Daily Fantasy Rundown – May 22nd MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem”, “dinkpiece” and “thenumbersguy”. Each day throughout the MLB season our daily MLB scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.
Weather: Minor issues in LA, Colorado, and KC. We don’t think they’re huge issues but something to monitor as we approach lock. Please see Meteorologist Mark Paquette’s game by game weather forecasts below the Analysis.
If any weather situations shift drastically, we will keep you updated with lineup alerts so make sure to check your email inbox up until roster lock.
Buster Posey (SF) – Posey gets a huge park shift in his favor going from arguably the worst offensive ballpark in all of baseball to most definitely the best. He’s facing a below average starter in Kyle Kendrick who has allowed RHBs to post a .337 wOBA and 1.22 HR/9 against him since 2012. Most of those statistics were compiled away from Coors Field so we expect Kendrick to perform even worse this season. Posey is a good hitter against RHP (.358 wOBA, .154 ISO) and he’s super human against LHP (.424 wOBA, .247 ISO since 2012). The Rockies have four lefties in their bullpen which gives Posey a decent chance at facing a LH reliever. This is basically unheard of given his elite skills against lefties but the Rockies have a hard time avoiding them. Posey’s price point is elevated around the industry, but he ranks inside our Top 15 overall hitters and is clearly the top option at the position.
Brian McCann (NYY) – McCann ranks as clearly the best catcher value across the industry in our model. He comes at a severe discount to Buster Posey but ranks inside our Top 30 overall hitters. McCann gets to face Colby Lewis who has struggled limiting LH power in recent years (.353 wOBA, 1.15 HR/9 since 2012) in a park that inflates LH home runs 17 percent above the league average. Lewis allows an alarming 44 percent fly ball rate against LHBs which is disastrous with a short porch in Yankee Stadium. McCann allows you a very modest entry point to big home run upside on Friday. He ranks inside our Top Five in home run score in our model.
Wilin Rosario (COL) – Rosario ranks well below McCann in our model (Top 55 overall) but he gets a great lineup spot (fifth of late) in the best hitting environment in all of baseball. Ryan Vogelsong is getting the biggest ballpark downgrade a pitcher can experience and he’s not posting particularly good peripherals in an elite environment (4.92 xFIP). He walks too many batters and is fly ball dependent which is a dangerous combination in Coors Field. Rosario doesn’t hit RHP very well (.307 wOBA) but he has posted a .166 ISO against RHP since 2012. The power carries the day for his ranking and the elite scoring environment earns him consideration where he maintains catcher eligibility.
Additional catcher notes: Wilson Ramos (WAS) ranks similarly to Rosario in our model but is a better tournament play due to a lower scoring environment and very likely low ownership. We like him as a part of Nationals stacks or mini-stacks. Miguel Montero (CHC) is another elite tournament play. He gets a premier lineup spot in a great hitting environment against a fly ball oriented starter with contact issues. The Cubs are a nice tournament stack or mini-stack and Montero comes at an affordable price point. Nick Hundley (COL) bats lower in the lineup than Rosario but has hit RHP well this season. The price point is similar enough with Rosario (and even McCann) that he’s a better tournament option when taking a stab at lower ownership.
Brandon Belt (SF) – Belt ranks second overall in our model. This may come as a surprise but a similar situation happened last Friday when Belt was getting a huge park shift (Cincinnati) and facing a below average pitcher (Marquis). He’s getting a bigger park boost this Friday and again facing a well below average starter. Kyle Kendrick has allowed a .330 wOBA and 1.0 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. As noted in the Posey blurb, we expect those raw numbers to weaken in Colorado after spending the last few seasons in Colorado. Belt is an underrated hitter against RHP in large part because San Francisco deflates LH home runs 16 percent below the league average and overall LHB value nine percent below the league average. Belt will play in a park on Friday night that inflates LH power and overall value by 16-18 percent above the league average. Despite playing most of his games in unfavorable conditions, Belt has posted a .364 wOBA and .182 ISO against RHP since 2012. On most sites, you won’t find Belt priced as a Top Five first basemen, let alone Top Five overall hitter, so he makes for a decent value as well.
