Daily Fantasy Rundown – June 27th 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: Major cancellation threats for CHW at DET, WAS at PHL, CIN at NYM, CLE at BLT. Minor delay risk for ATL at PIT
Please see Meteorologist Mark Paquette’s game by game weather forecasts below the Analysis.
Weather Note: All of the content was produced late last night without consideration for weather. With Mark’s forecast this morning, the focus on CHW-DET for hitters followed by WAS-PHI in cash games is no longer advised. We’ll aim to be extra thorough in the alerts, but in general this slate went from one where you can feel confident attacking one game to one where you’ll have to selectively attack weak pitchers in low scoring environments. For slates that include the TOR-TEX game it will take precedence, followed by MIN-MIL and then selectively picking off pieces from SF, BOS, NYY, and LAD. It’s also not a bad slate to take off.
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.
Schedule Note: Today’s content will cover all of the afternoon games. The slates are cut up in unique ways around the industry but generally the afternoon games are separated from the evening games on most sites. We’ll cover the evening games in a dedicated alert.
Buster Posey (SF) – Posey is the top catcher option across the industry and a Top 10 overall hitter for the afternoon slate. Posey has destroyed LHP to the tune of .416 wOBA/.239 ISO since 2012 and will face Chris Rusin who has allowed a .373 wOBA and 1.31 HR/9 to RHBs during that same span. A day game in San Francisco helps the scoring environment but Posey’s price tag is expensive. In general we’d like to save our big bats for Texas-Toronto or White Sox-Tigers as they’re the two premium games to focus on. As a result, Posey is a better tournament play in our eyes as we aim to save some funds at the catcher position.
Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) – Kyle Gibson has allowed a .314 wOBA and 1.12 HR/9 to RHBs in his career. He generates a high GB Rate against RHBs (55.7 percent) but isn’t dominant overall (18.6 K Rate). Lucroy gets an elite hitting environment and has posted a solid .344 wOBA and .155 ISO against RHP since 2012. The drop off to Lucroy is rather steep in our model (Top 50-ish hitter) but the price tag is very affordable around the industry.
Wilson Ramos (WAS) – Ramos hasn’t historically taken advantage of the platoon as much as we’d like (.324 wOBA, .109 ISO) but he faces a below average lefty on Saturday. Adam Morgan had success in his major league debut but a 4.74 ERA and 10.7 K Rate in AAA suggests he’s not long for the majors. Ramos has garnered strong lineup spots with the Nationals battling injury issues. If he’s inside the Top Five once again, I’d actually rank him ahead of Lucroy.
Additional catcher notes: Victor Martinez (DET) ranks almost identically to Buster Posey in our model. On sites with catcher eligibility, he’s a more affordable and recommended top play. John Danks is perpetually one of our favorite pitchers to target (.357 wOBA, 1.54 HR/9 allowed to RHBs since 2012) and Martinez is in the middle of an elite Tigers’ offense. He’s a Top 10 overall hitter. In that same game, James McCann (DET) is a viable punt play. He’s hit an impressive .289/.347/.511 in his first 51 plate appearances against big league pitching. The performance (.371 wOBA, .222 ISO) surpasses the projections (.279 wOBA, .074 ISO) by such a hefty margin that we’re not ready to fully buy into the production. As a punt play though, there is little risk. If Dioner Navarro (TOR) earns a strong lineup spot, he’d represent an adequate value play. He’s posted a .320 wOBA and .129 ISO against RHP and hits behind a group of elite hitters. Geovany Soto/Tyler Flowers (CHW) are also acceptable punt plays. Kyle Ryan projects well below average against RHBs (.387 wOBA, .227 ISO according to ZiPS).
Miguel Cabrera (DET) – Cabrera is the top overall hitter in our model. He gets a favorable matchup with John Danks which we covered above and it comes with the platoon advantage. Cabrera has always carried neutral splits, but his Fantasy value is boosted by the platoon advantage because the Tigers’ offense is far superior against LHP. He’s very expensive and comes at a position with a lot of depth, so he’s by no means an automatic play. He is, however, the bat I’m most excited to spend on for the afternoon slate.
