Daily Fantasy Rundown – July 7th MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem”, “dinkpiece” and “thenumbersguy”. Each day throughout the MLB season our daily MLB scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.
Weather: Major problems in CLE, lesser concerns in PIT, TEX, COL. Great hitting environments in BOS and especially COL
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.
Wilin Rosario (COL) – Rosario is not catcher eligible on all sites, but where he is he drinks Dos Equis. Wait, that’s not right. The most interesting man in the world against LHP (.417 wOBA, .293 ISO since 2012) belongs in your lineups wherever he owns catcher eligibility. Andrew Heaney is an intriguing young prospect, but he’s been fly ball (40.7 percent) and homer prone (2.33 HR/9) in a limited big league sample. ZiPS is a bit more optimistic on Heaney’s projection against RHBs (.323 wOBA, .164 ISO allowed), but even those numbers in Coors Field match up well for Rosario. Wilin cracks our Top 20 hitters overall and represents the top catcher play on sites he retains that eligibility.
Next in line: Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) has hammered LHP (.374 wOBA, .193 ISO) in his career and is part of a Brewers lineup that historically has hit lefties well (not as much this season). The price tag on Lucroy has caught up to his performance of late, which makes him a bit more difficult to fit in. He ranks within our Top 25 hitters overall. Russell Martin (TOR) is part of a Blue Jays offense that simply destroys LHP (137 wRC+). He’s priced up around the industry (relative to other catchers) but if he hits in the fifth spot, I’d consider him worth it. He typically hits sixth which is less of a downgrade on the road, but still a slight step down from hitting fifth. I’d rank Lucroy ahead of Martin, if Martin was hitting sixth and the two would rate closely if Martin was hitting fifth.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) – Chad Billingsley hasn’t been particularly healthy the last few years but when he’s been on the mound, it’s largely been a struggle. He’s only thrown 33 big league innings since the start of 2012 and in that time he’s posted a 6.00 ERA, 1.70 WHIP with a putrid 3.8 K/9. Grandal is part of a Dodgers offense that ranks first in wRC+ against RHP and his skills against righties are a big reason why. Grandal owns a .360 wOBA and .197 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer and occasionally gets a premier lineup spot like last night (fifth). His price point on DraftKings is extremely discounted (along with many other Dodgers) and on FanDuel it’s fair. If he garners a premier lineup spot again, he’ll represent my primary alternative to Rosario.
Additional catcher notes: Catcher is actually deeper on Tuesday than usual. Stephen Vogt (OAK) gets a crack at the short porch in Yankee Stadium and is priced fairly around the industry. The big power boost early in the season waned while the K Rate surged in June, which makes us question the early season breakout a bit more. He’s more of a secondary value option. Chris Iannetta (LAA) is a way to get affordable exposure to an Angels’ offense with an implied run total approaching six. It comes with middling skills (.303 wOBA, .117 ISO against RHP since 2012) and a poor lineup spot, so I’m less likely to force it if other catcher end up in good lineup spots. He does rate well in our model though. The same general principles apply to Nick Hundley (COL) or Michael McKenry (COL). A.J. Pierzynski (ATL) is underpriced given a plus park shift with a matchup against a RHP that projects as below average. If Pierzynski earns a premier lineup spot, he’d represent the closest thing to a good “punt” option on most sites.
Albert Pujols (LAA) – Pujols has turned back the clock this season. His K Rate is back below 10 percent and he’s posting his best ISO (.292) since 2009. Remarkably, he’s doing most of his damage against same handed pitching (.402 wOBA, .305 ISO against RHP this season) and now he gets a trip to Coors Field. The price tag is appropriately elevated for Pujols and with the depth at first base, I see little reason to pay for it in cash games. However, he does rank as our top first base option (third overall hitter) and is a great target as a part of Angels stacks in tournaments.
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz remains uniquely discounted to many of the other top tier first basemen. We’ve spent much of the year assessing whether father time had finally caught up with Ortiz and we’ve come to the conclusion that any effects are mostly taking place against LHP. Against RHP, Ortiz remains elite (.385 wOBA, .281 ISO, 1.23 EYE, and 40 percent hard hit rate in 2015). He’ll face Dan Haren who is showing significant signs of skill decline against LHBs. Haren has allowed a ridiculous 37.5 percent hard hit rate and 2.01 HR/9 to LHBs this season. The Red Sox have an implied run total approaching five which matches the offenses in Coors Field as the only implied run totals above that threshold. Ortiz ranks inside our Top Five hitters overall and represents a cost effective way to get exposure to one of the highest projected run totals. He’s one of our top overall values on the slate.
Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – Gonzalez’s price tag is down after an extended slump (.246/.321/.437 since the beginning of June) but a matchup with Chad Billingsley provides room for optimism. Gonzalez tossed aside any concerns over a hand injury suffered over the weekend by homering last night. He’s been solid against RHP since 2012 (.366 wOBA, .201 ISO) but has been even better this season (.397 wOBA, .255 ISO). Pricing on the individual sites makes him a bit more of a secondary value play on both FanDuel and DraftKings, but he’s the most consistently underpriced alternative to Ortiz around the industry.
Additional first base notes: Jose Abreu (CHW) is mispriced on FanDuel. He garners an elite matchup with Felix Doubront who has allowed a .341 wOBA and 1.26 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012. Abreu is a monster against LHP (.429 wOBA, .265 ISO) and the $3,600 price tag is simply too cheap. He also cracks our Top Five hitters overall and is a viable alternative to Ortiz. On DraftKings, its Edwin Encarnacion‘s (TOR) price tag that sticks out. Encarnacion has hammered lefties (.395 wOBA, .261 ISO) since 2012 and is in the middle of an elite Blue Jays offense against LHP. Jose Quintana is an above average lefty (.314 wOBA, 0.78 HR/9 allowed to RHBs) but this is a discounted tag. Edwin ranks a bit below Ortiz in our rankings but inside the Top 15 hitters overall. He’s a viable alternative to Ortiz, though I’ll likely opt for Ortiz and save $200 on DraftKings. I’m generally keeping my first base decisions among Abreu, Ortiz, Gonzalez, and Encarnacion for cash games with Abreu and Encarnacion representing site specific options. In tournaments first base is always a position you can hit in stacks or mini-stacks, but the individual tournament play I like most is Ike Davis (OAK). Throughout his career Davis has been a pull monster (38 percent pull rate) and Yankee Stadium’s short porch is one that can play well for his power. This season, a more diversified approach (28.7 percent pull rate against RHP) has really helped his success, but I’m willing to take a chance on the old pull approach showing up at Yankee Stadium.
Ben Zobrist (OAK) – Zobrist has hit RHP well since 2012 (.345 wOBA, .164 ISO) and now he gets a big park shift in Yankee Stadium against a RHP who struggles with LHBs. Nate Eovaldi has allowed a .347 wOBA to lefties since 2012 and this year it has ballooned to a .395 wOBA. Eovaldi hasn’t given up many home runs (1.01 HR/9) because he’s so ground ball prone (50.4 percent), but at home he’s allowed 1.80 HR/9 to LHBs this season. Zobrist, meanwhile, has been incredible this season. He’s dominated the strike zone (1.44 EYE) and hit for power (.183 ISO). The underlying peripherals (53 percent GB Rate and 24.8 hard hit rate) aren’t eye popping but just leaning on his production against RHP in the past, he’s our top second base option. He ranks inside our Top 40 hitters overall.
Johnny Giavotella (LAA) – Giavotella isn’t a good hitter (.286 wOBA, .080 ISO against RHP) but he’s been handed an elite lineup spot that helps generate DFS value. Leading off for the Angels, he has immense run value any time he can get on base. On sites where they deduct for outs, Giavotella’s value is impacted by the out potential slightly, but the extra value of plate appearances (expected plate appearances at 5.5) brings upside over his counterparts. This is largely a play on team, park, and situation rather than Giavotella’s skills.
D.J. LeMahieu (COL) – LeMahieu is very similar to Giavotella (.297 wOBA, .127 ISO against LHP since 2012) in that much of his value is tied to his surroundings than his skill. He’s a bit more expensive than Giavotella around the industry which is why he ranks behind him in our value rankings.
