Daily Fantasy Rundown – August 4 MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem”, “dinkpiece” and “thenumbersguy”. Each day throughout the MLB season our daily MLB scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.
Weather: Minor concerns to watch in the Northeast games (3 of them) and in Colorado. Probably not even delays but something to watch
Please see Meteorologist Mark Paquette’s game by game weather forecasts below the Analysis.
If any weather situations shift drastically, we will keep you updated with lineup alerts so make sure to check your email inbox up until roster lock.
I mistakenly referred to Henry Owens as a RHP in the content today and he’s a LHP. I was caught reminiscing about a former Marlins prospect.
This is a big change to values for the Yankees individual players but not much change for their profile as a team. ARod and Teixeira are still tournament plays due to elevated price points at deep positions. Ellsbury and Gardner are better tournament plays given the lack of platoon advantage and McCann slides down to a tournament play as well.
Chris Young is the big beneficiary as he’s a value play as a lefty masher. He falls behind the Coors field options and behind the Dodgers in our model, so think of him as an upper end secondary value play.
My apologies for the confusion.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) – Grandal is the known quantity among the catchers. He’s facing an established pitcher that is below average (Jerome Williams – .353 wOBA allowed to LHBs since 2013) and he gets him in a park upgrade. Grandal has been dominant from the left side (.362 wOBA, .197 ISO since 2012) as a big leaguer and he’s been especially great this season (.399 wOBA, .255 ISO). He typically gets a premier lineup spot and the Phillies bullpen behind Williams is ravaged after the losses of Papelbon and Diekman. Of all the options in this group of catchers, I believe Grandal’s projection is the most stable.
Jesus Montero (SEA) – Montero got the start at first base last night and I’m hopeful the Mariners take the same tact again on Tuesday. At just 25, Montero has been a forgotten bat in the Mariners organization. He’s primarily a DH but he’s continued his progress as a hitter at the minor league level (.346/.388/.551 this year for a .408 wOBA) and the production has come against both RHP (.341/.368/.513) and LHP (.358/.432/.635) this season. If in the lineup, he’ll face Jon Gray who has allowed a .782 OPS to RHBs while pitching in altitude at AAA this season. Gray is a top prospect with big time stuff but he’s struggled to translate it to results at the minor league level (4.33 ERA in AAA this year, 3.91 ERA last season). I’m always leery of picking on prospects with big stuff as opposed to older veterans as the unknown brings uncertainty into the projection. But in this case, Coors Field should mitigate a bunch of the risk as will the price point which is down around the industry.
Michael McKenry (COL) – McKenry is the top ranked catcher in our model but playing time is always a concern as the backup. He’s compiled a .361 wOBA and .207 ISO in 174 plate appearances against LHP since 2012 and ZiPS projection system really likes his power overall (projected a .192 ISO rest of season). Vidal Nuno is a fly ball oriented lefty who has had success in the bullpen this season but has historically been mediocre as a starter (4.08 ERA in 174 1/3 innings). Righties have gotten him for a .334 wOBA and 1.39 HR/9 and now he’s got the difficult task of pitching in Colorado. Throw in an expected pitch limit for Nuno and a Mariners bullpen that ranks in the bottom third of all bullpens in xFIP and you’ve got tremendous upside for Rockies bats. If McKenry is in the lineup, he’ll represent one of the better values at the catcher position.
Brian McCann (NYY) – McCann is always a favored target when he gets to face a RHP at home due to the short porch in right field. McCann is a pull heavy hitter against RHP (46.3 percent pull rate) and he relies on power for his production (.191 ISO against RHP since 2012). He’ll face Henry Owens who has struggled with his command at AAA but is one of the Red Sox top prospects. The unknown with Owens transition to the big leagues coupled with McCann’s relatively higher price tag pushes him down our list of preferences.
