Daily Fantasy Rundown – June 19th MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Friday’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.
Weather: Really the only major concern tonight is in CIN. Very small concerns in NYY and PHL with a small to moderate concern in WSH.
A terrific, off the charts good hitting environment in COL.
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.
Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) – All season long Coors Field has been a challenge from a weather standpoint, but on Friday the conditions are optimal for hitting. Instead of worrying about rain or snow, we have a forecast with temperatures in the 80s and 90s and wind blowing out to right field. Coors Field is known for altitude and thin air but with elevated temperatures, we’ll get an even better hitting environment. Aside from the nice park shift, Lucroy gets a favorable matchup for his skill set. He owns a .384 wOBA and .199 ISO against LHP since 2012 and will face Jorge de la Rosa who has allowed a .338 wOBA and 1.04 HR/9 to RHBs during that span. Lucroy ranks inside our Top 15 overall hitters in our model, which makes him the clear cut top catcher play.
Additional catcher notes: It’s easier to address the rest of the position in the notes section because Lucroy is priced reasonably and significantly ahead of the other catchers in our model. The Rockies catcher eligible options Nick Hundley/Michael McKenry/Wilin Rosario are all secondary options. They generally don’t earn favorable lineup spots and none of them will have the platoon advantage, but the Rockies have the highest implied run total of the evening and the incredible hitting conditions boost their appeal. Matt Wieters (BAL) and Russell Martin (TOR) are a part of the second best hitting environment of the evening and both face below average starters. Wieters has the platoon advantage and a better lineup spot (plus the advantage of playing on the road and a guaranteed ninth inning). He’s also priced more favorably, so he’s a better secondary value play but both are tournament options. Brian McCann (NYY) gets a RHP in Yankee Stadium which gives him tournament upside thanks to the short porch. Victor Martinez (DET) will return for the Tigers and gets to take cracks at the short porch in Yankee Stadium. Where catcher eligible, he’s a viable secondary value or tournament play. Martinez’s injury was supposedly hampering his swing from the left side more considerably than the right side, so hopefully the time off has cleared up some of the struggles from that side this season.
As is typically the case at first base, there are a number of really strong options. With an emphasis on higher end pitching (Sale) and Coors Field offense, the first base position becomes one we believe is better suited for value plays than top plays. We think it’s a tremendous situation to attack in tournaments as many of the expensive first basemen will go under-owned. Our top first base options in order of ranking in our model include: Edwin Encarnacion (TOR), Jose Abreu (CHW), Miguel Cabrera (DET), David Ortiz (BOS), Chris Davis (BAL), Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ), Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Joey Votto (CIN). Encarnacion, Abreu, and Cabrera rank inside our Top 10. The remaining options rank inside our Top 20. Davis and Ortiz come with the most investable price points around the industry and are the targets I’m most likely to consider in cash games on softer pricing sites.
Adam LaRoche (CHW) – LaRoche ranks inside our Top 20 overall hitters and competitively with many of the options above. LaRoche faces Colby Lewis who has allowed a .355 wOBA and 1.21 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. LaRoche has compiled a .362 wOBA and .212 ISO against RHP during that span and he’s largely done that damage in far less favorable offensive environments than his current home park in U.S. Cellular Field. This is a great matchup for LaRoche and it comes with a tremendous price point.
Additional first base notes: Mark Reynolds (STL) is one of many Cardinals that are mis-priced on DraftKings. All of the Cardinals were priced to face Cole Hamels but will instead get Phillippe Aumont. Aumont has posted a walk rate above 13 percent at every stop since 2012. He hasn’t pitched much in the big leagues because he can’t command the strike zone. Reynolds is priced just above the minimum and has hit cleanup of late. The Phillies bullpen behind Aumont isn’t particularly strong and it’s likely they’ll have to cover 3-4 innings. Reynolds is a nice value play on DraftKings. Jason Rogers (MIL) is also priced around Reynolds. He hasn’t hit LHP at the big league level (.266 wOBA, .170 ISO) but ZiPS projects him for an adequate .323 wOBA and .161 ISO against LHP. He comes with big pinch hit risk if the bullpen gets involved early and he hits down a bit in the order, but he’s also super cheap. I’m more likely to deploy him if he hits fifth.
