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6/2 MLB DFS: By the Hammer of Thor!

6/2 MLB DFS: By the Hammer of Thor!
DAILY FANTASY RUNDOWN
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Daily Fantasy Rundown – June 2nd MLB DFS Picks and Analysis

Welcome to Tuesday’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.

Glossary: See a term you’re unfamiliar with? Check out our glossary page. If there’s something you’d like to see added there, please email us at help@dailyroto.com.

Weather: Small concerns weather wise are in PHL and WSH. 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.

Catcher

Top Play:

Yasmani Grandal (LAD) – The Dodgers have a double-header with the Rockies so paying attention to lineups in the first game can help shed light on the second game. Catcher is one of the easiest spots as catchers rarely catch both ends of the double-header. If Grandal sits the first game, he’ll represent a clear cut top option at the position for the evening slate. Grandal is an above average hitter against RHP and elite for a catcher. He’s posted a .355 wOBA and .180 ISO against RHP since 2012 and has compiled those statistics largely in poor hitting environments (PETCO, Dodgers Stadium). On Tuesday, he’ll have the benefit of Coors Field and he’ll face David Hale who profiles as a below average RHP. Hale has allowed a .331 wOBA and walked (10.9 percent) as many LHBs as he’s struck out (10.9 percent) in his big league career. ZiPS projection system is really pessimistic on Hale’s abilities against LHBs, projecting a .370 wOBA allowed. Grandal ranks inside our Top 15 hitters overall. UPDATE: Grandal is not catching the first game of the double header, which means he should catch the nightcap.

Additional catcher notes: Alternative value play options are Stephen Vogt (OAK) (.96 EYE, .289 ISO; holds platoon edge on Alfredo Simon who has allowed a .321 wOBA to LHBs since 2012) and Yadier Molina (STL) (really cheap and the Cardinals offense in general has some upside against Tyler Cravy, who is getting called up to make his MLB debut despite a 4.51 FIP at AAA). Also in consideration are the Colorado catchers, solely due to park environment. In tournaments, Evan Gattis (HOU) has a lot of potential and may carry low ownership. He has a career .238 ISO and will benefit from a home matchup against Mike Wright, a rookie RHP who projects to allow around 1.20 HR/9 according to ZiPS and Steamer.

First Base

Top Play:

Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – Like yesterday, Gonzalez is the top option at first base we feel most comfortable spending on. He gets a huge park shift in his favor and is a part of a Dodgers offense that ranks first in MLB in wRC+ against RHP. They have an implied run projection over 5.5 runs and Gonzalez gets the benefit of a below average RHP in David Hale. We’ve covered Hale’s struggles against LHBs, so let’s focus on Gonzalez’s strengths. He’s posted a .369 wOBA and .200 ISO against RHP since 2012 but he’s been even better this season (.445 wOBA, .284 ISO). The only risk with Gonzalez is on early lock sites where the double-header presents some lineup risk. Ideally, Gonzalez will rest the first game against Jorge de la Rosa and we won’t have any concerns about his availability for the second game. As long as Gonzalez is in the lineup for the second game, he’s in competition for our overall top hitter and represents our top first base option.

Expensive Value Plays:

Jose Abreu (CHW) – The White Sox in general are in a great spot tonight. Despite being on the road, they don’t suffer much of a negative park shift as Globe Life Park in Texas is very hitter friendly. The matchup against Colby Lewis is quite favorable. After a somewhat strong start that was mostly a mirage, Lewis is up to a 4.70 ERA a year after posting a 5.18 ERA. He has a big fly ball tilt (only a 34.2 GB rate), which gets him in trouble due to his environment and below league average K rate. Since 2012, Lewis has allowed 1.29 HR/9 to RHBs and we general feel more confident taking Abreu against fly ball oriented pitchers, since his one minor weakness offensively is a lack of loft. Note that Abreu’s peripherals are all in line with last season’s numbers, and we expect his surface statistics to rise a result.

