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July 24 MLB DFS: Correa’s Weapons of Mass Destruction
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July 24 MLB DFS: Correa’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

00:54 Starting Pitchers
13:13 Catchers
14:41 First Base
18:44 Second Base
22:09 Shortstop
23:36 Third Base
25:42 Outfield
28:16 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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JULY 24 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Corey Kluber (CLE)

2) Jon Lester (CHC)

Tier Two

3) Jameson Taillon (PIT)

4) Vincent Velasquez (PHI)

5) Lucas Giolito (WAS)

Tier Three

6) Rick Porcello (BOS)

7) Mike Fiers (HOU)

8) Steve Matz (NYM)

9) J.A. Happ (TOR)

10) Jose Quintana (CHW)

Sunday’s main slate has two clear cut top options, albeit in difficult environments for run prevention. Corey Kluber (CLE) and Jon Lester (CHC) rank similarly with Kluber possessing the stronger strikeout upside in a matchup he’ll hold the platoon advantage throughout much of the lineup. Kluber has held RHBs to a .247 wOBA and .117 ISO while striking out nearly 27.8 percent of RHBs since the start of last season. The Orioles rank fourth in wRC+ against RHP but do strike out at the eighth highest clip. Without Hyun-Soo Kim, the Orioles will likely field a lineup with just three or four LHBs (Davis, Alvarez, Wieters, and perhaps Flaherty). The risk on run prevention in Camden Yards with mid 90s weather is significant but the strikeout upside is equally significant. Lester faces a Brewers’ offense that ranks 22nd in wRC+ against LHP with a league leading 24.2 K Rate against LHP. Despite the struggles this season, the Brewers’ lineup features three hitters (Braun, Villar, and Carter) with significant recent success against LHP and another (Lucroy) who hasn’t hit LHP well recently but historically has been pretty good. The Brewers’ don’t have a ton of depth so if they rest some of these starters on Sunday, Lester could easily jump Kluber in our rankings. While neither pitcher is a particularly exciting play at their price tag, the lack of alternatives make one of the two a building block in cash games.

The second tier of starters features three inexperienced starters with big upside that are pitching in favorable environments. Jameson Taillon (PIT) has the best matchup of the bunch against the Phillies who rank 28th in wRC+, 13th in K Rate, and may be without their best hitter (Maikel Franco) due to injury. Taillon has one of the lowest implied run totals against (3.7 runs) and pitches in a great park against a predominantly RH heavy lineup. The concern for Taillon is the K Rate. Through six big league starts he has posted just a 6.6 swinging strike rate and struck out only 17.5 percent of batters faced. He did strike out just under 26 percent of batters in AAA, so there is hope for a bump, but the low swinging strike rate makes it difficult to count on. Taillon is our favorite complementary starter on DraftKings and a viable SP1 on FanDuel thanks to a cheap tag ($6,800). Lucas Giolito (WAS) faces a Padres’ offense that ranks 27th in wRC+ and has the highest K Rate against RHP. Their offense has been more potent over the last month against RHP through the additions of Yangervis Solarte, Ryan Schimpf, and Travis Jankowski. As a result, they’ve been a bit less strike out prone of late and they’re a little more dangerous than their year-to-date statistics suggest. The Padres have an implied run total of just 3.8 runs, but Giolito’s profile (due to command issues) looks more volatile than Taillon’s. The price tags are similar and the K upside may be more significant, but we view Giolito as a better tournament pivot. For risk-takers, he’s viable on DraftKings if fading the two expensive starters to load up on offense.

The rest of the starting pitchers are difficult to consider in cash games. Vincent Velasquez (PHI) is the most skilled but the Pirates aren’t a particularly great matchup and the price tag remains elevated. Steven Matz (NYM) and Rick Porcello (BOS) are likely the best tournament alternatives but for differing reasons. Matz has the better skill-set but faces a RH heavy Marlins’ attack that is more potent against LHP. They do strikeout more (23.3 percent) bringing in play some of the upside, but Matz’s own volatility with hard hit rates, makes him a better tournament play. Porcello gets a Twins’ offense that ranks 22nd in wRC+ against RHP and has the 11th highest K Rate. Porcello is also a huge favorite and on sites like FanDuel where the win is emphasized and WHIP is de-emphasized, he could score well enough to earn tournament consideration just by pitching deep and grabbing the win. If you’re uncomfortable with the upside of the mid-tier SP on DraftKings, Mike Fiers (HOU) is viable as a salary relief cash game alternative. We’ve been going this route more frequently through the summer months where the scoring environments are stronger overall. The Angels’ offense doesn’t strikeout which brings risk to Fiers’ floor and ceiling but the price tag would allow you to load up on offense. We don’t think it’s necessary without Coors Field, but it’s a viable route.