Next in line:
Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)/Anthony Rizzo (CHC) – These are the other two first basemen that rank inside our Top 10 overall hitters. Goldschmidt faces a good pitcher in Jon Lester, but he’s so ridiculously dominant against LHP (.443 wOBA, .291 ISO since 2012) that he cracks our Top Five overall hitters. Rizzo gets the contact happy and fly ball prone Josh Collmenter in an elite hitting environment. Collmenter has allowed a .328 wOBA to LHBs since 2012 but just 0.80 HR/9 thanks to an unusually low HR/FB Rate (8.2 percent). Collmenter’s dealing with some velocity drops and Rizzo has crushed RHP in recent years (.374 wOBA, .221 ISO since 2012). He’s been even better this season (.401 wOBA, .250 ISO) while adding stolen bases to his repertoire. Rizzo ranks as a Top 10 hitter in our model.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) – Freeman draws a favorable matchup with Wily Peralta who has allowed a .349 wOBA and 1.26 HR/9 to LHBs since 2012. Freeman owns a .387 wOBA and .205 ISO against RHP during the same span. The knock against investing in Freeman is poor lineup support but they’ve been 13th in wRC+ against RHP this season. Freeman ranks inside our Top 20 overall hitters and comes at a slight discount on both FanDuel ($3,300) and DraftKings ($4,000).
David Ortiz (BOS) – Ortiz faces an above average starter (Garrett Richards) on Friday but is simply underpriced around the industry. Richards has limited LHBs to a .294 wOBA since 2012. He’s very good, but Ortiz still ranks as a Top 25 overall hitter in our model thanks to his prowess against RHP. Ortiz has posted a .411 wOBA and .280 ISO against righties since 2012 and he’s shown little signs of decline (.409 wOBA, .244 ISO against RHP this season). With prices like $3,100 on FanDuel and $4,100 on DraftKings, he qualifies as a value play even in a difficult matchup.
Additional first base notes: Jose Abreu (CHW) ranks right around Ortiz and Freeman. He’s got a great matchup for power against Phil Hughes fly ball tendencies in U.S. Cellular but is priced a bit above Freeman and Ortiz on most sites. Abreu also appeared to aggravate a thumb issue yesterday in an at bat against Danny Salazar. With first base always so deep, I’ll likely leave any Abreu exposure to tournaments. Ben Paulsen (COL) is a potential salary relief option at first base and a cheap way to get exposure to Coors Field. Ryan Vogelsong has been hammered by LHBs in recent years (.338 wOBA, 1.18 HR/9 allowed) despite pitching in one of the best parks in all of baseball. Now he has to deal with Coors Field. Paulsen doesn’t project as an elite hitter. ZiPS projection system pegs him for a .326 wOBA and .176 ISO against RHP which is good enough to attack Vogelsong at depressed price points. I’d prefer to see Paulsen hit fifth, but he’ll likely settle in at sixth in the Rockies lineup. He’s more of a punt play than a recommended value, but one with some upside in the highest total game of the night. Mark Teixeira (NYY) is my favorite tournament first base option as part of a Yankees stack or mini-stack. Colby Lewis is fly ball prone and Yankee Stadium isn’t a good place to surrender fly balls to LHBs. Teixeira’s value is almost entirely wrapped up in his power and this is a good matchup for it to show.
Robinson Cano (SEA) – Cano’s power has disappeared (.148 ISO against RHP) since joining the Mariners but he continues to hit well overall (.365 wOBA) against RHP. He’s back in an elite hitting environment in Toronto and faces an extreme fly ball pitcher in Marco Estrada (47.5 percent FB Rate allowed to LHBs) that gives up a lot of homers (1.47 HR/9 allowed to LHBs). Cano’s price point is down around the industry and he ranks inside our Top 10 overall hitters.
Joe Panik (SF) – Panik isn’t a very good hitter (.311 wOBA, .082 ISO against RHP in his career) but he benefits from a great lineup spot (typically second) and an elite park environment. On sites that price up players for Coors Field, Panik isn’t an elite value but is more of a secondary play. This is where price sensitivity is key. Panik ranks inside our Top 40 overall players thanks to the park bump and a great matchup with Kyle Kendrick, but you want to make sure he’s priced appropriately. Ideally, there would be a big separation in price between Cano and Panik if I were going to invest.
