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June 21 MLB DFS: A Texas Soo Choo Train
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June 21 MLB DFS: A Texas Soo Choo Train

00:37 Starting Pitchers
09:34 Catchers
13:32 First Base
17:25 Second Base
19:44 Shortstop
21:51 Third Base
24:41 Outfield
28:03 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



June 21 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

2) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

Tier Two

3) Corey Kluber (CLE)

4) Johnny Cueto (SF)

Tier Three

5) Aaron Nola (PHI)

Tier Four

6) Justin Verlander (DET)

7) Scott Kazmir (LAD)

8) James Paxton (SEA)

9) Chris Sale (CHW)

10) Sonny Gray (OAK)

11) Tanner Roark (WAS)

12) Collin McHugh (HOU)

13) Blake Snell (TB)

14) Marco Estrada (TOR)

15) Jason Hammel (CHC)

The starting pitcher position has a very clear top tier with two of the best starters in DFS throwing on Tuesday. Jose Fernandez (MIA) owns a ridiculous 37.5 K Rate and faces a Braves’ offense that ranks 28th in wRC+ albeit with the 21st highest K Rate against RHP. Fernandez’s incredible K Rate should trump the Braves’ contact ability, leaving Fernandez with the highest projected K Rate on the slate. He’s also the largest favorite on the slate (-265). Noah Syndergaard (NYM) is the other DFS ace taking the hill as he’ll face a Royals’ offense that will lose the DH heading to Citi Field. The Royals have been a league average offense against RHP this season (15th in wRC+) but they project far worse without Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Kendrys Morales in the lineup. Syndergaard is a significant favorite as well (-170) and has a projected better matchup than Fernandez for strikeouts but falls shy of Fernandez in our overall rankings for this slate as Fernandez’s run prevention and expected K Rate are stronger. It’s difficult to build around both studs on a multiple starting pitcher site, but getting one of them in your lineups is a priority.

Corey Kluber (CLE), Aaron Nola (PHI), and Johnny Cueto (SF) man the second and third tiers of our rankings but all come at varying price points. Cueto is priced in the same range as the tier one starters and thus is largely off our radar. Kluber is priced just below the aces and with a slightly discounted price tag will draw some cash game attention on both sites. The Rays rank 14th in wRC+ but have the second highest K Rate against RHP (25.2 percent). Vegas is pretty optimistic on Kluber’s run prevention (3.4 implied total against) and he has the benefit of a favorable home plate umpire behind the plate. He’s pricey, but a viable cash game pairing with Fernandez or Syndergaard on DraftKings and a viable solo starter on FanDuel (though we’d lean towards paying up for Syndergaard or Fernandez’s more elevated upside). Aaron Nola (PHI) gets caught a bit in-between on rank and pricing. His peripherals remain elite (2.81 xFIP, 26.4 K Rate, 5.4 BB Rate, and 54.5 GB Rate) but Vegas remains skeptical (4.2 implied run total against) even against a Twins’ offense that ranks 23rd in wRC+ and has the 10th highest K Rate. Nola’s price tag on DraftKings earns him consideration as a secondary starter in cash games because of the salary relief it brings, but he’s a slightly stronger tournament target than cash game option due to the high implied run total against.

The fourth tier is deep and crowded. The best targets price wise include a volatile Scott Kazmir (LAD) who has a difficult matchup with the Nationals (fourth in wRC+ against LHP) but an elite home plate umpire and strong K Rate push him up the projections. With just a 3.6 implied run total against, Vegas also appears relatively confident in the run prevention. Sonny Gray (OAK) is the other alternative who is volatile for different reasons. Gray returned from the DL with his velocity back and looked great at Houston but the K Rate vanished in his last two starts. He faces the Brewers’ who are getting a big park downgrade and lead the league in strikeouts against RHP (25.7 percent K Rate). If Gray can keep the ball in the park, something his home park should facilitate, the Brewers will help his modest K Rate along. Collin McHugh (HOU) is another viable secondary starter target on multiple SP sites. He’s been exceptional, striking out 20.8 percent or more batters in six straight starts despite many difficult matchups (@CHW, BAL, @ARZ, OAK, @TEX, @STL) but has a tough draw with an Angels’ offense that just doesn’t strikeout (15.8 K Rate against RHP). Many of these secondary targets are also viable tournament targets on a day with elite pitching and strong hitting environments.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

