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April 28 MLB DFS: I See Your True McCullers
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Welcome to April 28 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for April 28 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our customizable projections tool, you’re actively participating in the live chat, and you’re reviewing the cliff notes to supplement your research and roster construction process. Very best of luck in tonight’s action!

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April 28 MLB DFS Position Timestamps

01:19 Starting Pitcher
07:38 Catcher
10:40 First Base
12:44 Second Base
14:40 Third Base
17:35 Shortstop
20:30 Outfield
24:33 Stacks

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  • In cash games, we recommend focusing on value plays to build your rosters (far right hand column of Projections page linked above). Value plays are those we feel have the highest probability of out-earning their current price tag. By packing value plays into your roster, you’re creating a team with a higher floor.
  • In tournaments, we recommend building a core of the best value plays and then complementing them with players who have a high ceiling. This combination is essentially turning up the variance on a strong foundation and we believe often is the best recipe for tournament success.

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Range of Outcome Projections

April 28 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

We have nearly identical overall projections on Lance McCullers (HOU) and Masahiro Tanaka (NYY). If you play both sites, it’s a good opportunity to split them based on price, using McCullers on FD and Tanaka on DK.

McCullers has the much more favorable Vegas line, pegged as a -210 favorite with just a 3.5 IRTA. He also faces a much more strikeout prone offense than Tanaka, leaving him with a much higher K rate projection.The major downside for McCullers is his wildness, which cuts into his IP and batters faced baselines. That could be an issue given that he has the toughest umpire this evening, but even after accounting for that he’s even with Tanaka.

Tanaka is the opposite of McCullers in a lot of ways. He has a tougher, more contact oriented opponent and neutral Vegas odds. However, Tanaka’s K projection ends up close to McCullers, despite a lower projected K rate, since we’re expecting him to face more batters and get more outs. Tanaka also has Bill Miller as the home plate umpire, one of the most favorable umpires in all of baseball.

Garrett Richards (LAA) will also benefit from that home plate umpire and is home in his big ballpark. He’ll hold the platoon edge on the Yankees most important hitters (well, Didi might have something to say about that). Richards is coming off of a dominating 11 K game against the Giants and makes for an excellent SP2 on DK.

On FD, Johnny Cueto (SF) is similarly priced to Richards and a tournament pivot off of the above three names. While Cueto has certainly been lucky to start this season, he does look much more like the 2016 version of himself than expected. He’s put up a solid 24.5 K% and is back to forcing weak contact.

On DK, you don’t really need punts on this slate, but it’s tough to ignore the $4,500 price tag on Caleb Smith (MIA), a pitcher we liked for cheap K upside prior to his dominating 10 K performance last time out. He gets a slightly favorable umpire in his favorable home park but still has one of the highest IRTA on the slate.

Another punt option is Eric Skoglund (KC), who we are really down on skill wise but is incredibly cheap in a favorable matchup against the White Sox.

Joey Lucchesi (SD) will likely be very unowned with a  mid-tier price tag but has flashed good Minor League K rates and now is striking out more than a batter an inning with a 2.88 FIP through 5 MLB starts.

Catcher

Robinson Chirinos isn’t on the slate. Rejoice. Instead though, we’re forced to look at Chris Iannetta (COL) and Welington Castillo (CHW) as our top catching values. Neither are as compelling as they could be. Iannetta is no longer in his home park, instead traveling to Miami to face left-hander Caleb Smith. The lineup spot has settled in against left-handers (5th) and he’s been solid against them, posting a .177 ISO in the split since 2015. At $3,000 he offers enough upside, but also a notable savings.

Castillo is in a similar spot (platoon edge, negative park shift), but his lineup spot is more in question as he’ll be in the second game of a double-header. We’ll need to ensure he’s in the lineup, but if in there against Eric Skoglund he’s an option at just $100 more than Iannetta. He gets the 4th spot in the order against left-handers, and has posted a .225 ISO against them since 2015. He’s our top value at the position.

Teammates Brian McCann (HOU) and Evan Gattis (HOU) fall just behind the aforementioned duo. They come with lesser lineup spots, but more individual upside in a matchup with Daniel Mengden. Mengden is a flyball arm, and a contact heavy pitcher that has been hit hard despite pitching well this season (3.59 xFIP). Gattis is the cheaper of the two, but McCann will come with the platoon edge.

Salvador Perez (KC) is back for the Royals, and is perhaps the best skilled of the options despite not being an excellent value. The same issue as Castillo applies, this will be the second game of a double-header so we’ll need to ensure he’s in the lineup.