Additional catcher notes: Catcher is a position that seems very site dependent on Tuesday. The four values above are our preferred targets but I’d let price dictate my decision. If one is severely cheaper than the others that is the one I want to own. Russell Martin (TOR) ranks a bit behind this group but is priced similarly or above them. He’s a fine tournament option as part of a Blue Jays stack or mini-stack. The same goes for Nick Hundley (COL) if he draws the start over McKenry. On FanDuel, Victor Martinez‘s (DET) price has come way down and he gets a matchup from his favored side. He’s a fine alternative at catcher if Montero doesn’t draw the start and salary relief remains the priority.
Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) – After a day where first base was a bit thin, we’re back to the normal depth at the position. We have three first basemen that rank inside our Top 15 overall hitters and then a fourth value first baseman who ranks inside our Top 25. Encarnacion is my favorite of the bunch but ultimately I’ll let pricing dictate my decision. Encarnacion will face Phil Hughes who has allowed 1.29 HR/9 to RHBs since 2013 and is now forced to pitch in a park that inflates RH power 10 percent above the league average. Encarnacion is a plus hitter against RHP (.381 wOBA, .263 ISO since 2012) and matching up his power tendencies and extreme fly ball rates against Hughes is a good recipe for home run potential.
Prince Fielder (TEX) – Fielder will face Dan Straily who has allowed a .321 wOBA and 1.11 HR/9 to LHBs since 2013. Straily has been pitching well in AAA (3.65 ERA, 21.8 K Rate, 4 BB Rate) but he’s consistently struggled with limiting the long ball at the big league level. Fielder owns a .388 wOBA and .191 ISO against RHP since 2012 and earns a premier lineup spot for a lineup that has an implied run total approaching five runs. He ranks right alongside Edwin Encarnacion in our model and on most sites, I’d let price dictate a decision between the two top first base options.
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz is always a favorite of our model. Even in a tough matchup against Masahiro Tanaka (.287 wOBA allowed to LHBs as a big leaguer), the park shift to Yankee Stadium’s short porch makes Ortiz an intriguing contrarian option in tournaments. Ortiz ranks similarly to Fielder and Encarnacion in our model as his elite skills (.408 wOBA, .281 ISO against RHP since 2012) coupled with the short porch give him a good shot at a home run. I wouldn’t prioritize Ortiz ahead of Encarnacion and Fielder who have better overall lineup support and a higher likelihood of facing weaker ends of the bullpen, but Ortiz is an interesting tournament option.
Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – First base is very deep but if you need a little salary relief at the position in order to emphasize high end pitching, Gonzalez is your best bet. Gonzalez gets a nice park shift in Philadelphia and faces Jerome Williams who has allowed a .353 wOBA and 31.5 percent hard hit rate to LHBs since 2013. Williams is also backed up by a depleted Phillies pen that lost two of their best bullpen arms at the deadline. The Phillies are down to just one LH reliever which means we should expect Gonzalez to have the vast majority of his plate appearances against righties. A Top 25 hitter in our model, Gonzalez’s price tag is a bit more affordable than the other elite options at the position.
Additional first base notes: Mark Teixeira (NYY) is another strong tournament option as part of a Yankees stack or mini-stack. Henry Owens is making his major league debut and he’s struggled with command at AAA this season (11.2 BB Rate). He’s a top prospect in the Red Sox organization but he may not be ready to face a lefty heavy Yankees lineup in Yankee Stadium. Teixeira’s price tag is a challenge in cash games, especially when he ranks well below all our other top plays, but his power upside is something to pick on in tournaments. Joey Votto (CIN) and Chris Davis (BAL) are secondary tournament options. First base is generally a position filled in tournament lineups by part of a stack or mini-stack as opposed to solo fillers with power. Votto and Davis are lineup fillers as we don’t love either team but their matchup individually could unlock some power. Victor Martinez (DET) and Justin Smoak (TOR) are salary relief options on DraftKings if emphasizing top end starting pitching. I think the tier right above them is cheap enough that you don’t need to venture into that group but both are cheap. On FanDuel, Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) is minimum priced and worthy of consideration if the emphasis is purely on salary relief. Patrick Corbin isn’t an ideal matchup but Zimmerman will have the platoon advantage and is hitting in a premier lineup spot.