Additional second base notes: D.J. LeMahieu (COL) hit second yesterday and if he gets that type of premier lineup spot again, he’d represent a similar option to Joe Panik. Jose Altuve (HOU) cracks our Top 30 overall hitters but doesn’t have a particularly compelling price point around the industry. Stephen Drew (NYY) is a fun tournament play. He hits too low in the order for cash game consideration but he has power against RHP (.173 ISO against RHP) and faces the fly ball prone Colby Lewis. You can get a near minimum price point on a tough position to fill and get some home run upside. It’s a tremendous tournament strategy and I think it’s viable on difficult pricing sites as a punt play in cash games.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – Tulowitzki is a difficult option to handle right now. Historically he’s been so far ahead of the rest of the shortstop eligible players that he ranks firmly inside our Top Five overall hitters. We’re careful not to let a poor six week sample erode years of elite hitting data, but Tulowitzki also looks nothing like the player we’re accustomed to. He’s posting a career low BB Rate (2.9 percent), career high strikeout rate (21.2 percent) and both are supported by awful plate discipline peripherals (career worst 36.3 percent chase rate and career low 78.1 percent contact rate). When he is making contact, he continues to hit the ball hard. He’s actually posting a career best 44 percent hard hit rate (average 34.3 percent) while creating aerial contact (career low 37.5 percent GB Rate, career average of 42.1 percent). An unusually low HR/FB Rate (4.7 percent, career average of 15.1 percent) is masking a lot of the hard contact. On one hand, he’s demonstrating the worst command of the strike zone in his career, but on the other hand; he’s still making a lot of hard contact. ZiPS projection system still has him for a .305/.373/.528 rest of season line (.387 wOBA). It’s a fall from his early season projections but not a precipitous one. Fortunately on most sites, the price has come down some. Perhaps not as much as his current performance (.275/.292/.427) indicates, but enough to cover the rest of season projection. I think he’s priced fairly which then shifts the emphasis to ideal lineup construction and depth of values at the position. If the site you’re playing on isn’t littered with shortstop values, paying up for Tulowitzki makes some sense.
Ian Desmond (WAS) – Desmond has been promoted to second in the lineup with Jayson Werth‘s injury. It’s a nice boost from hitting seventh and it really elevates Desmond’s value. The Nationals get a favorable matchup against Sean O’Sullivan who has a career 5.72 ERA and 5.58 FIP. O’Sullivan has been competent against RHBs (.285 wOBA, 54.4 percent GB Rate) but Desmond has above average skills against righties for a shortstop (.339 wOBA and .182 ISO since 2012). He ranks within our Top 25 overall hitters and has a price tag that hasn’t adjusted for his new lineup spot.
Brandon Crawford (SF) – Crawford ranks a few spots ahead of Desmond (inside our Top 20 overall hitters) but his price tag varies significantly around the industry because he’s playing in Coors Field. He gets a poor lineup spot, but the added depth to the Giants lineup (Belt and Posey towards the bottom half) makes it more palatable as does the high expected scoring environment overall. Where priced similarly to Desmond, I prefer Crawford.
Brad Miller (SEA) – Miller is another alternative in the mix at shortstop. He gets a big park environment boost and is facing a homer prone Marco Estrada. Miller derives most of his value from his power against RHP (.331 wOBA, .182 ISO against RHP since 2012) and this matchup should encourage it. The price point is on the rise and he ranks a bit below Desmond and Crawford in our model (Top 65) but I think he’s a fine alternative.
Additional shortstop notes: Starlin Castro (CHC) ranks right around Brad Miller and gets an elite lineup spot in a Cubs offense that projects well. He’s another viable alternative at the shortstop position. Yunel Escobar (WAS) isn’t much of a hitter but has been hitting third in the Nationals lineup that projects very well against Sean O’Sullivan. If you can get him with reduced price points and shortstop eligibility, he’s an adequate option. On DraftKings, where pricing is a bit tighter, Rafael Ynoa (COL) and Elian Herrera (MIL) are viable punt plays if they’re in the lineup.
Kris Bryant (CHC) – Josh Collmenter has allowed a 50.8 percent FB rate to RHBs since 2012. These extreme fly ball tendencies are a nice match for Kris Bryant‘s power, as is the park in Arizona. Arizona inflates home runs for RHBs about five percent above the league average and Bryant yields most of his value from his impressive power (.400 wOBA, .194 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer). The price point is elevated around the industry, but it’s appropriate in our minds. Bryant ranks as a Top 15 overall hitter in our model.
