Welcome to May 27 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for May 27 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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- 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 27 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
We’ve got a trio of aces toeing the rubber today in Chris Sale (BOS), Stephen Strasburg (WSH) and Gerrit Cole (HOU).
Of this group, Sale projects a bit ahead and the gap has to do with projected strikeouts. Sale’s dominance in Ks is back as his velocity has ticked up to 96-97 over his last four starts and he’s also increased his slider usage. This combination led to a career high 36.2% K rate last season and this season the K rate is back up to the mid 30s (34.5%). Sale has a slate high 8.4 K projection while Strasburg and Cole have K projections in the low 7s. Sale’s context is the most difficult given the matchup against Atlanta (ranked first in wRC+, 17.6% K rate vs. LHP) in Fenway Park but his IRTA is a slate low 3.2 and he’s the biggest favorite in the slate (-230). We prefer Sale out of this group in cash games.
Next up in projection is Strasburg, who’s a fine alternative in all formats where he’s cheaper. On FD, Strasburg is $1,400 cheaper than Sale which is a meaningful gap. Strasburg has a safer context. He’s in controlled conditions in Miami where the roof will be closed and has a matchup against a Marlins’ offense that’s ranked 28th in wRC+ and are striking out 23.8% of the time vs. RHP.
Cole’s K rate has come down to 34-35% over his last couple of starts, which is our current baseline for him. If you were to increase his K rate to where he currently is on the season (40%), he’d project similarly to Sale. Cleveland has some talented players in their offense but they’re ranked 20th in wRC+ vs. RHP and are striking out 24% of the time. While we think they’re better than this, they certainly haven’t been as potent of an offense as they were last season thus far. In a good pitching environment, we think Cole is a strong tournament target around the industry.
After the aces we have another trio of names that are talented in J.A. Happ (TOR), Nick Pivetta (PHI) and Cole Hamels (TEX). Happ and Pivetta will have to deal with a difficult umpire for pitchers but they’re more talented than Hamels and the latter will have to deal with a very difficult hitting environment with temperatures in the mid 90s in Texas. Pivetta has shown the biggest upside of the group, generating a 35% K rate or better in three starts this season. We’ve seen big improvements out of Pivetta this season and we continue to improve his baselines as a result. This group is priced out of cash game consideration but if you’re looking to build away from the aces in tournaments we think Happ and Pivetta are intriguing.
Kevin Gausman (BAL) just misses the group above in projection but he’s close enough to be considered with a cheaper price tag. Gausman’s velocity has been noticeably up of late (94 MPH over L3 starts; +1.4) and he’s coming off two starts in which he struck out 26% and 34% of batters. He’ll be in controlled conditions today as the Orioles finish up a series in Tropicana Field. He’s viable across all formats.
Our optimals will prever going cheaper than Gausman in that SP2 spot on DK and dive into the Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) and Garrett Richards (LAA) tier. Let’s get this out of the way early – Tanaka and Richards are riskier given the environment (Yankee Stadium) and that’s reflected in their IRTAs (4.2 and 4.8 respectively). These are two good pitchers (in Richards case, he can be overly dominant at times) that have sub $7k price tags on DK and most importantly they can mask any run prevention issues they run into with strikeouts. Tanaka has generated a 13.8% SwStr rate and a 36% chase rate. Richards’ K rate has been all over the place this season but he already has five starts in which he’s generated a K rate over 27% and he can keep the ball in the ground (52% GB rate). We trust Richards’ skillset a bit more but his matchup against the Yankees is a challenging one (ranked second in wRC+ vs. RHP) and they just got deeper with Greg Bird back.
Two other cheap names on DK that have some appeal are Jameson Taillon (PIT) and Zack Wheeler (NYM). Wheeler has the bigger K projection (5.8) in a matchup against the Brewers but he’s in Miller Park with a 4.9 IRTA. He’s not interesting in cash games but does have some tournament appeal. Taillon is an option that you can consider in both cash and tournament games. He’s in a very friendly pitching environment (PNC Park) and will get to face a righty heavy Cardinals’ lineup that relies on their power to generate runs. It’s a good combination for Taillon as he’s been much better against RHBs (.301 wOBA allowed to RHBs; .339 allowed to LHBs) throughout his short career and he can keep the ball in the ground (47.7% GB rate). Taillon’s xWOBA (.296) is in elite company this season, joining the likes of James Paxton, Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller.
