SportGrid Radio SportsGrid
MLB Daily Analysis

5/1 MLB DFS: Let Mike and Ike guide you on Friday

5/1 MLB DFS: Let Mike and Ike guide you on Friday
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

MLB DFS Daily Fantasy Rundown – May 1st, 2015 – Ike Davis is a DFS Value Play

Welcome to Friday’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.

Glossary: See a term you’re unfamiliar with? Check out our glossary page. If there’s something you’d like to see added there, please email us at

Weather: No major concerns. 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.


Top Play:

Buster Posey (SF) – Posey is our top catcher play today due to his absurd skills against LHP. When you look at wRC+, which is park adjusted, only Jose Abreu and Paul Goldschmidt have a better mark since 2012. It’s particularly impressive that Posey has posted a .251 ISO against southpaws in that time frame given that his home park is a huge drain on power numbers. Posey will square off against CJ Wilson today. Wilson has allowed a .327 wOBA and 22 LD rate to RHBs since 2012, and he’s currently being hit hard as no other pitcher this season has allowed a higher exit velocity (speed of the ball off the bat) than Wilson’s 96.93 mph. With all this said, the gap between Posey and the value plays isn’t massive. San Francisco is the worst hitter’s park and this game has a very low total of 7, heavily pushing 6.5. I’d prefer my exposure to Posey to come on a site like FanDuel where walks and simply not making outs are of a lot more importance than on a site like DraftKings (no negatives for outs, walks are valued less than a single).

Value Plays:

Stephen Vogt (OAK) – Vogt ends up on our value list quite often as the catcher list immediately gets shrunk when removing guys outside of the top five or six lineup spots from cash game consideration. Vogt is in a money lineup spot, hitting third for the Athletics against RHP. The matchup really can’t get much better either. He gets a big park shift in his favor and will face Colby Lewis who has allowed a .358 wOBA and 1.26 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. The Athletics team total will likely settle in at a healthy 4.5.

Evan Gattis (HOU) – Gattis is off to a horrific start. He was never known for his plate discipline but an early reduction in BB rate and large increase of K rate to 31.6 percent is a bit worrisome. I’d probably defer to Posey and Vogt in cash games as a result, but there’s still enough upside here to use Gattis in tournaments or cash games if he’s meaningfully discounted from the other two options. He’s got a career .224 ISO and hit over 20 HRs in just over 100 games each of the past two seasons. We don’t often see that kind of pop from a catcher, and Gattis will be home today against Roenis Elias who is an average to below average southpaw.

Additional catcher notes: Alternative catcher options include Carlos Santana (CLE) (where eligible, better versus southpaws and Mark Buehrle isn’t missing any bats), Victor Martinez (DET) (struggling as he plays through an injury but at a favorable price in a high upside matchup deserves tournament consideration), Brian McCann (NYY) (unfavorable park shift but Justin Masterson has historically struggled versus LHBs and is dealing with reduced velocity), Alex Avila (DET) (poor lineup spot but HR upside with the platoon edge against an extreme fly ball pitcher in Chris Young) and Ryan Hanigan (BOS) (cheapest viable punt option).

First Base

Top Play:

Miguel Cabrera (DET) – The Royals are trotting out 96 year old Chris Young to the mound. Okay, he’s not actually 96, he’s 35 but it feels like he’s been old forever. Young allows a ton of upside for opposing hitters since he doesn’t strike anyone out and allows an extreme amount of aerial contact (low 20s GB rate since 2011). As an extreme fly ball pitcher (tendency to have lower than average BABIPs, HR/FB rate), Young will never be as bad as his xFIPs indicate and can be frustrating to stack against in cash games (for the outings that the fly balls stay in the park and find mitts) but he’s as strong of a bet to give up a long ball as any pitcher in action. Miguel Cabrera is one of the best hitters in the game and has some of the most even splits. He’s likely too expensive for cash games but our top ranked first baseman and third ranked hitter overall (Stanton, Trout).

