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May 28 MLB DFS: All Down-Hill From Here

Adam Hummell
May 28 MLB DFS: All Down-Hill From Here
RSANDERSRX
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Welcome to May 28 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for May 28 MLB DFS along with LIVE Premium Chat. Make sure you’re using the 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!

Timestamps
02:21 Starting Pitcher
14:38 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
25:42 C
27:59 1B
30:29 2B
33:53 3B
36:12 SS
38:29 OF

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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.

MLB DFS Optimizer Tutorial

Our MLB DFS Optimizer is live. Arturo put together an overview with MLB DFS Optimizer Cliffnotes that walk through the various features and frequently asked questions (FAQs) from customers during testing. We have also produced a basic optimizer tutorial video on YouTube (linked below) as well as a power user optimizer tutorial for the most advanced tournament players on how to get the most out of the optimizer. You can join the #MLB channel in slack if you have additional questions.

May 28 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Rich Hill (LAD) and Stephen Strasburg (WSH) own the top projections at starting pitcher on Tuesday with Hill specifically popping as a positive value on both sites. The strikeout matchup is ripe against a Mets team whose active hitters cumulatively have struck out at a 27.3-percent rate against LHP this year. However, it should be noted they also rank in the top 10 of both wRC+ and ISO in the split. Despite the fact that Strasburg is priced $1,000 more expensive on DraftKings and $1,800 more expensive on FanDuel, Hill is projecting for just 0.1 fewer strikeouts. No team is listed as a heavier favorite than the Dodgers (-204) and his implied run total against is also the lowest on the slate. We view him as a cash game building block on the slate regardless of site. As for Strasburg, we view him as overpriced for a matchup versus a Braves offense whose active hitters cumulatively rank 12th in wOBA against RHP and strikes out at a below-average rate. He still pops as a top seven per-dollar option regardless of site but his salary is tough to fit on a slate that features multiple expensive stacks.

Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) sits in a tier of his own on FanDuel which is the only site where he is being included in the main slate. Tanaka has dominated RHHs this season to the tune of a .257 wOBA, 23.7-percent K rate, 18.4-percent line drive rate and 3.39 FIP and the Padres’ lineup is loaded with right-handers. Although the Padres will be benefiting from both a positive park and league shift, Tanaka is one of just six pitchers our model is projecting for at least six strikeouts.

Marco Gonzales (SEA) and Dylan Bundy (BAL) constitute the next tier at the position as they are our model’s preferred sources of salary relief. On FanDuel, the two are priced similarly, but Gonzales is meaningfully cheaper ($6,900) than Bundy ($8,500) on DraftKings. Thus far, the Rangers have struck out at a whopping 28.6-percent rate against LHP and they rank in the bottom 10 of both wOBA and wRC+. Gonzales has faced the Rangers twice this year and has allowed just one run (on a solo homer) in 14.0 innings and now he will face the Rangers in the friendly confines of T-Mobile Park. He represents our top value at the position on DraftKings. Bundy is projecting similarly and he is priced within $100 on Gonzales on FanDuel. As always, the allure of Bundy is in his strikeout ability, as he has struck out 29.1-percent of the RHHs he has faced in 2019. His own park is an above average power park to both sides of the plate but the Tigers rank 29th in both wOBA and ISO versus RHP. In other words, this is the least powerful team in the American League, so it is easy to see why today would be a day to target the power-prone right-hander.

Trevor Richards (MIA) and Brad Keller (KC) are some of the next best values at the position on DraftKings with Richards set to take on one of the similarly horrific National League teams: the Giants. Not only are the Giants tied for the fourth lowest wOBA against RHP but they rank in the bottom five of both wRC+ and ISO in the split as well. Richards relies on a changeup over 35-percent of the time versus both sides of the plate and the Giants have posted the second lowest wOBA (.226) and lowest xwOBA (.213) against right-handed changeups this year. The Marlins’ RHP can also get wild at times (9.8-percent BB rate versus RHHs) but the Giants have walked at less than an 8.0-percent rate against the handedness. Keller is coming off one of his best starts of the year but he owns an ugly 5.84 SIERA this season. Even in his last start where he shutdown the Cardinals for two earned runs (ERs) in seven innings, he still walked more hitters (four) than he struck out (three). The price is the main selling point for Keller.