Robinson Cano (SEA) – Cano is once again the top option at second base. The park shift to Coors Field is immense and the Mariners implied run total is over 5.5 runs. Cano’s performance has picked up dramatically since the hiring of Edgar Martinez (.297/.349/.558 since June 22nd) and the production has instilled more confidence in our baseline projections for him. The price point is elevated around the industry due to the park shift and second base has a few strong alternatives at cheaper options. He’s not a must play by any means in cash games but does rank within our Top Five overall hitters.
Rougned Odor (TEX) – Odor has flashed really good power against RHP (.182 ISO) in his brief big league career. The overall plate discipline (4.7 percent BB Rate) and production (.327 wOBA) aren’t elite but the power is for a second baseman. He’ll face Dan Straily, a fly ball prone RHP, who has allowed a 45.3 percent fly ball rate and 1.11 HR/9 to LHBs since 2013. Odor garners a favorable lineup spot and the Rangers have an implied run total approaching five runs. He cracks the Top 30 overall hitters in our model and is a viable step down in price tag from Cano.
Kolten Wong (STL) – Wong may make for a better tournament play than cash game option as it largely depends on how closely priced he is to Odor and Cano. Wong hasn’t historically crushed RHP but his growth this year (.355 wOBA, .184 ISO) has come with a bump in his peripherals as well (34.2 percent hard hit rate against RHP) that give us confidence its legitimate skill growth. He faces a RHP who has really struggled with lefties in his career. Anthony DeScalafani has allowed a .351 wOBA and 1.29 HR/9 to LHBs as a big leaguer. A nice park shift for power coupled with DeSclafani’s challenges against LHBs make Wong an intriguing play. Throw in a bullpen that is entirely right handed except for closer Aroldis Chapman and you’ve got a good chance at Wong seeing 4-5 plate appearances all against below average righties in a plus hitting environment. He ranks a bit below Odor and Cano in our model (Top 50 hitter), but on sites like FanDuel where the price is down; he’s deserving of cash game consideration.
Additional second base notes: The three recommendations above are generally your targets in cash games unless you need to really prioritize salary relief at the position and find a punt play. If salary relief is the top priority look to Milwaukee where Yangervis Solarte (SD) and Scooter Gennett (MIL) will likely have premier lineup spots with the platoon advantage. They’re facing above average pitchers so I’m really trying to attack one of the matchups above if I can, but they both come with salary relief in a good hitting environment. We prefer Solarte over Gennett where priced similarly. Jose Altuve (HOU), Brian Dozier (MIN), and D.J. LeMahieu (COL) are all tournament options as part of stacks or mini-stacks. They’re all too expensive for cash game considerations given the strength of the options priced around or below them. Stephen Drew (NYY) is the cheap tournament option with pop that is worthy of consideration. He gets a bad lineup spot but a good park for LH power and a favorable matchup in a game that the Yankees project to get into the opposing bullpen early.
Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) – Tulowitzki is the top shortstop in our model and a Top 15 overall hitter. He owns a career .347 wOBA and .179 ISO on the road against RHP. We expect a drop off from Coors Field (44 percent above league average) but the Rogers Centre (13 percent above league average) is a soft landing. The matchup with Phil Hughes is a good one for Tulowitzki as Hughes has struggled with RHBs throughout his career (.339 wOBA, 1.29 HR/9 since 2013) and Hughes fly ball tendencies (43 percent to RHBs) give Tulowitzki an increased shot at power. The shortstop position is one with little opportunity cost so many owners will likely prioritize salary relief in cash games. In this scenario, Tulowitzki looks like an unnecessary spend but on sites like DraftKings ($3,900) where the price is down a bit, he’s a fine target.
