MLB DFS Daily Fantasy Rundown – July 8th, 2015
Welcome to Wednesday’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: We’re keeping a close eye in Colorado. 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.
Russell Martin (TOR) – Martin has been a good hitter against LHP (.341 wOBA, .171 ISO against southpaws since 2012) and he draws a phenomenal matchup. We love picking on John Danks (.355 wOBA, 1.52 HR/9 and 16 percent K rate against RHBs in the last three seasons), especially when he pitches at home (US Cellular Field is an elite hitting venue). Martin is part of the best offense in baseball against LHP and he hits behind elite hitters like Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Martin is ranked inside our top 20 hitters and he seems a touch underpriced on a site like FanDuel ($3,300).
Chris Iannetta (LAA) – The Angels get a massive park shift in their favor (Coors Field) and they have some hitters that hit LHP very well. Iannetta is one of those hitters, as he has accumulated a .362 wOBA and .180 ISO against southpaws since 2012. Opposing pitcher Chris Rusin has been beyond awful against RHBs (.371 wOBA, 1.36 HR/9, 17 percent hard minus soft hit rate and 15 percent K rate against 510 RHBs) and as a result, the Angels have the highest team total on this slate (approaching six runs). Iannetta doesn’t have a good lineup spot (usually hits seventh) but a price tag below many of the other catching options earns him strong value consideration.
Welington Castillo (ARI) – Castillo has been hitting fifth against LHP lately, which is a great spot for his skills (.373 wOBA, .173 ISO against LHP since 2012). Opposing pitcher Matt Harrison is making his first start of the season and he has struggled with RHBs (.343 wOBA, 1.02 HR/9 and 14 percent K rate against RHBs in the last few seasons). He’s primarily a secondary value play should Iannetta not find his way into the lineup or an additional option should the price fall below Iannetta and you need additional salary relief.
Additional catcher notes: John Jaso (TB) returned to Rays lineup last night and hit a home run against a RHP. Opposing pitcher Jeremy Guthrie is awful against LHBs but the Royals have an elite defense/bullpen. Jaso deserves cash game consideration due to his skill set and matchup alone but he will have to make the most out of his first few PAs before the Royals bullpen comes in. Josh Phegley (OAK) has hit LHP very well and he draws a favorable matchup (CC Sabathia has struggled with the long ball) at Yankee Stadium (much better hitting environment than Oakland Coliseum). Phegley deserves a look in tournaments.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI), Albert Pujols (LAA) and Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) are elite hitters against LHP and they’re facing below average southpaws in some of the best hitting environments in all of baseball. These first basemen are ranked inside our top 10 hitters this evening and they’re playable in just about any format but I’d let price points dictate my decisions here in cash games. Pujols is my favorite first baseman on this slate (he has returned to previous levels of production, which bodes well for his value moving forward) given that he has the best matchup (Chris Rusin) in the best hitting venue (Coors Field).
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz has destroyed RHP (.406 wOBA, .277 ISO and 1.14 EYE against RHP since 2012) despite playing the majority of his games in a tough park for LH pull power (Fenway Park). Opposing pitcher Tom Koehler has only allowed a .309 wOBA to LHBs in the last few seasons but he’s not a very good pitcher (16 percent hard minus soft hit rate and he’s allowing close to a home run per nine). Ortiz is still underpriced on most sites, particularly FanDuel (priced as an average hitter) and the Red Sox have a team total of five runs. Ortiz is our seventh ranked hitter and he’s not priced like this on any site.
Adam LaRoche (CWS) – While LaRoche isn’t the same hitter as the written options above, he has been good against RHP (.363 wOBA, .213 ISO against RHP in the last three seasons) despite playing in bad hitting environments. He draws a favorable matchup against Drew Hutchison (.335 wOBA, 1.23 HR/9 allowed to LHBs since 2012 and his career ERA on the road is 5.73) in an awesome hitter’s park (US Cellular Field). LaRoche has a great price point industry wide and if you can’t quite fit an elite option at first base in cash games this evening, LaRoche represents an adequate value.
Additional first base notes: Prince Fielder (TEX) has been healthy this season and the results prove it (skills are back to what they used to be). Jeremy Hellickson is a fly ball pitcher and he struggles with the long ball. Fielder doesn’t rank as favorably in our model as the written options above (25th ranked hitter) but I still consider him a good option in all formats (particularly tournaments). Billy Butler (OAK) has been a good hitter against LHP, the Oakland offense is facing a significant park shift (from Oakland Coliseum to Yankee Stadium) and he draws a favorable matchup against CC Sabathia (struggles with the long ball). He’s a good option for tournaments.
