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5/24 MLB DFS: An Angel gets its wings

5/24 MLB DFS: An Angel gets its wings
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Daily Fantasy Rundown – May 24th MLB DFS Picks and Analysis

Welcome to Saturday’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.

Glossary: See a term you’re unfamiliar with? Check out our glossary page. If there’s something you’d like to see added there, please email us at

Weather: Major concern is KC, moderate concern in Chicago, Denver looks good to go!

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.


Top Play:

Buster Posey (SF) – I won’t spend too much time on the Coors Field players as it’s been an environment we’ve targeted all weekend (45 runs in three games). The Giants are particularly valuable on sites where park isn’t taken into account as they get a massive park shift moving from the worst hitter’s park in MLB to the best. Aside from the park factors, the Giants get to face more bad pitching as Chad Bettis will be on the hill for the Rockies. In 80.1 MLB innings, Bettis has a 6.72 ERA and ZiPS is calling for a 4.88 ERA ROS. All of Posey’s numbers are in line with his career marks, and he’s easily the top catcher on the day. Posey is ranked inside our top 5 overall hitters and the gap between him and the next viable option is so large that he’s worth paying up for where possible.

Value Plays:

Brian McCann (NYY) – McCann has a nice matchup as he’ll have the platoon edge at home, which will enable him to take advantage of the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium. McCann hasn’t quite had the success we expected since shifting to the Yankees but the power has been there at home (.219 ISO versus RHP at home last season, .342 this season). Opposing pitcher Yovani Gallardo has been slowly declining, dropping his K percentage in six consecutive seasons. He’s not awful but ZiPS and Steamer are projecting an ERA somewhere between 4.25 and 4.50 rest of season (ROS) and the Yankees have a team total around 4.5. McCann ranks just outside our top 50 overall hitters (helps you visualize the gap between Posey and all other options), but he’s also a significant discount to Posey on sites like FanDuel.

Rockies Catchers – While Tim Hudson’s ground ball ways may help him a bit in Coors Field, his inability to miss bats could cause for a long afternoon (11.7 K percentage). Vegas has given the Rockies a team total of 5, the second highest of the day. On sites like DraftKings where you may not be able to pay up for Posey and the Rockies catchers are discounted to McCann, it makes sense to get exposure to the Colorado offense. Wilin Rosario (could hit fifth, has more power upside) is our preferred target but Nick Hundley is viable as well.

Cheap Play:

Welington Castillo (SEA) – Castillo has started and hit sixth in the Mariners last two games against RHP. Despite the same handed matchup, a similar spot in the lineup would make him the best cheap option at the catcher position ($2,200 FD, $2,800 DK). The Mariners in general have nice scoring upside as they get a big park shift playing in Toronto and will face the volatile Aaron Sanchez (has walked more batters than he has struck out). Castillo doesn’t have a great ZiPS projection but the contextual factors put him in our top 125 hitters, which is enough to be considered in cash games given his low pricing and position.

Additional catcher notes: Carlos Santana (CLE) and most Cleveland hitters are value play options on DraftKings, where they are priced as if they are facing Johnny Cueto when it is going to be Raisel Iglesias. Santana is probably the best value on that site at catcher and is similarly priced to the Colorado catchers. Injuries in the Blue Jays lineup have led to Russell Martin (TOR) consistently hitting cleanup. He’s now priced accordingly but that spot is still really good for a catcher, especially at home, and he can be considered a secondary value/tournament play. Opposing pitcher Taijuan Walker is prone to disaster starts as he’s been wild (4.58 BB/9) and has allowed hard hit contact (23.1 LD rate, 4.4 IFFB rate, 37.4 hard hit rate). Miguel Montero (CHC) will have the platoon edge and presumably favorable lineup spot against Jeremy Hellickson (.324 wOBA, 1.17 HR/9 allowed to LHBs since 2012) in a favorable hitter’s park (Chase Field). He’s a secondary value and tournament option.