3) Russell Martin (TOR) – ranked first if cleanup

4) Brian McCann (NYY)

5) Buster Posey (SF)

6) Matt Wieters (BAL)

The catcher position is one that will largely shift in value based on Willson Contreras‘ (CHC) status and whether he’s in the lineup. He remains underpriced around the industry, particularly on DraftKings ($2,000) and his presence in the lineup would shift lineup building considerably. If Contreras isn’t in the lineup, you’ll shift attention to Stephen Vogt (OAK) or Russell Martin (TOR) who get elite lineup spots with the platoon advantage against weaker opposing starters. Martin would rank as our top catcher option if hitting cleanup and he’s the most cost effective way to get exposure to the Blue Jays’ offense which has a team total of 5.2 implied runs. Vogt will face Jimmy Nelson who has allowed a .365 wOBA and .199 ISO to LHBs since the start of 2015. Brian McCann (NYY) has a price tag that is elevated over these options and ranks slightly below but he’s back in Yankee Stadium with the short porch against a RHP and remains a fine play. Victor Martinez (DET) ranks well on FanDuel where he has eligibility though James Paxton‘s returned from the minors with 99-100 mph fastballs. With the wind blowing out to left and an elevated 4.7 implied team total, it’s not a bad spot to get exposure against Paxton; even if our baselines may be underrating him a bit. Matt Wieters (BAL) is part of the team with the highest implied team total on the slate and has shown nice power against RHP (.340 wOBA, .175 ISO since the start of 2015). The lineup spot may improve with Machado serving his suspension which could vault him up the rankings slightly and is a fine way to get exposure to the top offense on the night. Luis Perdomo has allowed a .385 wOBA and 31.3 hard hit rate against LHBs in his brief major league career.

First Base Rankings

1) Chris Davis (BAL)

2) Joey Votto (CIN)

3) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

4) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

5) Brandon Belt (SF)

6) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

7) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

8) Wil Myers (SD)

9) Mike Napoli (CLE)

10) Jose Abreu (CHW)

First base is a pretty simplistic position on Tuesday’s slate. Chris Davis (BAL) is our second ranked hitter overall and rates as a solid value on both sites despite an elevated price tag. Joey Votto (CIN) gets a favorable matchup against Colby Lewis (.322 wOBA, .162 ISO allowed since 2015) in Texas and is priced more favorably. In a perfect world, we’d love to get exposure to Davis as an integral part of the top offense on the slate, but Votto projects as a better value and his salary relief allows you a chance at elite starting pitching. If you need immense salary relief, Prince Fielder (TEX) is a viable target. Anthony DeSclafani has looked awful in his two starts since returning from the DL and he’s historically been vulnerable to LHBs (.354 wOBA, 34.2 hard hit rate allowed). Fielder’s a mess (.285 wOBA, .135 ISO against RHP over last 100 PA) but he’s hovering near minimum salary and is on a team that should generate plenty of favorable plate appearances. The salary relief is a little more valuable on FanDuel than DraftKings where the gap between Fielder and Votto/Davis is wider.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Rougned Odor (TEX) – if Top Five

3) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

4) Ian Kinsler (DET)

5) Robinson Cano (SEA)

6) Neil Walker (NYM)

7) Derek Dietrich (MIA)

8) Joe Panik (SF)

Second base is a more difficult position to tackle on Tuesday’s slate. Jose Altuve (HOU) is our top ranked option at the position, but he’s expensive everywhere. Rougned Odor (TEX) would rank as our second best target and is slightly more affordable but his value has been hurt by shifting down considerably in the lineup (hitting sixth of late). The search for value doesn’t yield many punt plays but instead mid-priced options trading at very slight discounts. Neil Walker (NYM), Jed Lowrie (OAK), Brandon Phillips (CIN) and Derek Dietrich (MIA) represent the best mid-tier price plays. Neil Walker and Derek Dietrich have the best power upside (Kennedy – .242 ISO allowed since 2015 to LHBs, Norris – .390 wOBA, 1.61 HR/9 allowed to LHBs this season) and represent our favorite targets of the group, but Lowrie and Phillips are viable alternatives if emphasizing salary relief.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

3) Corey Seager (LAD)

4) Aledmys Diaz (STL)

5) Zack Cozart (CIN)

6) Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM)

