Welcome to May 12 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for May 11 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. 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!
May 12 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
01:06 Starting Pitcher
11:43 First Base
17:39 Second Base
20:15 Third Base
- 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.
May 12 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
We’ve got a full 15-game slate on Friday night that is jam packed with offense. There are so many teams in good offensive situations, however, that you can find some value plays in certain spots, and it gives us more freedom to do what we want on the pitching side of things, since there are value bats up and down the pricing spectrum.
Despite pitching in Coors Field, Clayton Kershaw (LAD) is our top ranked SP on the slate. The floor for Kershaw is obviously lower than in most other starts. For example, we’ve seen the IRTA Kershaw a full run lower in many of his other starts (3.8 tonight). Despite the negative context, Kershaw is very much in play for a couple of reasons. First of all, there’s not much opportunity cost on a slate jam packed with offense. In fact the 3.8 IRTA Kershaw is one of the lower ones on the slate. Second of all, his price accounts for the negative park shift, dropping $2,900 on DK and $2,500 on FD. Kershaw hasn’t been quite as dominant to start this season (still pretty dang good), so it’s understandable if you don’t want to go all in on him. It’s a nice spot to diversify if you play on both sites and use Kershaw on FD, where he projects overwhelmingly as the best value.
Johnny Cueto (SF) is probably the safes SP on the slate, possessing the lowest IRTA in an elite pitching environment, but we view him as overpriced on both sites.
If dipping down from Kershaw, we’d rather look at mid-high options like Lance McCullers (HOU) and Rick Porcello (BOS) who have similar IRTA (3.8 and 3.7 respectively). McCullers is in a scary environment (Yankee Stadium), but we’ve noted before he’s somewhat reverse splitsy because of his devastating curve. McCullers’ 7.3 K projection is second highest on the slate, only to Kershaw. Porcello meanwhile faces a boom or bust Tampa Bay team that ranks ninth in wRC+ against RHP but has the highest K% in that split as well. Porcello is a large favorite (-173), and it’s important to note how well he’s pitched thus far this season as he continues to trade GBs for Ks – 11.0 SwStr% and 23.7 K%.
If you do pay up for Kershaw on DK, you may need to pair him with a scary second SP option. Our model’s preferred choice here is Matt Harvey (NYM), thanks to a mediocre baseline, a cooling off Brewers lineup, and a strikeout heavy Brewers lineup. The issue here is some extremely ugly recent peripherals for Harvey, as he’s walked twice as many as he’s struck out over his last three starts, allowing nearly as many homers as strikeouts as well.
The floors don’t get much better if you want to stay at Harvey’s price or cheaper. Tyler Glasnow (PIT) can miss bats but can easily finish in the negatives (5.1 IRTA). Nick Pivetta (PHI) is a pure punt option who can at least miss bats for $5,100, but we don’t expect him to pitch deep, especially against a high quality Nationals team.
Dylan Bundy (BAL) continues to be a tough pitcher to evaluate. Our projections are conservative on him, but he feels safe with a touch of upside at $7,500. The low K rate has been baffling (reduced velo from last year but SwStr rate is okay). He’ll get a positive park shift pitching in Kansas City facing a Royals team ranked 28th in wRC+ against RHP.
A tournament pivot to Bundy is Mike Foltynewicz (ATL). He’s been up and down, but that uncertainty is welcome in tournaments. Folty has three of six starts with an xFIP of 2.74 or lower (the other three at 5.44 or higher).
On both sites Yasmani Grandal (LAD) rates as our top catcher value, which isn’t too surprising hitting from the left side (.357 wOBA and .227 ISO against RHP since 2015) in Coors Field. His relative value is higher on FD than on DK.
Grandal’s pricier on DK and we have similarly rated values in Evan Gattis (HOU) and Stephen Vogt (OAK). Both Gattis and Vogt are road hitters in strong hitting environments and hold the platoon edge. They’re the best pivots on FD as well, but the gap in value between them and Grandal is larger.
At a position where few catchers impress in 15-day Hard%, Gary Sanchez (NYY) has squared the ball up nicely since returning from the DL and is worth a tournament look despite one of the tougher pitcher matchups on the slate against McCullers).
Cody Bellinger (LAD) is our highest projected 1B, and like teammate Grandal, is usable on both sites but carries more relative value on FD. Bellinger whiffed three times last night, but early returns are still strong as he’s displayed a nice combination of patience and power, which ZiPS projects to last (9.0 BB%, .234 ISO).