Jose Abreu (CHW) – Abreu ranks just behind Cabrera in our model. The projection systems do not think much of Kyle Ryan and his performance so far at the big league level hasn’t altered those opinions. He’s not missing bats (11.1 percent K Rate) and surrendering a lot of hard contact (30 percent hard hit rate, 1.52 HR/9). Abreu has destroyed LHP in his brief career (.427 wOBA, .270 ISO) and Ryan represents one of the better matchups he’ll get all season. On sites like FanDuel, where the price gap between Cabrera and Abreu is monstrous, Abreu is an easy choice.
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz gets another below average RHP in Matt Andriese. He’s allowed a .399 wOBA and 2.16 HR/9 to LHBs in a very limited sample at the major league level. The park downgrade is substantial and Andriese’s inability to work deep into the game makes it likely Ortiz’s third and fourth plate appearances are tougher matchups. He ranks inside our Top Five hitters but where priced similarly, I’d take someone like Victor Martinez (DET) who ranks a bit below him in our model but has a better scoring environment.
Additional first base notes: Lucas Duda (NYM) and Adam Lind (MIL) both have favorable matchups against below average RHP. They come with reasonable price points but end up as secondary options at a deep position. Duda has the stronger individual matchup as Michael Lorenzen is very homer prone with a straight fastball, but Lind has the better park environment. They both rank inside our Top 20 overall hitters. Mark Teixeira (NYY) has historically crushed LHP and gets a park environment favorable for RH power against a fly ball oriented LHP. His price tag is a bit elevated around the industry, but he’s a fine tournament option. Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) is a Top Five option in our model, but is generally priced well above Ortiz or Abreu on all sites. He falls in pricing limbo a bit, which makes him a better tournament play.
Ian Kinsler (DET) – Kinsler is a very good hitter against LHP (.361 wOBA, .158 ISO since 2012) and he gets a premier lineup spot against John Danks. His price point is reasonable around the industry and the position lacks depth around him. He cracks the Top 15 hitters overall in our model and the next best 2B option is outside our Top 40.
Danny Espinosa (WAS) – Espinosa hit second last night against a RHP and with the Nationals battling injury issues, I think he’ll garner a strong lineup spot again on Saturday. Espinosa is a switch hitter so he holds the platoon advantage throughout the game, but he’s generally been better against LHP in his career (.347 wOBA, .167 ISO). Adam Morgan profiles as one of the weaker left handed starters in all of baseball and Espinosa gets a positive park shift for his power. Priced as if he’s hitting in the bottom of the order, we expect he’ll serve as the top value at the position with a better lineup spot.
Additional second base notes: Matt Duffy (SF) and Logan Forsythe (TB) come with 2B eligibility and fair price points on DraftKings for premium lineup spots. Duffy faces the weaker starter but Forsythe has hit LHP at a more substantial rate this season. Both are viable secondary values. Neil Walker (PIT) is facing the most talented pitcher of the bunch but it’s not a bad matchup. Walker has posted a .352 wOBA and .192 ISO against RHP since 2012 while Julio Teheran has allowed a .337 wOBA and 1.29 HR/9 to LHBs during that span. The cheap price point makes Walker a fine secondary value or elite tournament play.
Jose Reyes (TOR) – Reyes cracks our Top 25 hitters overall. He leads off for an elite offense and gets his stronger side of the plate. Yovani Gallardo isn’t a bad pitcher (.312 wOBA allowed to LHBs since 2012) which makes investing in Reyes a more price sensitive endeavor. With a very good value play that ranks comparably with Reyes, I’m less likely to utilize him in cash games.
