Daily Fantasy Rundown – June 20th MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Saturday’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: Small to moderate concerns in NYC and PHI.
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.
Derek Norris (SD) – Norris is clearly the top catching option for this slate and a player to target aggressively. He gets a big park shift in his favor and is facing a below average LHP in Robbie Ray. Norris has posted a .375 wOBA and .188 ISO against LHP despite playing in below average hitting environments throughout his career. Ray has allowed RHBs to hit .277/.349/.465 against him at the big league level (.358 wOBA) and allowed 1.13 HR/9 with an elevated 38.8 percent hard hit rate. Norris is a Top 10 hitter overall and not priced accordingly around the industry. When factoring in price, we find very few options that can contend with Norris on Saturday night.
Additional catcher notes: Brian McCann (NYY) is the next best option at the catcher position. He gets a great park environment for power but Alfredo Simon generally keeps the ball on the ground (47.7 GB Rate vs. LHBs since 2012) and McCann is fully priced. Victor Martinez (DET) gets a more favorable matchup (Eovaldi has allowed a .352 wOBA to LHBs since 2012) in the same great park environment but his skills from the left side are a bit more in question. He’s been terrible from that side this year (.171 wOBA). It’s a small sample and influenced by an injury but the question marks are enough that you’d prefer a deep discount. On sites with catcher eligibility and a deep discount, I’d consider him but I haven’t found that yet. The best price point is on DraftKings where he’s first base eligible and viable in cash games.
Joey Votto (CIN) – Miguel Cabrera ranks comparably to Votto but comes at a much more expensive price point. As a result, I’ve decided to focus on Votto who is the most reasonable high end option that can find his way into your cash game lineups. Votto faces Tom Koehler who has demonstrated some legitimate reverse splits in his career (.327 wOBA, 17.3 K Rate, 7.8 BB Rate, 43.1 GB Rate, and 34.3 hard hit rate against RHBs vs. .313 wOBA, 18 K Rate, 9.8 BB Rate, 45.6 GB Rate, and 31.5 hard hit rate against LHBs). Even with those odd reverse splits, Votto’s success against RHP takes precedent here. Votto has posted a .417 wOBA and .203 ISO against RHP with an incredible 1.17 EYE. The Reds have one of the highest implied run totals on the slate and Votto’s slightly discounted compared to all the other elite hitting options. He ranks inside our Top Five hitters overall and is the best option if spending up at first base (we’ll likely aim for values).
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz’s performance has rebounded of late and the price has risen some around the industry. In most spots, he’s still discounted relative to our expectations whenever he’s facing a below average RHP. Edinson Volquez fits that mold. He’s allowed a .323 wOBA to LHBs since 2012 but gets the benefit of playing in front of an elite defense and with an elite bullpen behind him. On sites where the price is discounted substantially (FanDuel), Ortiz still represents a top target. He ranks inside our Top Five overall hitters but admittedly I’m treating him more like a Top 15 hitter.
Additional first base notes: Mark Reynolds (STL) and Victor Martinez (DET) are simply too cheap on DraftKings. They come with premier lineup spots in good offensive lineups and parks. Though they don’t rank as highly as Ortiz in our model, the savings is useful where pricing is a big tighter overall. Martinez cracks our Top 20 hitters while Reynolds is inside our Top 50. I prefer Martinez strongly. Lucas Duda (NYM) and Carlos Santana (CLE) are secondary value plays to Ortiz. They get better hitting environments, slightly more favorable matchups in park and opposing pitcher, but are meaningfully less skilled and generally more expensive. I don’t mind playing either above Ortiz but our model believes Ortiz is a superior option.
Dee Gordon (MIA) – Gordon cracks our Top 15 overall hitters. He doesn’t benefit from the park shift as much as other hitters and in many ways it actually takes away from his value as Great American Ballpark inflates home runs but deflates triples. He is underpriced on FanDuel and the Reds catchers aren’t great at holding base runners. DeSclafani has also been a negative against the running game and has allowed a .330 wOBA, 34 percent hard hit rate, and 25.8 percent LD rate to LHBs. It’s a good matchup for Gordon to get on base and run. On sites where the tag is discounted, he’s a strong target.
