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May 12 MLB DFS: We’ve Got A Crush On Clayton
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May 12 MLB DFS : We’ve Got A Crush On Clayton

00:38 Starting Pitchers
08:08 Catchers
09:23 First Base
11:40 Second Base
13:46 Shortstop
15:19 Third Base
19:19 Outfield
25:04 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



May 12 MLB DFS Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

Tier Two

2) Vincent Velasquez (PHI)

3) Johnny Cueto (SF)

4) David Price (BOS)

5) Zack Greinke (ARI)

Tier Three

6) Jimmy Nelson (MIL)

7) Aaron Blair (ATL)

8) James Shields (MIL)

9) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

On a short, non-Coors slate, we’re pretty adamant about squeezing in the game’s best pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (LAD). Not a lot new to add here but Kershaw has a ridiculous 2.00 xFIP and 32.8 K percentage while averaging 7.57 innings pitched per start. The foundation of points here is massive, and the Mets are much more susceptible to LHP.

On FanDuel, Vincent Velasquez (PHI) is the best alternative in cash if not paying up for Kershaw. He has an impressive 3.25 xFIP on the season, but keep in mind that his average xFIP outside of a dominating performance against the Padres is 4.17. The strikeout ability is awesome as is the matchup against an extremely mild Atlanta offense that is dead last in wRC+ against RHP and has an implied run total of below 3.5 (second lowest on the slate). On DraftKings he’s a secondary cash value, but not a point of emphasis given his high cost.

The best secondary option on DraftKings is Zack Greinke (ARI), and it’s mostly a price thing as every other tier two pitcher comes with a double digit price tag while Greinke settles in at $8,400. It’s a bad environment and tough matchup, but there are enough skills present to overcome that (12.0 SwStr rate, 4.9 hard minus soft hit rate, 4.44 K/BB ratio). Despite the 5.15 ERA, we view Greinke as a 3.00 true skill pitcher.

Johnny Cueto (SF) finds himself in no man’s land a bit. He’s a safe pitcher but a bit overpriced in cash games. For tournaments, we’d rather take a chance on the large K upside of David Price (BOS) (29.0 K percentage, 14.1 SwStr rate) and hope the randomness in regards to the rest of his peripherals (huge hard minus soft hit rate, reduced velocity) sorts itself out a bit. Surprisingly the Astros team total is around 3.5.

Cheaper starting pitchers to target in tournaments are Aaron Blair (ATL) (the Phillies are just so bad, and Blair has an elite changeup that combined with his Minor League numbers points towards more Ks in the future) and Jimmy Nelson (MIL) (a play against a heavily right handed Padres offense that is a favorable matchup from both wRC+ and K% standpoints). Additionally, Nelson has dominated RHBs in his career allowing a .288 wOBA, .103 ISO and striking out 20.4 percent of RHBs faced.

Catcher Rankings

1) Brian McCann (NYY)

2) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

3) Buster Posey (SF)

4) Matt Wieters (BAL)

5) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

Brian McCann (NYY) is the top catcher, and this is a poor matchup for the fly ball oriented Ian Kennedy (35.7 GB rate, 32.3 hard hit rate). Meanwhile McCann has a .200 ISO against RHP since 2013 and will be at home with the short porch in right. He’s the best play on DraftKings by far but on FanDuel both Victor Martinez (DET) (hitting cleanup against Ubaldo Jimenez) and Matt Wieters (BAL) (cheap to give you cap relief for Kershaw while simultaneously giving you exposure to the clear cut top stack of the day).

First Base Rankings

1) Chris Davis (BAL)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

4) Eric Hosmer (KC)

5) Brandon Moss (STL)

There are a lot of fun first base options in terms of value. If paying up, Chris Davis (BAL) is the way to go as he’s our top overall hitter on the slate. The power against RHP is awesome (.275 ISO, 6.5 HR rate since 2013), and he’s flashed it recently following a short cold streak. More importantly, the Orioles have nearly a 5.5 implied team total as Mike Pelfrey has been horrific (as many BBs as Ks, elevated hard hit rate), and the bullpen behind him isn’t much better. If you need to go cheap on FanDuel to squeeze in Kershaw, a slew of values exist, most notably Kendrys Morales (KC) (has jumped into the cleanup spot) and Brett Wallace (SD) (big park shift, Jimmy Nelson has allowed a .361 wOBA and 1.91 ISO to LHBs for his career). The former is also in play on DraftKings in addition to whichever Cardinals LHB hits cleanup between Moss and Adams. We’ve covered Jered Weaver‘s decline (reduced velocity and K rates in conjunction with high FB and hard hit rates).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

3) Chase Utley (LAD)

4) Ian Kinsler (DET)

5) Starlin Castro (NYY)

