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6/17 MLB DFS: Sipping Pineda Coladas

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6/17 MLB DFS: Sipping Pineda Coladas
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Daily Fantasy Rundown – June 17th MLB DFS Picks and Analysis

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.

Glossary: See a term you’re unfamiliar with? Check out our glossary page. If there’s something you’d like to see added there, please email us at

Weather: Little concern for a cancellation anywhere tonight. Moderate concerns for a delay or delayed start in CIN, WSH and COL. Smaller delay concerns in MIN, PHL and CLE

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:

Evan Gattis (HOU) – Gattis is primarily catcher eligible on FanDuel as he’s rightfully lost that status on most other sites. There he’s the top catcher option before taking into consideration price. The Astros have the highest run total on the day at 6. That’s quite hefty and rare we see that number, but that’s what happens when the team that leads the league in home runs has these contextual factors in their favor: a trip to Coors Field and a matchup against Kyle Kendrick (5.87 ERA, 5.8 FIP, 4.52 K/9, 35.1 hard hit rate) and the Rockies bullpen (fourth highest ERA in MLB). There are so many teams in good situations tonight that it’s tough to say you have to force exposure to any one of them, but the Astros are the top tournament stack of the day. There are decent mid-tier catcher options on FanDuel, so when you take into account price and opportunity cost (Clayton Kershaw pitching, expensive bats at other positions) Gattis is by no means a must play.

Next in line:

Wilin Rosario (COL) – Fading Wilin Rosario at home is always a risky proposition as he owns a massive career .421 wOBA and .300 ISO against LHP (402 PAs). The underlying peripherals against LHP support the gaudy numbers as he has a hard minus soft hit rate of 29.7 percent and a 16.3 K percentage, which is low for those power numbers. If Rosario is once again in the clean up spot (where he hit last time against a southpaw), he becomes a core cash game option for me. He’s catcher eligible on the majority of sites outside of FanDuel, where he’s priced friendly enough to be used at first base. If Rosario finds himself outside of the top six lineup spots, he moves away from a cash game option but would still be an elite tournament play. Opposing pitcher Brett Oberholtzer has a ZiPS projected .348 wOBA and .191 ISO allowed to RHBs. Teammate Nick Hundley (COL) is expected to start at catcher. He’s not the same offensive player that Rosario is but should still be considered a cash game target across the industry due to the elite offensive environment and high team total (implied run total over 5).

Value Plays:

Matt Wieters (BAL) – Wieters unfortunately did not grab the start for the Orioles onslaught yesterday but that means he’ll be back in the lineup tonight for an equally enticing matchup. The Orioles move to the NL so lose a little bit in the way of park factor and lineup depth (no DH), but ultimately they should have plenty of success against Kevin Correia. The 34 year old RHP has pretty much been awful his whole career. Let’s look at his ERAs since 2008: 6.05/3.91/5.40/4.79/4.21/4.18/5.44. Both ZiPS and Steamer project an ERA over 4.50 with around 1.20 HR/9 allowed. While it’s nice that Wieters will have the platoon edge, the nice part about attacking Correia is there are no easy outs for him as he struggles against both RHBs (.335 wOBA allowed since 2012, lowest K rate split of any pitcher in action tonight) and LHBs (.345 wOBA, 11.8 K percentage). Wieters is one of the most talented offensive catchers in the game (.180 ISO guy with 20-pls HR skills over a full season) and should hit either fourth or fifth.

Brian McCann (NYY) – McCann’s power has popped a bit more this season (.202 ISO), which is a bit odd considering he’s hitting more ground balls and striking out a bit more. However, there are some valid reasons. He’s making better contact as his IFFB rate has reduced from 11.1 to a career best 1.6, which is partially responsible for a slight uptick in HR/FB rate. Also benefitting McCann, particularly at home where he is tonight, is he’s pulling the ball more and his hard minus soft hit rate has risen from 15.8 last season to 21.5 this season. He’ll take on rookie RHP Jose Urena who isn’t missing any bats (doesn’t project to either given just 5.3 K/9 at AAA), especially against LHBs (7.3 K percentage is equal to his BB percentage against them).

