Welcome to May 19 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for May 19 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 19 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
01:02 Starting Pitcher
18:20 First Base
22:39 Second Base
24:50 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 19 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
We’ve got a fantastic Friday slate with a ton of tough but appealing decisions to be made on both the pitcher and hitter sides of things, and of course those decisions become intertwined. There are several viable cash game plays at the SP spot depending on your goals, and a few more upside tournament plays that need to be considered in GPPs.
Our top projected SP on the slate from a raw total and value perspective is Chris Sale (BOS). Sale has been dominant this season, striking out 38.8% of batters faced, which continues to be backed up by a higher average FB velocity and the second highest SwStr% among qualified SPs (16.1%). Sale faces a meager Athletics offense, that will strike out (23.9% of the time), in a favorable pitcher’s park. The only issue here is cost. In a vacuum, as mentioned, Sale is still a great value. However, there are reasonable alternatives at the position, which will allow you more bats. At first glance, Sale seems easier to use on FD.
The next in line SP is Jacob deGrom (NYM). deGrom oddly can get lost in the shuffle on this slate as there are some volatility concerns (high BB rate and Hard%), but more so, people will generally go up to Sale or drop down to Alex Wood. deGrom has been great for DFS because of the Ks – 32.4 K%. There are some similarities to Sale – returned velocity, awesome SwStr%. His ERA doesn’t match the xFIP because some of some Hard% issues leading to elevated BABIP and HR/FB%, but in general we’d expect everything to calm down a bit moving forward (so a smaller K% but a smaller ERA and BB rate as well). The Angels are 21st in wRC+ against RHP, lose the DH, and aren’t as contact oriented as past years.
One of the reasons it’s easy to bypass Sale and deGrom is the mid-tier price on Alex Wood (LAD), who has been phenomenal. Like our other two SPs we’ve talked about, Wood has parlayed an uptick in velocity (92.9 mph, 90.1 for career) and increased chase rate (33.1 O-Swing%) into a stellar 33.1 K%. What’s most astounding is the GB rate not only hasn’t suffered, it’s risen to a masterful level (62.8%). There’s a chance where our adjusted baselines on Wood may be aggressive long term but conservative in the short term. He’s posted FIPs of 1.87, 0.44, -0.76, and 0.21 over his last four starts. The only reason he projects worse than Sale/deGrom quite frankly is a reduced IP expectation. Wood is the largest favorite on the slate (-225) and shares the lowest IRTA (3.2) with Chris Sale.
On FD, you’re likely deciding between these three options in cash games. On DK (and FD tournaments) Luis Severino (NYY) is a potential pivot or complement to Wood. Pairing him with Wood on DK may be the best combination of cost and upside, although it hurts to bypass both Sale and deGrom. Severino has cooled off a little bit recently with tough outings against both the Astros and Blue Jays in two of his past three starts. However, he gets a very nice park shift facing a Tampa Bay team he dominated earlier in the year (11 Ks). As usual, it’s a high risk. High reward matchup with the Rays ranking fourth in wRC+ against RHP but striking out more than any other team in the split (26.4%). FanGraphs did a piece on this offense: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-rays-have-had-one-of-the-most-extreme-lineups-in-history/.
In tournaments a couple more names pop. We love Taijuan Walker‘s (ARI) upside against a K heavy Padres team in Petco Park. Walker had an 11 K performance against the Padres earlier this season, but has been very inconsistent overall. Another high K option is Nathan Karns (KC). As we mentioned when Karns last pitched, he’s making some strides in GB rate (up to 55.2% from 40.3%) that make him very interesting. His K% is also up quite a bit from last year, and once an unlucky HR/FB rate normalizes, we’re in line for some huge performances. We’ve already started to see it the past three starts in which he’s allowed a combined 4 ERs while striking out a whopping 29 batters.
Michael Wacha (STL) doesn’t have the upside to be used in tournaments on FD, but he’s viable as a second SP on DK (-145, 3.4 IRTA, career high 23.5 K% currently).