Ryan Yarbrough (TB) and Nick Pivetta (PHI) will cost fantasy owners $6,000 and $6,500 respectively on FanDuel and they are intriguing salary options for those looking to stack Coors Field. Yarbrough is not going to start the game for the Rays, as Ryne Stanek will have that honor, but the left-hander is expected to handle a bulk of the innings. Only the Marlins’ active hitters have posted a lower wOBA against LHP than the Blue Jays’ and Toronto has struck out at the fifth highest rate in the split. Despite the fact he cannot register a quality start, that is only the equivalent on one strikeout, and his price point alleviates some of that risk. Meanwhile, Pivetta will return the Major League rotation just in time for a date with the Cardinals in Citizens Bank Park. To this point, Pivetta has allowed at least three ERs in each of his MLB starts this year, but he looked better in his 37.0 Triple-A innings: 3.39 FIP, 4.05 xFIP and 33.1-percent K rate. Pivetta’s swinging strike rate was way down earlier in the year comparatively to last season and the Cardinals are no easy task (21.0-percent K rate and 9.7-percent BB rate versus RHP). Both these pitchers are calculated tournament risks.

On DraftKings, Zach Plesac (CLE), and yes he is the nephew of Dan Plesac, is priced at just $4,500 in anticipation of his MLB debut. He is likely to be a popular SP2 option due to price alone. Plesac dominated Double-A (1.84 FIP, 2.81 xFIP) in six starts prior to his call-up to Triple-A where he also posted solid numbers (3.08 FIP, 3.86 xFIP, 29.0-percent K rate). The Red Sox’ 5.6-run implied total is one of the highest on rate slate but that is partially because MLB debuts can be mixed bags. Plesac could potentially be good so fantasy owners may want to take a shot on Plesac as he is basically free.

Jeff Samardzija (SF) and Lucas Giolito (CHW) are worthy of honorable mentions with Samardzija squaring off against the lowly Marlins and Giolito looking like a vastly improved pitcher so far. In Samardzija’s case, the Marlins rank dead last in wOBA against RHP, and Marlins Park negates power similarly to Oracle Park. Giolito has posted a career-best 3.86 SIERA and 11.5-percent swinging strike rate and he now has allowed just two ERs over the course of his last 28.1 innings. In years past, Giolito had issues holding runners, but that has not been the case this year according to his FanGraphs’ rSB (and raw stolen base numbers as well). Kansas City is loaded with speed, so that previously would have created a huge potential negative for Giolito, but he is still projecting as slightly overpriced for cash games.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Colorado Rockies

As per usual, the Rockies stand out as a strong stack worth targeting in the friendly confines of home, and this time they will do battle with Merrill Kelly. Not only has Kelly struck out 17.5-percent or less of both left and right-handed batters but he has also yielded a wOBA of at least .339 to both sides of the plate. Kelly has relied heavily on fly ball outs, especially to RHHs, and the Rockies are loaded with right-handed power (Story, Arenado, etc.). Vegas is implying 6.3-runs for the home favorite Rockies in a game with a massive 12.0-run implied total. Once again, the Rockies are a tough fade.

Tier Two

2) Cincinnati Reds

3) Arizona Diamondbacks

4) Pittsburgh Pirates

5) St. Louis Cardinals

The Reds and Diamondbacks headline the second stack tier with the Reds only being available on the FanDuel main slate. Both will be playing in some of the most favorable hitting environments in the league (Great American Ballpark and Coors Field) against pitchers who are far from the opposing team’s ace: Jordan Lyles and Antonio Senzatela. Lyles allowed six ERs in 5.2 innings his last time out and still managed a 1.53 FIP and 2.87 xFIP in that game. Lyles has completely shut down RHHs in 2019 (.217 wOBA, 2.88 FIP) but has been susceptible to LHHs (.327 wOBA, 43.4-percent fly ball rate). If targeting Reds, fantasy owners will want to focus on the lefties. The Diamondbacks smoked the Giants in their weekend series and now will face a pitcher that has struck out just 14.3-percent of righties and 14.5-percent of lefties this year. LHHs specifically have posted a .406 wOBA, 12.1-percent BB rate, 1.56 HR/ rate, 30.0-percent line drive rate and 39.3-percent hard hit rate en route to a 5.70 FIP. With David Peralta on the IL, the lineup’s talent has become a bit more condensed, The 1-5 in the lineup all project for over nine DraftKings fantasy points and the talent drops off quickly in our default lineup beyond the fifth hitter.

The Pirates and Cardinals will take on two struggling RHP although Lucas Sims has struggled in Triple-A compared to Nick Pivetta who had pitched so poorly in the Majors that he was sent down following his May 16 start. Over the course of the last 14 days, the Pirates have heated up (.338 wOBA), and Lucas Sims managed just a 3.83 FIP, 4.43 xFIP in Triple-A prior to his call-up. All the Pirates hitters will enjoy a significant positive park shift and a team implied total of nearly five runs (4.9). FanGraphs compares Pivetta’s struggles to Ricky Nolasco whose peripherals consistently looked better than surface numbers because he makes too many mistakes over the plate. This year, Pivetta’s control has consistently been an issue beyond just leaving mistakes over the plate. Still, even with a 13.3-percent BB rate since being sent down, he did limit control and improve his strikeout numbers at Triple-A. If the same old Pivetta shows up as before, the Cardinals should be primed to crush, otherwise he could miss quite a few bats.