Next in line: Nolan Arenado (COL)
Kyle Seager (SEA) – Seager is another one of the Mariners LHBs that get the benefit of a positive park shift and a favorable matchup against Marco Estrada. Seager has compiled a .354 wOBA and .183 ISO against RHP since 2012 while Estrada has allowed 1.47 HR/9 to LHBs during the same span. He’s priced up on DraftKings, but at $2,900 on FanDuel; he’s a strong value play. Seager ranks within our Top 30 overall hitters.
Chase Headley (NYY) – We saw some favorable lineup spots for Headley with Ellsbury out and the Yankees in NL Parks (no DH removes Alex Rodriguez from the middle). If he’s able to garner a favorable lineup spot on Friday, he’ll have our attention once again. We’ve noted Colby Lewis‘ struggles with LH power and how Yankee Stadium is a particularly poor fit for his skill set. Headley has posted a solid .344 wOBA and .158 ISO against RHP since 2012 and ZiPS projection system expects a healthy power boost playing in Yankee Stadium this season (projected .180 ISO). Without adjusting for lineup positioning, Headley ranks as a Top 25 hitter in our model.
Additional third base notes: Alex Rodriguez (NYY) gets a boost via the supporting cast and elevated scoring environment against Colby Lewis. He doesn’t rank as highly as Seager or even Headley in our model, but he gets a great lineup spot and is a key part of Yankees stacks or mini-stacks in tournaments. Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) rates better than Rodriguez in our model but is a bit pricier and doesn’t always come with third base eligibility. Once again we like Zimmerman as a part of Nationals stacks or mini-stacks in tournaments but find him less compelling in cash games. Aramis Ramirez (MIL) is really cheap on DraftKings ($3,400) and gives you a middle of the order bat with the platoon advantage.
With so much strong high end pitching, it will be difficult to pay up in cash games for the elite outfielders. Bryce Harper (WAS), Mike Trout (LAA), Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) and Nelson Cruz (SEA) all rate well within our model but are priced to perfection around the industry. They each represent strong tournament options but price points make them difficult to afford in cash games.
Giants Outfielders (SF) – The Giants are getting the biggest park shift in baseball and facing one of the weakest starters going on Friday. In the best offensive environment in baseball, they have an implied team run total over five runs. Nori Aoki (.325 wOBA, .107 ISO), Angel Pagan (.338 wOBA, .123 ISO), and Hunter Pence (.335 wOBA, .170 ISO) are all solid enough against RHP that they all sky rocket in our model. They’re all Top 25 hitters overall and your primary targets in the outfield in cash games.
Charlie Blackmon/Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – Our model continues to rate Gonzalez (Top Five) ahead of Blackmon (Top 25) but admittedly I think they’re probably closer than our model suggests. Gonzalez, like Tulowitzki, is having a strange season. His GB Rate remains elevated (49.5 percent) and his hard hit rate is approaching a career low. Blackmon is the more consistent asset as he’s generating more consistently hard contact. On most sites, I’m letting price dictate my decision. On FanDuel, Gonzalez is very cheap. On DraftKings, Blackmon is the more affordable option.
Brett Gardner/Carlos Beltran (NYY) – Gardner isn’t the prototypical option to attack Colby Lewis with. He’s not a big power hitter (.153 ISO against RHP) but he has compiled a solid .338 wOBA against RHP and he hits leadoff for an offense with a solid team total. The price point is fair around the industry and he ranks within our Top 20 overall hitters. Beltran is the more prototypical power you want to attack Lewis with (.198 ISO against RHP since 2012) but his profile (age 38, increasing chase rate) push him down in our model (Top 35).