Additional catcher notes: Russell Martin (TOR) is a secondary option. He’s part of a Jays lineup that is elite against LHP and a good lineup spot and being back at home aids his value. The only issue is he’s priced a bit higher than the written up options. I also like Jason Castro (HOU) as a high upside, cheaper option. He’s a secondary value due to a low lineup spot, but if for some reason he sneaks into the top six of the batting order he’d be a primary target for cash games. In tournaments I like Yan Gomes (CLE) (nice power upside at a cheap tag), Yadier Molina (STL) (great matchup but park and declining power makes puts him lower on our list of priorities) and Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) (facing Joe Blanton who will yield plenty of power but like with Molina he’s struggling and in a less than stellar park for hitting).

First Base

With so many teams in great situations, it’s not surprising that there are a ton of first baseman who rate highly in our model this evening. It makes more sense today to rank them and give some commentary where fit rather than try to arbitrarily define the best value plays. The bolded players are the ones I’d emphasize the most in cash games:

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) – The clear top play at the position and top five overall hitter in our model. Hector Santiago keeps getting results for the Angels, but he’ll have a difficult time today given his wildness and extreme fly ball tendencies (just a 29.3 GB rate) moving from an extreme pitcher’s park to a strong hitting environment. Meanwhile, Goldschmidt has always crushed LHP (175 wRC+, .280 ISO) and scarily has some vastly improving peripherals (cut down K rate and now has a 1 EYE, is running more, is making more aerial contact leading to .308 ISO). In a vacuum he’s still a great value even at an expensive price tag but roster construction and opportunity cost make him a better tournament play.

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC) – There’s a steep drop off at first base from Goldschmidt to everyone else, but if you’re paying up at the position, Rizzo is a better way to go as he’s much more affordable. Like Goldschmidt, Rizzo has gone from great to elite with improving peripherals (EYE of 1, remarkable 12 K percentage, increased SB rate, increased hard hit rate). He has great power upside today against Shaun Marcum who has allowed 1.34 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. Marcum has always had decent K/BB ratios but a combination of elevated FB rate and HR/FB rate leads to good power numbers from the opposition.

3) Jose Abreu (CHW) – Great tournament option with the platoon edge at home against a below average LHP (Locke), but he’s a bit lower on our list of priorities due to a high GB rate, poor surrounding offense and high price tag.

4) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) – Elite tournament option hitting in the middle of the most potent offense in baseball.

5) Chris Carter (HOU) – I talked about the Astros great team matchup above and Carter ranks in the top 20 in our model overall while carrying the highest HR score.

6) Chris Davis (BAL) – It’s tough not to love Chris Davis against a pitch to contact guy. When Davis puts the ball in the play, he’s making quality contact (32.6 hard minus soft hit rate, 1.7 IFFB rate, just a 33.8 GB rate). He has our second highest HR score on the day and when taking into consideration price, is one of the best first base values.

7) Wilin Rosario (COL)

8) Mark Teixeira (NYY) – Some models (including our own) underrate Teixeira, but his .97 EYE and .321 ISO make him someone you most consider in tournaments facing a contact oriented RHP at home.

9) Lucas Duda (NYM) – Duda has the worst lineup support of any of the first baseman we recommend but his great skills against RHP meet a huge park shift and Drew Hutchison‘s difficulty in getting LHBs out (.336 wOBA, 1.30 HR/9 allowed since 2012).

10) Freddie Freeman (ATL) – Another underrated player but he doesn’t crack our list of top priorities.

11) Albert Pujols (LAA)

12) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

13) Eric Hosmer (KC)

14) Mark Reynolds (STL) – Reynolds is the best cheap option and someone that deserves consideration both as a stack filler in tournaments and a cash game option if trying to squeeze in Clayton Kershaw as your pitcher. He ranks just outside our top 50 overall options but has a top 20 HR score and plenty of upside now that he’s forced into a prime lineup spot against LHP and will face Tommy Milone. Milone is one of the most HR prone pitchers in the league as he doesn’t miss bats, allows a huge FB rate and unlike a lot of extreme FB pitchers, doesn’t carry a lower than league average BABIP or HR/FB rate with him.

15) Carlos Santana (CLE)

Second Base

Top Play: Jose Altuve (HOU) (this is pretty straightforward, it’s the top Fantasy 2B in Coors Field against one of the worst pitchers; viable cash option if going with value plays at pitcher)

Value Plays:

DJ LeMahieu (COL) – LeMeahieu is the cheapest and easiest way to get Colorado exposure outside of the catcher position. Assuming he’s still hitting second, LeMahieu is a fine value across the industry.

