Welcome to May 23 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Podcast and cliff notes for May 23 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 23 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
- 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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May 23 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Jacob deGrom (NYM) doesn’t have much competition as the top overall SP, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t deserving. deGrom has the lowest xwOBA of any SP this season (.232) and continues to see his K rate rise (34.3% on the season, 50/33.3/42.9 last three starts). The Marlins seemed like a pesky, contact oriented team to start the year, but they’ve fallen to 28th in wRC+ against RHP with a 23.9 K% (11th highest). deGrom looks to be a foundational piece in cash games on both sites. The kicker here is the most favorable umpire on the slate.
Our next in line SPs are Kenta Maeda (LAD) and David Price (BOS). If you weren’t using deGrom in cash games, it’s likely because you’d be doubling up on this mid-high tier. Maeda has had a phenomenal season, boasting a 28.6 K%, which is backed up by career highs in chase rate, F-Strike%, and SwStr%. Maeda has a favorable home matchup against the Rockies (dead last in wRC+ against RHP).
Price hasn’t had the same strong season as Maeda. In fact, he’s struggled relative to expectations. The good news for Price is that he’s limited hard contact lately, especially relative to what we saw early in the season. He’s also struck out more than 25% of batters faced in back to back starts after having just one such start like that over his first seven starts. He’s a small favorite in a large positive park shift in Tampa Bay with a low 3.6 IRTA. Additionally, the Rays may be without Wilson Ramos who left last game’s early. Like most of our top rated pitchers in this slate, Price has a favorable umpire.
Our optimals, though, do push us to a deGrom start on DK, and a large part of that is the cheap price tag on Chris Archer (TB), making him a natural complement to deGrom’s high salary. The issue with Archer has been his volatility early on (five starts with 4+ ERs) and a horrific matchup against the Red Sox. Ultimately, we just find the price tag too cheap at home, but if you had concerns over Archer’s floor, you’d either look to the Maeda/Price combination or an alternative cheap SP.
One potential cheap SP alternative is Alex Cobb (BAL), although we prefer using him in tournaments over cash games. After a horrendous start to the season, Cobb has settled down recently, averaging 6 IP over his last four starts with a slightly better K rate over his last three. There’s definite downside here (4.5 IRTA), but Cobb is really cheap for a guy who won’t BB people, has a well above average GB rate, and has a favorable matchup against the White Sox.
Other cheaper tournament plays are Luiz Gohara (ATL) (strong K rate, duration concerns), Daniel Gossett (OAK) (just cheap), and Marco Gonzales (SEA) (favorable pitching environment, solid expected ERAs). This group is likely only in consideration on DK, with maybe the exception of Gohara.
The catcher position is very similar to Tuesday night. Gary Sanchez (NYY) once again tops the projections, although this time in a less attractive matchup against Doug Fister (.281 wOBA, .110 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2016). Sanchez is an unnecessary spend in cash games and only viable in tournaments.
The primary value we’re focused on once again is Francisco Cervelli (PIT) who has a great matchup with Homer Bailey (.367 wOBA, .167 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2016) with a huge park shift in Great American Ballpark. Cervelli has been hitting the ball hard of late (38.5 hard hit rate over last 15 days) and the Pirates have a healthy 4.9 implied total on the slate. Cervelli is a slight value for us at $3,600 on DraftKings.
There are not many catchers in good lineup spots or particularly great matchups on this slate so our list at the position is thin. Cervelli is our guy for cash games. If he’s out, we’ll see what else pops up in a good lineup spot.
In tournaments, Willson Contreras (CHC) should go overlooked with Sanchez the primary spend. Adam Plutko posted a 5.90 ERA in AAa last year with middling peripherals. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher (GB Rates in the 20s and 30s the last few years in the minor leagues) and while the weather isn’t ideal in Wrigley, Contreras power can still take advantage. Robinson Chirinos (TEX) has the platoon edge against CC Sabathia who has done a heck of a job limiting hard contact this year. Chirinos is cheap and has been very good against LHP of late (.390 wOBA, .240 ISO against LHP since 2016). Russell Martin (TOR) gets fly ball oriented Tyler Skaggs in a park downgrade. Mike Zunino (SEA) always has bgi power upside and the wind is blowing out in Oakland. Both are viable in tournaments.
Joey Votto (CIN), Anthony Rizzo (CHC), and Freddie Freeman (ATL) top the projections at first base. All three have the platoon edge with Freeman facing the only above average pitcher. The prices are pretty reasonable on both Votto and Rizzo which puts them in the cash game conversation. Both hitters have similar implied team totals and facing similarly skilled bullpens but Votto has a big environment advantage which makes him the slightly preferred target if you can get up there.