Additional second base notes: Once again the Dodgers second base options are acceptable values on DraftKings where the priced on all Dodgers is down. Howie Kendrick (LAD) and Justin Turner (LAD) both earn great lineup spots and the Dodgers have a team total over 4.5. Jeff Baker (MIA) is a nice salary relief option but someone we’d only recommend targeting if he earns a premier lineup spot. He’s always been good against LHP (.357 wOBA, .210 ISO since 2012), gets a big park shift in his favor, and faces Wade Miley who has allowed a .351 wOBA to RHBs this season and .326 wOBA since 2012. Miley’s struggles against RHBs this season are a bit more control related (10 percent BB Rate) than power (24.9 percent hard hit rate, 47 percent GB Rate), so I’d really need a good lineup spot to consider Baker. Kolten Wong (STL) and Robinson Cano (SEA) are intriguing tournament options. Cano is part of a Seattle offense we expect will have success against Kyle Ryan. The bullpen behind Ryan should allow Cano a few premium plate opportunities. He’s best used as a part of a Mariners stack or mini-stack. Wong has been shifted down in the lineup but has an elite power/speed combination that gives him big upside. We’d consider him a value play if he returned to the leadoff spot, but he’s a fine tournament play if he hits sixth again.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – Tulowitzki is the clear cut top option any time he’s facing a LHP in Coors Field. Since 2012, Tulowitzki has compiled a .431 wOBA and .262 ISO against LHP. We’ve touched on Andrew Heaney‘s small sample at the big league level and how it’s come with an elevated hard hit rate and fly ball rate. With Tulowitzki’s price point reasonable around the industry, he’s one of the more affordable entry points to an elite bat in Coors Field. Throw in some positional scarcity benefits to investing in Tulowitzki and he’s one of our favorite targets this evening.
Additional shortstop notes: The rest of the shortstop position is a bit muddled. It’s not due to a lack of options but more a lack of consistently favorable price points around the industry. Erick Aybar (LAA) is priced up after a recent hot streak and also gets the Coors bump in pricing on many sites. He’s our preferred option after Tulowitzki, but we’d like a deep discount in price tag between the two in order to consider Aybar. Jose Reyes (TOR) is an integral part of Jays’ stacks or mini-stacks but holds a bit less appeal in cash games. He’s hitting from his weaker side and Jose Quintana is a pretty good lefty. Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is my next favorite alternative to Aybar but again pricing matters. I’d want some level of discount from Aybar to invest in Bogaerts who is still pretty average against RHP (.316 wOBA, .104 ISO this season against RHP) but benefits from an elite lineup spot for an offense that projects very well this evening. Jhonny Peralta (STL) doesn’t get a platoon advantage and hitting conditions in Chicago are bleak but he gets a below average RHP and likely the weak underbelly of the Cubs bullpen behind him. He’s a bit below Aybar and Bogaerts and better as a part of a Cardinals mini-stack. If you’re not playing in that mid-range (Aybar/Bogaerts/Peralta), then you’ll want to just punt. Alexei Ramirez (CHW) and Starlin Castro (CHC) are viable punt plays on FanDuel while Ruben Tejada (NYM) and perhaps Andres Blanco (PHI) are viable punt plays on DraftKings. Cesar Hernandez (PHI) has been incredible as a punt play for the last few weeks. I’m less inclined to take my chances on a player that is so speed dependent against a LHP on the mound. With the price tag no longer in the punt range, I’m opting for salary relief over his recent performance.
Nolan Arenado (COL) – Arenado has blossomed as we had hoped coming into the season. He’s converted a lot of those fly balls into homers and he’s maintained the great contact rates. Oddly, he hasn’t been dominant against LHP this season, but as a big leaguer he owns a .376 wOBA and .224 ISO against LHP. He hits in the middle of an offense with an implied run total over five and he ranks within our Top 15 hitters overall.
Josh Donaldson (TOR) – Donaldson and Arenado rank very similarly so if paying up at third base, I think you can let price dictate your decision. Donaldson’s got a more established elite track record against LHP (.414 wOBA, .296 ISO since 2012) and is a very strong hitting environment as well. Jose Quintana is a tougher opponent than Andrew Heaney which levels the playing field a bit on the stronger platoon skills for Donaldson. Third base does have some depth in the value plays, so spending big at third isn’t necessarily a requirement.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) – Beltre rates well in our model again. He faces a below average LHP at home in a great hitting environment. The Rangers as a team lose some value against LHP but the return of Delino Deshields Jr. does help the situation a bit. Beltre has compiled a .370 wOBA and .188 ISO against LHP since 2012 and Robbie Ray has allowed a .345 wOBA to RHBs. Beltre’s hard hit rate is down this year (29.2 percent, career average of 32.6 percent) and pitchers are working ahead of him far more often (62.7 percent first strike rate, career 58 percent). At 36, it’s entirely possible Beltre is in the midst of a decline which makes our assumptions on his baseline fragile. Typically this price point for Beltre in a home game against a below average lefty would make him the top priority, instead I think the concerns over skill deterioration make him a part of the conversation.