Jose Reyes (COL) – Reyes ranks very similarly to Tulowitzki in our model as he’s getting the nice park shift to Colorado that is pushing up his baselines. Reyes isn’t a great hitter against LHP (.310 wOBA, .119 ISO) and his stolen base opportunities are reduced (24 since 2012) against LHP. Still, the lineup spot on a team that has an expected run total approaching 5.5 runs, earns him strong consideration. Like Tulowitzki, I’m only considering on sites where the price is down as salary relief will likely take precedence. The best tag I’ve seen on Reyes is on FanDuel at $3,300.
Ketel Marte/Brad Miller (SEA) – I’m not sure if Ketel Marte will draw the start again on Tuesday as he was forced to CF to find his way into the lineup. With a fly ball pitcher on the mound, I doubt they take that route again. If he is in the lineup, Marte once again represents an incredible value on DraftKings at just $2,000. The play didn’t work out last night, but I’d take a leadoff hitter in Coors Field with a minimum price tag and SS eligibility 100 times out of 100. If Marte isn’t in, Miller becomes a viable secondary alternative. The lineup spot isn’t great but Miller has compiled a .328 wOBA and .175 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer. Given the position has little opportunity cost, I’m less concerned with finding a perfect lineup spot and more concerned with skill. Miller has the best skills of any SS with a cheap tag and ranks inside our Top 35 overall hitters.
Jimmy Rollins (LAD) – Rollins isn’t a good hitter (.311 wOBA, .153 ISO against RHP since 2012) but he has been blessed with a good lineup spot of late. Leading off for the Dodgers, who have an implied run total approaching five runs, earns Rollins cash game consideration where priced as a salary relief or punt play.
Additional shortstop notes: Carlos Correa (HOU) remains a fine option in plus ballparks. He’s priced in a different stratosphere than most of the other shortstops which will keep him in this section for a while. Jhonny Peralta (STL) is interesting as a tournament play given the big park shift for power but Anthony DeSclafani has been solid against righties and the bullpen is very right handed. He’s more of a secondary tournament play. Alcides Escobar (KC) is minimum priced on FanDuel and likely leading off for the Royals, we prefer Rollins for a few extra hundred, but if you need the cap Escobar is fine.
Kyle Seager (SEA) – The very top of the third base position is loaded with intriguing options on Tuesday. Once again our model likes Kyle Seager the most. Seager gets a huge park shift going to Coors Field and has the platoon advantage while hitting second on a team with an implied run total over 5.5. Seager has solid skills against RHP (.351 wOBA, .182 ISO since 2012) and as we noted in the content yesterday he’s made nice strides against LHP this season (.362 wOBA, .202 ISO) that helps him hold his value deep into the game. He’s generally a bit cheaper than the other top options, which makes him the clear cut target in our opinion. On DraftKings, Seager is incredibly cheap ($3,800) which makes him a staple of cash game lineups.
Next in line: Nolan Arenado (COL) and Josh Donaldson (TOR) – both come from high octane offenses with great matchups for power against fly ball prone opposing starters. Arenado has the platoon advantage so we like him slightly more than Donaldson but both are priced in a way that makes them better tournament options.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) – Dan Straily has been better against RHBs (.309 wOBA) but still exceptionally fly ball prone (42 percent) and a bit homer prone (1.16 HR/9 allowed since 2013). Beltre appears to be over that thumb issue he was plagued with earlier in the year, as he’s hit .328/.400/.507 to start the second half. The price tag around the industry is still a bit depressed from his early season struggles and doesn’t capture the upside in a home matchup against a weak pitcher. Beltre has historically had neutral splits (.372 wOBA and .196 ISO against RHP since 2012) and the Rangers offense as a whole is more prolific against RHP (Moreland, Choo, Odor, and Hamilton all have wide splits). Beltre’s value actually increases against RHP. He’s a Top 25 overall hitter in our model.
