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August 8 MLB DFS: Bats For Cash
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August 8 MLB DFS: Bats For Cash

00:40 Starting Pitchers
10:42 Catchers
12:32 First Base
14:45 Second Base
17:13 Shortstops
19:25 Third Base
24:07 Outfield
27:48 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks




Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

Tier Two

2) Johnny Cueto (SF)

Tier Three

3) Julio Urias (LAD) – likely limited pitch count

4) Michael Wacha (STL)

5) Kevin Gausman (BAL)

6) Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA)

7) Collin McHugh (HOU)

8) Michael Fulmer (DET)

9) Cole Hamels (TEX)

10) Rob Whalen (ATL)

11) R.A. Dickey (TOR)

A Jose Fernandez (MIA) slate is usually pretty straight forward as the incredible floor and ceiling Fernandez’s K Rate provides makes rostering him an easy decision; however, a matchup against the contact-heavy Giants on a Coors Field slate makes things less clear. The Giants rank 10th in wRC+ against RHP and they have the second lowest K Rate in the league against RHP (17.2 percent). This is despite some of their preeminent contact hitters missing significant time this season. Our projected lineup for the Giants doesn’t have a position player with a projected K Rate higher than 20 percent. It only has two hitters that project for a K Rate above 15 percent against RHP (Belt and Crawford). Fernandez’s elite skills take precedent when projecting the matchup and thus we’re still projecting Fernandez for a very strong 27 percent K Rate but that is 25 percent (nine percentage points) below his seasonal average. With Fernandez priced appropriately on both sites, the decision to roster him can be a difficult one. On DraftKings, the choice is made easy by some soft pricing on the second starting pitcher slot and the hitting. On FanDuel, the decision is more difficult and could be made easier by lineups. If enough punt plays come in good lineup spots, Fernandez’s floor may be worth pursuing. If the punt plays don’t come, it’s likely the salary relief provided by a third tier starter is worthwhile. The reason we skip to the third tier is Johnny Cueto (SF), opposing Fernandez, is priced as a near equivalent.

Our third tier is very deep with starting pitcher options, but the cheapest of the bunch are ranked towards the top of the tier, making the decision for pairing in cash games a bit easier. Julio Urias (LAD) will draw a start for the Dodgers in an exceptionally favorable matchup against the Phillies who rank 30th in wRC+ against LHP with the ninth highest K Rate. The concern for Urias, as always, is pitch count. Urias was often held around 85-90 pitches when pitching as a starter before. He hasn’t started a game since June 28th and in the last five weeks in the bullpen he’s had three appearances of 77, 75, and 51 pitches. Urias is averaging just under 19 pitches per inning this year but the Phillies are averaging just 3.7 pitches per plate appearance against LHP. It’s a great matchup for efficiency, but if Urias is held to just 75-80 pitches it’s possible he won’t even clear five innings. On a per plate appearance basis, he projects better than Cueto on this slate, but it’s difficult to evaluate how deep he can realistically work in this game. Oddly, the incredible efficiency potential coupled with win probability make him a viable tournament target despite the likely low innings number. With Urias a risky cash game target due to innings projection, we’re largely turning our attention to Michael Wacha (STL) in a favorable matchup against the Reds (28th in wRC+ against RHP, 11th highest K Rate). Wacha is cheap ($6,500 on DK, $7,300 on FD), a huge favorite (-190), and has one of the lower implied totals of the third tier starters on the slate (3.8 implied runs against). Wacha’s upside is limited as his K Rate has been below 20 percent in 55 percent of his starts this season, but the opportunity cost and upside at SP on this slate is a bit limited. Fernandez is the only starter with monstrous strikeout upside and his backers will pay a hefty price. Within Wacha’s own tier, Collin McHugh (HOU), Kevin Gausman (BAL), and Cole Hamels (TEX) are the biggest threats from a strikeout perspective and Hamels is in Coors Field. McHugh and Gausman do represent two of our favorite tournament targets but both come with slightly higher implied run totals against and Gausman’s price tag is meaningfully more expensive on both sites.

