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7/31 MLB DFS: Put the O in Baltimore

7/31 MLB DFS: Put the O in Baltimore
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Daily Fantasy Rundown – July 31 MLB DFS Picks and Analysis

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 delays or ppd threats expected today. Wind blows out rather strongly in the CHW/NYY game

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 getting a gigantic park shift and facing one of the weakest starters on the slate. Nick Martinez has allowed a .361 wOBA and 1.24 HR/9 to RHBs since 2013 while Posey has compiled a .366 wOBA and .161 ISO during that span against RHP. Posey has posted that impressive performance despite playing in one of the premier pitcher’s parks in all of baseball which is why his skill set profiles so favorably when you move him into strong hitting environments. He ranks inside our Top 10 overall hitters and is CLEARLY the top catcher option. The challenge to investing in Posey is price tag. If you’re paying up for top starting pitching, it will be very difficult to fit Posey in as well. As a result, he makes more sense in tournaments paired with a riskier pitching selection that allows you to load up on premium bats.

Value Plays:

Kyle Schwarber (CHC) – Schwarber profiles very similarly to Kris Bryant when you assess their career minor league performance (Schwarber – .333/.429/.613 in 621 PA, Bryant – .327/.426/.667 in 773 PA) but Schwarber comes with catcher eligibility. Taylor Jungmann has been successful against LHBs early on in his career (.299 wOBA allowed), but the projection systems were quite pessimistic on him coming into the season (ZiPS projected a .350 wOBA, .153 ISO allowed to LHBs). Schwarber gets a premier lineup spot, on the road, in a park that inflates left handed power 11 percent above the league average. We view him as one of the better values at the catcher position.

Matt Wieters (BAL) – Wieters has historically been a below average hitter against RHP (.296 wOBA since 2013) but he’s flashed good power (.156 ISO) and he almost always comes with a premium lineup spot. Buck Farmer has shown neutral splits at the minor league level but has struggled in a small sample against LHBs (.501 wOBA, 3.0 HR/9 allowed in 12 innings against LHBs) at the big league level. The Orioles have one of the highest implied run totals (5.3 runs) and Wieters is a cheap way to get exposure to the middle of the order at a thin position.

Additional catcher notes: Yasmani Grandal (LAD) ranks a bit behind Wieters and Schwarber in our model but has a favorable matchup against homer prone Hector Santiago. Grandal has historically been better against RHP (.360 wOBA, .194 ISO) than LHP (.318 wOBA, .136 ISO) but he also earns a premier lineup spot. Cheap power plays are guys to turn to in tournaments. Jason Castro (HOU), Mike Zunino (SEA), and Salvador Perez (KC) all qualify as cheaper tournament options.

First Base

Top Plays:

Chris Davis (BAL) – Davis owns an incredible .305 ISO against RHP since 2013 to go with his .386 wOBA. We touched on Buck Farmer‘s issues at the big league level in a small sample size against LHBs and the Orioles elevated run total. Throw in a really bad bullpen behind Farmer and Davis has a ton of upside. He ranks inside our Top Five overall hitters and has the highest home run score of any hitter in our model.

David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz actually ranks very similarly to Davis in our model as a Top Five overall hitter. He faces Erasmo Ramirez who has allowed a 39 percent fly ball rate to LHBs and 1.09 HR/9. Ortiz just crushes RHP (.408 wOBA, .282 ISO since 2012) and gets favorable hitting conditions in Fenway (warm temperatures and wind blowing out to right). The overall lineup support is lighter without Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and possibly Pablo Sandoval which pushes Ortiz down my list of preferences a bit.

Brandon Belt (SF) – Belt comes with the most consistently appetizing price point around the industry but the least appealing lineup spot. He generally hits sixth which is OK on the road in a high scoring environment but less compelling at a loaded first base position. If Belt somehow landed in the Top Five, I’d consider him on par with the other options above. He has crushed RHP (.361 wOBA, .187 ISO) despite playing in a tough park environment and now gets Arlington in the summer. He ranks inside our Top 10 overall hitters without adjusting for batting order.

