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May 14 MLB DFS Early Slate: K Stands For Kluber
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May 14 MLB DFS Early Slate: K Stands For Kluber

00:47 Starting Pitchers
08:33 Catchers
10:18 First Base
13:39 Second Base
16:00 Shortstop
17:56 Third Base
20:47 Outfield
26:59 Cash Game Roster Construction
29:53 Stacks



May 14 MLB DFS Early Slate Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Corey Kluber (CLE)

2) Stephen Strasburg (WSH)

3) Jake Arrieta (CHC)

Tier Two

4) Jose Quintana (CWS)

Tier Three

5) Matt Andriese (TB)

6) Kendall Graveman (OAK)

7) Clay Buchholz (BOS)

8) Ivan Nova (NYY)

We have three aces toeing the rubber in this slate, and it’s imperative to fit at least one in cash games due to the lack of depth at the position. Corey Kluber (CLE) is our top ranked pitcher, and he comes at a cheaper price than our other aces. Kluber’s run prevention hasn’t been very good (4.14 ERA) but his FIP (2.70) and xFIP (3.22) give us hope that he’s not far off from putting it all together. We say that because Kluber continues to create swings and misses at a high rate (13 percent SwStr rate), and the K-BB ratio (19.2 percent) isn’t far off from his career norm (20.2 percent). Kluber has been more dominant vs. RHBs (.246 wOBA allowed to RHBs compared to .329 wOBA allowed to LHBs since 2015) and the Twins boast a right handed heavy offense. As a result, we’re hoping that a strong home matchup (Twins are ranked 22nd in wRC+ and are striking out 23 percent of the time vs. RHP) gets him back on track. He’s our favorite cash game option in this slate. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) and Jake Arrieta (CHC) are strong alternatives, but it’s difficult to squeeze in more offense when you’re having to pay a premium price for their services. Of the two, we think Strasburg is a slightly better option (extremely dominant vs. RHBs and facing an offense that’s primarily right handed; Arrieta will have to face a solid Pittsburgh offense at Wrigley Field, and the wind is blowing out at almost 20 MPH there).

Jose Quintana (CWS) deserves to be in a tier of his own (he’s not quite up there with our aces but he’s also much better than every other pitcher below his price point in this slate). He’ll be at Yankee Stadium, which is actually a plus for him. Yankee Stadium has that short porch in right field (excellent for LHBs), but Quintana is a southpaw and he’s dominant against them (.275 wOBA allowed and a 22.4 percent K rate vs. LHBs since the start of 2015). Quintana is the de facto complement to our aces on multiple starting pitcher sites. After Quintana, things get very murky at the position. Matt Andriese (TB) and Kendall Graveman (OAK) are pitching in a nice environment for pitchers, but neither possesses much strike out upside and neither is very skillful. If you’d like to load up on the hitting side on DraftKings, we think Graveman deserves mild consideration as a cheap SP (mostly due to the strong matchup vs. a Rays’ offense that’s striking out nearly 28 percent of the time vs. RHP). We prefer going the safe route with Quintana and an ace in cash, but Graveman is a decent alternative relative to the rest of the position.

Catcher Rankings

1) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

2) Wilson Ramos (WSH)

3) Brian McCann (NYY)

The catcher position carries no opportunity cost in this short slate, and we’re not even interested in one of our ranked catchers, Brian McCann (NYY) (L/L matchup against a tough pitcher). We’re looking to punt the position around the industry. Stephen Vogt (OAK) will have the platoon edge and hit fifth today, which is enough to make him the top ranked catcher in this slate. We’re mostly interested in him on FanDuel, where his price is friendlier ($2,600). On DraftKings, we’re looking to punt the position with David Ross (CHC). Ross usually hits eight, but he’s part of a deep Cubs’ offense that will have an opportunity to face a subpar pitcher on a day where the wind is blowing out in Wrigley Field. Hank Conger (TB) is a fine minimum priced punt on FanDuel, but only consider him if he helps you make multiple big spends.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Carlos Santana (CLE)

3) Jose Abreu (CWS)

4) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

5) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

David Ortiz (BOS) is the top ranked hitter in this slate, and we’re making every effort necessary to fit him in our cash game lineups. Ortiz has historically dominated RHP, but this season he’s been otherworldly (.466 wOBA and .391 ISO in 108 PAs vs RHP this season). According to our well-hit tool, Ortiz has generated a 5.20 rating over his last 15 days, which is actually a 0.5 change over his one-year data. Colin McHugh is a solid pitcher, but he’s been tagged by LHBs this season to a tune of .397 wOBA and a 1.89 HR/9 allowed. This matchup isn’t enough to scare us away from Ortiz, who represents the best spend on the hitting side of things in this slate. Carlos Santana (CLE) is a primary value alternative at the position, as he’ll leadoff vs. Ervin Santana (.352 wOBA and .201 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015). We really like Anthony Rizzo (CHC) in tournaments (fully priced but the L/L matchup vs. Jeff Locke doesn’t scare us away, as Rizzo has been a .388 wOBA hitter vs. LHP since the start of 2015; wind is blowing out nearly 20 MPH to right field in Wrigley today). Ortiz’s teammate, Hanley Ramirez (BOS), is also a good alternative for tournaments.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