The best mid-tier option on the slate is Josh Bell (PIT) who gets that great matchup with Homer Bailey (.373 wOBA, .194 ISO against LHBs since 2016) and a big park shift in his favor. Bell has posted a solid .342 wOBA and .186 ISO against RHP since 2016. He may get lost a bit in the shuffle on this slate given the strength of the plays up top and at the bottom of the price range.
On the really cheap end of the equation we’ve got Chris Davis (BAL), Wilmer Flores (NYM), and then site specific targets in either Neil Walker (NYY) – FanDuel or Mark Trumbo (BAL) – DraftKings. On FanDuel, these guys are all priced like pure punts which comes in handy when trying to squeeze offense in around Jacob deGrom. The Orioles duo has the best matchup against Dylan Covey who has been equally awful against RHBs (.429 wOBA, .290 ISO since 2016) as LHBs (.377 wOBA, .250 ISO since 2016). Covey is also backed up by an awful bullpen, so what’s the catch? It’s Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo.
Neil Walker could pop a bit more if Gary Sanchez needs another day and he slides up further in the lineup. Doug Fister has struggled with LHBs (.375 wOBA, .207 ISO since 2016) and the Yankees have a monstrous implied total (5.7 runs) which would certainly come down if Sanchez were out, but Walker’s value may get offset by a better lineup spot.
Flores is the least attractive of the bunch but Dan Straily is fly ball prone, the Marlins bullpen isn’t great (though for Flores just on lefty), and the temperatures are warm in New York.
Josh Harrison (PIT) is a new face atop the second base projections. The power of Homer Bailey as well as a big park shift and the leadoff spot for a team with an implied total makes Harrison a great play with a mid-tier price tag. Harrison is our preferred cash game target by a wide margin on both sites.
The position is filled with lots of alternatives that are strong plays, but Harrison just surpasses them all in value by a wide margin. The best pivots are Yoan Moncada (CHW), Jonathan Schoop (BAL), and Ian Kinsler (LAA) who all have very good matchups. We’ve touched on Dylan Covey‘s struggles at the big league level which makes Jonathan Schoop a solid play despite the lack of platoon advantage. Moncada will hit from his better side against Alex Cobb who has allowed a .347 wOBA and .199 ISO against LHBs since 2016. Kinsler faces Aaron Sanchez who has been a disaster this season with his command but has still held RHBs in check. Kinsler is the least attractive of the group but he is cheap.
Additional alternatives in tournaments include Scooter Gennett (CIN), Javier Baez (CHC), and Ozzie Albies (ATL) who each carry strong individual upside either due to their own skill set or the environment.
Kris Bryant (CHC) tops the projections at third base with a favorable matchup against Adam Plutko. Bryant is priced fairly on both sites which makes him tough to get up to. Bryant has made rather incredible strides forward this season. He’s cut his K Rate down to just 15.7 percent from 19.2 percent last year and way below the 30.6 percent he debuted with in 2015. He’s posting the largest hard hit rate of his career (42.3 percent) and he’s posting his lowest chase rates and swinging strike rates. It’s possible his baselines are conservative as he keeps showing rapid improvement each year.
Josh Donaldson (TOR) is priced a bit below Bryant and projects similarly as well. Tyler Skaggs is a good lefty but has yielded a .329 wOBA and .147 ISO to RHBs since 2016. He’s getting a big park downgrade and especially for a historically fly ball pitcher (though Skaggs has improved there this year). Donaldson has monster splits against LHP (.399 wOBA, .278 ISO since 2016) but hasn’t looked like himself this season. His GB Rate is way up (48.7 percent, career 42.8 percent) and he’s making more soft contact and swinging through a lot more pitches. His expected Slugging percentage is lower than his actual slugging percentage. There are some reasons for concern here. If you don’t want to rely on Donaldson’s price discount over Bryant you can try to squeeze Bryant in.
The values at the position are more of the extreme salary relief variety as lower order hitters with big power upside. Pedro Alvarez (BAL) is the constant on both sites while Colin Moran (PIT) is cheap on FanDuel and Wilmer Flores (NYM) is cheap on DraftKings. Yangervis Solarte (TOR) and Yolmer Sanchez (CHW) are secondary cheap options on DraftKings. Alvarez and Moran are the big power guys in good parks for home runs against total gas cans but neither are strong overall hitters. We are more intrigued by these salary relief plays on FanDuel than we are on DraftKings as the pricing gap is wider.
Manny Machado (BAL) tops the projections at shortstop. He’s likely the best overall hitter at the position and he also has the best matchup as Dylan Covey is truly awful. The price tag is an issue for cash games as he’s priced as one of the most expensive players on the entire slate. We prefer exposure in tournaments.
