Daily Fantasy Rundown – June 24th 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.
Weather: Only game with any weather concerns is COL (t-storms move in after the games in CHC). Great 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.
Today’s analysis authored by Mike Leone and Chris Pacheco.
Nick Hundley/Wilin Rosario (COL) – The Rockies have a team total of six runs (highest of this slate) and the catcher position isn’t as deep tonight as it was last night. Therefore, Hundley (.307 wOBA, .153 ISO against RHP since 2012) and Rosario (.310 wOBA, .169 ISO against RHP since 2012) are the top plays at the catcher position. Hundley accumulated most of numbers in a far worse environment (much better now that he’s in Coors Field) but he usually hits seventh while Rosario hits fifth. On sites that have given Rosario catcher eligibility (DraftKings) he’s the top play with Hundley not far behind. We love targeting Coors Field at scarce positions and their matchup today against Allen Webster (.328 wOBA, 36 percent FB rate allowed to 209 RHBs) is favorable. Hundley and Rosario are ranked inside our top 50 hitters this evening.
Welington Castillo (ARI) – Castillo delivered for us last night, hitting a two run home run in a great matchup against Kyle Kendrick. Castillo isn’t very good against RHP (.297 wOBA, .136 ISO against RHP since 2012) but Coors Field and below average pitchers serve as great contextual factors so we’re not afraid to target below average hitters. Opposing pitcher David Hale is solid against RHBs but he has an ERA of 5.28 and he projects to have an ERA close to 5.50 the rest of the way. The Diamondbacks have a team total pushing 5.5 runs. On sites where Castillo offers more salary relief than the written options above, I consider him a fine cash game option.
Additional catcher notes: Miguel Montero (CHC) has a good matchup against Michael Bolsinger (home run prone). If the wind is blowing out tonight we’re confident in rostering Montero in cash games. Stephen Vogt (OAK) has a L/L matchup tonight but opposing pitcher Wandy Rodriguez has reverse splits (worse against LHBs). Vogt is priced fully on most sites but I don’t mind paying for him in tournaments (Oakland has a team total pushing 4.5 runs).
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) – Goldschmidt rates as our top play and despite being fully priced around the industry, he’s actually a good value as well. We love him today for the same reasons as yesterday: hitting in the best environment in all of baseball against a below average pitcher. Opposing pitcher David Hale isn’t worst than Kyle Kendrick but he’s still not very good from a macro perspective (ERA over five and despite posting very healthy underlying peripherals, he’s projected for a 5.42 Ks per nine for the rest of the season). Goldschmidt fits better in cash games on DraftKings since you won’t have to spend a lot of salary on an SP2 but he’s in play on any format of your choosing this evening.
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz has crushed RHP (.408 wOBA, .277 ISO against RHP since 2012 despite playing the majority of his games in a terrible environment for LHBs). Ortiz is 39 years old, which means some regression should be expected but it hasn’t happened against RHP (.389 wOBA, .241 ISO against RHP this season). He’s been more of a platoon player this season due to his inability to hit LHP (.128 wOBA, .040 ISO) but his skills against RHP remain very good. Opposing pitcher Bud Norris is awful against LHBs (.363 wOBA,, 1.28 HR/9 and 33 percent hard hit rate allowed to LHBs since 2012) and even though Fenway Park is tough on LHBs, Ortiz’s matchup and skill set quells any concerns about the hitting environment. Ortiz ranks inside our top five hitters this evening.
Prince Fielder (TEX) – Fielder has been very good against RHP (.389 wOBA, .199 ISO against RHP since 2012) and he has been hitting the ball very hard this season (37 percent hard hit rate, right in line with his career rate). Opposing pitcher Kendall Graveman isn’t a very good pitcher, particularly against LHBs (.343 wOBA, 33 percent hard hit rate and 13 percent K rate). The hitting venue benefits Fielder (Globe Life Park in Arlington) and Adrian Beltre is back for the Rangers (good for the surrounding bats). On sites where he’s priced down (FanDuel) I consider him to be a great cash game value (top 15 ranked hitter).
