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April 19 MLB DFS: Troutstanding!
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April 19 MLB DFS: Troutstanding!


00:36 Starting Pitchers
07:47 Catchers
11:06 First Base
14:42 Second Base
16:17 Shortstop
17:58 Third Base
20:17 Outfield
24:06 Stacks
28:20 Cash Game Roster Construction


April 19 MLB DFS Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Francisco Liriano (PIT)

2) Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Tier Two

3) Vincent Velasquez (PHI)

Tier Three

4) Alex Wood (LAD)

5) Matt Cain (SF)

6) Yordano Ventura (KC)

7) Michael Pineda (NYY)

8) Marcus Stroman (TOR)

9) Jaime Garcia (STL)

10) Jason Hammel (CHC)

11) Julio Teheran (ATL)

This is a really interesting slate for multiple starting pitcher sites. We have three starters who have “ace” worthy stuff and could project as typical tier one starters. Francisco Liriano (PIT) and Stephen Strasburg (WAS) are in a virtual tie in our model. Liriano has the benefit of facing the weaker opponent in a slightly better pitching environment, but Strasburg will have the platoon advantage on the majority of the lineup. It’s easy to lean on price tag as the differentiator among the two.

Vincent Velasquez (PHI) is in his own tier. He has flashed elite skills early in the season that includes overcoming control issues he had throughout his minor league career (3.1 BB/9) by throwing 61 percent of pitches inside the strike zone and registering an incredible 78 percent first strike percentage. It’s just two starts, so we have to weigh the incredible performance along with our baseline expectations. He’ll face a Mets offense that projects better than their early start and is getting a favorable park shift. On single starting pitcher sites, we recommend the more stable projection of Liriano or Strasburg, but on multiple starting pitcher sites Velasquez upside is certainly in play.

The third tier of starters is VERY bunched together. This is a tier that is viable as complementary starters on multiple SP sites in all formats or as salary relief tournament targets on single starting pitcher sites. Matt Cain (SF) and Alex Wood (LAD) aren’t particularly high upside options but they face weak opposing lineups (Diamondbacks project below average against RHP outside of Chase Field) and in favorable pitching environments. They both have implied run totals against around 3.5 runs. Yordano Ventura (KC) is likely the highest upside option of this tier given the platoon advantage on the majority of the Tigers offense, pitching at home with a great defense behind him, and coming with just a 3.4 implied run total against. Michael Pineda (NYY) is next-in-line after Ventura in the upside on this tier against a weaker Athletics offense and with a great shot at a win, but in a tough home park.

Catcher Rankings

1) Buster Posey (SF)

2) Evan Gattis (HOU) – where eligible

3) Devin Mesoraco (CIN)

4) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

5) Brian McCann (NYY)

6) Derek Norris (SD)

7) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

Buster Posey (SF) is clearly the top catcher option in our model and a Top 20 hitter overall. He’s facing Robbie Ray who has allowed .344 wOBA and ridiculous 37.5 hard hit rate to RHBs since 2013. On DraftKings, Posey is pretty affordable at $3,700, but the decision is murkier on FanDuel where he’s priced appropriately. Evan Gattis (HOU) and Devin Mesoraco (CIN) represent the biggest upside pivots from Posey and come with cheaper price tags on FanDuel. The Astros haven’t faced many lefties so it’s unclear where Gattis will land in the lineup but the platoon advantage against a power prone LHP (33 percent hard hit rate allowed, 1.04 HR/9 to RHBs) is a good spot. Mesoraco faces Jorge de la Rosa whose numbers are a bit skewed from pitching in Coors Field but has also allowed a 32.6 hard hit rate to RHBs since 2013. Gattis owns a .216 ISO against LHP in his career while Mesoraco has a .361 wOBA and .173 ISO against LHP in his career.

First Base Rankings

1) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

2) Chris Davis (BAL)

3) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

4) Mark Teixeira (NYY)

5) Joey Votto (CIN)

6) Jose Abreu (CHW)

7) Eric Hosmer (KC)

8) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

9) Prince Fielder (TEX)

10) Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) and Chris Davis (BAL) are inside the Top 10 overall hitters in our model but are priced appropriately. Mark Teixeira (NYY) is the best combination of upside and value and the first basemen we’re most frequently gravitating towards. Eric Surkamp has allowed a .358 wOBA to RHBs in a small sample size since 2013 but projection systems aren’t optimistic on his outlook. Teixeira owns a solid .330 wOBA and .164 ISO against LHP since 2013 while walking more than striking out. He also holds the platoon advantage into the bullpen and should hit in the middle of the Yankees lineup that holds the second highest implied run total on the slate (4.6 runs).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Dee Gordon (MIA)

3) Brandon Phillips (CIN)

4) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

5) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

6) Logan Forsythe (TB)

7) Chase Utley (LAD)

Second base is a position you don’t need to spend up on. Jose Altuve (HOU) is just outside our Top Five overall hitters. He’s got the platoon advantage, on the road, leading off, and in a great hitting environment but he’s priced accordingly and there are some really good values at the position. Brandon Phillips (CIN) cracks our Top 60 hitters but is just $3,300 on DraftKings with the platoon advantage at home and hitting clean-up. Dustin Pedroia (BOS) has always hit LHP well (.365 wOBA, .159 ISO since 2013) and faces Drew Smyly at home. Smyly is a good starter and someone we don’t want to go wild picking on, but he is vulnerable to RH power (1.24 HR/9, 31.3 hard hit rate allowed since 2013) and the park shift is particularly punishing on the LHP-RHB matchup.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Trevor Story (COL)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Corey Seager (LAD)