Jimmy Paredes (BAL) – Paredes, particularly on FanDuel, is an easy low cost way to get access to the Orioles offense. He’ll likely hit second for a Baltimore team carrying an implied run total nearing 4.5. Paredes will likely come down to earth a bit (.299 BA despite horrible plate discipline), but that’s a bit less of a concern against a pitcher in Kevin Correia who won’t miss bats.

Additional second base notes: In general the second base position is where you want to get access to our top stacks (listed below). Other viable options are Howie Kendrick (LAD) (prime lineup spot and platoon edge against Wandy Rodriguez), Jace Peterson (ATL) (speedster with a solid enough LD rate and BB rate to get on base at an acceptable clip, platoon edge against struggling Joe Kelly), Neil Walker (PIT) (better tournament option than cash game play due to poor splits against LHP and lineup spot but team upside, huge park shift and poor opposing starting pitcher keep him in the mix) and Kolten Wong (STL) (also as a better tournament play due to park and a L/L matchup but keep in mind that Tommy Milone struggles versus same handed batters and won’t pitch deep).


Top Play:

Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – Tulowitzki is in a tier of his own at the shortstop position. He’s posted a .430 wOBA and .266 ISO against southpaws since 2012, and if we filter that by just home starts things get a little silly. His career wOBA at home versus LHP is .444 and his marks in that split since 2013 are this: .462/.653/.579. The issue, as it is for all expensive players tonight, is opportunity cost. The more I fiddle with rosters I seem to be landing on a mid-tier approach, which unfortunately means I likely won’t have exposure to Tulowitzki in cash games.

Next in line: Carlos Correa (HOU) (priced so aggressively that he’s more of a secondary target for me despite the elite situation he finds himself in tonight)

Value Play:

Jung-Ho Kang (PIT) – Kang was our top shortstop value mostly due to scarcity. Today he’s in a really good spot. He’ll once again have the platoon edge, which likely means he will hit clean up. However, the park flips from PNC to US Cellular field. According to, that means Kang moves from the 26th best hitter’s park to the second best. Kang also faced a solid LHP yesterday in Jose Quintana, but today’s southpaw for the White Sox can be described as anything but solid. John Danks has allowed a .356 wOBA to RHBs and 1.51 HR/9. The wOBA split is the worst of any SPs against RHBs tonight, and the HR split is second worst (Joe Blanton). Despite all these contextual factors adding up in Kang’s favor, his price only moved slightly forward on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

Additional shortstop notes: Jose Reyes (TOR) is a high end option leading off for a Blue Jays team with a team total of around 5. However, his inferior skills from the right side of the plate and high cost have him hovering between secondary value and simply a tournament option. Hanley Ramirez (BOS), if he is back in the lineup, has a favorable price on DraftKings. He’ll have the platoon edge on a struggling Alex Wood (K rate is way down) but is on the road. Teammate Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is a cheap shortstop option as he’s been hitting well and should receive a top five lineup spot with a lefty on the bump. Additional value play alternatives are Jhonny Peralta (STL) (great lineup spot, good power potential against Milone) and Alexei Ramirez (CHW) (good punt play as he should hit second at home with the platoon edge on Jeff Locke).

Third Base

Top Play:

Josh Donaldson (TOR) – The Blue Jays absolutely obliterate LHP as a team (143 wRC+, .192 ISO) and they are home against a contact oriented southpaw in Jon Niese (.323 wOBA against RHBs since 2012, just a 17.4 K percentage). The team’s best hitter against LHP is surprisingly not Bautista or Encarnacion but Donaldson. Since 2012, Donaldson (in more PAs than either Bautista or Encarnacion) has a wRC+ around 20 points higher and ISO 35 points higher. It’s rather remarkable and since he’s similarly priced but at a scarcer position, he’s the most logical way to get exposure to the Jays offense. I’m making an active effort to do so on DraftKings.

Next in line:

Nolan Arenado (COL) – Through 62 games, Arenado has already nearly matched last year’s HR total (has 16, 18 in 111 games last year). Both his soft hit rate and IFFB rate are down, leading to harder contact and a higher HR/FB rate. He’s clearly the next in line option to Donaldson, and you may want to save a few hundred bucks by using him on FanDuel over Donaldson.