Joey Votto (CIN) – it’s a very limited sample size (128 batters faced), but opposing pitcher Sean O’Sullivan hasn’t been able to get lefties out for the life of him. He’s allowed a .461 wOBA and 2.89 HR/9. The fact that he’s allowed such hard contact (24.1 LD rate) and has walked more than he has struck out indicate that there’s a bit more too this than small sample size noise. Even if we give O’Sullivan the benefit of the doubt a bit and use his ZiPS projection against LHBs as his baseline (.339 wOBA, .162 ISO), Votto would still rank just outside our top 10 overall hitters. The obvious priority at first base is Adrian Gonzalez, but if for some reason he sits out game two, Votto and the rest of the written up options are very viable in all formats.

Mid-Tier Value Plays:

Adam LaRoche (CHW) – LaRoche (15th) doesn’t rate quite as high as teammate Jose Abreu (ninth) in our model, but he may be a better value due to a reduced price tag and holding the platoon edge. As bad as opposing pitcher Colby Lewis is overall, he particularly struggles with LHBs, allowing a .361 wOBA and 1.24 HR/9 to them since 2012. As mentioned in a previous Rundown, LaRoche has rebounded from a cold start, which frankly isn’t abnormal for him. After posting a .28 EYE in April, LaRoche showed great discipline in May (.81 EYE). An additional contextual factor working in the White Sox hitters’ favor tonight is the Rangers bad bullpen, which has the fifth highest xFIP in MLB.

David Ortiz (BOS) – On most sites, I’m trying hard to pay up for Adrian Gonzalez but Ortiz is a viable option on FanDuel due to his really cheap price tag ($2,600) and a limit on four Dodgers. Big Papi is definitely displaying some signs of decline as a combination of one of his lowest hard hit rates and his highest GB rate has led to a very disappointing .159 ISO. That’s why I’d be real price sensitive with Ortiz today (opportunity cost is very high), but as I said, on FanDuel he’s near minimum salary. At that point we’re a little bit less concerned with Ortiz’s poor peripherals as it’s already being priced in. Instead, we can focus on the upside of the matchup. Ortiz will likely hit third for a Red Sox team with a high team total (hovering between 4.5 and 5) against the underwhelming Mike Pelfrey (4.71 xFIP against LHBs since 2012).

Additional first base notes: Freddie Freeman (ATL) is a great tournament option. On most days he would have been written up as a value in this matchup, but opportunity cost at the position is really high tonight. He’ll get a big uptick in park factor playing in Arizona and will hold the platoon edge on Josh Collmenter, who has been unable to miss bats this season and is allowing more hard hit contact than ever before. Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) has a R/R matchup against a solid pitcher in Shelby Miller, but his absurd peripherals and home park keep him as a tournament option even with the high price tag. Other tournaments options include Anthony Rizzo (CHC) (may be low owned due to a L/L matchup but opposing pitcher Brad Hand is not good and the Cubs have plenty of team upside) and Carlos Santana (CLE) (Jeremy Guthrie has allowed a .384 wOBA and 1.74 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012). Ben Paulsen (COL) is a cheap option on sites like DraftKings and a way to get exposure to Coors Field without paying up for it. Zack Greinke is obviously very good, but Paulsen has decent power (.185 ZiPS projected ISO) and will hold the platoon edge.

Second Base

Top Play:

Howie Kendrick (LAD) – Opposing pitcher David Hale comes into this game with a ZiPS projected 5.46 ERA and Steamer projected 4.95 ERA. He doesn’t miss very many bats, which is a particularly dangerous recipe for disaster on Coors Field. I won’t spend too much more time on the Dodgers hitters throughout the rest of the content as almost the entire lineup is in play due to David Hale’s lack of skills and the best hitting environment in MLB. Look for the Dodgers to end up with a team total of at least 5 tonight. Kendrick ranks is a top 20 overall hitter in our model.