7) Brad Miller (TB)

8) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

9) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

10) Brandon Crawford (SF)

Carlos Correa (HOU) is once again our top shortstop option with a favorable matchup against Hector Santiago who has allowed a .216 ISO to RHBs since the start of 2015 and gets a stark park downgrade for power. Correa remains unusually affordable on DraftKings ($3,800) where it’s hard to get away from him while every other shortstop remains unusually expensive on FanDuel which again leaves Correa as the best value at $3,900. Brandon Crawford (SF) and Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) could shift up in the rankings with injuries forcing lineup shifts closer to the middle of the order, but both will likely still rank behind Correa as a value. The only question is whether salary relief is necessary and you’re forced to drop down a bit in which case those two options would serve as alternatives.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

4) Nolan Arenado (COL)

5) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

6) Jake Lamb (ARZ)

7) Matt Carpenter (STL)

8) Todd Frazier (CHW)

Josh Donaldson (TOR) tops our third base rankings and is just outside our Top Five overall hitters on this slate. Patrick Corbin has allowed a 39% hard hit rate and .348 wOBA to RHBs and Donaldson’s one of the best hitters in all of baseball against LHP. He’s very expensive on a slate with elite starting pitching but viable as a cash game target if you want to target him as your one big spend. We’re shifting our attention towards mid-tier options that come with a little more value which include Alex Rodriguez (NYY) in Yankee Stadium against Chad Bettis (.360 wOBA, .204 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015) and Adrian Beltre (TEX) whose matchup looks far more difficult on paper (DeSclafani limited RHBs to a .300 wOBA and .101 ISO since start of last season) but DeSclafani has not looked himself early and the Reds’ bullpen behind him is a mess.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Shin Soo Choo (TEX)

3) George Springer (HOU)

4) Rajai Davis (CLE)

5) Adam Jones (BAL)

6) Nomar Mazara (TEX)

7) Bryce Harper (WAS)

8) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

9) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

10) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

11) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

12) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

13) Brett Gardner (NYY)

14) Hyun Soo Kim (BAL)

15) Ian Desmond (TEX)

16) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

17) Denard Span (SF)

18) Carlos Beltran (NYY)

19) Adam Eaton (CHW)

20) Matt Kemp (SD)

Mike Trout (LAA) is our top overall hitter on the slate as he gets a big park shift for RH power and McHugh hasn’t been dominant (.330 wOBA, .141 ISO) against same handed batters. On a slate with elite pitching, we’re emphasizing outfield values a bit more as opposed to spending on Trout. We’ll start in Texas where Shin Soo Choo (TEX) and Nomar Mazara (TEX) remains an exceptional values on both sites. Mazara has posted a .378 wOBA and .207 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer while Choo owns a .398 wOBA and .207 ISO against RHP since 2015. They get DeSclafani’s wide splits and the Reds bullpen behind him which gives the Rangers the second highest implied run total on the slate at 5.6. It’s hard not to just lock both in your cash game lineups. Other potential values include: Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) – coming on of late and underpriced on FanDuel, and Hyun Soo Kim (BAL) who represents a cheap way to get exposure to Baltimore’s 5.9 implied run total.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Baltimore Orioles

2) Texas Rangers

Tier Two

3) New York Yankees

4) Miami Marlins

5) Houston Astros

6) Toronto Blue Jays

7) San Francisco Giants

8) Detroit Tigers

9) Chicago White Sox

10) Cincinnati Reds

The Orioles and Rangers are very clearly our top two stack options on this slate and both are priorities in cash games. It’s naturally a bit easier to get exposure to the Rangers top of the order given the cheap price tags which should make them one of the more popular stacks on both sites. Our second tier of stacks has more contrarian options with various levels of upside and expected ownership. The Astros against a LHP will likely be popular after last night’s explosion against a RHP. The Giants, White Sox, and Tigers will all represent more contrarian targets.

Contrarian Tournament Stack

Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox offense is elite against LHP and Chris Sale has scuffled of late against elite RH heavy offenses, specifically the Tigers last two times out. The White Sox pen behind him used most of their high leverage options on Monday and it would be the third day in a row for Nate Jones, David Robertson, and Zach Putnam. This leaves the lower end of the bullpen (Purke, Jennings, Albers, Ynoa) as available if the White Sox played from behind and didn’t want to use their best relievers.