Value Plays:

Manny Machado (BAL) – On FanDuel, you may need to stick in the low $3,000s range at third base, and there are two options that pop in my mind at that price point. The first is Manny Machado. He’ll lead off for an Orioles team facing an awful pitcher in Kevin Correia. As mentioned above, Correia is susceptible to hitters from both sides of the plate, having allowed a .335 wOBA to RHBs and striking them out at a lower clip than any other pitcher in action tonight. Meanwhile, Machado is having a bit of a breakout year. He has simultaneously increased his BB rate and reduced his K rate. On top of that, he’s making more aerial contact and harder contact, which have fed into his large ISO rise. I’d have a tough time using him in cash games on DraftKings (more expensive than Donaldson/Arenado), but he’s a fine value on FanDuel who you won’t have to break the bank for.

Alex Rodriguez (NYY) – The second option in the $3,000s range on FanDuel is Alex Rodriguez. This team of mostly LHBs should have success at home against the contact oriented Jose Urena. Rodriguez won’t hold the platoon edge, but his splits for his career are about as even as it comes and he should benefit from the success of his teammates around him. Rodriguez has a hard minus soft hit rate of 31.6 percent, which is top of the line. Combine that with a pretty even Gb/FB ratio and the strong power numbers (.233 ISO) are not a fluke. If you want cheap exposure to this offense, look the way of Chase Headley (NYY) who is minimum priced on FanDuel.

Additional third base notes: The reason the value plays are a bit site specific to FanDuel is positional flexibility on DraftKings moves you towards guys like Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds at third base if not paying up for Donaldson/Arenado. Another viable option is Luis Valbuena (HOU), particularly since he has second base eligibility on DraftKings. Hopefully he finds a top six lineup spot. Josh Harrison (PIT) is cash viable across the industry as the Pirates are one of the top stacks on the night and he’ll be leading off. In tournaments, two guys I like a lot as I think their ownership levels may end up being too low are Kris Bryant (CHC) and Yasmany Tomas (ARI). Bryant carries significant power upside due to his own skills and Marcum’s tendencies, which were covered earlier. Tomas, as we’ve stated in previous Rundowns, is hitting too many ground balls but projections systems do anticipate that changing given an expected 50 or so point bump in ISO over the rest of the season. He’ll have the platoon edge at home against the fly ball oriented Hector Santiago.


Top Plays: There are a plethora of outfield options flooding our model rankings tonight. These include Mike Trout (LAA) (first), Andrew McCutchen (PIT) (second), Jose Bautista (fifth), George Springer (HOU) (sixth), Starling Marte (PIT) (seventh), Colby Rasmus (HOU) (10th) and Yasiel Puig (LAD) (11th). With Bryce Harper‘s (WAS) incredible power development this season, his full value isn’t being accounted for in our model, and I’d lump him into this group as well. All of these guys are playable in tournaments, but here are the ones I’m prioritizing most in cash games:

Andrew McCutchen/Starling Marte (PIT) – These guys get a massive park shift and face John Danks (5.16 ERA, 4.74-plus ERA in each of his past four seasons). Danks, who has always been a pretty bad pitcher, is arguably even more fun to pick on now as his GB rate has dropped five points from his career mark, leading to more power numbers for the opposition. While the matchup and park are incredible for McCutchen and Marte, let’s not short change the impact that their skills have on their high ranking tonight. McCutchen has an astounding 186 wRC+ against LHP since 2012 while Marte isn’t far behind at 174. Both guys are somewhere around a 25/25 pace in HR/SB if you extrapolate their PAs against LHP since 2012 over a full season’s worth of PAs. The upside here is massive and if squeezing an expensive outfielder into cash games, I’ll probably look to one of the Pittsburgh guys first.

Yasiel Puig (LAD) – The Dodgers aren’t getting a lot attention today due to some of the insane matchups some other offenses find themselves in. However, our model is pretty adamant that Puig is underpriced at his current levels around the industry, and that’s especially so today in a matchup against Wandy Rodriguez. While Rodriguez actually has a very good 3.03 ERA through 10 starts, there are plenty of reasons to think he regresses. For starters, his BABIP, HR/FB rate and LOB% are all better than his career averages despite a K rate directly in line and a hard minus soft hit rate that is worse. Both projections systems (ZiPS and Steamer) expect Rodriguez’s ERA and HR/9 to drop off mightily over the course of the season (around a 4.35 ERA and 1.20 HR/9). Puig makes very hard contact at the plate and has seen his aerial contact rise and K rate decrease so far this year.

