Daily Fantasy Rundown – August 8 MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Saturday’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: Another very quiet weather day is expected. I do not foresee any problems.
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.
Derek Norris (SD) – Norris typically garners a strong lineup spot against LHP and deservedly so. Since 2012, Norris has compiled a .364 wOBA and .181 ISO against LHP. Adam Morgan has struggled with righties at the big league level (.383 wOBA, 1.86 HR/9) and projection systems expected this. He can’t miss bats and he’s got a rest of season projected ERA of 5.45 from ZiPS. Norris cracks our Top 30 players overall and is one of the stronger values at the catcher position.
Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) – Lucroy has historically been strong against LHP (.346 wOBA, .149 ISO since 2013) and he always gets a good lineup spot. In a good park for hitters and at a thin position, he’ll garner some attention. Jaime Garcia is a good starter and he’s held RHBs in check (.264 wOBA) since 2013 but a 32.5 percent hard hit rate suggests he’s not as dominant as the results. We prefer Norris strongly, but if he doesn’t earn a good lineup spot, Lucroy is a viable alternative.
Additional catcher notes: Victor Martinez (DET) is our top overall catcher on sites that he carries catcher eligibility. He’s posted an impressive .379 wOBA and .194 ISO against LHP since 2012 and the Tigers as a whole are far more explosive against LHP. With the price point down, I’d target him aggressively on sites with catcher eligibility.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) – Goldschmidt is the top overall hitter in our model. Keyvius Sampson posted some really shaky peripherals in AAA (12.4 BB Rate) that led to a 5.04 ERA. He’s in the big leagues out of necessity and the Diamondbacks represent one of our favorite offenses to target. Goldschmidt has been slumping a bit (3-23 with 11 K in August) but it’s brought his price point down on a few sites. The $4,000 mark on FanDuel is one of the lower price points we’ve had all season. On sites that he’s still priced aggressively ($6,000 on DraftKings), the depth at first base makes it so that he’s not a necessity, but on sites the price is down due to the recent slump; I’d attack aggressively. ZiPS projection system calls for a .370 wOBA and .237 ISO allowed from Sampson and Goldschmdit has posted a .381 wOBA and .216 ISO against RHP since 2012.
Next in line:
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz perpetually rates well in our model against RHP. He’s facing Alfredo Simon who has allowed a .341 wOBA and 1.30 HR/9 to LHBs since 2013 and Ortiz has compiled a .407 wOBA and .282 ISO against righties. The Tigers also have one of the weakest bullpens in baseball backing up Simon which really adds to Ortiz’s appeal. He ranks as our second best first base option but inside our Top Five hitters overall. On sites with a wide pricing gap between Ortiz and Goldschmidt, I’ll happily take Ortiz and the discount.
Victor Martinez (DET) – We noted Martinez is our favorite catcher option in the additional notes section, but he also qualifies as a solid value on sites he has just first base eligibility. Wade Miley has struggled with RHBs since 2013, allowing a .330 wOBA and 32.4 percent hard hit rate. The Tigers have one of the highest implied run totals of the evening slate and Martinez is right in the middle of the lineup.
Additional first base notes: Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) and Carlos Santana (CLE) are solid secondary values at the position. Zimmerman is stronger against LHP than RHP but he gets a premier lineup spot and Eddie Butler has really struggled commanding the strike zone at the big league level. His starts tend to end up with heavy innings logged by the bullpen. Santana has home run upside against Ervin Santana and a relatively affordable price point. Brandon Moss (STL) and Justin Bour (MIA) are intriguing tournament options. The opportunity cost is high at first base but both options have strong home run potential against fly ball oriented RHPs and they’re both very cheap. I’d consider Moss a value play if he lands a Top Five lineup spot, but I’d rather attack him with OF eligibility.
Anthony Rendon (WAS) – I was really excited about Rendon when the projected starter was Yohan Flande, but we can still handle Rendon against Eddie Butler. Rendon is better against LHP (.359 wOBA, .153 ISO) but a .338 wOBA and .160 ISO against RHP is pretty good for a second baseman and Rendon is very cheap around the industry. The Nationals have a team total approaching five runs and Rendon grades out as a Top 30 overall hitter in our model.