Jason Kipnis (CLE) – (Kipnis is enjoying the best season of his career and he has an awesome matchup against the homer prone Dan Straily; he’s fully priced around the industry but he deserves consideration for tournaments due to his skills and strength of matchup)
Johnny Giavotella (LAA) – While Giavotella isn’t a good hitter (.298 wOBA this season), he has every single contextual factor that I’m looking for this evening in the middle infield. He’s not minimum priced anymore but he remains cheap around the industry and he will have the platoon edge against Chris Rusin at Coors Field. The Angels have a team total approaching six runs and Giavotella is the leadoff hitter for this offense. These type of contextual factors elevates Giavotella’s DFS value and he’s ranked inside our top 25 hitters as a result. I’m not willing to call him a core play since he’s not very good but he’s a cheap way of getting exposure to the best offense on this slate at a middle infield position.
Rougned Odor (TEX) – Odor has shown good power against RHP (.162 ISO in 410 PAs) and he draws a favorable matchup this evening (Jeremy Hellickson allows a healthy amount of aerial contact and he struggles with the long ball). Odor hits atop the Rangers lineup (usually leadoff or second) and the Rangers have a team total approaching five runs. I view Odor as a good value alternative to Johnny Giavotella in cash games.
Additional second base notes: Howie Kendrick (LAD) hits LHP well and opposing pitcher Adam Morgan has pitched a bit over his head (5.36 ZiPS projected ERA for the rest of this season). Kendrick is a good option for tournaments but keep in mind that the written values above are in better hitting environments and they’re cheaper. If Aaron Hill (ARI) can garner a solid lineup spot (at least top six), he would represent a strong cash game value relative to his skill set against LHP and a favorable matchup at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Ben Zobrist (OAK) has a favorable matchup against the homer prone CC Sabathia at Yankee Stadium. He deserves a look in tournaments. Devon Travis (TOR) has been an awesome hitter against LHP but he usually hits in a terrible lineup spot (ninth). I’m willing to overlook that in tournaments, as Travis is part of the an elite offense (Blue Jays are ranked first in wRC+ against southpaws).
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – (Ranks inside our top 10 hitters but opposing pitcher Matt Shoemaker neutralizes RHBs well; Tulowitzki is in play across all formats due to his skills/hitting environment but he’s a better option for tournaments)
Jose Reyes (TOR) – A big reason why I’m not forcing Tulowitzki in my cash game lineups is because the shortstop position has good point per dollar values tonight. At the very top those of those values is Reyes, who’s not a great hitter against LHP (94 wRC+) but he has an incredible matchup (John Danks is a terrible pitcher and he allows too much hard contact) at US Cellular Field. The Blue Jays team total is approaching 5.5 runs and Reyes is the leadoff hitter (hits in front of Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion). Reyes is a phenomenal value on FanDuel ($3,400).
Erick Aybar (LAA) – Like Jose Reyes, Aybar isn’t a very good hitter against LHP (105 wRC+) but he’s part of an Angels offense that has a team total approaching six runs. Aybar isn’t leading off anymore but he’s hitting fifth (behind Mike Trout and Albert Pujols). On a site like DraftKings where Aybar and Reyes are priced the same, I’ll give the edge to Reyes since he’s leading off for the best offense in baseball against LHP. However, FanDuel has priced Aybar (23rd ranked hitter) as an average hitter, which makes him just as good of a value as Reyes (22nd ranked hitter).
Nick Ahmed (ARI) – Ahmed continues our trend of shortstop values this evening. He’s not a very good hitter but he has been leading off against southpaws and the Diamondbacks have a team total of 4.5 runs. He’s a fine value alternative to Reyes and Aybar (where he’s much cheaper) but he doesn’t rank as favorably in our model (60h ranked hitter).
Additional shortstop notes: If Kike Hernandez (LAD) leads off against Adam Morgan, he could emerge as a good punt play on a site like DraftKings ($2,600). Marcus Semien (OAK) is a decent hitter against LHP but he’s usually buried in the bottom of the A’s offense. He’s a decent tournament target (facing CC Sabathia at Yankee Stadium). Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is a fine secondary option to the written values above (Red Sox have a team total of five runs, Bogaerts hits third in this offense and he’s improved his contact rate tremendously this season).