Preston Tucker (HOU) – Okay, it’s Colby Rasmus who ranks 10th in our model and not Tucker so I cheated a little bit. Rasmus however is likely out tonight as he’s on bereavement leave. Tucker represents the logical pivot as he, like Rasmus, has the platoon edge in this great matchup, should be in a top five lineup spot and has a mid-tier price, making him one of the more accessible top of the lineup Astros. Opposing pitcher Kyle Kendrick has given up a .335 wOBA to LHBs since 2012 and has been particularly horrendous this season (see Gattis’ blurb). Tucker may not be anything special at the MLB level but keep in mind he posted huge power numbers at AA last year prior to getting called up. He then adjusted to AAA this season and posted huge power numbers there (.330 ISO) prior to getting called up to the bigs. If he can transition a bit smoother then he did from AA to AAA, there’s a bit more upside here than might appear at first glance based on projections systems and current performance.

Additional values:

Travis Snider/Nolan Reimold (BAL) – Both Snider and Reimold will give you exposure against Kevin Correia for low prices. My preference between the two really lies with whoever is given the better lineup spot. Snider’s power numbers have been disappointing this season, but he’ll have the platoon edge and quietly had a .174 ISO last year despite playing his home games in PNC Park. Both ZiPS and Steamer expect his current .092 ISO to nearly double in his ROS projections. Reimold I talked about a bit yesterday. He’s always been a decent power option for Fantasy players but can never seem to stay healthy.

Additional outfield notes: If in need of salary cap relief, some viable cheap options for cash games are Ryan Raburn (CLE), Melky Cabrera (CHW) (if top six in lineup) and Randal Grichuk (STL). Additional high upside options include Ryan Braun (MIL), Joc Pederson (LAD), Charlie Blackmon/Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Brett Gardner (NYY), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Joc Pederson (LAD). Rookie Kyle Schwarber (CHC) is the minimum on FanDuel. If in a good lineup spot, he’d be a viable cash game punt but has tournament worthy upside either way.

Starting Pitcher

Rankings (price not considered):

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

Tier Two

2) Madison Bumgarner (SF)

3) Felix Hernandez (SEA)

Tier Three

4) Michael Pineda (NYY)

5) David Price (DET)

6) Carlos Martinez (STL)

7) Johnny Cueto (CIN)

8) Jesse Chavez (OAK)

Tier Four

9) Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL)

10) Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)

Tier Five

11) Drew Hutchison (TOR)

12) Shaun Marcum (CLE)

13) Mike Fiers (MIL)

14) Tsuyoshi Wada (CHC)

15) Hector Santiago (LAA)

Top Play:

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – Kershaw is no doubt the top starting pitcher, and I want to make clear that it’s not even close. The gap between him and our tier two starting pitchers (Bumgarner, Felix) in our model is wider than the gap between the tier two options and Jesse Chavez (the last ranked pitcher in tier three). The reason for that gap is Kershaw’s insane 32 K percentage and 2.16 xFIP, which gives him the highest K probability and lowest expected damage done (the Rangers have a team total of 2.5, pushing 2). Kershaw’s ability to pitch deep amplifies these two characteristics and gives him by far the highest win probability on the day (-270). The issue tonight, of course, is roster construction. There are a handful of awful starting pitchers throwing (more than a handful actually), a game in Coors Field and the Toronto Blue Jays at home versus a mediocre LHP. You’re going to have to make a sacrifice somewhere. On DraftKings, it’s a bit easier to fade Kershaw given our confidence and the price attractiveness of the value plays below. On FanDuel, I’d try a bit harder to make room for Kershaw. This is something that’s difficult to fully make a decision on prior to messing around with teams as lineups are released, so I’ll try to give a better indication of my stance on using Kershaw in cash games via the alerts system tonight.

Value Plays:

Michael Pineda (NYY) – It may not be possible to squeeze Kershaw into cash game lineups on multiple starting pitcher sites, such as DraftKings (may even be difficult on FanDuel). If that’s the case, I think it makes sense to bypass the other top names as well (Bumgarner-Felix-Price-Cueto) and go with some nicely priced, high upside guys in the mid-tier. The first of these is Michael Pineda, who we actually have ranked higher than Price and Cueto. Pineda’s 3.74 ERA is misleading as he’s been quite dominant as evidenced by his expected ERAs (2.64 FIP, 2.60 xFIP). Pineda is a lot sharper than he was last season, maintaining his pinpoint control (2.9 BB percentage) while raising his K percentage from 20.3 to 24.8 and GB rate from 39.1 to 51.3. The only real issue is a less than stellar hard minus soft hit rate of 15.1 percent, but even if we dock Pineda half a run based on that, his true ERA should approach three and not four. In other words, look for slight corrections in all three “luck” stats (BABIP, HR/FB rate, LOB%) as the season progresses. That improvement could very easily take place tonight in a friendly matchup against a Marlins team ranking 27th in wRC+ against RHP with a high 20.4 K percentage. Pineda is currently listed as a -205 favorite, the second highest on the day (Kershaw).