First Base

Jose Abreu (CHW) and Wilmer Flores (NYM) represent two of the top first basemen values available on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Abreu will get the platoon edge on left-hander Eric Skoglund, someone that has struggled mightily with RHB (albeit in a small sample) allowing a .432 wOBA and .223 ISO since 2015. Abreu is priced appropriately, keeping him out of some of the early optimals, but he deserves consideration in both formats. On the other side of this game, Lucas Duda (KC) projects to be in a really great spot and would be an excellent value on both sites if given the platoon edge. Unfortunately, the White Sox have not given us an indication of who will start game two, so we have to hang tight. Luckily though, Mike Leone says all of the White Sox pitchers suck. Duda is likely thinking the same thing.

Flores is former President of the now defunct Sneaky Monster Platoon Club. He’s posted a .388 wOBA and .280 ISO against LHP since 2015, and for just $3,100 on DraftKings and $2,400 on FanDuel he’s a nice value play. Unfortunately the context isn’t great, moving to San Diego to face a tough young left-hander in Joey Lucchesi.

On DraftKings, Trey Mancini (BAL) and Danny Valencia (BAL) are popping as positive values as teammates with dual positional eligibility. The pair both have posted .175+ ISOs against LHP since 2015, and each will have the platoon edge on Francisco Liriano. Liriano has steadily seen his groundball rate decline, and he projects at more than 1.25 HR/9 this season.

Yuli Gurriel (HOU) is a cheaper way to get exposure to the Astros lineup on FanDuel at $3,100. He’ll get you exposure to the top implied run total on the slate.

Second Base

Only a few second basemen rate as positive values on the Saturday main slate. On FanDuel, Jose Altuve (HOU) and Matt Carpenter (STL) fit the bill, with Altuve being the top projected scorer as well. He is priced as you would expect but is still popping in the early optimals given values at other positions. Altuve hit his first homer this week and although he’s been slow to show event upside thus far, he’s posted 50+ HR+SB in each of the last four seasons and projects similarly once again.

Carpenter will save you $900 on FanDuel, and $1,100 on DraftKings where he rates as the best value. It’ll be a bit cooler in Pittsburgh, and the park isn’t great but he’ll get the platoon edge on right-hander Trevor Williams who has been notably worse against LHB since 2015. Carpenter too has excelled in the split, posting a .384 wOBA and .244 ISO against RHP in the same time. A positive delta in Hard% over the last fifteen days helps, and he projects just behind Altuve as far as raw projection goes.

Whit Merrifield (KC) and Yoan Moncada (CHW) both have event upside in their respective orders. Neither Eric Skoglund or whoever the White Sox throw out will be good enough to pull these guys from consideration so long as they are in the lineup.

Adam Frazier (PIT) has 2B eligibility on DraftKings. He’s only $3,000 and despite a low team total and cold environment, it’s the price tag and platoon edge that push him into a slight positive value.

Third Base

Matt Carpenter (STL), Danny Valencia (BAL), and Nolan Arenado (COL) are the only positive values at the entire position on Saturday night. Carpenter holds dual positional eligibility on DraftKings, but we discussed we might use him at 2B on that site.

Valencia is 3B eligible on both sites and he’s very cheap. He has been hitting 6th, but in the O’s last game against a left-hander he hit fifth, where we have him projected today. He’s posted a .375 wOBA and a .202 ISO versus southpaws since 2015. At $2,500 on FanDuel and $2,800 on DraftKings he’s the second best value at the position. He can be used at multiple positions on DK, and with the utility spot on FanDuel is a potential complement if you want the top site value.

On FanDuel that’s Arenado. The park shift is unfortunate, but Nolan is a monster against LHP. In about a season’s worth of plate appearances since 2015 he’s posted a .403 wOBA and .276 ISO against left-handers. With more affordable arms allowing for a spend or two, Arenado is coming out as one in early optimals. Left-hander Caleb Smith has been fantastic in the strikeout department but has struggled to throw strikes and put the ball on the ground (25% GB%, 1.66 HR/9).

Mike Moustakas (KC) is expensive and not as valuable as Arenado but is the only other player within two points of his projection. He’d be a potential pivot in tournaments. Alex Bregman (HOU) and Todd Frazier (NYM) would fall next in line for tournaments.

Shortstop

Carlos Correa (HOU) and Manny Machado (BAL) are the lone positive values at the shortstop position. It’s not often a place we’re looking to spend up, but both Correa and Machado have exploitable matchups with Daniel Mengden and Francisco Liriano.