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) – Rizzo ranks alongside Ortiz and Davis in our model (inside the Top Five) but I like him less than those two given how significantly Taylor Jungmann has outperformed expectations early on. The Cubs have an implied run total just shy of four runs which is well below the other offenses we’re targeting first basemen from. On sites where there is a big price gap between Davis/Ortiz and Rizzo, I’ll happily invest but where they’re priced closely I’m leaning towards the two above. Belt and Rizzo are near equivalents if Belt continues to hit sixth.

Cheap Play:

Adam LaRoche (CHW) – I love the price tags on the first basemen mentioned above so much that I’m hesitant to dip all the way down to LaRoche. However, he may be a necessity if trying to fit in elite starting pitching on difficult pricing sites. LaRoche is priced near the minimum and since 2012 he’s posted a .356 wOBA and .205 ISO against RHP. Nate Eovaldi has limited power (0.68 HR/9 allowed) but been vulnerable to lefties overall (.338 wOBA, 33.2 percent hard hit rate). With the wind blowing out in U.S. Cellular, LaRoche has nice conditions for his power to play up. The bare minimum price tag makes him a viable option is emphasizing salary relief.

Additional first base notes: Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) also ranks inside our Top 10 overall hitters but the price tag makes him only worthy of consideration in tournaments. Todd Frazier (CIN) ranks a bit below Goldschmidt but carries a similarly hefty price tag. Pedro Alvarez (PIT) and Brandon Moss (STL) are two players that rank extremely well in our model (Top 20) and are cheap, but come with uncertain lineup spots and on many sites positional eligibility that I’d prefer to use away from the loaded first base position. Alvarez is one of our top home run scores.

Second Base     

Additional second base notes: This position is driving me nuts on Friday so I figured it’s easier to explain my thought process via the notes section than our typical recommendations. Neil Walker (PIT) is the individual option that I’d be most excited to deploy if he garnered a favorable lineup spot. He’s the best individual hitter against RHP (.353 wOBA, .194 ISO since 2012), getting a gigantic park shift, and is facing a homer prone RHP who can’t get lefties out. The frustration with investing in Walker is the likely lineup spot. He’s been shifted to sixth against RHP of late which is just low enough to make his price tag annoying on a day where value is emphasized because Kershaw is pitching. Kolten Wong (STL) is the most stable of the second base options. He’s hit RHP well (.358 wOBA, .187 ISO) this season and the performance growth is matched by strong indicators. He has hit leadoff most of the season but was shifted to third last night. These are the two best spots for Fantasy value so either plays well and he faces Kyle Kendrick (.350 wOBA, 1.22 HR/9 allowed to LHBs since 2013) who is one of the weaker starters on the slate. He’s priced appropriately so there isn’t much value in investing in him, but he’s the most stable commodity of the group. After that, the pool is murkier. Brandon Phillips (CIN) is probably the best “value” given a leadoff spot in a game with an elevated total against a lefty getting a tough park shift, but his skills (.306 wOBA, .126 ISO against LHP since 2012) aren’t great. Jimmy Paredes (BAL) has hit RHP well this season, but the performance is a bit fluky and the Orioles have started shifting him down in the lineup. If he hits second again, he’s a strong target just to get exposure to the Orioles elevated team total at a tough position. Scooter Gennett (MIL) and Cesar Hernandez (PHI) are both viable punt plays where priced as such.


Additional shortstop notes: Sadly, shortstop isn’t any easier than second base. Troy Tulowtizki (TOR) still ranks as our top option despite a difficult matchup against Johnny Cueto. I don’t see much need to spend on Tulowitzki given the difficulty of the matchup in cash games.  Brandon Crawford (SF) and Jung Ho Kang (PIT) are the two shortstops in top offenses that unfortunately are priced up a bit around the industry. On a different day (or if you take a pass on Kershaw), they’re both strong options with Kang holding the preference due to a better lineup spot. Jhonny Peralta (STL) and J.J. Hardy (BAL) are the two reasonably priced shortstops in favorable offenses. Peralta comes with a much more solid lineup spot and is the better cash game option (price on FanDuel is very affordable), while Hardy’s power dependent skills are better suited for tournaments. If you’re looking for pure punts, I’m hopeful that Kike Hernandez (LAD) or Chris Taylor (SEA) emerge in good lineup spots against LHP. On DraftKings, Hanley Ramirez (BOS) comes with shortstop eligibility and a reasonable price tag. He’s easily the best option at the position if you can make the salary work.