DJ LeMahieu (COL) – LeMeahieu isn’t much of a hitter (.312 wOBA, .098 ISO against RHP since 2012) but he’s crushed righties at home this season (.401 wOBA, .152 ISO in 98 plate appearances). It’s an extremely small sample, but most sites aren’t pricing LeMahieu aggressively. He gets a premier lineup spot (second) in an offense with the highest implied run total this evening (approaching six). Even without elite skills, he ranks inside our Top 50 overall hitters.
Jimmy Paredes (BAL) – Paredes is a lot like LeMahieu. He hasn’t historically been very good (.309 wOBA, .132 ISO against RHP since 2012) but this season he’s been great (.367 wOBA, .194 ISO). He gets the benefit of a great lineup spot (typically second or third) in an elite offensive environment. He’ll face Marco Estrada who is particularly vulnerable to power (1.41 HR/9 allowed to LHBs) and much of Paredes growth this season is built on power.
Additional second base notes: Dee Gordon (MIA) is cheap on FanDuel relative to his expected production. The ballpark in Cincinnati is an upgrade in offensive environment but not particularly so for Gordon. The park squeezes doubles and triples which is where Gordon gets his power. Fortunately the Reds aren’t great at controlling the running game. Kolten Wong (STL) is a preferred target on DraftKings. We’ve touched on Aumont’s struggles and the discounted pricing due to the pitching change. Wong is my favorite of the Cardinals values as the leadoff hitter at a thin position.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – Tulowitzki in Coors Field against a below average RHP is once again the top option at shortstop. Tulowitzki owns a .386 wOBA and .209 ISO against RHP since 2012 and Taylor Jungmann profiles as one of the weaker starters on the slate. ZiPS projects him for a 5.06 ERA for the rest of the season along with a .337 wOBA and .165 ISO against RHP. Tulowitzki is inside our Top Five overall hitters and comes at a very thin position. He’s worthy of strong consideration in cash games.
Next in line: Jose Reyes (TOR) – There isn’t much discount in Reyes’ price tag around the industry. He does draw a favorable matchup against a below average RHP in the Rogers Centre. He cracks our Top 30 hitters overall and is a viable alternative to not spending all the way up for Tulowitzki.
Jean Segura (MIL) – Segura’s value is highly tied to his lineup spot. If Carlos Gomez sits and Segura leads off, he’s a great value play just based on environment. Segura isn’t much of a hitter against LHP (.302 wOBA, .122 ISO) but leadoff spot in Coors Field is worth a lot. His price point is elevated beyond his skill set which places a huge emphasis on the lineup spot. Shortstop doesn’t possess a lot of mid-tier values that stand out to us, so Segura is the option if he’s blessed with the leadoff spot.
Additional shortstop notes: The rest of the shortstop values are really just punt plays. The lack of depth at the position keeps the opportunity cost relatively low, so if you can get extreme salary relief at the position it makes sense. On FanDuel, Alexei Ramirez (CHW), J.J. Hardy (BAL) and Alcides Escobar (KC) all qualify as viable options. On DraftKings, Hernan Perez (MIL) gives you a punt option with exposure to the Brewers offense and Coors Field. Ivan DeJesus Jr. (CIN) is another punt option with exposure to a good ball park and likely better lineup spot (slotted second a lot recently). Ryan Goins (TOR) is another DraftKings punt with exposure to a good lineup and park despite below average skills and a poor lineup spot.
Nolan Arenado (COL)/Josh Donaldson (TOR) – Arenado and Donaldson each rank within our Top 25 overall hitters. Neither has the platoon advantage but they’re both in strong scoring environments and on teams with strong implied run totals. Donaldson is the better overall hitter, but Arenado makes up for it with a better environment and slightly more affordable price point around the industry. There is a distinct strong value play at the position which makes Arenado and Donaldson secondary targets in our opinion.
Aramis Ramirez (MIL) – Ramirez has crushed LHP in recent years. He’s compiled a .408 wOBA and .294 ISO in 381 plate appearances against them since 2012. We’ve touched on Jorge de la Rosa’s struggles against LHBs and Ramirez gets a premium lineup spot. He also comes with a reasonable price point around the industry that doesn’t appear inflated by Coors Field. Ramirez also cracks our Top 25 overall hitters and is ranked right alongside Arenado and Donaldson. We view him as a superior value and the best play at the third base position.