Kolten Wong (STL) – Wong’s lineup spot has moved around a lot lately. Assuming he’s inside the first three, the matchup with Wily Peralta is a good one. Peralta has allowed a .352 wOBA and 1.34 HR/9 to LHBs since 2013 and Wong has posted a solid .155 ISO against righties during that span. Rendon’s likelihood of getting on base keeps him ahead of Wong in our model, but Wong’s power upside makes him an intriguing value.
Additional second base notes: Mike Foltynewicz has really struggled with LHBs (.430 wOBA, 2.29 HR/9) but it’s mostly been through power on his heavy fly ball rate (51 percent) allowed. Dee Gordon (MIA) doesn’t profile as the type of hitter to benefit from that power, but the Braves catchers’ struggle containing the running game and their bullpen is really poor. Gordon’s price point is viable enough to utilize in cash games. Ian Kinsler (DET) is a far more effective hitter against LHP (.365 wOBA, .158 ISO since 2012) and earns a premier lineup spot. The price tag is inflated a bit, but he’s a strong option as part of a Tigers stack or mini-stack in tournaments. Jedd Gyorko (SD) has some interesting appeal as a cheap power option for tournaments. The landscape of the slate (no truly elite SP, lots of value OFs) doesn’t make him as viable but if he garners a strong lineup spot he’ll force lineup differentiation as most will spend at second base.
Additional shortstop notes: The shortstop position is difficult to address on Saturday night. Jhonny Peralta (STL) looks like the best overall option but Wily Peralta is pretty good against RHBs (.301 wOBA, 60 percent GB Rate since 2013). An investment in Peralta is basically an investment in his skills and the park environment. The matchup isn’t particularly compelling. Ian Desmond (WAS) has great power (.179 ISO since 2012) against RHP but Eddie Butler is more vulnerable to plate patience (8.5 BB Rate) than power (0.99 HR/9). Desmond also hits in a poor lineup spot so he’s probably better for a tournament than cash game but options are so limited he’s viable in cash. Jose Ramirez (CLE) gets a premier lineup spot and Ervin Santana isn’t an elite starter, but Ramirez’s skills are very poor (.266 wOBA, .090 ISO against RHP). Jose Iglesias (DET) is a slightly more expensive and slightly more skilled version of Ramirez. He’s just a punt play. Hanley Ramirez (BOS) is clearly the top option on a site like DraftKings where he has shortstop eligibility.
Todd Frazier (CIN)/Matt Carpenter (STL) – Frazier has the power, while Carpenter has the on base skills. Carpenter’s price tag is nearing its peak on the season, so there is a little more value in Frazier currently. Frazier faces Robbie Ray who has handled RHBs well (.309 wOBA since 2013) but yields a lot of fly balls (44.6 percent fly ball rate). It’s a dangerous recipe for success in a friendly hitting environment. Carpenter is a bit more likely to get on base (.370 wOBA against RHP since 2012) but doesn’t have the same kind of power as Fraizer (.170 ISO). Peralta is more vulnerable to LHBs (.352 wOBA, 1.34 HR/9) than Ray is to RHBs. As a result, our model leans Carpenter as the better cash game play where priced similarly. On most sites the slight discount on Frazier makes him a better play.
Additional third base notes: Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) and Carlos Santana (CLE) are solid secondary options at third base. Both get premier lineup spots and matchup upside against vulnerable bullpens. Zimmerman’s price tag seems consistently cheap around the industry, so I find myself targeting him if I can’t afford Frazier and carpenter. Pablo Sandoval (BOS) is another cheaper alternative in a great matchup against Alfredo Simon. With the Napoli trade, he’s almost assured of a good lineup spot and he’s historically hit RHP well (.348 wOBA, .165 ISO since 2012). If you’re looking for tournament power, Derek Dietrich (MIA) profiles well against Mike Foltynewicz‘s fly ball tendencies. He represents a nice cheap option with a chance at a home run. We like attacking Keyvius Sampson so Jake Lamb (ARZ) is a nice tournament option as part of a Diamondbacks stack or mini-stack. It’s hard to start him in cash games given he hits sixth and as a home hitter risks the opportunity to get that fourth plate appearance.
