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April 23 MLB DFS Late Slate: Use Wacha To Claim Your CarGo
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April 23 MLB DFS Late Slate: Use Wacha To Claim Your CarGo

00:57 Starting Pitchers
07:17 Catchers
09:22 First Base
11:47 Second Base
13:05 Shortstop
14:32 Third Base
16:11 Outfield
21:20 Cash Game Roster Construction
22:25 Stacks

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April 23 MLB DFS Late Slate Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

2) Michael Wacha (STL)

Tier Two

3) Felix Hernandez (SEA)

4) Steven Matz (NYM)

5) Hector Santiago (LAA)

Tier Three

6) John Lackey (CH)

7) Jake Peavy (SF)

It’s no secret we’re pretty big Michael Wacha (STL) fans, and he’s rewarded our faith early on (2.49 xFIP, 21.7 K percentage). Now he gets perhaps the juiciest matchup in all of baseball, facing a Padres team (currently dead last in wRC+ against RHP with a very high 27.7 K percentage) in Petco Park. He gives you ace level upside given the matchup while saving you a lot of money off of the top pitcher (Jose Fernandez) to allow you to devote some more cap to Coors Field bats. Now, Jose Fernandez (MIA) gets the nod in raw rankings due to his elite skill set (30-plus K percentage, sub 2.75 ERA), but he’s difficult to pay up for in cash games on a Coors Field slate.

Felix Hernandez (SEA) heads up the second tier, but after missing a start with the flu yesterday and dealing with some early season velocity loss, we’re not keen on using him in cash games. If going that high, just go all the way up to Fernandez, although the matchup is nice in a pitcher’s park against an Angels offense that has been anemic to start the season. The other two pitchers in the tier are the best cash game complements given their combination of price and upside. Steven Matz (NYM) had an awesome bounce back from a disaster start in the opener and gets an Atlanta team we love to pick on with LHP. Hector Santiago (LAA) has seen a huge uptick in velocity early on (92.7 mph, 90.3 last season), which has spurred on more swinging strikes, and consequently more Ks. Throw in GB and BB rate improvements as well, and we have no issues playing current form here even in a small sample size. You could use either in cash on single SP sites as well, but we do give the edge to Wacha there.

In tournaments, John Lackey (CHC) (weak Reds lineup and Joey Votto is struggling; high K rate to begin year and can pitch deep) and Jhoulys Chacin (ATL) (taking a stab on a cheap pitcher with nice early season peripherals who will allow you to stack Coors Field) are options.

Catcher Rankings

1) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

2) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

3) Francisco Cervelli (PIT)

4) Buster Posey (SF)

5) Welington Castillo (ARI)

Yasmani Grandal (LAD) is the clear top play at the position. His sixth spot in the lineup is not a deterrent given the environment and run total (nearly six runs). You want as much Coors exposure as you can get (what’s new) and Grandal has a good combination of patience (16.4 BB rate) and power (.189 ISO) when hitting from the left side. Francisco Cervelli (PIT) is the best alternative. He’ll allow you to save some money. As usual, when targeting Cervelli, we’re not after his skills but his context (top five lineup spot, plus park, highest non-Coors team total).

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3) Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)

4) Joey Votto (CIN)

5) John Jason (PIT)

We view Anthony Rizzo (CHC) as an elite tournament option given his skill set, the park environment, and a poor opposing pitching staff. However, we’re siding with Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) and Coors Field exposure in cash games. That run total is awful tough to ignore, so we’re straying a bit from our model rankings in terms of cash game emphasis, and the $100-$200 savings helps a touch as well. While Joey Votto (CIN) is off to a cold start, his 44.7 hard hit rate gives us confidence he’ll break out of a slump soon. He’s a fine buy low opportunity, although we’d pay up if possible. John Jaso (PIT) is the de facto cheap play, and we’re fine using him in cash games if he gets you more Coors elsewhere. He’s a great on base guy leading off for a Pittsburgh team with an implied run total just under 5.