Additional third base notes: Matt Carpenter (STL) is another underpriced Cardinal on DraftKings. We prefer Ramirez by a wide margin, but Carpetner is a strong option as a part of a Cardinals stack or mini-stack. His skill set should set up really well given Aumont’s command problems. Mark Reynolds (STL) also comes with 3B eligibility on DraftKings and is a cheap alternative. Conor Gillaspie (CHW) and Chase Headley (NYY) are viable salary relief options on FanDuel. Both have the platoon advantage in favorable parks for power. Kris Bryant (CHC) is an elite tournament play against Phil Hughes who has always struggled with RH power (1.58 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012). Bryant has one of the higher home run scores in our model. Manny Machado (BAL) is another tournament play with strong home run upside against Marco Estrada (1.40 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012). Todd Frazier (CIN) is always a good tournament play at home, especially given Dan Haren’s struggles with the long ball, but he is so expensive right now that he’ll come with some consequences to your roster.
Ryan Braun (MIL) – Braun is an incredible hitter against LHP. He’s posted a .417 wOBA and .292 ISO against LHP since 2012. On Friday, he gets the benefit of Coors Field and a below average LHP. We’ve touched on de la Rosa’s struggles against RHBs and Braun represents his biggest challenge. Both Braun and Carlos Gonzalez rank inside our Top Five overall hitters. If priced similarly, I prefer Braun. He’s the better overall hitter and on the road, he’s assured a ninth inning which could mean an extra plate appearance.
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – Gonzalez seems to have warmed up alongside the weather here in June. He’s hit .306/.348/.661 in June and unsurprisingly it’s coincided with a significant change in his batted ball profile. After posting GB Rates above 50 percent in April and May, Gonzalez has posted just a 32 percent GB Rate in June. The change in approach has unlocked his power and we’re now seeing the Gonzalez of old. He has an elite matchup on Friday against Taylor Jungmann who ZiPS projects to allow a .351 wOBA and .153 ISO to LHBs. Gonzalez owns a .390 wOBA and .257 ISO against RHP since 2012 and his price is a bit discounted from the early season struggles. Gonzalez ranks inside our Top Five overall hitters on Friday. Charlie Blackmon (COL) is a viable alternative to Gonzalez. He’s also hit RHP well (.352 wOBA, .158 ISO since 2012) but adds a speed component and a lineup spot that ensures the most plate appearances possible. Blackmon ranks a bit lower than Gonzalez in our model (Top 15).
Adam Eaton/Melky Cabrera (CHW) – Eaton (.327 wOBA, .125 ISO) and Cabrera (.336 wOBA, .115 ISO) both hit RHP adequately and face Colby Lewis (.355 wOBA, 1.21 HR/9 allowed since 2012) in a great offensive environment. Eaton is assured a good lineup spot while Cabrera has moved around a bit more. Both come with price points well below the average hitter and rank inside our Top 40 overall hitters.
Chris Colabello (TOR) – Colabello gets a great lineup spot in a high powered offense. He hasn’t historically hit RHP particularly well (.318 wOBA, .153 ISO) but he gets premier opportunities thanks to his lineup spot. Mike Wright projects as below average against RHP. ZiPS projection system has him for a .327 wOBA and .174 ISO allowed to RHBs.
Orioles Outfield – With Adam Jones hampered of late, the Orioles lineup has opened up a few value plays. Travis Snider and Chris Parmelee have earned premier lineup spots. Neither are great hitters against RHP (Snider .301 wOBA, .128 ISO, Parmelee .304 wOBA, .147 ISO since 2012) but with premier lineup spots and cheap price tags they’re worth a shot against homer prone Marco Estrada.
Additional outfield notes: Jason Heyward (STL) would earn a spot in the recommendations above with a good lineup spot. He’s generally in the bottom third of the lineup. The matchup with Aumont is a good one for Heyward’s skill set (.357 wOBA, 10.2 BB Rate, .179 ISO since 2012). Kyle Schwarber (CHC) continues to get a poor lineup spot but has a cheap enough price tag that you can consider the elite prospect in cash games. He’s more of a secondary value or elite tournament play in my opinion. Jay Bruce (CIN) is caught in between on pricing but has a good matchup at home against Dan Haren. He ranks inside our Top 35 hitters overall. Coors Field takes precedent in lineup building but expensive options like Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) and Jose Bautista (TOR) also rank inside our Top 10 hitters overall and possess strong home run scores.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Chris Sale (CHW)
2) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)
3) Jacob deGrom (NYM)
4) Sonny Gray (OAK)
5) A.J. Burnett (PIT) – bump to tier two if Harper out
6) Lance McCullers (HOU)
7) James Shields (SD)
8) Tyler Lyons (STL)
9) Rubby de la Rosa (ARZ)
10) Mike Bolsinger (LAD)
11) Roenis Elias (SEA)
12) Kyle Hendricks (CHC)
Chris Sale (CHW) – The Rangers offense has lost Adrian Beltre and Delino DeShields Jr. of late and Kyle Blanks was scratched against a LHP on Wednesday. If they’re without those three batters, they would likely field a lineup without a single hitter that ZiPS projects for a wOBA above .335 against LHP. It would represent one of the weakest lineups Sale has faced all season. Against Kershaw on Wednesday, the Rangers were forced to start four left handed bats. Sale is ridiculously dominant against LHBs (.220 wOBA, 30.3 K Rate, and 1.70 FIP) and the Rangers may have no other options. Sale is well ahead of all the other starters on this slate and a staple of our cash game strategy.
