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June 10 MLB DFS: He is the Stras Man
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June 10 MLB DFS: He is the Stras Man

00:53 Starting Pitchers
12:53 Catchers
15:23 First Base
18:18 Second Base
20:23 Shortstop
23:32 Third Base
25:20 Outfield
28:43 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



June 10 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – in own tier if Posey out

2) Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Tier Two

3) Lance McCullers (HOU)

4) Johnny Cueto (SF)

5) Chris Sale (CHW)

6) Corey Kluber (CLE)

7) Jason Hammel (CHC)

8) Matt Harvey (NYM)

Tier Three

9) Jon Gray (COL)

10) Ian Kennedy (KC)

11) Gerrit Cole (PIT)

12) Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA)

13) Jeremy Hellickson (PHI)

14) Junior Guerra (MIL)

15) Steven Wright (BOS)

16) Marco Estrada (TOR)

The aces are back in action on Friday as we get both Clayton Kershaw (LAD) and Stephen Strasburg (WAS) in favorable spots. Kershaw gets the pitchers’ haven that is AT&T Park in San Francisco and faces a Giants’ lineup that is more vulnerable to LHP without Hunter Pence and Buster Posey battling a thumb injury. The lineup features a bunch of LHBs (Panik, Crawford, Span, and Belt) that can only be replaced by inferior options. Kershaw has held LHBs to a .220 wOBA and .097 ISO since 2015 while striking out 38.9 percent of them. While the Giants typically limit opposing strikeouts, their lineup is vulnerable right now to dominant LHP. Kershaw has an implied team total against around 2.5 runs. Strasburg isn’t far behind Kershaw (though the gap would widen if Posey is unable to play) and generally comes at a cheaper price tag. The Phillies rank 28th in wRC+ against RHP and strikeout 13th most in the league. Strasburg gets them at home and he’s a much larger favorite (-244 vs. -150) than Kershaw with a similarly low implied run total against (2.7 runs). The gap in pricing on FanDuel, makes Strasburg a stronger play than Kershaw but where priced similarly, Kershaw has the slight edge.

On a slate with a number of premier offensive environments in play, there is a temptation to save funds for offense. On FanDuel, it’s difficult to build rosters with 12 or 13k dedicated to a pitcher and it will make you consider tough decisions. Lance McCullers (HOU) is your primary alternative. McCullers faces a Rays’ offense that has the third highest K Rate against RHP (25.1 percent) and ranks 11th in wRC+ with a neutral BB Rate. Walks are the big problem for McCullers as he’s dominant at generating swinging misses (10.3 percent, as a big leaguer), generating strikeouts (25.7 percent as a big leaguer) and generating ground balls (48.7 GB Rate as big leaguer, 59.4 GB Rate this season). The scoring system on FanDuel doesn’t penalize for walks or hits allowed, which removes some of the downside with McCullers and helps emphasize the upside in K Rate. By foregoing Strasburg or Kershaw, you’re sacrificing floor but infusing your lineup with more upside with the ability to get exposure to Coors Field or other premier offenses. It’s a very interesting decision.

On DraftKings, you’ll need to find a cheaper option to afford a Strasburg or a Kershaw. Matt Harvey (NYM) looks like the best fit with his price tag still relatively depressed and a Brewers’ offense that has the league’s highest K Rate against RHP (26.3 percent) while ranking 23rd in wRC+. Harvey held a bit of the velocity gain we saw two starts ago and while the strikeouts weren’t there against the Marlins, he induced a 31.8 soft hit rate and got chases on 46 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. It remains a nice time to buy low on Harvey.