Additional outfield notes: Seth Smith (SEA) is another way to get exposure to Estrada’s challenges with the long ball. The concern with Smith as a straight platoon player is lost at bats late in the game. Joc Pederson (LAD) is uniquely cheap on DraftKings and a viable option even against a tough opposing starter like Andrew Cashner. Joey Butler (TB) is hitting fifth for Tampa Bay with the platoon advantage and minimum priced on DraftKings at $2,100. He opens up a lot for the rest of your lineup. A.J. Pollock (ARZ) has dismantled LHP (.368 wOBA, .221 ISO) and typically gets an elite lineup spot. Jon Lester isn’t someone to attack often, but the park environment is strong. I like Pollock as a tournament option. Ryan Braun (MIL), Khris Davis (MIL) and Carlos Gomez (MIL) are additional tournament options. They all hit LHP very well and while Alex Wood isn’t a bad LHP, he’s had some struggles in his profile this season. Brandon Moss (CLE) is another intriguing tournament option. Mike Leake is homer prone to LHBs and the Indians offense has historically been strong against RHP.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Max Scherzer (WAS)
2) Zack Greinke (LAD)
3) Gerrit Cole (PIT)
4) Felix Hernandez (SEA)
5) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)
6) Chris Archer (TB)
7) Michael Pineda (NYY)
8) Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL)
9) Scott Kazmir (OAK)
10) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)
11) Andrew Cashner (SD)
12) Lance Lynn (STL)
13) Collin McHugh (HOU)
14) Jon Lester (CHC)
15) Garrett Richards (LAA)
Max Scherzer (WAS) – Friday is loaded with elite pitching, but one name ranks above the rest in our model: Max Scherzer. Scherzer is at home and a monstrous favorite (-300) in a game with a total of just seven. Some of the research we’ve done suggests the chances of a SP win dramatically increase once you get above the -200 favorite threshold. Scherzer faces a Phillies offense that ranks 30th (last) in MLB in wRC+ against RHP. They strike out at a below league average rate (18.9 percent K Rate) but they lack much of a threat in run prevention. Scherzer is averaging over seven innings per start and projects for an excellent K Rate (28.6 percent) even against a Phillies offense that strikes out just below the league average. He’s very expensive and the depth at the position won’t make him a must play, but he’s clearly the top play at the position.
Next in line:
Zack Greinke (LAD) – Greinke is the next biggest favorite on the board (-185) in a home matchup against the Padres. San Diego has slipped to 17th in wRC+ against RHP and they strike out at a 21.5 percent clip against righties. They’re a particularly good matchup for Greinke given his domination against RHBs in recent years (.273 wOBA, 23.6 K Rate). Greinke should have the platoon advantage on six members of the lineup and all the key power hitters. Greinke’s already faced the Padres twice this season and limited them to one earned run over 13 innings while posting an 11:3 K:BB Ratio. He doesn’t possess the upside of Scherzer, or even Carrasco/Cole in K Rate, but he’s one of the safer bets for limiting run prevention.
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) – Carrasco isn’t priced like an elite starter on most sites because he doesn’t have a long track record of performing like an elite starter. Something clicked for Carrasco last season and he’s been a different pitcher ever since he was reinserted into the rotation. He closed out the season with a 1.30 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and 78 strikeouts in 69 innings over his final 10 starts. This season he’s kept all the elite peripherals (27.9 percent K Rate, 5.5 percent BB Rate, and 47.5 percent GB Rate) but has gotten far worse results (4.98 ERA). Carrasco’s LD Rate and hard hit ball percentage are both up substantially despite Carrasco working from ahead more often (career best 68.9 percent first strike rate) and generating the a career best chase rate (generating swings on 37.4 percent of pitches outside the strike zone). When all the pitch peripherals look good, we’ll bet on the contact regressing closer to the standards he set last season and consequently on the ERA and WHIP dropping. He faces a Reds offense that ranks 21st in wRC+, strikes out at a leaguer average 20.2 percent against RHP and is getting a big downgrade in park environment. Of the second tier starters, Carrasco is the one who is most consistently underpriced.
Gerrit Cole (PIT) – We’ve written at length about Cole’s impressive steps forward this season. He’s bumped his K Rate (26.6 percent) and GB Rate (54.6 percent) to elite levels while maintaining his above average command (6.5 percent BB Rate). He plays in an elite pitching environment and should have the platoon advantage on six batters in the Mets lineup. The Mets rank 28th in wRC+ against RHP with a league average strikeout rate. His price point varies a bit more than Carrasco around the industry, but notice we have him above Carrasco in our rankings. On sites they’re priced similarly, we prefer Cole.
Chris Archer (TB) – Archer’s history of dominance is a bit shorter than Carrasco’s (it’s largely been this season) but he gets an elite environment and is a modest favorite (-140) in a game with a total of just seven. If you evaluate the Athletics offense on their performance to date (second in wRC+ against RHP and a low 16.9 percent K Rate), the Athletics look like a very difficult matchup. However, our projections for the lineup they’re likely to use on Friday (same lineup as Thursday) gives them an 89 wRC+ which would currently rank 21st in MLB against RHP. Our projections reinforce that they’re difficult to strike out (17 percent projected K Rate) which will limit some of Archer’s ceiling, but the run prevention side should be there. Like Carrasco, because Archer hasn’t been an elite SP for a while, his price is down around the industry. I’d prefer him on multiple starting pitcher sites.
Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) – Jimenez is in a different tier than the recommendations above and he carries a different risk profile altogether. However, he comes much cheaper on most sites. Jimenez has flashed elite peripherals early in the season (23.9 K Rate, 7.6 BB Rate, and 55.1 GB Rate) which is good for a 3.10 xFIP that is in line with many of the pitchers in the second tier. Unfortunately, it’s hard to trust Ubaldo. He’s posting a great strikeout rate despite a below league average 6.3 percent swinging strike rate. He has never posted a BB Rate below 9.3 percent over a full season and this year he’s at 7.6 percent. Last year, he posted a career high 13.9 percent BB Rate. His first strike percentage has improved dramatically but is still below the league average and the percentage of pitches he’s thrown inside the strike zone isn’t much different from his career average. He’s also only generating chases outside the strike zone on 24 percent of pitches outside the zone (league average is 30.3 percent). In short, his surface peripherals are elite but the bare bones are shaky. He gets a huge park shift and gets the benefit of the National League. He also gets to face a Marlins offense that is very right handed and ranks 26th in wRC+ against RHP with a K Rate above the league average. It’s a tremendous matchup for Jimenez but there is some opportunity cost on the risk side in utilizing Jimenez. With so many good starters that are slightly discounted, he’s still a better tournament option than cash game play. I think he’s worthy of cash game consideration, but I’d ultimately pull the trigger in tournaments.
Additional starting pitcher notes: When you look at the quality of pitching in the third tier it speaks to the incredible depth we have on display on Friday night. I’m focusing cash games on the recommendations above with Jimenez as more of a primary tournament play on multiple starting pitcher sites. Price points and offensive environments are impeding Felix Hernandez (SEA) and Michael Pineda (NYY) from cash game targets, but their upside earns strong consideration in tournaments where they’ll come with low ownership. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) is the other starter that I’d consider with ample tournament upside at his current price point. He gets a favorable matchup against a strikeout prone Pirates team in an elite pitching environment. Jon Lester (CHC), Lance Lynn (STL), Collin McHugh (HOU), and Garrett Richards (LAA) are all great pitchers in very tough matchups. They’re certainly capable of dominating but all their opponents are good at limiting strikeouts and they’re all in plus offensive environments. The one pitcher not listed in our rankings that I’d consider in tournaments on multi-SP sites is Alfredo Simon (DET). He’s not in the same stratosphere as the other pitchers in terms of talent and he doesn’t typically strikeout many batters, but he faces the Astros who have struck out in 25.2 percent of their plate appearances. He’s also the type of crafty veteran that I like to exploit the Astros free swinging ways. On sites where he’s cheap enough to really upgrade the offense, I’d consider him a viable second or third starter in a rotation.
Macro Thinking, Stacks, and Tournament Notes:
This is a new section we’ve created to try and offer more dedicated macro thinking to our analysis and hopefully add more value to those playing tournaments. The format is a bit of a work in progress and we welcome feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) San Francisco Giants
2) Colorado Rockies
3) New York Yankees
4) Chicago Cubs
5) Seattle Mariners
6) Washington Nationals
Coors Field is always the “chalky” approach to stacking or mini-stacking and it’s especially so when it’s home to two of the worst starters on the slate. Fire away in cash games, but expect heavy ownership in tournaments.
I believe the Yankees will represent the next most popular stack alternative and the first one people who fade Coors Field will turn to. They are loaded with LHBs that can take aim at the short porch in right field and we’ve got a chance at a slight helping wind in that direction as well.
The Cubs are a little bit further off the radar for tournament stacks. They get a nice park shift and face a pitcher that really struggles to miss bats. The Cubs have a ton of power throughout their lineup and their biggest weakness is contact. If Collmenter (11.1 percent K Rate) can’t miss bats, the Cubs could pile up home runs.
The Mariners have a nice park shift and are facing a homer prone RHP. My biggest concern for stacking them is their consistent platooning coupled with a bevy of LHBs makes them vulnerable to late game substitutions in a few lineup spots. The key is predicting how early Loup will be utilized. So far this season, he’s been used before the seventh inning in just three of his appearances. If that pattern holds, the platoon Mariners (mostly Seth Smith as a concern) are probably safe to utilize in stacks.