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) – Carrasco is our second ranked starter but he comes in as a significant value around the industry. Carrasco’s performance in 2015 has dipped, but the peripherals have largely held the steep gains he made last season. Carrasco has improved his K Rate (27.4 percent), held his BB Rate (5.8 percent), and sustained an above average GB Rate (47.2 percent). The GB Rate has come down modestly from his breakout last season (52 percent) but the big gap in results (4.38 ERA vs. 2.55 ERA) is a jump in hard hit rate (31.2 percent vs. 24.6 percent). Carrasco’s 2014 season looks like an outlier in terms of hard hit rate allowed, so he may end up a pitcher that under-performs his peripherals. The matchup with the Rays is a good one. They’re a very right handed offense. They rank 17th in wRC+ against RHP and have struck out in 21 percent of their plate appearances. They also rank 19th in hard hit rate against RHP. Carrasco’s incredible strikeout rate gives him a nice floor in DFS and the potential for strong run prevention numbers against a below average offense gives him an immense upside.
Lance McCullers (HOU) – McCullers last start against Seattle was the first crack in command we’ve seen at the big league level. In the minors, McCullers struggled with walks and it’s led to really negative projections from the systems (ZiPS, Steamer, etc). At the big league level, he hasn’t struggled with the BB Rate which has allowed his immense stuff to dominate. He gets a positive park shift and faces a Mariners offense that ranks 25th in wRC+ against RHP with the third highest K Rate (22.8 percent) against LHP. The Mariners are also dealing with a virus that is ravaging the clubhouse. Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano were late scratches and the manager indicated after the game Nelson Cruz probably shouldn’t have played last night either. It’s entirely possible we get a watered down lineup from the Mariners again tonight. McCullers shaky minor league history makes him an elite tournament option and secondary cash game play, but a weaker lineup could make him a more favorable cash game value.
Additional starting pitcher notes: A.J. Burnett (PIT) could get a huge bump in value if Bryce Harper is unable to make the lineup. The Nationals are already without Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. If they lose Harper, the quality in the lineup dips considerably. With Harper in, Burnett ranks as our fifth best starter, but without Harper he jumps into the second tier and closer to Sonny Gray. Jacob deGrom (NYM) and Sonny Gray (OAK) both have favorable matchups but come with expensive price tags. Once you’re up in that range you’d prefer Sale and pairing two expensive pitchers comes with some significant opportunity cost for your offense. They’ll go under-owned in tournaments which makes them acceptable plays. Tyler Lyons (STL) is really interesting as a tournament play. The Phillies offense is terrible against LHP (23rd in wRC+) and Lyons has flashed elite strikeout rates. His stuff is underwhelming and as a result he hasn’t worked deep into games. The Phillies present a unique opportunity as they don’t work counts. I’m not comfortable with Lyons in cash games, but in tournaments I think he’s a compelling option on multiple SP sites. Rubby de la Rosa (ARZ) is another interesting tournament option for multiple SP sites. He’s dominated RHBs this season (.253 wOBA, 28.3 K Rate) but can’t get lefties out (.423 wOBA, 16.3 K Rate). The Padres best hitters are all RHBs so if he gets a RH heavy lineup, there is some interesting upside. Joe Ross (WAS) is another potential tournament option on multiple SP sites. He’s shown great skills early on (22.6 K Rate, 1.9 BB Rate, 60.5 GB Rate and 2.45 xFIP). It’s only two starts but it’s very impressive and he was dominating at AA. The Pirates rank 19th in wRC+ against RHP and all their big bats are primarily right handed. For a near minimum cost at SP, it’s hard to argue with Ross.