Machado has been a monster thus far this season, posting a 192 wRC+ thus far. He’s bested by Correa as far as team implied run total, but they’re basically the exact same price tag, being only separated by $100 on each site. As far as raw projection, Correa is boosted by only .2 points on both sites, pushing him into the early optimals but this is truly a coin flip.

If looking to drop a bit in salary, Trevor Story (COL) and Tim Anderson (CHW) are our options. Anderson is a bit more valuable getting an easier matchup with Eric Skoglund. He will move to the top of the lineup against a left-hander and has surprising event upside (.161 ISO against LHP, projects near 20 SB). At $3,200 on FanDuel he is a $1,400 or $1,500 discount over Machado and Correa.

Story will grab the platoon edge on Caleb Smith. We mentioned his command struggles and flyball prone arm, but he does miss bats. That happens to be Story’s struggle. The good news? Story has cut down on his chase rate, and is making even more contact in the zone thus far this season. Oh, and he’s posted a .320 ISO against LHP since 2015.

Outfield

Trey Mancini (BAL), George Springer (HOU), Manuel Margot (SD), and Wil Myers (SD) make up four of the top ten outfield values on both sites.

While we’ve mentioned the matchups for Mancini and Springer, the Padres value bats haven’t popped up despite an enticing matchup with Jason Vargas. Vargas is close to sixty years old (not really, but kinda) and will be exactly the soft-tosser we expect, a flyball arm that allows a decent bit of hard contact and doesn’t miss a lot of bats. That gives Myers and Margot a positive bump to the existing upside against LHP (both have .180+ ISO in the split). Largely though, they’re just insanely cheap. Myers is $3,100 and $4,300 on FanDuel and DraftKings respectively, while Margot is $2,500 and $3,300 in the same mix. An implied run total of 4.2 runs doesn’t make us drool, but both are finding their way into early optimals. Oh by the way, Wil Myers has posted an absurd Hard% in the last fifteen days (50% albeit in only five games since returning).

A handful of other platoon edge darlings make up the next four or five value bats in the outfield. Dexter Fowler (STL) will get to hit from the left-side against Trevor Williams. The Cardinals have a middling implied run total, but Fowler is very affordable for a road leadoff hitter. Craig Gentry (BAL) comes with pinch hit risk (and nothing exciting skills wise), but he’s very cheap and faces Francisco Liriano. Gentry is older (34), but will still run when put on base and Liriano has a habit of walking guys.

Derek Dietrich (MIA), Derek Fisher (HOU), and Josh Reddick (HOU) are all left-handed bats that will face mediocre right-handed pitchers. The Astros bats are in the better overall context, having the highest implied run total on the slate and facing a heavy contact arm in Daniel Mengden. Fisher will likely hit last, making him less compelling overall. But Reddick should slide into the fourth spot of the order against Mengden. He’s posted a .365 wOBA and .184 ISO against RHP since 2015 and is just $4,000 on DraftKings, a very affordable price for a centerpiece of the Astros lineup.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Houston Astros

The Astros disappointed us last night as Sean Manaea continued his role. Tonight, though, this stack is much less contrarian, holding the highest IRT on the slate against Daniel Mengen. Mengden is actually off to a really strong start this season, but most projection systems expect regression in the walk department. Mengden has also been lucky home run wise, holding just a 6.3 HR/FB rate.

Tier Two

2) St. Louis Cardinals

3) Colorado Rockies

The Cardinals may be the best leverage stack up here as their IRT lags a bit behind other teams in the upper 4s. They’ll face Trevor Williams, owner of a 4.86 xFIP who has been below average in all three major skill categories: K, BB, and GB rates.

While we’re fans of Caleb Smith‘s K upside, his homer issues and a ZiPS projected 4.83 ERA still leave plenty of room to pick on him with an offense that has several strong RHBs (LeMahieu/Arenado/Story/Iannetta) and a premiere LHB that can handle same handed pitching in Blackmon.

Tier Three

4) Baltimore Orioles

5) Chicago White Sox

The Orioles had a decent team showing for us last night, unfortunately the production wasn’t necessarily spread around to the right guys. They’ll get another crack at it against LHP Francisco Liriano who can self destruct at any moment given a high walk rate the last few seasons (over 4.5). He’s also backed up by a horrific bullpen that currently has the third highest xFIP in the league.

The White Sox offense may be limited offensively, but Eric Skoglund has been absolutely horrendous in a limited MLB sample. Despite 10 appearances and 8 starts, he’s logged just 32.2 IP because well he’s allowing more than a run an inning. Of course anything that extreme means a lot of bad luck has occurred, but most projections systems view him as a heavily homer prone SP with an ERA around 5.

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