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April 26 MLB DFS: Mr. Freese
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April 26 MLB DFS: Mr. Freese

00:40 MLB DFS Variance
06:07 Starting Pitchers
16:07 Catchers
17:49 First Base
20:05 Second Base
22:05 Shortstop
24:30 Third Base
25:44 Outfield
29:55 Cash Game Roster Construction
31:44 Stacks


April 26 MLB DFS Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

Tier Two

2) Max Scherzer (WAS)

Tier Three

3) David Price (BOS)

4) Johnny Cueto (SF)

Tier Four

5) Vincent Velasquez (PHI)

6) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

7) Chris Sale (CHW)

8) Jake Odorizzi (TB)

Tier Five

9) James Shields (SD)

10) Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

11) Bartolo Colon (NYM)

12) Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL)

Tuesday brings a slate with a slew of top tier pitching options, a few potential value plays, and a slate that involves Coors Field. It’s a unique combination that opens up a lot of decisions that start with starting pitching. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) ranks atop our list, in his own tier, as usual. Despite struggling with his off-speed stuff early in the season, Kershaw has posted a 1.50 ERA with 30 K and three walks in 30 IP. The Marlins are a right hand heavy lineup and they currently lead the league in wRC+ against LHP, but they’re not particularly intimidating outside of Giancarlo Stanton. Vegas has pegged Kershaw as a monster favorite (-280) in a game with a total of 6.5 runs, leaving the Marlins with an implied run total below 2.5 runs. Kershaw is very difficult to fit in on FanDuel given the lack of punt hitters, but is viable on DraftKings where pricing is a bit softer. You’ll most likely need to pair Kershaw with a cheap salary relief starter like Bartolo Colon (NYM) to squeeze in acceptable hitting targets, but it is viable.

On FanDuel, we’re more excited to start lineups off with Max Scherzer (WAS) or David Price (BOS) who each have soft matchups against the Phillies and Braves. Both Scherzer and Price have had slow starts to the season. Scherzer’s K Rate and swinging strike rate are down early but his hard hit rate is way down as well, suggesting he’s just a touch off. Price has some of the strangest peripherals you’ll see. His K Rate and swinging strike rate are WAY up as is his hard hit rate and his velocity is down almost two mph. This is different than Wainwright the other night where there wasn’t something to lean on other than the matchup. Scherzer has the soft contact and Price the strikeouts to show some signs of life, so we’re more willing to risk the current peripherals in favor of the elite matchup. The third option to consider spending on in cash games is also matchup driven but with a bit less strikeout upside. Johnny Cueto (SF) gets the right hand heavy Padres lineup in the best pitching environment in baseball. The run prevention is likely strong, but the strikeout upside is questionable. Cueto’s swinging strike rate has held in check but his K Rate is back down below his career averages.

The best value option for multiple starting pitcher sites is Bartolo Colon (NYM). The Reds lineup is watered down without Jay Bruce and they have just a 3.3 implied run total which is the same implied run total the Braves have against Price. The strikeout upside for Colon has been better than you’d expect early in the season thanks to increased use of his change-up that is generating a strong 14.8 swinging strike rate. He’s benefited from a soft schedule but at home against the Reds is another good fit.

In tournaments, Vincent Velasquez (PHI) has shown immense upside and will likely get overlooked with all the strong options on the slate. His price is also softer than some of the studs, making him an intriguing tournament target. Jake Odorizzi (TB) and Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) benefit from a great park environment and two predominantly RH heavy offenses. They’re both intriguing tournament targets. The Diamondbacks offense is very right handed which could bring back Carlos Martinez‘s (STL) K Rate from last year. He’ll come with almost no ownership in a tough park environment to pitch. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) has dominated RHBs in his career (.264 wOBA, 21.1 K Rate, 4.0 BB Rate, and 53.7 GB Rate). His velocity is down a little early, but the peripherals remain solid otherwise and the Brewers are very right-handed on a potentially cold night with the wind blowing in. He’s also in play in tournaments.

Catcher Rankings

1) Francisco Cervelli (PIT)

2) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

3) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

4) Brian McCann (NYY)

5) Buster Posey (SF)

The catching position isn’t particularly strong in our model with Francisco Cervelli (PIT) ranking just outside our Top 40 hitters overall, Stephen Vogt (OAK) and Victor Martinez (DET) hovering around our Top 50 and then a rather steep fall-off after that. This is a position we’ll ultimately look to save resources and lean on lineup alerts to help find some potential punt plays. On first look, Stephen Vogt (OAK) looks like the best value target against Mike Pelfrey and a bad Tigers bullpen behind him.

