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April 15 MLB DFS: Zack Attack
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April 15 MLB DFS: Zack Attack

TODAY’S SHOW OUTLINE

01:16 Starting Pitchers
07:32 Catchers
09:53 First Base
12:22 Second Base
14:40 Shortstop
17:00 Third Base
19:43 Outfield
21:35 Cash Game Roster Construction
23:36 Stacks

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April 15 Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

Tier Two

2) Chris Sale (CHW)

3) Zack Greinke (ARZ)

4) Madison Bumgarner (SF)

Tier Three

5) Carlos Martinez (STL)

6) Garrett Richards (LAA)

7) James Shields (SD)

8) Jake Odorizzi (TB)

Tier Four

9) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

10) Edinson Volquez (KC)

11) Joe Ross (WAS)

12) Rich Hill (OAK)

13) Wei-Yin Chen (MIA)

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) is once again in a tier of his own. The Giants project as an above average contact team and the Kershaw is priced effectively across the industry, so he’s not a must play, but with no Coors Field and a good day for value hitting he’s viable in all formats. Kershaw faced the Giants five times last season and allowed nine earned runs in 38 1/3 IP (2.11 ERA) with 52 strikeouts and five walks. The Giants have the lowest implied run total on the slate (2.6 runs) which is half a run lower than any other offense on the slate. The safety of Kershaw earns consideration on loose pricing sites, but the depth of options at starting pitcher may push you away from him in cash games.

The next tier would typically represent a first tier of options on most slates but checks in as our second tier on a slate with Kershaw. Zack Greinke (ARZ) is the cash game target from this tier. We’ve seen RHPs dominate the Padres whenever they’re outside of Coors Field. On the season, the Padres own a 62 wRC+ against RHP with a 26.4 K Rate that is currently sixth highest in the majors. The Padres inability to get LH should help Greinke who has limited RHBs to a .259 wOBA with a 25 percent K Rate since 2013. Chris Sale (CHW) has a tremendous matchup against the Rays with a huge positive park shift in his favor. He’s priced appropriately across the industry and the deep discount from Greinke, makes him a better tournament target in our eyes.

The third tier of starters is most likely the spot you’re going to find your second starter or a salary relief alternative to Greinke in cash games. Carlos Martinez (STL) faces a Reds lineup that has posted a 68 wRC+ against RHP early in the season and projects as one of the weaker offenses in the league. They’re also very RH with Votto and Bruce threats from the left side but surrounded by a lineup filled with righties (Billy Hamilton the only other lefty). Martinez has held RHBs to a .275 wOBA while striking out 28 percent of them in his career. The Reds have the second lowest implied run total on the slate at just 3.1 runs and Martinez is the biggest favorite on the slate (-180). If you need additional salary relief below Martinez, Jake Odorizzi (TB) has our attention at home against a White Sox offense that has posted just a 72 wRC+ so far against RHP. The only knock on Odorizzi is the projected K Rate is a meaningful notch below Carlos Martinez. Garrett Richards (LAA) is someone we LOVE targeting in tournaments. We were surprised by the Twins 3.8 implied run totals and they’ve been the most strikeout prone offense in the league in the early going (31.7 percent K Rate against RHP). Richards is getting a park downgrade but facing a lineup filled with RHBs

The fourth tier is filled with solid salary relief alternatives, mostly as tournament targets to help garner enough salary relief to pair with an ace starter and build out stacks. Edinson Volquez (KC) has seen a velocity bump in April and with it his K Rate and swinging strike rate have all improved dramatically. The A’s have been strikeout prone early on (23.3 percent vs. RHP) and they rank 28th in wRC+ against RHP. The Coliseum is actually a park upgrade for Volquez. If the K Rate and velocity bumps hold, he’s a great target in cash games, but Vegas giving the A’s a 3.5 implied run total suggests some mild skepticism.