Kolten Wong (STL) – Wong’s discount is a bit more stable around the industry. He gets Aaron Harang who has allowed a .331 wOBA to LHBs since 2012. Wong has hit RHP really well this season (.364 wOBA, .200 ISO, and 34 percent hard hit rate) and he comes with a premier lineup spot. On the road, the expected plate appearances for Wong is around five. He’s our top target industry wide at the position even though he ranks well below Gordon in our model.
Additional second base notes: Brandon Phillips (CIN) is part of a Reds offense we like to target tonight. His skills aren’t impressive (.311 wOBA, .123 ISO) but he draws an elite lineup spot in an offense we like. The price tag isn’t bad, so he’s a fine part of Reds stacks or mini-stacks. Derek Dietrich (MIA) is an interesting cheap option at the position. Almost all of his value is tied to power (.315 wOBA, .182 ISO against RHP) which gets a meaningful boost in Cincinnati. If you prefer salary relief at the position, he’d be my choice.
Jhonny Peralta (STL) – Peralta is the top shortstop option on the slate (along with Carlos Correa) but both aren’t priced in a particularly compelling way. They crack our Top 55 hitters overall. Peralta is generally a bit more affordable because of Correa’s recent performance and he’s the option I’d prefer to invest in anyway.
Additional shortstop notes: The shortstop position has basically no depth to it. It’s invest in Peralta, Correa, or punt. On FanDuel, we have a really attractive punt play in Francisco Lindor (CLE) but on DraftKings the pickings are slimmer. Perhaps Ruben Tejada (NYM) hits second again and earns consideration or Cesar Hernandez (PHI) who I like even less. This is a position we’ll focus heavily on in the alerts.
Todd Frazier (CIN) – He is so expensive around the industry that it will be difficult to fit Frazier into cash games, but he represents your top option at the position and an elite tournament play. Frazier owns just a .350 wOBA but an impressive .205 ISO against RHP since 2012 but this season his performance has exploded (.422 wOBA, .315 ISO). Koehler has shown those reverse splits we noted in Votto’s recommendation and is getting a big park downgrade for suppressing power. I like the matchup, but the price point is a challenge.
Chase Headley (NYY) – Our model really likes Headley whenever he’s facing RHP in Yankee Stadium. Headley has adequate power (.153 ISO against RHP) that is the type that should benefit most from the short porch. He’s a good hitter all around (.343 wOBA against RHP since 2012) and as a switch hitter holds the platoon advantage throughout the game. He’s discounted around the industry as our model ranks him inside the Top 20 overall hitters. He’s our top target around the industry at third base.
Additional third base notes: Mark Reynolds (STL) comes with cheap 3B eligibility on DraftKings. I’m not opposed to using him over there where Headley’s discount isn’t as severe. Carlos Santana (CLE) also comes with 3B eligibility and ranks slightly ahead of Headley in our model. He’s a viable cash game play as well. Will Middlebrooks (SD) is the wildcard option at the position. He’s hit LHP for exceptional power (.195 ISO) in his career and overall a .324 wOBA against LHP isn’t bad, but he generally gets a poor lineup spot. The park environment and the matchup (Robbie Ray has allowed a .358 wOBA and 1.13 HR/9 to RHBs) are tremendous. If he garners the fifth spot in the lineup, he’ll hold some cash game relevance.
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) – DeSclafani has really handled RHBs really well (.288 wOBA, .097 ISO) this season, so I’m hesitant to pay the big price tags on Stanton. He’s the best hitter overall on the slate and getting the biggest park shift, but I think he’s best used in tournaments.
Justin Upton (SD) – Upton comes at a steeper discount to Stanton but gets the platoon advantage in a great offensive environment. Upton has crushed LHP in his career. Since 2012, he’s posted a .392 wOBA and .239 ISO. Those numbers are comparable to Stanton’s performance against RHP which makes him the better value in my opinion. Upton won’t hold his value as well deep into the game, which is why Stanton rates higher in our model, but he’s got a better matchup the first 5-6 innings of the game against Robbie Ray.