With Gary Sanchez (NYY) in a difficult matchup against Garrett Richards, it’s time for Chris Iannetta (COL) to take over at the position with the top projection. Matt Harvey will be pitching in Coors Field today, and while he’s been better against RHBs, Coors will make him pay for his pitch to contact ways regardless of batter handedness. Iannetta remains a good target but he doesn’t project as a must while he hits seventh in the Rockies lineup.
If you need some salary relief, Robinson Chirinos (TEX) continues to project well with a $3k price tag. Like Iannetta, Chirinos will be in a remarkable hitting environment today as temperatures will be in the mid 90s in Arlington Texas this afternoon. He’ll face Jason Hammel, who’s had a very difficult season thus far. His K rate has dropped to 12.5% and he’s allowing a 31% hard minus soft hit rate. That’s a massive number, and one that’s ~3x the league average. Chirinos has generated a .240 ISO vs. RHP since 2016.
Sundays are usually a rest day for catchers, so if we don’t get the options above we’ll alert who’s emerged as playable values at the position. Some intriguing tournament names should they crack the lineup on a Sunday are Salvador Perez (KC) with the platoon edge in Arlington and Tucker Barnhart (CIN) (if he hits second he’ll join the cash game conversation) in Coors Field. Manny Pina (MIL) is a viable source of salary relief as part of a Brewers stack in tournaments.
Joey Votto (CIN) once again is at the top of our projections at first base as he finishes up a trip to Coors Field. Votto will once again have the platoon edge in mid 80s weather in Coors. His recent form isn’t great (10% HHR over the L15) but that continues to be the only negative we can find in his profile. He’s been an elite hitter vs. RHP since 2016, generating a .415 wOBA and .229 ISO. He’s only available on DK where they’ve included the Coors game but he remains playable across all formats over there.
Joey Gallo (TEX) is the best per dollar value – even better than Votto – on DK where he’s just $3,800. Gallo will have the platoon edge against Jason Hammel, and with the platoon edge he’s slugged a ridiculous .313 ISO vs. RHP since 2016. Gallo continues to be an all or nothing play but the price tag fits the slate.
FD didn’t include the two best hitting environments (Coors and Texas) in their main slate, so we’re looking for different targets on that site. Jose Abreu (CHW) projects as the top option at the position as he’ll have the platoon edge against Blaine Hardy. Behind Hardy is one if not the worst bullpen in the league. Abreu is priced appropriately but is a viable option across all formats. Justin Smoak (TOR) has a tougher go of it in a matchup against Nick Pivetta in the NL but in the past when Pivetta goes wrong it’s because of LH power. Smoak is a better option to consider for tournaments rather than cash games.
Greg Bird (NYY) has a difficult matchup against Garrett Richards but he’s just $2,500 on FD in Yankee Stadium and we have him pegged for a .237 ISO baseline vs. RHP. He fits the Chris Sale optimals in this slate but if you’re using Strasburg then his salary relief becomes less necessary.
Other potential targets to consider at the position are Ryan Braun (MIL) (cash viable on DK where he’s sub $4k; he has a safer profile than Gallo), Ian Desmond (COL) (sub $4k Coors Field option on DK and the red hot Mitch Moreland (BOS) (50% HHR over the L15 albeit with less balls in play).
Whit Merrifield (KC) and Scooter Gennett (CIN) carry the top projections at second base. They’re in by far the best hitting environments in the entire slate but they also come with appropriate price tags. We prefer dipping down to cheaper values in cash games but having exposure to these two in tournaments remains a viable route.
Rougned Odor (TEX) and Jonathan Villar (MIL) are projecting as the best per dollar values at the position as they come with very cheap price tags. Odor is a bottom of the lineup hitter but he comes with power upside (.222 ISO vs. RHP since 2016). Villar is hitting into a bunch of ground balls (64% GB rate this season) and despite watching Joey Votto tape in the offseason (not kidding), he continues to strike out a ton (30% K rate). When he gets on base he’s a threat to steal but he’ll have a tough time generating power while he hits into so many ground balls. He’s appropriately cheap but on FD he’s by far the best value at the position.