Next in line:

Jason Kipnis (CLE) – Kipnis has been absolutely scorching as he reached base safely more often than he got out in the month of May. As mentioned in the first base notes, Jeremy Guthrie is horrific against LHBs, which gives Kipnis plenty of upside. The issue here is a full price point around the industry and opportunity cost. Despite the great starting matchup for Cleveland, the park and the Royals bullpen prevent this from being a situation we are attacking heavily.

Value Plays:

Kolten Wong (STL) – If for some reason Kendrick sits out the nightcap or you want/need to diversify of of Dodgers somewhere, there are two other solid values at a lower cost than Kendrick. The first is Kolten Wong, who may be the best way to get some exposure to a Cardinals offense facing an underwhelming rookie making his MLB debut. Wong will lead off for the Cardinals and is having a great season thus far (.361 wOBA) that is backed up by some legitimate skills growth. Wong has seen his BB rate rise from 4.8 to 7.7 while his K rate has simultaneously shrunk from 16.4 to 14.4. That plate discipline combines with some really good batted ball data as Wong currently holds a 27.2 LD rate, with his GB rate falling to 41.1. Wong will likely regress a little bit, but the BA and ISO growth are both legitimate. ZiPS projects Tyler Cravy to allow a .337 wOBA and .158 ISO to LHBs.

Jace Peterson (ATL) – Unlike a lot of speedsters that lack pop, Peterson is able to draw a walk. He currently is walking 9.7 percent of the time, and he always had a double digit walk rate in the Minors. That’s huge for both his real life and Fantasy value. He’s stolen just six bases on the season, but I suspect we see his SB rate rise over the course of the season. Peterson could get started on that tonight as Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been starting for the Diamondbacks. According to FanGraphs’ rSB metric, Saltalamacchia rates 119th out of 121 qualified catchers at throwing out runners since 2012. Throw in a positive park shift and a well below average RHP and Peterson is my favorite cheap option at the position.

Additional second base notes: Alternative values are Jose Altuve (HOU) (no platoon edge but faced a below average pitcher at home and has seen his price drop over the last couple of weeks) and Ben Zobrist (OAK) (solid switch hitter from both sides). DJ LeMahieu (COL) is also possibility, solely due to environment, if he hits second. I’m not a big fan of either Ian Kinsler (DET) or Dustin Pedroia (BOS) in same handed matchups, but both are in lineups with high team totals tonight, making them tournament playable.

Shortstop

Value Plays:

Jimmy Rollins (LAD) – Rollins will likely hit towards the bottom of the lineup (outside of the top six spots), which hurts his value and makes shortstop a reasonable position to diversify off of Dodgers. With that said, the environment is so good that he’s playable in all formats regardless of where he hits in the lineup (highest rated SS in our model).

Ian Desmond (WAS) – Desmond is in a same handed matchup, but he doesn’t have very wide splits. His .337 wOBA and .181 ISO against RHP since 2012 makes him a viable Fantasy threat at a scarce position. The matchup against Marco Estrada (1.42 HR/9 allowed to RHBs over the same time span) provides Desmond with plenty of power upside and the second highest HR score among shortstops.

Andrelton Simmons (ATL) – A cheaper alternative to Rollins than Desmond is Andrelton Simmons. Simmons makes tons of contact (8.6 K rate) and it’s healthy contact (24.7 LD rate). When you pair him up against such a low K pitcher like Josh Collmenter (4.58 K/9) who allows hard contact (26.4 LD rate, 33.7 hard hit rate), there’s a high probability you see at least three quality at bats out of Simmons. It’s a good matchup of his strengths lining up with Collmenter’s weaknesses and the park shift simply boosts Simmons’ value.

Additional shortstop notes: I was originally going to write up Starlin Castro (CHC) as he’ll hold the platoon edge on Brad Hand (.335 wOBA allowed to RHBs). However, Castro has seen his power dip as he’s beating the ball in the ground a ton (60.1 GB rate), and the one strength Hand does have is keeping the ball on the ground (50.8 GB rate allowed to RHBs). As a result, Castro should only be used in tournaments right now. Jhonny Peralta (STL) and Marcus Semien (OAK) are two other shortstop options. I don’t love Peralta’s price in a same handed home matchup but he holds a great lineup spot for a team we expect to have success. Troy Tulowitzki (COL) can only be used in tournaments right now as he’s been a mess at the plate, and despite the great offensive environment, he does face a good same handed pitcher (Zack Greinke). Rafael Ynoa (COL) is a pure punt option on DraftKings.