Danny Dorn (ARI) – Dorn hit sixth for the Diamondbacks last night in a great matchup but he wasn’t able to do anything. We don’t let small sample sizes dictate our decisions so we’re confident in Dorn once again. Opposing pitcher David Hale has been pretty good against RHBs but he hasn’t figured out how to get LHBs out (.350 wOBA, 14 percent K rate allowed to 260 LHBs). If Dorn is able to hit sixth again he will hit behind Jake Lamb, Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta (great run producing opportunities). Dorn is minimum priced on DraftKings, which makes him an elite punt play. Having that type of cheap exposure to Coors Field for a hitter inside the top six in his respective offense with the platoon edge is an EV+ decision.
Additional first base notes: Lucas Duda (NYM) also rates as a good value play (against Jimmy Nelson, who has allowed a .363 wOBA and 1.40 HR/9 to LHBs). He will hit in a good environment (Miller Park), which boost his value a bit. My only concern with Duda is the surrounding bats (Mets are a bad offense), which is why he’s not a written value like the options above. He’s still a sound cash game option on sites that have priced him as an average hitter. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is my favorite tournament play at the position. He will have a matchup against Michael Bolsinger (keeps the ball on the ground but has a hard minus soft hard hit rate above 15 percent) and Wrigley Field might have friendly conditions for hitters tonight (wind blowing out slightly). Rizzo is one of the best hitters in baseball but I’d rather pay full price points for him in tournaments (first base has nice values at cheaper costs and we’re prioritizing Gerrit Cole tonight). Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) rates as a solid tournament option but I would only consider him if the wind is blowing out (Kyle Hendricks is a solid pitcher).
Aaron Hill (ARI) – Hill didn’t work out for us last night but we’re not going to judge a player by a one game sample. Hill has been a capable hitter (.334 wOBA, .167 ISO against RHP since 2012) and facing a below average pitcher at Coors Field elevates his value a bit (ranked inside our top 15 hitters). With Yasmany Tomas out of the lineup last night, Hill was able to hit fifth (good for his DFS value). He’s our top play at second base as long as the lineup position isn’t an issue.
Ben Zobrist (OAK) – Zobrist is our 20th ranked hitter tonight and his switch-hitting ability bodes very well for his value (has the platoon edge even when the game is in the late stages). Opposing pitcher Wandy Rodriguez has held RHBs to a .310 wOBA in the last few seasons but he’s allowing over one home run per nine innings to righties. Zobrist is an above average hitter against LHP (.340 wOBA, 121 wRC+ against LHP since 2012) and he has played most of his career in bad hitting environments. Tonight he gets the benefit of hitting at Globe Life Park in Arlington (elite hitter’s park) and the A’s have a team total pushing 4.5 runs. Zobrist is a nice value on sites that have priced him as an average hitter.
DJ LeMahieu (COL) – LeMahieu isn’t a great hitter against RHP (.312 wOBA, .100 ISO) but he hits second for a Rockies offense that’s at Coors Field and has team total of six runs. Those factors are good enough to consider LeMahieu in all formats tonight.
Additional second base notes: If Scooter Gennett (MIL) garners a top six spot in the Brewers offense, he’s a fine cash game value. I’d rather have more exposure to Coors Field tonight but Gennett offers salary relief on tighter pricing sites (like DraftKings). Dustin Pedroia (BOS) can be considered for tournaments (Red Sox offense has a team total pushing five runs and he hits right behind David Ortiz).
Troy Tulowtizki (COL) – Tulowtizki’s plate discipline has eroded quite a bit (five percent BB rate and 22 percent K rate, worst marks of his career) but he continues to hit the ball hard when he makes contact (44 percent hard hit rate). He’s still the best offensive shortstop in all of baseball and a matchup against Allen Webster (.328 wOBA and 31 percent hard hit rate allowed to 209 RHBs) at Coors Field is enough to warrant top play consideration at a scarce position. The Rockies have the highest team total on this slate (six runs) so it makes sense to have exposure to this offense in just about every position (particularly a scarce position like shortstop).