Jay Bruce (CIN) – We’ve touched on Koehler throughout the content so let’s focus on Bruce here. He owns an adequate .338 wOBA against RHP but the .212 ISO plays really well in DFS. He’s in a great park for power and comes with a reasonable price point around the industry. He cracks our Top 15 hitters overall.
Brandon Moss (CLE) – We haven’t touched on the Cleveland bats much but they’re in a nice spot tonight against Erasmo Ramirez. Ramirez has been solid against LHBs in his career (.315 wOBA) but he’s been homer prone (1.07 HR/9 to LHBs) despite playing in great environments to limit power. Moss owns a .367 wOBA and .267 ISO against RHP since 2012 and gets a great lineup spot for an Indians offense that ranks inside the Top 10 in wRC+ against RHP. Moss has one of the better home run scores in our model and comes at an accessible price point.
Anthony Gose (DET) – Gose is really cheap around the industry and leads off for a very good offense. His skills against RHP are underwhelming (.306 wOBA, .107 ISO) but he makes up for it with speed (42 SB in 677 PA against RHP). His DFS value is also enhanced by hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera as it’s substantially improves his runs scored potential. With a very cheap tag, Gose is a way to get some salary relief, maximize plate appearances, and capture a piece of a great offense.
David Peralta (ARZ) – I hate picking on pitchers like Tyson Ross. Ross is a good pitcher overall but he’s vulnerable to LHBs (.332 wOBA). Unfortunately he’s vulnerable in a way that isn’t particularly beneficial to DFS. He walks a lot of LHBs (11.4 percent) but doesn’t yield much power (.384 Slugging allowed since 2012). Peralta’s price is discounted. He’s hit RHP well in his career (.363 wOBA, .196 ISO) and he gets an elite lineup spot (behind Goldschmidt, hitting cleanup). The Padres bullpen behind Ross isn’t great so there is power upside late in the game. The hope with Peralta is he grinds out a few points early and then gets a premier at bat late against the weak bullpen. The price tag is cheap enough to invest even without big upside early.
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 but hit fifth last night. Christian Yelich (MIA) rates really well in our model but a lot of that is a baseline that hasn’t come to fruition this season. Yelich has taken steps back in plate discipline and has an absurd 71 percent GB Rate. I’d only consider him as part of a tournament stack with Marlins. Matt Kemp (SD) is a great wildcard for tournaments. He’s historically hit LHP very well and gets a great matchup but he’s been dreadful this season against LHP and is putting together a season similar to his injury riddled 2013. His baseline as a player isn’t as clear now, which makes him difficult to evaluate. I love him in tournaments but will temper expectations in cash games. As always the outfield section is ripe with additional tournament plays. We’ll have our tournament offenses to target noted below.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Corey Kluber (CLE)
2a) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)
2b) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)
4) John Lackey (STL)
5) Taijuan Walker (SEA)
6) Tyson Ross (SD)
Corey Kluber (CLE) – We have another slate with a very clear cut top starting option. Kluber is the most skilled starter on the slate (28.3 K Rate, 4.6 BB Rate, 47.2 GB Rate, and 2.63 xFIP) and he has an above average matchup with a right hand heavy Rays’ offense. The Rays rank 16th in wRC+ against RHP and strike out slightly above the league average (21 percent) but the real plus in this matchup is that their lineup often features just three LHBs. Kluber has held RHBs to a .274 wOBA while posting an incredible 32.3 K Rate since 2012. He’s the second heaviest favorite on the slate (-180) in a game with the second lowest total this evening (seven). He’s a staple of cash game lineups.
Dallas Keuchel (HOU)/Noah Syndergaard (NYM) – The rankings hinge quite a bit on Freddie Freeman‘s availability. If Freeman is out of the lineup again, Syndergaard actually ranks well above Keuchel thanks to his elite strike out ability. Keuchel is all about run prevention and he gets a boost in pitching environment against an offense that doesn’t work counts and features just two above average RHBs (Cruz and Trumbo). Keuchel is a bit overpriced but his security in cash games is appealing. Syndergaard has had one disaster start but the strikeouts elevate his mean projection as well. I prefer Syndergaard’s strikeouts, especially if Freeman sits, but I understand those who value Keuchel’s run prevention.
