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4/8 MLB DFS: No Cheese, Just A Colby Jack
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April 8 MLB DFS: No Cheese, Just A Colby Jack

TODAY’S SHOW OUTLINE

00:39 Mea Culpa on Yesterday’s Pitchers
01:58 Starting Pitchers
10:13 First Base
14:23 Catchers
16:34 Second Base
18:17 Shortstop
19:45 Third Base
22:57 Outfield
28:13 Cash Game Roster Construction
30:07 Stacks

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April 8th MLB DFS Pro-Tip

Starting Pitchers

Tier One

1) Chris Archer (TB)

2) Francisco Liriano (PIT)

3) Yordano Ventura (KC)

Tier Two

4) Jaime Garcia (STL)

5) Taijuan Walker (SEA)

Tier Three

6) Matt Shoemaker (LAA)

7) Marcus Stroman (TOR)

8) Jason Hammel (CHC)

9) Matt Cain (SF)

Chris Archer (TB) isn’t in an ideal spot (hitter’s park against a powerful team with the wind blowing out), but he’s still our pretty clear top starting pitcher on the slate due to overall talent and mostly strikeout upside. His matchup adjusted K rate is about four percent higher than any of the other options today. Archer boosted his K percentate to 29 last season on the heels of a 3.5 point increase in swinging strike rate. Meanwhile, no one in the Orioles lineup projects to strike out less than 15 percent of the time against RHP. He’s a solid cash game option and elite tournament option everywhere.

Next in line is Francisco Liriano (PIT) who always tantalizes us with his K and GB rate combination. He faces a Cincinnati offense that isn’t very threatening. However, we’d rather use him in tournaments due to the huge downgrade in park environment combined with Liriano’s wildness at times/wet weather/wind blowing out.

While we like the top two starting pitchers, there’s enough risk with each that we’re fine playing the value game at starting pitcher tonight, and the guy who fits the bill is Yordano Ventura (KC). He has a lower mean projected K rate but is in the better park, is a larger favorite than Archer, and has the lowest opposing team total of the three. This Twins lineup will swing and miss against RHP with a lot of their best contributors holding wide platoon splits (Dozier, Plouffe).

Those are our primary targets in cash games. In the second tier, Jaime Garcia (STL) is very safe but is priced at a point where he’ll need Ks and both his skill set and that of the Atlanta offense are not going to help him in that department. We like Taijuan Walker (SEA) a lot in tournaments as it makes sense to target skills and not stats with certain up and coming players early in the season, prior to the market catching on. Matt Shoemaker (LAA) is homer prone, but his big home park and the ability to generate strikeouts at a far lower price than the above options on DraftKings makes him a phenomenal target in tournaments as a second pitcher. He’s cash viable for the more risk tolerant.

Catcher Rankings

1) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

2) Buster Posey (SF)

3) Francisco Cervelli (PIT)

4) Welington Castillo (ARI)

The catchers as a position overall don’t grade out well in our model. This is a position we suggest filling out last. The best mid-tier values are Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) (hitting cleanup against Scott Feldman who allows power to same handed batters) and Francisco Cervelli (PIT) (top five lineup spot against a bad starter backed up by a bad bullpen in an extreme hitter’s park). We really don’t mind punting however, and the best option to do that with is David Ross (CHC) who has some pop. While he doesn’t have a top five lineup spot, hitting on the road in this extremely deep Cubs lineup mitigates that disadvantage. Devin Mesoraco (CIN) is a strong tournament target. He’s a former top prospect that still has plenty of upside at 27 (see power skills in 2014) and has displayed strong career splits against LHPs (strong EYE and LD rates driving a .365 wOBA).

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) Edwin Encarnacion

5) David Ortiz (BOS)

6) John Jaso (PIT)

7) Eric Hosmer (KC)

8) Chris Carter (MIL)

9) Joey Votto (CIN)

10) Logan Morrison (TB)

11) Albert Pujols (LAA)

The top five options all possess elite upside and are tournament viable for varying reasons. Our favorite option is Anthony Rizzo (CHC). We talked about improvements in EYE, loft, and steals yesterday, and today it needs to be noted that he’s posted a .411 wOBA followed by a .383 wOBA against LHP the past two seasons. In the middle of an awesome Cubs lineup, don’t overlook him simply because of a L/L matchup, especially since Robbie Ray does not pitch deep.

In cash games, though, we’ll probably go the value route here, and the best options are John Jaso (PIT) (leading off in a great environment against a below average RHP; strong career wOBA split against RHP), Chris Carter (MIL) (huge power upside against a pitcher that allows power to same handed batters), and to a lesser extent Logan Morrison (SEA) (poor man’s Jaso in the sense that he’s also near the top of the order, a solid on base guy against RHP, and has a park shift in his favor).

