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7/9 MLB DFS: Be Brave and start Jose

7/9 MLB DFS: Be Brave and start Jose
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MLB DFS Daily Fantasy Rundown – July 9th, 2015  2015

Welcome to Thursday’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 concerns today are 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.


Top Play:

Wilin Rosario (COL) – Rosario has put up video game numbers against LHP, posting a .414 wOBA and .291 ISO in 415 PAs against southpaws. While Alex Wood is certainly not a bad pitcher (strong K-BB% and he doesn’t allow much power), the Rockies have a team total approaching 5.5 runs and Rosario hits in the middle of the order. Rosario is way too cheap on DraftKings ($3,400), where I view him as a core play when you take into account his price point (relative to other catchers), skills and hitting venue (Coors Field).

Value Play:

A.J. Pierzynski (ATL) – While Pierzynski is an okay hitter (107 wRC+ against RHP since 2012), he has power (.181 ISO) and that’s about all you need in a matchup against Kyle Kendrick at Coors Field. Kendrick has allowed a .335 wOBA, 1.10 HR/9 and he’s only striking out 15 percent of LHBs since 2012. Pierzynski ranks inside our top 20 hitters this evening but he only rates as a value alternative to Wilin Rosario (way underpriced on DraftKings and he has the best skills at the catcher position tonight).

Additional catcher notes: Yasmani Grandal (LAD) is a nice hitter against RHP and he ranks inside our top 35 hitters. He has a strong matchup against Severino Gonzalez (has struggled mightily against LHBs in a small sample) but he’s about a thousand more expensive than Wilin Rosario on DraftKings. We also have no idea where Grandal will end up in the Dodgers lineup (sometimes hits cleanup but there are other times where he’s buried at the bottom of the lineup) but if he ends up in a top five spot, I view him as a fine alternative to Wilin Rosario across all formats. Yan Gomes (CLE) hits LHP very well and he has a nice matchup against Brett Oberholtzer but he doesn’t rank as well as the options above in our model (40th ranked hitter). He can be considered in all formats due to his skill set alone. We don’t really need Alex Avila (DET) on DraftKings (priced similarly to Wilin Rosario) but he’s a fine cheap play on FanDuel (will hit fifth and hold the platoon edge against Mike Pelfrey).

First Base

The Plays:

Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – Gonzalez is the top play at first base and he ranks inside our top 20 hitters tonight. His skills against RHP are strong (.365 wOBA, .201 ISO against RHP in the last three seasons) and opposing pitcher Severino Gonzalez has been pretty bad in general (8.28 ERA in 25 IP this season and hasn’t figured out how to contain LHBs). The Dodgers have a team total approaching five runs and we can rest assured that Gonzalez’s lineup spot will remain intact (cleanup hitter).

Victor Martinez (DET) – While Martinez has been a solid hitter against RHP (.355 wOBA, .152 ISO against RHP since 2012), his matchup against Mike Pelfrey is a good one. Pelfrey has some intriguing things going for him (fastball velocity is up to 93 MPH, highest of his career and he’s allowing a two percent hard minus soft hard hit rate) but he doesn’t miss any bats and his K-BB ratio is awful (3.3 percent). Pelfrey has a ZiPS projected ERA over five for the rest of this season so the matchup is a strong one for Martinez and the Tigers. Martinez is the top overall play at the catcher position on FanDuel but Adrian Gonzalez (better skills) edges him out at the first base position, especially where they’re priced similarly.

Additional first base notes: Carlos Santana (CLE) has a good matchup against Brett Oberholtzer (doesn’t miss many bats) and he’s priced below the average cost of a hitter around the industry. He’s a fine value alternative to the written options above if you need some salary relief at first base. Justin Bour (MIA) has an awesome matchup against David Holmberg (doesn’t miss bats and has a ZiPS projected ERA of 5.00) and he’s cheap around the industry. He’s a decent salary relief option on DraftKings ($3,000) but the hitting environment is awful and the surrounding hitters aren’t very good so I’d rather take my shots here on tournaments. Wilin Rosario (COL) has first base eligibility on FanDuel, where he’s also a top play (ranked higher than Gonzalez and Martinez in our model).