Third Base

Top Plays:

Manny Machado (BAL) – Machado ranks similarly to Frazier in our model but is generally a bit more affordable around the industry. The Orioles offense is one to target heavily this evening (the implied run total is now over five runs) and Machado is typically at the top of it. He’s shown neutral platoon splits throughout his career (.347 wOBA, .177 ISO since 2013) and his improvements in skill this season (.380 wOBA, .228 ISO) have largely held against RHP. He’s a Top 25 hitter in our model.

Todd Frazier (CIN) – Frazier gets to face Jeff Locke who has allowed a .315 wOBA to RHBs but had the benefit of pitching in a great environment. Great American Ballpark isn’t quite as forgiving to someone who has allowed a 31.6 percent hard hit rate to RHBs since 2013. Frazier has compiled a .358 wOBA and .254 ISO against LHP during the same span. Frazier’s price tag on most sites isn’t conducive to lineup construction but on FanDuel at $3,700, he’s in the conversation if you’re spending on one big bat along with Kershaw or if you’re opting for the salary relief of Salazar.

Value Plays:

Matt Carpenter (STL) – Carpenter’s price tag varies heavily around the industry but he’s in a good position to succeed on Friday. Kyle Kendrick struggles with LHBs (.350 wOBA, 1.22 HR/9 since 2013) and Carpenter consistently grinds his way on base against righties (.368 wOBA, .143 ISO since 2012). The price tag is really important for investing in Carpenter because the power upside is limited (despite the two home runs last night). The most appetizing price point I’ve found is at FanDuel where Carpenter is just $2,700.

Pirates 3B eligible (PIT) – Pedro Alvarez is the target we’d be most excited about as his price is down and the ballpark/opposing pitcher really suit his power-laden skill set well. He’ll likely hit lower in the order which makes Aramis Ramirez an acceptable pivot at a slightly higher price tag. While Alvarez has smashed RHP (.345 wOBA, .239 ISO since 2012), Ramirez has been acceptable (.338 wOBA and .162 ISO since 2012) and comes with a better lineup spot for DFS value.

Additional third base notes: Evan Longoria (TB) has really declined in the last two seasons but his production against LHP (.360 wOBA, .171 ISO since 2014) has been solid. He gets a nice big park shift and the price point is favorable. Eduardo Rodriguez has been so volatile that I think Longoria is best suited for tournaments but he ranks similarly to Matt Carpenter and Aramis Ramirez in our model. Given Rubby de la Rosa’s struggles with LHBs (.379 wOBA, 1.58 HR/9 allowed), I think Luis Valbuena (HOU) is a really fun tournament target. I’m guessing his lineup spot may shift with Carlos Gomez in the fold but the power upside in this matchup is great. Mike Moustakas (KC) is another cheaper tournament play with power upside in the Rogers Centre. Adonis Garcia (ATL) remains punt worthy on DraftKings on a day where salary relief is necessary. If you want Kershaw, you’ll likely want Garcia in your lineup.


Top Plays:

Andrew McCutchen/Starling Marte (PIT) – McCutchen and Marte are our top two ranked outfielders. While they lack the platoon edge today, there are a plethora of other contextual factors in their favor. Both are strong overall hitters (McCutchen .378 wOBA, Marte .345) with HR/SB upside in every outing. Most importantly, though, they get an absolutely massive park shift moving from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, which is the best hitter’s park in action tonight. The park shift is even more meaningful given the opposing pitcher. Lorenzen is a fly ball oriented pitcher (41.6 GB rate) who doesn’t miss many bats (15.2 K percentage), which means tons of aerial contact for the opposition and plenty of opportunities for extra base hits. These opportunities are more valuable due to the likelihood of runners on base as Lorenzen is additionally very wild (5.03 BB/9). McCutchen ranks as our top overall hitter while Marte cracks our Top 10.