Second Base Rankings

1) Chase Utley (LAD)

2) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

3) Scooter Gennett (MIL)

4) Dee Gordon (MIA)

5) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

Chase Utley (LAD) is a really simple way to grab Coors exposure – simply grabbing the leadoff guy with the highest projected plate appearances on the highest projected scoring team. Ben Zobrist (CHC) is a fine alternative and would actually rank first if moved back into the three spot (hit fifth last night). Dan Straily has a ZiPS projected ERA of 5.17 and the bullpen behind him is very bad. Scooter Gennett (MIL) is your prototypical splits play as he has a .342 wOBA against RHP since 2013 while Charlie Morton has allowed a .368 wOBA to LHBs over the same span.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Corey Seager (LAD)

2) Trevor Story (COL)

3) Javier Baez (CHC) (if top six)

4) Jean Segura (ARI)

5) Alcides Escobar (KC)

One again, Corey Seager (LAD) is a priority. Even with the cost escalating a bit on DraftKings, we’d try to squeeze him in as he’s a top 10 overall hitter in our model. Outside of Trevor Story (COL), who is more expensive, every other shortstop ranks outside our top 50 hitters overall. While Seager is actually cheaper on FanDuel than on DraftKings, overall roster construction is a bit tighter, so you could drop down to Alcides Escobar (KC) who is basically our go to punt shortstop given the price tag over there.

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Justin Turner (LAD)

3) Nolan Arenado (COL)

4) Manny Machado (BAL)

5) Maikel Franco (PHI)

With Kris Bryant (CHC) remaining in the third spot against RHP, he’s our top ranked third baseman. We were finally paid off the other night for our faith in his immense power upside. The difficulty with Bryan, though, is cost, which makes him better served in tournaments. On most sites you can simply grab Coors Field exposue in Justin Turner (LAD) for around a thousand dollars cheaper. Maikel Franco (PHI) (underpriced for individual power) and David Freese (PIT) (great lineup spot given expected success of team around him) are the go to cheaper options.

Outfield Rankings

1) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

2) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

3) Jason Heyward (CHC)

4) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

5) Mike Trout (LAA)

6) Yasiel Puig (LAD)

7) Starling Marte (PIT)

8) David Peralta (ARI)

9) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

10) Ryan Braun (MIL)

11) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

12) Michael Conforto (NYM)

13) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

14) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

15) Lorenzo Cain (KC)

On the Dodgers side of Coors Field we’re prioritizing Corey Seager, but on the Rockies side it’s Carlos Gonzalez (COL). While we’re actually pretty big Maeda fans, Coors trumps all. The Rockies still have a team total over five, and CarGo is off to a scorching start thanks to a 40 percent hard hit rate. We’re actively trying to squeeze him into cash games. There’s then a big drop off after our 2-7th ranked outfielders. All are great tournament plays. They’re fine for cash too, but if using Gonzalez it will be tough to squeeze in a second expensive outfield (Jason Heyward (CHC) is the most affordable of the bunch). As a result you’re mostly looking for cheaper complementary outfielders after Gonzalez. Our favorites include David Peralta (ARI) (hitting cleanup against Juan Nicasio in Chase Field), Domingo Santana (MIL) (combination of power and leadoff spot is enticing at this price, especially at home against a below average pitching staff), and Curtis Granderson/Michael Conforto (NYM) (we’d play price points when deciding between these two).

Stacks

Tier One

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

Tier Two

2) Colorado Rockies

3) Chicago Cubs

4) Pittsburgh Pirates

The top stacks here mostly fall in line with the implied team totals, and we hit on the specific matchups throughout the pro tip.

Tournament Stacks

-Milwaukee Brewers (while Morton is good versus RHBs, he’s still a below average pitcher in a tough park backed up by a bad bullpen; surprising amount of cheap power found in this lineup)

-Arizona Diamondbacks (may go overlooked due to the pre-season hype surrounding Juan Nicasio and ownerships flocking towards the chalkier stacks listed above)

-Kansas City Royals (rank worse in our model due to park, but against Vance Worley the Royals have a team total comparable to the Cubs and Pirates)

-Miami Marlins (not a full stack, but you can get virtually no ownership on a Gordon-Yelich-Stanton trio to complement a chalkier stack)

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