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August 30 MLB DFS: Make the Moss of It
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August 30 MLB DFS: Make the Moss of It

00:43 Starting Pitchers
11:48 Catchers
14:00 First Base
16:53 Second Base
19:27 Shortstops
22:14 Third Base
25:03 Outfield
30:27 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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August 30 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Max Scherzer (WAS)

Tier Two

2) Johnny Cueto (SF)

Tier Three

3) Drew Pomeranz (BOS)

4) J.A. Happ (TOR)

Tier Four

5) Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

6) Adam Wainwright (STL)

7) Cole Hamels (TEX)

8) Julio Teheran (ATL)

9) Zack Greinke (ARZ)

10) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)

11) Collin McHugh (HOU)

Tuesday’s slate brings lots of strong starting pitching options though only a few in strong pitching environments with favorable matchups. Max Scherzer (WAS) is once again in a tier of his own against a Phillies’ offense that poses little threat (29th in wRC+, sixth highest K Rate). Scherzer has the second lowest implied run total against (3.1 runs) and is the largest favorite on the slate (-250). He’s very expensive and with other strong options on the slate, the price tag brings a legitimate decision. With Coors Field also in play, this may represent a slate you want to sacrifice a little strikeout upside with Scherzer in hopes of playing catch-up with your bats and a strong secondary option with slightly less upside. This is our inclination on DraftKings where the pricing gap between Scherzer and Johnny Cueto (SF) is quite large ($13,600 vs. $11,200). On FanDuel, where the two are priced within $1,000, we view the decision as a legitimate toss-up, although we have a slight lean towards Scherzer. Cueto is in a second tier of his own. He has the benefit of pitching at home, which provides a significant edge over most other parks in the summer months as San Francisco typically plays in the 60s while many other environments are in the 80s. Typically a consistent innings eater with just enough strikeouts to earn your consideration for upside, Cueto faces a Diamondbacks’ offense that is extremely right-handed and projects for lots of strikeouts. While, we’re not projecting Cueto to reach Scherzer levels (33+ projected K Rate), we are projecting a healthy 26.5 percent K Rate). With the lowest implied run total against (2.9 runs), Cueto is a fine pivot down from Scherzer where the price gap is significant.

Pairing the two starters together would leave you with little room for offense on DraftKings, so we’re focused on identifying a cheap second starter to pair with either Scherzer or Cueto. Adam Wainwright (STL) and Colin McHugh (HOU) fit the bill as both come in under $7,000 and have favorable matchups against strikeout prone lineups. Wainwright will face the Brewers offense which represents the best matchup in baseball for strikeouts. The concern with Wainwright is the recent performance. In his last six starts, he’s posted FIPs above 4.35 in five of them and FIPs above 5.75 in each of his last three. The schedule hasn’t been particularly menacing during that stretch either (NYM, @PHI, @CHC, ATL, @CIN, @NYM). The Brewers provide plenty of upside for Wainwright to turn things around, but the recent downside is concerning. McHugh has also struggled a bit of late, allowing at least three earned runs in six straight starts and two of those starts were over six earned runs. Oakland’s offense is much more K prone in the second half and even amid the struggles the velocity has actually been climbing. The other challenge with both Wainwright and McHugh will have very difficult umpires behind home plate. If you’re uncomfortable with those two, you could dig deeper down into our rankings and the salary cap for Edinson Volquez (KC), Josh Tomlin (CLE), or Seth Lugo (NYM) who are all priced below $6,000 and would be a part of our fifth tier had we continued ranking. The other option would be to go up in price and look towards J.A. Happ (TOR) or Zack Greinke (ARZ). Greinke gets a big ballpark shift in the great conditions in San Francisco, but the Giants lineup provides almost no K upside and the play starts to feel like a modestly expensive play for safety and security. J.A. Happ has immense strikeout upside for $9,300 and the Orioles have struggled against LHP (27th in wRC+, 12th highest K Rate). Of course, the Orioles profile much better against LHP than they’ve been this season and the deadline addition of Steve Pearce makes them very dangerous. Happ has been exceptional of late (32 percent K Rate over last nine starts) and he’s accustomed to pitching in difficult environments. The price tag draws you in as a viable cash game option to pair with Cueto but it’s not a comfortable feeling given Happ’s extended history of a middling K Rate and the Orioles’ profile against LHP. Should you forego Happ in cash games, he’s an exceptional tournament play on both sites. Julio Teheran (ATL) is another strong tournament target in a strikeout friendly matchup with the Padres.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Russell Martin (TOR)

3) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

4) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

5) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

The catcher position is once again a difficult one to solve with most of the top options priced up. Victor Martinez (DET) is our top option where eligible in a matchup with Anthony Ranaudo (.339 wOBA, .225 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015) as the Tigers have the highest implied run total on the slate (5.9 runs). He’s priced appropriately on FanDuel and a fine value in a vacuum though expensive pitching may make it difficult to use him. Stephen Vogt (OAK) remains affordable on both sites and although McHugh is solid against lefties (.319 wOBA, .138 ISO since 2015), Vogt is a plus hitter against curve-balls (+2.8 runs) and a middle of the order hitter with his own strong platoon splits (.342 wOBA, .186 ISO against RHP since 2015). The one guy who could move meaningfully is Yasmani Grandal (LAD) if he garners a good lineup spot, but the price tag is more viable on DraftKings than FanDuel.

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) David Ortiz (BOS)

3) Brandon Moss (STL)

4) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

5) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

6) Joey Votto (CIN)

7) Mike Napoli (CLE)

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) sits atop our first base rankings and is a Top Five overall hitter in our model. Rizzo gets the platoon advantage at home against Chad Kuhl (.338 wOBA, .195 ISO allowed to LHBs). Rizzo’s priced fully, so Brandon Moss (STL) looks like one of the best values at the position. Wily Peralta has been blasted by LHBs (.399 wOBA, .234 ISO allowed since 2015) and Moss is a righty-masher (.348 wOBA, .262 ISO since 2015) getting a big park shift for power and he’s been hitting well of late (+0.2, 4.7). If you need even a bit more salary relief on DraftKings, you can drop down to Mike Napoli (CLE) who has crushed LHP (.393 wOBA, .255 ISO since 2015) and gets journeyman Andrew Albers who hasn’t made a big league start in three years and allowed RHBs to hit .286 off him in AAA.

Second Base Rankings

1) Matt Carpenter (STL)

2) Jose Altuve (HOU)

3) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

4) Howie Kendrick (LAD) – if leadoff

5) Dee Gordon (MIA)

6) Ian Kinsler (DET)

7) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

8) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

9) Greg Garcia (STL) – if leadoff

10) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

Matt Carpenter (STL) is our top option at second base and our third ranked hitter overall. It’s difficult to afford him on a slate where you’re likely paying for high-end starting pitching, which has us shifting down the pricing spectrum. Howie Kendrick (LAD) is affordable and he’s led off against LHP of late. He’s not a great hitter and Tyler Anderson is difficult to pick on at home due to his extreme ground-ball rate and strong K Rate. Kendrick isn’t a must by any means, but is viable with a reduced price tag. Dee Gordon (MIA) is the cheaper option on FanDuel ($2,900) where you’re getting a road leadoff hitter against an opposing starter that doesn’t profile particularly well. Gordon is your best source of salary relief unless we get Greg Garcia (STL) leading off in which case he’d represent a very strong play against Wily Peralta‘s wide splits.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

2) Carlos Correa (HOU)

3) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

4) Greg Garcia (STL) – where eligible, if leadoff

5) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

6) Corey Seager (LAD)

Francisco Lindor (CLE) is our top shortstop option despite many other strong hitting environments in play for the top shortstops. Corey Seager (LAD) is left-on-left against an elite lefty in Tyler Anderson. Priced for Coors Field, he’s not a great option in cash games. Manny Machado (BAL) has the platoon advantage but J.A. Happ‘s transformation into J.A. Kershaw makes it a difficult matchup. With Lindor the cheapest of the bunch and facing the weakest opposing starter in Andrew Albers, he’s your best spend at the position in cash games. Cleveland has a healthy 5.7 implied run total that is second largest on the slate and he gets you relatively inexpensive exposure to their total. On FanDuel, Tim Anderson (CHW) remains affordable ($2,600) and a source of salary relief if spending up for elite starting pitching. If Greg Garcia (STL) were leading off, he’d be a viable salary relief target on DraftKings.