Value Plays:

Gregory Polanco (PIT) – Polanco leads off for one of the offenses with the highest implied run totals, he has the platoon advantage, is on the road getting a big park shift, and he’s cheap. This is a great recipe for DFS success. Opposing starter Michael Lorenzen has allowed a ridiculous .454 wOBA and 2.22 HR/9 to LHBs as a big leaguer. The underlying peripherals explain the disastrous results. He’s walked 14.6 percent of LHBs and allowed 34.7 percent of balls in play to qualify as hard contact while posting a miniscule 12.2 percent soft hit rate. Polanco hasn’t dominated RHP like we’d hoped but he’s been adequate (.316 wOBA, .129 ISO) while playing in a very tough park. He gets a huge park shift in his favor tonight and the Reds nearly all righty bullpen is a huge plus given he’s so weak against lefties (.216 wOBA). The one knock on Polanco is he’s playing through a knee injury and historically he’s created a lot of value with his legs. This limits his upside some, but the price tag is cheap enough that we’ll gladly rely on his bat this evening.

Adam Jones (BAL) – Jones’ season is a bit tough to evaluate. He’s not making the hard contact we’ve become accustomed to seeing (28.8 hard hit rate), but Jones has made up for that by cutting down on the Ks and elevating the ball a bit more, leading to eerily similar results to his past few seasons. Today the matchup is phenomenal. The Orioles have the highest implied run total in their friendly home park against a terrible pitcher in Buck Farmer (10.17 ERA in four starts, seven MLB appearances). While Farmer probably isn’t quite as bad as that astronomical ERA in a small sample, both ZiPS and Steamer projection systems are very pessimistic on him. He’ll have difficulty limiting the long ball. This sets up very nicely for Jones who doesn’t show a wide platoon split. In fact, for his career he’s had both a higher wOBA and ISO against same handed pitching.

Angel Pagan (SF) – The Giants offense is one we’d love to target but are having a difficult time finding friendly price points. Pagan is the lone exception and he typically leads off, making him a great target in DFS. Pagan isn’t a great hitter against RHP (.318 wOBA, .110 ISO since 2012) but Nick Martinez is one of the weaker starters going in an elite offensive environment. Martinez has yielded a .336 wOBA and 30.2 percent hard hit rate to LHBs. With Pagan priced just above minimum thresholds on most sites, he’s the single best way to get exposure to a Giants offense that has an implied run total approaching five. Pagan cracks our Top 30 hitters overall.

Additional outfield notes: The Tigers outfielders all rate well in our model given their history of success against LHP. Yoenis Cespedes (DET) and J.D. Martinez (DET) are secondary top play options that make the most sense in tournaments. Rajai Davis (DET) is too cheap for his skill set and the next in line value play after the options above.  Wei-Yin Chen is a pretty good pitcher so he takes a back seat to picking on all the really weak options but the Tigers offense is very good against LHP. Marlon Byrd (CIN), like Rajai Davis, is a secondary value play. He’s demonstrated big power against LHP (.215 ISO, .366 wOBA since 2012) in recent years and gets a great hitting environment to show it off. Jason Heyward (STL) is slightly discounted for his upside in the matchup with Kyle Kendrick but I worry about him losing some value against a lefty heavy Rockies bullpen. Plus as big favorites at home we’re likely only getting eight innings of at bats out of the Cardinals so I’m less likely to take someone hitting in the middle than the top. He’s a secondary value play as well that will likely get priced into the tournament section. The Dodgers lineup is an interesting one to watch as Yasiel Puig (LAD) and Scott Van Slyke (LAD) both have big power against LHP. A good lineup spot for either would earn them secondary value play consideration given their affordable price points. The Mariners offense is another one to monitor. Nelson Cruz (SEA) is like the Tigers RHBs, a secondary top play best used in tournaments, but with cheap price tags Franklin Gutierrez (SEA) and Austin Jackson (SEA) are also acceptable secondary value plays against homer prone Tommy Milone.