In tournaments, the secondary starters above are strong pivots from Kershaw or Strasburg on solo starting pitcher sites. Jon Gray (COL) is another option who undoubtedly will be low owned pitching in Coors Field but has racked up 23 strikeouts in two outings against the Padres already this year (both in San Diego). On multiple SP sites, Jeremy Hellickson (PHI) has shown improved strikeout rates this season and gets a nice park shift in Washington. He’s a low probability for a win, but has a cheap tag and viable upside. In general, with all the aces on the slate, and the secondary aces priced up; it’s a difficult slate to get contrarian at SP.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Welington Castillo (ARZ)

3) Brian McCann (NYY)

4) J.T. Realmuto (MIA) – if leadoff or cleanup

5) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

The catcher position has a number of good options with the platoon advantage in positive hitting environments but all the really strong hitting environments leave most of them outside our Top 50 overall hitters. Victor Martinez (DET) remains our top ranked catcher and cracks the Top 50 on the road against CC Sabathia. As we’ve noted before, Sabathia may be underrated by our model given his success with the cutter this season, specifically against RHBs. As a result, Welington Castillo (ARZ) who only ranks a few spots below him, makes for a better top option if spending. It’s a position we don’t mind getting out with some salary relief if those options become available, so stay tuned to alerts.

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

2) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

3) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

4) Chris Davis (BAL)

5) Wil Myers (SD)

6) David Ortiz (BOS)

7) Joey Votto (CIN)

8) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

9) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

10) Jose Abreu (CHW)

Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) is very clearly the top option at first base as he’s the top overall hitter in our model, even on a day with Coors Field in play. Justin Nicolino has allowed a .331 wOBA and 32.6 hard hit rate to RHBs at the big league level. He doesn’t miss bats and he doesn’t particularly generate ground balls (38.8 GB Rate against RHBs). It’s a dangerous combination, especially for Goldschmidt’s elite skills against LHP. Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Miguel Cabrera (DET), and Chris Davis (BAL) all crack our Top 10 overall bats. Chris Davis has a unique price tag ($3,400) on DraftKings that makes him one of the strongest plays on the site and allows you access to top tier pitching. Marco Estrada‘s early success is a bit of a mirage. His BB Rate is higher. He’s allowing more hard contact and his Fly Ball Rate remains extreme (48.5 percent). He’s inducing a ton more pop-ups which is his primary skill, but we’ll take our chances on Davis’ cheap tag against a fly ball pitcher in a nice park for power. Davis is also cheap enough to serve as your primary value on FanDuel should you not have enough funds to pay for Paul Goldschmidt.

Second Base Rankings

1) Yangervis Solarte (SD) – where eligible

2) Neil Walker (NYM)

3) Ian Kinsler (DET)

4) Jean Segura (ARZ)

5) Jose Altuve (HOU)

6) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

7) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

8) Rougned Odor (TEX)

9) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

Second base has a few borderline Top 50 overall hitters at the top with Yangervis Solarte (SD), Neil Walker (NYM), Ian Kinsler (DET), and Jean Segura (ARZ). Solarte carries an affordable price tag on DraftKings and represents one of the few Padres we’d target in Coors Field in cash games despite the massive park shift in their favor and the elevated total. On FanDuel, he carries 3B eligibility. Jed Lowrie (OAK) also has an affordable price tag for DraftKings ($3,200) which makes him an acceptable drop-down should Solarte not find his way into the lineup. On FanDuel, Neil Walker, Jean Segura, and Rougned Odor (TEX) all come with solid price tags. Walker and Segura are in stronger hitting environments and grade out as slightly stronger options. This is also a position to monitor alerts for a potential punt like Phil Gosselin (ARZ) who has occasionally hit second against LHP this season.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Carlos Correa (HOU)

3) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

4) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

5) Trevor Story (COL)

6) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

Manny Machado (BAL) is our top ranked shortstop option and he’s affordably priced, but someone we’re not super excited to spend up for. On DraftKings, the price tag is compelling ($3,700) and lures you in due to a lack of other alternatives. All the punt options you’d consider are only a few hundred cheaper, so you feel obligated to find the funds. On FanDuel, it’s a similar story but a slightly wider pricing gap between Machado and potential punts like Didi Gregorius (NYY) and Alcides Escobar (KC).