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

3) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

4) Jose Abreu (CHW)

5) Joey Votto (CIN)

6) Chris Davis (BAL)

7) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

8) Mark Teixeira (NYY)

9) Carlos Santana (CLE)

10) Brandon Moss (STL)

First base is deep with options and surprisingly some strong values available on the slate. Jose Abreu (CHW) is a bit underpriced on both sites and gets a nice matchup against R.A. Dickey in a plus park for right handed power. Brandon Moss (STL), if in the lineup, also has a really nice price tag for a matchup with Shelby Miller who is battling all sorts of mechanical issues. Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) is cash viable on DraftKings where the price tag is down to $3,300 due to the matchup with Chris Sale.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

3) Rougned Odor (TEX)

4) Josh Harrison (PIT)

5) Ian Kinsler (DET)

6) Brian Dozier (MIN)

7) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

8) Neil Walker (NYM)

9) Jed Lowrie (OAK)

10) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

Second base is a place to seek out value. Jose Altuve (HOU) leads our rankings but is ranked outside our Top 20 hitters overall. He’s an unnecessary spend. Jason Kipnis (CLE) and Rougned Odor (TEX) are the next best options and they carry reasonable price tags but on a slate where every dollar matters, we’re shifting our attention to Jed Lowrie (OAK) who has been a fixture in the middle of the A’s lineup since Danny Valencia went down. Lowrie is a switch hitter and Mike Pelfrey has allowed a .354 wOBA to LHBs since 2013. Lowrie is your best source of salary relief and our primary target at second base.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Jordy Mercer (PIT)

3) Trevor Story (COL)

4) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

5) Corey Seager (LAD)

Shortstop is a really tricky position for Tuesday’s slate. Ideally, we’re looking for as much salary relief as we can get in a good lineup spot. We have some competent options on FanDuel with Jimmy Rollins (CHW) ($2,600) and perhaps even Wilmer Flores (NYM) or Javy Baez (CHC) at $2,000 if they land in good lineup spots. On DraftKings, the salary relief options are less obvious so you’re left with punt targets or paying a bit steeper price for Francisco Lindor (CLE) or Jordy Mercer (PIT). Mercer has hit LHP very well in his career (.381 wOBA, .168 ISO) and as the leadoff hitter in Coors Field ranks inside our Top 25 overall hitters. He’s your primary target if able to spend at the position.

Third Base Rankings

1) David Freese (PIT)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Nolan Arenado (COL)

4) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

5) Manny Machado (BAL)

6) Matt Carpenter (STL)

7) Todd Frazier (CHW)

8) Justin Turner (LAD)

9) David Wright (NYM)

David Freese (PIT) ranks inside our Top 10 hitters overall and he’s priced affordably on both sites. He’s your primary target in cash games as long as he remains in the third slot in the Pirates’ lineup. Justin Turner (LAD) is the cheaper alternative that deserves pivot consideration but the steep drop-off in hitting environment has Turner hovering around our Top 40 hitters overall.

Outfield Rankings

1) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

2) Starling Marte (PIT)

3) Bryce Harper (WAS)

4) Mike Trout (LAA)

5) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

6) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

7) Jason Heyward (CHC)

8) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

9) Justin Upton (DET)

10) Jose Bautista (TOR)

11) Josh Reddick (OAK)

12) David Peralta (ARZ)

13) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM) – health risk

14) George Springer (HOU)

15) Mookie Betts (BOS)

16) Billy Burns (OAK)

17) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

18) Miguel Sano (MIN)

19) Brett Gardner (NYY)

20) Gerardo Parra (COL)

Five of the first six hitters in our model are outfielders. The Pirates RHBs (Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte) get the huge park shift to Coors Field and the platoon advantage against Jorge de la Rosa. They are your priority spends if able to spend up. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) has a tough matchup with Gerrit Cole but also ranks inside our Top Five outfielders. Justin Upton (DET) is severely underpriced on both sites. While Rich Hill is a pretty good lefty and Upton’s peripherals have been a complete mess, he owns a career .377 wOBA against LHP and is historically above average against curveballs (Hill’s primary weapon). The salary relief mitigates some of the risk and on a slate where salary relief is necessary he pops as a strong value. David Peralta (ARZ) is another potential value on DraftKings where the price is way down. Carlos Martinez is a good pitcher but struggles against lefties (.339 wOBA and 30 percent hard hit rate allowed). The Yankees outfielders sort of fall in pricing limbo on DraftKings but are cheap enough to consider as cash game options on FanDuel.


Tier One

1) Pittsburgh Pirates

Tier Two

2) Colorado Rockies

3) New York Yankees

4) Oakland Athletics

5) Chicago Cubs

6) St. Louis Cardinals

The Pirates stick out as the best offense to get exposure to on the day. They have a deep lineup that has wide platoon splits against LHP and they get the huge park upgrade playing in Coors Field. After the Pirates, the rankings are more bunched together. You have the Rockies in Coors Field but against a very good RHP in Gerrit Cole. The Yankees and Athletics face weak starters backed up by weak bullpens though neither team is getting a huge boost in park environment. The Cubs elite offense faces Jimmy Nelson who is vulnerable to LHBs but the cooler temperatures and wind blowing in should sedate scoring. The Cardinals are really intriguing given Shelby Miller‘s mechanical issues and somewhat depleted bullpen behind him.

Contrarian Tournament Stack

-Kansas City Royals – Jered Weaver is averaging just under 82 mph on his fastball. He’s not going to miss bats and the park shift isn’t a particularly big challenge for the Royals given their weaker home environment. On the west coast, in a game where the total doesn’t stand out much at all, they’ll come with exceptionally low ownership.

MLB Daily Analysis

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