Additional third base notes: Alex Rodriguez (NYY) is a little bit behind that tier in the top plays section. He’s a strong tournament option as part of a Yankees stack or mini stack. Miguel Sano (MIN) and Kris Bryant (CHC) are interesting tournament plays given their big power. Bryant has a tough park shift but is facing a fly ball prone lefty while Sano gets to play in a park that boosts RH power against a fly ball prone RHP. Matt Carpenter (STL) is sort of caught in limbo by the strength of the position. His power upside is modest so he doesn’t profile great in tournaments unless you’re correlating him with other Cardinals bats. The matchup is good against DeScalfani and a primarily RH Reds bullpen but he sort of gets lost in the shuffle.
Coors Field – Nelson Cruz (SEA) and Carlos Gonzalez (COL) rank inside our Top 10 overall hitters. The model doesn’t seem concerned with Gonzalez or Blackmon in left on left matchups as the Mariners bullpen will likely constitute half of their plate appearances. I think each of these options are better suited for tournaments than cash games as the opportunity cost in the outfield is relatively low and they carry extreme price tags.
Jose Bautista (TOR) – Bautista’s price tag on DraftKings ($4,500) is simply tantalizing. He’s compiled a .381 wOBA and .255 ISO against RHP since 2012 and faces homer and fly ball prone Phil Hughes in the Rogers Centre. Bautista ranks inside our Top 10 overall hitters.
Seth Smith/Mark Trumbo (SEA) – Smith’s lineup spot has been pushed down a bit which makes him more vulnerable to LH relievers, but the price tag is quite compelling. Smith has posted a .343 wOBA and .181 ISO against RHP since 2012 and he’s done that largely in tough hitting environments. The Rockies bullpen has been extremely left handed at times this year but they’re down to just two left handed relievers now. Smith still carries big pinch hit risk late in the game but the early plate appearances are very valuable. He ranks inside our Top 20 hitters overall and makes for a strong value play. Trumbo’s power always pushes him way up in our model. He owns just a .312 wOBA against RHP since 2012 but it comes with a .185 ISO. If he’s in the lineup, he’s an especially valuable option on FanDuel at $2,200.
Drew Stubbs/Kyle Parker (COL) – Ideally we’d see both guys in the lineup and in premier spots but admittedly that is probably a bit too optimistic. Parker hit fifth on Sunday against a lefty and if he earns that spot again, he’ll represent one of the cheapest ways to get exposure to the Rockies lineup tonight. Parker wasn’t particularly dominant despite playing in altitude at AAA (.858 OPS against LHP, .757 OPS overall) but the price tag and platoon advantage earn consideration if he gets a strong lineup spot. Stubbs is a more compelling option but less likely to find the lineup or a good spot. He’s compiled a .348 wOBA and .161 ISO against LHP since 2012.
Yasiel Puig/Andre Ethier (LAD) – Jerome Williams is someone to attack and it doesn’t matter if it is with RHBs (.345 wOBA, 1.52 HR/9 since 2013) or LHBs (.353 wOBA, 1.04 HR/9 since 2013). Puig is the one who really pops in our model as his skills against RHP (.375 wOBA, .197 ISO) are actually stronger than Ethier’s (.367 wOBA, .183 ISO since 2012), but Puig often earns the worse lineup spot. They’re both priced favorably around the industry but we’ll likely get at most one in a good lineup spot. Puig is acceptable if he hits sixth since it’s on the road and in a game we expect the Dodgers to score quite a few runs, but we’d prefer somewhere in the first five.
Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) – Ellsbury’s price tag is really compelling for a matchup with a RHP making his major league debut in Yankee Stadium. The challenge is with so many elite hitting situations today, the opportunity cost is high. Ellsbury is just an adequate hitter against RHP (.336 wOBA, .140 ISO) but his Fantasy value against RHP is significant because of his leadoff spot on a plus offensive team and his SB potential (86 SB against RHP since 2012). He’s a strong value play but the strength of the outfield values pushes him down our list of priorities.
