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August 4 MLB DFS Late Slate: Just how we Drew it Up
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August 4 MLB DFS Late Slate: Just how we Drew it Up

00:46 Starting Pitchers
08:00 Catchers
09:14 First Base
12:09 Second Base
13:47 Shortstops
15:45 Third Base
18:09 Outfield
20:49 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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August 4 MLB DFS LATE SLATE PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Drew Pomeranz (BOS)

Tier Two

2) J.A. Happ (TOR)

3) Mike Fiers (HOU)

4) Kenta Maeda (LAD)

5) Nathan Eovaldi (NYY)

Drew Pomeranz (BOS) rates as the top pitcher on a short evening slate and it’s by a gigantic margin. This speaks more to Pomeranz’s competitors pitching on this slate than to his actual skill set, but Pomeranz is in the best pitching environment on the slate (low 70s in Seattle) and faces a Mariners’ offense that has the third worst mark against curve-balls in the league. Pomeranz throws his curve-ball about 40 percent of the time which is one of the heavier splits in all of baseball. He has the lowest implied run total against and the highest base K Rate on the slate. Pomeranz is a lock in cash games, but the question is will the ownership get so heavy in tournaments that he makes for a strong fade. Our early inclination is yes, but finding a good pivot is difficult.

The same can be said for finding a complementary target to pair with Pomeranz in cash games on DraftKings. J.A. Happ (TOR) is an incredible $11,600 which is about $4,000 more expensive than he was priced FOUR STARTS AGO. It’s difficult to justify paying that tag for Happ in almost any matchup. Even though the Astros profile as above average against LHP they’ve been below average this season (22nd in wRC+ with the fifth highest K Rate). Happ’s been on an incredible strikeout run (34.7 percent K Rate in July) so if you want to ride the hot streak as a pivot on FanDuel in tournaments, it’s a viable tact as he’s cheaper than Pomeranz. On DraftKings, he’s off limits for us. Instead, we’re turning to his counterpart in Mike Fiers (HOU). The matchup with the Blue Jays is not particularly attractive as they rank seventh in wRC+ against RHP but they do strike out (seventh highest clip against RHP) and the lineup is a bit watered down without Troy Tulowitzki. The other options at the position are Kenta Maeda (LAD) in Coors Field perhaps with a watered down Rockies’ lineup as Carlos Gonzalez left early last night and Trevor Story has been lost for the season or Nathan Eovaldi (NYY)/Ricky Nolasco (LAA) who are weak pitchers but facing weaker offenses (Mets without Cespedes and Athletics watered down offense). Neither have big K Rate potential, so it’s essentially just getting out of the position with as much salary relief and some chance at double digit Fantasy points. A.J. Griffin (TEX) is the one off the board tournament target given his dominance against RHBs (.253 wOBA, .064 ISO since 2015) and the Orioles’ lineup is predominantly RH.

Catcher Rankings

1) Brian McCann (NYY)

2) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

3) Evan Gattis (HOU)

4) Jonathan Lucroy (TEX)

Brian McCann (NYY) ranks as our top catcher and he’s very affordable on both sites, making him your top target in cash games. Bartolo Colon has allowed a .322 wOBA and .169 ISO to LHBs since 2015 and he’s allowed a 43 percent hard hit rate to LHBs with a 41.8 percent Fly Ball Rate and 36.3 percent pull rate. This is not a good combination for Yankee Stadium’s dimensions. McCann’s price tag should garner significant interest in cash games and inflate his ownership in tournaments, so pivoting to Evan Gattis (HOU) at a similar price point or going all the way up to Yasmani Grandal (LAD) looks like the best approach in tournaments.

First Base Rankings

1) Chris Davis (BAL) – extremely cold of late

2) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

3) Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)

4) John Jaso (PIT)

5) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

6) David Ortiz (BOS)

7) Pedro Alvarez (BAL)

8) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

Chris Davis (BAL) continues to rank atop our first base rankings as he gets a friendly matchup with A.J. Griffin (.368 wOBA, .283 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015). Davis’ price tag isn’t accounting for his current cold streak (incredible sub-3.0 well hit rating over last two weeks) which makes him a more difficult spend. On DraftKings, John Jaso (PIT) is a viable cheap alternative if leading off. Tyrell Jenkins profiles as one of the weaker starters in MLB and he’s allowed a .357 wOBA and .174 ISO while walking 17.2 percent of the LHBs faced so far at the big league level. Jaso’s upside is limited due to his power, but this is a good matchup for his plate patience to grind out a few times on base. Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) gets the big park shift in his favor but Tyler Chatwood has been extremely stingy to LHBs (.286 wOBA, .102 ISO since 2015) which makes him a less compelling spend. If you get a mid-tier price tag on Gonzalez or Freddie Freeman (ATL) they’re viable alternatives to spending all the way up. Freeman gets Ryan Vogelsong who has allowed a .360+ wOBA to LHBs since the start of 2014.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (TOR)

2) Chase Utley (LAD)

3) Neil Walker (NYM)

4) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

5) Jurickson Profar (TEX) – where eligible

6) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

As is usually the case, Jose Altuve (HOU) is your top option at second base. He’s priced appropriately on both sites, and J.A. Happ has been decent against RHBs (.306 wOBA, .145 ISO since 2015). As a result, we’re largely shifting attention to Neil Walker‘s (NYM) power in Yankee Stadium against Nate Eovaldi (.354 wOBA, .151 ISO since 2015 to LHBs) and the watered down Yankees’ bullpen behind him. Walker has a rather pull heavy/fly ball approach that plays great in Yankee Stadium. As a LHB this season, he’s pulled the ball 41.4 percent of the time and hit fly balls 50 percent of the time. Walker is cheaper than the Coors Field alternatives and projects for more power upside than either bat, making him are prime cash game target. Chase Utley (LAD) and DJ LeMahieu (COL) will likely garner attention in tournaments as a part of Coors Field stacks, which makes Jurickson Profar (TEX) or Dustin Pedroia (BOS) intriguing lower owned pivots.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Corey Seager (LAD)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Carlos Correa (HOU)

4) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

Corey Seager (LAD) is our top ranked shortstop option, but the gap between Seager and Manny Machado (BAL)/Carlos Correa (HOU) isn’t as big as you might expect. The reasoning is Tyler Chatwood‘s ground ball dominance and his success against LHBs. With Seager fully priced, we’re more likely to pursue value at the position. On DraftKings, both Machado ($4,400) and Correa ($3,500) are underpriced. On FanDuel, an appropriate alternative isn’t quite as apparent. Didi Gregorius (NYY) is priced appropriately and gets that matchup with Bartolo Colon we’re comfortable attacking at Yankee Stadium. If Adam Frazier (PIT) found his way into the leadoff spot again, he’d represent a fine value play on FanDuel ($2,700).

Third Base Rankings

1) Justin Turner (LAD)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

4) Nolan Arenado (COL)

5) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

6) Danny Valencia (OAK)

7) Jurickson Profar (TEX) – where eligible

Third base has four of our Top 20 hitters overall on this slate. Justin Turner (LAD) is the top option. He’s been ridiculous against RHP (.402 wOBA, .228 ISO since 2015), hitting the ball well of late (4.90, +0.5), and Tyler Chatwood is more vulnerable to same-handed batters (.322 wOBA, .139 ISO since 2015). He’s a Top Five hitter on this slate and our favorite spend at a deep position. Manny Machado (BAL) offers the best alternative and that’s mostly due to price tag as he’s cheaper on both sites. The concern is AJ Griffin has actually been dominant against RHBs (.253 wOBA, .064 ISO since 2015) in recent years. Josh Donaldson (TOR) and Nolan Arenado (COL) are strong pivots from Turner, with Donaldson the likely lower-owned option in tournaments. If you’re not spending up at third base, Pedro Alvarez (BAL) is one of our favorite tournament targets on FanDuel given his power profile and Griffin’s struggles with LHBs.

Outfield Rankings

1) Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – injury risk

2) Starling Marte (PIT)

3) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

4) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

5) Mike Trout (LAA)

6) Josh Reddick (LAD)

7) Mookie Betts (BOS)

8) Jose Bautista (TOR)

9) George Springer (HOU)

10) Ian Desmond (TEX)

11) Michael Saunders (TOR)

12) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

13) Adam Jones (BAL)

14) Matt Joyce (PIT) – if third

15) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

16) Brett Gardner (NYY)

17) Jay Bruce (NYM)

18) Carlos Beltran (TEX)

19) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

20) Hyun-Soo Kim (BAL)

Our model loves Mike Trout (LAA) against Jesse Hahn who doesn’t miss many bats and is backed up by a below average bullpen, but we’ve manually adjusted him down in these rankings to where we’d play him, which is behind many of the Coors Field outfield options and the Pirates’ outfield. There are plenty of potential outfielders to spend on for this slate and they all rank similarly in our mind. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) left last night’s game with an ankle injury so we might not see him in the lineup, which would thin the herd a bit and make selection easier. Starling Marte (PIT) has been mashing of late (5.40 well hit rating, +1.4) and gets a Braves’ catching situation that is very favorable to run on. The $3,800 price tag on FanDuel is particularly compelling. Both sites have site-specific value plays that pop out. Matt Joyce (PIT) should continue to hit in the middle of the Pirates’ order as McCutchen is getting the whole series off. Joyce owns a .325 wOBA and .179 ISO against RHP and is just $2,400 on FanDuel making him our favorite value on the slate. Curtis Granderson (NYM) is just $3,500 on DraftKings and gets the short porch he benefitted from so many years in New York. Granderson is an extreme pull hitter (49 percent for career) and he has a 43.3 percent fly ball rate against RHP this season. This is a great price point for power upside. Granderson is also viable on FanDuel at $3,200. Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) and Hyun-Soo Kim (BAL) are also strong values on both sites.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

Tier Two

2) Colorado Rockies

3) Pittsburgh Pirates

Tier Three

4) Atlanta Braves

5) Baltimore Orioles

6) Boston Red Sox

7) Texas Rangers

Despite Tyler Chatwood‘s extreme ground ball rate and his success against LHBs, the Dodgers stack ranks ahead of the Rockies on this slate. The Dodgers’ bullpen profiles better and the possible loss of Carlos Gonzalez could really thin out the Rockies’ lineup which impacts their stack ranking. As always, Coors Field are typically popular stacks, so we’d look to the Pittsburgh Pirates as your primary GPP pivot. We like the speed upside against the Braves’ weak throwing catchers and the removal of McCutchen actually makes their lineup a bit more price accessible.

Contrarian Stack

Atlanta Braves – The Braves surprisingly rank fourth in our stacks section which is an intriguing signal on a slate they’ll be very contrarian. Ryan Vogelsong is very weak against LHBs and the Braves are loaded with them. Additionally, the Pirates’ bullpen is pretty thin after trading Melancon and sneakily one of the weaker bullpens in the league now. A Braves’ mini-stack paired with some Coors Field chalk would represent a fine way to differentiate yourself in tournaments.

MLB Daily Analysis

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