Didi Gregorius (NYY) and Jose Peraza (CIN) are the value plays that make the most sense on both sites. Gregorius is a part of the Yankees monstrous implied total. We think it will come down some, especially with Gary Sanchez‘s availability in question but Doug Fister’s struggles against LHBs keep Didi in play despite his extended slump. Peraza is the more affordable target and may fit the slate a bit better as he brings salary relief and a potential top of the order spot for a Reds team with a solid implied total. Chad Kuhl has been pretty solid against RHBs (.301 wOBA, .135 ISO allowed since 2016) which is the main knock.
Marcus Semien (OAK) looks like a really strong tournament target. He’s always hit LHP well (.343 wOBA, .212 ISO since 2016) and his price tag is caught in limbo on both sites.
Once again the top of the outfield projections are loaded. Mike Trout (LAA), Giancarlo Stanton (NYY), and Aaron Judge (NYY) are all in great hitting environments against below average opposing pitchers. While Fister and Sanchez aren’t good by any means, they’re decent against RHbs so the projections aren’t as gaudy as they’ve been the last few days. Still, employing one of these options is a fine approach in cash games. You’re more likely able to afford this kind of spend on DraftKings than you are on FanDuel. Our preference of the group is Mike Trout who just has a skill advantage R on R compared to the Yankees RHBs.
Gregory Polanco (PIT), Rhys Hoskins (PHI), and Brett Gardner (NYY) form the next mini tier. We’ve largely covered the matchups for Polanco and Gardner but we’ll note that Homer Bailey has also struggled controlling the running game which is a boon to Polanco’s projection. Hoskins disappointed on Tuesday night but is still under-priced on DraftKings ($4,100) and now gets the platoon edge against a talented lefty but one who was struggling mightily at AAA (8.03 ERA in 12+ IP) and has been fly ball prone at the upper levels.
Trey Mancini (BAL), Jesse Winker (CIN), Corey Dickerson (PIT), Teoscar Hernandez (TOR), Adam Jones (BAL), and Delino Deshields (TEX) are all solid value targets as secondary pieces in the outfield. The Orioles have that great matchup with Dylan Covey that we’d love to target and one of the more affordable outfield bats looks like the best way on DraftKings. Jesse Winker hasn’t been in the lineup in either of the last two games but if he’s near the top of the order he has a good matchup with Chad Kuhl;s BB Rate (9.8 percent against LHBs since 2016).
1) New York Yankees
The Yankees disappointed us overall last night, although it was another homer barrage for the bottom of the lineup. Assuming Gary Sanchez is able to play (left early last night), the Yankees separate themselves from our other stacks. Doug Fister has been much better recently, but he’s still a low strikeout pitcher in Texas that most projections have pegged for an ERA near 5.
2) Pittsburgh Pirates
3) Chicago Cubs
4) Cincinnati Reds
The Pirates possess a ton of value on this slate given the massive park shift in their favor and our horrific baselines on Homer Bailey, who has a .372 wOBA (.412 xwOBA), a year after having a .375 wOBA (.371 xwOBA).
Adam Plutko had a solid debut for Cleveland, but he’s a RHP who projects for a 5-plus ERA and severe HR problems (1.83 per 9 projected by ZiPS, 1.59 in AAA last season).The Cubs may go low owned on this slate relative to the other top three tier stacks.
The final stack in this tier is the Reds, who face Chad Kuhl. He’s seen a meaningful drop in GB rate this year, which combined with his usually high Hard-Soft%, leads to a lot of offensive upside in a hitter’s park.
There’s a large drop off in stack projection following the Orioles, who are much closer to the second tier than the fourth tier. As we’ve been mentioning most of the year, the Orioles have a below average offense yet they carry a lot of power potential top to bottom. They get a guaranteed nine innings against Dylan Covey, who is atrocious beyond words (6.00 ZiPS projected ERA, 6.92 FIP in 76 career MLB innings).
6) Toronto Blue Jays
7) Los Angeles Angels
8) Philadelphia Phillies
9) Oakland Athletics
Of the ranked stacks, the Angels have the lowest average cost. They get a large park shift in their favor hitting in Toronto. The issue for the Angels is they are heavily right-handed, and Aaron Sanchez has wide splits. If they can get to him early (his extreme wildness is an issue regardless of handedness), the bullpen behind him is only average.
While Marco Gonzales has a solid FIP and xFIP, he’s got a slight fly ball tilt and a 36.1 Hard%, which lines up well with all of the power RHBs in the Oakland lineup.