Additional outfield notes: Additional outfielders that rank well in our model and have approachable price points but fall below the group above include: Carlos Gomez (HOU), Brett Gardner (NYY), Jason Heyward (STL), Shin Soo Choo/Mitch Moreland (TEX), and Yoenis Cespedes (NYM). Rajai Davis (DET) and Will Venable (SD) represent cheap leadoff hitters with the platoon advantages. All of these options are secondary value plays or strong tournament options.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Chris Sale (TB)
2) Max Scherzer (WAS)
3) Jake Arrieta (CHC)
4) Chris Archer (TB)
5) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)
6a) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)
6b) Alex Wood (LAD)
8) Matt Shoemaker (LAA)
9) Patrick Corbin (ARZ)
10) Jimmy Nelson (MIL)
11) J.A. Happ (PIT)
12) Shelby Miller (ATL)
13) Jon Niese (NYM)
14) John Lackey (STL)
Chris Sale (CHW) – At first glance, I was even a bit surprised to see Sale ahead of Scherzer in our model, but even more surprising was the magnitude. Sale is comfortably ahead of the rest of the tier one starters and once again it’s fueled by a massive expected K Rate. Our model views the Rays offense as very swing and miss, projecting six members of last night’s lineup for a K Rate above 20 percent and all members of the line over a 17 percent K Rate against LHP. For comparative purposes, the expected lineup the Diamondbacks are running out likely will have just four hitters with a projected K Rate above 20 percent (including the pitcher’s spot) and three hitters below 15 percent. The expected strikeout projection gap between Sale (35 percent) and Scherzer (30 percent) accounts for all of the gap in our rankings. With Sale a bit more affordable around the industry, he’s a stronger play in our opinion.
Next in line:
Max Scherzer (WAS)/Jake Arrieta (CHC)/Chris Archer (TB) – The gap between Sale and Scherzer is commensurate with the gap between Scherzer and Arrieta in our model, but I felt it was appropriate to group all four of the elite options in one tier. You could make the argument Sale and Scherzer deserve their own mini-tier and I wouldn’t disagree. Arrieta and Archer come with slightly more investable price points and expected K Rates that are similar to Scherzer’s expected K Rate (~30 percent). Arrieta edges out Archer on run prevention due to a better park and pitching in the National League. He also gets a boost as a slight favorite while Archer is a slight underdog. I think the appropriate approach in cash games is to target this tier aggressively. Arrieta seems to represent the best combination of price point and upside of the group.
Alex Wood (LAD) – Tuesday’s slate is really challenging because it combines a wide array of elite hitting environments against below average pitchers with a handful of aces on the mound. As a result, there is opportunity cost on both the hitting and the pitching side. If you’re emphasizing salary relief at the starting pitching spot, Wood is your best bet. He faces a Phillies offense that ranks 12th in wRC+ against LHP with a 20.7 percent K Rate on the season. He’s also a huge favorite (-205) and the Phillies have an implied run total of just 3.3 runs. Wood’s skill set has taken a step back this season. His swinging strike rate has fallen to 7.3 percent (9.7 percent last season) and his overall K Rate has fallen from 24.5 percent to 17.7 percent. It’s a substantial drop which has directly translated into a higher ERA (3.54 vs. 2.78) and consequently less Fantasy value. Given Wood has shown impressive K Rates in the past, there is still some hope he rediscovers that skill, but we’re now largely banking on his run prevention. The good news is Wood got a boost with his trade to the Dodgers. The Braves ranked in the bottom third of the league in most defensive metrics while the Dodgers rank in the top half. Throw in the likely added run support and Wood is a touch undervalued for his new surroundings. A matchup in Philadelphia isn’t perfect, but it is one that should allow Wood to out-perform his current price points.