Starting Pitcher

Rankings (price not considered):

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

Tier Two

2) Danny Salazar (CLE)

Tier Three

3) Madison Bumgarner (SF)

4) Matt Harvey (NYM)

5) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)

6) Michael Wacha (STL)

Tier Four

7) Ian Kennedy (SD) – scratched from start

8) Johnny Cueto (TOR)

Tier Five

9) Jason Hammel (CHC)

10) Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS)

11) Taijuan Walker (SEA)

12) Hector Santiago (LAA)

13) Taylor Jungmann (MIL)

14) Carlos Rodon (CHW)

Top Play:

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – Kershaw’s start was pushed back due to some soreness in his hip which coupled with a neutral matchup against the Angels (12th in wRC+ with a below average K Rate against LHP) will likely push some away from the high price tag. Vegas certainly isn’t afraid as they’ve listed Kershaw as a -200 favorite in a game with a total of just six. This gives the Angels an implied run total hovering around 2.5 runs. We’re very confident in Danny Salazar (CLE) as an alternative to Kershaw, but the depth of starters is a bit limited on Friday. The next tier of starters all have either difficult matchups (Bumgarner) or unfavorable price tags (Harvey). This may force gamers to spend on Kershaw if enough value bats are available. My current approach to Kershaw is highly site specific. On sites with a soft cap (lots of values), I think paying for Kershaw is the wise approach. On tighter cap sites, I’m more likely to prioritize Salazar as I think his point per dollar spent potential outshines Kershaw tonight.

Next in line:

Danny Salazar (CLE) – Many of the same factors that led to Carrasco ranking as our #2 starter yesterday are in play again this evening with Danny Salazar. Like Carrasco, Salazar has elite peripherals led by an outstanding K Rate (28.8 percent) but his run prevention (3.72 ERA) struggles due to problems with the long ball (1.21 HR/9). His batted ball profile isn’t that bad. He’s generated a 45.8 percent GB Rate and allowed a 28 percent hard hit rate overall. Both are around league average. His HR/FB Rate has been a bit elevated (14.9 percent) but most of that inflated ERA is due to a lower than average strand rate. Over time, we expect Salazar to pitch closer to his peripherals (3.48 FIP, 3.01 xFIP). A matchup in Oakland where home runs are depressed 6-7 percent below the league average, provides Salazar some likely relief on that elevated HR/FB Rate and should help keep his run prevention down. This environment fits his skill set well, making him a bit safer than usual. He’s a modest favorite (-122) in a game with a total of just seven and he ranks solidly as our #2 starter behind Kershaw. The price point on Salazar is more palatable around the industry than Kershaw which makes him a fine alternative if you don’t want to spend all the way up for Kershaw.

Value Plays

Ian Kennedy (SD) – Kennedy is the most consistently underpriced option around the industry that comes with a favorable matchup. Kennedy has not been good this year. He’s allowed 2.06 HR/9 while surrendering a ridiculous 35.5 percent hard hit rate to go with a 38.4 percent fly ball rate. Hard hit fly balls tend to leave the yard, so it’s difficult to simply regress Kennedy’s HR/FB Rate and suggest he’ll pitch to his 3.85 xFIP going forward. This matchup, however, is a good one for Kennedy to exploit. The Marlins lack power. The likely lineup against Kennedy has just two hitters with an ISO above .140 against RHP (Justin Bour and Derek Dietrich). If Kennedy is inducing fly balls to the likes of Gordon (.084 ISO against RHP), Prado (.111 ISO), Ichiro (.078 ISO), Yelich (.115 ISO), and Realmuto (.136 ISO); he’s unlikely to get hurt. We saw this play out his last time against the Marlins when he allowed just one earned run over six innings despite allowing a 35.5 percent hard hit rate. It’s difficult to get excited about a pitcher allowing so much hard aerial contact as it comes with immense risk, but this lineup in Marlins Park is a good matchup for Kennedy. On difficult pricing sites with multiple starting pitcher requirements, he’s a potential solution to fielding Kershaw and still liking your lineup. UPDATE: Ian Kennedy has been scratched from the start this evening.