If you want a cheap SP to pair with Sale or to make an expensive stack work on DK, Lisalverto Bonilla (CIN) is a worthwhile gamble. It’s a tough home park for him, but he still gets the Rockies outside of Coors. We wouldn’t expect Bonilla to pitch deep, but he has the potential to rack up 5-7 Ks, and then you just hope to get lucky with run prevention.
At the catching position on Friday, it’s a tale of two sites. On DraftKings, Salvador Perez (KC) stands alone atop the value rankings. Perez draws a matchup with the fly ball friendly, Hector Santiago. The southpaw has allowed a .194 ISO to RHB since 2015 and Perez has shown a continued power stroke this season. He’s posted a 37.5% Hard% in the last fifteen, and increased his FB% so far this season.
On FanDuel, Perez lags behind the group of Jonathan Lucroy (TEX), Gary Sanchez (NYY), and Victor Martinez (DET). You’ll save a bit more by going the route of Lucroy or Martinez, but the savings aren’t wild enough that you’ll need to disregard Perez. Sanchez is the best catcher available and is certainly attainable if you’re chasing upside and paying for anyone other than Chris Sale.
If not locked into any of the aforementioned options, you can full punt the position on DraftKings with Kevan Smith (CHW). Smith is just $2,200 and will hold the platoon edge on fly ball oriented Ariel Miranda. Given the lack of depth at the position and the intrigue at other positions and starting pitcher, it’s certainly viable to just take the savings.
In terms of raw production, Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) and his matchup with Jered Weaver is drool worthy. Despite the park shift, Weaver’s ineptitude and inability to keep the ball in the park (3.02 HR/9 this season) jumps Goldschmidt to the top of our first base rankings. He not only brings tremendous power upside, but plenty of speed potential well in the middle of an intriguing mini-stack for the Diamondbacks.
The price tag on Goldschmidt might limit his access, particularly in cash games where you might be focused on jamming Chris Sale. Some cheaper alternatives that stand out are Chris Davis (BAL), Kendrys Morales (TOR), and Lucas Duda (NYM). Crush doesn’t draw the easiest matchup with Aaron Sanchez, but the price doesn’t match the skills against right-handed pitchers nor the recent performance. He’s posted a 41% Hard% in our batted ball tool over the last fifteen days and holds a .293 ISO against RHP since 2015.
Morales is particularly enticing on FanDuel where he is just $2,900. He’s facing a notoriously reverse splits arm in Chris Tillman, but the price tag and lineup spot cannot be matched by many others at the position.
Duda has found himself in the fifth spot in the order a few times recently and should be there against Ricky Nolasco he should peak your interest. At just $2,400 on FanDuel and $3,500 on DraftKings he’d bring cost savings and upside having posted a .342 wOBA and .205 ISO against RHP since 2015. Similarly, Ricky Nolasco is just bad – having allowed 2.56 HR/9 this season in his 45 innings of work.
Carlos Santana (CLE) and Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) have reasonable price tags that their value is tied to, but the matchup with Charlie Morton isn’t one we’re looking to try and capitalize on in anything but tournaments.
Much like the catching position, second base is fairly site specific. On DraftKings, you’ll likely be looking to take advantage of some potential cap relief options by using someone like Adam Frazier (PIT), Josh Harrison (PIT), or Carlos Sanchez (CWS) (also known as Yolmer). The Pirates duo gets a Jeremy Hellickson that has not been able to strike anyone out this season (just 3.71 K/9) and has been allowing more balls to climb over the fence (1.85 HR/9). Neither Frazier nor Harrison is known for their power (or hard contact recently), but top of the order bats for cheap are a pathway to other great options on the slate.
On FanDuel the conversation is the complete opposite, as you might not need to use any cost savings. Ian Kinsler (DET) leads off for a Tigers team that holds the highest implied run total on the slate (5.1). Martinez is just another of many arms who have been susceptible to the home run ball on this slate, and he also comes with the inability to get hitters out via the strikeout (4.45 K/9). Attacking Kinsler at $3,500 on FanDuel is viable in either format.