Mike Trout (LAA) (he’s actually pretty underpriced given his skill level but in a pitcher’s park, lacking the platoon edge against a decent SP, he’s not a priority; consider him a secondary cash game target)
Ender Inciarte/David Peralta (ARI) – These are the two easiest ways to get exposure to the Diamondbacks offense. They both hold the platoon advantage, hit RHP well (Peralta – .371 wOBA/.213 ISO, Inciarte – .323 wOBA/.110 ISO but 25 SB in 563 PA), and are cheap around the industry. Peralta is the better hitter and ranks higher in our model (Top 15) but Inciarte closes the gap with speed and the chance at an extra plate appearance (Top 25). Ideally, I’d like to have exposure to multiple Diamondbacks outfielders tonight. A.J. Pollock (ARZ) is a secondary target as he’s priced up a bit. He’s a mix of Peralta’s skills and Inciarte’s lineup positioning. He owns a .335 wOBA and .134 ISO against RHP since 2012 but also adds value with his legs (40 SB in 909 PA). Where priced similarly to Peralta and Inciarte, he’s a fine target.
Justin Upton (SD) – Upton’s been playing through a thumb issue that has pushed his price down around the industry. He’s a tremendously skilled hitter against LHP (.368 wOBA, .222 ISO since 2012) and he’s facing a LHP that under ideal circumstances wouldn’t be starting in the majors. The price point is key here since you want a discount given Upton’s thumb issue. I’m more likely to target him on a site like FanDuel ($2,800) where he’s priced below most of the average outfielders.
Jason Heyward (STL) – Heyward is a strong hitter against RHP (.361 wOBA, .179 ISO since 2012) and gets that matchup with Wily Peralta that we’ve highlighted extensively. Heyward gets a premium lineup spot and the Cardinals are one of the secondary offenses we’re targeting.
Rajai Davis (DET) – Davis owns a .363 wOBA and .169 ISO against LHP since 2012 and typically hits leadoff. Wade Miley has struggled adapting to the American League, struggles against righties, and the Tigers have one of the higher run totals of the day. Davis is too cheap for his skill set and ranks inside our Top 35 overall hitters. On sites where J.D. Martinez (DET) is cheap (like FanDuel at $3,700), he’s also a strong cash game target.
Additional outfield notes: The list of secondary value outfielders is pretty deep. Marlon Byrd (CIN), Yasmany Tomas (ARZ), Matt Kemp (SD), Christian Yelich (MIA), Brandon Moss (STL), and Hanley Ramirez (BOS) all crack our Top 40 hitters overall. The options noted above all rank higher, so we view these options as secondary value plays or tournament options.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Tyson Ross (SD)
2) Garrett Richards (LAA)
3) Stephen Strasburg (WAS)
4) Trevor Bauer (CLE)
5) Jaime Garcia (STL)
6) Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL)
7) Robbie Ray (ARZ)
8) Mike Foltynewicz (ATL)
Tyson Ross (SD) – Ross is the largest favorite of the evening slate (-210) and pitching in a game with the lowest total. The Phillies rank 29th in wRC+ against RHP with a league average K Rate. Ross possesses one of the highest K Rates of any starter going on Saturday but often struggles with command, specifically against LHBs. The Phillies have plenty of lefties but their 5.9 BB Rate against RHP is tied for the worst in MLB. This is nearly an ideal matchup for Ross (perhaps a more right handed lineup as a whole would be better) and his price tag is reasonable around the industry. He’s a building block in cash games.
Next in line:
Garrett Richards (LAA) – We’ve touched on the dislocation between Richards’ peripherals (11 percent swinging strike rate) and his K Rate (19.1 percent) throughout the season. Last time out, we saw a bit of the correction as Richards fanned 11 against the Indians, but he still surrendered four earned runs. His season is a bit of an enigma. He continues to limit hard contact (24 percent hard hit rate) and generate tons of ground balls (53.3 percent). He possesses as much upside as any starter in the evening slate, but he’s surrendered three earned runs or more in half his starts. The Orioles are an above average offense against RHP but they’re getting a park downgrade and the bulk of their lineup is right handed. This second tier of starters all come with some semblance of risk but Richards possesses the most upside.
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – Strasburg was the same old Strasburg in his three rehab outings. He struck out 22 in just 14 2/3 innings of work while walking just one, but somehow allowed six of the 14 base runners allowed to find home plate. Strasburg has always maintained strong K Rates and he’s never quite pitched to his peripherals (career 3.21 ERA and 2.90 FIP/2.79 xFIP). The matchup with the Rockies isn’t one to fear. The loss of Corey Dickerson really thins out their lineup against RHP. Strasburg worked up to 85 pitches in his last rehab start, so I’d expect a fairly normal workload (around 100 pitches). Ideally I’d want a discounted price tag if I’m investing in Strasburg over Richards, but our model sees them similarly.