Gio Gonzalez (WAS)/Michael Wacha (STL) – I’ve grouped these two together because they rank similarly in our model and they come with volatile price tags around the industry. Wacha is the heavy favorite (-225) and he’s better equipped to handle all the Rockies LHBs (.256 wOBA, 20.3 K Rate against LHBs since 2013) than teammate Carlos Martinez who has wide platoon splits. The Rockies, even without Tulowitzki, are a strong lineup against RHP but they’re getting a park downgrade and Wacha’s reliance on his changeup makes some of his “reverse splits” make sense. The upside with strikeouts is limited so the price tag is really important. If I’m investing in either Gonzalez or Wacha, I want them at a severe discount to Danny Salazar. Gonzalez gets a Mets lineup that ranks 26th in wRC+ against LHP and has the second highest K Rate against lefties (24.4 percent). While the Mets upgraded their offense around the deadline, it was largely against RHP (Conforto and Kelly Johnson). The lone addition to handle LHP (Juan Uribe) isn’t much of an upgrade from Eric Campbell who was handling that role before. Gio has transformed himself this year, trading strikeouts for ground balls as he’s relying on his two seam fastball more. The tradeoff isn’t great for Fantasy value but hopefully the Mets contact issues against lefties boost the profile in this matchup. Like Wacha, price point is everything with Gio Gonzalez. On a site where he’s priced up like FanDuel, he’s off the cash game radar but on DraftKings he’s a viable #2 starter.

Tournament Plays:

Jason Hammel (CHC) – The Brewers have already moved on from Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez and it’s expected that they’ll finalize a deal moving Gerardo Parra today. This leaves them with two very good hitters (Braun and Lind) against RHP and frankly not much else. Jason Hammel was roughed up in his last outing against the Phillies and he wasn’t particularly sharp in the start before that against Cincinnati. This has brought speculation that Hammel may not be fully recovered from a hamstring issue that caused him to miss a start. The health concern coupled with a tough park environment make him better suited for tournaments, but the matchup against a likely RH heavy and depleted Brewers lineup is a good one.

Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) – The Rays are a good offense against RHP (third in wRC+) and they’re getting a huge park shift. This is the reason Rodriguez doesn’t earn cash game consideration, but their high strikeout rate (22.2 percent) and Rodriguez’s ability to whiff RHBs (20 percent K Rate) intrigues me. Rodriguez’s performances have also profiled well in terms of volatility which is something to target in tournaments. He’s allowed one earned run or fewer in seven of his 11 starts and allowed six earned runs or more in three.  The elevated total, tough matchup, and strong hitting environment will bring a low ownership percentage on Rodriguez, which makes him an intriguing tournament option given some of the upside he’s shown.

Additional starting pitcher notes: Matt Harvey (NYM) is overpriced given his recent command issues and the improved depth in the Nationals lineup. Vegas likes him quite a bit (-118 favorite in a game with a 6.5 total) but we’d prefer a better price point if investing in cash games. He’s an adequate tournament play. We have Madison Bumgarner (SF) slightly ahead of Harvey in our rankings. The park shift and league shift are very tough but he’ll have the platoon advantage on most of the Rangers premier bats and he’s dominated LHBs (.237 wOBA, 32.6 percent K Rate) since 2013. I think Bumgarner’s ownership will be lower than Harvey’s because of the gap in totals. As a result, I think he’s a stronger tournament play. Taijuan Walker (SEA) is another interesting tournament play. The Twins offense has been on a roll of late but they remain very right handed and overall they rank in the bottom third of offenses in wRC+ against RHP. The park shift is a challenge for Walker’s primary issue (home runs) but the strikeout rate gives him big upside. Taylor Jungmann (MIL) has been exceptional for the Brewers but some of the underlying peripherals (7.6 percent swinging strike rate) suggest the K Rate upside is modest and historically he’s struggled with command. The Cubs offense has been slumping and they’re strikeout prone so perhaps he runs into a strong outing, but we don’t see the upside we’d like in tournaments.

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) Baltimore Orioles

2) Pittsburgh Pirates

3) San Francisco Giants

These are the offenses I’m targeting most heavily across the board. The Orioles have the highest implied run total. They’re facing a minor league starter that is backed by one of the worst bullpens in baseball. The Pirates and Giants also get very weak opposing starters but get the benefit of a guaranteed nine innings of plate appearances and huge park shifts in their favor.