The difficult part about first base, and really any of the deeper offensive positions, is the large slate and many good offensive environments results in a slew of viable options. Rating just behind Bellinger from an overall perspective are Jay Bruce (NYM) (.307 ISO this season, platoon edge against Matt Garza with a meaningful positive park shift), Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) (5.1 IRT, additional SB upside not factored into our projection), and Eric Thames (MIL) (additional upside here depending where you set the struggling Harvey’s baselines).
From a value perspective on DK, Wil Myers (SD) and Yonder Alonso (OAK) are high upside targets that will give you some savings from the top names. Myers gets a massive park shift in his favor as Chicago is very friendly for RH power, and opposing SP Miguel Gonzalez has been homer prone against same handed batters over his career. Alonso is locked in right now, and while our baseline is indicative of what we expect rest of season, it’s reasonable to prop them up higher tonight specifically given a high Hard% on the season and over the last 15-days, combined with a ton of loft (52 FB%).
On FD we’d try harder to pay up for one of our top four ranked guys. If you eschew them, a drop down all the way to Justin Smoak (TOR) may make the most sense. He’s hitting clean-up for the Jays and putting more balls into play this season without sacrificing contact quality (Hard% actually slightly up).
There are a plethora of pivots here for tournaments.
Jose Altuve (HOU) is our top rated 2B given his elite skills against LHP (.399 wOBA and .190 ISO against LHP since 2015). However, a higher K rate this season and poor 15-day Hard% may be reasons not to pay up here on such a deep slate.
On FD, where Altuve rates as a strong value, the best pivots are in Texas where Rougned Odor (TEX) possesses more power upside against Jesse Hahn (fluky 2.9 HR/FB% is masking mediocre pitching), but Jed Lowrie (OAK) has a better contextual lineup spot (third place road hitter) and comes at a lower cost. Like with Thames at 1B, Jonathan Villar (MIL) could be manually boosted right alongside these guys depending how you feel about Matt Harvey.
On DK, Josh Harrison (PIT) holds 2B eligibility and is in a great spot – leading off with the platoon edge against Patrick Corbin with a large positive park shift. Harrison has flashed pop in line with his 2014 season thus far, and Corbin continues to allow a high FanGraphs Hard% to RHBs (34.4% for his career). Behind Harrison are the same options we see on FD – Lowrie and Villar – but also Yangervis Solarte (SD) as a cheaper pivot given the big park shift for the Padres and a cleanup spot on the road.
Neil Walker (NYM) rates as a secondary value on both sites.
Justin Turner (LAD) represents the top projected scorer at third base. He’s been an excellent hitter vs. RHP, generating a .402 wOBA and .229 ISO since 2015. The challenge with Turner is simply a full price tag at a position that has some enthralling cheaper targets, but he’s a fine play in a vacuum given the elite skills in this context (Coors).
Josh Harrison (PIT) is third base eligible on both sites, and he’s sub $3k on FD. It’s a very attractive price tag given his surrounding context – leadoff hitter in Chase Field with the platoon edge against a pitcher that gets hit hard vs. RHBs. Harrison is a strong cash game target.
Ryan Schimpf (SD) is third base eligible on DK, where he gives Harrison a run for his money from an upside perspective. You’re trading less PA expectation for more power upside with Schimpf, who hits in the middle of the lineup and has generated a massive .306 ISO in his 355 PAs vs. RHP. That huge power is backed up by a FB rate of 65% last season, and 66.7% this season. It’s also a positive park shift for Schimpf and this whole Padres’ offense.
Cory Spangenberg (SD) is a fine alternative on DK where he’s just $3.2k and carries third base eligibility.
Miguel Sano (MIN), Manny Machado (BAL) and Jake Lamb (ARI) are strong tournament pivots. Once again, Sano is pinned in a matchup against a pitcher that has struggled to miss bats and has been hit hard this season (Josh Tomlin).
There are a few different ways to build through the shortstop position on this slate as there is a consensus group of values on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Headlined by Jordy Mercer (PIT), Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM), Trea Turner (WSH), and Corey Seager (LAD). Mercer and Cabrera come with the cheaper price tags (and worse skill sets), but they still provide enough in their overall contexts to merit consideration. Mercer should slide to the second spot of the order against left-hander Patrick Corbin and he’s been a serviceable platoon man, posting a .335 wOBA and .147 ISO since 2014. Asdrubal will be getting a nice park shift in his favor and will draw a matchup with Matt Garza who has allowed a .372 wOBA and .192 ISO to LHB since 2015. Either of these two would be fine “cheap” spends at the position.