First Base

Top Plays:

Brandon Belt (SF) – Whether Belt has turned some kind of corner recently or he’s just taking advantage of a lot of friendly matchups/hitting environments, there’s no reason you shouldn’t continue trotting him out there. It’s unnecessary to spend on expensive starting pitching today making spending on Belt or Rizzo viable on almost all sites and in all formats. Bettis has faced 205 LHBs at the big league level and allowed a whopping .370 wOBA. Belt is a top five hitter in our model.

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) – Rizzo is slightly behind Belt (top 10 option) in our model rankings, but I view them as comparable options as Rizzo’s baseline has improved in my eyes. He’s stealing more bases than expected (already has nine, a career high) and has remarkable struck out just 11.1 percent of the time, a pretty insane number for a first baseman with his power upside. On top of that, he’s scorching the ball with a 26 percent LD rate. Rizzo should keep it rolling in Arizona (sixth best hitter’s park for LHBs) against Jeremy Hellickson, who is susceptible to LHBs, particularly in the power department.

Additional first base notes: Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) makes for a great tournament option as he could go underowned with Belt/Rizzo rated higher at similar prices. He certainly has plenty of upside at home against Taijuan Walker though. Albert Pujols (LAA) gets a big park shift as Fenway Park is very favorable for RHBs. He’ll have the platoon edge against a struggling Wade Miley. I didn’t write up any value plays due to the big upside the top plays carry and the ease at which you can fit them in. However, if looking to save a little money at the position, Ben Paulsen (COL) and Mike Napoli (BOS) are the best targets. Additional high upside, expensive options to consider for tournaments are Jose Abreu (CHW) and Miguel Cabrera (DET).

Second Base

Value Plays:

Dustin Pedroia (BOS) – Hector Santiago has a really sharp 2.25 ERA to start the season, but a closer look indicates that not much has changed. His 4.57 xFIP is the same as it was last season, which is nearly identical to his career mark (4.56). Now, Santiago has always exceeded his xFIP but never to such an extreme extent. Look for his .248 BABIP and particularly his 87 percent LOB% to normalize as the season progresses and cause his ERA to rise. He’s very FB risky (30.9 GB rate) and has allowed a .327 wOBA and 1.38 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012. Pedroia certainly isn’t the hitter he once was but still sports a very solid .365 wOBA and .158 ISO against southpaws over the same time span and will hit second for a Boston team that will see their run total settle in between 4.5 and 5. Pedroia is a top 70 option in our model and affordable across the industry.

Joe Panik (SF) – Hitting second for the Giants with the platoon edge, Panik is a very easy way to get exposure to the Giants lineup without sacrificing much (affordable, opportunity cost at 2B is not high).

Tournament Play:

Brian Dozier (MIN) – I’m wary of using the appropriately priced Dozier in cash games against a solid starting pitcher in Jose Quintana, but there’s definitely tournament worthy upside here. Dozier is off to his best start ever as he’s absolutely smoking the ball (30.7 LD rate) and all the extra line drives are coming at the expense of ground balls as his FB rate is remarkably a career high as well (44.1 percent). When you combine that batted ball profile with the park (US Cellular Field is one of the friendliest for right-handed power) and Dozier’s platoon splits (.375 wOBA, .225 ISO since 2012), it’s clear that he may have the most power upside of any second base eligible player.

Additional second base notes: Jason Kipnis (CLE) is a top option (he’s running, power has returned, career low K rate) for tournaments and cash viable on DraftKings, where I mentioned all the Cleveland hitters are underpriced. Dee Gordon (MIA) is viable on FanDuel where he’s priced somewhat close to the other second base options mentioned and there is no negative for caught stealing. Robinson Cano (SEA) carries risk (high GB rate facing an extreme GB pitcher, deteriorating plate discipline) but due to contextual factors (platoon edge, volatile opposing SP, park shift, team total) has to be considered on FanDuel where his price has dropped heavily. He’s not a player I’d be comfortable being over exposed to in cash but if he fits I wouldn’t mind have some exposure. Other borderline cash plays/upside tournament options are DJ LeMahieu (COL) and Ian Kinsler (DET) as both of their teams are expected to be high scoring.