Pablo Sandoval (BOS) – Sandoval has compiled a .352 wOBA and .165 ISO against RHP since 2012. Most of that production was put together in a tough hitting environment in San Francisco. Fenway isn’t an elite hitting environment for LH hitters but it is a step up from San Francisco. Not surprisingly, he’s been great at home this season against RHP (.419 wOBA, .174 ISO in 93 plate appearances). Sandoval gets a compelling matchup with Dan Haren. The only knock on Sandoval is that he’s likely hitting sixth which isn’t great for expected plate appearances, especially for a home team. However, he’s cheap enough to overlook some of that risk if you want exposure to the Red Sox offense.
Additional third base notes: Matt Carpenter (STL) is one of the safer bets for positive production in a really favorable matchup against Dallas Beeler, but he lacks the power upside of some of his contemporaries at the position. Kelly Johnson (ATL) is someone we’re going to cover in the outfield section as a value play, but on sites with third base eligibility he’s in this mix as well. Danny Valencia (TOR) would earn value play consideration if he hits fifth against Jose Quintana. Aramis Ramirez (MIL) and David Freese (LAA) are my favorite tournament plays. Both hit lower in the order but have some compelling reasons to consider investment. Freese has Coors Field and is on an Angels’ offense with the highest implied run total of the evening. Ramirez has historically crushed LHP and we think the Brewers offense is compelling whenever they face LHP. Against the Braves, who have a horrible bullpen behind Banuelos, Ramirez is a fine tournament option as part of a Brewers stack or preferably a mini-stack. Kris Bryant (CHC) is cheap enough on FanDuel to consider a value play but the likely conditions aren’t ideal for power in Wrigley (colder, wind blowing in), so I don’t think he’s as much of a priority as that tag might suggest against a weaker lefty.
Mike Trout (LAA) – Trout is practically in a category of his own this evening. The difference between Trout and the third ranked hitter in our model (Pujols) is equivalent to the gap between Pujols and the 60th ranked hitter in our model. He’s very expensive around the industry and most likely you won’t be able to get him into lineups without making big sacrifices. On my initial run through on lineup construction, I found myself more likely to build balanced rosters than spend up on Trout. Our model thinks he’s worth it, but when manually constructing I felt more comfortable without him.
Kole Calhoun (LAA) – After Trout the top outfield rankings are a bit more muddled but Calhoun is the one I’m most likely to choose. His price tag is a bit below that of Ryan Braun (MIL), Nelson Cruz (SEA), Jose Bautista (TOR) and Carlos Gomez (MIL) who all rank right around him. The lone exception is Cruz on FanDuel where he’s an elite value. Calhoun is a solid hitter against RHP (.332 wOBA, .170 ISO, and 31.2 percent hard hit rate since 2012) and he gets that huge bump from Coors Field. Chad Bettis has allowed a .335 wOBA to LHBs and he’s generated a ton of ground balls (52.2 percent) so he’s not the easiest pitcher to pick on. However, with a team total approaching six, I’m comfortable spending on a few Angels’ bats and Calhoun is one of the few you can get with a platoon advantage.
Dodgers Outfielders (LAD) – The Dodgers are criminally cheap on DraftKings but all the outfielders are also affordable on FanDuel as well. Lineup spots are really important when evaluating Yasiel Puig and Andre Ethier but both have hit RHP very well (Puig – .384 wOBA/.201 ISO, Ethier – .365 wOBA, .183 ISO) since 2012. Joc Pederson has the most stable lineup spot and has been even better (.380 wOBA, .265 ISO). Pederson is the best bet as a value play but both Puig and Ethier could emerge as strong values as well.
Jason Heyward (STL) – Left handed bats have hit .339/.420/.513 against Dallas Beeler in AAA this season. Heyward has been hitting fourth for the Cardinals of late. The scoring conditions in Wrigley tonight are terrible, so you don’t want to go overboard on Cardinals but Heyward is a good way to get exposure at a cheap price point. He owns a .360 wOBA and .182 ISO against RHP since 2012 and cracks our Top 35 hitters overall.
