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May 17 MLB DFS: SaNo More
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May 17 MLB DFS: SaNo More

00:36 Starting Pitchers
10:27 Catchers
11:51 First Base
13:15 Second Base
15:21 Shortstop
17:22 Third Base
20:39 Outfield
24:35 Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks



May 17 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

Tier Two

2a) Madison Bumgarner (SF)

2b) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

4) Max Scherzer (WAS)

Tier Three

5) Vincent Velasquez (PHI)

6) Jaime Garcia (STL)

7) Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

8) Cole Hamels (TEX)

Tier Four

9) Zack Greinke (ARZ)

10) Marcus Stroman (TOR)

11) Wei-Yin Chen (MIA)

12) Chris Archer (TB)

Tier Five

13) Michael Pineda (NYY)

14) Juan Nicasio (PIT)

15) Carlos Rodon (CHW)

16) Rick Porcello (BOS)

17) Wade Miley (SEA)

What an incredible slate for starting pitching. We have practically all of the aces in play and most of them in phenomenal matchups. This is a slate where the opportunity cost at starting pitcher is very high and ultimately you’ll want to work very hard via lineup alerts and value plays to emphasize elite starting pitching in your lineups. At the very top of our rankings is Clayton Kershaw (LAD). Kershaw’s peripherals a month and a half into the 2016 season are better than his 2015 season when he finished with a 2.13 ERA, 33.8 K Rate, 4.7 BB Rate, 50 GB Rate, and 25.3 hard hit rate. This year he’s posted a 1.74 ERA, 34.2 K Rate, 1.8 BB Rate, 49.3 GB Rate, and 28.7 hard hit rate. He’s facing an Angels’ lineup that has struck out a league low 13.7 percent of the time against LHP and ranks 15th in wRC+ against LHP. The loss of the DH makes them far more vulnerable to strikeouts and they have an implied run total of 2.4 runs with Kershaw a monstrous favorite (-294). There are alternatives to Kershaw’s hefty price tag, but if you’re able to fit him in we do view him as a tier above the next trio of aces.

Madison Bumgarner (SF), Noah Syndergaard (NYM), and Max Scherzer (WAS) are virtually tied for second and make up our second tier. Bumgarner gets the slight edge on the other two as he’s not facing another elite starter and he’s a heavy favorite as a result (-168). Bumgarner will face a Padres’ lineup that is very right handed and ranks 16th in wRC+ against LHP but also strike out at a 25.1 percent clip against lefties. Syndergaard and Scherzer face off against one another. Syndergaard has the softer matchup for run prevention as the Mets rank tied for seventh in wRC+ against RHP (107) and the Nationals rank 25th but some of that edge is negated by K Rates (Nationals – 20.2 percent vs RHP, Mets – 21.6 percent vs RHP). Where priced similarly, we lean on Syndergaard ahead of Scherzer as he’ll have the platoon advantage on a broader part of the lineup and Scherzer’s unusual splits against LHBs this year (.434 wOBA, .615 slugging percentage, 18 K Rate, and 12.6 BB Rate) are enough to draw a line between Scherzer and the other two aces in the second tier. It will be difficult to fit two starters from the top two tiers on multiple SP sites, but if enough viable punts emerge, it’s a very strong route in cash games.

The third tier is likely where you’ll find your cash game pairing for an elite stud. Vincent Velasquez (PHI) has the high strikeout upside and comes with a slightly more reasonable price tag, but the baseline is still a bit of a mystery as the command has wavered a bit in recent starts. As a result, he’s a better tournament target than cash game selection. Jaime Garcia (STL) and Kyle Hendricks (CHC) are the solid run prevention targets with strong win probabilities that set up as better complementary options on this slate. The Rockies get a drastic park downgrade and Garcia will have the platoon advantage on two of their most dangerous hitters. The Rockies have an implied run total of just 3.2 runs. Kyle Hendricks gets a tough park shift but a Brewers’ offense that is heavily RH and prone to strikeouts. Hendricks has held RHBs to a .264 wOBA, .088 ISO and posted a respectable 21.4 K Rate against them since entering the big leagues. He’s also a huge favorite (-174), but the implied run total for the Brewers is nearing four runs, which provides a bit of risk that thankfully is baked into the underlying price tag on DraftKings.