Alexei Ramirez (CHW) – The White Sox have been shifting their lineup around a lot of late, but Ramirez is generally second or sixth. We’d prefer second, but sixth is acceptable given the favorable matchup and the discounted price tag. Ramirez isn’t a great hitter against LHP (.312 wOBA, .123 ISO since 2012) but Kyle Ryan projects so poorly that Ramirez cracks our Top 35 hitters for this slate. With his price point well below Reyes, we believe he’s the superior value and your top target at the position.
Additional shortstop notes: Ian Desmond (WAS) would jump ahead of Ramirez in our rankings if he garners a more favorable lineup spot. The Nationals have been intent on keeping him down in the order of late but he has nice skills against LHP (.341 wOBA, .184 ISO since 2012) and Adam Morgan profiles as a similarly favorable matchup as Kyle Ryan. We’ll make sure to hit on this situation in our lineup alerts. Wilmer Flores (NYM) gets a favorable matchup for power against Michael Lorenzen‘s straight fastball. He isn’t a very good hitter overall and I wouldn’t consider him in cash games, but the power is intriguing for a cheap tag in tournaments.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) – Beltre gets to face Matt Boyd who is making his major league debut. Boyd was dominant in 130 innings across A and AA last season and has pitched well at AA and AAA this year. He’s a LHP which gives Beltre the platoon advantage in an elite environment. It’s always difficult to project players making quick leaps through the minor leagues, but Beltre’s historical dominance against LHP (.372 wOBA, .190 ISO since 2012) takes precedent here. With a favorable price point around the industry, Beltre is the best play at third base in cash games.
Next in line:
Evan Longoria (TB) – Longoria has posted a .384 wOBA and .228 ISO against LHP since 2012. He’ll face Wade Miley who has allowed a .324 wOBA to RHBs during the same span. Longoria ranks well behind Beltre in our model (15-20 spots) but is a viable alternative on sites where the price is down considerably. The rather low scoring environment (7.5 total) drags his overall value down.
Additional third base notes: On DraftKings, the TEX-TOR game isn’t available in the early only slate. I’d target Miguel Cabrera (DET) or Danny Espinosa (WAS) as options in the 3B slot with Matt Duffy (SF), Pablo Sandoval (BOS), and Nick Castellanos (DET) available as secondary salary relief options. Sandoval has that plus matchup with Matt Andriese but I’d like to see a promotion to the fifth spot in the lineup. Castellanos faces a below average lefty but a bad lineup spot and poor history against LHP (.310 wOBA, .113 ISO) makes him better as part of a Tigers stack than a cash game play. Alex Rodriguez (NYY) is a very strong option along with Beltre and Longoria but is priced more aggressively than both options. If you can fit him, I’m comfortable deploying him with the platoon advantage in a great park, but salary relief may win the day at third base.
Jose Bautista (TOR) – Bautista’s rather neutral splits (.383 wOBA, .251 ISO against RHP since 2012) keep him among our Top Five overall hitters whenever the Blue Jays are facing average or below average pitching at home. Yovani Gallardo is an average starter with reasonable splits against RHBs (.305 wOBA, 1.04 HR/9 since 2012) which is why I’m less likely to pay the full price tag on Bautista. He’s better as part of a Blue Jays stack in tournaments.
Yoenis Cespedes/J.D. Martinez (DET) – The two Tigers RHBs rank just outside our Top Five overall hitters and come at more affordable price points than Bautista or the Brewers outfielders below. Cespedes (.337 wOBA, .211 ISO against LHP since 2012) has earned the better lineup spot of late and thus earns our preference of the two. If Martinez is thrust into the five spot, he has almost identical skills to Cespedes (.332 wOBA, .184 ISO against LHP since 2012), our focus would shift towards him.
Ryan Braun/Carlos Gomez (MIL) – Kyle Gibson is very similar to Trevor May who the Brewers demolished last night. Gibson is an inconsistent young pitcher who has shown the ability to generate ground balls against RHBs. He generally pitches to contact and has a small margin for error. The Brewers have a great home park and Braun/Gomez are an elite Fantasy combination in the middle of their lineup. They both rank inside our Top 15 overall hitters and make exceptional tournament plays.