Value Plays:

Ike Davis (OAK) – Sometimes it’s tough to go cheap at first base given the opportunity cost of the position, but we’ve got two strong options today that will help provide the necessary cap relief to fit in one of today’s top starting pitchers (Harvey, Scherzer). The first is Ike Davis. The cap relief he offers on DraftKings in particular is rare. At $2,700 he really stands out. Davis will hit fifth in Texas against Colby Lewis, who as we mentioned in Vogt’s blurb struggles versus LHBs, particularly in terms of power (Davis’ strength). The early results for Davis have been mixed. He is off to a slow start power wise (.129 ISO) due to hitting a lot of ground balls, which is a touch concerning. However, his plate discipline has been great. He’s swinging and missing less often, leading to a very low 12.7 K percentage. Note that Davis cut his K rate down quite a bit last season as well. We’ll continue to monitor the GB rate as the season progresses, but it’s not something to quibble over this early in the season, especially in light of the price and matchup.

Mike Napoli (BOS) – For the third straight season, Sabathia has an xFIP way better than his actual ERA. While generally this is a way to spot an unlucky pitcher, Sabathia is an exception due in large part to his reduced velocity. Here’s his average fastball velocity from 2011-2015: 93.8/92.3/91.1/88.8/88.8. Not surprisingly the LD rate has elevated accordingly (good so far this year though) as has the HR/FB rate (12.5/13.0/23.3/15.0 from 2012-15). As a result, Sabathia has allowed a .333 wOBA and 1.24 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012. Given that there are legitimate reasons behind Sabathia’s poor “luck” stats, it’s best to focus on those actual results versus the xFIP. The powerful Mike Napoli is then a comparable option to Ike Davis for around the same price on FanDuel.

Additional first base notes: Joey Votto (CIN) is a secondary value across the industry as he’ll face a wild RHP in Michael Foltynewicz who his making his MLB debut. Jose Abreu (CWS) can be considered in both cash games and tournaments on FanDuel. $4,000 is simply too low of a price for him. The White Sox will take on a struggling Kyle Gibson (twice as many BBs as Ks; high LD rate, low IFFB rate). Other tournament options include Edwin Encarnacion (TOR), Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Adam LaRoche (CWS).

Second Base

Top Play:

Jose Altuve (HOU) – Altuve is the logical top play at second base. With him you have a budding star (absurdly low 7.5 K rate last season has carried over to this year) who is on the correct side of the platoon edge (career .386 wOBA and surprisingly solid .138 ISO against LHP). Throw in the elite stolen base upside and home field edge, and Altuve is where you want to go against an average at best LHP in Roenis Elias. He’s not overly expensive anywhere so can be considered in all formats.

Value Plays:

Dee Gordon (MIA) – Gordon isn’t as talented as Altuve (strikes out about twice as much), but like Altuve he has a solid contact rate, elite stolen base upside and holds the platoon edge. He’ll face Jerome Williams, who is one of our favorite pitchers to target. Williams has allowed a .345 wOBA to LHBs since 2012 and is off to a dismal start this year. He’s allowing a whopping 31 percent LD rate early on and that’s especially worrisome in light of his 89.3 mph average fastball (91.3 or higher since 2011). Gordon is particularly underpriced on FanDuel where there is no penalty for a caught stealing.

Robinson Cano (SEA) – Cano has around a 52 percent GB rate, which is right in line with what it was last season. As a result, he no longer has that power upside he held with the Yankees so expectations need to be adjusted. That lack of power, especially against a heavy GB pitcher in Sam Deduno, has me leaning towards Gordon where similarly priced. However, Cano still holds value. Despite the lack of power, Cano’s been successful at the plate due to a high LD rate and relatively low K rate. Deduno keeps the ball on the ground but doesn’t have great control and just an average K rate. ZiPS projects a 4.75 ROS ERA for him and given that he’s pitched in relief all year long, Cano may get some advantageous at bats against the Astros bullpen.

Dustin Pedroia (BOS) – Pessimistically, Pedroia’s hot start is mostly due to an unsustainable HR/FB rate so I’m not completely soothed he’s over the power issues that plagued him last season. Optimistcally, the early long balls are a sign of renewed health. Pedroia dealt with a wrist injury last season, and those can completely derail a hitter. Either way, he’s not priced as a top second baseman so that may be okay. On DraftKings, Pedroia is $600-$1,100 cheaper than the aforementioned second baseman. Even if there’s not much power there, Pedroia’s strong eye at the plate and generally healthy LD rates make him a useful Fantasy asset at second base. He benefits from a strong home matchup against CC Sabathia.

