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May 15 MLB DFS: Score With Thor
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Welcome to May 15 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Podcast and cliff notes for May 15 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 15 MLB DFS Position Timestamps

00:54 Starting Pitcher
10:29 Catcher
13:11 First Base
16:39 Second Base
21:04 Third Base
23:57 Shortstop
27:04 Outfield
31:46 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 15 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

It’s no surprise to see Gerrit Cole (HOU) atop of our SP rankings. Finding the appropriate baselines for Cole has been a challenge for us all year long. We keep moving the baselines more aggressively with each dominant outing, but we still don’t know exactly how far to push. For example, Cole is currently striking out 49% of LHBs faced. Over his career, he’s never struck out more than 24.3% in a single season. We’ve set the baseline at 32.5%. It’s not a great matchup against the Angels, but Cole’s dominance has still led to a favorable -172 line with a 3.3 IRTA. He’ll also receive help from a very favorable umpire. The price is so high on DK that we think he’s a tournament only option there, but if you wanted to be more aggressive with the baselines, you could stretch up to him in FD cash.

One of the reasons we feel you can get away from Cole is the presence of Noah Syndergaard (NYM) on the slate. He hasn’t been as dominant as Cole this season, but the dominance he has shown (2.78 FIP, 27.6 K%) is in line with career marks, so we’re a bit more confident in the baselines. Syndergaard gets to face a K happy Jays team against RHP that will undergo a negative park shift and lose the DH playing in an NL park. He has the same Vegas odds as Cole and nearly an identical strikeout projection. At a much lower cost, this is the cash game spend that we prefer.

One of the biggest conundrums on this slate is Yu Darvish (CHC). This is a matchup pitting one of the SPs we’ve been too high on to date against one of the offenses we’ve been too low on, resulting in a positive value that is tough to ignore but also tough to be too confident in. While Darvish has struggled, his 26.4 K% is still well above the league average and with better luck in BABIP, strand rate, and HR/FB rate (all worse than league averages), he should pitch deeper into games. Still, a 5.08 FIP doesn’t inspire too much confidence, and in order to use Darvish you need to trust that both his skill and luck stats will normalize moving forward. In that case, he’s a great tournament option on FD and in the DK cash conversation.

The other wrinkle to the Darvish conversation is that the “value play” alternatives don’t leap out as extraordinarily safe. Our next best projected SP2 option on DK is Nick Pivetta (PHI), who has an IRTA of 4.6 (half a run higher than Darvish) as he experiences a negative league and park shift. Pivetta, however, has pitched really well, even better than the ERA indicates, putting up a 3.56 xFIP and 25.6 K%. The Orioles have been a target for us all season long (24.1 K%, 25th in wRC+ against RHP).

From an environment/matchup perspective, Trevor Williams (PIT) has a lower IRTA than Pivetta or Darvish (-145, 3.7) as he’s home against the White Sox, who we view as a very plus matchup. PNC is a strong pitcher’s park, but Williams’ subpar baselines and K rate does keep him clearly behind Pivetta and Darvish in our projections.

At sub-$6k, punt options include Josh Tomlin (CLE) (absurd HR problems but just incredibly cheap against a subpar offense and does have high batters faced/IP upside), Jaime Garcia (TOR) (bump in K rate, positive league/park shift), and Anthony Banda (TB) (IP concerns but a high K rate in minors).

Zack Greinke (ARI) is an expensive pivot off of Cole/Thor, especially on FD where he comes at a price discount to them.

Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) is one of the few options in that mid-high tier range and has the requisite K upside to be used in tournaments, despite a tough matchup against Washington.

Catcher

We’re looking to save some salary cap at the catcher position on a full slate on Tuesday. Devin Mesoraco (NYM) and Alex Avila (ARI) jump to the forefront on DraftKings where their price tags start the conversation. For Mesoraco, perhaps a change of scenery (and maybe a healthy stretch) will infuse his play. He’ll get left-hander Jaime Garcia, giving him the platoon edge and likely a 5th or 6th place lineup spot. We’re projecting him for a .194 ISO in the split and at $2,600 he won’t break the bank. It’s also not inconceivable that Mesoraco could be of use on FanDuel at just $2,100.