You can also reasonably spend on Jose Altuve (HOU), Daniel Murphy (WSH), or Brian Dozier (MIN) who represent the top three second basemen in terms of raw projection – though Kinsler is our favorite way to attack the position in cash games.
Though he’s shown a propensity for keeping the ball in the park this season, Taijuan Walker has struggled with allowing power in the past and Ryan Schimpf (SD) has displayed tremendous power upside along with the willingness to only hit the ball in the air. He’s a tournament value.
Arenado and the Rockies have left Coors Field, but there aren’t too many other places to travel that are as friendly as Great American Ball Park. Lisalverto Bonilla is not an imposing threat for this Rockies offense and the price tag for Arenado, particularly on FanDuel at just $4,200, is accessible for all formats. It shouldn’t be lost on us that he does more than just destroy left-handed pitching, he’s posted a .389 wOBA and .292 ISO against RHP since 2015.
If you’re not paying up for Arenado on FanDuel, or you’re focused more on DraftKings, Castellanos is a great route to build through. He’ll get a premier lineup spot in the anticipated Tigers shellacking of Nick Martinez. Though having displayed only a 14.6% Hard% in the last fifteen days, Castellanos batted ball statistics are still noteworthy. Via FanGraphs, his Hard% thus far is 51.7%, a massive jump from last season while his Soft% has fallen from where it was. The price tag is just another reason to love Castellanos.
Jake Lamb (ARI) draws a fantastic matchup with Jered Weaver. It’s difficult to rationalize paying for him over Arenado when contextually you’d have to side with Great American Ball Park, but he makes for a great alternative in tournaments with cash game viability.
Eugenio Suarez (CIN) has been sneaky good this season and has displayed great skills against left-handed pitchers in his young career. Tyler Anderson is not an easy target, but he’s not gotten the ball on the ground as frequently this year (39% GB%) and as a result has been beat up by a 24.4% HR/FB%. Suarez has posted a gaudy .377 wOBA and .236 ISO against LHP since 2015. He’s a contrarian pivot that warrants use in tournaments.
Miguel Sano (MIN) is a monster who will get the chance to go at the reverse splits of Nathan Karns. Karns has been susceptible to same handed power, allowing a .202 ISO to RHB since 2015. He’s been keeping the ball on the ground a lot more this season, but should he slip up, Sano is likely to pounce.
Trea Turner (WSH) is the top shortstop in our model, but he comes with a top player’s price tag, especially on DraftKings. At a position that lacks a deep talent pool, it’s likely that you’ll be looking elsewhere for your cash game lineups. Keep in mind though, Turner projects a full point higher than any other shortstop in our model. He’s a great option if you can make it work.
Assuming it is a no go, the trio of Zack Cozart (CIN), Elvis Andrus (TEX), and Alcides Escobar (KC) follow in our model. Cozart has been excellent this season and has been rewarded with a bump to the second spot of the order. Like his teammate Suarez, he is also quietly good against LHP, having posted a .355 wOBA and .241 ISO against LHP since 2015. He’s shown a positive delta of 4.5% in Hard% over the last fifteen days as well.
Andrus should come with a similar lineup spot, a cheaper price tag, but less skill overall. Still though, the matchup with a wild (4.58 BB/9) Daniel Norris brings him into play.
Escobar is not a good player, but he does offer a cheap way to get exposure to the top of the order at a bad position. Furthermore, for whatever consolation it might bring, he will hold the platoon edge.
A loaded outfield position gives us options at every stop of the pricing spectrum. At the top, we’re lead in raw projection by Bryce Harper (WSH), Charlie Blackmon (COL), and Jose Bautista (TOR). Harper and the Nats are one of the best potential stack options against R.A. Dickey, but the price tags on some of the core pieces might make them more contrarian than anything given a slate that includes Chris Sale.