Second Base

The Play:

Jace Peterson (ATL) – Peterson isn’t a good hitter (.305 wOBA this season) but he can run (25 SB upside over a full season) and he’s the leadoff hitter for an offense with a team total of 5.5 runs. A matchup against Kyle Kendrick (6.00 ERA/6.01 FIP, doesn’t miss any bats and is allowing a 20 percent hard minus soft hit rate) at Coors Field is enough to consider Peterson the top play at second base an a top 10 hitter in our model.

Value Alternative:

DJ LeMahieu (COL) – LeMahieu is a below average hitter against LHP (.299 wOBA in 403 PAs against LHP) but he hits second for the Rockies and they have a team total that’s approaching 5.5 runs. Peterson ranks way ahead of LeMahieu in our model but he’s a decent value alternative if you need extra salary relief at the position.

Additional second base notes: Ian Kinsler (DET) has a matchup against the underwhelming Mike Pelfrey (doesn’t miss any bats) and he rates ahead of LeMahieu in our model where priced similarly (FanDuel). Jose Altuve (HOU) has a matchup against a pitcher that doesn’t miss any bats and we love his high contact rate/speed upside. He’s fully priced around the industry so he’s a better target for tournaments. Dee Gordon (MIA) isn’t a very good hitter but he does have a favorable matchup (David Holmberg has a ROS ZiPS projected ERA over five) and we’re always fond of his speed upside. Gordon is a good option for tournaments where fully priced but I would consider him for cash games on sites where he’s priced as an average hitter.


The Play:

Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – Tulowitzki has been a monster against LHP (.430 wOBA, .259 ISO against LHP since 2012). Despite not having a great matchup (Alex Wood is a good pitcher), Tulowitzki is priced way too low on DraftKings ($4,500) relative to his skill set, expected team success and hitting environment. With the lack of viable values at the shortstop position, Tulowitzki shouldn’t be faded in cash games, especially where he comes at a discount (I would only consider fading him in large field, multi entry tournaments). He’s the only shortstop option that’s worth a written recommendation today.

Additional shortstop notes: Andrelton Simmons (ATL) isn’t a good hitter but he usually has a top six spot in this Braves offense and they have a matchup against Kyle Kendrick at Coors Field, which has resulted in a team total of 5.5 runs. I would consider Simmons a viable alternative to Troy Tulowitzki on a site like FanDuel where he’s priced fairly ($2,700). Carlos Correa (HOU) is quickly becoming one of the best shortstops in baseball (has accumulated a 1.4 WAR in 28 career games). He draws a favorable matchup against Cody Anderson (doesn’t miss any bats) but his price is a bit restrictive for cash games (better for tournaments).

Third Base

Top Play:

Nolan Arenado (COL) – Arenado has become one of the best third baseman in all of baseball (only 24 years old). The one skill that he has repeteadly shown at this level is that he can hit LHP (.372 wOBA, .222 ISO in 346 PAs against LHP). The Rockies have a team total approaching 5.5 runs and despite Alex Wood being a good pitcher, this environment (Coors Field) is unforgiveable to opposing pitchers. Like most of his right-handed teammates, Arenado seems underpriced on DraftKings ($4,500).

Value Play:

Kelly Johnson (ATL) – Johnson doesn’t have third base eligibility on every site but he does on DraftKings, where he has an investable price point ($3,600). Johnson isn’t a very good all around hitter (.312 wOBA) but he does have pop (.171 ISO against RHP since 2012) and that’s enough to draw cash game appeal against Kyle Kendrick at Coors Field. If you can’t quite go all the way for Arenado on DraftKings, Johnson represents a strong value alternative (cleanup hitter for an offense with a team total of 5.5 runs).

Additional third base notes: On FanDuel, Nolan Arenado is fully priced and Kelly Johnson doesn’t have third base eligibility. I view Justin Turner (LAD) and Nick Castellanos (DET) as the best third base values on that site. They have matchups against subpar starting pitchers and their respective teams have run totals that are approaching five runs. If you need a bit more salary relief at the position on FanDuel, Kyle Seager (SEA) is only $2,300 and is usable in cash games on that site.