Trevor Bauer (CLE) – The Twins rank 28th in wRC+ against RHP and sport a K Rate of 20.8 percent, which is above the league average. Bauer doesn’t have wide platoon splits but his control is superior against RHBs (12.8 BB Rate vs. LHBs, 7.2 BB Rate vs RHBs) and that represents one of his major weaknesses. With nearly all of the Twins best bats coming from the right side, Bauer has one of the more favorable matchups for his skill set. Like Strasburg and Richards, Bauer comes with some risk. I believe his upside is slightly more muted than the two above, but I think his floor (since his strikeouts are more consistent) is actually a bit more stable.
Additional starting pitcher notes: The risk level increases as we move out of the first two tiers but it comes with less upside. Jaime Garcia (STL) has been excellent when healthy but gets a park downgrade and the Brewers still have a few great options against LHP (Braun, Lucroy, and Khris Davis). Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) grades out well in our model because his K Rate is strong and his peripherals (good GB Rate) are solid, but he’s so incredibly volatile. The Angels are a tough matchup for RHPs now that they’re contact laden. I’d only utilize Jimenez in tournaments. Robbie Ray (ARZ) and Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) are additional tournament options with a bit more risk but far softer price points than the third tier. Foltynewicz has really struggled with lefties and the Marlins demonstrated a willingness to load up on lefties last night, but they’re a below average offense and Foltynewicz has shown strikeout potential. Ray has really outperformed our expectations, particularly in the K Rate. The Reds project as an above average offense against LHP but rank just 15th in wRC+ against lefties this season.
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) Arizona Diamondbacks
2) Washington Nationals
3) Detroit Tigers
4) Boston Red Sox
The Diamondbacks are our favorite team to target while mixing in hitters from Washington, Detroit, and Boston. The first three are all home teams which limits the upside some (risk of no ninth inning at bats) but all have great matchups against weak starters with a poor bullpen behind them.
1) St. Louis Cardinals
2) Miami Marlins
3) Cincinnati Reds
The Cardinals team total isn’t as impressive as the group above, but like their matchup similarly. The challenge is price points force you away from many of their players in cash games, so they’re a better tournament stack target.
The Marlins are a potential low owned tournament winner. Dee Gordon, Derek Dietrich, Christian Yelich, and Justin Bour are a mini-stack that offers power and speed. Foltynewicz is very vulnerable to left handed power and the Braves catchers’ struggle controlling the running game.
The Reds might get overshadowed with the focus on Arizona, but they are built to hit LHP pretty well. Joey Votto handles lefties fine and Phillips/Frazier/Byrd all hit them well.
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.
COL at WSH 7:05: Dry. Temps in the low 80s falling into the mid-70s. Air density is a 7. Wind northeast becoming southeast 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph. The wind blows first in from center and then out to right. The wind is a 4 becoming a 6.
BOS at DET 7:08: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 7-s falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind east-southeast 4-8 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.
MIN at CLE 7:10: A few showers around but they should be widely scattered and rather light. Worst case scenario was a brief delay (10-20%). Temps in the mid-70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northeast 5-10 mph lessening to 3-6 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
CHW at KC 7:10: A 10-20% chance of a delay due to a thunderstorm. Temps in the low to mid 90s falling into the mid-80s. Air density is a 9. Wind south-southeast 10-20 mph with wind gusts past 25 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 9.
STL at MIL 7:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind east-northeast 4-8 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
MIA at ATL 7:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 80s falling into the low 70s. Air density is an 8. Wind north 5-10 mp which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.
CIN at AZ 8:10: Retractable roof. Strangely enough in the desert, there will be thunderstorms around. Temps will be in the mid to upper 90s falling into the low 90s. Air density is a 9. Wind southwest 5-10 mph which blows out to right-center if the roof is open. The wind is a 6.
PHL at SD 8:40: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-northwest 8-16 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
BLT at LAA 9:05: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-southwest 10-20 mph which blows out to right. The wind is an 8.