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July 8 MLB DFS: The Book Of Ezequiel
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July 8 MLB DFS: The Book Of Ezequiel

01:22 Starting Pitchers
11:09 Catchers
13:18 First Base
14:58 Second Base
16:57 Shortstop
19:53 Third Base
21:35 Outfield
24:56 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



July 8 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

Tier Two

2) Chris Sale (CHW)

3) Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

4) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

Tier Three

5) Jake Arrieta (CHC)

6) Corey Kluber (CLE)

7) Jeff Samardzija (SF)

8) Scott Kazmir (LAD)

Tier Four

9) Matt Shoemaker (LAA)

10) Michael Wacha (STL)

If you’ve been wondering where all the starting pitching has been the last few days, SURPRISE! The last Friday before the All Star Break is loaded with elite starting pitching which always makes for a tricky slate when Coors Field is also involved. With the opportunity cost at starting pitching very high and the Phillies and Rockies both throwing their aces, we believe it’s a good day to pay up for starting pitching. Jose Fernandez (MIA) leads the way with absurd peripherals (37 K Rate, 7.9 BB Rate, 2.40 xFIP) that meet a soft matchup against the Reds who rank 29th in wRC+, are getting a huge park downgrade, and strike out at the 11th highest clip against RHP (22.3 percent). The price tag for Fernandez is hefty and deservedly so. Fernandez has the highest expected K Rate on the slate and the lowest implied run total against (2.7 implied runs). He’s also the second heaviest favorite (-255). On DraftKings, we’re leaning towards locking in Fernandez as one of our two starting pitcher slots and looking for more value in the second slot. On FanDuel, where pricing is a little tighter, dropping down to Chris Sale (CHW) or Stephen Strasburg (WAS) is a viable alternative. Sale gets the Braves’ offense which takes a big hit in effectiveness and K Rate against LHP. They own just a 67 wRC+ against LHP (29th in MLB) and have posted a league average K Rate (21 percent ranks 17th in MLB). Sale is the heaviest favorite on the slate (-285) and the $700 discount on FanDuel is helpful for lineup construction. Strasburg and Noah Syndergaard (NYM) square off against one another which impacts the win potential for both. Syndergaard’s velocity, swinging strike rates, and pitch mixes were all in line with his seasonal averages last time out in a dominant effort against the Cubs. The multiple elbow examinations are a lingering concern but DraftKings is tempting you with a $10,800 price tag that offers significant cap relief from Jose Fernandez. In general with all these other aces in elite matchups it’s easier to treat Syndergaard as a tournament target but that price tag on DraftKings is viable in all formats.

Our THIRD tier of starters includes Jake Arrieta (CHC) and Corey Kluber (CLE), which is hard to fathom in and of itself. Both have matchups that are stingy for strikeouts and Arrieta’s recent command issues bring in some performance risk as well. With hefty price tags, it’s easier to consider them tournament only as they simply don’t match the strikeout upside of those ranked ahead of them. Jeff Samardzija (SF) gets an elite matchup against a Diamondbacks offense that ranks 17th in WRC+ against RHP with the fifth highest K Rate but most importantly is extremely power dependent and very right handed. Samardzija has held RHBs to just a .298 wOBA and .119 ISO since the start of 2015 and Vegas has given the Diamondbacks just a 3.4 implied run total. Samardzija is viable as a complementary starter on DraftKings with a slightly reduced price tag ($8,900). Scott Kazmir (LAD) is similarly priced and a viable alternative in a more volatile matchup against the Padres (fifth in wrC+ against LHP, fourth highest K Rate). The other alternative for a complementary arm on DraftKings is to drop down for Matt Shoemaker‘s (LAA) elite peripherals of late ($6,700) in a volatile matchup for his fly ball tendencies in Baltimore (third in wRC+, first in ISO, but seventh highest K Rate against RHP) or go really cheap with Patrick Corbin (ARZ) getting a huge park shift, facing likely a watered down Giants’ offense, and priced at just $5,100.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