5) Zack Cozart (CIN)

6) Jimmy Rollins (CHW)

7) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

Carlos Correa (HOU) is our top rated shortstop and inside our Top Three hitters overall. Reaching up for his salary is viable on DraftKings if you take the cheaper secondary starter approach, but he’s a primary target regardless of SP selection on FanDuel where the price tag ($4,200) is more reasonable. If you can’t afford Correa, the depth at shortstop is actually pretty good. Corey Seager (LAD) faces Julio Teheran who has allowed a .349 wOBA and 1.45 HR/9 to LHBs since 2013. Teheran is backed up by a putrid bullpen adding to Seager’s upside hitting second on the road. Zack Cozart (CIN) gets the platoon advantage in a good hitters’ park at home and is also relatively cheap. Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is somewhere in between Correa and the cheap options (Top 40 hitter in our model) but has also been pretty good against LHP in his brief career (.381 wOBA in 350 plate appearances).

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

3) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

4) Manny Machado (BAL)

5) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

6) Maikel Franco (PHI)

7) Eugenio Suarez (CIN)

8) Mike Moustakas (KC)

9) Matt Carpenter (STL)

10) Todd Frazier (CHW)

Third base is really deep on Tuesday with 10 third basemen inside our Top 50 hitters overall. Alex Rodriguez (NYY) is the value that catches our eyes most on the initial scan. He was demoted to sixth last time out, but we expect he’ll be back hitting fourth or at worst fifth against a LHP. We touched on Surkamp’s struggles as a reason to target Teixeira and Rodriguez has those same advantages. Since 2013, A-Rod owns a .366 wOBA and .202 ISO against LHP. In general price points tend to align with rankings outside of Rodriguez, so if he doesn’t garner the strong lineup spot we’re expecting this is a position to fill out last due to the strong depth of options.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

3) Jose Bautista (TOR)

4) Mookie Betts (BOS)

5) Bryce Harper (WAS)

6) George Springer (HOU)

7) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

8) Starling Marte (PIT)

9) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

10) Aaron Hicks (NYY)

11) Carlos Beltran (NYY)

12) Lorenzo Cain (KC)

13) Hunter Pence (SF)

14) Michael Saunders (TOR)

15) Gerardo Parra (COL) – if leading off

16) Adam Eaton (CHW)

17) Delino Deshields (TEX)

18) Corey Dickerson (TB)

19) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

20) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

The outfield is the deepest position by far on Tuesday’s slate. We have six outfielders in our Top 10 overall hitters and half of our Top 40 hitters are outfielders. Mike Trout (LAA) is clearly our top overall hitter and our model believes paying up for him is a strong decision as he rates as a good value as well. Mat Latos projects as a below average starter and Trout gets a gigantic park shift in his favor. George Springer (HOU) and Mookie Betts (BOS) represent the next most likely spends due to slightly depressed price tags relative to their peers. Both have the platoon advantage in good parks for RH power. The value plays are a bit more site-specific and overshadowed a bit in our rankings by the depth of the outfield position. On FanDuel, Aaron Hicks (NYY) stands out as an elite value play if he continues to hit second against LHP. Michael Saunders (TOR) was also recently promoted to the leadoff spot for the Blue Jays which is an exceptional spot for Fantasy value. He’ll have the platoon advantage in a very good hitting environment against Mike Wright who has allowed a .399 wOBA and 1.90 HR/9 to LHBs as a big leaguer. On DraftKings, Nomar Mazara (TEX) stands out as an elite value and the best way to get exposure to the Rangers leading implied team total (4.8 runs) on the slate.


Top Stacks

Tier One

1) Houston Astros

2) Texas Rangers

3) Toronto Blue Jays

4) New York Yankees

Tier Two

5) Boston Red Sox

6) Kansas City Royals

7) Tampa Bay Rays

8) Washington Nationals

9) Colorado Rockies

10) Cincinnati Reds

The first tier of stacks is filled with the highest implied run totals on the slate. Houston, despite having an implied run total a half run below the Rangers, actually ranks as our strongest stack. Houston’s combination of power and speed throughout the lineup plus a lot of power RHBs with the platoon advantage pushes them to the top of our rankings. The Yankees are probably the offense you’ll end up with the most exposure to in cash games due to individual values with Rodriguez, Teixeira, and Hicks.

The next tier of stacking options is a lot like the deep third tier of starting pitchers. They all rank really closely in our model. The Royals get the benefit of a poor Tigers’ bullpen behind Shane Greene. The Rockies get a park downgrade but face a poor opposing bullpen behind Alfredo Simon and showed some willingness to stack affordable LHBs near the top of the lineup. The Nationals are among the most intriguing options with a lineup that hits LHP really well and a skilled opposing starter that struggles working deep into games and can expose a weak bullpen behind him.

In terms of contrarian tournament stacks, the Dodgers really catch our eye given Julio Teheran‘s struggles early on and the Dodgers increased depth with Yasmani Grandal back. Mike Leone did a nice contrarian stack video last season, explaining some of the benefits of targeting potentially damaged starters in neutral offensive environments. The Mets are also a very likely low owned tournament option given Velasquez’s struggles, but if his control issues rear their ugly head again it’s a very weak bullpen behind him and the Mets have six hitters to start the lineup that all have great power.

MLB Daily Analysis

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