Third Base

Top Play:

Kris Bryant (CHC) – Despite the poor hitting environment, Bryant is easily the top third base play in our model and is just outside our top 20 overall options. His ZiPS projected splits against LHP are very high (.377 wOBA, .251 ISO). As I’ve mentioned previously, Bryant is putting together a great power profile even if the results are just okay so far (.200 ISO). He’s walking 14.8 percent of the time, has a high hard hit rate of 35.1 percent and is generating a ton of loft (49.5 fly ball rate), something young power hitters sometimes take a while to develop (see Harper, Bryce). Opposing pitcher Brad Hand has struggled against RHBs for his career as he has below average K (13.5 percent) and BB (8.9) against them.

Value Play:

Justin Turner (LAD) – On top of the obvious reasons Turner is a good play (park, opposing pitcher), he’s pretty affordable across the industry given his expected good lineup spot and has seen a nice rise in both his plate discipline and power numbers from last season.

Additional third base notes: Matt Carpenter (STL) is the team’s leader in wOBA against RHP since 2012 with a .373 mark. He’s a high floor option at the position as someone who is unlikely to net you a zero or worse. Pablo Sandoval (BOS) isn’t fully healthy and has some disappointing peripherals (51.8 GB rate), which gives me some pause on sites where he’s priced pretty normally (DraftKings). However, on sites like FanDuel (almost the minimum salary), I’d be willing to overlook some of the issues given his historic splits from the left side of the plate and the favorable individual and team matchup against the Twins. Nolan Arenado (COL) is a secondary value/tournament play. He faces a tough pitcher in Zack Greinke, but obviously Coors goes along way and Arenado is having the HR breakout year that we expected. Todd Frazier (CIN) is another tournament target.

Outfield

Top Plays:

Joc Pederson (LAD) – Pederson is the top ranked hitter in our model. If he’s in the game two lineup, he should be in your cash game lineups everywhere. Teammate Andre Ethier has been hitting fifth for the Dodgers and is ranked inside our top 20 overall hitters. He’s not in the game one lineup, which makes us feel pretty confident he’ll start game two.

Bryce Harper (WAS) – As we’ve discussed before, Harper’s crazy power numbers are at least somewhat legitimate as a rise in BB rate, loft and raw power are all working together and line up with the scouting reports on this elite prospect. Park aside, Harper couldn’t get too much of a better matchup power wise. Opposing pitcher Marco Estrada has allowed 1.42 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012, as he’s yielded a 46.8 FB rate and 11.8 HR/FB rate, both of which are in line with his overall career numbers. He’s not usable in cash games on FanDuel but is on DraftKings.

Value Plays:

Colorado Outfield – The best play here is Charlie Blackmon and he may be the most cost effective way to get a piece of the Colorado offense. It’s always difficult when the Rockies play at home but versus a good starting pitcher, as is the case tonight against Greinke. With Blackmon you’ll get the team’s leadoff hitter, has the platoon edge and is a 20/30 HR/SB threat over a full season (19/28 last season). Carlos Gonzalez is also viable and affordable but I’m not nearly as optimistic over him bouncing back as I was a few weeks ago. The 53.5 GB rate in conjunction with a career worst 28.9 hard hit rate is concerning.

White Sox Outfield – As gross as Melky Cabrera‘s numbers are (.250 wOBA, .035 ISO), I think there’s a god chance he has a turnaround. His hard hit rate is down but it’s become medium contact rather than dropping all the way to soft contact. The rest of his batted ball data is in line with career marks, and he currently boasts a career best contact rate. With the White Sox having such a phenomenal matchup (particularly their LHBs, which was outlined in LaRoche’s blurb), this is a cold streak you don’t have to avoid. Feel free to utilize Cabrera on FanDuel at the bare minimum and even on DraftKings for sub-$4k. Cabrera and teammate Adam Eaton rank just inside our top 30 overall hitters.

