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May 26 MLB DFS: We Like Lance A Lot
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May 26 MLB DFS: We Like Lance A Lot

00:43 Starting Pitchers
05:39 Catchers
07:21 First Base
09:15 Second Base
11:56 Shortstop
14:43 Third Base
17:18 Outfield
21:49 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



May 26 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Lance McCullers (HOU)

Tier Two

2) Kevin Gausman (BAL)

3) Joe Ross (WAS)

4) Matt Wisler (ATL)

Whew boy, a second consecutive short slate with some rather unappealing pitching options. With no pitcher having an opposing team implied run total of less than around 3.7, our emphasis shifts towards upside, specifically in the form of strikeouts. That’s why Lance McCullers (HOU) ranks as our top starting pitcher. In 24 big league starts McCullers has generated a 24.7 K percentage. While he’s been a bit shaky in two starts off the DL in terms of limiting hard contact, an 11.1 SwStr rate and 30.3 chase rate both indicate the Ks are going to be there. The Orioles are a powerful offense but lack plate discipline and have a 22.4 K percentage (10th highest) against RHP. The dilemma of course is that he’s wild so it’s definitely a risk from a run prevention standpoint.

Kevin Gausman (BAL) has a slightly more stable skill set than Lance McCullers (better BB, hard hit rates), but carries similar risk with a touch less K upside. We’re big fans of Joe Ross (WAS) who is in a more favorable park, but the matchup against the Cardinals is an issue (middle of the pack K rates, second best wRC+ against RHP). Of the tier two starting pitchers, Matt Wisler (ATL) has the lowest opposing team total. The issue is that he has by far the worst skill set of the group – lowest K rate, highest xFIP. Perhaps lineups/line movements will give us a better indication tomorrow, but as it stands currently you can complement McCullers on DraftKings with any of these options.

Catcher Rankings

1) Evan Gattis (HOU) (where eligible)

2) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

3) Salvador Perez (KC)

4) AJ Pierzynski (ATL)

5) Matt Wieters (BAL)

Not surprisingly on a short slate this position is pretty dire in terms of value, with none of the catcher options rating as plus values in our model. It’s a good position to fill out last simply choosing the highest ranked outfielder from our list that fits with remaining salary.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Chris Davis (BAL)

3) Eric Hosmer (KC)

4) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

5) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

David Ortiz (BOS) is the clear frontrunner at the position, and we mentioned his career highs in ISO and hard hit rate yesterday. He continues to obliterate RHP. He’s also the most expensive, which has us looking for value via our second through fourth ranked first basemen who are clustered close together in our model. Chris Davis (BAL) is tough because we don’t necessarily want to pick on a pitcher we’re using, but since this is power versus power there’s a good chance we get strikeouts for McCullers’ DFS value and some power numbers from a couple Baltimore hitters. Eris Hosmer (KC) in the midst of a power breakout (.199 ISO). We’re a little skeptical (still not generating loft), but he’s chasing less pitches outside of the strike zone, which is likely helping. Opposing pitcher Miguel Gonzalez has allowed 1.33 HR/9 for his career. Freddie Freeman (ATL) is generally dragged down by the offense around him, but Wily Peralta‘s splits are so horrid (.376 wOBA, .195 ISO since 2015) that he’s still a prime value on FanDuel where meaningfully cheaper than the options ranked above him.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Dustin Pedroia (BOS) (left game early last night)

3) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

4) Scooter Gennett (MIL)

For the most part, second base is a binary decision, either paying up for Jose Altuve (HOU) (near 50 steal pace, .410 wOBA and remarkably a .247 ISO) or paying down for Scooter Gennett (MIL), who is far less explosive as a player but gives you cap relief and makes sense from a splits perspective. Opposing pitcher Matt Wisler has allowed a .378 wOBA and .213 ISO to LHBs, while Gennett has a solid career .340 wOBA against RHP. Dustin Pedroia (BOS) gives you access to a Red Sox offense that has far and away the highest implied team total. The issue with him is price and health (left early last night due to hamstring tightness).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

5) Trevor Story (COL)

Carlos Correa (HOU) is fast becoming our nemesis, but we do believe in him. The increase in strikeouts is a little bit of a warning. However, ZiPS is still projecting a .351 wOBA and .207 ISO rest of season. With the price so palatable around the industry we’re still buying here. However, if you want to avoid the “cold” streak, it’s fine to pay up for Manny Machado (BAL) who has awesome splits against same handed pitching (.385 wOBA, .230 ISO). Note that the recent well hit ratings would indicate that Machado is actually the colder of the two hitters (between him and Correa). Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is a fine spend too given his production and the Red Sox high team total. The issue is the price is better for tournaments.

Third Base Rankings

1a) Nolan Arenado (COL)

1b) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

3) Todd Frazier (CHW)

4) Anthony Rendon (WAS)

5) Pedro Alvarez (BAL)

With Clay Buchholz struggling massively (5.92 ERA, 5.49 FIP, 5.38 xFIP), Nolan Arenado (COL) (1.00 EYE, 9.9 K percentage, 49.0 FB rate, 39.7 hard hit rate) has massive power upside worth paying up for on FanDuel. On DraftKings, Machado is third base eligible and meaningfully cheaper (and thus the better value). Travis Shaw (BOS) falls just outside our top five ranked guys, but he’s a nice tournament target given the Red Sox team total and the damage the bottom of their deep lineup has been able to do.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Mookie Betts (BOS)

3) George Springer (HOU)

4) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

5) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

6) Ryan Braun (MIL)

7) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

8) Lorenzo Cain (KC)

9) Ender Inciarte (ATL)

10) Adam Jones (BAL)

11) Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS)

12) Matt Holliday (STL)

13) Nick Markakis (ATL)

14) Ben Revere (WAS)

15) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

Bryce Harper (WAS) is an underpriced stud, particularly on FanDuel, who can be used in cash games against Mike Leake (doesn’t miss bats, 22.4 hard minus soft hit rate). From a value perspective, we like to get pieces of the Houston and Colorado outfields. For Houston, George Springer (HOU) is the sexier but more expensive option. It may be easier to get cash game exposure here using Colby Rasmus (HOU), who is cheaper and will hit cleanup. For the Rockies, both Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez (COL) are fine values around the industry. Buchholz’s downfall this season has been in large part due to his collapse against LHBs (3.01 xFIP against them last season, 6.16 this season). At the same price, we lean Blackmon since Gonzalez has been cold (backed up by poor two week well-hit rating). Some values you can use to round out rosters include Adam Jones (BAL), Ender Inciarte (ATL), and Matt Holliday (STL).


Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

Tier Two

2) Kansas City Royals

3) Colorado Rockies

Not surprisingly, our top two ranked stacks carry the two highest team totals on the day, with the rest of the teams all within an implied run total of about half a run of each other. The Rockies are in that group but towards the top. Despite the negative park shift, they deserve some attention given Clay Buchholz‘s major issues this season (five starts with five earned runs).

Tournament Stacks

-Baltimore Orioles (If people land on Lance McCullers as the top starting pitcher, like we have, that may result in the Orioles upside getting a little bit overlooked in tournaments. McCullers is the top pitcher mainly due to strikeouts, and there’s still plenty of power potential here for a road stack.)

-Houston Astros (We’re deciding between the Astros and the Cubs as the main sponsor of this section. The Astros combination of power and speed almost always has them in play, particularly on a short slate. Also, like with McCullers, Gausman may be one of the more popular SP choices, which could drive down ownership of this stack.)

MLB Daily Analysis

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