2) Buster Posey (SF)

3) Willson Contreras (CHC)

4) Russell Martin (TOR)

5) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

The catching position is relatively deep with favorable machups, but few have compelling price tags. Willson Contreras (CHC) remains too cheap on FanDuel ($2,700) for his overall ability. It’s a tough park for RH power and Liriano limits power but he’s been vulnerable this season (.367 wOBA, 14.7 BB Rate, and 33.5 hard hit rate to RHBs). The other alternative is finding a bit more salary space for a higher upside in Russell Martin (TOR) against Mike Pelfrey in Toronto. Martin has the best price tag of the ranked catchers on DraftKings but Carlos Ruiz (PHI) ($2,900) could land in a good lineup spot in Coors Field and offer a bit more salary relief. Ruiz is simply a salary relief play in Coors Field as he’s a pretty poor hitter against RHP (.244 wOBA, .050 ISO since 2015).

First Base Rankings

1) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

2) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) David Ortiz (BOS)

5) Jose Abreu (CHW)

6) Matt Adams (STL) – if cleanup

7) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

8) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

9) Ryan Howard (PHI)

10) Albert Pujols (LAA)

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) is our top ranked option at first base but comes with an appropriate price tag and at a position with a lot of depth we’re looking for value. Miguel Cabrera (DET) remains underpriced due to his skill-set and gets the platoon advantage against J.A. Happ (.311 wOBA, .152 ISO against RHBs since 2015). Cabrera’s boost mainly comes from the success of his teammates around him against LHP as his splits are neutral and all of the hitters around him have relatively wide platoon splits in favor of production against LHP. On both sites, Jose Abreu (CHW) also comes at a discount. Matt Wisler has been pretty good at the big league level against RHBs (.278 wOBA) but he’s allowed a 35.4 hard hit rate to RHBs and is getting a big downgrade in park and league environment. Abreu’s production this season is down but all the plate discipline indicators are in line.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Logan Forstyhe (TB)

3) Ian Kinsler (DET)

4) Robinson Cano (SEA)

5) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

6) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

7) Brian Dozier (MIN)

The second base position is a little tricky for Friday’s slate. Jose Altuve (HOU) leads the way but is priced appropriately and is just outside our Top 10 overall hitters. We’d rather spend big resources elsewhere. Logan Forsythe (TB) and Ian Kinsler (DET) are slightly more affordable options that get you great exposure to opportunity as leadoff hitters on the road in elite scoring environments. Forsythe faces Sean O’Sullivan (.352 wOBA, .146 ISO to RHBs since 2015) in a big park shift for the Rays in Fenway Park. Kinsler has always hit LHP well (.374 wOBA, .179 ISO since 2015) and leads off for a Tigers’ offense that is far more potent against LHP as a whole. Those represent the two best values industry-wide, but on FanDuel it’s possible we get a pure punt option as a road leadoff hitter if Greg Garcia (STL) gets the leadoff spot in Matt Carpenter‘s absence. Garcia has hit well against RHP in limited big league experience (.355 wOBA, .119 ISO since 2015) and led off last game for the Cardinals. Garcia would be a really important punt that allows you either access to more elite hitting at premier positions or the very top of the SP food chain.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

3) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

4) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

5) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

6) Corey Seager (LAD)

7) Brad Miller (TB)

8) Aledmys Diaz (STL)

9) Tim Anderson (CHW)

10) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

11) Trevor Story (COL)

It’s a pretty ridiculously deep shortstop position when our 11th ranked shortstop is the first from Coors Field. Carlos Correa (HOU) leads the way at the position and due to unusual pricing on both sites our evaluation of the position for cash games essentially stops there. Correa owns a .370 wOBA and .215 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer and while Daniel Mengden has been dominant against righties in the early going, the Astros have a healthy 4.5 implied team total and Correa is priced as an average hitting option on both sites. His price tag should consolidate ownership a bit which makes this an excellent position to attack in tournaments with such incredible depth and unusual power upside at the position.

