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April 18 MLB DFS: Syndergawd
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April 18 MLB DFS: Syndergawd


01:10 Starting Pitchers
06:57 Catchers
09:10 First Base
13:10 Second Base
15:09 Shortstop
17:26 Third Base
19:27 Outfield
27:20 Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks


April 18 MLB DFS Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

2) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

Tier Two

3) Jake Peavy (SF)

Tier Three

4) John Lackey (CHC)

5) Tanner Roark (WAS)

6) Phil Hughes (MIN)

7) Jerad Eickhoff (PHI)

8) Chase Anderson (MIL)

It’s a short slate but we have two aces on the mound in Noah Syndergaard (NYM) and Jose Fernandez (MIA). Both have favorable matchups but we give Syndergaard the edge due to the incredible early season bump in K Rate (42 percent) and swinging strike rate (19.9 percent) that has come thanks to the new slider he’s throwing. It’s only two starts but the new pitch has been utterly devastating and there is a legitimate chance Syndergaard is challenging Kershaw for a tier of his own by season’s end. In addition to the ridiculous swing and miss stuff, he’s generating a 59 percent GB Rate through two outings leading to an absurd 0.37 FIP. Fernandez has given up six earned runs in his first two outings but both were against offenses we project as above average (NYM, DET) and despite the runs allowed he struck out 41 percent of the batters faced and has generated a 15.3 percent swinging strike rate. We prefer Syndergaard to Fernandez, but strongly recommend trying to pair both in cash games on multiple starting pitcher sites.

The drop-off after the top tier is immense. Jake Peavy (SF) is our third ranked starter and he’s largely popping due to expected run prevention against a RH heavy Arizona lineup that gets a severe park downgrade. Peavy hasn’t been dominant in a while but he’s held RHBs to a .312 wOBA since 2013 with a league average 18.4 K Rate. Peavy’s ranking is predicated on run prevention so his ranking is the most vulnerable to lineup shifts or weather shifts, which we’ll note in alerts. The rest of the starters group is better reserved for tournaments where we’re more willing to take a shot on strikeout upside with guys like Carlos Rodon (CHW), Phil Hughes (MIN) and Chase Anderson (MIL). Rodon faces a contact heavy Angels’ lineup getting a nice park shift but his improved control (47.2 percent zone rate vs. 41.9 percent zone rate) early on this season hints at the big strikeout upside. Anderson has experienced a big jump in velocity and while shifting to an American League opponent should get a watered down version (Plouffe injured) that is currently striking out at the sixth highest clip in the league. Phil Hughes (MIN) gets an NL opponent that is very strikeout prone against RHP. Hughes’ reverse splits make him more vulnerable to power against the Brewers RH heavy offense but also bring a little more strikeout upside.

Catcher Rankings

1) Buster Posey (SF)

2) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

3) Devin Mesoraco (CIN)

4) Miguel Montero (CHC)

5) Yadier Molina (STL)

Buster Posey (SF) is the top catcher on the slate going up against inexperienced Archie Bradley who allowed a .420 wOBA to RHBs in a limited big league sample last year. Posey’s an unnecessary spend without the platoon advantage and in an elite pitcher’s park. Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) and Devin Mesoraco (CIN) are the next best options at the catcher position but both rank in the 50-70 range in our model. In general, our goal at catcher is to get the cheapest exposure to strong hitting environments and we’re less concerned with the quality of the hitter. The goal is to use salary relief from catcher to fund top-end starting pitching and an expensive bat somewhere else. As a result, we’ll be on the lookout in alerts for potential punt plays.

First Base Rankings

1) Joey Votto (CIN)

2) Jose Abreu (CHW)

3) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

4) Albert Pujols (LAA)

5) Lucas Duda (NYM)

6) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

7) Chris Carter (MIL)

8) Brandon Moss (STL)

Joey Votto (CIN) is the third ranked hitter in our model and is followed by Jose Abreu (CHW) who ranks sixth before Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Albert Pujols (LAA) round out our Top 10. We’d love to afford Votto who owns a career .416 wOBA and .230 ISO against RHP and is the best hitter on the team with the highest implied team total, but if we can’t we’re comfortable settling for Pujols as a less expensive target. Jordan Lyles surrendered a .354 wOBA to LHBs since 2013. Chris Carter (MIL) remains a strong tournament target given Phil Hughes‘ struggles with the long ball against RHBs (1.37 HR/9 since 2013). Lucas Duda (NYM) remains under-priced on FanDuel where he’s a solid source of salary relief if you’d rather a big bat in the outfield than at first base.