Avila has mightily struggled thus far (30 wRC+), so exercise caution – but he’ll be in his home park and face Jhoulys Chacin, who has allowed a .168 ISO to LHB over the last three years. The other bad news is that Avila is just $100 cheaper than Mesoraco, making him a less enticing option than if the gap was larger.

James McCann (DET) is only $3,100 on DraftKings and should draw the best lineup spot of these cheap catchers. The Tigers are decimated, pushing McCann up in the order and his opponent Josh Tomlin has been severely plagued by the long ball, allowing 4.56 HR/9 thus far this season.

Gary Sanchez (NYY), Yasmani Grandal (LAD), and Mike Zunino (SEA) should merit some tournament conversation, but they are simply too pricey to utilize on this slate.

First Base

Chris Davis (BAL), Carlos Santana (PHI), and Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) headline the first base position on Tuesday. Davis has been barely better than Alex Avila (42 wRC+), but his price floats him into an acceptable range for play. He’s just $3,200 on DraftKings and $2,600 on FanDuel and will get the platoon edge on Nick Pivetta. The bad news? Pivetta gets strikeouts, and Chris Davis is striking out 34% of the time. He does have a slight positive delta in Hard% over the last fifteen days and will be in his friendly home park.

Santana gets to also take advantage of Baltimore Park in Camden Yards, which helps LHB for power. We’ve noted before the tails in expected wOBA and an extremely low .183 BABIP and tonight he’ll get Andrew Cashner, who has struggled with LHB (.361 wOBA, .199 ISO allowed since 2015). The price tag is perhaps a bit restrictive, but he’s the top value on FanDuel.

Encarnacion is a bit cheaper. He’ll draw the platoon edge against veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano. Don’t be fooled by a surprisingly decent ERA, Liriano is outperforming it (4.93 xFIP, .226 BABIP) and continues to see the strikeout clip decline and the control be volatile. Edwin doesn’t feast on southpaws as much as you’d imagine (.217 ISO since 2015), but he’s actually one of the cheaper ways to get exposure to the Indians.

Hanley Ramirez (BOS) sticks out a bit on DraftKings where he’s only $4,000 in a matchup with Daniel Mengden. HanRam and the Red Sox have the highest implied run total on the slate at 5.4 runs, and he’s posted a positive delta in Hard% over the last fifteen days. Mengden is a high contact arm that has allowed nearly 40% hard contact thus far this season. Much like Edwin, HanRam is one of the cheapest ways to get exposure to a top offense.

Joey Gallo (TEX) has first base eligibility on DraftKings and gets a contact oriented right-hander. Brad Miller (TB) is only $2,400 and first base eligible on FanDuel. The implied run total is bad, but Miller has pop against right-handers, has positive batted ball data, and gets a flyball arm opposite him.

Second Base

Second base is pretty heavily site dependent on Tuesday. On DraftKings, Matt Carpenter (STL), Cesar Hernandez (PHI), and Adam Frazier (PIT) are the top trio.

Carpenter is in a state of flux. He was held out of the final three games in San Diego and certainly has not been the hitter we’ve come to expect thus far. However, after an off-day, we’re expecting him back in there to face right-hander Jose Berrios. Berrios has struggled of late as well and given Carpenter’s skills against RHP (.381 wOBA, .243 ISO since 2015) and the price tag ($3,500 on DK, $3,000 on FD) he’s a viable option on both sites.

Hernandez is not priced like you’d expect. He’s $3,900 on DraftKings (reasonable) but also $3,800 on FanDuel. There isn’t any chance we’d pay for him on the latter site, but on DK he does provide some speed upside at the top of the Phillies order. The Phils have an implied run total of 4.9 runs and are getting a positive league and park shift moving to Baltimore.

Frazier has 2B eligibility on DraftKings and is serviceable against RHP. It’s really the price tag that is the attraction though at just $2,800 for a leadoff hitter at a barren position.

