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May 12 MLB DFS: Rarified Arenado
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Welcome to May 12 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Podcast and cliff notes for May 12 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat. Make sure you’re using our customizable projections tool, you’re actively participating in the live chat, and you’re reviewing the cliff notes to supplement your research and roster construction process. Very best of luck in tonight’s action!

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May 12 MLB DFS Position Timestamps

01:09 Starting Pitcher
11:06 Catcher
13:56 First Base
16:30 Second Base
19:55 Third Base
22:01 Shortstop
23:58 Outfield
26:24 Stacks

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  • In cash games, we recommend focusing on value plays to build your rosters (far right hand column of Projections page linked above). Value plays are those we feel have the highest probability of out-earning their current price tag. By packing value plays into your roster, you’re creating a team with a higher floor.
  • In tournaments, we recommend building a core of the best value plays and then complementing them with players who have a high ceiling. This combination is essentially turning up the variance on a strong foundation and we believe often is the best recipe for tournament success.

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Range of Outcome Projections

May 12 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Noah Syndergaard (NYM) and Charlie Morton (HOU) form the top tier of starting pitchers before there is a gigantic fall off in projection. Syndergaard comes with some weather risk that we’ll have to monitor while Morton’s price tag is substantially softer on FanDuel. We view Syndergaard as the more skilled pitcher but Morton works a bit deeper, has a higher win probability, and comes without weather concerns. The matchups for each starting pitcher are very friendly. The Phillies rank 15th in wRC+ against RHP but we have them projecting as a bottom 10 offense against RHP the rest of the way, while they’ve struck out in over 26 percent of plate appearances against righties. The Rangers project a bit better the rest of the way but only rank 27th in wRC+ with a K Rate north of 26 percent as well against RHP. There are the two best strikeout pitchers on the slate facing two of the three offenses that yield the most strikeouts in baseball. Our preference between the two is largely based on price as they project similarly. On FanDuel, Morton is cheaper and more valuable (win worth more, less penalized for WHIP). On DraftKings, Syndergaard is cheaper. This could all be moot if weather removes Syndergaard from the conversation in which case we’d feel compelled to get up to Morton even where overpriced on DraftKings.

The team that has struck out most frequently against RHP this year is the San Diego Padres (27.1 percent) and they are also on this slate going up against DailyRoto’s nemesis: Michael Wacha (STL).

Wacha’s seen his velocity dip this season and he’s generating fewer ground balls while allowing loads more hard contact (41.6 percent vs. career 30.9 percent). This isn’t a good recipe for success. On the other hand, it’s the Padres which has resulted in a 3.6 implied total against. Wacha’s annoyingly priced on both sites as they’ve given him credit for the matchup and priced him in the $8,000s. The slate is pretty thin on pitching pedigree and Wacha has some which makes him a viable SP2 on DraftKings and tournament target on FanDuel.

Tyson Ross (SD) is the other starter projecting similarly to Wacha as he faces a largely RH heavy Cardinals’ offense in PETCO. It’s a solid matchup for Ross, but the price tag is a concern ($9,000) and makes him mostly viable in tournaments.   

There is another gap in projections after those two where you’ll find Ross Stripling (LAD), Nick Tropeano (LAA), Chad Kuhl (PIT), and Mike Soroka (ATL). Our projections like Stripling the most but his projection is likely the most fragile. Stripling tossed four scoreless against the Padres in a spot start last time out where he got up to 68 pitches. We’re assuming he can work a little deeper and possibly get into the fifth inning against a Reds’ offense that is getting a big park downgrade and ranks 25th in wRC+ against RHP. He has just a 3.4 implied total against and is a big favorite so he’s generating some of the projection from win potential that if he’s unable to go five innings he’d be unable to secure. The good news is he’s exceptionally cheap for a SP2. Our projections suggest if you want a bit more upside and security in role, go for Wacha but if you want a better chance at elite value take a shot on Stripling.

The secondary group of options in that tier above are viable alternatives to Wacha. We prefer them in tournaments but if you’re really hung up on Wacha’s deteriorating skill-set, Tropeano or Soroka are viable pivots. Soroka is hard to get a feel for on baseline. His skill set (strong command + good GB Rate) should be good for run prevention and he’s basically facing a AAA level offense in Miami, but he doesn’t project for a high K Rate and the price tag is caught a bit in between. Kuhl is in that mix but very lineup dependent given his wide platoon splits that make him vulnerable to LHBs.

 

Catcher

Yasmani Grandal (LAD) is once again the top projected scorer at the catcher position. Grandal gets another favorable matchup in Homer Bailey, who’s allowed a .371 wOBA and .192 ISO to LHBs since 2016. Grandal’s price tag is sub $4k on DK once again and he continues to be in play across all formats. Grandal is also viable on FD where he’s the second best C/1B value.