We’re primarily looking for cap relief at second base to help us fit in Kershaw and the Baltimore bats we want. A couple of guys in Cesar Hernandez (PHI) and Starlin Castro (NYY) pop as potential options as they’ve been hitting second recently. On FanDuel, you can throw Chase Utley (LAD) into the mix, and Howie Kendrick (LAD) would be a great punt if hitting third. NOTE: We accidentally referenced the Dodgers as having a good team total on the podcast (it’s not, somewhere between 3.5 and 4), but we still view Utler/Kendrick as viable on FanDuel.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

2) Carlos Correa (HOU)

3) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

4) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

5) Corey Seager (LAD)

6) Alcides Escobar (KC)

On FanDuel this is a punt position from the get go with Jonathan Villar (MIL) (not quite a punt price but still a good value at $2,900; nice speed upside and we like to pick on James Shields) and Alcides Escobar (KC) (not a good splits matchup by any means but leadoff spot in a good park at a punt price will work). On DraftKings, Manny Machado (BAL) (elite matchup, second ranked overall hitter) and Carlos Correa (HOU) (priced close enough to Villar, Seager that he sticks out as a value) make the position a bit less clear in terms of roster construction. We’re fine pure punting with any shortstop that emerges to give you meaningful cap relief, though.

Third Base Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Matt Carpenter (STL)

3) Brett Wallace (SD) (where eligible)

4) Maikel Franco (PHI)

5) Jake Lamb (ARI)

From a wOBA standpoint, Mike Pelfrey has even splits, and Manny Machado (BAL) has actually been better against same handed pitchers (.392 wOBA, .234 ISO for his career). He’s our second overall ranked hitter and a great spend if you can afford it. He’s followed by Matt Carpenter (STL) in our rankings; he’s more usable on DraftKings where a larger price gap between him and Machado is present. Depending on where you get your Baltimore exposure and what site you are on, you may need to punt here. Brett Wallace (SD) is a really good value on DK where he has 1B/3B eligibility, but on FanDuel you may have to purely punt with a Chase Headley (NYY) or Kelly Johnson (NYY) if dropping down that low.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Mookie Betts (BOS)

3) Adam Jones (BAL)

4) Ryan Braun (MIL)

5) JD Martinez (DET)

6) Matt Holliday (STL)

7) George Springer (HOU)

8) Brett Gardner (NYY)

9) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

10) Domingo Santana (MIL)

11) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

12) Justin Upton (DET)

13) Matt Kemp (SD)

14) Carlos Beltran (NYY)

15) Lorenzo Cain (KC)

The best industry wide values include Adam Jones (BAL) (particularly cheap on FanDuel), Matt Holliday (STL) (underrated option whose early power numbers are very encouraging following a tough season in terms of health and production), and Domingo Santana (MIL) (too cheap for a leadoff hitter, especially one with pop – .210 ZiPS projected ISO rest of season). Using any combination of these guys gives you a really nice base, and then you can fill in some site specific options or the best options on whatever stack you’re emphasizing. Depending on site and lineups, you can lump Matt Holliday‘s teammates in that category (see cheat sheets, alerts). Some more expensive event type players that may be worth paying up for in tournaments include Mookie Betts (BOS) (Dallas Keuchel having issues although he was better last start), George Springer (HOU) (great park for RHBs and Price’s hard hit rate is extremely elevated), and Mark Trumbo (BAL) (big time power upside and a part of the Baltimore lineup with the huge team total). Joc Pederson (LAD) doesn’t rate great in our model, but he’s a streaky hitter who rates extremely well in our well-hit tool, making him an interesting stack filler.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Baltimore Orioles

Tier Two

2) St. Louis Cardinals

3) New York Yankees

4) Detroit Tigers

5) Los Angeles Dodgers

We covered the Orioles pretty extensively above, especially in the first base section. We strongly encourage a mini-stack in cash games.

Of the tier two stacks, the Cardinals have the most favorable prices in cash games, but all four are viable in tournaments. The Yankees have the power upside you like to grab in tournaments due to Kennedy’s fly ball/hard hit rates, but they’re also shorthanded at the moment. The Dodgers might be underowned in tournaments. Bartolo Colon is off to a very good start, but he did so last year as well before wilting in May and over the summer months. He’s susceptible to power and this Dodgers lineup has solid power depth throughout.

Tournament Stacks

-San Diego Padres (big park shift in their favor, road team; Jimmy Nelson is a below average pitcher backed up by a below average bullpen)

-Milwaukee Brewers (James Shields has a slight fly ball tilt, which can be dangerous for a pitcher in decline who has stopped missing bats, especially given the negative park shift; lineup has more “event” upside than at first glance)

-Kansas City Royals (we like Nathan Eovaldi to bounce back moving forward, but the Royals are facing a guy with a 19.1 hard minus soft hit rate in Yankee stadium where their LHBs get a huge uptick in power potential)

MLB Daily Analysis

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