Josh Donaldson (TOR) – Donaldson is one of the best hitters in baseball against LHP (.415 wOBA, .301 ISO against LHP in the last few seasons despite hitting in an awful environment for hitters) and his upside in this matchup (John Danks allows too much hard contact in an environment that punishes aerial contact) makes him easily the top play at third base and one of the best hitting options on this slate (sixth ranked hitter). I’m trying to fit Donaldson in cash games on a site like DraftKings where he seems priced favorably ($4,900) relative to other top options.
Next in line:
Nolan Arenado (COL) – (Has taken major steps forward against RHP and has become one of the best all around third baseman in baseball; he’s fully priced around the industry and Matt Shoemaker neutralizes RHBs fairly well so I’d rather take my shots here in tournaments)
David Freese (LAA) – Freese has hit LHP well (.288/.369/.473 triple slash line against southpaws since 2012) and he has a matchup we’re targeting freely today (Chris Rusin is allowing a .371 wOBA and 1.36 HR/9 to RHBs) in the best hitting environment in all of baseball (Coors Field). Freese usually hits sixth against LHP and his run producing opportunities are enhanced since he hits in front of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. I would rather target Freese in cash games on FanDuel since he’s much cheaper than Donaldson.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) – It’s tough to figure out if Beltre’s regression is a result of his age (36 years old) or injuries (he’s been bothered by a thumb issue all season). He has a good matchup against Jeremy Hellickson (.335 wOBA, 1.33 HR/9 allowed to RHBs since 2012) at Globe Life Park in Arlington. I still view him as a nice value on a site like FanDuel relative to his price (close to the bare minimum) and contextual factors.
Additional third base notes: Todd Frazier (CIN) is an awesome hitter against LHP but Gio Gonzalez represents a tough matchup and he will be hitting away from Great American Ball Park (should result in lower ownership). I view him as a good tournament target on sites that have priced him down (DraftKings). Danny Valencia (TOR) has a matchup that we love today (John Danks) at US Cellular Field. Valencia has hit LHP well but he doesn’t benefit from a good lineup spot. I don’t mind including Valencia in Blue Jays stacks geared towards tournaments.
Mike Trout (LAA)/Jose Bautista (TOR) – Trout ranks so far ahead of Bautista in our model (even with Bautista as our second ranked hitter) that the gap in price is commensurate with their gap in projection. The challenge with Trout is the effects it takes on composing the rest of your roster. As a result, we’re more likely to feel good about all the pieces in our lineup with Bautista than Trout. If you can fit Trout though, his ranking in our model suggests the price tag shouldn’t hold you back.
Rockies outfield- Charlie Blackmon (.357 wOBA, .165 ISO) and Carlos Gonzalez (.386 wOBA, .253 ISO) are good hitters against RHP and their matchup against Matt Shoemaker is a good one (1.29 HR/9, 16 percent hard minus soft hit rate against 488 LHBs). Both are underpriced on DraftKings (close to the average cost of a hitter), where I view them as top values. While Gonzalez is the better hitter, Blackmon has some speed upside and he’s a leadoff hitter (maximizes PAs). I would let price points dictate your decisions here.
Diamondbacks outfield- A.J. Pollock (.364 wOBA, .216 ISO) and Yasmany Tomas (.354 wOBA, .218 ISO) have good skills against LHP and face Matt Harrison (struggles with RHBs) at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Like the Rockies outfield, I would let price points dictate decisions but Pollock has a slightly better lineup spot (second) so I view him as the better overall value at similar price points.
Dodgers outfield- Yasiel Puig (.379 wOBA.167 ISO) and Scott Van Slyke (.391 wOBA, .260 ISO) draw a good matchup against southpaw Adam Morgan (pitching over his head due to some lucky batted ball data but ZiPS projects an ERA north of 5.00 for the rest of the season). Despite the Dodgers being a better offense against RHP, these two hitters are very good against LHP and they usually have appealing lineup spots (at least top five). Puig has been hitting sixth lately against RHP but I expect a better lineup spot against a southpaw. Both are priced similarly around the industry so I would like to see where they end up in the fluid Dodgers lineup before I make a decision. If teammate Alex Guerrero draws a top six spot, I’d consider him as a fine punt option f0r cash games (particularly on DraftKings).