Additional second base notes: Brian Dozier (MIN) is a tournament option given the pop he’s displayed against LHP. Other tournament options include Chase Utley (PHI) and Eric Sogard (OAK), but for the most part I’d stick with the written up second basemen this evening.


Top Play: Troy Tulowitzki (COL) (unless you just happen to have cap relief, which I don’t envision happening in cash games, Tulowitzki is best reserved for use in tournament plays given a same handed matchup in pitcher friendly Petco Park)

Value Plays:

Marcus Semien (OAK) – With Ben Zobrist out, Semien has moved up to the second spot in the Oakland order and is certainly playing like he deserves it. Early on, Semien is putting the ball in play much more often than last year (K rate has dropped from 27.5 percent to 18.9), and that’s supported by improvements in both chase rate and swstr%. Semien has solid pop for a middle infielder and could approach a 20 HR season if his K rate stays below 20 percent. He’ll get a park swing in his favor playing in Texas and has nice HR upside against Colby Lewis (.325 wOBA, 1.40 HR/9 allowed to RHBs since 2012). At a scarce position, he’s a great cash game option on FanDuel but an aggressive price point on DraftKings makes him more of a tournament pay.

Jimmy Rollins (LAD) – I’m admittedly not a big fan of the aging Rollins, but his price point is so fair around the industry that he becomes the default cheap shortstop option in cash games. It’s tough to find a viable punt at shortstop, but Rollins ($2,800 FD, $3,600 DK) gives you just that. He’ll leadoff and has a good matchup. Despite how well Rubby de la Rosa has been pitching (improved control is important), it’s tough to completely ignore the .371 wOBA and 24.1 LD rate allowed to the 314 LHBs he’s faced in his career. And even though I’m not a fan of Rollins, he still runs (around a 25 SB guy over a full season) with decent pop for a shortstop. He’s just a logical option given the limited choices at the position.

Additional shortstop notes: Alcides Escobar (KC) would be a secondary value if he’s able to return to the lineup today (was hit in the head with a fastball the other day). Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is a nice upside option with the platoon edge against Sabathia, but his low lineup spot makes him a better tournament option. A final punt option is Mike Aviles (CLE). He generally hits second against LHP for Cleveland, is very low priced and faces Mark Buehrle (high LD rate allowed currently, very low swstr%).

Third Base

Value Plays:

Kyle Seager (SEA) – Let’s not overcomplicate this. Seager is a viable option because he has a fair price point, is a solid hitter (.337, .346 wOBA previous two seasons; power increased last year and early plate discipline returns this year are encouraging) and has the platoon edge against a subpar RHP in Samuel Deduno in Houston (positive park shift for Seager).

Adrian Beltre (TEX) – I hate picking on a pitcher that I really like (Scott Kazmir), but for $2,900 on FanDuel, Beltre is at a price where he needs to be considered with the platoon edge at home. At first glance Beltre’s EYE (.86) should be encouraging. However, he’s obtained that strong EYE by reducing both his BB and K rates rather substantially early on. Some times with older players, they become more aggressive in order to make more contact but sacrifice power to do so. That could be what’s happening with Beltre as his GB rate is currently a career high to go along with the low BB and K rates. This could be due to small sample size but is something worth monitoring as the season progresses. Given some concerns there and how good Kazmir has been, I’ll personally look elsewhere if I can help it (FanDuel price is so tempting), but our model rates Beltre as a good value given his pricing and the environment tonight.

Evan Longoria (TB) – Note that despite being the Rays being listed as the road team, this game is being played in Tampa Bay. While that’s not good for Longoria (Baltimore is a much better hitter’s park), Longoria has a very nice matchup against Chris Tillman. Despite being right handed, Tillman has yielded a ton of power to same handed hitters since 2012 (1.41 HR/9). ZiPS project those issues to last to an extent, calling for Tillman to post a .158 ISO and .033 HR/batter faced against RHBs. By now you’ve surely noticed that we aren’t big believers in BvP, but I’ve got no problems pointing out that Longoria’s six HRs in 36 at bats against Tillman meshes with what we are seeing from a splits perspective.