Catcher Rankings

1) Welington Castillo (ARZ)

2) Brian McCann (NYY)

3) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

4) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

5) Buster Posey (SF)

With Welington Castillo (ARZ) getting the day off on Saturday and the Diamondbacks’ facing a LHP on Sunday, he’ll likely be in the lineup on Sunday. He’s our top ranked catcher and an elite play on FanDuel ($2,800) but the pricing on DraftKings ($5,200) makes him a tournament only target. Castillo owns an impressive .386 wOBA and .269 ISO against LHP since the start of 2015. Brian McCann (NYY) carries the same price tag on FanDuel but is cheaper on DraftKings ($3,600). Jeff Samardzija has been crushed by LHBs of late (.359 wOBA and .234 ISO since 2015) and now has to pitch with a short right field porch behind him. If you can’t afford McCann’s mid-tier price tag on DraftKings, J.T. Realmuto (MIA) is priced almost like a punt ($2,700) and typically leads off against LHP.

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

4) Joey Votto (CIN)

5) Brandon Belt (SF)

6) Chris Davis (BAL)

7) David Ortiz (BOS)

8) Carlos Santana (CLE)

9) Jose Abreu (CHW)

10) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

Paul Goldschmidt‘s (ARZ) elite track record against LHP (.446 wOBA, .235 ISO since 2015) gets a friendly matchup with Brandon Finnegan (.333 wOBA, .208 ISO allowed since 2015). Goldschmidt is priced appropriately on both sites but as one of our top overall hitters, he projects as a fine value as well. The challenge is the depth of the position and the values, makes it a bit more difficult to justify spending up for Goldschmidt in cash games. On DraftKings, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives like: Brandon Belt (SF), Chris Davis ($3,200), Miguel Cabrera ($3,000), and Kendrys Morales ($2,600) who all have the platoon advantage. Belt has been incredibly cold of late (11-58 with 22 K in July) so if you want to fade the recent contact issues, that’s a viable approach. Chris Davis has a tough matchup with Kluber but is under-priced so we’re gravitating towards Miguel Cabrera who has a nice park upgrade and the platoon advantage against Jose Quintana. The only concern with Cabrera is the suspended game goes long and he gets a rest-day if the Tigers don’t want him playing both ends of a “double-header”. On FanDuel, pricing overall is a bit softer and you can fit in Goldschmidt at $4,000 or take the extreme value of Chris Davis ($2,700) or split the difference and jam in Red Sox exposure with Hanley Ramirez (BOS) at $3,500. Ramirez isn’t as great of a hitter as all the overall options, but the Red Sox are routinely getting caught in limbo as values at all the positions. The Twins bullpen is bad and taxed and Tommy Milone has allowed a .331 wOBA and .171 ISO to RHBs since the start of 2015. While Hanley might not be the best pure dollar value in our model, it’s an acceptable route to take a softer matchup and pay a slightly heftier price tag for it.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

3) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

4) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

5) Jean Segura (ARI)

6) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

7) Ian Kinsler (DET)

8) Brian Dozier (MIN)

9) Rougned Odor (TEX)

10) Neil Walker (NYM)

11) Robinson Cano (SEA)

Jose Altuve (HOU) is one of the top overall hitters on this slate. Tim Lincecum has been destroyed by RHBs (.422 wOBA, .204 ISO since 2015) and he’s done most of that in elite pitching environments and in the National League. Altuve’s priced accordingly on both sites, but projects as a fine cash game target as part of an Astros’ offense with an implied team total around 5.5 runs. Ben Zobrist (CHC) ranks as one of the strongest values on DraftKings ($3,700) as he gets a nice park shift and Junior Guerra projects to struggle against LHBs. Guerra hasn’t struggled with lefties so far but has allowed a 37.3 percent hard hit rate to LHBs. Dustin Pedroia (BOS) is another Red Sox option that falls a bit in limbo. His skill set is in decline but he’s still pretty good against LHP (.339 wOBA, .144 ISO since 2015) and especially at home (.410 wOBA, .143 ISO against LHP at home this season – .415 wOBA, .189 ISO against LHP at home last season) because of his extreme pull approach. This is another position you may want to force some Red Sox exposure with Pedroia.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

3) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

5) Trea Turner (WAS) – if leadoff

6) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

7) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

8) Tim Anderson (CHW)