If you’re pitching an ace on DK, you might end up needing salary relief at the position. That’s where options like Devin Mesoraco (CIN) and Manny Pina (MIL) come into play. Pina is in Coors Field and will have the platoon edge. The environment and price tag makes him an adequate target. Mesoraco is $400 cheaper on DK and has a .181 ISO baseline vs. RHP.

Brian McCann (HOU) is also acceptable but he comes with a bigger price tag ($3,400). He’s our preferred splits the difference play at the position. McCann has a very strong matchup against Doug Fister, who’s allowed a .377 wOBA and .208 ISO to LHBs since 2016.

Chris Iannetta (COL) and Kurt Suzuki (ATL) are additional targets with appropriate price tags that have some tournament appeal.

First Base

Cody Bellinger (LAD)  is back to represent first base with the top projection. The Dodgers’ LHBs are popping once again since there’s very little difference between Matt Harvey, who they faced last night, and Homer Bailey, who they’re facing tonight. The price tag on Bellinger remains cheap on FD ($3,300) where he’s an elite value.

Ryan Braun (MIL) carries the top projection at the position on DK where he’s 1B/OF eligible. He’s just $100 more expensive than Bellinger on that site. The position doesn’t have great values tonight, so using Braun on DK and Bellinger on FD in cash games are our preferences early on.

If you’re looking for salary relief on DK, Brandon Belt (SF) is a fine target with the platoon edge against a pitcher with wide splits (Chad Kuhl). The hitting environment isn’t favorable (PNC Park) but the sub $4k price tag puts him in play over there. The same goes for Josh Bell (PIT), who’s a little bit cheaper but projects as a breakeven play.

The Mets first basemen, Adrian Gonzalez and Wilmer Flores (NYM), are viable options in tournaments. They’re cheap on FD where there’s a clear cut target that should soak up most of the ownership at the position (Cody Bellinger). These two will have a plus matchup against Zach Eflin, who continues to project as a below average starter despite his strong results early in the season. Joey Votto (CIN) and Eric Hosmer (SD) are priced appropriately but carry bigger ISO baselines vs. RHP than the Mets’ options. In Hosmer’s case, he could end up being a fine leverage place if Wacha is a chalky SP2 option on DK.

Second Base

DJ LeMahieu (COL) and Jose Altuve (HOU) carry the top projections at second base. We’re fans of LeMahieu’s matchup as Chase Anderson is a reverse splits pitcher. The challenge with these two, at least from a cash game perspective, is that their price tags are mostly appropriate. You could make a stronger case for LeMahieu in that format since he’s the cheapest of the two, but we’re more likely to try and find some salary relief at the position in cash games. These two are viable in tournaments.

Adam Frazier (PIT) doesn’t carry the big upside like the options above but he’s just $3k on DK and will have the platoon edge against Jeff Samardzija. He qualifies as a strong cash game target but on FD he’s only OF eligible. If Chase Utley (LAD) draws another favorable lineup spot (hit leadoff last night) against a Homer Bailey, he’ll be in play once again, particularly on FD where he’s cheap and the position is priced very appropriately. Even if Utley hits sixth that would probably be acceptable on that site.

The splits the difference option at the position is Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM), particularly on DK. On FD he’s priced the same as LeMahieu and of the two we prefer the latter in cash games. Matt Carpenter (STL), Ian Kinsler (LAA) and Hernan Perez (MIL) are also part of the conversation on DK where they’re sub $4k. They project as slight overspends.

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (COL) represents the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of hitting position. Chase Anderson has allowed a .357 wOBA and .224 ISO to RHBs since 2016. This is a phenomenal matchup for Arenado and he’s in Coors Field. He’s one of the best spends on the hitting side tonight and you might end up prioritizing him at 3B given the lack of viable alternatives behind him.

Next up in projection are Matt Carpenter (STL) and Travis Shaw (MIL), who are behind Arenado in projection by ~2.5 DK points and ~3.5 FD points. That’s a significant gap in projection and the matchups aren’t exciting – Carpenter faces Tyson Ross in Petco Park, and the latter is a pitcher you want to attack with speed, an element that Carpenter lacks. Shaw has a L/L matchup but he’s in Coors Field, making the context more palatable. The challenge with Shaw is that he’s more expensive than Carpenter and projects as a clear overspend. Carpenter is $3k on FD, making this mostly a binary decision in cash games.

Alex Bregman (HOU) and Jose Bautista (ATL) are additional targets that project as overspends but are viable in tournaments as there aren’t defined routes behind Arenado at the position.

Shortstop

Trevor Story (COL) and Carlos Correa (HOU) carry the top projections at the shortstop position. Of the two, we’d side with Story given the matchup against Chase Anderson in Coors Field but his price tag is appropriate now. The same can be said for Correa, who’s the better overall hitter. These two are in play in all formats but it’s not because they project as strong values.