Additional third base notes: Brett Lawrie (OAK) has relatively even splits and is facing a pitcher in Colby Lewis that yields a lot of power to RHBs. I’d consider him a strong tournament option and potential cash game value depending on lineup spot. Other good tournament options include Pablo Sandoval (BOS) and Chase Headley (NYY).


Top Play:

Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) – Stanton is not only our top outfielder on the day but top overall hitter. At age 25, the best power hitter in the game is in his prime. Stanton has a career .271 ISO, and the crazy thing early on is he’s hitting more fly balls (45.3 percent), which means more HRs even if the HR/FB rate is unchanged. It’s obviously early, but hitters of Stanton’s age and prospect status are prone to generate more loft as they develop. That frankly would just be added upside though. The Stanton of the past three years will do just fine against Jerome Williams. It’s a same handed matchup but Stanton’s superior skill set and Williams’ inferior skill set still make him one of the best options to spend on tonight. As noted in Dee Gordon‘s blurb, Williams is struggling with velocity and hard hit contact early on.

Next in line: Mike Trout (LAA)

Value Plays:

George Springer (HOU) – We were ringing the Springer bell early and often early in the season and this past week has shown why. Springer has a rare combination of HR/SB upside and is in a great lineup spot (third) for an Astros offense that has some upside despite their strikeout woes. Springer carries high risk (30-plus K percentage) so I’d be wary of consistently paying full price for him (he’s full priced on DraftKings currently), but the $3,900 tag on FanDuel is still too low given his upside in a home matchup with the platoon edge.

Hanley Ramirez/Mookie Betts (BOS) – While Ramirez being absolutely scorching hot at the plate certainly doesn’t hurt our confidence in this selection, the recommendation is based on the matchup and environment. We touched on Sabathia’s issues in Napoli’s blurb, and Ramirez has historically been great against LHP. For his career, he has a great 145 wRC+ against southpaws with a .225 ISO. While Fenway Park slightly deflates power from the left side of the plate, it slightly enhances power from the right side of the plate, ranking above average in HRs and best in doubles. The $4,400 tag for Ramirez on FanDuel isn’t excessive (allaying concerns of him being overpriced due to the hot streak), and while the $5,000 tag on DraftKings is starting to get expensive, the ability to slot him at a weak shortstop position enhances his value. Rookie Mookie Betts is a nice option as the Red Sox leadoff hitter for a middle of the pack price on most sites. Betts is off to a slow start, but his peripherals are okay. He has good patience for a young hitter (walking 10 percent of the time) and his 17 K rate isn’t bad. It also projects to improve based both on projections systems and his low chase rate and swstr%. Betts also generates decent loft and is a 15-30 threat over a full season (why his stock rose so aggressively in redraft leagues).

Joc Pederson (LAD) – If Pederson leads off again for the Dodgers, he’s simply underpriced. The highly touted rookie went 33-30 in 121 AAA games last season. Just let that sync in. Pederson is surely an “event” player and we like to target those in DFS. Despite striking out a lot, Pederson doesn’t have poor plate discipline. He simply swings hard (high swstr%) but he chases pitches outside of the zone less than the average player and will certainly settle into a double digit walk rate. Aside from the encouraging BB rate early on, Pederson’s batted ball profile is delightful: 22.2 LD rate, 36.1 GB rate, 41.7 FB rate. He’ll be a low BA guy due to the Ks but this batted ball profile allows him considerable power upside without completely tanking in the BA department. Opposing pitcher Rubby de la Rosa has made some improvements early on this season but still projects to be a below average starter ROS by most projections systems and has struggled quite a bit with LHBs in his short career.