At the other end of the spectrum you have Seager and Turner. Seager gets the huge park shift as the Dodgers visit Coors Field. The matchup with Tyler Chatwood isn’t super drool worthy (57% GB%), but Seager’s ability against right-handed pitchers combined with the macro environment is enough to warrant consideration. If you can find the space, he’s a preferred option. Turner comes with arguably an even higher upside than Seager, but lacks the overall context. Nevertheless, he draws a matchup with young right-hander Nick Pivetta. Pivetta has shown an ability to generate the strikeout, but he’s also been blasted by the long ball and has allowed a 51.4% Hard%. Turner is a great alternative that is viable in any format, but is perhaps best reserved for low ownership in tournaments.
Both Francisco Lindor (CLE) and Carlos Correa (HOU) project in the top five in overall points in our model at the position. However, they are priced awkwardly in between the options listed above and find themselves a bit more present in the GPP conversation.
High upside outfielders, with 5-plus IRTs, Bryce Harper (WAS) and Joc Pederson (LAD) top our OF rankings. Mike Trout (LAA) returned to the lineup last night and doesn’t lag far behind, especially if you dock Zimmermann’s baselines based on some red flags with his peripherals (we’ll hit on this more in the stack section). Of the group, Pederson on FD is the spot that holds the most value.
We’ll keep riding the Michael Conforto (NYM) wave, especially on DK where his tag has been rising gradually. A slight upwards shift in BB rate and downwards shift in K rate has led to a breakout season for Conforto. We have much lower overall expectations for teammate Curtis Granderson (NYM), but at $2,500 on FD he’s one of the best sources of cap relief over there.
Other high upside mid-tier OFs that rate as strong values like Conforto are George Springer (HOU), Andrew McCutchen (PIT), and Khris Davis (OAK). Springer has a positive Hard% delta and holds the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium against Jordan Montgomery (4.84 ZiPS ROS ERA). McCutchen has all the great contextual factors in his favor that teammate Josh Harrison does, but is a much more skilled hitter. An unlucky BABIP is masking some signs that McCutchen may return to 2015 form or at least somewhere between 2015 and 2016. Davis doesn’t rate as high in our projections, but a whopping 40.7 15-day Hard% is enough for us to boost him up manually. Opposing pitcher Andrew Cashner is headed for regression, and the Rangers bullpen is trash (fourth highest FIP, second highest ERA).
On both sites David Peralta (ARI) rates as a secondary value.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
Highest IRT on the slate in Coors, and they’re better against RHP, particularly for Fantasy (less pinch hit risk). However, the total is in line with several other games, and Coors is definitely a must play situation tonight.
2) Washington Nationals
3) New York Mets
While opposing pitcher Nick Pivetta has some nice swing and miss stuff, he’s fly ball oriented (ie homer prone) and doesn’t project to be an above average SP right away. The bullpen behind him is horrific (second highest FIP in MLB), and all of this is compounded by the strength of the Nationals lineup.
The Mets get a big positive park shift on the road in Milwaukee (yay for guaranteed ninth innings). When this team hits, it’s usually for power, which is DFS friendly. Opposing pitcher Matt Garza should help that cause (5.01 ERA, 1.31 HR/9 projected by ZiPS rest of season).
4) Houston Astros
5) Arizona Diamondbacks
6) Oakland Athletics
7) Cleveland Indians
8) Milwaukee Brewers
9) Texas Rangers
10) Pittsburgh Pirates
The Diamondbacks have additional upside beyond our projections. One, the SB/PA baselines are likely low given Glasnow’s combination of BB rate/slow time to home. Secondly, the ceiling outcome is very high because of Glasnow’s wildness. If he can’t find the plate early, it could be an early night for him.
Andrew Cashner has frustrated us. To his credit he’s limited quality contact in some recent starts, but by and large he’s simply been incredibly lucky to post a 2.63 ERA despite walking more batters than he’s struck out. Regression will come, and the Athletics hold some value on the large impact of the park shift in their favor alone.
Especially on DK where Harvey may carry decent ownership, the Brewers make for a fun tournament stack. We’ve touched on the event upside nature of this lineup all year long. Our projection on opposing pitcher Matt Harvey may be optimistic if you put a lot of stock into his recent starts: 10 BB against just 5 K to go with 4 HR as well.
Additional Tournament Stacks
-DET at LAA game: Both pitchers in this game have red flag peripherals. The Tigers have one of the highest team Hard% of the season, and Matt Shoemaker is back to his huge homer prone ways thanks to a 21.4 FanGraphs Hard-Soft%. He’s also walking batters at a high clip, which is uncharacteristic for him. On the other side, Jordan Zimmerman‘s peripherals are a case study in red flags – 22.5 GB rate (43.1 last season), absurd FanGraphs 31.6 Hard-Soft%.