Marcus Semien (OAK) – Semien usually hits at the top of the lineup for the A’s when they’re facing a LHP and he’s too cheap on FanDuel ($2,300). He’s not a great hitter (.304 wOBA against LHP) but he does have a little power (.143 ISO) and a good lineup spot paired with a great hitting environment is good enough to consider him a nice value play relative to his cheap price.
Additional shortstop notes: It’s difficult to know who will be the shortstop for the Diamondbacks today but if Cliff Pennington (ARI) is in the lineup, he’s right in line with Marcus Semien in terms of value. Pennington isn’t much of a hitter but he’s very cheap on DraftKings ($2,600) and we love to target cheap hitters at Coors Field (gives you exposure to the best hitting environment). If teammate Nick Ahmed is in the lineup, I’m less likely to deploy him in cash games (overpriced on most sites) but I don’t mind throwing him in a Diamondbacks stack for tournaments.
Jake Lamb (ARI) – Lamb is another Diamondbacks hitter that didn’t quite work for us last night but we’re pretty high on him yet again this evening. Lamb has improved his contact rate, walk rate, hard hit rate and he’s generating more loft in his second MLB stint. This all bodes well for his value moving forward and a top five spot at Coors Field against a pitcher that has allowed a .350 wOBA and has posted a four percent K-BB% against the 260 LHBs he has faced. Lamb is ranked inside our top 10 hitters once again and he represents a great value for the price you’re paying around the industry.
Next in line:
Nolan Arenado (COL) – (He continues to have a remarkable season and his improvements against RHP are real; if paying for a third baseman tonight, Arenado is the best expensive option that’s worth the salary in cash games since he will have a top five spot at Coors Field for a Rockies offense that has a team total of six runs)
Joey Gallo (TEX) – Adrian Beltre returned to the lineup last night but that didn’t push Gallo away from the top of the Rangers offense. Gallo is a boom or bust option due to his 40 percent K rate/.250 ISO and an insane 51 percent hard hit rate. He usually rates as a top value when he’s at home facing a below average pitcher that doesn’t miss bats and that’s the case this evening. Opposing pitcher Kendall Graveman is awful against LHBs (.343 wOB and a puny 13 percent K rate against the 127 LHBs he has faced) and his lack of strikeout abilities should reward Gallo with prime opportunities for his power stroke to shine at home (Globe Life Park in Arlington). Gallo is cheap on most sites but I like him the most on DraftKings (scoring rewards power more than simply getting on base).
Additional third base notes: Adrian Beltre (TEX) is a fine value on sites where he’s priced as an average hitter. I’m less likely to deploy him in cash games tonight since he just came back from the DL but paying a discounted price tag alleviates those concerns a bit. If the wind is blowing out at Wrigley Field tonight (early weather reports indicate that wind might be blowing out around 10 MPH), I would consider Kris Bryant (CHC) for tournaments. He’s the second best hitter in the Cubs lineup and the fact that he generates so much loft should help his power moving forward. Bryant becomes a better tournament play if the wind is blowing out at Wrigley Field tonight. Pablo Sandoval (BOS) should also be considered for tournaments tonight (will have the platoon edge against Bud Norris, who’s awful against LHBs).
Charlie Blackmon/Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – Blackmon and Gonzalez rank inside our top 10 hitters. Their matchup against Allen Webster (has allowed a .376 wOBA and 1.40 HR/9 to the 240 LHBs he has faced at the major league level while posting an atrocious -3 percent K-BB%) at Coors Field is plenty enough to consider them the top outfielders on this slate. Gonzalez has been battling a wrist issue and Blackmon has been the better performer as of late/he’s the leadoff hitter for the Rockies (maximizes his PAs, great for his DFS value). I would feel more comfortable paying full prices for Blackmon than Gonzalez in cash games but they’re both in play across all formats.