Tournament Play:

Nelson Cruz (SEA) – Cruz may go overlooked due to environment and opportunity cost, but he’s a great tournament play, particularly as a stack filler. Cruz has elite numbers against LHP since 2012, putting up a .419 wOBA and .268 ISO and blasting 25 HRs in 475 PAs. He’ll face off against CC Sabathia who has allowed a .338 wOBA and 1.30 HR/9 to RHBs over the same time span. Sabathia continues to pitch with reduced velocity. His fastball velocity has actually declined several years in a row, and it’s led to consistently elevated HR/FB rates since 2012: 12.5/13.0/23.3/15.4. Sabathia will likely continue to struggle with the long ball.

Additional outfield notes: Other cash game options in the outfield are Josh Reddick (OAK) (outside of top 50 in our model but due to current peripherals and lineup spot I’d consider him a top 40 overall option), Matt Holliday (STL) (40th,consistent, affordable) and Jay Bruce (CIN) (30th, decent HR upside). Dexter Fowler/Jorge Soler (CHC) and the Tigers Outfield don’t rate great in our model, but both groups have upside, particularly as a part of mini stacks. Additional tournament plays are the Diamondbacks Outfield, George Springer (HOU), Josh Hamilton (TEX) and Michael Brantley/Brandon Moss (CLE) (particularly on FanDuel).

Starting Pitcher

Rankings (price not considered):

Tier One

1) Max Scherzer (WAS)

Tier Two

2) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

3) Chris Archer (TB)

4) Johnny Cueto (CIN)

Tier Three

5) Lance Lynn (STL)

6) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)

Tier Four

7) Clay Buchholz (BOS)

8) AJ Burnett (PIT)

9) Collin McHugh (HOU)

10) CJ Wilson (LAA)

11) Ian Kennedy (SD)

12) Chris Heston (SF)

13) Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

Top Play:

Max Scherzer (WAS) – Scherzer’s move to the NL had unsurprisingly resulted in increased dominance. His FIP is an absurd 1.77 while his K percentage is a career best 30.4. Today Scherzer will face a good AL team in the Blue Jays. However, the Jays aren’t as dominant against RHP (their best hitters are right handed) and they actually K a bit more than league average. The Jays also lose the DH in this one. Pretty much by his elite skills alone, Scherzer is the clear-cut top play. As a result, I could see using him in cash games on FanDuel where the pitcher makes up so much of your scoring. However, for the most part I’m treating Scherzer as a secondary play as I’d rather emphasize Coors Field bats and Syndergaard (below) before trying to squeeze Scherzer in.

Next in line:

Noah Syndergaard (NYM) – By the mighty hand of Thor….okay I don’t even know if that’s a phrase associated with Thor. And no, I’m not a big fan of superhero movies for the most part. I am however a fan of Syndergaard and like his prospects of hammering a hapless Padres lineup. ZiPS projection system has pegged the Padres lineup as a favorable lineup for opposing RHP all season long as their best hitters are right-handed (Myers, Upton, Kemp, Norris) and this team will K a lot. Well the Padres currently have the seventh highest K percentage against RHP to go along with the 25th worst wRC+. To make matters worse, Yonder Alonso and Wil Myers are injured. Throw in Petco Park and it’s difficult for Syndergaard to get a better matchup than this one. He’s been great through his first four MLB starts and both ZiPS and Steamer projection systems have Syndergaard striking out more than a batter an inning the rest of the season to go along with a sub 3.50 ERA. Syndergaard doesn’t have the same innings upside as Scherzer, but his Fantasy points per IP have a chance to stay even. That makes him my top value option in all formats as the savings you get from dropping down to Syndergaard from Scherzer is extremely important in order to get as much Coors Field exposure as possible in your cash games.