Matt Shoemaker (LAA) – Shoemaker has also experienced a step back in his production from last season. After posting an impressive 22.8 percent K Rate fueled by a 10.9 percent swinging strike rate, Shoemaker is down to 20.9 percent and 9.3 percent respectively this season. With more balls in play, Shoemaker has been more vulnerable to the long ball and they’ve started leaving the yard at a league average rate (12.6 percent HR/FB this season). Since Shoemaker is so homer prone with all the fly balls it’s important to try to pick on matchups in favorable pitching environments against teams that lack big power. Tonight he’ll pitch at home where home runs are depressed 10 percent below the league average and against an Indians lineup that currently ranks 18th in ISO against RHP and just lost Jason Kipnis, Brandon Moss, and David Murphy; replacing them with Jose Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Jerry Sands or Tyler Holt. It’s a substantial downgrade in overall lineup quality and power output. Up against Carlos Carrasco, Shoemaker is a modest favorite (-120) in a game with a total of just 7.5. The implied run total (3.6), expected K Rate, and win percentage all trail Wood slightly which is why Shoemaker falls a tier below. However, the price point is favorable around the industry and Shoemaker’s strikeout rate provides a bit higher upside than Wood. We think Shoemaker is a viable value alternative to Wood but best utilized in tournaments.
Jimmy Nelson (MIL) – Nelson has been pitching fantastic of late and gets a favorable matchup against a RH dominant Padres lineup that ranks 21st in wRC+ and has struck out in 21.9 percent of their plate appearances against RHP. Nelson has been solid against RHBs (.281 wOBA, 22.1 K Rate, and just 25.2 hard hit rate) but been tattooed by LHBs (.353 wOBA, 16.8 K Rate, and 35.7 hard hit rate) which is why the composition of the lineup matters so much to his value. The Padres have been running out lineups with just 3-4 LHBs for the majority of the season and while those bats are concentrated around the top (1-2-5), the bottom of the lineup should be a breeze for Nelson. He’s so bad against LHBs that there is always risk of a blowup, but this is one of the better matchups Nelson could get. We view him as a better tournament option since he’s priced above Wood and Shoemaker on most sites and ranks a little below in our model rankings.
Additional starting pitcher notes: Patrick Corbin (ARZ) is another interesting tournament option. His strikeout rate has been way up since his return from the DL. The Nats are a very difficult matchup against LHP with Rendon, Werth, and Zimmerman back but it’s a park upgrade and Corbin’s ownership should be exceptionally low. J.A. Happ (PIT) is an interesting tournament option or salary relief option at second pitcher. He’s getting a big park shift and moving from the AL to the NL. The Cubs offense profiles well against LHP but PNC Park crushes RH power and that is some of the appeal to their lineup. The Cubs also strike out a ton. The price is low enough to consider as a secondary starter in cash games but I’m more likely to utilize him in tournaments. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) is another fun tournament play. The Red Sox lineup is extremely depleted (Pedroia, Betts, and possibly Sandoval) and he should have plenty of run support.
Macro Thinking, Stacks, and Tournament Notes:
This is a new section we’ve created to try and offer more dedicated macro thinking to our analysis and hopefully add more value to those playing tournaments. The format is a bit of a work in progress and we welcome feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Seattle Mariners
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Toronto Blue Jays
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
5) Texas Rangers
It’s rare to see this many offenses listed in this section but we have so many bad pitchers going in elite environments. These are the five offenses I’m targeting in cash games and the priority that I’d consider stacking them in tournaments.
1) New York Yankees
2) Houston Astros
3) Minnesota Twins
4) Kansas City Royals
The Yankees would earn a spot in the cash game mini-stack section if they had more investable price points but generally all their hitters are expensive. They have the third highest implied run total of the evening which has now gone over five runs. In Yankee Stadium with all the LHBs, they have a ton of home run upside and will likely take a backseat to the stacks above just due to price point.