Diamondbacks outfield – A.J. Pollock (.331 wOBA, .138 ISO), David Peralta (.359 wOBA, .191 ISO) and Yasmany Tomas (.334 wOBA) are top outfield selections this evening. We’ve already spoken at lengths about the matchup (David Hale has been a solid pitcher this season but his K-BB% should take a hit moving forward) and environment (Coors Field is the best environment for hitters in all of baseball). The Diamondbacks have a team total pushing 5.5 runs (second best on this slate). Peralta is consistently the cheaper option around the industry and I consider him a core play in cash games.
Mitch Moreland/Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) – Moreland and Choo are great bargains across the industry, but they’re particularly useful on FanDuel for $2,500 and $2,600 respectively. At those tags they give you needed cap relief to spend on Coors bats and Gerrit Cole at SP but they don’t cost you much upside. It’s a warm day in Texas, one of the best hitter’s parks in MLB, and the Rangers LHBs are in a great spot against Kendall Graveman. He doesn’t miss many bats and has a high hard minus soft hit rate. It’s a very small sample size but Graveman has particularly struggled against hitters that hold the platoon edge on him, having allowed a .348 wOBA and posting a minuscule 3.4 K-BB% against the 119 LHBs he has faced. Meanwhile, both Moreland and Choo should command top five lineup spots and have posted solid numbers against RHP since 2012. Choo has a .391 wOBA and .196 ISO over that span and Moreland a .336 wOBA and .197 ISO.
Additional outfield notes: Bryce Harper (WSH) and Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) are facing good pitchers tonight but they will have the platoon edge in their respective matchups. I would target them for tournaments tonight and hope that their matchups keep their ownership relatively low. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez (BOS) make the most sense as part of a Red Sox stack in tournaments. Opposing pitcher Bud Norris struggles more against LHBs but the Red Sox have a team total pushing five runs and these hitters will hit behind David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval (two LHBs). Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo (SEA) are good targets for tournaments tonight. They will have the platoon edge against Danny Duffy (yields a healthy amount of aerial contact to RHBs) and both are exceptional hitters against LHP. Curtis Granderson (NYM) is a good cash game target (leading off against Jimmy Nelson at Miller Park). However, the issue with targeting Mets in cash games is that they only have a couple of above average hitters (best hitters are Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer but he’s a better hitter against LHP). I’m more confident in targeting Granderson on sites where he’s priced below the average cost of a hitter. Josh Reddick (OAK) has a L/L matchup tonight and he’s a much better hitter against RHP but he still feels a touch underpriced on FanDuel ($3,100) and opposing pitcher Wandy Rodriguez has some reverse splits. He’s a secondary cash game target as long as his lineup spot remains strong.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Gerrit Cole (PIT)
2) Clay Buchholz (BOS)
3) Jordan Zimmermann (WSH)
4) Jaime Garcia (STL)
5) Michael Bolsinger (LAD)
6) Ian Kennedy (SD)
7) Jimmy Nelson (MIL)
Gerrit Cole (PIT) – While Cole is the obvious top pitcher option, you want to be boring today and have him anchor your cash game lineups on both single and multi-SP sites. The gap between him and the other pitchers on the day is simply too big, and you can still work in some Coors Field bats around Cole, despite his price tag. Cole is having a phenomenal season as small grounds in all three skill statistics have added up in a big way. His K rate has improved from 24.2 to 26.7, BB rate from 7.0 to 6.1 and GB rate from 49.2 to 52.3. As a result, both his FIP (2.58) and xFIP (2.82) suggest a sub-3.00 ERA and the friendly confines of PNC Park (where he pitches today) further bolster his value. The Reds represent a rather neutral matchup overall as they are slightly below average in wRC+ against RHP but also have a slightly less than average K percentage in that split. At -195, Cole is by far the heaviest favorite of the night slate and this game also carries the lowest total (6.5). The combination of high floor and high ceiling are too much to pass up on in cash games when we’re not overly confident in the value plays at starting pitcher.