In tournaments, Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) and Matt Carpenter (STL) are other options to consider. Cabrera in particular is intriguing as he gets a big park shift going into Miller Park and has a matchup against a wide splits pitcher in Jhoulys Chacin. Cabrera is priced very appropriately on FD but he’s sub $4k on DK.
Nolan Arenado (COL) is back at it again with the top projection in the hot corner. Matt Harvey has generated an 8% SwStr rate and 23.9% chase rate. His lack of K skills are going to give him fits in Coors Field. Arenado has generated a .371 wOBA and .247 ISO vs. RHP since 2016 and he’s an important middle of the order bat for a Rockies team that has a slate high 6.3 IRT. He’s viable in all formats.
The best alternative to Arenado at the position is Josh Donaldson (TOR), who has a difficult matchup ahead (Nick Pivetta). Donaldson is on the cheaper end on DK ($3,900) but carries an appropriate price tag on FD ($4,200). If you need the salary relief Donaldson is a fine target but our preference is to pay up for Arenado in cash games on DK and play a cheaper option on FD.
Travis Shaw (MIL) is our preferred cash game option on FD and he’s a big part of our optimals despite carrying what feels like an appropriate price ($3,700). Shaw has a home matchup against Zack Wheeler, who’s allowed a .362 wOBA and .214 ISO to LHBs since 2016. On FD, the Brewers are the team with the highest IRT (4.9) and Shaw hits cleanup in this offense.
If you need a little bit more salary relief, Jeimer Candelario (DET) is $3,300 on FD (cheap on DK as well) and will hit from the left side of the plate against James Shields. Candelario is coming off a two home run game and today he gets another soft matchup against a pitcher that’s allowed a .358 wOBA and .208 ISO to LHBs since 2016.
Rafael Devers (BOS), Matt Carpenter (STL) and Matt Davidson (CHW) are options with power upside that can be considered in tournaments.
Trevor Story (COL) carries the top projection at the shortstop position. He remains an important part of the Rockies stack in tournaments but in cash games we’ll need some salary relief out of this position as we build through an ace and his pricier teammates. It’s a similar story with Trea Turner (WSH) projecting as the top option at the position on FD but an expensive tag will make us look elsewhere in cash games.
Tim Anderson (CHW) projects as the top per dollar value at the position on both sites. He’ll be leading off with cheap price tags on the road against Blaine Hardy, who’s made most of his appearances out of the bullpen this season. He’s made two starts and has failed to go over five innings in both. Hardy has generated a 12% GB rate this season (57% FB rate) and the Tigers’ terrible bullpen behind him will have to be used a bit more than usual today.
Jurickson Profar (TEX) is available on DK and has a fine price tag ($3,700) to attack in all formats. His lineup spots have been all over the place but as long as he’s in a top six lineup spot he’ll be viable. Jose Peraza (CIN) has hit either second or seventh vs. RHP this past week. He’s in Coors Field once again and has a sub $4k price tag on DK. If he hits second he’ll be another option to consider in all formats.
There’s no great alternative in a similar price range to Anderson on FD. Scott Kingery (PHI) has a punt price tag but the matchup against J.A. Happ isn’t any good.
Charlie Blackmon (COL) represents the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of hitting position. Blackmon is the hitter you’re building around in this slate. Matt Harvey has been particularly vulnerable vs. LHBs, allowing a massive .392 wOBA and .235 ISO to LHBs since 2016. Blackmon has generated a .409 wOBA and .282 ISO vs. RHP since 2016.
Keeping in mind Harvey’s struggles vs. LHBs, David Dahl, Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra (COL) are going to be important values. Dahl is the priciest of the bunch on DK and he’s just $4k. He’s been the most impressive out of that group albeit in a smaller sample, compiling a .381 wOBA and .198 ISO vs. RHP. Our optimals on DK are simply calling for an all Rockies outfield and given that they’re all LH and will have the platoon edge in this context it makes sense why.
One more option to consider on DK in cash games is Delino DeShields (TEX), who’s leading off for a Rangers offense that carries the second highest IRT (5.3) in this slate.
