor (WAS)

16) Marcell Ozuna (MIA)

17) Jorge Soler (CHC)

Bryce Harper‘s (WAS) improvements overall last season (huge increase in BB rate along with FB and hard hit rates to go with a simultaneous decrease in K rate led to a .319 ISO) and Bud Norris’ struggles with LHBs leave Harper as the top overall hitter in our model. He’s followed by Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), who faces a good pitcher in Steven Matz, but crushes LHP so well (absurd .371 ISO against southpaws since 2014) that he’s an elite tournament option. Both guys are good values in a vacuum, even with the high price tags, but when considering opportunity cost, we’re more likely t go the value route here. In particular, we’re focused on some leadoff men against below average pitchers at a low cost, such as Dexter Fowler (CHC), Billy Burns (OAK), Michael Taylor (WAS), and Nori Aoki (SEA). It’s getting old and the park isn’t as strong as last week, but Colby Rasmus (HOU) is still at a silly price considering he’s the Astros cleanup hitter and has legitimate power against RHP. Chris Young is a heavy fly ball pitcher (55.1 percent for his career), which gives the opposition HR upside. It should also be pointed out that the Royals bullpen isn’t quite as threatening as it was last season. Jorge Soler (CHC) is an elite tournament option. We don’t love the lineup spot, but the overall lineup depth is great. More importantly, there’s a tremendous amount of untapped upside that isn’t priced in at all (Ron Shandler gives him 30-homer upside).

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Chicago Cubs

2) Houston Astros

Tier Two

3) Washington Nationals

4) Seattle Mariners

Tier Three

5) Kansas City Royals

6) Oakland Athletics

7) New York Mets

The stack rankings tonight are pretty straightforward and reflective of the team totals (top two tiers are the four teams with the highest team totals). As a home team in a neutral park, the Royals may get overlooked, but they carry the fifth highest team total, and we’ll be quick to take chances against pitchers starting slow in tournaments. Opposing pitcher Collin McHugh had a disaster start in his first outing, walking two and striking out none while allowing 50 percent hard hit balls and no soft hit balls. His velocity was a little bit down (89.2 mph), although that’s not quite a red flag given the early season and cold weather. It’s also one of those situations where no one from the Royals ranks as a super strong value play and that will also help to deflate ownership. To top it all off, they’re on the road in Houston, which simultaneously guarantees them a full nine innings of at bats and represents a significant park shift in their favor.

2 Comments

  1. madmanjay

    April 11, 2016 at 3:01 am

    Looks like u got it all covered but relief pitching?
    Why are HOLDS exiled from DFS?

  2. floydian80

    April 11, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Just have to say it again. Love the podcasts. Makes it way easier to build a lineup. Love the detailed notes as well

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