Catcher Rankings

1) Brian McCann (NYY)

2) Matt Wieters (BAL)

3) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

4) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

5) Buster Posey (SF)

6) Yadier Molina (STL)

The catcher position doesn’t rank particularly well in our model on Friday. Brian McCann (NYY) tops our rankings but he’s a Top 75 hitter in our model. McCann gets the benefit of the short porch in Yankees Stadium and Nate Karns has allowed a 30.5 percent hard hit rate to LHBs since 2013. Matt Wieters (BAL), Jonathan Lucroy (MIL), and Stephen Vogt (OAK) are the next tier of options and if you can’t afford McCann this is the tier we’d look to in cash games. Wieters would be our preference if hitting fifth on the road, but even sixth is viable in a great run scoring environment and Wieters hitting from his preferred side (.354 wOBA, .204 ISO in his career).

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

3) Lucas Duda (NYM)

4) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

5) Albert Pujols (LAA)

6) Joey Votto (CIN)

7) Mark Teixeira (NYY)

8) Brandon Moss/Matt Adams (STL)

9) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

10) Mark Trumbo (BAL)/Chris Davis (BAL)

The first base rankings are a little quirky on Friday as a lot of the top options aren’t in great spots. David Ortiz (BOS) is very clearly our top option as he’s the only first basemen inside the Top 10 overall hitters in our model. If you’re not paying up for Ortiz, we’d rather seek out value. On FanDuel, Lucas Duda (NYM) remains far too cheap and is our top value play. On DraftKings Albert Pujols (LAA) and Mark Trumbo (BAL) are solid value plays, while the Cardinals first base platoon could emerge as a strong value as well.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Dee Gordon (MIA)

3) Robinson Cano (SEA)

4) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

5) Anthony Rendon (WAS) – where eligible

6) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

7) Ian Kinsler (DET)

8) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

Jose Altuve (HOU) and Dee Gordon (MIA) each rank inside our Top 15 overall hitters with Altuve inside our Top 10. These two second basemen face arguably the two weakest starting pitchers on the slate and both should have below average throwers behind the plate. This is a position ideally we’d like to spend on with those two leading the way. Robinson Cano (SEA) gets a trip back to Yankee Stadium but against a good young RHP in Luis Sevrino (held LHBs to a .303 wOBA and 52 percent GB Rate last season). The short porch and homer potential keeps him inside our Top 30 hitters overall, but a bit below Gordon and Altuve. We’d really prefer stretching up to Altuve or Gordon if you can. Cesar Hernandez (PHI) remains your best punt option while Jason Kipnis (CLE) has a solid value tag on FanDuel to consider.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL) – if hitting second

5) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

Carlos Correa (HOU) ranks as our third highest rated hitter as the model simply has no respect for Mike Pelfrey. Ideally, we’d like to pay up for one of the Astros middle infielders in cash games, but it will cost you a pretty penny and is impossible if choosing to pay for Kershaw. On DraftKings, Manny Machado (BAL) earned SS eligibility and is an absolute gift at $4,400 in Texas. The ballpark shift isn’t particularly meaningful for Baltimore but the platoon advantage with a friendly lineup spot on the road creates a decent chance at five plate appearances. If we’re not spending up at the position, the value play we’re hoping emerges is Jonathan Villar (MIL) who has hit second against LHP a bit this year. Shortstop eligibility and a second spot in the lineup on the road is enough to earn consideration from punt prices but Villar also has a little speed/pop combination (.142 ISO against LHP, 42 SBs in 684 career plate appearances).