Catcher Rankings

1) Jonathan Lucroy (TEX)

2) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

3) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

4) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

5) Russell Martin (TOR)

6) Evan Gattis (HOU)

The catcher position is pretty straight forward on this slate and it largely comes down to which price point you’d like to attack. Jonathan Lucroy (TEX) may land a slightly better lineup spot as the Rangers are without the benefit of a DH. Even if he’s not pushed up, sixth on the road in Coors Field, isn’t bad for the plate appearance expectation. He’s in the best environment on the team with the highest implied run total on the slate, but he’s priced appropriately expensive. If you’re going cheap at SP, you have the resources to consider him. If you’re paying up, there is no reason to consider him. On both sites, Stephen Vogt (OAK) is priced at $2,400 which is close to the pure punt price. He usually hits third against RHP and while Kevin Gausman is a good pitcher getting a nice park shift, the price tag and lineup spot make Vogt the best non-Lucroy target for cash games.

First Base Rankings

1) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

2) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

3) Chris Carter (MIL)

4) Chris Davis (BAL)

5) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

6) Joey Votto (CIN)

7) Brandon Belt (SF)

8) Ryan Rua (TEX)

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) tops our first base rankings and is a borderline Top Five overall hitter in our model. Encarnacion will face Jake Odorizzi who is getting a huge park downgrade and has allowed a .330 wOBA and .189 ISO to RHBs since 2015. Encarnacion hits RHP as well as LHP (.396 wOBA, .285 ISO since 2015) and the Jays offense has a healthy 4.8 implied run total on this slate. The well hit rating for Encarnacion is down slightly of late (-0.5) but the $3,900 price tag on DraftKings is egregious. On FanDuel, the decision is more difficult and heavily correlated with your choice of starting pitcher. If spending up, the salary relief provided by Freddie Freeman (ATL) with a huge park boost in Milwaukee represents a fine alternative.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Robinson Cano (SEA)

3) Matt Carpenter (STL)

4) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

5) Logan Forsythe (TB)

6) Scooter Gennett (MIL)

7) Brian Dozier (MIN)

8) Chase Utley (LAD)

9) Dee Gordon (MIA)

10) Rougned Odor (TEX)

Jose Altuve (HOU) represents our top option at second base and he’s priced aggressively on DraftKings ($5,600) and appropriately on FanDuel ($4,000). Tyler Duffey has really struggled with RHBs (.373 wOBA, .227 ISO allowed since 2015) which helps push Altuve into our Top Three hitters overall. He’s a worthy spend if you have the salary but on DraftKings where he’s so expensive we’re also met with a few really good price points on alternatives. Jedd Gyorko (STL) has hit second of late against LHP and faces Cody Reed (.401 wOBA, .262 ISO allowed to RHBs at big league level). Gyorko has hit for power against LHP (.198 ISO since 2015) even if his wOBA has been light (.306) and at just $3,000 it’s an awfully affordable way to get power upside on a Cardinals’ offense that has an implied run total of 5.2 runs. Chase Utley (LAD) is also reasonably priced ($3,500) as the leadoff hitter for the Dodgers (4.7 implied runs) against Zach Eflin (.346 wOBA, .255 ISO allowed to LHBs at big league level). On FanDuel, Robinson Cano ($3,400) rates as a slightly stronger per dollar value if unable to get all the way up to Altuve, but we’d rather emphasize salary relief and drop down to Devon Travis (TOR) if leading off at $2,700. Travis has been hot of late (+0.5) and should benefit from Odorizzi’s reverse splits.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Corey Seager (LAD)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

5) Brad Miller (TB)

Shortstop is a tricky position, especially if you’re paying all the way up for Jose Fernandez on FanDuel. The five ranked options above are all priced up with Carlos Correa (HOU) the cheapest of the bunch on FanDuel and Manny Machado (BAL) priced cheaply ($4,100) on DraftKings. If paying up among the shortstops, we lean towards the cheapest of the bunch, but they’re all in favorable matchups. On FanDuel, the best chance at salary relief is if Orlando Arcia (MIL) continues to hit second. A pure punt price tag and a good lineup spot would make him a strong play at a thin position, despite a questionable offensive skill-set.