On FD, the conversation is completely different without Coors in the slate. Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun (MIL) project very well on that site and carry cheaper than usual price tags. They have a matchup against Zack Wheeler, who’s not a bad pitcher by any means but gets a negative park shift going into Miller Park. Of the two, we prefer Yelich as Wheeler has been a softer matchup for LHBs but Braun has been a big part of optimals as well since he’s just $2,800.
Keeping the conversation on FD where decisions are less straightforward without the top two hitting environments on the slate, we have Rhys Hoskins (PHI), Curtis Granderson (TOR) and Leonys Martin (DET) rounding out the rest of the top five OF values. Hoskins’ hard hit data has been a little bit lower of late and his matchup against J.A. Happ doesn’t stand out, but he’s far and away the best hitter out of any of the outfielders we’ve mentioned on FD. We have a .387 wOBA and .282 ISO baseline for him vs. LHP. Martin has a soft matchup against James Shields and he’s cheap. He’s not very good hitter, which is why Granderson is outpacing him in raw value despite carrying a more challenging matchup against Nick Pivetta.
Mike Trout (LAA) is in Yankee Stadium facing a good pitcher in Masahiro Tanaka that allows his fair share of power (1.77 HR/9 allowed last season; 1.76 HR/9 this season). With Coors getting all the attention on DK, Trout could go a bit under the radar in tournaments. He’s also interesting on FD where his big price tag will likely force you away from the top pitchers. Nicholas Castellanos (DET) is a better hitter than teammate Leonys Martin, but Castellanos is priced more appropriately on FD. He’s a strong tournament target given the matchup against James Shields.
1) Colorado Rockies
The Rockies offense projects as an outlier in this slate as the gap between them and the next best offenses likely need another tier between them to show a more realistic gap. They’re in Coors Field facing Matt Harvey who’s nowhere near the caliber of pitcher he once was during his prime years. Harvey has generated decent results in a Reds uniform but they all feel like fools gold as he’s still not generating ground balls or swings and misses. That’s an ugly combination going into the best hitting environment in all of baseball where temperatures will be in the mid to high 80s. We expect the Rockies to be popular but they still need to be pursued across all formats.
2) Cincinnati Reds
3) Texas Rangers
The Rangers continue to be the more intriguing tournament pivots, especially now that a RHP will be on the mound for the Royals. Jason Hammel has a .395 xwOBA this season and his K rate is at an alarmingly low 12.3%. Joey Gallo and this LH heavy lineup have a great context today. The Reds will likely be more popular since they’re in Coors Field but the Rockies incredible bullpen remains a threat to shut down the later innings. German Marquez has also been way more vulnerable to same handed hitters (RHBs) than LHBs which isn’t what you want to hear for a LH heavy lineup. It’s possible that bits and pieces of this stack isn’t popular though and the hitting environment, especially now that it’s warm in Colorado, is as good as it gets for hitters.
4) Milwaukee Brewers
5) Boston Red Sox
6) Toronto Blue Jays
7) New York Yankees
The Brewers carry a slate high 4.9 IRT on FD. They have some cheap pieces to that offense with upside so we expect them to carry ownership. Zack Wheeler has been very bad in two starts, but there’s plenty here to be encouraged about for the former highly touted prospect (23.6% K rate, six percent soft minus hard hit rate, 48.8% GB rate, 3.97 FIP/3.77 xFIP). He’s not as bad as his ERA suggests but the negative park shift won’t help.
The Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays all have difficult matchups. We suspect that the Blue Jays will be the lesser owned of this group since they’re in the NL. The main offensive pieces for the Red Sox and Yankees usually carry double digit ownership regardless of the slate. Like Friday, this doesn’t feel like a great slate to stack unless you’re using the chalkiest stack (Rockies).
8) New York Mets
9) Philadelphia Phillies
10) Detroit Tigers
The Mets have a primarily LH lineup and they’re on the road in Miller Park facing a wide splits pitcher in Jhoulys Chacin (.286 wOBA allowed to RHBs vs. .329 wOBA to LHBs). It’s a stack that makes sense with low ownership likely incoming in tournaments. The challenge with this stack is they’re going to have to do their damage early since the Brewers bullpen is incredibly talented. The Tigers don’t have a good offense but using the better parts of that offense against James Shields makes sense in tournaments. Shields has a .357 xwOBA this season – his .285 wOBA allowed is smoking mirrors.