Additional outfield notes: The Texas Rangers outfield (Mitch Moreland, Josh Hamilton and Shin-Soo Choo) are nice hitters against RHP and opposing pitcher Jeremy Hellickson struggles with the long ball. I view them as next in line options to the written values above but Choo should only be considered for tournaments if he continues to hit eight. Teammate Delino DeShields Jr. isn’t as good of a hitter but he’s back from the DL and he’s been leading off for the Rangers. He’s a fine secondary option but I’d rather utilize the LHBs above. Byrce Harper (WSH) has been the best hitter in baseball this season and he draws a favorable matchup today (Michael Lorenzen isn’t very good). He’s a nice pivot from Bautista and Trout in tournaments. Brandon Moss and Michael Brantley (CLE) have a great matchup against Dan Straily (struggles with the long ball) but there are too many good offenses to choose from in cash games this evening. I view them as better options for tournaments. Chris Colabello (TOR) is potentially a cheap way of getting exposure to the Blue Jays top five against John Danks at US Cellular Field. He’s a better option on sites where he remains priced below the average cost of a hitter and his value is tied to his lineup spot. Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton (CWS) are in a good spot against Drew Hutchison (struggles on the road and allows a healthy amount of hard contact, particularly through the air. Take your shots with these two hitters in tournaments but keep in mind that they’re not particularly intriguing cash game plays relative to the rest of the outfield options in play tonight.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
2) Chris Archer (TB)
3) Jason Hammel (CHC)
4) Michael Wacha (STL)
5) Gio Gonzalez (WSH)
6) Andrew Cashner (SD)
7) Trevor Bauer (CLE)
8) Charlie Morton (PIT)
9) Drew Hutchison (TOR)
10) CC Sabathia (NYY)
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – Despite what anyone says about Kershaw’s season thus far, he has been magnificent. He’s walking slightly more (six percent BB rate) than last season (four percent BB rate) but he’s dominating once again (26 percent K-BB%, 51 percent GB rate, seven percent hard minus soft hit rate and 3.08 ERA/2.54 FIP/2.12 xFIP). His awesome K rate (32 percent) is fueled by a career high 16 percent SwStr rate and he continues to get ahead of batters at an above norm rate (65 percent F-Strike rate). The Phillies are a better hitting group against LHP (ranked 14th in wRC+) but they’re striking out over 20 percent of the time against southpaws. I’m making a deliberate attempt at rostering Kershaw in all my cash game lineups since he’s there’s a pretty wide gap between him and the rest of the starting pitchers on this slate. Kershaw and the Dodgers are -400 favorites (opened at around -320) this evening (highest favorite of this season thus far).
Charlie Morton (PIT) – Morton doesn’t have Bauer’s upside (below league average K rate) and his run prevention isn’t all that great (4.30 ERA) but his 3.73 xFIP calls for some positive regression moving forward (elite 62 percent GB rate but a 16 percent HR/FB and 67 percent strand rate). He has an awesome matchup against the lowly Padres (ranked 26th in wRC+ and are striking out 22 percent of the time against RHP) and he’s cheap on multiple starting pitcher sites. Most importantly for Morton is his wide platoon splits. Morton has dominated RHBs (.296 wOBA, 63 percent GB Rate) while struggling against lefties (.335 wOBA allowed since 2012). The Padres typically only can muster 2-3 LHBs in their lineup and all their best hitters are RH. That’s enough to consider Morton in cash games given the slate (games at Coors Field and US Cellular Field).
Volatile Value Play (best in tournaments):
Trevor Bauer (CLE) – While Bauer comes with volatility (11 percent BB rate, fueled by a below league average 59 percent F-Strike rate), he brings a healthy amount of upside (striking out close to a batter per inning and he’s sporting a career high 10 percent SwStr rate). His run prevention might regress slightly (3.80 ERA/4.02 FIP/4.23 xFIP) but he’s not getting hit hard (six percent hard minus soft hit rate). He draws a matchup against a Jekyll and Hyde offense (Astros are ranked fifth in wRC+ but are striking out over 26 percent of the time against RHP). Bauer is sort of a high risk, high reward DFS play this evening but given the fact that the starting position isn’t very deep, he makes for a viable complement to Clayton Kershaw on multiple starting pitcher sites.