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

3) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

4) Evan Longoria (TB)

5) Miguel Sano (MIN) (where eligible)

6) Kris Bryant (CHC)

7) Maikel Franco (PHI)

8) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

9) Eduardo Nunez (MIN) (where eligible)

10) Nick Castellanos (DET)

Nolan Arenado (COL) and Josh Donaldson (TOR) are Top 10 overall hitters in our model. The depth at third base allows many alternatives at cheaper price points and with the elite pitching on the slate that’s likely the tact you’ll take. Evan Longoria (TB) is priced up on FanDuel ($3,900) but down a bit on DraftKings ($4,100) and gets that favorable park shift and matchup with Sean O’Sullivan. Kris Bryant (CHC) has a tough park shift in PNC but is priced down a bit on FanDuel ($3,600) making him a viable target there as well.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

3) Bryce Harper (WAS)

4) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

5) Odubel Herrera (PHI)

6) Michael Saunders (TOR)

7) Ezequiel Carrera (TOR)

8) Mookie Betts (BOS)

9) Shin Soo Choo (TEX)

10) George Springer (HOU)

11) Cody Asche (PHI)

12) Ryan Braun (MIL)

13) Adam Eaton (CHW)

14) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

15) Miguel Sano (MIN)

16) Kole Calhoun (LAA)

17) Kris Bryant (CHC) (where eligible)

18) Christian Yelich (MIA)

19) Matt Holliday (STL)

20) Ian Desmond (TEX)

Mike Trout (LAA) regains his spot at the top of our rankings with a huge park shift in Baltimore and a weak opposing starter in Ubaldo Jimenez. He’s priced appropriately on both sites and in general it will be difficult to spend all the way up on this slate. He’s viable in all formats but not a primary target. He’s followed by the usual suspects on a Coors Field slate: Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Charlie Blackmon (COL), Odubel Herrera (PHI) with Bryce Harper (WAS) and two Blue Jays outfielders – Michael Saunders (TOR) and Ezequiel Carrera (TOR) mixed in. The Blue Jays offense is the most heavily discounted of the group and represent some of our favorite value targets on both sites. Mike Pelfrey has been tattooed (.387 wOBA, 33.3 hard hit rate) by LHBs all season. Steven Souza (TB) is a great site specific value on FanDuel at just $2,400 that really helps facilitate elite SP or Coors Field exposure at your discretion. Cody Asche (PHI) is the cheapest way to get exposure to Coors Field on both sites while Adam Eaton (CHW) is a solid secondary value on both sites. Justin Upton (DET) is uniquely cheap on DraftKings ($2,300) and is a great source of salary relief if you’re pursuing Jose Fernandez in cash games. George Springer (HOU) also has a uniquely cheap price tag on FanDuel at just $3,100.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Toronto Blue Jays

2) Colorado Rockies

3) Texas Rangers

4) Philadelphia Phillies

Tier Two

5) Tampa Bay Rays

Tier Three

6) Chicago White Sox

7) Detroit Tigers

8) St. Louis Cardinals

9) Boston Red Sox

10) Los Angeles Angels

This is an unusual slate where the Coors Field teams rank in our top tier but not at the very top. This honor belongs to the Blue Jays who get Mike Pelfrey backed up by likely the weaker portion of the Tigers bullpen that ranks well but largely just because of two elite relievers (Greene/Wilson who were both used extensively last night). The Blue Jays ownership likely will dwarf Coors Field so they represent a preferred pivot in tournaments from Coors. The Rangers may also represent a nice pivot after a very disappointing performance on Thursday night.

The Rays have a lot more depth to their offense with Souza and Dickerson back and few price points that will garner cash game attention. As a result, they represent a high upside tournament stack as a road team against a Red Sox bullpen that is vulnerable in the middle. The Tigers are always a fun offense to stack against LHP given their depth of power hitting RHBs getting a huge park shift. Some favorable price tags on Miguel Cabrera on both sites and Justin Upton on DraftKings makes it a relatively cost-effective stack as well.

MLB Daily Analysis

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