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June 12 MLB DFS: Nolan on a Tearnado
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June 12 MLB DFS: Nolan on a Tearnado

00:48 Slate Overview
 Starting Pitchers
12:23 Catchers
14:58 First Base
16:58 Second Base
19:25 Shortstop
23:25 Third Base
24:53 Outfield
29:41 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



June 12 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jon Lester (CHC)

Tier Two

2) Steven Matz (NYM)

3) Danny Salazar (CLE)

Tier Three

4) Aaron Sanchez (TOR)

5) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

6) Joe Ross (WAS)

7) Cole Hamels (TEX)

8) Michael Pineda (NYY)

9) Michael Fulmer (DET)

10) Rick Porcello (BOS)

11) Julio Urias (LAD)

Jon Lester (CHC) headlines our starting pitching section for Sunday’s slate. Lester faces a Braves offense that ranks 29th in wRC+ against LHP and has the ninth highest K Rate (23.1 percent). The Braves are getting an emergency start from relief pitcher John Gant, so we don’t have a line at the time of publish but we’re expecting the Braves to check in with an implied run total below three runs and Lester to represent a monstrous favorite (better than -200). No other starter on this slate will have an implied run total against below 3.5 runs and only Joe Ross (WAS) will represent a favorite over -180. Lester has been remarkably consistent with just one start where he allowed more than three earned runs, and just three all season that he’s allowed more than one earned run. He’s clearly the safest starting pitcher option but with Lester you’re typically paying for consistency rather than upside. In cash games, the safety and security is exceptionally appealing. On DraftKings, where most of the strongest offensive environments are removed from the main slate, Lester is a no-brainer. On FanDuel, the decision is tougher as pricing is tight and using Lester would likely limit you to one bat from Coors Field (12.5 total) and a number of punts.

The slate has decent depth in terms of starting pitching options, but very few of the skilled starters are in attractive matchups. Steven Matz (NYM) gets a steep park downgrade in Milwaukee and faces a Brewers’ lineup that is historically very skilled against LHP. Although they rank just 23rd in wRC+ this season, they have Braun (.399 wOBA, .244 ISO), Carter (.352 wOBA, .259 ISO), Villar (.333 wOBA, .146 ISO), and Lucroy (.321 wOBA, .129 ISO against LHP since 2014) who all have hit LHP quite well since the start of 2014. Matz’s matchup makes him more of an elite tournament target than a really strong cash game play as all the power brings volatility to the results. Danny Salazar (CLE) is coming off a shoulder issue that forced him to skip a start and now he faces a contact-heavy Angels’ lineup with a full price tag. When we move into the third tier you have a bunch of ground ball specialists against power-laden offenses. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) and Aaron Sanchez (TOR) get the Rays and Orioles respectively. Keuchel has really found the strike zone over his last four starts and the results are starting to follow a bit. The Rays rank second in wRC+ against LHP which makes for a tricky matchup for Keuchel. Sanchez has been the best starter of this group all season but he faces an Orioles’ offense that ranks fourth in wRC+ and Sanchez’s success brings a hefty price tag as well that doesn’t provide the value you’d want if shopping in this tier. As a result, he’s better for tournaments. Joe Ross (WAS) has the second lowest implied run total against and is a huge favorite against the Phillies but a brutal umpire and the Phillies’ propensity to get left-handed keeps his projected strikeout rate a bit behind Keuchel. Ross has handled the Phillies with ease the first two times this year (14 IP, 1 ER, 10 K, 4 BB) and on FanDuel he provides the salary relief that is enticing to allow you to load up on bats. He’s not on the DraftKings main slate, so you’re looking to Michael Pineda (NYY) as a cheap secondary cash game target to pair with Lester and allow you enough salary cap to get some exposure to the Red Sox and Cubs offenses. The Tigers are another tough matchup (sixth in wRC+ against RHP and getting a big park boost), but the viable alternatives are just limited. It’s either embracing the risk with Pineda or a more expensive Keuchel or dealing with an overpriced Rick Porcello (BOS) who isn’t exactly risk-free either. On DraftKings late slate, you’re afforded enough salary relief with Cole Hamels (TEX) and Joe Ross to get some exposure to Coors but you could also drop all the way down to Julio Urias (LAD) or Wade Miley (SEA) and get all the bats you want (probably a better tournament decision).

The gap separating all these third tier options is pretty narrow, so it’s fine to let personal preference guide you here.

Catcher Rankings

1) Derek Norris (SD) – if Top Five

2) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

3) Buster Posey (SF)

4) Welington Castillo (ARZ)

5) Wilson Ramos (WAS)

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

7) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

8) Brian McCann (NYY)

Derek Norris (SD) checks in as our top ranked catching option IF he gets a Top Five lineup spot. You’ll want to confirm he’s in the starting lineup before spending on him as he’s caught the first two games in the series (did a get day off before). Norris has always hit LHP well (.349 wOBA, .188 ISO) and is getting a huge park shift in his favor. He’s well worth the $3,200 on FanDuel IF in one of those premier spots and confirmed in the lineup. Victor Martinez (DET) slightly outpaces Welington Castillo (ARZ) for our next best catcher option on the slate. They’re priced similarly on FanDuel and Martinez will come with a confirmed lineup spot in an early game, so he’s an easier choice. Castillo got the night off on Saturday so he should be available for Sunday but you’d ideally want confirmation before locking him in on FanDuel. Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) and Brian McCann (NYY) are sort of the default options on the DraftKings main slate where they both have the platoon advantage in good parks and should play after getting Saturday off. Matt Wieters (BAL) has a difficult matchup with Aaron Sanchez but is near a punt price which also keeps him in the conversation. Josh Phegley (OAK) is the catcher we’re most interested to see where he hits as he comes with a cheap tag on FanDuel ($2,400) and has a great matchup with John Lamb (.350 wOBA, .176 ISO allowed since start of 2015 to RHB). As always on Sundays, we’ll also be on the lookout for punt alternatives that could help provide additional salary relief.

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

2) Wil Myers (SD)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) Joey Votto (CIN)

5) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

6) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

7) Mark Reynolds (COL)

8) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

9) David Ortiz (BOS)

10) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

11) Mike Napoli (CLE)

Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) gets a LHP at home which pushes him into our Top Five overall hitters. If you’re spending big at first base, he’d represent our primary target. If you’re unable to afford Goldschmidt, it’s really picking apart site and slate specific values. On the DraftKings main slate, you have great values in Chris Davis (BAL) ($3,700) and Hanley Ramirez (BOS) ($3,500). Our model sees a big gap with a preference towards Davis, but Sanchez has wildly outperformed his baselines this season so the gap is likely smaller in reality. On DraftKings late slate, Mark Reynolds (COL) is a viable drop-down from Goldschmidt as a way to get more exposure to the Rockies’ offense. On FanDuel, Joey Votto (CIN) looks like the best value play ($3,500) against Kendall Graveman who is getting a severe park downgrade and is very contact oriented.

Second Base Rankings

1) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

2) Yangervis Solarte (SD) – where eligible, health risk

3) Jose Altuve (HOU)

4) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

5) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

6) Neil Walker (NYM) – health risk

7) Jed Lowrie (OAK)

8) Jean Segura (ARZ)

9) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

10) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

DJ LeMahieu (COL) tops our second base rankings and he’s priced appropriately around the industry. It’s hard to make him your priority spend on this slate but the depth at second base in terms of value is a challenge. On FanDuel, Jed Lowrie (OAK) comes with a discounted price tag that can provide some salary relief. On DraftKings main slate, he’s bunched together with Jason Kipnis (CLE) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). We’d love for some viable salary relief options to emerge via lineup alerts, but it’s difficult to see where that would come from. It’s a position you’ll likely have to spend mid-tier resources on a good, but not great, play that ends up costing you exposure to some of the elite options.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

2) Trevor Story (COL)

3) Carlos Correa (HOU) – health risk

4) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

5) Manny Machado (BAL)

6) Marcus Semien (OAK)

7) Aledmys Diaz (STL)

8) Adeiny Hechavarria (MIA) – if leadoff

9) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

10) Jhonny Peralta (STL)

Shortstop has some depth up top with Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Trevor Story (COL) both having the platoon advantage against weak LHPs and represent middle of the order bats on the two offenses with the highest implied team totals. They’re priced pretty similarly on both sites. Bogaerts is a bit safer with a better contact rate and a .383 wOBA and .151 ISO against LHP since 2014. Story has crushed lefties early on (.364 wOBA, .231 ISO) but it’s come with a 39% K Rate that makes him a bit more boom-or-bust. If you’re not spending up for the elite shortstops, salary relief is really your top priority. On FanDuel, we have a chance to get that with Adeiny Hechavarria (MIA) who has led off against LHP of late and would face Robbie Ray (.351 wOBA, .166 ISO to RHBs since 2015). Hechavarria is a decent hitter against LHP (.346 wOBA, .145 ISO since start of 2015) and comes with just a $2,500 tag on FanDuel. On DraftKings main slate, an underpriced Manny Machado (BAL) ($3,700) is likely your best alternative to Xander Bogaerts despite the really difficult matchup with Aaron Sanchez. Also keep an eye on someone like Alexei Ramirez (SD) who could jump into a good lineup spot and would represent a strong play with the platoon advantage and big park shift. The Padres lineup is a little jumbled with Solarte hurt and a LHP on the mound so we’re not entirely sure where guys land.

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Yangervis Solarte (SD) – where eligible, health risk

3) Danny Valencia (OAK)

4) Kris Bryant (CHC)

5) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

6) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

7) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

8) Martin Prado (MIA)

9) Todd Frazier (CHW)

10) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

11) Anthony Rendon (WAS)

Nolan Arenado (COL) is the top overall hitter in our model and by a pretty decent margin. If you can only afford one spend offensively, Arenado would be the player we prioritize. Christian Friedrich has allowed a .367 wOBA and .133 ISO to RHBs since the start of 2014. Arenado owns a .355 wOBA and .221 ISO against LHP since the start of 2015 and over his last 100 PA against LHP he’s posted a ridiculous .443 wOBA and .322 ISO. Third base is pretty deep which makes the decision to spend on Arenado even more challenging. Danny Valencia (OAK) gets a big park shift and a weak LHP backed up by the worst bullpen in baseball. Valencia owns a .416 wOBA and .246 ISO since the start of 2015 against LHP. Valencia isn’t cheap, but he is slightly discounted relative to his expected value. Alex Rodriguez (NYY) is uniquely cheap ($3,300) on DraftKings main slate where you’re not competing with Nolan Arenado and Coors Field since they’re not on the slate. On FanDuel, they’ve moved Jhonny Peralta (STL) to third base and still have him underpriced ($2,500). Pittsburgh is brutal for RH power but he’ll have the platoon advantage and that tag is very cheap.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mookie Betts (BOS)

2) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

3) Bryce Harper (WAS)

4) Mike Trout (LAA)

5) Matt Kemp (SD)

6) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

7) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

8) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

9) Rajai Davis (CLE) – if leadoff

10) Jose Bautista (TOR) – health risk

11) Melvin Upton Jr. (SD)

12) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

13) Michael Conforto (NYM)

14) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

15) J.D. Martinez (DET)

16) Jason Heyward (CHC)

17) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

18) Lorenzo Cain (KC)

19) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

20) Michael Saunders (TOR)

The outfield is stacked, as usual. Mookie Betts (BOS), Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), and Bryce Harper (WAS) all rank inside our Top Five overall hitters and that’s before even getting to Coors Field exposure. Stanton is priced down on FanDuel and while his performance against RHP brings big concerns about the baselines we’re using, he’s still posted a .353 wOBA and .263 ISO against LHP this season. Robbie Ray has allowed a .392 wOBA and 40.6 percent hard hit rate to righties, resulting in nearly two homers per nine innings against RHBs (1.83). Matt Kemp (SD) gets the huge park boost and owns a .370 wOBA and .257 ISO against LHP since the start of 2015. The $3,500 price tag on FanDuel is very intriguing. Michael Taylor (WAS) would represent an elite source of salary relief on FanDuel ($2,200) if he’s leading off against Adam Morgan (.351 wOBA, .195 ISO against RHBs since 2014). Rajai Davis (CLE) is always a favorite of ours against LHP and he’ll get David Huff (.374 wOBA, .164 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2014). The price is no longer ridiculous on DraftKings, but he still grades out as a strong value on both sites. Peter O’Brien (ARZ) is an elite power prospect for Arizona that doesn’t really have a position. He was recalled on Friday and played in the outfield against a LHP. If he draws the same scenario again (starting and hitting fifth) he’s an intriguing salary relief option on both sites. The Athletics outfielders rate really well in our model, specifically Coco Crisp (OAK) and Billy Burns (OAK) given the platoon advantage, park shift, and good lineup spots. With so much of their value tied up in speed and gap power, the park shift is actually less impactful for their styles, so we’re manually downgrading them a bit in these rankings. They’re still fine plays, but we believe the model may be over-stating their matchup. The Mets LHBs (Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto) get a nice park shift and the platoon advantage against Zach Davies (38 percent hard hit rate allowed to LHBs this season). They’re more secondary targets than primary targets but both viable options as well.


Tier One

1) Colorado Rockies

2) San Diego Padres

Tier Two

3) Boston Red Sox

4) Chicago Cubs

Tier Three

5) Washington Nationals

6) Cleveland Indians

7) Toronto Blue Jays

8) Oakland Athletics

9) Miami Marlins

10) Arizona Diamondbacks

Coors Field takes precedence once again. Temperatures in the eighties should help the run scoring environment and both teams are throwing replacement level lefties. We want exposure where we can affordably get it and both Nolan Arenado and Matt Kemp are strong targets in cash games. The Cubs and Red Sox are great pivot stacks. The Cubs get John Gant who has good stuff, but posted a 6.17 ERA in relief so far this season and likely won’t go deep into the game leaving behind a Braves’ bullpen that has the ninth highest xFIP and sixth highest ERA. The Red Sox are better against LHP and Target Field is more accessible for RH power. Pat Dean has been knocked around throughout his minor league career and doesn’t project as a player that can miss bats. Since the start of 2015 against LHP, the Red Sox entire lineup has an individual wOBA above .340 or an ISO above .200 against LHP. They are absolutely loaded and a great pivot from Coors Field in tournaments.

The third tier of stacks should all go under owned and represent strong tournament targets with most of the ownership centering on Coors Field. The A’s offense has the biggest power upside with the likely lowest ownership. They represent a really strong contrarian target.

MLB Daily Analysis

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