The Nationals have an elite matchup but price tags that are difficult to fit into stacks because Bryce Harper is extraordinarily expensive. They’re also the most likely of all these teams to get just eight offensive innings as -300 favorites. As a result, they’re a stack I probably won’t cover in more than a mini-stack fashion.
1) Milwaukee Brewers
2) Arizona Diamondbacks
3) Cleveland Indians
4) Baltimore Orioles
The Brewers are skilled against LHP, facing a good pitcher with some questionable peripherals, and a below average bullpen behind him. The depth of the Brewers lineup is a concern for full stacking but I think there is value in a mini-stack with the core outfielders and Ramirez.
The Diamondbacks offense projects really well against LHP. Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and Mark Trumbo all hit LHP well and the rest of their offense is very right handed. Jon Lester is a good pitcher which will keep ownership levels down and the Cubs bullpen behind him is a huge mess. If the Diamondbacks can get to Lester early, things could compound quickly.
The Indians are like a watered down version of the Nationals. They come with expensive price points, a below average park, but a matchup against a weak starter that pitches to their platoon advantage. They’re also heavy favorites that are less likely to get a full nine offensive innings. I do think they’ll come with lower ownership than the Nationals though which makes them intriguing.
Henderson Alvarez is reportedly pitching through a UCL tear. His velocity has been way down and he’s been shelled repeatedly. The only issue is, he doesn’t allow many home runs and he’s been effective against RHBs (.226 wOBA). Since the Orioles rely on a lot of RHBs near the top of the order it’s harder to peg them as an elite stack. They’ll basically need to get to the bullpen early and then go off from there. Against an injured pitcher, it’s very possible.
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
In the scales below, a 10 strongly favors the batter, a 1 strongly favors the pitcher and a 5 has no impact on the game.
CIN at CLE 7:05: Dry. Temps in the upper 50s falling to near 50. Air density is a 5 becoming a 4. Wind variable at less than 10 mph. The wind is a 5.
TEX at NYY 7:05: A 10% chance a shower. No big deal. Temps in the mid to upper 60s falling to near 60. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind northwest 6-12 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
PHL at WSH 7:05: Dry. Temps near 70 falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 6. Wind northwest 8-16 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
NYM at PIT 7:05: Dry. Temps near 60 falling to near 50. Air density is a 5 becoming a 4. Wind northwest 9-18 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.
SEA at TOR 7:07: Retractable roof. Dry but very chilly. Temps near 50 to begin falling to near 40 so the roof will likely be closed?
HOU at DET 7:08: Dry. Temps near 60 falling to near 50. Air density is a 5 becoming a 4. Wind northwest 5-10 mph becoming nearly calm which blows out to center. The wind is a 6 becoming a 5.
LAA at BOS 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid-60s falling into the upper 50s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind northwest 12-25 mph lessening to 10-20 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
BLT at MIA 7:10: Retractable roof. Just a 10% chance of a shower so the roof should be open. Temps in the mid-80s falling into the upper 70s. Air density is a 8 becoming a 7. Wind east-southeast 5-10 mph which blows in from right-center. The wind is a 4.
OAK at TB 7:10: Dome.
MIL at ATL 7:35: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 70s falling into the mid-60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind northeast becoming east at less than 8 mph which blows in from center and then in from right. The wind is a 4.
MIN at CHW 8:10: Dry. Temps near 60 falling to near 50. Air density is a 5 becoming a 4. Wind east-northeast 5-10 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.
STL at KC 8:10: A 10-20% chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Will keep an eye on this game but right now it does not seem like a big deal. Temps in the low to mid 60s falling into the mid to upper 50s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind southeast 5-10 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
SF at COL 8:10: A 20-30% chance of a widely scattered shower or thunderstorm. Do not see this causing a huge problem. Temps near 60 falling to near 50. Air density is a 10. Wind northeast 8-16 mph becoming northwest 6-12 mph which blows in from right and then left to right. The wind is a 4 becoming a 5.
CHC at AZ 9:40: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the low to mid 70s. Roof will likely be open. Air density is an 8 becoming a 7. Wind west-southwest 12-25 mph lessening to 10-20 mph which blows out to right. The wind is 7 or 8.
SD at LAD 10:10: A 10-20% chance of a few showers. Should not be a problem. Temps in the low to mid 60s falling to near 60. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-southwest 10-20 mph lessening to 6-12 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.