Value Play:

Chris Heston (SF) – This recommendation may be a bit site specific, but I’m having a tough time passing on Heston’s very cheap DraftKings price tag ($5,300). After a hot start, Heston has hit a little bit of a rough patch, allowing 5 ER or more in four of his last seven stats. However, he’s coming off a pretty dominant outing last time out and the overall peripherals are very solid. He brings in a 3.27 K/BB ratio to go with a great 54.7 GB rate, leading to a 3.60 FIP and 3.36 xFIP. The hard hit data is also very favorable as Heston is forcing more soft contact than the league average and allowing less hard hit contact. He’s at home in the best pitcher’s park in all of baseball in a game with a total of just 7, pushing 6.5. The Pirates have been about league average against RHP this season. There’s not a ton of upside here, but it’s tough to find a safer second starting pitcher option with such a low cost, making him a valuable asset to have on a day where you’ll want a little extra money to spend on bats.

Additional starting pitcher notes: While there aren’t quite as many starting pitcher options as yesterday, the position is still rather deep today. Other guys I would consider in cash games on multi-SP sites, especially if you don’t need all the cap relief Heston offers, are Chris Archer (TB), Lance Lynn (STL) and Clay Buchholz (BOS). I was a bit conservative in my approach to Archer today but if you think current statistics hold, he bypasses Syndergaard as the number two starting pitcher option. Archer currently has an elite 30.7 K percentage (highest on the day) and that’s complemented by decent control and a great 52.5 GB rate, all leading to an awesome 2.42 FIP. He pitches in a big park and faces an Angels team that is currently 19th in wRC+ against RHP with a league average K rate. It also needs to be noted that Archer has one of the least favorable umpires possible, which adds an element of risk. Lynn is at home in a friendly pitching environment taking on a heavily right-handed Brewers team, which is particularly important to him since he really struggles with LHBs (.339 wOBA, 18.3 K percentage since 2012) but dominates RHBs (.285, 26.9). Buchholz continues to disappoint based on his expected ERAs but since I can’t see any reason for his below average BABIP and LOB%, I’m continuing to buy at low prices, especially versus a Twins team that is not very good against RHP. With Johnny Cueto (CIN) dealing with some elbow issues and holding an elevated price tag, he seems like an unnecessary cash game risk. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) has pitched way better than his ERA indicates but he’s not really discounted greatly anywhere and will face a Royals team that doesn’t swing and miss a whole lot. AJ Burnett (PIT) seems like a very safe option, but he’s fully priced and the Giants don’t strike out a ton. Collin McHugh (HOU) is a borderline cash option/strong tournament play on DraftKings. He holds plenty of K upside but this is a high risk, high reward play. Ian Kennedy (SD) is one of my favorite tournament options. His HR/FB rate is astronomically high and should normalize given that his hard hit rate is in line with career marks. He’s missing enough bats to have meaningful tournament upside, and the Mets have a very low team total in Petco and will possibly be down their best hitter against RHP in Lucas Duda. Another tournament option who didn’t crack our rankings due to risk is Marco Estrada (TOR). More times than not in this situation the result isn’t very useful for DFS players, but with a favorable park shift, facing an NL team and his K ability the possible high end outcome is nice for a pitcher who will be very low owned.

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 (help@dailyroto.com) if you have suggestions.

Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

2) Chicago White Sox

We’ve covered the Dodgers pretty extensively throughout the Rundown and the total for this game has now been released. The Dodgers have a team total approaching 6 and no one else has a team total above 5. They are the best tournament stack (despite likely high ownership) and you want to mini-stack Dodgers in all of your cash games.

The White Sox offense has not been performing well, which introduces some risk. However, the team’s ineffective offense has led to reduced price tags for their top of the lineup hitters. You can mini stack four of the first five hitters or full stack six of the first seven, without it costing you too much. As noted throughout the Rundown, we believe several of the White Sox hitters are going to bounce back from cold starts. This is a great hitter’s park and a HR prone pitcher.

