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June 18 MLB DFS Early Slate: Fear The Beard
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June 18 MLB DFS Early Slate: Fear The Beard

00:39 NYS DFS Bill Passes!!!
03:08 Starting Pitchers
08:24 Catchers
10:43 First Base
14:19 Second Base
15:54 Shortstop
17:39 Third Base
19:25 Outfield
25:04 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



June 18 MLB DFS Early Slate Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Danny Salazar (CLE)

2) Zack Greinke (ARI)

3) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

Tier Two

4) Tyler Chatwood (COL)

5) Carlos Martinez (STL)

6) Michael Pineda (NYY)

7) Jerad Eickhoff

Tier Three

8) Wei-Yin Chen (MIA)

9) Matt Moore (TB)

Zack Greinke (ARI) is our second ranked pitcher but possesses the highest floor given his overall skill set and an anemic Phillies offense. There’s a bit less K upside for Greinke relative to our other tier one starting pitchers, which makes him less of a priority, but if you love your cheaper value bats there’s some merit to simply playing it safe.

However, our favorite value on the slate is Dallas Keuchel (HOU). He’s had a rocky start to the season, but there are a bunch of reasons he’s underprice. While he’s not limiting hard contact like he used to, his hard minus soft hit rate is still league average, so his 5.54 ERA is really bad luck (3.40 xFIP). The .339 BABIP, 17.9 HR/FB rate, and 64.0 LOB% are all unlucky and should normalize. More importantly, though, is how Keuchel has pitched recently. Over his last five starts, he has xFIPs of 2.68, 3.35, 2.68, 2.30, and 0.74 (most recent). His velocity has been consistently better than early in the season (although still not up to last year’s mark), and he’s had two straight starts with strong marks in SwStr and chase rates. With Cincinnati possessing a team total of a mere 3.2, we love Keuchel at his salary everywhere.

Danny Salazar (CLE) is not available on FanDuel, but he’s the best complement to Keuchel on DraftKings. The floor isn’t as high as Greinke’s but a much higher ceiling still has him as our top ranked pitcher. Salazar’s drop off in control this season has been more than made up by a 29.8 K percentage and 49.7 GB rate, a superb combination.

Two of our favorite tournaments options are Tyler Chatwood (COL) and Michael Pineda (NYY), two very different pitchers. Chatwood doesn’t have the K upside but is great at preventing runs and can pitch deep when you move him outside of Coors Field. Home/road splits aren’t the best measure but the 0.65 ERA and .204 wOBA allowed on the road is certainly notable. Meanwhile, Pineda suffers in the run prevention department due to high hard hit rates but has plenty of strikeout upside and a very positive park shift. They’re cash viable on multiple starting pitcher sites if you want to load up on bats.

Catcher Rankings

1) Buster Posey (SF)

2) Evan Gattis (HOU)

3) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

4) Brian McCann (NYY)

5) Matt Wieters (BAL)

Buster Posey (SF) has a .373 wOBA and .198 ISO against LHP since 2014 and gets a matchup against homer prone Matt Moore (1.64 per 9 this season). He’s a very good tournament play, but we’d rather go the value route. Evan Gattis (HOU) will have the platoon edge at home against Cody Reed, who his making his MLB debut for the Reds (3.20 ERA, 3.36 FIP at AAA). Reed isn’t horrible but projects for a 4-plus ERA and is backed up by one of the worst bullpens of all time. Stephen Vogt (OAK) is viable as well given lineup spot and some uncertainty surrounding the 2016 MLB debut for Tim Lincecum as an Angel.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Chris Davis (BAL)

3) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

4) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

5) Mike Napoli (CLE)

The top four ranked first basemen are absolutely stacked as all have a combination of very high upside matchups to go with stellar recent performance (well-hit ratings of 4.7 or better the last two weeks). As a result, we’d really try and pay up for one of those options given the significant upside and opportunity cost if you don’t.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Robinson Cano (SEA)

3) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

4) Matt Carpenter (STL)

5) Rougned Odor (TEX)

The approach here varies a bit by site. On FanDuel, Jose Altuve (HOU) is flat out underpriced given his combination of overall skills (an event player with a .409 wOBA) and splits (crushes LHP) against this Reds pitching staff. While he’s also cash viable on DraftKings, the price tag may be a nuisance and it’s easier to simply punt with teammate Danny Worth (HOU) if he’s back in the lineup hitting second, as he was prior to yesterday’s off day. If leading off, Derek Dietrich (MIA) rates as a strong mid-low value play across the industry, although it’s possible our model is currently underrating Tyler Chatwood on the road.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

5) Aldedmys Diaz (STL)

It’s more Houston up the middle as Carlos Correa (HOU) (fifth ranked hitter overall) is our top option and top value. The price on him is pretty affordable across the industry, and he has a positive 0.4 delta in our well-hit rating. He’s the primary choice with Manny Machado (BAL) an expensive alternative, teammate Danny Worth (HOU) a punt, and Xander Bogaerts (BOS)/Aledmys Diaz (STL) strong tournament options.

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

3) Jake Lamb (ARI)

4) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

5) Pedro Alvarez (BAL)

Nolan Arenado (COL) is a phenomenal tournament option given his power peripherals and the elevated hard hit rate of LHP Wei-Yin Chen (36.3 percent). In cash games it’s better to go the mid-tier value route, with our preferred options being Jake Lamb (ARI) (breakout season, poor splits for Eickhoff, bad bullpen) and Alex Rodriguez (NYY) (great same handed hitter and Nolasco is not any good).

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Mookie Betts (BOS)

3) George Springer (HOU)

4) Michael Saunders (TOR)

5) David Peralta (ARI)

6) Adam Jones (BAL)

7) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

8) Brett Gardner (NYY)

9) Hyun Soo Kim (BAL)

10) Matt Holliday (STL)

11) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

12) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

13) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

14) Carlos Beltran (NYY)

15) Seth Smith (SEA)

There are tons of goodies in the outfield, which is why you might go a bit riskier at starting pitching. Mike Trout (LAA) faces RHP Andrew Triggers for Oakland, who has been pitching in relief and not very effectively (8.00 ERA, 4.30 FIP). This could be a bullpen game so some uncertainty here. Meanwhile Mookie Betts (BOS) leads off for a Boston team we haven’t discussed much yet but has the most team upside as they’ll face Mariners RHP Adrian Sampson making his MLB debut. Steamer projects him for a 4.44 FIP. Betts is having a phenomenal season (25 combined homers and steals). In the mid-tier George Springer (HOU) is a high event player against the terrible Reds staff while David Peralta (ARI) (good splits play for his price) and Hyun Soo Kim (BAL) are safe cash plays. Kim is particularly cheap on DraftKings where Peter O’Brien (ARI) is also cheap and represents a higher risk/reward option.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

2) Houston Astros

3) Toronto Blue Jays

One reason you might play it a bit riskier with your second starting pitcher is the immense upside these three offenses all offer in plus matchups. It’s a situation in cash games where if you have a lot of cap room to spend on bats, you might eschew “value” a little bit and force exposure to the most important bats in these lineups, so making decisions like Betts over Trout or Donaldson over Arenado. All are absolutely full stackable in tournaments.

Tier Two

4) St. Louis Cardinals

5) Los Angeles Angels

6) Cleveland Indians

The tier two stacks on another day might be tier one stacks, and the ownership on all three of them should be fairly low given the popularity of the tier one stacks. Two of our favorites are the Angels (love the upside in a “bullpen” game as a good start immediately raises the ceiling given the prospect of a bad relief pitcher forced to stay out there simply to provide innings) and Cleveland (Shields’ dip in velocity and higher hard minus soft hit rate has really amplified his homer problems).

MLB Daily Analysis

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