Carlos Martinez (STL) – Martinez has an extremely favorable matchup for himself. Not only are the park (Target Field) and team stats (Twins are 28th in wRC+ against RHP with a high 21.0 K percentage) in his favor, but the fact that he’ll face one a pretty heavy right handed lineup is more meaningful to him than other pitchers. Since 2012, Martinez has struggled against LHBs, allowing a .341 wOBA and striking out just 16.1 percent of them. However, against RHBs he has yielded just a .277 wOBA while notching a 28.7 K percentage. For perspective’s sake, that K percentage split against RHBs is higher than any other starting pitcher in action tonight, and that’s a list that includes guys such as Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Johnny Cueto and more. The Twins started just one LHB last game (Joe Mauer, 65 wRC+ against RHP this season). With the DH back, they’ll likely start at least two but probably not more than three with the other likely candidates being Chris Hermann (64 wRC+ against RHP since 2012), Eduardo Escobar (70) and Eddie Rosario (94).

Jesse Chavez (OAK) – Chavez is pitching a bit over his head (2.64 ERA, 3.73 xFIP) and may see a second half fade similar to last season. However, his price refuses to budge upwards on DraftKings ($6,800), meaning he’s a strong value in tonight’s matchup ever when treating him as a mid-high 3s ERA pitcher. Chavez has a slight fly ball tilt (something that’s not a detriment in Oakland) and is above average in both K and BB rates by a little bit. His projected K percentage this evening gets a boost against a Padres team that strikes out 22 percent of the time against RHP (fifth most in MLB). He’s currently a heavy favorite (-170) in a game with a low total (7.5, pushing 7).

Additional starting pitcher notes: Madison Bumgarner (SF) is our next in line option. We may become more bullish on him depending on the Mariner lineup, but for now he rates as a secondary cash game target who is better used in tournaments. Of the big name pitchers, he is the one we’d most like to use outside of Kershaw (ranked the highest and price is decent, especially on FanDuel). Felix Hernandez (SEA) seems like an unnecessary risk. Sure, his recent blips are likely random but why take the chance tonight when opportunity cost is so high (takes you away from Kershaw, the mid-tier SP values, the expensive bats) and the matchup isn’t that good despite the low total (Giants are second in wRC+ against RHP with the third lowest K rate). David Price (DET) and Johnny Cueto (CIN) are fully priced, facing decent offenses in an extreme hitter’s park – tournament options only. Two other viable mid-tier options that I’d like a bit more if I didn’t love the written up options so much are Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) and Drew Hutchison (TOR). Both are heavy favorites facing below average offenses who have some upside in their skill sets. One cheap starting pitcher worth risking if mass multi-entrying in tournaments is Shaun Marcum (CLE). It’s a huge risk, but his K rate against the Cubs high K rate means he’s the best source of cheap strikeouts. If you get lucky on fly balls falling short at the wall, he could end up with a surprisingly good score while simultaneously providing cap relief for all of the expensive hitting situations that carry big time upside.

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.

Macro Thoughts: As I mess around with roster construction a bit more, I find myself eschewing Clayton Kershaw in cash games trying to go mid-tier with the value play starting pitchers and enabling myself to get some high upside pieces of the top offenses listed below. It’s a tough day to fully punt a spot offensively, since there is so much offensive upside in this slate. For tournaments, a winning combination might not be a full stack tonight for the same reasons. You may be better off going with some mixed stack approaches and combinations.

Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:

1) Houston Astros

2) Pittsburgh Pirates

3) Toronto Blue Jays

4) Colorado Rockies

5) Baltimore Orioles

6) New York Yankees

These teams were all covered extensively in the content. I’d do my best to have almost 100 percent of cash game exposure to players from these teams with the only exceptions either being punts (if breaking the bank for Kershaw) or specific written up values (guys like Rizzo, Puig, etc.).