Kelly Johnson (ATL) – Kelly Johnson isn’t an elite hitter against RHP (.311 wOBA) but he does have power (.169 ISO). He’s been hitting cleanup of late and comes with a very affordable price point around the industry. In a park that inflates LH power approximately 10 percent above the league average, we like the opportunity for cheap power. Tyler Cravy will draw the start and projection systems think he’ll struggle a bit with LHBs. ZiPS projection system has him for a .336 wOBA and .158 ISO allowed.
Additional outfield notes: Lineups will unlock a slew of other potential outfield values. Some names we’re keeping an eye on for good lineup spots include: Mark Trumbo (SEA), Chris Colabello (TOR), Drew Stubbs (COL), Matt Joyce (LAA), and Austin Jackson (SEA). Gregory Polanco (PIT) gets a great matchup for his speed against Tyson Ross who has allowed 25 SBs already this season. Polanco has some risk for scoring environment and actually getting on base but every time he does get on base there is the chance to turn the Fantasy points into that of a triple. Melky Cabrera (CHW) and Avisail Garcia (CHW) also rank well in our model. If the group above doesn’t get a good lineup spot, my attention would shift to them as potential fillers. On FanDuel, Nelson Cruz (SEA) and Josh Reddick (OAK) are way underpriced for their platoon advantage and matchups. They’re both very strong value plays. Mookie Betts (BOS) gets caught a bit in pricing limbo but I really like the opportunity leading off for a Red Sox lineup with an implied run total approaching five. Delino Deshields (TEX) is in a similar spot at a slightly softer price point. He’s also a solid value play.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Max Scherzer (WAS)
2) Corey Kluber (CLE) – weather risk
3) Francisco Liriano (PIT)
4) Johnny Cueto (CIN)
5) Tyson Ross (SD)
6) Brett Anderson (LAD)
7) Taijuan Walker (SEA)
8) Sonny Gray (OAK)
9) Edinson Volquez (KC)
10) Kevin Gausman (BAL)
Max Scherzer (WAS) – Scherzer’s transition to the National League has gone largely as expected. His BB Rate has dropped from seven percent to three percent and his K Rate has increased from 28 percent to 30-31 percent. The matchup with the Reds is slightly above average. The Reds rank 18th in wRC+ against RHP with a slightly below league average K Rate (18.1 percent). Scherzer has a tough opponent opposite him on the mound (Johnny Cueto) but he remains a meaningful favorite (-155) in a game with a total of just six. If you’re paying up for starting pitching on Tuesday, the decision starts with Scherzer.
Next in line:
Francisco Liriano (PIT) – With the weather risk in Cleveland, we’re transitioning from Kluber to Liriano as our next-in-line option to Scherzer. The Padres rank 22nd in wRC+ against LHP and boast the third highest K Rate in the league against lefties (24.3 percent). PETCO Park is thought of as the best pitcher’s park in baseball, but PNC Park grades out far more favorably when evaluating RHBs. PNC Park suppresses power 15 percent below the league average to RHBs (nine percent at PETCO) and overall value to RHBs by 10 percent (six percent at PETCO). This is actually a park downgrade for the Padres bats. Liriano has the third highest projected K Rate in our model (nearing 30 percent) and ranks as our third overall starter. With a slight price gap between Liriano and the Scherzer/Kluber tier, he looks like the best value of the elite starters.
Brett Anderson (LAD) – Anderson is the largest favorite on today’s slate (-280) in a game with a total of just 7.5. This line gives the Phillies an expected run total around 2.8 runs which is among the lowest in action. Anderson combines an incredible GB Rate (68.4 percent) with above average control (6.7 BB Rate) to keep runs down (3.00 ERA, 11 of 16 starts with two earned runs or less). A below average K Rate (17.8 percent) hinders his overall projection and the upside accompanying it, but he did flash K potential in his last two starts (17 K in 14 IP). The Phillies possess a league average K Rate (19.7 percent) against LHP so our projections for Anderson’s K Rate in this outing are modest (21.3 percent) but the run prevention and win probabilities are high. Any pitcher that doesn’t miss bats is susceptible to BABIP risk but Anderson has a 26.1 hard hit rate allowed (Top 25 in the league) and the Phillies have the lowest hard hit rate as a team against LHP (22 percent). If you want to get exposure to the top offenses today, getting some salary relief at SP is a necessity. We believe Anderson is the safest route to that salary relief.
