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May 25 MLB DFS Late Slate: Slingshot Into First With David
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May 25 MLB DFS Late Slate: Slingshot Into First With David

00:40 Starting Pitchers
07:42 Catchers
09:12 First Base
11:13 Second Base
13:55 Shortstop
16:10 Third Base
18:19 Outfield
22:31 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



May 25 MLB DFS Late Slate Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Scott Kazmir (LAD)

2) Junior Guerra (MIL)

3) Steven Wright (BOS)

Tier Two

4) Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA)

5) Collin McHugh (HOU)

6) Rubby de la Rosa (ARI)

Tier Three

7) Matt Andriese (TB)

8) Mike Foltynewicz (ATL)

9) Marco Estrada (TOR)

10) Jeff Locke (PIT)

11) Dan Straily (CIN)

As you can tell from the rankings, pitching is rather rough this evening. Scott Kazmir (LAD) tops our list. The matchup is pretty neutral by all accounts, but Kazmir is at home and pegged as a -165 favorite in a game with a low total (7.5, pushing 7). On the surface, Kazmir’s year has been disappointing (5.23 ERA, 5.67 FIP). However, an expectation of better luck moving forward (20.7 HR/FB rate) and an upward trend in his K rates (above 20% in four of five starts) has us optimistic.

The next two tier one options pretty much came out of nowhere this year. Junior Guerra (MIL) is a 31 year old who never made an MLB start before this year. Through four starts, however, Guerra has shown a strong ability to miss bats (24.7 K percentage), and that’s backed up by a 13.0 SwStr rate. There are some concerns he’ll yield power (combination of high fly ball and hard hit rates), but the matchup really mitigates that risk as Atlanta is dead last in MLB with a .089 ISO against RHP. The gap between them and the second worst team (Padres), is the same as the gap between the Padres and the Marlins (18th). Guerra has the most favorable price across the industry of the tier one options.

Steven Wright (BOS) also has been a huge surprise. We ignored the knuckle baller a bit earlier in the season, but he’s now through eight starts with a 21.8 K percentage that we believe in given that he’s allowed a SwStr rate of 10 percent or more in every start but one. The concern with Wright is the run prevention won’t hold up (4.09 xFIP), but 1) that number isn’t even that bad given the alternative options and 2) xFIP often isn’t a great barometer for knuckle ballers. The Rockies are often an offense we pick on outside of Colorado (22nd in wRC+ against RHP), and Wright is the largest favorite of the evening (-185). He comes with the highest price tag and most risk though (opposing team total of around 4.2).

With the tier one pitchers so affordable, we’re mostly looking there in cash games. Hisashi Iwakuma‘s (SEA) peripherals are disappointing, but a big park and the Vegas odds (-175, opposing team total just under 3.5) might make him cash viable as a “safe” option. In tournaments, we prefer the upside of Rubby de la Rosa (ARI) who gets a very positive park shift and faces a righty heavy Pirates team (de la Rosa has very wide splits). Remarkably he’s posted DraftKings scores of 23.9 or better in four of five starts.

Catcher Rankings

1) Brian McCann (NYY)

2) Evan Gattis (HOU) (if fifth)

3) Welington Castillo (ARI)

4) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

5) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

With salary not too much of an issue, we’ll try to pay up for Brian McCann (NYY). We’ve improved the baselines on opposing pitcher Marco Estrada, but we still expect him to get beat with power when he does get beat (high fly ball and hard hit rates). That plays right into McCann’s wheelhouse at home. Evan Gattis (HOU) is a fine alternative on FanDuel if he hits fifth (Tyler Wilson hasn’t missed any bats and has a 5.37 ZiPS projected ROS ERA). Stephen Vogt (OAK) is the best cap relief option.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

5) Mark Teixeira (NYY) (cold)

On a slate where it’s possible to pay up for some studs given a complete lack of expensive pitching options (on DraftKings it’s practically a pick ‘em), we’re really prioritizing David Ortiz (BOS). The Red Sox have the highest team total on a shortened slate by nearly half a run, and Ortiz is just insane. In his final season he’s posting a career high in ISO (.355) that’s fully supported by a 49.2 hard hit rate (also a career high) and 46.8 fly ball rate. Really any of the top three options, though, can be used in cash games. We’re likely to pay up here as the best cheap option at the position is Mark Teixeira (NYY), who has been ice cold with some ugly peripherals (.090 ISO, 26.5 K percentage).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Robinson Cano (SEA)

3) Steve Pearce (TB) (where eligible)

4) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

5) Scooter Gennett (MIL)

This is one position we’ll be a bit more value conscious at on both sites. On DraftKings, Altuve and Cano command really high prices, and on FanDuel, where their prices are more reasonable, overall tighter pricing still makes them difficult to fit in. Steve Pearce (TB) is our favorite option on DraftKings. Since 2014, he has a .401 wOBA and .296 ISO against LHP with a 6.5 HR rate, and Justin Nicolino is terrible (-4.1 K-BB%, 18.9 hard minus soft hit rate). Dustin Pedroia (BOS) gives you access to Boston’s high team total, and Scooter Gennett (MIL) is the best splits/cheaper play. He’s got a date with Mike Foltynewicz (.421 wOBA, .287 ISO allowed to LHBs).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

5) Corey Seager (LAD)

Carlos Correa (HOU) is underpriced around the industry and has a great matchup against Tyler Wilson, intuitively making him a logical spend in cash games across the industry. Both Manny Machado (BAL) and Xander Bogaerts (BOS) are high end, logical alternatives. If you aren’t spending up, we’re hoping to get Taylor Motter (TB) in the second spot. With a quick moving price tag on DraftKings he’s only a tournament option, but his cap relief is actually pretty beneficial on FanDuel.

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

3) Evan Longoria (TB)

4) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

5) Taylor Motter (TB) (if hitting second) (where eligible)

At DraftKings, you’re definitely paying up here. Obviously we prefer our top two ranked options. We talked about Nolan Arenado‘s (COL) insane power peripherals on the podcast yesterday, and the park factors at Fenway are so favorable to RHBs that it diminishes the negative park shift Arenado faces whenever on the road. Evan Longoria‘s (TB) price doesn’t really mesh with our ranking of him, but you could force him in cash games and definitely look to get tournament exposure given that we’re high on a Rays stack (and Vegas agrees giving them the second highest team total). On FanDuel where you have to at least be price conscious in a few spots, Justin Turner (LAD) continues to be a default value given a combination of lineup spot and Cincinnati’s wretched pitching staff.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mookie Betts (BOS)

2) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

3) George Springer (HOU)

4) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

5) Jose Bautista (TOR)

6) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

7) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

8) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

9) Ryan Braun (MIL)

10) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

11) Brandon Guyer (TB)

12) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

13) Brett Gardner (NYY)

14) Adam Jones (BAL)

15) Leonys Martin (SEA) (if leading off)

With the cheap pitching options on this slate, we’re really high on getting a couple of our top four outfielders into cash game lineups (the rank within our top six hitters overall, Ortiz is first). We’d stress Mookie Betts (BOS) where you have the flexibility since we’re siding with Boston’s hefty team total. However, Gregory Polanco (PIT) (improved EYE, loft, and hard hit rate) has the platoon edge against Rubby de la Rosa and his rather laughable splits against LHBs (.379 wOBA, .208 ISO since 2014). George Springer (HOU) is an event type player who has held his K rate decrease from last season. As mentioned earlier, we’re pretty pessimistic on opposing pitcher Tyler Wilson. Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) clearly ranks fourth of the bunch as he’s been ice cold (bad recent K rate and well hit numbers) and doesn’t have a great matchup (R/R in a pitcher’s park). With all that said, the price tag is so depressed around the industry we have no qualms taking a shot on his power in both cash and tournament formats. Colby Rasmus (HOU) is our favorite outfield value given his power against RHP (.236 ISO, 5.2 HR rate), and Tyler Wilson‘s incredibly low K rate against LHBs (5.9%). Adam Jones (BAL) is a good price play around the industry. Aside from these specific options, it’s fine to fill in some values from the Yankees, Rays, and Mariners outfielders depending on price and lineup spots.


Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

Tier Two

2) Tampa Bay Rays

3) Houston Astros

With so much offensive flexibility, we’d like to get at least one piece of the Red Sox offense into cash games. The Astros are also easy to grab some cash game exposure to. The Rays lack a single elite hitter that we’re forcing into cash games, but the insanely low K rates makes them a team we’re certain to target in tournaments if multi-entering.

Tournament Stacks

-Seattle Mariners (The way the slate shook out, we didn’t find ourselves on many Mariners individual value plays, but with a matchup against Zach Neal, who ZiPS pegs for a 5.61 ERA and 1.64 HR/9, the Ms are definitely stackable in tournaments.)

-Toronto Blue Jays (Powerful offense in a good power park that has some elite names strung together in the lineup, making for an easy mini-stack. Could get overlooked, but if Ivan Nova gets some bad BABIP luck, the upside is here.)

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