Rajai Davis (DET) – Davis is a core cash game play around the industry. He’s actually been a better hitter against LHP (.377 wOBA, .179 ISO) than Cespedes and Martinez since 2012. He gets a better lineup spot, leading off, and is priced well below Cespedes and Martinez around the industry. He ranks just behind Cespedes and Martinez because of the pinch hit risk when the game gets into the bullpen, but the cheaper tag makes him a foundational piece against John Danks.
Avisail Garcia/Melky Cabrera (CHW) – Kyle Ryan projects so poorly that both Melky Cabrera (.339 wOBA, .154 ISO) and Avisail Garcia (.335 wOBA, .158 ISO against LHP since 2012) crack our Top 20 overall hitters for the afternoon slate. As we indicated before with Alexei Ramirez the White Sox have been shifting their lineups around a lot of late. Whoever lands in the sixth spot, will ultimately be the odd man out. If it’s Ramirez, we can overlook it due to the lack of alternatives at shortstop, but if it’s Cabrera or Garcia they’d fall out of our preferred options. Last time against a below average LHP, Garcia hit second and Cabrera hit fourth. Those would represent elite lineup spots for both.
Curtis Granderson (NYM) – Granderson is a bit more power dependent than Parra (.337 wOBA, .201 ISO against RHP since 2012) but he has a great matchup to bring out that power on Saturday. Michael Lorenzen has allowed a .389 wOBA and 1.74 HR/9 to LHBs in a small sample at the big league level. He hasn’t been able to miss bats (14.4 K Rate and 12.4 BB Rate) and a modest 32.8 GB Rate makes him very vulnerable to power. I think Parra is more likely to generate positive points, but Granderson has the bigger upside if choosing between the two. Our model prefers the upside, ranking Granderson inside our Top 40 hitters and Parra outside our Top 50.
Gerardo Parra (MIL) – Given Gibson’s struggles against LHBs (.327 wOBA, 10.1 K Rate, 8.9 BB Rate), Parra makes for a nice value play atop the Brewers lineup. Parra has posted a solid .328 wOBA and .145 ISO against RHP since 2012. The Brewers offense takes a bit of a backseat to the Tigers-White Sox and Rangers-Blue Jays games, but Parra is a cheap entry point that makes for a fine value.
Additional outfield notes: Michael Taylor (WAS) could draw another start in the leadoff spot if Denard Span remains out. If he does, he’ll represent a fine value. Taylor has good pop and speed potential and a matchup with a LHP who struggles to miss bats is ideal. Taylor’s biggest weakness is a huge K Rate. Lorenzo Cain (KC) and Josh Reddick (OAK) are interesting tournament options. Reddick is facing an extreme fly ball pitcher albeit in a very tough park for home runs. The likely aerial contact gives him a chance at the home run but likely little else if he can’t connect for one. Cain gets an above average pitcher but a premier lineup spot and the platoon advantage. Chris Young (NYY) is another secondary value where the lineup spot will help determine our use for him. If he gets a Top Five spot, he’s a strong value play against a fly ball prone LHP. Young owns a .338 wOBA and .196 ISO against LHP since 2012. He’s very similar to Curtis Granderson, but in a better park for his power and surrounded by a better offense. A good lineup spot would put him in the same category as the recommendations above.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
2) Matt Harvey (NYM) – weather risk
3) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)
4) Gio Gonzalez (WAS) – weather risk
5) Charlie Morton (PIT)
6) Scott Kazmir (OAK)
7) Julio Teheran (ATL)
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – Kershaw is the most skilled starter on the slate and he comes with the best matchup. Giancarlo Stanton was injured last night and early indications are he could be out a while. Without Stanton, the Marlins lineup poses little in the way of threats for Kershaw. The Marlins rank third in wRC+ against LHP but when I remove Stanton from their projected lineup and replace him with Ichiro Suzuki, the offense drops from a projected 98 wRC+ to a projected 90 wRC. They’ve already removed Martin Prado and Michael Morse from the lineup due to injuries and now they’re likely forced to play a lineup with well below average talent and three LHBs. Kershaw has one of the highest scores we’ve had all season in our pitcher model and is one of the few options without any weather concerns. He’s a must start in cash games.