Additional starting pitcher notes: I don’t see much need to stray from the top options in cash games. The gap is wide from tier one to tier two and it’s even wider from tier two to the rest. John Lackey (STL) is the biggest favorite on the slate (-185) and faces a watered down Phillies offense. He’s a poor man’s Keuchel on this slate. He’s very likely to have above average run prevention but a lack of strikeouts limits the upside. Taijuan Walker (SEA) has the highest upside of the secondary options. Walker has been exceptional at home (2.51 ERA, 28 K Rate, 6.4 BB Rate, and 3.37 xFIP). It hasn’t translated to the road starts which has kept his price down. He faces an above average Astros offense (6th in wRC+) that strikes out a ton (25.6 percent leads the league). The strikeouts should be there and whether he’s able to limit the runs is the big question mark. Historically, he’s been able to keep them down at home and tonight’s game has a total of just 6.5. He’s my favorite tournament play, by a wide margin, but I don’t have the trust to utilize him in cash games.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Cincinnati Reds
2) St. Louis Cardinals
3) New York Yankees
4) Detroit Tigers
5) San Diego Padres
No one team really stands out this evening as the top option but I’ve listed them in order of preference here. The Reds have the best offensive environment for their skill set (power) and the Marlins bullpen is poor.
The Cardinals ravaged a worn out Phillies staff last night and they get the chance to do so again this evening. Aaron Harang is superior to Aumont but that’s not really saying much. The Cardinals offense is watered down skill wise, but they also come with affordable price tags that allows you to fit top tier SP.
The Yankees and Tigers both get the benefit of Yankee Stadium but the park plays vastly different for RHB and LHB. The Yankees are stacked with LHBs which gives them the upper hand despite an offense that is a bit weaker overall from a talent perspective.
The Padres are one of my favorite tournament stacks. Their offense is better suited to attack LHP and has key components to target as a mini-stack (Upton and Norris most notably). The offense also has a bunch of power and is getting a big power shift in park.
1) Cleveland Indians
2) Los Angeles Dodgers
The Indians and Dodgers are Top 10 offenses against RHP and face below average RHP. Both come with price tags that will likely push others away. I like the Indians side more because the Giants bullpen is very good.
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.
STL at PHL 7:05: The game has a 70-80% chance of starting dry but numerous showers and thunderstorms will move into the region by 9 PM. The risk is if the rain is a bit faster moving in and then they have trouble. Of course, the rain could be a bit slower moving in as well (I actually favor that solution). Would say right now there is a 30% chance of a delay after 8 PM, 50% after 9 PM, and 70% after 10 PM. Temps in the mid to upper 70s. Air density is an 8 (very muggy). Wind southeast 7-14 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.
TB at CLE 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s falling into the lower 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind south 6-12 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.
BOS at KC 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 80s falling to near 80. Air density is an 8. Wind south-southwest 12-25 mph lessening to 10-20 mph which blows out to left-center. The wind is an 8.
NYM at ATL 7:10: A 10% chance of a delay because a thunderstorm, not overly worried. Temps in the mid-80s falling into the upper 70s. Air density is an 8. Wind southwest 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.
MIA at CIN 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 70s falling into the lower 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.
DET at NYY 7:15: A steady but rather light rain looks to move in the region around 8-9 PM. Much like the game in PHL, the risk is slower vs. faster in the arrival of the rain. I prefer the slower solution but cannot completely rule out the faster solution. Right now, I would say the game starts dry but there is an increasing threat of a rain delay after 8 PM (20-30% at 8-9 PM, 30-40% after 9 PM). Temps near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind east-southeast at 3-6 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4 or a 5.
SF at LAD 7:15: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 7-14 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
HOU at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind northwest 6-12 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
SD at AZ 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps near 110 to start falling into the upper 90s. If the roof is open, air density is a 9. Wind west-southwest 7-14 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.