Beyond Hendricks, Zack Greinke (ARZ) is a viable cash game alternative with a low price tag, but like Hendricks comes with run prevention risk and unlike Hendricks is facing a more contact-oriented offense in the Yankees. Juan Nicasio (PIT) is a difficult starter to figure out. His velocity ranges wildly from start-to-start and so does his swinging strike rate. The Braves are loaded with LH contact oriented bats and while they don’t pose much threat in run prevention (3.2 implied run totals) if Nicasio’s velocity isn’t there the strikeout rate may be nonexistent (three starts this year with a swinging strike rate below 6.5 percent). In tournaments, we love taking a chance on Michael Pineda‘s (NYY) immense strikeout rate with the benefit of pitching against a National League opponent. The higher implied run total against should keep ownership low, but the K upside is strong against a largely right handed Diamondbacks lineup.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Buster Posey (SF)

3) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

4) Brian McCann (NYY)

The catcher position is pretty shallow again on Tuesday. Victor Martinez (DET) cracks our Top 50 overall hitters but carries a largely appropriate price tag on FanDuel and isn’t catcher eligible on DraftKings. Buster Posey (SF) ranks 15-20 spots behind with a right-on-right matchup in a bad park environment and thus isn’t worthy of the high price tag in cash. This leaves us looking towards the value associated with Yasmani Grandal (LAD) at a cheaper price tag or finding an attractive punt play. The Phillies are our primary targets as Tommy Joseph (PHI) and Cameron Rupp (PHI) as potential punt plays on FanDuel and DraftKings respectively. Lineup spots will ultimately sort it out but there is a chance both land inside the Top Five and against a fly ball prone LHP in a good park for power that’s enough on a slate that emphasizes elite starting pitching. Ultimately, we want to get out of the catcher position without spending too much, allowing us to spend more appropriately for elite bats and arms.

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

3) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

4) David Ortiz (BOS)

5) Joey Votto (CIN)

6) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

7) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

8) Byung-ho Park (MIN) – if cleanup

9) Jose Abreu (CHW)

10) Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)

11) Joe Mauer (MIN)

First base is a tricky position. Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ), Miguel Cabrera (DET), and David Ortiz (BOS) all rank inside our Top 10 overall hitters. There are some pricing opportunities on DraftKings (Miguel Cabrera – $4,400) around the industry that might afford you a top option, but roster construction may force your hand towards value. The Cardinals first base eligible options (Matt Adams and Brandon Moss) are viable sources of extreme salary relief. If the Cardinals don’t provide a salary relief option, Joe Mauer (MIN) could also act as a value play that opens up additional spending elsewhere. This isn’t a position that necessarily requires salary relief but the depth to it (Joe Mauer is a Top 40 overall hitter) might make it the preferred construction if enough values don’t pop up elsewhere.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Robinson Cano (SEA)

3) Rougned Odor (TEX)

4) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

5) Howie Kendrick (LAD) – if third

6) Ian Kinsler (DET)

7) Jean Segura (ARZ)

8) Chase Utley (LAD)

9) Cesar Hernandez (PHI) – if second

10) Derek Dietrich (MIA)

Second base is another position where it makes sense to prioritize salary relief as the top options are priced fully and for the most part don’t provide a lot of value. Jose Altuve (HOU) is our top option and ranks inside the Top 10 overall hitters but Carlos Rodon isn’t the easiest pitcher to pick on and Altuve’s price tags are hefty. As a result, we’re looking for value at the position with salary relief options like Cesar Hernandez (PHI) or Howie Kendrick (LAD) if Kendrick is fortunate enough to hit third again.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Corey Seager (LAD)

4) Javier Baez (CHC)

5) Eduardo Nunez (MIN) – if second

The top of the shortstop position is deeper with Manny Machado (BAL) now shortstop eligible on both sites. Carlos Correa (HOU) and Machado are both Top 12 options in our model and come with more reasonable price tags than Jose Altuve at second base. As a result, it’s a bit more viable to pay for them, but still not a necessity. Javier Baez (CHC) would emerge as the best source of salary relief if in the lineup for the Cubs. He never comes with a great lineup spot, but impressive power (ZIPs projects .191 ISO rest of season) and speed combination coupled with a loaded Cubs lineup helps Baez overcome the poor lineup spot. Baez is especially valuable on FanDuel where he comes with a pure punt price tag ($2,200).