On FanDuel we’re looking at Rougned Odor (TEX) as the big cap relief play at $2,200. Odor will face contact oriented right-hander Mike Leake, and although this is a bad park shift, he’s been quite powerful against RHP (.218 ISO since 2015). At $2,200 he helps to push players like Noah Syndergaard into our lineups on FanDuel.

Brian Dozier (MIN) is the third best value on FanDuel. He’s posted positive batted ball data of late, but the price tag is a bit too restrictive at a position where we’d prefer to spend down.

Third Base

We’re back to the Matt Carpenter (STL) discussion as he has 3B eligibility on both sites. While it is true he’s struggled this season, he’s still hitting plenty of balls hard and is dealing with a .183 BABIP. The price tag is hard to pass up as he gets the platoon advantage and should have a good lineup spot on the road.

It’s largely between him, Kike Hernandez (LAD), and Jose Ramirez (CLE) on FanDuel. Kike draws the platoon edge on Chen and we all know he’s a member of the Sneaky Monster Platoon Club, posting a .380 wOBA and .255 ISO vs. LHP since 2015. Furthermore with the whole Dodgers team being hurt he should get a good lineup spot. At $2,400 he’d be tough to pass up.

But you could pay more for Ramirez and exposure to the Indians. He’s nearly dead even neutral as far as splits go, but we should note that it often goes unnoticed how powerful he actually has been (.200 ISO vs. LHP since 2015). Oh and he homered last night if you’re into that sort of thing.

On DK, you might look to a cheap trio of Matt Chapman (OAK), Wilmer Flores (NYM), or Rafael Devers (BOS). All three will have the platoon edge and get priced out in the $3,000s – offering the salary cap discount from Ramirez that isn’t as readily available as it is on FanDuel.

Shortstop

Trea Turner (WSH) and Francisco Lindor (CLE) are the top values at the SS position on Tuesday. Their recommendations would normally not require as much justification, as they are clearly two of the top players at the position – but their prices make things difficult tonight.

While Turner draws a more difficult matchup with Masahiro Tanaka, he’s also the slightly cheaper option, particularly on DraftKings where he’s just $4,500. Turner comes with an elite built in upside with his ability to run when on the bases and he’s posted a positive delta in Hard% over the last fifteen days as well. With so few options, his price tag is one of the more appealing, affordable ones.

Lindor will get the matchup with Francisco Liriano. He’s slightly more powerful from the left side of the plate, but overall is much like his teammate Jose Ramirez, and is very skilled from both sides. The issue with Lindor is merely the price tag. On FanDuel he’s $1,000 more than Turner, and $800 more on DraftKings – a lot to pay with some top arms available on the slate.

Kike Hernandez (LAD) holds SS eligibility on DraftKings. We mentioned his matchup above, but he would provide some additional value at just $3,500. On FanDuel the big drop down value at SS is Scott Kingery (PHI) who is just $2,300. The lineup spot isn’t great, and Andrew Cashner is much better on righties but the position is not an easy one to fill tonight and Kingery provides a ton of cap relief.

Marcus Semien (OAK) has a middling price tag on both sites and will draw the platoon edge on Eduardo Rodriguez. He seems to be the best tiebreaker option if you’re not comfortable with paying down, but also won’t use the cap to get to Turner or Lindor. Since 2015 he’s posted a .197 ISO against LHP.

Outfield

Rhys Hoskins (PHI) is the top dog in the outfield on Tuesday. Hoskins and the Phils have one of the higher implied run totals on the slate (4.9) and they’ll get an arm in Andrew Cashner who is getting less balls on the ground and finally having more find the seats. That benefits Hoskins who in his brief career has displayed tremendous power, even without the platoon edge (.291 ISO).

After him, it’s a bit jumbled depending on the site. Mookie Betts (BOS), Andrew Benintendi (BOS), and J.D. Martinez (BOS) all rate relatively well on both sites in their matchup with Daniel Mengden. We touched on Mengden’s woes earlier and all three Red Sox are recently very familiar with hard contact. Benintendi comes with the most mild price tag, but it’s actually Mookie and Martinez that are in the top three values on FanDuel. If you look to skip using someone like Lindor, you can fit at least one alongside Thor.