Value Plays:

Troy Tulowitzki (COL) – On Friday analyst Drew Dinkmeyer provided us with a brief novel on Troy Tulowitzki. In short, Tulowitzki is awful right now and it’s the peripherals along with the surface stats. Still, with SS being a scarce position and him holding a prime lineup spot for the second highest expected scoring team, he’s in the conversation. We no longer want to sell out to get Tulowitzki in our lineups but if he fits easily and is priced in line with the other options (somewhat the situation on DraftKings) it’s fine to utilize him. On FanDuel I’d be more prone to simply save money at the position and stock up elsewhere.

Ian Desmond (WAS) – With the injury to Jayson Werth, we can finally rely on Desmond getting a good lineup spot (second). Desmond frustratingly, along with all the previously go to middle infielders it seems, has some concerning underlying peripherals. He’s beating the ball into the ground a lot (56.1 GB rate, risen for second straight year) and currently has career lows in both LD and FB rate and a career high in IFFB rate. Since Desmond doesn’t walk and strikes out a lot, he’s reliant on his power. Similar to Tulowitzki, this makes me want to save money here where I can but on some sites it just doesn’t matter that much. On those you can trot him out against a fly ball oriented Aaron Harang (33.1 GB rate), whose inability to keep the ball on the ground mitigates some of the risk associated with using Desmond.

Brad Miller (SEA) – On FanDuel, it’s pretty easy to avoid the shaky overall profiles of Tulowitzki and Desmond and simply save on a value play option such as Miller or Bogaerts. The red hot Miller (.210 ISO) has a lot of pop for a SS and a positive park shift playing in Toronto only helps that. In a really small sample size, Aaron Sanchez has yielded a .371 wOBA and 1.71 HR/9 to LHBs. We don’t expect those numbers to be so extreme moving forward (31.6 HR/FB rate will not last) but they do show that in general LHBs are in a favorable matchup against him.

Xander Bogaerts (BOS) – Bogaerts is the bare minimum on FanDuel, pricing that doesn’t reflect his move to the fifth spot in the lineup the past two games. We’ve talked about the favorable matchup for Boston RHBs (at home, versus Hector Santiago) and that Vegas is optimistic about this team in general. All of that applies to a discount Bogaerts who has solid numbers for a SS against LHP for his career: .338 wOBA, .144 ISO. Overall this season, Bogaerts has cut down on his K rate a ton (down to 14.3 percent) while maintaining a similar walk rate. That’s a positive sign that’s being masked a bit by a .113 ISO that projections systems anticipate improving ROS.

Additional shortstop notes: Brandon Crawford (SF) isn’t discounted at all but if he’s in a top five or six lineup spot needs to be considered in cash games due to the environment. Erick Aybar (LAA) somehow continues to be in amazing situations for his price point but a pretty poor offensive profile has him as a tournament option only on a day where there are a few solid shortstop values to pick from.

Third Base

Top Play:

Kris Bryant (CHC) – After a slow start, Bryant now has a .380 wOBA through 34 games. He’s an elite offensive talent. The batting average will probably drop off as the .395 BABIP is likely not sustainable. However, he’ll make up for that with more power moving forward. Both ZiPS and Steamer project an ISO around .230 for Bryant (currently at .177). Given his Minor League numbers and scouting profile, we can definitely expect his 12.5 HR/FB rate to improve. It’s scary to think of what the results may be when that happens as Bryant is generating plenty of loft for a young player (49.4 FB rate). He doesn’t have the platoon edge today but is facing a fly ball oriented Jeremy Hellickson in a favorable park for hitters. He’s a top 15 overall option in our model and the best third base option if salary isn’t an issue.

Value Plays:

Nolan Arenado (COL) – I’m a little concerned about Arenado’s poor recent performance, especially with news that he’s dealing with a minor back injury. Still, he’s at a reasonable price point hitting in a prime lineup spot for the second highest expected scoring team on the day. With the consistent contact Arenado makes and the loft he generates, there’s plenty of upside here. I’d try to have some exposure to him but not someone I’d go all in for.