Lorenzo Cain (KC) – Cain will hit third for a Royals team that should have success against southpaw Kyle Lobstein. As Tony Cincotta said on last night’s podcast, the Royals don’t strike out and Lobstein struggles missing bats (5.81 K/9 in 57.1 IP). Look for the Royals to put a ton of balls in play, which certainly enhances their DFS upside. ZiPS has Lobstein projected to allow a healthy .359 wOBA and .177 ISO to RHBs. Cain is in the best position to take advantage of this. He’s hitting third for the Royals, has the platoon edge and possesses nice stolen base upside, all for a middle of the pack price.

Sam Fuld (OAK) – Look, Sam Fuld is not a good offensive player by any stretch of the imagination (career .293 wOBA is in line with what projections systems expect). However, he can draw a walk (10.1 BB percentage), will run when he gets on base (about a 30 steal guy over a full season) and quite frankly he’s as cheap as a leadoff hitter will come on an offense projected to have success (A’s have a 4.5 team total).

Carlos Beltran (NYY) – With more viable options on DraftKings around $4k than usual, I’ll likely eschew Beltran. However, for the bare minimum on FanDuel he needs to be considered in cash games. Opposing pitcher Justin Masterson has allowed a .353 wOBA to LHBs since 2012. On top of that he’s really struggling this season. Both a high 22.7 LD rate and low 87.2 mph fastball are warning signs. For comparison’s sake, Masterson averaged 88.9 mph on his fastball last year and never less than 91.3 mph prior to that. It’s not a good park shift for Beltran but he’ll hit fifth for a Yankees offense that should get to Masterson.

Additional outfield notes: Carlos Gonzalez (COL) is a nice contrarian tournament option (low price against Ian Kennedy who blew up last time out but lineup spot and park will lead to him being overlooked). The Tigers outfield can be considered in both cash games and tournaments. JD Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes have high HR upside, while Anthony Gose is way too cheap on DraftKings and has significant stolen base upside if he can get on against Chris Young. Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner are strong tournament options. Secondary values include Jay Bruce (CIN) and the rest of the Dodgers outfield (Ethier, Van Slyke). Chris Carter (HOU) is also a secondary value on FanDuel, and his strong power upside makes him tournament viable everywhere. If you want to pick on Jerome Williams but can’t quite afford Stanton, look to teammate Marcell Ozuna (MIA). Justin Upton (SD) neither has the platoon edge or a good park, but he’s a good guy to get some tournament exposure to simply based on his overall skill set and Eddie Butler‘s as well.

Starting Pitcher

Rankings (price not considered):

Tier 1

1a) Matt Harvey (NYM)

1b) Max Scherzer (WAS)

Tier 2

3) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)

4) Lance Lynn (STL)

5) Scott Kazmir (OAK)

Tier 3

6) Roenis Elias (SEA)

7) Anthon DeSclafani (CIN)

8) Ian Kennedy (SD)

9) Chris Heston (SF)

10) Jose Quintana (CWS)

11) Rubby de la Rosa (ARI)

12) Alex Colome (TB)

13) AJ Burnett (PIT)

14) CJ Wilson (LAA)

15) Michael Foltynewicz (ATL)

Top Play:

Matt Harvey (NYM) – Quite frankly, it’s tough to go wrong with either Harvey or Scherzer this evening and both are ranked incredibly close in our pitcher model. It’s not a bad day to suck up your pride and split your cash game rosters between the two. The one I’ll have more exposure too is Harvey. There are series of tiny tiebreakers that all seem to lean Harvey’s way. He’s at home. He’s the favored pitcher in this game (-115). Scherzer is dealing with a minor thumb injury and Harvey has no such ailments. Finally, Harvey is cheaper on most sites. All those little things add up to make me feel just a touch more confident in Harvey. He’s showed no rust in coming back from Tommy John Surgery as his fastball velocity is identical to what it was in his magnificent 2013 campaign. Between that and good control (awesome 70.1 F-Strike% has led to a minuscule 2.8 BB percentage), there’s no reason to doubt Harvey who is striking out 10.46 batters per 9 and boasts a 2.68 xFIP (2.63 in 2013).