Nelson Cruz (SEA) will get the platoon edge on Mike Minor, a scary thought for the left-hander. Cruz has demolished left-handed pitching (.408 wOBA, .293 ISO) and is reasonably priced on both sits at $3,700 on FanDuel and $4,400 on DraftKings. Brandon Guyer (CLE) is not quite Cruz-like, but he’s been a serviceable platoon option against left-handers (.376 wOBA, .170 ISO since 2015). At $2,800 on DraftKings and $2,400 on FanDuel he’s a cheap way to get exposure to the Indians.

Adam Frazier (PIT) plays a similar role on FanDuel and DraftKings as a really cheap leadoff hitter with the platoon edge. He’s not a super sexy pick, and has very limited upside but he’ll help you spend elsewhere.

Though Joey Gallo (TEX) and team only have an implied run total of 3.9 runs, his batted ball data and matchup with Mike Leake have us excited about his upside. As we often point out with high strikeout guys, it’s important to get them against pitchers that allow a lot of contact and particularly those who allow hard, aerial contact. While Leake traditionally does a solid job of avoiding those two things – he’s posted his worst season yet in both categories.

Both Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) and David Peralta (ARI) are moderately priced guys that will get the platoon edge near the top of their respective lineups. On DraftKings, both are sub-$4,000 and warrant consideration as a final outfielder.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

At home, the Red Sox have the clear highest IRT on the slate. Despite such a large slate, we actually don’t have a ton of great offenses in great spots. The Red Sox are the exception. They lead all of baseball in wRC+ and ISO against RHP. They’re also sixth in HRs and eighth in SBs, making them much more event oriented than last season.

Tier Two

2) Philadelphia Phillies

3) Cleveland Indians

4) New York Yankees

5) Chicago Cubs

6) Baltimore Orioles

This Baltimore-Philly game makes for an exciting game stack. On the Philly side, they’re on the road in a favorable hitting environment (hot temperatures) and gain the DH. Andrew Cashner is always one of our favorite pitchers to pick on given a combination of a low K rate, high BB rate and elevated Hard-Soft%. The strikeout rate, while still below league average, has bounced back a bit this season, but it seems to be coming at the expense of his GB rate.

On the Orioles side, they’re a boom or bust team, and despite the slow start and us continuing to pick on them, the power upside is there throughout the lineup with Mancini, Machado, Schoop, Crush, Trumbo, and Alvarez. Pivetta has been much better this season, but he did yield 1.69 HR/9 last year.

The Yankees are an interesting contrarian stack. With Gio Gonzalez off to such a hot start (2.22 ERA), it’s unlikely they carry much ownership on a large slate outside of Yankee Stadium. However, the righty mashers in this lineup always give them upside against LHP, and we’re expecting some regression in Gonzalez’s BB rate and HR/FB rate. We’re also expecting this game to be one of the more favorable ones weather wise (mid-80s with the wind blowing out at around 15 mph).

Cleveland will likely be one of the more popular stacks on this slate. There really aren’t any bold points here to add from the obvious set up against Liriano who has a ZiPS projected 5.00 ROS ERA.

Tier Three

7) Los Angeles Dodgers

8) Washington Nationals

9) St. Louis Cardinals

10) Oakland Athletics

11) Arizona Diamondbacks

12) Pittsburgh Pirates

This third tier of stacks is clustered closely and is rated much closer to an unlisted fourth tier than it is to the second tier above.

Oakland is always intriguing because of their HR upside. Now they go to a park that is a huge boost for RH power specifically, facing a pitcher, who when he struggles, will give up power. Rodriguez allowed 1.25 HR/9 last season and is allowing 1.45 thus far this season.

Additional Tournament Stacks:

-Detroit Tigers: In five starts, Tomlin has allowed 3, 2, 4, 0, and 4 runs, which isn’t too bad. Except, I lied to you. That’s how many HRs he’s allowed in those starts. That is bad.

-Texas Rangers: A combination of red flags for week (huge spike in BB and HR rates) and favorable FD pricing make them a mini stack option there.