Edinson Volquez (KC) – Volquez is a weaker version of Anderson in practically all respects. He similarly struggles to miss bats (18.2 percent K Rate) but generates enough ground balls (47 percent GB Rate) and has just enough control (8.2 BB Rate) to take advantage of an elite Royals defense and bullpen behind him. As a result, his run prevention (3.48 ERA) is often better than his peripherals (3.70 FIP, 4.11 xFIP). The Rays offense ranks 22nd in wOBA against RHP and they have the sixth highest K Rate against righties (22.1 percent). He’s a more volatile option than Anderson but the price point is cheaper around the industry. On sites with a significant gap in pricing between Anderson and Volquez he’s more viable as a secondary SP option.
Kevin Gausman (BAL) – Gausman has the most compelling upside of all the cheap SP options. He’s flashed an above average K Rate (20.4 career, 21.7 in a small sample this season) and he faces a Twins offense that ranks 23rd in wRC+ against RHP. Gausman has been impressive in his first two starts, limiting the Rangers and Blue Jays to just two earned runs in 11 innings of work while flashing an acceptable 8:3 K:BB Ratio. This is a weaker Twins offense and in a better park environment, but Vegas is still skeptical giving the Twins an implied run total around four. While the run prevention for Gausman is shakier, the K upside is a bit higher. We think he’s best used in tournaments on multiple SP sites.
Additional starting pitcher notes: Tyson Ross (SD) and Johnny Cueto (CIN) fall into pricing limbo for us. They both rank in our Top Five starters but are priced similarly to other options ranked ahead of them. On the road, as meaningful underdogs, we’re more likely to consider them in tournaments than in cash games. The primary appeal to considering them in tournaments is the likely low ownership. Taijuan Walker (SEA) has been incredible since the end of May (1.68 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) and faces a depleted Tigers offense without Miguel Cabrera. The price point on Walker has risen across the industry but it’s not egregious. I think he comes with a bit more risk (even without Cabrera in the lineup) than Anderson, but a pinch more upside as well. We thinks he’s better as a tournament option, but I wouldn’t argue against him in cash games. He’s the second largest favorite (-185) on the slate in a game with a total of just 7.5. Manny Banuelos (ATL) will draw some attention after his impressive debut and the Brewers “struggles” against LHP this season (28th in wRC+ but second in the league in hard hit rate). He has one of the most favorable umpires which should help his command issues, but I’m still leaning on the historical data that suggests Braun, Lucroy, Gomez, and Ramirez represent four of the toughest outs in the game for LHP. He falls below someone like Kevin Gausman in our rankings, but is a viable cheap tournament starter. Matt Cain (SF) and Bartolo Colon (NYM) have one of the best umpires in baseball for SP behind the plate. Both live on the edges when right, so there is some low ownership tournament appeal here. The challenge is the matchup for Colon (Giants rank second in wRC+ against RHP) and the unknown for Cain (average FB velocity was just 90 mph and he was dreadful overall his first time out). They’d represent a stand-alone tier six, if we kept drawing the rankings out.
Macro Thinking, Stacks, and Tournament Notes:
This is a new section we’ve created to try and offer more dedicated macro thinking to our analysis and hopefully add more value to those playing tournaments. The format is a bit of a work in progress and we welcome feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Colorado Rockies
2) Los Angeles Angels
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
4) Boston Red Sox
The Angels, Rockies, and Red Sox have the highest implied run totals along with the Rangers. The Dodgers just come with friendlier price tags that make them more viable for cash games than some of the stack options below. These are the four offenses you’ve primarily read about in the content today.
1) Oakland Athletics
2) Toronto Blue Jays
3) Milwaukee Brewers
4) Texas Rangers
5) Chicago White Sox
6) Seattle Mariners
The Athletics get a huge park shift and are loaded with LH power at generally affordable price points. The team total isn’t quite as high as many other offenses so I think they’ll come with a lower ownership tag than their expected value in tournaments.
The Blue Jays are always a pivot to Coors Field when facing a LHP. Jose Quintana is a good lefty, but the power potential is immense for the Jays in a good hitting environment like US Cellular.
I think we’ll get a low ownership rate on the Brewers because they’ve struggled against lefties this season and Banuelos was electric in his debut, which makes them very intriguing. The Braves have arguably the worst bullpen in the majors (second highest ERA, sixth highest xFIP) and the lineup gets another historical lefty masher back at the bottom in Khris Davis.