Next in line:

Max Scherzer (WAS) – Scherzer has struck out around 28-29 percent of the batters he’s faced the last few seasons and now projects to set a career low in ERA with a move to the NL. He’s absolutely a viable alternative option to Harvey and while most of my small tiebreakers lean the way of Harver, Scherzer does face a much tamer offense than Harvey does. Of all the offenses in action tonight (after taking into account handedness of opposing pitcher), the Nationals offense ranks as above average and the Mets offense below average. Both teams are a touch below average in projected K percentage. Given the respective skill sets of Scherzer and Harvey and a game with a total of just 6, you’ll want to stick with one of them in cash game on one starting pitcher sites.

Value Plays:

Carlos Carrasco (CLE) – Carrasco struggled last time out, but he really didn’t pitch that poorly. He mostly got BABIPed to death by a very good Detroit offense. Now it’s a very small sample size (14.2 IP), so we won’t go overboard but all early indications from Carrasco’s peripheral statistics (1.62 xFIP) indicate that last year’s breakout season can be repeated, at least to an extent. Carrasco showed a superior ability in all three core statistics last season: 26.5 K percentage, 5.5 BB percentage, 52.8 GB rate. That’s an extremely rare combination and in a small sample size this season he’s remarkably been better in all three categories. So, while Carrasco faces another tough offense in the Toronto Blue Jays, he has to be strongly considered as a second starting pitcher on a site like DraftKings where the price has tailed off following his disappointing last outing. It should also be noted that with Jose Reyes out, Carrasco will hold the platoon edge on the Blue Jays top four hitters (Travis, Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion). They’ll sport a maximum of four LHBs, none of which are that fearsome and all of which project to K 20-plus percent of the time against RHP.

Scott Kazmir (OAK) – As I’ve noted a couple of times over the past week, I’m emphasizing early season peripherals a bit more with starting pitchers since health is so important with starting pitchers and can be difficult to assess. One way to avoid mistakes is to steer clear of starting pitchers with warning signs. Most of them likely regress to expected levels as the season progresses, but by focusing on pitchers with extremely sharp peripherals (like Carrasco or Kazmir), we ensure we won’t be taking damaged goods even if we don’t expect the actual production to last. In Kazmir’s case, he’s traded off some line drives for ground balls, shown a slight uptick in velocity and is posting great SwStr and F-Strike percentages. I think it’s reasonable to expect production somewhere between what he’s done the past two seasons in terms of xFIP (3.59 and 3.36 and 3.59) and K percentage (24.1 and 21.1). Kazmir gets a very negative park shift pitching at Texas, but he’ll face a Texas team that really struggles against LHP. At the very best they have to start three LHBs and outside of Adrian Beltre, most of the RHBs are underwhelming. Elvis Andrus, Robinson Chirinos, Jake Smolinski, Adam Rosales and Delino DeShields were the other RHBs who started last time the team faced a LHP. They were dismantled at home by JA Happ. There’s definitely some risk here as a result of the park and a decent team total for Texas (four), but Kazmir can still be used on multiple starting pitcher sites. Of our tier two ranked starting pitchers, he’s the cheapest on DraftKings.

Additional starting pitcher notes: Lance Lynn (STL) is a high upside option in his favorable home park. While the Pirates have a solid offense, they’ll likely only be able to get in three LHBs, which is great news for Lynn since he is a wide splits guy who dominates RHBs (.284 wOBA, 26.7 K percentage since 2012). Roenis Elias (SEA) is a tournament option on multiple starting pitcher sites. There’s considerable risk here as the Astros can do a lot of damage against a below average LHP in Houston, but it’s also rare to get so much K upside (due to the Astros swing and miss ways) out of a cheap second pitcher. Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) is someone Eno Sarris of Fangraphs had pegged as a breakout candidate heading into the year and so far Sarris looks spot on. DeSclafani has a solid K/BB ratio with a league average GB rate and extremely low LD rate allowed (inducing weak contact). Perhaps most impressive early on has been a 12.0 SwStr%, a level associated with pitchers who strike out a batter per inning. He’s a definite tournament option. The rest of the pitching options will be easier to sort through once lineups are released, but for the time being I’d focus on the top 10 ranked starting pitchers in all formats.

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 ( if you have suggestions.

Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:

1) Oakland Athletics

2) Boston Red Sox

3) Detroit Tigers

4) Miami Marlins

5) Kansas City Royals

These are the five stacks that pop most in our model and we covered at least one hitter from every single one of these teams in the positional analysis. The Athletics offer the most value as you can fit in low cost options such as Ike Davis and Sam Fuld, which lets you get exposure to a high upside stack without sacrificing starting pitching. The Red Sox have a really deep offensive team and are just simply flooded with upside. Sabathia’s LD rate is down this year, but aside from that all signs point towards his 2014 struggles repeating. The next three stacks all carry a bit more risk in my opinion. The Tigers have massive HR upside but as mentioned in the Analysis, you can end up disappointing picking on Young when the fly balls are finding mitts and not going over the fence. The Marlins are in a poor offensive park but Jerome Wiliams is a really bad pitcher. Plus, it’s always nice to get the combination of elite stolen base and home run upside that rostering both Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton allows.

Contrarian/Secondary Stacks:

To be perfectly honest, there are so many mediocre to bad pitchers in action for tonight’s 14 game slate that you could make a case for a GPP stack for pretty much any team. As a result, rather than trying to identify particular stacks, I’ll share some notes on starting pitchers who have early warning signs that could indicate their performances will end worse than the market expects (so not necessarily the worst starting pitchers, just the ones that are disappointing most relative to their baseline projections).

  • Jerome Williams – velo down 2 mph, tons of LDs at expense of GBs
  • Tom Koehler – low swstr%, f-strike%
  • Mark Buehrle – terrible swstr%, high LD rate
  • Justin Masterson – low swstr%, f-strike; velo is really bad and in decline for second straight year
  • Kyle Gibson – twice as many BBs as Ks; only strength previously was weak contact, now has high LD rate and low IFFB rate; swstr regression from a year ago
  • Jose Quintana – low swstr rate and GB reduction has led to LD, FB increases
  • Chris Tillman – more aerial contact and BBs, likely result of low f-strike%

A couple of other stacks I like that wouldn’t be derived from the above list are the Astros (boom or bust nature is perfect for GPPs) and then the teams facing pitchers making their first starts of the year (Orioles, Reds, Mariners, Diamondbacks). As I said, the reality of the tournament situation tonight is that there is a large array of directions you could go. Perhaps the best bet as a result is to try and organize mini-stacks together (3-3-2, 4-3-1, etc.).

MLB Game Weather Forecasts

BLT at TB 7:05: Dome. (Baltimore is the home team but it is played in St. Petersburg, FL)

NYY at BOS 7:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 40s falling into the mid 40s. Air density is a 3. Wind northeast at 6-12 mph becoming southeast 5-10 mph. The wind blows in from center and then in from right. The wind is a 4.

TOR at CLE 7:10: Dry. Temps near 60 falling into the low 50s. Air density is a 5 becoming a 4. Wind northwest 6-12 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind to start blows in from left. The wind is a 4 becoming a 5.

WSH at NYM 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid 50s falling to near 50. Air density is a 5 becoming a 4. Wind south-southeast at 4-8 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.

PHI at MIA 7:10: Retractable roof. Looks so dry so I will assume the roof will be open. Temps near 80 falling into the mid 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind north-northwest 6-12 mph becoming 4-8 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.

CIN at ATL 7:35: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s falling to near 60. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind north-northwest 8-16 mph becoming 5-10 mph which blows from left to right or in from left at times. The wind is a 4.

OAK at TEX 8:05: Dry. Temps in the upper 70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 4-8 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4.

DET at KC 8:10: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind south-southeast at 5-10 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.

CHW at MIN 8:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s falling to near 60. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind south-southeast 5-10 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.

SEA at HOU 8:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the low 70s. So, like last night, the roof should be open. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 4-8 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows out to left to begin the game. The wind is a 6 becoming a 5.

PIT at STL 8:15: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the low 60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.

AZ at LAD 10:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 8-16 mph becoming 5-10 mph late which blows out to right. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.

COL at SD 10:10: Dry. Temps in the mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northwest 8-16 mph becoming 5-10 mph late which blows in from left. The wind is a 3 becoming a 4.

LAA at SF 10:15: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west 10-20 mph becoming 7-14 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.

MLB Daily Analysis