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

4) Matt Carpenter (STL)

5) Justin Turner (LAD) – if third

6) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

7) Maikel Franco (PHI)

8) Nolan Arenado (COL)

9) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

10) Todd Frazier (CHW)

11) Jake Lamb (ARZ)

12) Kyle Seager (SEA)

Kris Bryant (CHC) is amazingly the top overall hitter in our model. A great lineup spot on the offense with the highest projected run total on the slate (5.2 runs) and a matchup against Chase Anderson who has allowed a 32.9 hard minus soft hit rate against RHBs this season has Bryant atop our overall rankings. The depth at third base makes Bryant a viable pass, but the price tag on both sites is fair and he’s squarely in play in all formats. If you’re looking for value at the third base position, Justin Turner (LAD) is the best industry wide value as long as he’s hitting third against Jered Weaver who isn’t missing bats and is allowing all sorts of hard contact to RHBs (40 perecnt). On DraftKings, Miguel Sano (MIN) is very affordably priced ($4,000) and cracks our Top 20 overall hitters which makes him an excellent value at third base as well.

Outfield Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

2) Bryce Harper (WAS)

3) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

4) Jason Heyward (CHC)

5) J.D. Martinez (DET)

6) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

7) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

8) George Springer (HOU)

9) Jose Bautista (TOR)

10) Miguel Sano (MIN)

11) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

12) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

13) Mookie Betts (BOS)

14) Adam Jones (BAL)

15) Starling Marte (PIT)

16) Matt Holliday (STL)

17) Michael Conforto (NYM)

18) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

19) Mike Trout (LAA)

20) Brandon Moss (STL) – where eligible

On a night where salary relief is a necessity, our outfield rankings happen to align quite well. Elite studs like Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Mike Trout (LAA), and Jose Bautista (TOR) are all lower than you’d normally expect and a slew of mid-priced outfield options populate the top of our rankings. Jason Heyward (CHC) has struggled early in the season but this is consistent with recent years and as the number two hitter on the lineup with the highest implied run total, he looks like a nice way to get exposure to the Cubs lineup. J.D. Martinez (DET) remains underpriced on both sites and gets a plus matchup for RH power against Phil Hughes who has allowed a .341 wOBA and .187 ISO to RHBs since 2013. Matt Holliday (STL) and Miguel Sano (MIN) are also underpriced relative to our overall rankings and viable cash game targets. Mike Pelfrey is a starter we love to pick on with offensive players’ whose biggest weakness is the strikeout as his inability to miss bats can help someone like Sano’s power shine. Matt Holliday will face Chad Bettis whose production is a bit exaggerated from pitching in Colorado but has allowed a .369 wOBA and .194 ISO to RHBs since 2013.


Tier One

1) Chicago Cubs

Tier Two

2) Minnesota Twins

3) Los Angeles Dodgers

4) Detroit Tigers

5) Texas Rangers

6) Pittsburgh Pirates

The Cubs are in a tier of their own with a big park shift, a weak opposing starter, and a very bad bullpen behind him. The Cubs are priced appropriately though so using them will require foregoing elite starting pitching.

In the second tier, the Twins, Dodgers, and Tigers stand out as really strong stacks for power upside. Phil Hughes and Jered Weaver are fly ball oriented starters with weak bullpens behind them and while the offensive environments aren’t elite for home runs, they’re both allowing such immense hard contact it doesn’t matter. Mike Pelfrey struggles to miss bats which is the Twins biggest weakness and he’s backed up by a below average bullpen as well. The Twins are almost always underowned so they should make for a nice contrarian option on the road.

Tournament Stacks

New York Mets – The Mets are a really intriguing tournament stack with low expected ownership against Scherzer and all their LH power. Scherzer’s struggles this year have all come with LH power (.434 wOBA, .615 slugging percentage, 32.9 percent hard hit rate allowed) and all the Mets are super cheap on DraftKings where pricing is adjusted to reflect opposing starting pitchers. Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, and Lucas Duda are a nice foundation for a LH power stack that can also be paired with elite SP due to the lower price tags.

MLB Daily Analysis

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