The Rangers have this huge team total but it’s tough to find obvious places to attack them in cash games. Adrian Beltre and Delino Deshields are the two best options with the platoon advantage and perhaps we get Ryan Rua at a punt price in a good lineup spot, but the rest of the lefties are difficult to prioritize. I think the elevated team total will draw stackers’ attention so I’m not sure we get a great ownership rate on them relative to their expected value, but I could be wrong. There are a lot of good offenses in play tonight.
The White Sox offense is a nightmare. It’s underperformed all season in a great hitting environment. They get a very weak LHP tonight and you can mini-stack Abreu, Garcia, and Melky for some tournament appeal. If Alexei Ramirez gets a good lineup spot you can slide him in as well.
The Mariners traditionally are better used against weak RHP but Kyle Ryan is one of the worst starters going on this slate. Nelson Cruz is an awesome individual play and Austin Jackson is likely a fine secondary value play. Perhaps we get Rickie Weeks in a good lineup spot to add to the value, but in all likelihood the stack value in this game will come from taking on some of the lefties in premier slots (Cano and Seager) and getting into the pen.
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.
OAK at NYY 7:05: A 10% chance of a delay caused by a popup thunderstorm. Temps in the low 80s falling into the mid-70s. Air density is an 8. Wind southwest 5-10 mph which blows out to left-center. The wind is a 6.
CIN at WSH 7:05: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 80s falling into the low 80s. Air density is an 8. Wind southwest 6-12 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.
SD at PIT 7:05: Close call but it looks right now that thunderstorms do not move in until after 9 PM. Scientific reasoning says that they may be even a bit later than that. So, I will put it is a 20-30% chance of a delay after 9PM rising to a 40-60% chance of a delay after 10PM. Temps near 80 falling into the mid-70s. Air density is an 8. Wind southwest 8-16 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 7.
MIA at BOS 7:10: A 10% chance of a popup thunderstorm causing a delay. Temps near 80 falling into the mid-70s. Air density is an 8. Wind south-southwest 10-20 mph which blows out to left-center. The wind is an 8.
HOU at CLE 7:10: Thunderstorms push in before the game starts and do not leave the region until 9 PM the earliest. Very tough call here. Would say it is a coin flip whether they cancel or decide to try and wait the rain out. Unlike KC last night, there will not be any severe weather so that may argue for them waiting. Temps near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind west-northwest becoming north-northeast 8-16 mph which blows in from left first and then in from right. The wind is a 3.
AZ at TEX 8:05: A 40% chance of at least one delay due to slow-moving, drenching thunderstorms. These can be around at any time during the game and there is a 10-20% chance of a cancellation if one of these storms sits over the stadium and pours on them. Temps in the low to mid 80s. Air density is an 8 or 9. Wind south 10-20 mph with gusts past 25 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 2 and at times a 1.
STL at CHC 8:05: Dry. Temps in the low 60s falling into the upper 50s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind north-northeast 10-20 mph lessening to 8-16 mph which blows in from left-center. The wind is a 2 becoming a 3.
TOR at CHW 8:10: Dry. Temps in the low 60s falling into the upper 50s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind north-northeast 10-20 mph lessening to 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 8 becoming a 7.
ATL at MIL 8:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 60s falling into the upper 50s. Air density is a 5. Wind north-northeast 8-16 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.
BLT at MIN 8:10: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind north becoming east 4-8 mph which blows in from left first and then in from center. The wind is a 4.
TB at KC 8:10: Dry. Temps near 70 falling in the mid-60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind northeast 8-16 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 3.
LAA at COL 8:40: Another game in Denver and another game with weather issues. There will be thunderstorms around all game long and while scattered is not a correct term, a solid line of thunderstorms is not either. Maybe the best way to describe them is numerous. Thus, I would say that there is a good chance of a delay at some point (40-60%) but I am not really concerned about a cancellation (10-20%). Temps near 70 falling into the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 10. Wind south 15-25 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 9.
DET at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 80s falling into the mid-70s. Air density is a 7. Wind northwest 5-10 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
PHL at LAD 10:10: Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-southwest 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7.
NYM at SF 10:15: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west 15-25 mph lessening to 10-20 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 9 becoming an 8.