Alex Rodriguez (NYY) – I’m pretty much in awe over what the 39 year old Rodriguez has accomplished through a quarter of the season: .389 wOBA, .299 ISO. He appears to be completely healthy and as we’ve mentioned a couple of times over the past month, his batted ball distribution supports the awesome power numbers. Rodriguez is generating loft and has a pretty absurd 47 percent hard hit rate and just a 10 percent soft hit rate. Rodriguez, who has demonstrated pretty even splits over his career (actually slightly better against RHP) has a same handed matchup against the declining Yovani Gallardo in Yankee Stadium.

Adrian Beltre (TEX) – Due to pricing, Beltre is a better option on FanDuel than he is on DraftKings. He’ll face southpaw Chris Capuano who has allowed a .307 wOBA 23 LD rate and 1.08 HR/9 to RHBs since 2012. Beltre is a legitimate .290-.300 hitter and is the best way to get access to the Rangers offense in Yankee Stadium against a pitcher coming off a disaster start in his 2015 debut.

Additional third base notes: Josh Donaldson (TOR) is a nice cash game option, despite the lack of platoon edge, on DraftKings where he’s priced actually a touch cheaper than Adrian Beltre. The best cheap option at the position is Lonnie Chisenhall (CLE) who will have the platoon edge on Raisel Iglesias and likely bat sixth. Tournament options include Trevor Plouffe (MIN) (good power upside versus LHP, especially in US Cellular Field) and Nick Castellanos (DET) (high team total and has moved up a spot in the order with Victor Martinez out).


Top Plays:

Mike Trout (LAA) – Trout is generally one of our top ranked hitters and he holds the top spot with a plus matchup today. He’ll have the platoon edge in Fenway Park on Wade Miley. Miley has struggled (5.10 ERA) and it hasn’t been bad luck (4.75 xFIP). It looks like everything has fallen apart for Miley in the AL as his K, BB and GB rates have all declined and rather dramatically. He currently sports a career worst 7.2 SwStr rate. On sites like FanDuel, I’d probably eschew Trout and try and pack in all the Coors Field upside I can but on DraftKings, where the Coors Field players are priced more aggressively, Trout is a more logical option.

Bryce Harper (WAS) – Harper is at the very least an elite tournament option everywhere, but like Trout he’s a much more logical fit on DraftKings than on FanDuel. Harper’s 16 HRs thus far on the season are silly but they’re supported by some silly peripherals and both ZiPS and Steamer project Harper to hit 40-plus HRs if he plays the full season. With Harper we are seeing it all come together as increased HR/FB rate (age, scouting profile made a rise in this mark an expectation not a hope), loft and BB rate all support the power break out. Now he gets to face the fly ball oriented Aaron Harang (33.1 GB rate) who won’t skate by with a 2.6 HR/FB rate all season long.

Coors Field – For cash games, any Rockie or Giant in the top six of the order is in consideration. Our model has Angel Pagan (SF) and Charlie Blackmon (COL) as the best targets when you consider lineup spot, splits and price but Nori Aoki/Hunter Pence/Gregor Blanco and Carlos Gonzalez all need to be considered depending on lineups. This game has a 10.5 total with each team sporting an expected run total over 5.

Value Plays:

Hanley Ramirez/Mookie Betts (BOS) – Ramirez (20th)may be the solution to the SS puzzle on DraftKings as he’s priced in line with Tulowitzki and Desmond and more aggressive pricing on Miller and Bogaerts makes it reasonable to want to simply lock in the top play at the position. Ramirez has a remarkable .392 wOBA and .247 ISO against LHP for his career, and as we mentioned previously, this is a great spot for Red Sox RHBs (home park, Santiago’s splits, team run total). Ramirez is usable in the OF as well, particularly on FanDuel. Teammate Mookie Betts (30th) has a nice power/speed combination at a price that leaves him as an industry wide value play.