Second Base Rankings

1) Dee Gordon (MIA)

2) Brian Dozier (MIN)

3) D.J. LeMahieu (COL)

4) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

5) Brandon Phillips (CIN)

Second base is another position where we’d ideally like to save money. Dee Gordon (MIA) and Brian Dozier (MIN) rank inside our Top 25 hitters. D.J. LeMahieu (COL) and Ben Zobrist (CHC) aren’t far behind while Brandon Phillips (CIN) is inside our Top 45. Dozier has the most exploitable tag on FanDuel and is affordable on DraftKings, but the tighter pricing on DraftKings due to our emphasis on starting pitching, makes him less compelling. This is a position we’ll emphasize any potential punts that emerge during alerts.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Trevor Story (COL)

2) Zack Cozart (CIN)

3) Jimmy Rollins (CHW)

4) Eduardo Nunez (MIN) – if leadoff

5) Jean Segura (ARZ)

Trevor Story (COL) is our top ranked shortstop but his cost is prohibitive. Our primary target is Zack Cozart (CIN) who combines a friendly price tag with a leadoff spot for the team with the highest implied team total on the slate.

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Todd Frazier (CHW)

3) Eugenio Suarez (CIN)

4) Matt Carpenter (STL)

5) Kris Bryant (CHC)

Nolan Arenado (COL) and Todd Frazier (CHW) each rank inside our Top 15 overall hitters with Frazier just outside our Top 10. Frazier is a nice potential buy where the price is slightly down compared to the other high end hitters. Frazier will face Hector Santiago who has allowed 1.50 HR/9 to RHBs since 2013 and is getting a big park downgrade.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

3) Bryce Harper (WAS)

4) Ryan Braun (MIL)

5) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

6) Michael Conforto (NYM)

7) Miguel Sano (MIN)

8) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

9) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

10) Jason Heyward (CHC)

11) Domingo Santana (MIL)

12) Jay Bruce (CIN)

13) Christian Yelich (MIA)

14) Gerardo Parra (COL)

15) David Peralta (ARZ)

As is typically the case, we’ve got options all over the pricing spectrum in the outfield. Mike Trout (LAA) and Carlos Gonzalez (COL) represent our favorite expensive spends. Michael Conforto (NYM) remains one of our favorite value plays as long as he’s hitting third. Jerad Eickhoff was great in his debut but allowed a .345 wOBA and 1.42 HR/9 to LHBs so far as a big leaguer. Conforto gets a nice park power shift in Philadelphia and Eickhoff is backed up by a bad bullpen. Domingo Santana (MIL) is another solid value with a matchup against Phil Hughes who is vulnerable to RH power and is a strike-thrower. Santana’s biggest weakness is his lack of plate discipline, which shouldn’t be as big of an issue against Hughes. Craig Gentry (LAA) doesn’t rate particularly great in our model (Top 50 hitter) but hitting second with a strong park shift and a near minimum price tag makes him particularly valuable on a slate you want to emphasize elite pitching.


Top Stacks

Tier One

1) Cincinnati Reds

2) Colorado Rockies

Tier Two

3) New York Mets

4) Chicago White Sox

5) Los Angeles Angels

6) Milwaukee Brewers

The primary offensive environment to target on this slate is in Cincinnati. It’s the best hitting park on the slate and features two of the worst starting pitchers and bullpens backing them up. These are the two offenses to ideally get exposure to in cash games and will likely represent the highest owned stacks in tournaments.

The Mets are our favorite “contrarian” stack in tournaments. The offense has struggled early in the season but is very skilled and very deep. Jerad Eickhoff was dominant in his last start but that was against the lowly Padres. The Mets are getting a positive park shift and the Phillies bullpen behind Eickhoff is particularly vulnerable.

The next best offensive environment on the slate is in Chicago where temperatures are a bit softer than typical April weather. Neither offense is typically one you’re excited to stack given the lack of depth but the White Sox face a homer prone LHP and the Angels get a big park shift. The Cubs are always a fun “contrarian” stack whenever their implied team total earns contrarian status. On this short slate, a matchup against St. Louis very good defense and bullpen earns that label. The Brewers are loaded with RH power and that has been Phil Hughes‘ weakness historically. With friendly entry points on Santana, Lucroy, and Carter you could even fit in Braun and Gennett and still afford top tier SP. They represent another solid contrarian tournament stack.

1 Comment

  1. Jmw1960

    April 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Love the podcast. I hope you keep doing it

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