Next in line:
Matt Harvey (NYM)/Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) – Tanaka and Harvey rank similarly in our model but the way they get there is slightly different. Harvey has a better matchup for run prevention as the Reds rank 18th in wRC+ and are experiencing a huge negative park shift. Tanaka faces an Astros offense that ranks inside the Top 10 in wRC+ against RHP and is playing in a favorable hitting environment but strikes out a ton (league worst 26 percent against RHP). Our model projects Tanaka’s K Rate right up alongside Kershaw’s but the risk on the run prevention side is a bit elevated. Were weather not a concern for these two, we’d let price or game format dictate the decision. Given weather is a concern for Harvey and the Mets, Tanaka is the choice to pair with Kershaw on multiple SP sites.
Gio Gonzalez (WAS) – Weather concerns have the potential to ruin a very nice play here. Gonzalez faces a Phillies offense that ranks 21st in wRC+ against LHP and often floods the lineup with multiple LHBs in key spots against LHP. Earlier this week against CC Sabathia, the Phillies used Revere (leadoff), Howard (cleanup), and Brown (sixth) in the lineup. It worked out against Sabathia but it’s a poor bet to succeed long term. Gonzalez’s performance has taken a step back this season with fewer strikeouts but far more ground balls. On a slate that lacks starting pitching depth, he was the obvious choice to pair with Kershaw in order to get some salary relief to attack upper tier bats. With the weather risk surrounding the game, he’s more of a tournament play unless the forecast improves dramatically.
Additional starting pitcher notes: The early slate starters have a huge separation in skill after the Top Four. I see no real reason to venture out beyond those four options. The upside just isn’t really there. Charlie Morton (PIT) gets a watered down Braves offense but they do not strike out much against RHP. Scott Kazmir (OAK) gets the same problem against a contact oriented Royals offense. This basically leaves Julio Teheran (ATL) who has seen his strikeout rates plummet this season. Conversely, all the top starters have matchups that should aid strikeouts. The opportunity cost at the position is immense. Even in tournaments, I’d recommend staying within the Top Four.
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) Detroit Tigers – weather risk
2) Toronto Blue Jays
3) Chicago White Sox – weather risk
The weather risk in Detroit is likely going to shift these options to the contrarian section as the risk of cancellation will remove them from cash games. The Blue Jays emerge as the best cash game mini-stack but their price points are going to make that difficult to achieve. If Dioner Navarro sneaks into the lineup, he’ll represent a nice source of salary relief and Reyes is one of the lone options at shortstop. Throw in a cheaper Chris Colabello and you’ve got a way to attack the game without the super expensive bats.
1) Milwaukee Brewers
2) Washington Nationals – weather risk
3) New York Yankees
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
5) Texas Rangers
The Yankees, Brewers, and Dodgers get elite offensive environments against below average starters; but those starters are each difficult to load up on for different reasons.
Kyle Gibson has great GB tendencies which often cuts the power upside and the Brewers RH heavy offense is very reliant on power. The good news here is the Twins bullpen is decimated after having to carry 7 2/3 innings last night and they’re a below average bullpen to begin with. Fair price points on Parra, Lucroy and Lind can get you quick exposure to the lineup and you can support them with Gomez or Braun while still affording Kershaw. They’re the easiest direction to turn with all the weather concerns.
Brett Oberholtzer has been an extreme fly ball pitcher throughout much of his career, but this year he’s added a cutter that is generating more ground balls. He still doesn’t miss a ton of bats and with the cutter he’s lost some command, but he continues to benefit from an incredibly low HR/FB Rate (3.2 percent this season, 5.9 percent for his career). We think that will inevitably regress, but it hasn’t yet. Alex Rodriguez and Chris Young are the primary power bats to target here.