Additional starting pitcher notes: Chris Archer (TB) has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball this season but he has a tough matchup today (Royals only strike out 16 percent of the time against RHP and are a top 10 offense). Due to his skill set and fair price point alone, Archer draws consideration in all formats but he’s not close to Kershaw in our model (to be fair, no starting pitcher is close to Kershaw this evening). Jason Hammel (CHC) and Michael Wacha (STL) rank closely in our model. Hammel faces a depleted Cardinals offense without Matt Adams, Matt Holliday, and possibly Kolten Wong. He’s a slight favorite and has a slightly higher K Rate which gives him a similar projected K Rate to Wacha even against a contact-laden Cardinals offense. Wacha has a matchup against a Cubs team that’s striking out 24 percent of the time against RHP and are ranked 25th in wRC+. Wacha is priced a bit high on multiple starting pitcher sites (currently sporting a below league average K rate) but given the matchup and his great run prevention, he deserves consideration across all formats. If paying up to pair a solid second starter with Kershaw, we think the Hammel/Wacha group is the best combination. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) doesn’t have a great matchup but the Reds are away from home and are facing a tough park shift. Gonzalez has been a bit unlucky this season but he’s yielding ground balls at an elite rate and his K rate remains above average. He’s worthy of tournament consideration. Drew Hutchison (TOR) has weird home/away splits (has been great at Rogers Centre but struggles on the road) and he’s in a tough environment (US Cellular Field) but he draws a favorable matchup (White Sox are ranked 27th in wRC+ and are striking out close to 20 percent of the time against RHP). Given the matchup and above average K skills, Hutchison deserves a look 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Los Angeles Angels
2) Toronto Blue Jays
3) Colorado Rockies
No surprises here. The Angels, Blue Jays and Rockies have the highest team totals on this slate and their matchups/hitting venues gives them a ton of upside. I think it makes some sense to fade Coors Field entirely in large field, multi entry tournaments and stack the Blue Jays with some of the offenses in the contrarian section.
1) Boston Red Sox
2) Arizona Diamondbacks
3) Texas Rangers
4) Chicago White Sox
The Red Sox have a team total of five runs so I’m not sure how “contrarian” they actually are. However, with the depth of offenses on this slate, I could see this particular offense go under the radar in tournaments at Fenway Park (better hitting park for righties but very tough on lefties).
The Diamondbacks have a good matchup against southpaw Matt Harrison at Globe Life Park in Arlington and this is an offense that can hit LHP well. The Rangers have a good matchup against the homer prone Jeremy Hellickson and this offense features plenty of left-handed bats. Stacking this game in tournaments and fading some of the other offenses in tournaments isn’t a bad idea (great hitting venue and both pitchers are subpar).
The White Sox haven’t been a very good offense this season but they’ve been hitting well lately and they face Drew Hutchison (big home/away splits). They have some appeal as a contrarian, low owned offense in large field tournaments but they don’t rate as well as the offenses above due to the quality of hitters.
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
OAK at NYY 7:05: A few showers or sprinkles around. A 10% chance of a delay, no threat of a cancellation. Temps near 80 falling into mid 70s. Air density is an 8. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.
CIN at WSH 7:05: Much like the game in NYY, a few showers around. Maybe a slightly higher chance of a delay, 10-20%; very little threat of a cancellation. Temps in the low 80s falling into the upper 70s. 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: A few showers around. Much like the 2 previous games, very little chance of a cancellation with a 10% chance of a delay. Temps in the low 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.
MIA at BOS 7:10: Broken record here, a few showers or sprinkles with basically no chance of a cancellation and very little chance of a delay. Temps near 80 falling into the mid 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind northwest 6-12 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
HOU at CLE 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 60s falling into the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 5. Wind north 4-8 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4.
STL at CHC 8:00: A band of rain is expected to stay just south of the city. Though it will be a close call and bears watching, there should only be some light showers or sprinkles from this. However, this is a situation that can change if the band of rain pushes north a bit. Chance of a cancellation is 10 to maybe 20 percent while the risk of a delay is 20 to maybe 30 percent. Temps in the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 5. Wind east-northeast 5-10 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
AZ at TEX 8:05: Dry. Temps in the mid 80s falling to near 80. Air density is an 8. Wind south 10-20 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 2.
TOR at CHW 8:10: Same forecast as the CHC game above except a slightly higher risk as they are on the south side of town closer to the band of rain. Temps in the low to mid 60s. Wind east-northeast 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.
TB at KC 8:10: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 60s falling into the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind northeast 5-10 mph lessening to nearly calm. The wind blows in from center early. The wind is a 4 becoming a 5.
LAA at COL 8:40: Much like yesterday’s game, there is the threat for thunderstorms. Also, much like yesterday, the majority of the rain should remain confined in the mountains just west of the city. So, 10-20% chance of a cancellation if a thunderstorm sits right on them and a 30% chance of a delay with also a threat for multiple delays (10-20%). Temps in the low 60s falling into the upper 50s. Air density is a 10. Wind northwest 8-16 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 3.
PHL at LAD 10:10: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 10-20 mph which blows out to right. The wind is an 8.