Clay Buchholz (BOS) – Buchholz isn’t exactly someone you ever play with the utmost confidence, but he’s our preferred complementary pitcher to Cole on multi-SP sites. While the Orioles are perceived as a strong offense (and they are above average), some of that is inflated due to their healthy home park. They’ve dropped to ninth in wRC+ against RHP since a hot start and their LHBs get a definite downgrade in park factor moving Fenway. Meanwhile, the K upside here is pretty nice. The Orioles are whiffing 22.4 percent of the time against RHP (fourth most) and Buchholz carries a 23.0 K percentage, which is supported by a career best 11.1 SwStr rate. In general, Buchholz is underpriced as the K rate is not the only above average peripheral he sports. The BB rate is just 6.0 percent and supported by a career best F-Strike rate. The GB rate is above average at 49.8 percent. All this adds up to a stellar all-around profile that suggests Buchholz should improve upon his 3.87 ERA moving forward. There’s really no reason for him to continue to have an unlucky strand rate and BABIP given the above average K rate and a rather stellar 3.9 hard minus soft hit rate, which if anything would suggest he could sustain a “lucky” BABIP.
Jordan Zimmermann (WAS) – We’d rather take on Buchholz’s risk given his upside and price but Zimmermann is a more risk averse complementary option on multi-SP sites. We aren’t fans of the lack of K upside as Atlanta swings and misses the third least in MLB while Zimmermann sports a below average K rate. However, there’s also not a lot of threats in this lineup. Freddie Freeman is by far the team’s best hitter against RHP and has hit the DL, and this team was already below average in wRC+ against RHP. Vegas seems to agree that Zimmermann is less risky than Buchholz from a run prevention standpoint as Zimmermann is a -170 favorite with a game total of 7 and Buchholz -143 with a game total of 8.5.
Additional starting pitcher notes: With the uncertainty among the value plays at starting pitcher, it’s not a bad idea to mix things in tournaments. Jaime Garcia‘s (STL) skills appear to be unchanged despite all the injury problems over the years. He continutes to sport a solid K/BB ratio with an outstanding GB rate (66.1). Garcia is a small favorite in a game with a low total being played in a pitcher’s park with a favorable umpire. Michael Bolsinger (LAD) is probably the best tournament option due to the Cubs swing and miss ways. He’s striking out 8.27 per 9 and has the most K upside outside of Cole. However, the threat of the wind blowing out introduces risk against a powerful team. Ian Kennedy (SD) is in a great environment but the Giants are a good offensive team against RHP and don’t strike out much. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) is the second best tournament option among the mid-tier values, following Bolsinger. A lot of that has to do with ownership (since he’s a tier down and similarly priced he will probably get overlooked), but he carries above average K and GB rates into a matchup against the Mets (24th in wRC+ against RHP, ninth highest K rate). The one guy I’d consider (tournament only) who didn’t crack our rankings is Ryan Vogelsong (SF). We aren’t fans of his skills by any means but any pitcher facing the K happy Padres in the most favorable pitcher’s park in all of baseball is deserving of a mention.
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) Coors Field
2) Texas Rangers
3) Boston Red Sox
The Coors Field stacks are boring but this offensive environment is such an outlier that the stacks in this game are not only worth pursuing but exposure of some kind needs to be prioritized in cash games. Of course the presence of subpar pitching on both sides only bolsters the value of hitting in this environment. We’d order the Rockies stack ahead of the Diamondbacks as Allen Webster has a career 6.28 ERA, 5.25 FIP and 5.09 xFIP in 100.1 innings. The combination of wildness and a below average K rate are a recipe for disaster in Coors Field. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have a pretty easy matchup as well. Hale’s K/BB ratio through five starts has actually been very impressive but nowhere near in line with what we should expect from him moving forward. He’s another RHP who struggles to miss bats giving the LHBs for the Diamondbacks a ton of value.