The Astros are going to get forgotten given the perception that they let us down last night (almost all of the offense came from the bottom third of the order) and the preference towards attacking Rangers in that game. Yovani Gallardo isn’t a bad pitcher and this is a slate where we’re attacking a lot of bad pitchers, but the Astros are a plus offense getting a positive park shift and they have some compelling prices on guys like Carlos Gomez and Preston Tucker.
Marco Estrada is really homer prone and particularly to RHBs (1.36 HR/9 since 2013). The bulk of the Twins power comes from the right side and they’re getting a nice park shift. I think a mini-stack around the power RHBs (Dozier, Hunter, Sano) could make sense in tournaments, especially when paired with a more popular stack target (Dodgers positions fit well)
The Royals are my “off the radar” stack. Justin Verlander was dominant last time out and he’s been pretty good in a few outings of late, but I think that just helps push the ownership down. The Royals are getting a plus park shift and the Tigers bullpen behind Verlander is a mess. Throw in some modest price tags relative to all the premier offenses and you can afford a Royals stack with premium pitching on a few sites.
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
In the scales below, a 10 strongly favors the batter, a 1 strongly favors the pitcher and a 5 has no impact on the game.
BOS at NYY 7:05: Models show widely scattered thunderstorm activity off to the north. Assuming this is correct, the game should be dry. Will watch this through the day but worst case scenario is a thunderstorm causing a delay (10% chance of that). Temps in the mid-80s falling into the upper 70s. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind west 5-10 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows out to right-center early in the game and is a 6 on the wind scale becoming a 5.
AZ at WSH 7:05: Much like the game in NYY, the game will most likely be dry. However, there is widely scattered thunderstorm activity expected to be off to their west and there is a 10% chance that it could drift into the city. Temps in the upper 80s falling to near 80. Air density is an 8. Wind west 4-8 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
LAD at PHL 7:05: A carbon copy of the NYY/WSH games. Should be dry but there is some scattered thunderstorms expected to be off to the west. Worst case scenario is a 10% chance of a delay. Temps in the mid to upper 80s falling into the upper 70s. Air density is an 8. Wind southwest 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
CHC at PIT 7:05: Dry. Temps in the upper 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-northwest 4-8 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows out to left-center early and is a 6 on the wind scale becoming a 5.
MIN at TOR 7:07: Retractable roof. Quite a few thunderstorms/showers around.
KC at DET 7:08: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-northwest 8-16 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.
SF at ATL 7:10: Dry. Temps near 90 falling into the low to mid 80s. Air density is an 8. Wind west 5-10 mph lessening to 3-6 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
STL at CIN 7:10: Dry. Temps near 80 falling to near 70. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northwest 5-10 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows out to center early and is a 6 on the wind scale becoming a 5.
NYM at MIA 7:10: The retractable roof will likely be closed.
HOU at TEX 8:05: Hot and dry. Temps in the upper 90s falling to near 90. Air density is a 9. Wind south-southeast 7-14 mph which blows in from right-center. The wind is a 4.
TB at CHW 8:10: Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-northwest 5-10 mph becoming light and variable. The wind blows out to left-center early in the game and is a 6 on the wind scale becoming a 5.
SD at MIL 8:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the mid-70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-northwest 5-10 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows out to right early in the game and is a 6 on the wind scale becoming a 5.
SEA at COL 8:40: A 10% chance of a thunderstorm around. Worst case scenario is a brief delay. Temps near 90 falling into the mid-70s. Air density is a 10. Wind north becoming northwest 9-18 mph lessening to 7-14 mph which blows in from center and then in from left-center. The wind is a 3 becoming a 4.
CLE at LAA 10:05: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 10-20 mph lessening to 7-14 mph which blows out to right. The wind is an 8 becoming a 6.
BLT at OAK 10:05: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-northwest 10-20 mph lessening to 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is an 8 becoming a 7.