In fact, Story and Correa are the top per dollar values at the position and they project as slight overspends. The options behind them are pretty barren. We’ll see where Chris Taylor (LAD) hits in the Dodgers lineup as he hit sixth last night. If he comes back to the leadoff spot he’ll be in play as a mid-tier option.

We’d like to generate some salary relief out of this position but the options aren’t great. Brandon Crawford (SF) will have the platoon edge but in PNC Park. Orlando Arcia (MIL) is in Coors Field and will have the platoon edge but he’s just not a very good hitter. These two project a little better on DK from a value perspective – on FD they’re priced very appropriately and you still might need to consider them there. This is a position you’re likely filling out last.

Outfield

Charlie Blackmon (COL) and Mike Trout (LAA) are the top projected scorers in the outfield and only trail Nolan Arenado for the top honors regardless of hitting position. Trout is undeniably the best hitter in baseball but his matchup against a ground ball pitcher (Kyle Gibson) in Los Angeles isn’t a strong context. Blackmon has the stronger context facing a fly ball pitcher in Coors Field and is part of a Rockies team that carries the highest IRT (5.8) in the slate. Of the two, we’d side with Blackmon slightly (like our projections) in cash games but if you’re only able to make one big spend in that format we’d go after Arenado before these two.

There’s some value in the OF that we’d like to take advantage of, and the same can’t be said about third base. It’s a big reason why we’d prioritize Arenado over Blackmon/Trout. Once again, Joc Pederson (LAD) projects as an elite source of salary relief on FD where his price tag remains below $3k. He’s been hitting second for the Dodgers vs. RHP.  He projects as a top five OF value on DK where the price tag is more appropriate ($4k). Ryan Braun (MIL) continues to have a middling price tag on FD ($3,500) and this time around he’s getting the platoon edge in Coors Field. Since 2016, Braun has generated a .385 wOBA and .256 ISO vs. LHP. Lorenzo Cain (MIL) is just $100 more than Braun on DK ($4,800) and is the leadoff hitter for the Brewers. Adam Frazier (PIT) is just $2,200 on FD and has OF eligibility over there. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) is in play on both sites with pretty average price tags as a cleanup hitter in Coors Field. Gregor Blanco (SF) is an adequate source of salary relief on DK, though we prefer Brandon Nimmo (NYM) if he leads off again. Nimmo is just $3,100 on that site and will be on the road facing Zach Eflin. Gregory Polanco (PIT) is just $3,800 on DK with the platoon edge against a pitcher that looks broken so far this season (Jeff Samardzija).

Other potential targets that are usable in tournaments include Yoenis Cespedes (NYM), George Springer, Josh Reddick (HOU) and Domingo Santana (MIL) (cash viable on FD).

Stacks

Tier One

1) Colorado Rockies

 

The Rockies once again pace the slate with the highest implied total (5.8) against Chase Anderson who has struggled mightily this season. Anderson’s generating fewer chases and allowing more fly balls. The Brewers strong bullpen is a lingering concern but the hefty price tags seem to be keeping ownership in check on both sites.  

Tier Two

 

2) Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have been slightly more popular than the Rockies of late and most of their hitters benefit from facing a LHP, particularly Braun, Santana, and Aguilar. They’re far more affordable on both sites and the Rockies bullpen is a bit less intimidating. We think they’ll be more popular again than the Rockies simply due to price tags.

Tier Three

3) Los Angeles Dodgers

4) Houston Astros

The Dodgers should represent the “cheap” chalk with a favorable matchup against Homer Bailey and good price tags on some of their LHBs around the industry. They pair favorably with Morton or Syndergaard. The Astros are probably your contrarian expensive stack on this slate. Doug Fister has been reasonably effective but the Astros disappointed against a lefty on Friday night and will likely have some reactionary loss in ownership. They come with the same hefty implied total as the road Brewers in Coors. The one thing we’ll need to check back in on with the Astros is the availability of George Springer as he left last night’s game early.

Tier Four

5) Pittsburgh Pirates

6) New York Mets

The Pirates get Jeff Samardzija who has been an utter disaster early in the season but did see his velocity tick up a bit last game. It’s a tough ballpark for a stack to work but on a shortened slate it’s viable. The Mets are really interesting given the weather concerns, the absence of Cespedes, and a really awful Phillies bullpen. The weather risk could bring extremely low ownership for a stack that pairs well with ace starting pitching. We’d prefer the Mets if Conforto was moved back up in the lineup.

The Braves would fall into a fifth tier if we went down. Their young players (Albies most notably) and some of their veterans (Markakis/Suzuki) have wildly outpaced our projections this season. If you were to push everyone’s baselines to their current season production, they’d rate in this fourth tier ahead of the Pirates and the Mets. Vegas seems hesitant like we are as the implied totals they keep getting are in the low fours. They certainly have enough young talent to make us look foolish but with high price tags and a brutal park we remain pessimistic.

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