Anthony Gose (DET) – We haven’t hit on the Tigers offense yet as there are a few good offenses in better hitter’s parks. However, Detroit shouldn’t be ignored. They have a team total of 4.5 with the over being favored. Opposing pitcher Roberto Hernandez has seen a rather meaningful dip in his fastball velocity and isn’t missing any bats. He’s been getting away with it due to a healthy GB rate and good control but keep in mind that some of that is offset by consistently high HR/FB rates. Also, ZiPS and Steamer both anticipate an ERA closer to 5 for Hernandez over the rest of the season. Gose (top 50 option in our model) is the best way to get exposure to the Tigers lineup in cash. He’ll set the table up top and has nice stolen base upside. Perhaps most important are Hernandez’s ugly splits since 2012, allowing a .358 wOBA, 23.6 LD rate and 1.36 HR/9 to LHBs. Teammates Yoenis Cespedes/JD Martinez are secondary values and strong tournament options.

Tournament Play:

Joc Pederson (LAD) – Pederson, particularly on DraftKings, makes for a nice tournament option. Due to a good opposing starting pitcher and low Vegas run total, he likely won’t be a popular selection. That doesn’t mean that he lacks upside. Pederson has power/speed upside in any matchup and when he puts the ball in play he’s making very hard contact (38.6 hard hit rate). Meanwhile, as good as James Shields‘ initial peripherals are (2.81 ERA), his 25.5 HR/FB rate isn’t completely bad luck as he has a really high hard hit rate of 38.3 percent.

Additional outfield notes: Brett Gardner (NYY) is a secondary value across the industry. Cheap options to round out your cash game rosters, if needed, are Ezequiel Carrera (TOR) (may lead off for a high expected scoring Blue Jays team at home), Billy Burns (OAK) (speed upside and leadoff spot against a subpar SP, although it’s an expected low scoring game) and Adam Eaton/Melky Cabrera (CHW) (platoon edge at home on Kyle Gibson who limits power but is prone to a disaster start any time out due to his horrendous K/BB ratio). Tournament options include Andrew McCutchen/Starling Marte (PIT) (both kill LHP and have nice power/speed upside), Dexter Fowler/Jorge Soler (CHC) (cash viable depending on lineup spots) and Brandon Moss/Michael Brantley (CLE) (cash viable on DraftKings).

Starting Pitcher

Rankings (price not considered):

Tier One

1) Sonny Gray (OAK)

2a) Francisco Liriano (PIT)

2b) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)

4) James Shields (SD)

Tier Two

5) Trevor Bauer (CLE)

6) Anibal Sanchez (DET)

7) Carlos Frias (LAD)

8) Jimmy Nelson (MIL)

9) Yordano Ventura (KC)

10) Jason Hammel (CHC)

Tier Three

11) Jose Quintana (CHW)

12) Mike Foltynewicz (ATL)

13) Miguel Gonzalez (BAL)

14) Michael Wacha (STL)

Top Play:

Sonny Gray (OAK) – Gray faces a pretty horrific Rays lineup in a favorable pitching environment despite being on the road. At the top of the Rays lineup you have Kevin Kiermaier (ZiPS ROS .306 projected wOBA), Steven Souza (small sample size but a .280 wOBA and 38.9 K percentage against RHBs in 144 PAs), Evan Longoria (wide splits and back to back years with overall power dropping), James Loney (.129 career ISO is really low for a first baseman and cleanup hitter) and Logan Forsythe (hot start but career .275 wOBA against RHP). While the Rays are currently 13th in wRC+ against RHP, they’re our worst projected lineup on the day when taking into account the handedness of the opposing pitcher. That’s before taking into account pitcher skill. Gray has a sparkling 1.93 ERA. It’s admittedly a bit luck filled (3.55 xFIP) but this marks the third consecutive season in which he’s beating his xFIP. There’s particular merit to that this year as his LD rate is really low (13.7 percent) and IFFB rate high (13.8 percent). Gray’s hard hit percentage of 17.8 percent is also very low and confirms he’s inducing a lot of soft contact, which helps to explain his low BABIP and HR/FB rate. On top of that, Gray’s 10.0 SwStr rate is an improvement and has led to a meaningful rise in his K rate (from 20.4 percent to 23.8). There are two issues with Gray, though, that have me viewing him as more of a secondary value/elite tournament play than a cash game lock. The two issues are a combination of a high price tag (highest priced pitcher on most sites and by a meaningful gap) and a very unfavorable umpire.