Third Base Rankings

1) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

2) Justin Turner (LAD)

3) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

4) Nolan Arenado (COL)

5) Kris Bryant (CHC)

It speaks volumes to Matt Carpenter‘s (STL) skill-set (.406 wOBA, .268 ISO since 2015 against RHP) and Wily Peralta‘s wide splits (.399 wOBA, .234 ISO allowed) that Carpenter could outpace Nolan Arenado (COL) and Justin Turner (LAD) in Coors Field with the platoon advantage as well as Josh Donaldson (TOR) and Kris Bryant (CHC) against below average RHPs. On DraftKings where Carpenter carries third base eligibility, he’s priced ahead of Turner. We’d rather use him at second base if using him and the price discount makes Turner the stronger play. Tyler Anderson is difficult to pick on even in Coors Field (54 percent GB Rate at home, 3.31 xFIP) but the park and Turner’s skill-sets have him profiling well in our model. The price discount on DraftKings ($4,400) makes us a little more comfortable. On FanDuel, the lack of great alternatives makes Turner a viable spend. Adrian Beltre (TEX) is likely the next best alternative if not spending. At home, he’ll face a lefty in James Paxton who has very good stuff but is getting a steep park downgrade.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Mike Trout (LAA)

3) Rajai Davis (CLE)

4) Brandon Moss (STL) – where eligible

5) Mookie Betts (BOS)

6) Jose Bautista (TOR)

7) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

8) Howie Kendrick (LAD) – if leadoff, where eligible

9) George Springer (HOU)

10) J.D. Martinez (DET)

11) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

12) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

13) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

14) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

15) Cameron Maybin (DET) – health risk

Bryce Harper (WAS) is once again the top overall hitter followed by Mike Trout (LAA). They’re great plays nightly, almost regardless of the matchup, but a bit pricey for this slate. Rajai Davis (CLE) ranks as a borderline Top Five hitter overall on this slate given his speed and production against LHP (.319 wOBA, .167 ISO against LHP since 2015) and Cleveland’s hefty implied run total (5.7 runs). He’s a more affordable way to get exposure towards the top of our outfield rankings as he carries a mid-tier price on both sites ($4,500 on DraftKings, $3,300 on FanDuel). The outfield also comes with plenty of value with speedy leadoff hitters like Jarrod Dyson (KC) and Delino Deshields (TEX) cheap on both sites. It’s also possible we get Tyler Collins (DET) as an elite punt play if Cameron Maybin‘s injury issue keeps him out a game. As has been the case over the last week, the cheaper outfield options really help bring the slate together for spending on elite pitching. Carlos Beltran (TEX) and Kole Calhoun (LAA) are two DraftKings specific mid-priced values that really stand out as underpriced.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

2) Detroit Tigers

3) Cleveland Indians

Tier Two

4) Toronto Blue Jays

5) St. Louis Cardinals

6) Boston Red Sox

The Dodgers still rank as the top overall stack thanks to a huge park shift in their favor, but the matchup is difficult against Tyler Anderson. Ownership will likely come discounted after getting manhandled by Jon Gray on Monday night, in which case they’re not a bad target. Detroit and Cleveland are right in that top tier but could garner similar levels of ownership given the Dodger letdown on Monday. In cash games, we’re not focused on targeting any specific mini-stack as there is plenty of offense to go around on this slate. We’re more focused on identifying overall value. The Cardinals and Red Sox represent nice tournament pivots with deep lineups that the platoon advantage largely matches the opponent. Odorizzi is a reverse splits righty and most of the Red Sox offense hits from the right side, while Wily Peralta is just hammered by LHBs. Though both offenses rank in our second tier, the gap between the two tiers isn’t substantial.

Contrarian Tournament Stacks

Cincinnati RedsJered Weaver has allowed a .377 wOBA to both sides of the plate this season and even at home he’s allowed 1.94 HR/9. The Angels bullpen behind him is one of the worst in the league and the Reds will go overlooked on this slate with all the strong offensive environments. They’re a weak offense themselves, getting a park downgrade, but a mini-stack with Hamilton-Votto as the core should come with low ownership and is a way to differentiate yourself on this slate.