Contrarian/Secondary Stacks:

1) Chicago Cubs (a high upside offense with lots of HR/SB potential, similar to the Astros; Shaun Marcum is no stranger to a disaster start or allowing the long ball)

2) Milwaukee Brewers

3) Washington Nationals

4) St. Louis Cardinals

You know it’s a difficult day to maneuver when the teams facing Joe Blanton (most HR/9 allowed to RHBs of any SP in action since 2012, didn’t pitch in MLB last year and had ERAs of 4.82/5.01/4.71/6.04 the prior four seasons) and Tommy Milone (combination of low K rate and high HR/9) are pushed to the contrarian/secondary stack section. Heck, in an effort to limit this area to only a third of the teams in action (already a high amount), we didn’t even pick on Wandy Rodriguez here.

MLB Game Weather Forecasts

In the scales below, a 10 strongly favors the batter, a 1 strongly favors the pitcher and a 5 has no impact on the game.

TB at WSH 7:00: A line of showers and thunderstorms moves in just as or a bit after the game starts. I would lean on the rain starting at around 7:30-8ish thus they are able to start the game but have a delay during the game (40% chance of a delay). Rain exits the region about 10 PM. The rain is steady but not overly heavy. Scenarios, rain moves in a bit faster and the start of the game is delayed (20-30%). Another scenario is that the rain moves in just as the game is about to start and they have a lengthy delay and eventually cancel the game (10-20%). Finally, the rain could be light enough that they just play through it (30-40%). Temps in the mid to upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind south-southeast 7-14 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.

MIA at NYY 7:05: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.

BLT at PHL 7:05: The same rain that will move into WSH will also move into this game but it a) arrives a bit later (8PM the earliest) and b) it is much lighter. Scenarios: no threat of a cancellation. 20-30% chance of a delay (if the heavier rain shifts north). The just play through a light rain (most likely scenario). Temps in the mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 6-12 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.

NYM at TOR 7:07: Retractable roof. Dry but cool. The roof will likely be open. Temps in the low to mid 60s falling into the upper 50s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind east-northeast 6-12 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.

CHC at CLE 7:10: The same band of rain affecting PHL and WSH looks to stay just south of CLE. Worst case scenario is that the city is clipped by some light rain. Will not be a threat to cancel and should not be a big threat for a delay (10-20% chance of a delay). Temps in the the lower 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 5-10 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.

BOS at ATL 7:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 80s falling to near 80. Air density is an 8. Wind west 4-8 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.

DET at CIN 7:10: Broken record here but the same batch of rain mentioned in CLE, DC and PHL will be pushing out of CIN during the evening. This rain does not look overly heavy. I think there are a couple of scenarios: a) very small chance of a cancellation (<10%)
b) start the game and try to play through the light rain (~30%)  c) delay the start of the game and wait for the rain to leave around 9-10 PM (~30%) or d) the start the game on-time but at some point the rain is heavy enough to cause a delay (20%). Throwing a monkey wrench into these scenarios is the possibility that the rain is heavier and/or slower exiting the region. Temps in the mid 70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 6-12 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.

PIT at CHW 8:10: Dry. Temps in the mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 6 (low humidity). Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.

MIL at KC 8:10: Dry. Temps in the low 80s falling into the mid 70s. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind south 7-14 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.

STL at MIN 8:10: A 20% chance of a thunderstorm around in the beginning of the game that may lead to a delay at the start of the game. No chance of a 2nd delay if there is one. Temps in the mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 dropping to a 6. Wind northwest 6-12 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.

HOU at COL 8:40: A 20-30% chance of a stray thunderstorm leading to the same % chance of a delay. To me, not a big concern as the thunderstorms will be scattered in nature. Worst case scenario is that one sits over the city and drops some hail and there is a lengthy delay. Best case is that the thunderstorms completely miss the city. Temps near 80 falling to near 70. Air density is a 10. Wind east-southeast 8-16 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 7.

LAA at AZ 9:40: Retractable roof. Dry. Very hot. The roof will likely be closed with temperatures near 110 to start the game. Yes, 110 degrees!

SD at OAK 10:05: Dry. Temps in the mid 60s falling into the upper 50s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-northwest 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7.

SF at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northwest 6-12 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.

TEX at LAD 10:10: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west 7-14 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.

MLB Daily Analysis