The Plays:

Braves outfield- Nick Markakis (third ranked hitter) Cameron Maybin (25th ranked hitter) have a matchup we love today (Kyle Kendrick) at Coors Field. Markakis rates much better than Maybin in our model and he’s substantially cheaper around the industry. Maybin is fully priced on most sites (has performed very well lately and is having a bounce back season after being nagged by injuries throughout his career) so I like him better for tournaments. Teammate Kelly Johnson has outfield eligibility on most sites and he’s one of the cheapest ways of getting exposure to this offense. None of these outfielders have great skills but their contextual factors couldn’t be better.

Dodgers outfield- Joc Pederson (.376 wOBA, .261 ISO) and Yasiel Puig (.383 wOBA, .200 ISO) are excellent hitters against RHP and opposing pitcher Severino Gonzalez represents a strong matchup. Both are priced similarly around the industry but Pederson is the better cash game option due to his lineup spot (leadoff). Puig hasn’t performed well lately and manager Don Mattingly demoted him to sixth in the batting order against RHP. If Puig can recuperate his lineup spot (used to hit at the top of the lineup) he would become a nice cash game play (where discounted).

Drew Stubbs (COL) – We’re hoping that manager Walt Weiss would do the right thing and place Stubbs in a top six spot in the Rockies lineup. If that’s the case, we view Stubbs as a great salary relief play relative to his skills (.281/.350/.441 triple slash line vs. LHP in the last three seasons), expected team success (Rockies team total is approaching 5.5 runs) and hitting venue (Coors Field). Stubbs ranks inside our top 10 hitters this evening and he’s priced as a punt play on DraftKings ($2,900).

Additional outfield notes: J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes (DET) rank inside our top 25 hitters this evening. They won’t have the platoon edge against Mike Pelfrey but he doesn’t miss any bats. Martinez is fully priced around the industry but he’s performing even better than he was last season (career high 46 percent loft rate has resulted in a .281 ISO). He’s my favorite tournament play on this slate while Cespedes is a fine alternative to the written options above (strong lineup spot in an offense with a team total that’s approaching five runs and he’s much cheaper than Martinez). Brandon Moss (CLE) isn’t a very good overall hitter vs. LHP but he does have some power and opposing pitcher Brett Oberholtzer is allowing over one home run per nine. Moss is a good tournament play but he doesn’t have a good lineup spot and a L/L matchup isn’t attractive for cash games. Christian Yelich (MIA) has a phenomenal matchup against a pitcher that is making a spot start (David Holmberg). I don’t love his skill set (hits too many ground balls) but the matchup is strong enough to consider him for tournaments.

Starting Pitcher

Rankings (price not considered):

Tier One

1) Zack Greinke (LAD)’

2) Felix Hernandez (SEA)

3) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

4) David Price (DET)

Tier Two

5) Garrett Richards (LAA)

6) Carlos Martinez (STL)

Tier Three

7) Cody Anderson (CLE)

Top Play:

Zack Greinke (LAD) – Greinke has been phenomenal this season, posting a 18 percent K-BB%, 1.48 ERA and a puny five percent hard minus soft hit rate. His K rate should be bit better moving forward (11 percent SwStr rate, 64 percent F-Strike rate and 34 percent chase rate, all above league average measures). He carries these skills against the hapless Phillies (ranked dead last in wRC+ and striking out about a league average 19 percent of the time against RHP) and Vegas has taken notice. While Kershaw was the biggest favorite of the season last night, Greinke is a -400 favorite (highest of the season) and the Phillies have a team total of 2.5 runs. I don’t mind fading him in multi-entry tournaments but it seems like Greinke is the correct cash game play once you take into account his overall skill set, strength of matchup and information from Vegas.

Next in line:

Jose Fernandez (MIA) – Fernandez is making his second start of the season tonight (coming back from Tommy John surgery) and he looked great during his season debut. His velocity was a bit higher than normal (96 MPH fastball velocity) and he accumulated 20 DraftKings points in a tough matchup against the San Francisco Giants. Fernandez will likely have a pitch limit of 100 pitches but his matchup against the Reds (ranked 17th in wRC+ against RHP) at Marlins Park (elite pitcher’s park) is enough to invest at discounted price levels. Fernandez’s price point on DraftKings is discounted relative to his peers (Felix Hernandez and David Price are over 1K more expensive) and his skill set is just as good (21 percent K-BB% and 2.31 ERA/2.62 FIP/2.95 xFIP in 230 career innings). The Reds have a team total of three runs and they face a terrible park shift from an offensive standpoint. Fernandez trails Hernandez in our rankings but that’s a result of a potential pitch limit. Once you take into account price points, Fernandez becomes a clear next in line option to Zack Greinke this evening.