Blackmon will lead off against Bonilla in Great American Ball Park, and Bautista will look to put the reverse splits of Chris Tillman to use combined with his elevated Hard% in the last fifteen days at 30.6%.
The top dogs are all viable spends if the cash is available, but there are a few excellent plays in the mid-tier as well. David Peralta (ARI) has an excellent price tag on both sites and will face Jered Weaver. The one downfall is that he has missed three straight with a tight glute. However, after an off day on Thursday there is a chance he finds himself back in the lineup. If not Peralta, you can take advantage of the savings that Carlos Gonzalez (COL) brings you. Gonzalez is priced appropriately on DraftKings at $4,500, but on FanDuel he is just $2,900. Though he has fought through some early season struggles he has a positive delta of 16.3% in Hard% in the last 15 days (33.3% in last 15 days).
Justin Upton (DET), Josh Reddick (HOU), and Billy Hamilton (CIN) all rate well in a tier similar to Peralta and Gonzalez. Upton and the Tigers hold the highest implied run total on the slate while Reddick and the Astros are right on their tail at 4.9 runs against Trevor Bauer. Hamilton’s matchup with Tyler Anderson is not something to be excited about, but he offers unparalleled speed at the top of the Reds order, a compelling contrarian stack topper. Lorenzo Cain (KC) also fits in with this group as he’ll grab the platoon edge on Hector Santiago.
Ezequiel Carrera (TOR) and Darrell Ceciliani (TOR) are very cheap ways to get exposure to the Blue Jays outfield. Ceciliani in particular hit cleanup last night with Kevin Pillar suspended and he is just $2,000 on FanDuel and $3,000 on DK. Carrera holds a similar value on DraftKings at just $3,100 but on FanDuel at $2,700 he is largely out of the conversation. UPDATE: Ceciliani left last night’s game with an injury. His status at this time is unknown.
A pair of southpaw mashers, Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) and Nelson Cruz (SEA) will hold the platoon edge tonight. Their matchups are not easy as Stanton will face Alex Wood and Cruz will face Jose Quintana, but if you’re multi-entering, getting exposure to their absurd platoon splits is not the worst thing you can do when searching for upside in tournaments.
1) Washington Nationals
2) Arizona Diamondbacks
The Nationals make for a nice tournament stack to hedge cash games since it’s possible you end up empty with them in the latter format. They’re sixth in wRC+ and second in ISO against RHP. THe margins for success can be thin for knucklers, and Dickey has seen small downgrades in K, BB, and HR rates that have added up to a 6.23 FIP.
We hit on the Diamondbacks a bunch in the positional analysis. They lead all lineups in 15-day Hard% by a good margin, and face one of the most homer prone SPs in all of baseball.
3) Detroit Tigers
4) Colorado Rockies
5) Cincinnati Reds
The Tigers have the highest IRT on the slate, matching up against Nick Martinez (career 5.24 FIP) and the Rangers bullpen (sixth highest ERA).
The Rockies and Red are in a positive hitting environment in Cincinnati. The Rockies face Lisalverto Bonilla, who comes with a lot of uncertainty but is projected to be homer prone despite an ability to miss bats. The Reds are a team we don’t like quite as much as our projections, as Tyler Anderson is an underrated pitcher, and the Reds have the lowest 15-day Hard% of all lineups. However, Anderson has flipped from a GB pitcher to a FB pitcher, which does bring in some upside for the Reds.
6) Houston Astros
7) Cleveland Indians
The Astros actually have the second highest IRT on the slate. We think that number is a little high, likely driven by Bauer’s ERA (6.92) and not his peripherals (3.62 xFIP). Still, Bauer is historically a volatile pitcher, and the ERA-xFIP is at least partially explained by a FanGraphs Hard-Soft% more than double the league average. The Astros are second in wRC+ against RHP, and their contact heavy ways could frustrate Bauer.
-Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox offer a deep and talented lineup with an implied run total of 4.4 against a contact oriented Kendall Graveman. They are an expensive stack to build, but one that comes with a lot of upside.