2) Jose Altuve (HOU)

3) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

4) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

5) Starlin Castro (NYY)

Jason Kipnis (CLE) is our top ranked second baseman as well as the best value at the position in this slate. It’s easier to squeeze him into cash games on FanDuel, but on DraftKings you might have to look at a cheaper alternative like Starlin Castro (NYY) (tough matchup vs. Quintana but at least he’ll hit second and his price is down to $3,000 on DraftKings) if you’re looking to make a big spend either at first base (David Ortiz) or third base (Kris Bryant). Ben Zobrist (CHC) is an elite tournament target, as he’s been hitting the ball hard and will hit fifth (right behind guys like Bryant and Rizzo) vs. Jeff Locke (.326 wOBA allowed to RHBs since 2015) at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field (wind blowing out).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Jimmy Rollins (CWS)

5) Javier Baez (CHC) – If hitting 6th

Carlos Correa (HOU) is fully priced, but Clay Buchholz hasn’t been any good this season (K rate down and his ERA/FIP/xFIP combo are all above five). It’ll be difficult to squeeze Correa in cash games and we prefer to make our big spends elsewhere, so he’s a better target for tournaments. Francisco Lindor (CLE) is the better cash game option since he’s cheaper around the industry and in a good matchup as well. Javier Baez (CHC) is our go-to option in cash games as long as he’s in the lineup and hitting no worse than sixth. Baez gives you exposure to an offense we would like to target as much as possible in a short slate at a cheap cost around the industry. If Baez isn’t in the lineup, we might be forced to go with someone like Jimmy Rollins (CWS) on DraftKings or Brad Miller (TB) on FanDuel.

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Anthony Rendon (WSH)

3) Todd Frazier (CWS)

4) Jose Ramirez (CLE)

5) Evan Longoria (TB)

Kris Bryant (CHC) represents the second best spend on the hitting side in this slate, and you could make an argument for Bryant over Ortiz in cash (third base isn’t deep, and our best value alternative at the position is Jose Ramirez, who isn’t a good hitter). Bryant gives you awesome power upside while hitting third and Wrigley is starting to turn into a good hitting environment once again (still somewhat cold but the wind is starting to blow out significantly). If you’re not paying up for Bryant in cash, you’re forced to look at cheaper alternatives like Jose Ramirez (CLE) (only if he’s hitting fifth again) and Evan Longoria (TB) (R/R matchup but Kendall Graveman isn’t a very good pitcher).

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WSH)

2) Mookie Betts (BOS)

3) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

4) George Springer (HOU)

5) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

6) Josh Reddick (OAK)

7) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

8) Adam Eaton (CWS)

9) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

10) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

The outfield isn’t a very deep position today. Bryce Harper (WSH) has a L/L matchup, but Justin Nicolino doesn’t miss bats and Harper’s main issue nowadays is getting anything to hit (pitchers are walking him with more frequency). He’s a good target on FanDuel where his price is down, but we’re not prioritizing him in cash over our other big spends. We’re mostly interested in value options in the outfield to save some resources, and you’re finding a good price on guys like Colby Rasmus (HOU) (Fenway Park is tough on LH power but Rasmus has a good matchup vs. Buchholz, who’s been struggling a lot this season), Coco Crisp (OAK) (leading off and on the road, so he’ll see at least four PAs vs. a subpar pitcher), Corey Dickerson (TB) (powerful hitter vs. LHP and Kendall Graveman doesn’t miss bats), Melky Cabrera (CWS) (will have some chances at that short porch in Yankee Stadium vs. a struggling Ivan Nova) and if you’re willing to overlook the matchup a bit and hope the environment/skills are enough to overcome it, even Gregory Polanco (PIT) can be considered (very difficult matchup vs. Jake Arrieta but Polanco has improved as a hitter, he’ll be hitting third in an awesome environment for hitters and his price is down around the industry). If you’re trying to make multiple big spends on FanDuel, punting an outfield spot with Jorge Soler (CHC) is a viable route ($2,100 and if he’s in the lineup, he’ll likely hit sixth).


Tier One

1) Chicago Cubs

2) Boston Red Sox

Tier Two

3) Chicago White Sox

4) Washington Nationals

The Cubs and Red Sox have the highest implied run totals in this slate, and Wrigley Field is the best hitting environment in this short slate. We’re trying to fit as many pieces from those offenses as possible (though our priority is still locking in an ace pitcher), but it’s fine to turn to other offenses to pick on cheap values (think White Sox and even some Tampa Bay/Oakland).

Tournament Stacks

Tampa Bay/Oakland – Pretty bad environment for hitters in Tampa Bay but the starting pitchers in this game (Kendall Graveman and Matt Andriese) don’t miss bats and these offenses are filled with cheap players (hitters like Khris Davis, Corey Dickerson and Evan Longoria can hit for power as well). You’re likely not stacking fully here, but building some mini-stacks to complement our primary offenses makes sense in tournaments (and you could get away with it in cash games as well).