Tom Koehler is a lot like Kyle Gibson. He has a good GB rate that makes it difficult to attack him and he has historically produced some reverse splits which makes it even more difficult. He’s not a great pitcher but his unusual production makes it hard to attack. The Dodgers are one of the best offenses in baseball against RHP and the park shift isn’t as dramatic for them. If we get a few salary relief options in good lineup spots (Kike Hernandez, Andre Ethier, or Alex Guerrero), they could surge ahead on the priority list as a way to get value and exposure to a solid offense.
The Rangers are the final team worthy of stack consideration but this is a game with a lot of unknowns so I’d rather save it for tournaments only. Matt Boyd‘s minor league track record looks pretty darn solid and the Rangers lack offensive options to attack LHP. Great environment against a pitcher making his big league debut, but I’m concerned they don’t have the right lineup to attack him.
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.
TEX at TOR 1:07: Retractable roof. Rain. The roof will be closed.
MIN at MIL 2:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 70s. Air density is a 6. Wind north-northeast 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7.
WSH at PHL 3:05: Rain at times. This is not a sure bet for a rainout because the rain will not be overly heavy until around 6 PM. However, it is going to be a steady rain all day. So, I do think they are smart and just cancel the game instead of trying to dodge raindrops all day. 60-70% chance of a cancellation, 30-40% chance of a delay(s) if they do try to play. Temps in the mid to upper 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind east-southeast 10-20 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.
KC at OAK 4:05: Dry. Temps near 70. Air density is a 6. Wind west-northwest 10-20 mph which blows out to right. The wind is an 8.
ATL at PIT 4:05: A heavy, steady rain becomes more showery by 2 PM. I think they play this game. The only risk is that the heavy rain stays in the area longer but the chances of the rain lasting through 4-5 PM is low, 10-20%. So, 10% chance of a cancellation, 10-20% chance of a delay either at the start or at some point during a shower during the game. Temps near 70. Air density is a 6. Wind south 8-16 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 3.
COL at SF 4:05: Dry. Temps in the low 70s. Air density is a 6 or a 7. Wind west-southwest 10-20 mph which blows out to center. The wind is an 8.
CHW at DET 4:08: This one looks like rainout to me. Moderate to heavy and steady rain. Should not taper off until after 11 PM. Chance of a cancellation 70-80%, certainly delay(s) if they try to play. Temps in the low 60s. Air density is a 5. Wind north-northwest 15-25 mph which blows out to right-center. The wind is a 9.
NYY at HOU 4:10: Retractable roof. A 40% chance of thunderstorms. The roof will likely be closed.
CIN at NYM 4:10: Tough call here. There will be a steady rain that pushes in through the late afternoon/evening. However, the game should start with only some light rain or showers around. If they are smart they probably just cancel as they will be dodging raindrops all game long but I can see them being stubborn and starting the game since the immediate start is not too bad. Let’s go a 50/50 chance of a cancellation with an almost certainty of rain delays if they do try and play. Temps in the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind east 10-20 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 2.
LAD at MIA 4:10: The retractable roof will likely be closed.
BOS at TB 4:10: Dome.
CLE at BLT 7:15: Another tough call. This far south, the rain affecting the Northeast and mid-Atlantic today is more thundery in nature rather than a steady rain like further north. Forecast: rain at times today gives way to numerous showery and thundery spells late this afternoon and evening; after. Basically, the rain this evening will be not as steady as it will be all day. Right now, I would say 40% chance they cancel and if they do play, a 60% chance of delay(s). The thing that scares me and tells me they may just cancel is that it is going to rain all day in the city and there will be downpours right before they try to start the game. Temps in the low 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind east-southeast 7-14 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
SEA at LAA 7:15: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 10-20 mph lessening to 6-12 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 2 becoming a 4.
CHC at STL 7:15: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind northwest 5-10 mph becoming nearly calm. The wind blows left to right and is a 5.
AZ at SD 10:10: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind northwest 8-16 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 3 becoming a 4.