Third Base Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Matt Carpenter (STL)

3) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

4) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

5) Anthony Rendon (WAS)

6) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

7) Kyle Seager (SEA)

Manny Machado (BAL) ranks inside our Top Five overall hitters and the price tag is a tremendous bargain on DraftKings ($4,400) while he’s more appropriately priced on FanDuel. Matt Carpenter (STL) is another Top 15 hitter in our model for a Cardinals offense we like against Tim Melville. Carpenter’s fairly priced around the industry and thus better used as a part of Cardinals stacks or mini-stacks. Alex Rodriguez (NYY) remains under-priced on both FanDuel and DraftKings and represents our primary value target at the position. He won’t have the platoon advantage but he does have a great lineup spot and Nate Karns has some reverse splits in his career. He’s allowed a 36.2 hard hit rate to RHBs and 1.94 HR/9. He’s pitch/fx data also shows he likes to work away which is conducive to Rodriguez’s opposite field power approach at Yankee Stadium.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Bryce Harper (WAS)

3) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

4) Mookie Betts (BOS)

5) George Springer (HOU)

6) Matt Holliday (STL)

7) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

8) Ryan Braun (MIL)

9) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

10) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

11) Jeremy Hazelbaker (STL)

12) Adam Jones (BAL)

13) Starling Marte (PIT)

14) Brett Gardner (NYY)

15) Justin Upton (DET)

Mike Trout (LAA) (ranked first), Bryce Harper (WSH) (ranked second) and Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)(ranked fourth) represent three of our Top Five hitters in this slate, and all three are in matchups that boost their power upside. While they’re certainly in play across all formats, we’re encouraging the value route in this slate, which can still be found in Colby Rasmus (HOU) as well as some Cardinals (Jeremy Hazelbaker and Matt Holliday). The Cardinals are hitting in a tough environment, but that shouldn’t deter them from scoring runs vs. Tim Melville (ZiPS projects an ERA above six and nearly two HRs per nine). The Houston bats will be facing Mike Pelfrey, and we could argue that Pelfrey is the second worst pitcher in this slate (ZiPS projected ERA above five for ROS). George Springer (HOU) ranks ahead of Rasmus in our model, but his price isn’t as friendly everywhere. Our model loves Justin Upton (DET) (ranked inside our Top 20 hitters), and while the matchup vs. Keuchel is troublesome, we think the massive price discount on DraftKings and his elite skills vs. LHP earns him tournament consideration. Other fun tournament options at full prices are: Mookie Betts (BOS) (ranked inside our Top 10 Hitters) and Ryan Braun (MIL) (Jeff Locke‘s mediocre peripherals will get him in trouble eventually and he’ll have to deal with a bunch of RHBs tonight). J.D. Martinez (DET) can be used if stacking a few Tigers RHBs in tournaments.

Stacks

Tier One:

1) Houston Astros

2) St. Louis Cardinals

Tier Two

3) Boston Red Sox

4) Baltimore Orioles

5) New York Yankees

Additional Tournament Stacks

Miami Marlins

Toronto Blue Jays

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

The Houston Astros carry the highest team total in this slate (approaching five runs). Naturally, they’ll be the first team we build around in cash games (and they’re certainly the team we want the most exposure to), but the St. Louis Cardinals are likely the most valuable team to build around. They have a matchup against the worst starting pitcher in this slate, and their prices are friendly around the industry. Fill the rest of your cash game lineups with players from the Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees (those three teams represent our tier two stacks).

Tournament Stacks

Miami Marlins (Second highest team total in this slate; You’re more than likely going to see lower ownership here since Marlins Park is a terrible hitting environment, but we can’t pass on the opportunity to pick on Williams Perez on the mound and A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate)

Toronto Blue Jays (Fenway Park has quirky dimensions but it’s way more favorable for RHBs; We’re not afraid to pick on Rick Porcello in tournaments with the Jays)

Seattle Mariners (Luis Severino and the Yankees bullpen represents a difficult matchup for the Mariners but the park shift is massive for the LHBs here; we’re taking some shots in tournaments to take advantage of short porch in RF).

Texas Rangers (Vance Worley has a ZiPS projected 5.20 ERA and 1.43 HR/9; He’s not a good pitcher and Globe Life Park in Arlington is a great environment for hitters)

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