Contrarian/Secondary Stacks:

1) St. Louis Cardinals

2) Atlanta Braves

3) Cleveland Indians

4) Colorado Rockies

5) Houston Astros

A lot of Cardinals rate as second or third best options at their respective positions, creating a scenario where I don’t think you need to force exposure in cash games. However, this is a fairly deep team that you can full stack in tournaments. They’re facing a pitcher, Tyler Cravy, making his MLB debut who wasn’t even getting it done at AAA (4.51 FIP). To make things even tougher for Cravy, he has one of the game’s toughest umpires.

Atlanta gets overlooked as a stack because quite frankly they don’t have a very good offense. However, they have a high team total tonight against a pitch to contact guy in Josh Collmenter who has some red flags (reduced SwStr rate, increased hard hit rate, reduced velocity). The top of the lineup gets you two cheap middle infield options (Peterson, Simmons) and Freddie Freeman makes for a great contrarian tournament play (continues to post huge LD rates but has also traded off some ground balls for fly balls, which is driving a career best ISO). The cost to stack Atlanta is pretty low, and may allow you to use Max Scherzer, who may also go underowned in tournament formats.

I’m afraid to use Cleveland too much in cash games for some of the reasons mentioned in Kipnis’ blurb (pitcher’s park, great KC bullpen). However, there’s definitely upside for Cleveland to put up a high run total early in the game. This team can get extremely left-handed against RHP, and Jeremy Guthrie has been horrific against LHBs (.384 wOBA, 1.74 HR/9).

The Rockies at home aren’t exactly contrarian but with a strong opposing pitcher on the mound (Zack Greinke) and most of the emphasis in this game on the Dodgers bats, you might be able to pull off one of the lower owned Rockies stacks in Coors Field of the year.

The Astros almost always make my list. They homer. They steal. They are in a favorable hitting environment. This stack is liable to go off on any given night and could get overlooked because Mike Wright has a 1.40 ERA through three starts, which is largely small sample size related (98.6 LOB%, .200 BABIP).

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.

CIN at PHL 7:05: Some light rain at times. It does not seem like a situation where the rain will be heavy enough to cause a cancellation. 20% chance of a cancellation, 30% chance of a delay at anytime. Temps in the upper 50s. Air density is a 5. Wind east 8-16 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.

TOR at WSH 7:05: A few showers, maybe a rumble of thunder around. Temps in the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind northeast 6-12 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4.

OAK at DET 7:08: Dry. Temps near 70 falling to near 60. Air density is a 6. Wind east-northeast 5-10 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.

MIN at BOS 7:10: After a damp day, gametime should be dry. Thus, they will pay this game. Temps only in the mid to upper 40s. Air density is a 3. Wind east 7-14 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.

CHC at MIA 7:10: Retractable roof. Numerous showers and thunderstorms around. Roof will likely be closed.

CHW at TEX 8:05: Dry. Temps in the mid 80s falling into the upper 70s. Air density is an 8. Wind southeast 6-12 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4.

CLE at KC 8:10: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 70s falling into the mid to upper 60s. Air density is 6. Wind southeast 7-14 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.

BLT at HOU 8:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low to mid 80s falling into the mid 70s so the roof should be open. Air density is an 8. Wind light and variable. The wind is a 5.

MIL at STL 8:15: Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind east at 4-8 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.

LAD at COL 8:40: Dry. Temps near 80 falling to near 70. Air density is a 10. Wind northwest 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.

ATL at AZ 9:40: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps near 100 falling into the upper 80s. Air density is a 9. Wind west-southwest 6-12 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 4.

TB at LAA 10:05: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind southwest 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.

NYY at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Showers around. The roof will likely be closed.

NYM at SD 10:10: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s falling into the low to mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 5-10 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 4.

PIT at SF 10:15: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 60s falling into the low 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west 12-25 mph lessening to 10-20 mph. The wind is a 8 becoming a 7.

MLB Daily Analysis

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We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 

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We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution.