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June 16 MLB DFS: Boston O Party
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June 16 MLB DFS: Boston O Party

00:41 Starting Pitchers
07:07 Catchers
08:33 First Base
10:47 Second Base
13:23 Shortstop
16:13 Third Base
18:55 Outfield
22:49 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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June 16 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Justin Verlander (DET)

Tier Two

2) Aaron Nola (PHI)

3) Scott Kazmir (LAD)

4) Tanner Roark (WAS)

Tier Three

5) Danny Duffy (KC)

6) JA Happ (TOR)

7) Juan Nicasio (PIT)

8) CC Sabathia (NYY)

Justin Verlander (DET) leads our starting pitching rankings as he’s had a huge comeback year, generating an 11.6 SwStr rate, the second highest mark of his career. That’s led to a 26.2 K percentage and 3.45 FIP (right in line with his career mark). As we’ve mentioned often recently, the Royals are now a plus matchup for RHPs, and as a team they’ve struck out 23.9 percent of the time over the last two weeks, the sixth highest mark in MLB. He’s our top option on FanDuel where the gap between him and Nola is amplified due to the heavier emphasis on a win on that site.

Over on DraftKings, Verlander is just a secondary value due to a very high price tag. There we’re more interested in Aaron Nola (PHI) and Scott Kazmir (LAD). Nola has been nothing short of phenomenal this season. He’s now 13 starts in with a 2.74 xFIP as he’s posted plus skill stats in all three major categories: 26.5 K percentages, 4.8 BB percentage, and a 55.0 GB rate. To top it all off he has a hard minus soft hit rate of -3.5 percent. As a result, we’re willing to use him even though the matchup against Toronto is tough. Meanwhile, Kazmir is a heavy home favorite (-160) against a Brewers team that has some good bats against LHP but isn’t necessarily deep. That’s why they rank 22nd in wRC+ against southpaws with a 22.5 K percentage (higher than league average).

Tanner Roark (WAS) is a secondary value on both sites (elite matchup, sketchy skills), while Danny Duffy (KC) (industry wide) and Juan Nicasio (PIT) (DraftKings specific) can be used in tournaments.

Catcher Rankings

1) Matt Wieters (BAL)

2) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

3) Brian McCann (NYY)

4) Cameron Rupp (PHI)

5) Russell Martin (TOR)

You should be able to afford one of our top three catcher options in cash and they all rate pretty similarly in terms of value. Matt Wieters (BAL) has the worst lineup spot of the bunch but is the best park environment and hitting from his strong side. It’s only been three starts this season, but Rodriguez has looked terrible (as many BBs as Ks, elevated hard hit rate). Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) has the lowest opposing team total of the bunch but holds the best lineup spot and the platoon edge against Scott Kazmir. Brian McCann (NYY) should have a top five lineup spot for a Yankees team with a 4.6 implied run total against Kyle Gibson.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

3) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

4) Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)

5) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

David Ortiz (BOS) is our top ranked first baseman and debatably the top ranked overall hitter (second only to the cold Bryce Harper in our model). He’s the league leader in wRC+ on the league leading team in wRC+ against RHP facing arguably the worst pitcher on the slate in Tyler Wilson. We’re making an active effort to fit him in on FanDuel to get access to the Red Sox slate high 5.1 implied run total. On DraftKings he’s a great spend as well but pricing also makes teammate Hanley Ramirez (BOS) and Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) (really cheap with the platoon edge against Junior Guerra who has allowed a 15.1 hard minus soft hit rate to LHBs on top of a 4.8 xFIP) viable.

Second Base Rankings

1) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

2) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

3) Ian Kinsler (DET)

4) Neil Walker (NYM) (health risk)

5) Brian Dozier (MIN)

The values are rather muddled at the second base position on both sites. Daniel Murphy (WAS) has the most upside given a combination of the dominance he’s shown this season (.232 ISO spurred on by career highs in both fly ball and hard hit rate) and how bad we project Erik Johnson (career 5.82 FIP in 19 starts). Dustin Pedroia (BOS) gives you access to the Red Sox high team total. Neil Walker (NYM) is dealing with a back injury, but he’s got nice power upside from the left side, and Juan Nicasio really struggles with LHBs. Brian Dozier (MIN) has power upside, but he and CC Sabathia have gone in opposite directions this season, making this matchup look far less juicy than it would have early in the season.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

3) Corey Seager (LAD)

4) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

5) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

Where possible we like paying up for Manny Machado (BAL) at shortstop as it gives you exposure against the shaky Eduardo Rodriguez. There’s also a significant gap between Machado and our other shortstop options. However, that may not be possible everywhere. In those scenarios, punt options exist with Freddy Galvis (PHI) and Alcides Escobar (KC) priced very cheaply with likely strong lineup spots. There’s plenty of upside in the mid-tier shortstop options (our 2-4 ranked guys) so the decision in tournament sin particular is less binary.

Third Base Rankings

1) Maikel Franco (PHI)

2) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

3) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

4) Justin Turner (LAD)

5) Trevor Plouffe (MIN)

Maikel Franco (PHI) is expected to return to the lineup today and is the best value at the position. He’s a touch underpriced given his skills (.197 ZiPS projected ISO) and the matchup against JA Happ (4.51 xFIP) is favorable. Trevor Plouffe (MIN) is a cheaper option at the position. He’ll hit cleanup against CC Sabathia, who has allowed a lot of power to RHBs over the past several seasons but been much better this year (big gains in hard minus soft hit rate but should be pointed out that his ERA/xFIP gap almost certainly points towards impending regression).

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Mookie Betts (BOS)

3) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

4) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

5) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

6) Adam Jones (BAL)

7) Ryan Braun (MIL)

8) Michael Conforto (NYM) (health risk)

9) Ben Revere (WAS)

10) Jose Bautista (TOR)

11) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

12) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

13) Michael Saunders (TOR)

14) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

15) Brett Gardner (NYY)

Both Mookie Betts (BOS) and Bryce Harper (WAS) are worthwhile spends in the outfield in very positive matchups. They clearly trump the rest of our outfielders in overall rankings. However, there are plenty of mid-tier values to choose from, most notably Mark Trumbo (BAL) (.293 ISO) on FanDuel. Secondary values in this price range include Adam Jones (BAL), Ryan Braun (MIL) (.405 wOBA, .255 ISO since 2014 against LHP), and Ben Revere (WAS) (Erik Johnson has a .353 wOBA and .211 ISO against RHBs in short career). If you’re willing to take a chance on Michael Conforto‘s (NYM) health (dealing with a wrist injury, which is always tough to evaluate), there’s a ton of upside against Juan Nicasio (.400 wOBA, .219 ISO against LHBs since 2014). In cash games it might be safer to use teammate Curtis Granderson (NYM). There are a lot of fun tournament options to take a look at on this slate that have one off upside or are fine as parts of stacks. Some of our favorites include Jayson Werth (WAS), Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS), Joc Pederson (LAD), and Jacoby Ellsbury/Brett Gardner (NYY).

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

2) Baltimore Orioles

Tier Two

3) New York Yankees

4) Washington Nationals

As touched upon in the positional analysis, the Boston-Baltimore game is our favorite game to target in cash games. Tyler Wilson is not an MLB pitcher, and Eduardo Rodriguez is having all sorts off issues this season. Both teams can be fully stacked in tournaments as well.

The Yankees straddle the line between cash and tournament stack as they’re chalk according to Vegas but the individual values don’t pop significantly. The Nationals are a great tournament stack that may go overlooked due to park but Erik Johnson and the Padres bullpen represents a plus matchup for a Nationals team ranking fourth in wRC+ against RHP.

Contrarian Tournament Stacks

-New York Mets (Nicasio’s severe splits and inconsistent velocity give the Mets meaningful upside)

-Los Angeles Dodgers (Junior Guerra‘s issues against LHBs haven’t bit him yet thanks to good fortune; very affordable stack)