The air density in Texas supports a good hitting environment and the Rangers will attack RHP Kendall Graveman. If you’re spotting a trend here, it’s picking on pitchers in poor environments who will have that risk amplified by an inability to miss bats. Graveman has a low 15.1 K percentage on the season and a high hard minus soft hit rate of 17.2 has made it difficult for him to overcome this and led to a few disaster starts, although it should be pointed out he’s been really good in three straight starts despite struggling to keep the ball in the park.
The Red Sox strike out the second least in all of MLB against RHP and have started to improve their wRC+ in that split with Big Papi finding his stroke. Meanwhile opposing pitcher Bud Norris has been below average in K, BB and GB rate, which combined with an extremely high 37.7 hard hit rate has led to a 7.57 ERA. He’s posted three disaster starts in nine outings and allowed at least three earned runs in seven, which makes a mini-stack here relatively safe in cash games.
1) Oakland Athletics
2) New York Mets
3) Wrigley Field
The Athletics are a bit contrarian as Wandy Rodriguez has been better than expected and the A’s offense ranks 25th in wRC+ against LHP. However, the massive park shift for Oakland and an expectation that Wandy Rodriguez will regress (3.20 ERA, 4.18 xFIP, 4.46 ZiPS projected ROS) make them our top contrarian stack for the second consecutive night.
The Mets make an appearance in this section for the second straight night and the set of circumstances is pretty similar – a big upshift in park factor and matchup against a below average and volatile RHP gives them plenty of upside, especially a mini-stack involving the LHBs of Granderson and Duda.
A total has yet to be set in the Wrigley Field game but with the wind expected to be blowing out to right at 7-14 mph (two RHPs on the mound so this is great for LHBs) and temperatures in the 70s, we’re expecting an aggressive run total to be set. Both teams have enough LHBs to do dangerous, and I’d set the Dodgers slightly ahead of the Cubs since Hendricks is contact oriented and the Dodgers are guaranteed a full ninth inning as the road team.
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.
ATL at WSH 7:05: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 80s falling into the mid to upper 70s. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind northwest 5-10 mph becoming southwest 3-6 mph. The wind blows in from left first and then from right to left. The wind is a 4 becoming a 5.
CIN at PIT 7:05: Dry. Temps near 80 falling to near 70. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northwest 5-10 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows out to center to begin the game. The wind is a 6 becoming a 5.
BLT at BOS 7:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 70s falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northwest 6-12 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
STL at MIA 7:10: Retractable roof will likely be closed.
LAD at CHC 8:00: Dry. Temps in the mid 70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 7-14 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6. T-storms move in after the game so will follow the weather here.
OAK at TEX 8:05: Dry. Temps near 90 falling into the low to mid 80s. Air density is an 8. Wind south-southeast 8-16 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 3.
NYM at MIL 8:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind southeast 7-14 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4. T-storms move in after the game so will follow the weather here.
AZ at COL 8:40: Slightly more thunderstorm action than yesterday (there was a delay early in the game, 2nd inning) but I do not think this is a situation where you have to be worried about a cancellation. Would say 40-60% chance of a delay, possibly lengthy. 10-20% chance of a cancellation, 20-30% chance of multiple delays. Otherwise, the terrific hitting environment continues. Temps in the mid 80s falling into the mid 70s. Air density is a 10. Wind south 10-20 mph which blows out to center. The wind is an 8.
KC at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northwest 5-10 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
SD at SF 10:15: Dry. Temps in the mid 60s falling to near 60. Air density is a 5. Wind west-northwest 10-20 mph lessening to 8-16 mph which blows out to right-center. The wind is an 8 becoming a 7.