Contrarian/Secondary Stacks:

1) Detroit Tigers – if Cespedes isn’t traded

2) Cincinnati Reds

3) Tampa Bay Rays

4) New York Yankees/Chicago White Sox

5) Houston Astros

I think ownership levels might be down on Detroit and Cincinnati (Detroit more so given the Reds explosion last night) as gamers focus on the other sides in the high total games. Detroit would lose a ton of value if Cespedes is traded because they’re a bit thin with Miguel Cabrera already out, but Davis-Kinsler-Martinez-Martinez-Cespedes-Castellanos is a fine full stack to attack in tournaments. The Reds are better suited for a mini-stack as the bottom half of the lineup is soft. Phillips-Frazier-Byrd-Votto is my preferred mini-stack there.

The Rays rank third in wRC+ against LHP and are getting a big park boost for RH hitters. The lineup is very volatile and so is opposing started Eduardo Rodriguez. Longoria and Forsythe would represent the core of stacks or mini-stacks and it could get supplemented by guys like Souza, Casali, and Butler or Guyer.

The Yankees-White Sox game is a tough one to peg for cash game values. Both offenses are priced way up after recent explosions. It’s a great hitting environment made even better with expected winds blowing out to center field. Carlos Rodon has great stuff and is most vulnerable to walks, so I like the White Sox a bit better for stacking purposes in a tournament. Betances threw 29 pitches yesterday so there is a chance he’s unavailable which would thin out a very good bullpen a bit. Eaton-Melky-Abreu/LaRoche is how I’d attack with a mini-stack.

The Astros add Carlos Gomez to an explosive offense that just oozes power and speed upside. Rubby de la Rosa is mostly vulnerable to LHBs which the Astros don’t have in droves (Tucker – cash game worthy on DraftKings, Valbuena, Lowrie) so the Astros as a whole are better to attack in tournaments.

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.

DET at BLT 7:05: Dry. Temps in the mid-80s falling into the mid-70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest under 6 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.

ATL at PHL 7:05: Dry. Temps in the mid-80s falling into the mid to upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 4-8 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.

KC at TOR 7:07: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the low to mid 70s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.

WSH at NYM 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid-80s falling into the mid to upper 70s. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind west 4-8 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows out to right to begin the game. On the wind scale, the wind is a 6 becoming a 5.

TB at BOS 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid-80s falling into the upper 70s. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind west 5-10 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.

PIT at CIN 7:10: Dry. Temps in the low 80s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-southwest 6-12 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows out to left early in the game. The wind is a 6 on the wind scale becoming a 5.

SD at MIA 7:10: The retractable roof will likely be closed.

SF at TEX 8:05: Dry. Temps in the mid-90s falling into the mid-80s. Air density is a 9. Wind northeast 8-16 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.

NYM at CHW 8:10: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 80s falling into the low to mid 70s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northwest 10-20 mph with gusts past 25 mph early lessening to 8-16 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 9 becoming an 8.

CHC at MIL 8:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps near 80 falling to near 70. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-northwest 9-18 mph lessening to 6-12 mph which blows out to left. The wind is an 8 becoming a 6.

SEA at MIN 8:10: Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5 (very dry air). Wind west-northwest 10-20 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 9 becoming a 6.

AZ at HOU 8:10: Retractable roof. A 10-20% chance of a thunderstorm around. Temps in the mid to upper 90s falling into the mid-80s. With these temperatures, you would have to assume the roof will be closed. However, if it is open, air density will be a 9. The wind will be northeast 6-12 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows in from right early in the game and is a 4 becoming a 5.

COL at STL 8:15: Dry. Temps in the upper 80s falling to near 80. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind northwest 6-12 mph lessening to 3-6 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.

CLE at OAK 9:35: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-northwest 12-25 mph lessening to 10-20 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 9.

LAA at LAD 10:10: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-southwest 9-18 mph which blows out to right. The wind is an 8.

MLB Daily Analysis