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

3) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

4) Manny Machado (BAL)

5) Justin Turner (LAD)

6) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

7) Matt Carpenter (STL)

8) Evan Longoria (TB)

9) Alex Bregman (HOU)

10) Kyle Seager (SEA)

Third base is LOADED on this slate. Two of our Top Five and three of our Top 15 hitters overall are third base eligible players and two more rank inside the Top 30. Nolan Arenado (COL) gets a lefty in Coors Field, but a skilled one in Cole Hamels. As a result, he doesn’t rank significantly ahead of Josh Donaldson (TOR) who faces Odorizzi’s reverse splits in the Rogers Centre. They’re priced identically on both sites and rather affordably. If you need a little salary relief, Adrian Beltre (TEX) is a fine target. The salary relief is a bit stronger on DraftKings (-$700) than FanDuel (-$400) from the top guns. On FanDuel, the salary relief of Alex Bregman ($2,500) may be necessary if you’re paying all the way up for Jose Fernandez. Evan Longoria (TB), Justin Turner (LAD), and Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible, are all very strong tournament targets. They each have favorable matchups but the depth of the position should keep ownership way down.

Outfield Rankings

1) Ian Desmond (TEX)

2) Jose Bautista (TOR)

3) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

4) Carlos Beltran (TEX) – health risk

5) George Springer (HOU)

6) Ryan Braun (MIL)

7) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

8) Matt Holliday (STL)

9) Josh Reddick (LAD)

10) Michael Saunders (TOR)

11) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

12) Ender Inciarte (ATL)

13) Miguel Sano (MIN)

14) Shin Soo Choo (TEX)

15) Adam Jones (BAL)

16) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

17) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

18) Ryan Rua (TEX)

19) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

20) Hernan Perez (MIL) – where eligible

Ian Desmond (TEX) is our top overall hitter on the slate. Tyler Anderson has been very good and his repertoire is well-suited for Coors Field but he’s still allowed a .333 wOBA and .173 ISO to RHBs at the big league level. Desmond is getting a park boost and likely hitting second on the road is a near guaranteed five plate appearances in Coors Field. Desmond is expensive but a viable spend on the slate. Jose Bautista (TOR) is a better value on both sites. The price tag on DraftKings ($3,500) is egregious and we’d consider him a free square. Bautista is skilled against RHP (.386 wOBA, .277 ISO since 2015) and Odorizzi is very vulnerable to RH power. Michael Saunders (TOR) is also way too cheap on DraftKings ($3,400) and while Odorizzi is better against lefties, Saunders is in the middle of a very good lineup and he’s very skilled against RHP. The Rays bullpen also projects as pretty poor. The Cardinals outfielders are more secondary values on DraftKings due to pricing, but on FanDuel Matt Holliday (STL) and Stephen Piscotty (STL) are among the priority values in the outfield. It’s more difficult to find outfield value on FanDuel so we’ll keep an eye out on lineups. If Delino Deshields (TEX) or Thomas Pham (STL) leadoff for either offense, they’d represent potential salary relief targets.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Texas Rangers

Tier Two

2) Toronto Blue Jays

3) Colorado Rockies

4) Milwaukee Brewers

5) St. Louis Cardinals

6) Houston Astros

The Rangers rank as our top stack. The road team in Coors is always getting a park shift and a guaranteed nine innings of plate appearances, so they tend to rank favorably. The Rangers will lose the DH and it’s possible they get away from using Beltran in the outfield which could really thin out the lineup considerably and bring them into the second tier, creating one really large tier. In cash games, we’re largely letting price points dictate as opposed to pursuing mini-stacks. On DraftKings, the pricing leads you to a potential Blue Jays mini-stack thanks to cheap tags on Encarnacion, Bautista, and Saunders. In tournaments, the pricing on the Jays on DraftKings should create ownership situations that rival the Coors Field game. The Cardinals, Brewers, and Astros represent the most interesting pivots in tournaments.

Additional Tournament Stacks

Baltimore Orioles – A substantial park downgrade for the Orioles has resulted in a more modest team total (4.5 implied runs) but the A’s bullpen is really struggling and worn down after a weekend set with the Cubs. Kendall Graveman doesn’t miss bats which gives a lot of balls in play for a team that thrives on power. The park should keep ownership in check and the Orioles home run upside earns tournament consideration in large fields as a contrarian target.

MLB Daily Analysis

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