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Kris Bryant (CHC)

4) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

5) Yangervis Solarte (SD) – where eligible

6) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

7) Danny Valencia (OAK)

8) Eduardo Nunez (MIN) – where eligible

9) Todd Frazier (CHW)

10) Brandon Drury (ARZ) – if second or fifth

11) Martin Prado (MIA)

12) Nick Castellanos (DET)

Nolan Arenado (COL) cracks our Top 10 overall hitters but priced appropriately on FanDuel ($4,300) and DraftKings ($5,600). You can squeeze him in if he’s the one Rockie you want to own on DraftKings but it’s very tough on FanDuel unless you’re dropping down to Lance McCullers in cash games. The other top options are further down in our rankings and not worth pursuing in cash games which pushes us to value alternatives. Alex Rodriguez (NYY) and Yangervis Solarte (SD) are reasonable drop-downs, though appropriately priced. Then you’ve got potential punt options like Chris Coghlan (CHC) on FanDuel ($2,100) and Trevor Plouffe (MIN) on DraftKings ($2,700) that could offer salary relief at a relatively thin position in terms of effective value plays.

Outfield Rankings

1) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

2) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

3) Bryce Harper (WAS)

4) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

5) J.D. Martinez (DET)

6) Jose Bautista (TOR)

7) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

8) Rajai Davis (CLE) – if leadoff

9) Mookie Betts (BOS)

10) Michael Conforto (NYM)

11) Mike Trout (LAA)

12) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

13) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

14) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

15) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

16) Brett Gardner (NYY)

17) Jason Heyward (CHC)

18) Matt Kemp (SD)

19) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

20) Carlos Beltran (NYY)

Bryce Harper (WAS) still rates ahead of the two Rockies outfielders in our model, but we’re using Hellickson’s early season performance along with Harper’s recent slide as a convenient excuse to emphasize the Rockies’ bats in cash games. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) and Charlie Blackmon (COL) rank pretty closely in our model. Blackmon has been the hotter hitter of late and has a slight plate appearance advantage (factored into the rankings) so if you’d like to use that as a tie-breaker between the two, it’s acceptable. We’d recommend if only fitting one into your lineups, splitting the decision between multiple lineups. This slate will require some value bats in the outfield. Rajai Davis (CLE) always rates well in our model against lefties and Hector Santiago is a rare lefty that teams try to run on (30 SB allowed since 2014). Coco Crisp (OAK) is an affordable leadoff option against the Reds brutal bullpen behind Anthony DeSclafani who is a pretty good starter returning from injury. On FanDuel, Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) remains underpriced and a matchup against a contact-oriented lefty in Arizona is a great one to break out of his recent slide. Hyun-Soo Kim (BAL) and Franklin Gutierrez (SEA) are also viable salary relief options on DraftKings where pricing is very tight. A FanDuel pricing error on Kike Hernandez (LAD) leaving him at $220 instead of $2,200 would never earn consideration on most slates but with elite SP and Coors Field in play, it’s an interesting question as to whether the zero (likely won’t start) is worthy of consideration in cash games.


Tier One

1) Colorado Rockies

Tier Two

2) Chicago Cubs

3) New York Yankees

4) Arizona Diamondbacks

5) Boston Red Sox

6) San Diego Padres

Tier Three

7) Detroit Tigers

8) Oakland Athletics

9) Miami Marlins

10) Toronto Blue Jays

The Rockies have an implied team total nearly a run and a half higher than everyone else on the slate. They’re very clearly the top team to target. The consistency with elite SP and the emphasis on it with Kershaw and Strasburg in play makes it difficult to get lots of exposure in cash games, but they’ll represent the chalk stack in tournaments.

With the Rockies soaking up ownership in tournaments, the second tier is a nice place to pivot. The Cubs are in the worst hitting environment of the group and may go under-owned as a result. Bud Norris really scuffles against lefties and the Braves’ pen behind him isn’t very good. The Diamondbacks are made to crush LHP with Goldschmidt and Castillo so good in the middle against LHP and Segura, Drury, and Tomas all complementary options. The Red Sox have the second highest implied team total on the slate and guaranteed nine innings in Minnesota.

The third tier has some more contrarian options with the Tigers RH heavy lineup getting a big park shift for power in Yankee Stadium but sort of fly under the radar on this loaded slate for offense. The Marlins are very good against LHP with Ozuna, Stanton, Prado, and Realmuto profiling as plus against LHP. The Athletics get the Reds most talented starter returning from injury and their offense has been severely depleted of late with injuries but the Reds bullpen pushes almost anyone up the rankings.

On DraftKings, the cheap price tags on the Orioles coupled with their power and Estrada’s fly ball tendencies make them a natural stack to pair with elite SP.