Second Base Rankings

1) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

2) Jose Altuve (HOU)

3) Logan Forsythe (TB)

4) Scooter Gennett (MIL)

5) Robinson Cano (SEA)

Ben Zobrist (CHC) is a guy we used a lot last year because his strong skill set from both sides of the plate combined with a good lineup spot meant he was always usable at a scarce position. Now you throw in the awesome surrounding lineup with Chicago and a plus park environment/matchup tonight, and he’s the go to option where he’s priced as cheaply as he is on FanDuel. On sites where he’s priced more aggressively, both Logan Forsythe (TB) (strong offensive growth last season; leading off on the road against a below average pitcher) and Scooter Gennett (MIL) (hitting second at home in a good hitter’s park; high career contact and LD rates against RHP) rate as strong alternatives. Robinson Cano (SEA) is a phenomenal tournament option given a combination of a scorching hot bat, likely low ownership (facing a LHP in a pitcher’s park), and the matchup (it’s a bad pitcher in Erik Surkamp who may not pitch deep).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

3) Jean Segura (ARI)

4) Ketel Marte (SEA) (moves up a spot or two if hitting second)

5) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

6) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

One of the reasons we’re not gung-ho about paying up at first base despite all the strong options is that we’re making an active effort to fit in Carlos Correa (HOU) as the gap between him and the rest of the shortstop options is massive. Correa is already showing that last year’s power wasn’t a fluke and is a 25-25 guy over a full season. There’s a good chance you can muster a fifth plate appearance out of him.

If you’re unable to pay up for Correa, Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) (fifth hitter for a great lineup; Joe Kelly gave up a ton of hard hit contact last season) and Jean Segura (ARI) (we’re continuing to simply play the price point while he’s leading off at home against average pitching) are the best alternatives. If speedster Ketel Marte (SEA) hits second, he’d join that conversation as well. We like Jonathan Villar (MIL) in tournaments.

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Josh Donaldson (TOR) (day to day)

3) Evan Longoria (TB)

4) David Freese (PIT)

5) Manny Machado (BAL)

6) Matt Carpenter (STL)

7) Mike Moustakas (KC)

8) Justin Turner (LAD)

We think you want at least a piece or two of this Cubs offense and utilizing the RHBs in the infield is the best way to do it. Not surprisingly then, Kris Bryant (CHC) is our top play at third base. Robbie Ray allowed a ton of hard hit contact to RHBs last season. That and the park play well for Bryant’s power. As good as that power was last year, his combination of fly ball rate and hard hit rate point towards an even higher ceiling this year.

If going the value route, we like Evan Longoria (TB) (plus park shift; career 1.54 HR/9 allowed to RHBs) and David Freese (PIT) (skills aren’t great but opportunity is given the park shift against a bad pitcher and hitting behind a great on base guy in John Jaso and then sandwiched between studs Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte).

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

3) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

4) Starling Marte (PIT)

5) Jose Bautista (TOR)

6) George Springer (HOU)

7) Ryan Braun (MIL)

8) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

9) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

10) David Peralta (ARI)

11) Corey Dickerson (TB)

12) Domingo Santana (MIL)

13) Jason Heyward (CHC)

14) Mookie Betts (BOS)

15) Carlos Gomez (HOU)

Our favorite outfield option to pay up for is Nelson Cruz (SEA) given his absurd splits against LHP (three year wOBAs of .359/.416/.459 and ISOs of .183/.255/.315) and the projected ineffectiveness of Eric Surkamp against RHBs (ZiPS projected .471 slugging allowed). The Pirates outfielders are in that good spot for Pittsburgh we keep referencing, and the best way to get exposure to one of them is via Starling Marte (PIT) on FanDuel. However, it’s fine to go the value route at outfield to allow you to pay up in some of the infield spots. Our 9-12th ranked outfielders in particular all are underpriced given their situations. Colby Rasmus (HOU) leads that group and we’re particularly interested in him. He’s hitting cleanup on the road in a plus park and has posted ISOs of .250/.232/.243 against RHP the last few seasons. Additionally, the Brewers have a bad bullpen that lost their best LH reliever to injury (Will Smith) just prior to the start of the season. Tournament options outside of our top 15 ranked outfielders most notably include Jorge Soler (CHC), Kevin Pillar (TOR), and Randal Grichuk (STL).

Stacks

Tier One

1) Chicago Cubs

Tier Two

2) Houston Astros

Tier Three

4) Seattle Mariners

5) Toronto Blue Jays

6) Pittsburgh Pirates

The stack rankings are pretty straightforward. Both the Cubs and Astros get plus park shifts, provide upside in the power and speed departments, and will be guaranteed a full nine innings of at bats as road teams. The Mariners stack will go underowned due to a combination of park/people avoiding L/L matchups. The Pirates provide us with a lot of strong values based on price, but rank sixth in our raw stack rankings as price is not accounted for and their lineup lacks depth.

Some contrarian stacks to look at (outside of the Mariners) are the Dodgers and Giants. They’ll be bypassed almost unequivocally due to the pitcher’s park and lack of clear values on either team. However, both Ross Stripling and Matt Cain have the potential for a disaster start.

2 Comments

  1. jonathanavel

    April 8, 2016 at 3:22 am

    Would be nice if you guys can have a section in the podcast that directs more to values and or longshots… Would love to hear a segment added on.. cheers

  2. socalhardball

    April 8, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Debating between Longo, Correa, Pillar or Bryant, Segura, Rasmus

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