Value Plays:

Francisco Liriano (PIT) – We always want to be careful using a pitcher after a disaster start, but I’m taking on some risk here and suggesting Liriano as a strong play in all formats. Yes, he burned us a ton last time out, but there are a few reasons I’m willing to take the plunge again. First off, Liriano’s price tag is taking into account his blowup from Tuesday as he’s the fourth highest priced pitcher on FanDuel (significant discount to Gray) and seventh highest priced pitcher on DraftKings. Secondly, there’s not a ton of cause for concern based on his profile. He’s giving up more aerial contact (44.9 GB rate is lowest since 2009) and the LD rate (26.3) is not good, but the hard hit data on FanGraphs doesn’t suggest too much trouble. Aside from that the SwStr rate and F-Strike rate are both in line. Look for him to be a mid-3s ERA pitcher the rest of the way with a well above average K rate. Liriano’s prospects for a bounce back start are boosted by pitching at home (fifth best pitcher’s park according to and against the Mets. While the Mets are currently sixth in wRC+ against LHP, we aren’t sold on their lineup. They throw two LHBs in the top five who should basically be platoon players (Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy) and the RHBs up top include below average offensive players such as Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores. It’s not a cake lineup (John Mayberry and Michael Cuddyer hit LHP well and there will be just two LHBs) but certainly one that is currently overachieving. Liriano is listed as a -160 favorite in a game with a total of just 7.

Gio Gonzalez (WAS) – If you’re unwilling to go with Liriano you can either pay up for Gray or pivot to Gonzalez (who you can complement with Liriano on multiple starting pitcher sites). At -180, Gonzalez is tied for the largest favorite on the day. Gray is just a -130 favorite, which isn’t a huge deal in it of itself, but is another reason not to pay the huge price tag. Gonzalez, like Liriano, comes into today’s start with some performance risk (4.94 ERA). Also like Lirano though, we aren’t overly concerned about it. Gonzalez looks like a guy who is pitching a little bit poorly (elevated LD rate) but also getting some bad luck (66.5 LOB%, .371 BABIP, 3.12 FIP, 3.33 xFIP). On the bright side he’s inducing a ton of ground balls (58.5 percent). The Phillies have been below average against LHP in terms of wRC+ (we expect this to continue) but their low K percentage doesn’t line up with what we are projecting, depending on the lineup they churn out. The last time they faced a LHP there were 2 LHBs in the top four in the order (Utley, Howard) and Freddy Galvis (career .284 wOBA) led off. We’d also expect Carlos Ruiz (11.5 K percentage, .332 wOBA for his career) to rest, which would result in a start for Cameron Rupp (27.6 K percentage, .236 wOBA). On top of all this, Gonzalez has one of the most favorable umpires on the day.

Carlos Frias (LAD) – With four starts under his belt, Frias has built up some endurance, which makes him a more trustworthy option in cash games (26 batters faced and 6 IP in last two starts). Frias doesn’t have huge K upside, but a solid K/BB ratio with great GB skills (61 percent GB rate) suggests he’s relatively safe skill wise. He’ll face a scuffling Padres team that is without Wil Myers and Yonder Alonso. They’re currently 20th in wRC+ against RHP with the sixth highest K rate. Versus all pitching over the last 30 days the Padres are dead last in OPS and have the fourth highest K percentage. He’s listed as a -145 favorite in a game with a total of 7. With the tier one options either overpriced or carrying performance risk, it’s perfectly viable to drop down to Frias and spend on hitting, particularly on multiple starting pitcher sites, such as DraftKings where Frias is underpriced at just $5,400.

Tournament Play:

Jimmy Nelson (MIL) – I wanted to write Nelson up as a cash game option but with similarly or cheaper priced options ranked ahead of him, it didn’t make much sense. Still, he’s got the upside to do some damage in tournaments. Nelson’s 11.7 SwStr rate suggests some upward potential for his already solid 21.3 K percentage. If he could get near a K an inning, that would give him a lethal combination of K and GB rate (currently at 52.2 percent). With a favorable umpire for today’s game and a matchup against an Atlanta team that may not strike out a lot but is far from threatening, Nelson could put up a top three SP score for a middle of the pack price.