Additional starting pitcher notes: I’m cheating just a bit here but Felix Hernandez (SEA) and David Price (DET) are also next in line options to Zack Greinke. When taking price points/strength of matchup into account, Fernandez becomes the better cash game asset. I like Hernandez a bit more than Price due to a lower scoring environment (6.5 run total compared to 8). Price is better for tournaments, as his matchup is a bit weird (Twins are a neutral matchup when you look at wRC+ but they’ve actually scored the second most runs against LHP this season and have a team total approaching four runs tonight). Garrett Richards (LAA) has a strong matchup against a Mariners offense that’s ranked 25th in wRC+ and are striking out over 22 percent of the time against RHP. His chances for a win aren’t great (Felix Hernandez is pitching for the Angels) but he’s allowing a one percent hard minus soft hit rate (ridiculously low), he keeps the ball in the ground at an above average rate and his K rate will experience some growth moving forward (currently below average but his underlying K peripherals are strong). Richards is a fine complement to the written options above on multiple starting pitcher sites. While Cody Anderson (CLE ) has pitched over his head (batted ball luck stats are inflated after three starts and he pitches to contact), a matchup against the K happy Astros (striking out over 26 percent of the time against RHP) could help his K rate. The Astros have a team total of 3.5 runs and Anderson is cheap on DraftKings ($6,300). If you want to load up on offense in cash games, Anderson is a cheap complement to the tier one pitchers.

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) Atlanta Braves

2) Colorado Rockies

3) Los Angeles Dodgers

The Braves, Rockies and Dodgers were core offenses in today’s rundown. The Braves aren’t a very good offense but they have the best contextual factors of any team on this slate. They’re our number one ranked offense (Vegas agrees) while the Rockies have a tougher matchup against Alex Wood but they have hitters who are elite against LHP (second ranked offense). We love the Dodgers against Severino Gonzalez but they still trail Coors Field in our rankings.

Contrarian/Secondary Stacks:

1) Detroit Tigers

2) Houston Astros

These offenses aren’t really “contrarian” but they’re playing in unappealing hitting environments (especially the Tigers) and a game at Coors Field will likely push down their ownership levels. The Tiger are a better offense against LHP but Mike Pelfrey doesn’t miss any bats and they’ve been performing great as of late even without Miguel Cabrera‘s services. The Astros have a matchup against a pitcher that doesn’t miss bats and they’ve been a better offense against RHP this season. We love targeting this offense against contact pitcher (decreases their biggest problem offensively, which is striking out, and increases their ability to make contact) so there’s plenty of tournament appeal here. If you’d like to get creative on a seven game slate, fading Coors Field in large field, multi entry tournaments and stacking these two offenses isn’t a bad idea.

MLB Game Weather Forecasts

STL at PIT 7:05: Strong thunderstorms before the game. Lingering showers/t-storms may delay the start of the game but later in the game there should be nothing but stray, light showers. Chance of  cancellation is 10% (if thunderstorms last a bit longer than currently forecast), chance of a delay is 30-40%, most likely early in the game.

HOU at CLE 7:10: Thunderstorms should be in the process of moving away from the city as the game starts. I do not see a cancellation as they should just wait a delay if necessary (30-40% chance of that). Temps in the upper 60s falling into the low 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind northwest 8-16 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 3 becoming a 4.

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

DET at MIN 8:10: Dry. Temps in the low 80s falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind south 5-10 mph which blows from right to left.

ATL at COL 8:40: Continued threat for thunderstorms. Basically the same threat as the last 2 night. So, not expecting a cancellation but delays are possible or even likely. Chances 40-60% of a delay with 10-20% chance of a cancellation. Temps in the low to mid 70s falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 10. Wind south 8-16 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 7.

LAA at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 80s falling into the mid 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 7-14 mph which blows out to center. 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 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-southwest 10-20 mph which blows out to right. The wind is an 8.

MLB Daily Analysis