Carlos Correa (HOU) ranks inside our Top 10 overall hitters and just a few spots behind teammate Jose Altuve. The difference between Altuve and Correa is that Correa is cheaper than the Red Sox middle infield alternative, making him a stronger relative play. On both sites, we have cheap alternatives to Correa and Bogaerts with Troy Tulowitzki ($3,400) on DraftKings and Trea Turner (WAS) at $2,700 on FanDuel. Both are lineup dependent, Tulowitzki we’d like fourth or fifth and Turner leading off, but they represent salary relief alternatives at the position. The other ranked shortstops are all solid tournament pivots as ownership likely consolidates on Correa, Bogaerts, and the respective salary relief values.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

4) Eduardo Nunez (MIN) – where eligible

5) Manny Machado (BAL)

The third base position is a bit top-heavy on this slate. Josh Donaldson (TOR) is our top option against a below average lefty (Miley has allowed a .343 wOBA, .166 ISO to RHBs since 2015). He’s priced appropriately but a Top 10 hitter and a fine spend in cash games. Kris Bryant (CHC) comes a few spots behind Donaldson and is noticeably cheaper on DraftKings ($4,400) where he makes a fine alternative. Miguel Sano (MIN) and Todd Frazier (CHW) also come with softer price tags making it a bit easier to forego the expensive options should you choose to do so. On FanDuel, we have a real source of salary relief with Jose Reyes (NYM) at just $2,500. Using Reyes at third base, allows you the opportunity to pay for a top tier starter and still get expensive options from the top offenses in your lineups.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Mookie Betts (BOS) – injury risk

3) George Springer (HOU)

4) Bryce Harper (WAS)

5) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

6) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

7) Ryan Braun (MIL)

8) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

9) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

10) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

11) Starling Marte (PIT)

12) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

13) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

14) Adam Eaton (CHW)

15) Brett Gardner (NYY)

16) Carlos Beltran (NYY)

17) Jay Bruce (CIN)

18) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

19) Miguel Sano (MIN)

20) Jayson Werth (WAS)

The outfield has values at all different price points, along with elite players. Mookie Betts (BOS) is the outfielder we’re most willing to spend up for if declared healthy. He leads off for a Red Sox offense with an implied team total approaching six runs and is a Top Five overall hitter in our model. Both sites give us some elite options priced at mid-tier values. On DraftKings, George Springer (HOU) is just $4,100 and an exceptional way to get exposure to the Astros’ offense and Tim Lincecum‘s struggles with RHBs. On FanDuel, Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) and Nelson Cruz (SEA) are lefty-mashers priced at or just above $3,000 and represent tremendous values you can build around in the outfield. These two are both priced down on DraftKings as well, but Springer’s value will take precedence there. Franklin Gutierrez (SEA) is another lefty-masher with a nice park shift and a cheap price tag on both sites that can fill the void as a salary relief target. Miguel Sano (MIN) carries an incredibly cheap $2,700 price tag on FanDuel and is another salary relief option that affords you top tier starting pitching. All of the Yankees’ outfielders are solid secondary values with the favorable matchup against Jeff Samardzija‘s struggles with lefties.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

Tier Two

2) Houston Astros

3) Washington Nationals

4) Toronto Blue Jays

Tier Three

5) Cleveland Indians

6) Arizona Diamondbacks

7) Chicago White Sox

8) New York Mets

9) Chicago Cubs

The Red Sox and Astros are the two top stack targets we’re looking to get exposure to in cash games. They’re both suited to take advantage of the opposing pitcher and those starters are backed up by weak bullpens.

Additional Tournament Stack

-Washington Nationals – If the Nationals field their full lineup on Sunday, it’s a lineup that will go overlooked in tournaments. Their two best hitters are left-handed hitters that handle LHP well enough but are priced up enough that they’ll come with low ownership. Additionally, Jayson Werth (.402 wOBA, .275 ISO), Anthony Rendon (.351 wOBA), and Danny Espinosa (.346 wOBA, .225 ISO) have all been very good against LHP since the start of 2015. A cheap Trea Turner brings some salary relief and the Padres weak bullpen behind Friedrich brings additional upside for the LHBs that will come with low ownership.

– Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks offense is better suited to attack LHP with Welington Castillo and Paul Goldschmidt holding elite track records but Yasmany Tomas (.378 wOBA, .247 ISO) and Rickie Weeks (.366 wOBA, .229 ISO) add depth. With the Red Sox and Astros in such favorable matchups, you need an offense that can score double-digit runs and the Reds bullpen helps bring out that upside.