Additional starting pitcher notes: James Shields (SD) K rate is out of this world and gives him tournament upside but his HR problems (and hard hit contact allowed in general) combined with a Dodger offense that has really impressed against RHP puts him as a better tournament option than cash game play. Trevor Bauer (CLE) has been really impressive. If emphasizing current skills more heavily than I am, you could make a case for him over Liriano/Gonzalez. His uptick in K rate is supported by an increase in SwStr rate and favorable BABIP and HR/FB rates are supported by him inducing a lot of weak contact (19.0 LD rate, 15.8 IFFB rate, 27.7 percent soft contact). Bauer is tied with Gonzalez as the largest favorite. Anibal Sanchez (DET) is risky (allowing a lot of aerial contact and 5 ERs in four starts this season) but has plenty of upside as a heavy home favorite against a strikeout prone Astros team. He’s a viable cash game play on DraftKings and can be used in tournaments everywhere. Yordano Ventura (KC) quelled some of my concerns surrounding his peripherals with a dominant outing last time out that saw his fastball averaging 96.9 mph, the highest single game average he’s posted this season and right in line with last year’s average. He’s a secondary value on multiple starting pitcher sites. Cheap tournament options include Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) and Chris Capuano (NYY).

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 ( if you have suggestions.

Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:

1) Coors Field

2) Boston Red Sox

3) Toronto Blue Jays

4) Detroit Tigers

5) Seattle Mariners

Contrarian/Secondary Stacks:

1) New York Yankees

2) Chicago White Sox

3) Chicago Cubs

4) Los Angeles Angels

5) Washington Nationals

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 1:05: Dry. Temps in the upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 6-12 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.

SEA at TOR 1:07: Retractable roof.  Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 70s. I will assume the roof will be open. Air density is a 7. Wind west-southwest 8-16 mph which blows out right. The wind is a 6.

HOU at DET 1:08: Dry unless the game goes very long as there will be showers and thunderstorms after 5-6 PM. Temps in the upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind south at 5-10 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4.

BLT at MIA 1:10: Retractable roof. Dry. I will assume the roof is open. Temps in the mid 80s. Air density is an 8 or 9. Wind southeast 10-20 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 3.

OAK at TB 1:10: Dome.

LAA at BOS 1:35: Dry. Temps in the upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 12-25 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 8.

MIL at ATL 1:35: Dry. Temps in the upper 70s. Air density is a 7 or 8 (air is more humid than in say Boston). Wind southeast 6-12 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.

PHL at WSH 1:35: Dry. Temps in the mid 80s. Air density is an 8. Wind southwest 5-10 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.

NYM at PIT 1:35: Dry. Temps in the low 80s. Air density is a 7 or 8. Wind south 5-10 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.

MIN at CHW 2:10: Light to moderate rain after 3 PM. I think the game starts dry so that is the key. They should be dry to start the game and once they start, they seem to do their best to play it. So, 20% chance of a cancellation (if the rain comes in earlier than forecast), 20-30% chance of a delay. Temps in the lower 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 8-16 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 3 or 4.

STL at KC 2:10: Major risk game. Should rain of varying intensity through and before the game. Chance of a cancellation is 60-70%, delays if they start 70%, chance for multiple delays is 60%. Temps in the upper 60s. Air density is a 7. Wind south 6-12 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 4.

SD at LAD 4:10: Dry. Temps in the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 6-12 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.

SF at COL 4:10: Minor concern here. Just a few random showers. No steady rain, very little risk of even a delay (10-20%). Temps in the upper 50s. Air density is a 10. Wind southeast 6-12 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.

CHC at AZ 4:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the mid 80s. I will assume he roof will be open. Air density is an 8. Wind southwest 5-10 mph which blows out to right-center. The wind is a 6.

TEX at NYY 8:00: Dry. Temps in the mid 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind south-southwest 4-8 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.

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