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April 20 MLB DFS: A Thirst for the Frosty Brew
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April 20 MLB DFS: A Thirst for the Frosty Brew


01:22 Starting Pitchers
07:39 Catchers
09:07 First Base
11:34 Second Base
13:27 Shortstop
15:58 Third Base
17:27 Outfield
23:05 Cash Game Roster Construction
24:32 Cash Game Roster Construction


April 20 MLB DFS Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Madison Bumgarner (SF)

2) Zack Greinke (ARZ)

Tier Two

3) Chris Archer (TB)

4) Joe Ross (WAS)

5) Ian Kennedy (KC)

6) Drew Pomeranz (SD)

7) Cole Hamels (TEX)

8) Bartolo Colon (NYM)

9) Jeff Locke (PIT)

10) Jimmy Nelson (MIL)

Wednesday is similar to the last few days where we have two pitchers atop our rankings and then a very deep second tier of starters without much separation among them. Madison Bumgarner (SF) has battled a foot issue, inconsistent release points, and thus a velocity drop; but the strikeouts have still been there and he has the benefit of pitching in the best environment in baseball. The Diamondbacks are more threatening against LHP but are still experiencing a massive park downgrade and Vegas has pegged them with an implied run total of just 3.1 runs. While Bumgarner may not be worth this price tag on a typical slate, the plethora of value and absence of other elite starting pitching in favorable matchups makes him a default cash game target. Zack Greinke (ARZ) has a softer strikeout projection against the contact heavy Giants lineup but grades out as our second strongest starter on the slate due to the combination of his skill-set and park environment.

Chris Archer (BOS) is arguably the most talented starter on the slate, but Fenway Park is a challenging downgrade in park shift and the Red Sox are a skilled offense. He’ll hold the platoon advantage on most of their lineup and makes for an excellent tournament target, especially on DraftKings where he’s priced down accordingly to the difficult environment. Our favorite secondary starter for cash games from the second tier is Joe Ross (WAS). Ross has been dominant against RHBs in his brief major league career (.193 wOBA, 26.7 K Rate, 3.2 BB Rate, 63.5 GB Rate) and the Marlins struggle to get LH in their lineup. Ian Kennedy (KC) has had a big bump in velocity and will have the platoon advantage over the bulk of the Tigers’ bats in a great pitching environment in Kansas City. His fly ball tendencies really play well with the Royals elite outfield defense behind him. He’s a viable alternative to Ross in cash games, but we like him most in tournaments. Bartolo Colon (NYM) and Drew Pomeranz (SD) are viable salary relief options on multiple starting pitcher sites. Colon’s matchup is a little safer and would be our preferred target even though our model likes Pomeranz’s strikeout upside slightly better. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) is another intriguing tournament target. He’s dominated RHBs to the tune of a .274 wOBA, 28.2 K Rate, and 53.9 GB Rate. The Twins are losing the DH in Milwaukee and struggle to get left-handed in their lineup already. If we see a Twins lineup with a bunch of RHBs, we could see a lineup that projected for a sub-.300 wOBA against RHP. Nelson is one of the pitchers that has the potential to surge up our rankings based on lineup.

Catcher Rankings

1) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

2) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

3) Brian McCann (NYY)

4) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

5) Derek Norris (SD)

Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) is our top rated catcher and ranks within the Top 35 hitters in our model. Lucroy will face Tommy Milone who has allowed a .328 wOBA and 1.39 HR/9 to RHBs since 2013. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher (39 percent GB Rate) in a park that inflates HRs and facing a Brewers lineup loaded with righties who hit lefties well. The Brewers have one of the highest implied run totals on the slate (4.5 runs) and Lucroy is an inexpensive way to access the middle of the lineup. In cash games, he’s our primary target. In tournaments, we like taking a shot on the short porch in Yankee Stadium with either Brian McCann (NYY) or Stephen Vogt (OAK).

First Base Rankings

1) Chris Davis (BAL)

2) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

3) David Ortiz (BOS)

4) Lucas Duda (NYM)

5) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

6) Chris Carter (MIL)

7) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

8) Mark Teixeira (NYY)

9) Prince Fielder (TEX)

10) Joe Mauer (MIN)

Chris Davis (BAL) is atop our first base rankings and our second ranked hitter overall. Davis’ power potential against a RH pitcher at home vaults him up our rankings and the Orioles also have a healthy implied team total (4.6 runs). There is a meaningful gap between Davis and our next tier of first base options. All of the options ranked 2-10 are ranked between 15-35 in our model. As a result, we recommend picking on price gaps where you see them. Lucas Duda (NYM) remains cheap on FanDuel, while Chris Carter (MIL) is cheap pretty much everywhere. Carter’s swing and miss profile is probably better in tournaments, but the matchup against Milone earns him cash game consideration.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Dee Gordon (MIA)

3) Brian Dozier (MIN)