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 (email@example.com) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Colorado Rockies
2) Milwaukee Brewers
Coors Field takes precedent in cash games as the game has a total two runs higher than all the other games currently. On DraftKings, the Cardinals unusual pricing would also fit them into this tier but on other sites where they’re priced appropriately they’re further down the list of preferred tournament stacks or mini-stacks.
1) Toronto Blue Jays
2) Baltimore Orioles
3) Chicago Cubs
4) St. Louis Cardinals
5) Chicago White Sox
It’s always fun when the Rogers Centre is the second best hitting environment in play. The homer prone stadium features two starters that have struggled limiting the long ball. Toronto has a healthier lineup and is facing the weaker starter. They’re very expensive but this matchup carries a lot of upside. The Orioles are better if Adam Jones is able to play, but if not you get cheaper exposure to the stack. Estrada isn’t a terrible starter but he is so homer prone that you can put up 6-7 runs and still win a tournament if they all come from home runs.
The Phillies bullpen has been ravaged all week and the Cardinals are likely to get into that bullpen early given Phillippe Aumont’s control problems. They’re priced so well on DraftKings that I expect they’ll be heavily used as mini-stacks to complement Coors Field.
The White Sox offense has been abysmal all season and they’re difficult to stack on most sites because Abreu and LaRoche man the same position. As a result, they fall down in our rankings a bit. They play in a great offensive environment and face a homer prone starter in Colby Lewis. We especially like the LHBs and they’re probably better as a mini-stack than a full stack.
The Cubs are always a good team to stack because of the combination of power and willingness to run. The premier hitters in the lineup (Rizzo, Bryant and Fowler) also come without significant platoon splits which helps hold value into the bullpen. With Kyle Schwarber in town, the lineup is super deep and getting an unusual boost from the DH spot. Phil Hughes velocity is down and he’s not missing as many bats this season. I think the Cubs are another strong contrarian tournament stack.
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.
DET at NYY 7:05: A stray shower around in the beginning of the game. Absolutely no concerns in terms of a cancellation or delay. Temps in the mid to upper 70s falling into the low to mid 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.
PIT at WSH 7:05: A 20% chance of a delay to start the game or during the beginning of the game (before 8:30) due to a thunderstorm. Not concerned about a cancellation. Temps in the low 80s falling into the upper 70s. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind northwest 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.
STL at PHL 7:05: A few sprinkles around. As of right now I am not concerned about any delays. Temps in the low 80s falling into the upper 70s. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind northwest 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.
BLT at TOR 7:07: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind east 5-10 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.
TB at CLE 7:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 6. Wind north-northeast 5-10 mph lessening to 3-6 mph which blows in from right-center. The wind is a 4.
MIA at CIN 7:10: More thunderstorms expected. However, unlike last night, there is not expected to be a steady shield of rain affecting the area (the thunderstorms should be more scattered in nature). So to me, this looks like a situation where they will play the game but there is a threat for a delay(s) (30-40% chance of a single delay at any time, 10-20% chance of multiple delays). Best case scenario: they are able to avoid the thunderstorms (50%). Worst case scenario: rain from Bill moves quicker to the east and arrives during the game causing a shortened game (10%).
NYM at ATL 7:35: A 10% chance of a thunderstorm causing a delay so no real worries here. Temps in the mid-80s falling to near 80. Air density is an 8. Wind southwest 5-10 mph lessening to 3-6 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.
TEX at CHW 8:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s falling into the low 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind east-northeast 8-16 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 3 becoming a 4.
BOS at KC 8:10: Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the mid-70s. Air density is a 7. Wind northeast becoming southeast 5-10 mph which blows in from center first and then from right to left. The wind is a 4 becoming a 5.
CHC at MIN 8:10: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 70s falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 8-16 mph lessening to 6-12 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 3 becoming a 4.
MIL at COL 8:40: A rare perfect night for baseball in Denver! Dry. Temps in the low 90s falling to near 80. Air density is off the charts, a 15!! Wind southwest 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7.
LAA at OAK 9:35: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 60s falling into the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west 8-16 mph which blows out to right-center. The wind is a 7.
SD at AZ 9:40: Retractable roof. The heat continued to be on. Temps of about 110-112 to begin the game falls to near 100 so I would have to assume the roof will be closed? If it is open, air density will be a 9 or a 10. Wind west 8-16 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
HOU at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 6. Wind northwest 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7.
SF at LAD 10:10: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 8-16 mph becoming 5-10 mph late which blows out to right. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.