4) Josh Harrison (PIT) – if leading off

5) Logan Forsythe (TB)

6) Cesar Hernandez (PHI)

7) Chase Utley (LAD)

8) Neil Walker (NYM)

Jose Altuve (HOU) and Dee Gordon (MIA) are the top ranked second base options with Altuve inside our Top 10 and Gordon inside the Top 35. Paying for Altuve seems unnecessary on this slate for cash games, but we like the Astros in tournaments. Brian Dozier (MIN) remains underpriced on FanDuel ($2,800) and remains your best target there, while on DraftKings the values are a bit further down our rankings. Guys like Logan Forsythe (TB), Cesar Hernandez (PHI), and Chase Utley (LAD) are viable salary relief options.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

2) Carlos Correa (HOU)

3) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

4) Corey Seager (LAD)

5) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

Manny Machado (BAL) and Carlos Correa (HOU) are Top Five hitters in our model. If you’re not paying up for Bumgarner in cash games, he’s not a difficult piece to fit in, but we have an elite value play right behind him. Jonathan Villar (MIL) usually hits second against LHP and actually ranks inside our Top 15 overall hitters. Milone is vulnerable to righties and Kurt Suzuki is horrible behind the plate at throwing out base-runners (14-94 last year). Villar is a primary our primary value target but where priced closely with Corey Seager (LAD), they’re nearly interchangeable. Seager is a more skilled hitter than Villar and Teheran’s struggles with velocity and hard hit rate leave him vulnerable to LHBs.

Third Base Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

3) David Wright (NYM)

4) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

5) Evan Longoria (TB)

6) Anthony Rendon (WAS)

7) David Freese (PIT)

8) Justin Turner (LAD)

Manny Machado (BAL) tops our third base rankings and is inside our Top Five overall. His price tag is friendlier on DraftKings than FanDuel relative to the salary cap, but he’s viable on both sites if he qualifies as your one spend. If you take a value SP on FanDuel, he’s easy to make room for in lineups. The potential value plays at third base are more site-specific but Evan Longoria (TB) and Anthony Rendon (WAS) are both slightly underpriced for their upside.

Outfield Rankings

1) Ryan Braun (MIL)

2) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

3) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

4) Starling Marte (PIT)

5) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

6) Jose Bautista (TOR)

7) Bryce Harper (WAS)

8) Domingo Santana (MIL)

9) Michael Conforto (NYM)

10) Adam Jones (BAL)

11) George Springer (HOU)

12) Josh Reddick (OAK)

13) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

14) Miguel Sano (MIN)

15) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

16) Corey Dickerson (TB)

17) Billy Burns (OAK)

18) Michael Saunders (TOR)

19) Brett Gardner (NYY)

20) Mookie Betts (BOS)

Ryan Braun (MIL) is the top overall hitter in our model. He’s been ridiculous against LHP in recent years (.397 wOBA, .246 ISO since 2013) and gets homer-prone Tommy Milone at home. We’d prioritize spending on one of Braun, Chris Davis, or Machado if possible. The Pirates outfielders rate really well thanks to their dominance against LHP and we really love them in tournaments. Domingo Santana (MIL) and Michael Conforto (NYM) are elite values on both FanDuel and DraftKings as they rank inside our Top 15 overall hitters and are priced below the average cost of a hitter. We recommend them as building blocks in cash games to afford some of the other higher priced bats.


Top Stacks

Tier One

1) Milwaukee Brewers

2) New York Mets

3) Texas Rangers

4) Toronto Blue Jays

5) New York Yankees

6) Baltimore Orioles

These six stacks all rank closely in our model. The Brewers are our primary cash game target due to very friendly pricing on a number of their preferred bats. The Mets are another tremendous tournament stack as we saw them get to the Phillies horrific pen last night and Jeremy Hellickson is a softer matchup than Velasquez. The success of the Mets and Rangers stacks the previous night may inflate some ownership there.

Contrarian Tournament Stacks

Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates haven’t faced a LH starter all season which is a shame because their lineup is really suited to attack LHP. Andrew McCutchen (.424 wOBA, .231 ISO), Starling Marte (.366 wOBA, .161 ISO), Josh Harrison (.359 wOBA, .136 ISO), Francisco Cervelli (.355 wOBA, .154 ISO), and David Freese (.350 wOBA, .182 ISO) all hit LHP well. Drew Pomeranz has looked good early in terms of strikeouts but his velocity is down a touch and the park shift is actually positive for the Pirates RH power.

Houston Astros – Cole Hamels has seen his velocity and his zone rate dip early in the season which can be a predictor of injury related issues. The Astros are so skilled against LHP with a combination of power and speed that is really appealing in tournaments. After a disappointing performance in a plus matchup the night before, it’s likely ownership flows away from them.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Julio Teheran got pushed back a day, so we’ll use the notes from yesterday here: 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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