Tier Three

6) Philadelphia Phillies

7) Boston Red Sox

8) Seattle Mariners

9) New York Yankees

The Phillies and Red Sox are both favored but the Red Sox have moved to over -200 favorites against a rookie making his Major League debut. In the Phillies’ case, Wainwright has allowed a 42-plus percent hard hit rate to both sides of the plate, including a 2.11 HR/9 rate to LHHs. For quite some time now, lefties have been Wainwright’s kryptonite, and that has continued in 2019: .398 wOBA, 25.6-percent line drive rate and a 6.53 FIP. Bryce Harper has whiffed at the highest rate of his career but Wainwright has only struck out lefties at a measly 13.3-percent rate this season. This is a fantastic matchup for him and the other Phillies’ left-handers. The Red Sox are in an interesting spot as Plesac has looked dominant since his promotion to Double-A last year but he is still a youngster being forced to deal with one of the most talented offenses in the league. Vegas is implying 5.3-runs for the Red Sox at home, which is not exactly a huge number for them, but Plesac is at least a pure fly-baller. If all goes right for the Red Sox, those fly balls will translate into power, which rarely happened to Plesac in the minors. However, this is not the minor leagues anymore.

The Mariners and Yankees will be playing in two very different hitting environments (T-Mobile Park and Yankee Stadium) and yet they own the exact same stack score in our model. Adrian Sampson is the reason the Mariners stand out as his .402 wOBA allowed to RHHs ranks second worst on the slate behind only Corbin Martin (in a tiny 5.2 inning sample size). Sampson’s reverse splits have been significant but lefties have still hit the ball hard 50.0-percent of the time against him as well. Eric Lauer is in trouble versus a Yankees team that is loaded with right-handers and they will likely righty load their lineup. RHHs have produced a 42.2-percent hard hit rate and 40.3-percent fly ball rate against Lauer which likely will not translate to success in Yankee Stadium.

Honorable Mention

Chicago Cubs

Opposing starter Corbin Martin has only thrown first strikes at a 54.4-percent rate which would rank as second worst in the entire league if he were to have qualified. He also has only induced a 7.3-percent swinging strike rate including a weak 22.3-percent swing rate outside the zone. Martin is seriously wild (10.5-percent BB rate) which leads to rallies and the Cubs have walked at the fifth highest rate against RHP. Martin’s FIP has exceeded 6.00 in back-to-back starts and it would not be shocking to see the Cubs’ patient and powerful offense give him fits.

Catcher

Gary Sanchez (NYY) tops the catcher projections on FanDuel where he’s available on their main slate and projecting as a strong value with the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium. He’s certainly a viable target in all formats on FanDuel but optimals will prefer exposure in tournaments and specifically Yankee stacks.

J.T. Realmuto (PHI), Yasmani Grandal (MIL), Yadier Molina (STL), Willson Contreras (CHC), and Omar Narvaez (SEA) represent the next tier of catching targets and the primary group you’ll be choosing from on DraftKings. Grandal and Molina are the more affordable options and likely the best cash game targets IF the salary relief we hope to have at second base holds. Molina gets a nice park environment for power against Nick Pivetta who has allowed a .355 wOBA and .214 ISO to RHBs since 2017.

If salary relief becomes an emphasis of your build at catcher, Travis d’Arnaud (TB) figures to be your best option. The Rays are at home with a healthy 4.9 implied total against Clayton Richard making his second start of the season. Richard posted ERAs of 4.79 and 5.33 the last two seasons in San Diego and we expect the shift to the American League won’t help.

In tournaments, Robinson Chirinos (HOU) has the kind of power profile you look for and the platoon edge against Jon Lester‘s propensity for hard contact is a good one to attack. Blake Swihart (ARI) is a sub-$4,000 catching eligible option in Coors FIeld which makes him a fine target despite mediocre skills.

First Base

Paul Goldschmidt (STL) tops the projections at first base with that favorable matchup against Nick Pivetta and his struggles limiting power to RHBs. Goldschmidt’s price tag is reasonable on both sites ($3,700 on FD, $4,100 on DK) which makes him a primary target in all formats. On DraftKings, his teammate, Matt Carpenter (STL) also carries 1B eligibility and is a strong play as well.

After the Cardinals options, the projections fall off a bit with Josh Bell (PIT) and Rhys Hoskins (PHI) leading the way in a second tier that can stretch out to include Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Daniel Vogelbach (SEA), Edwin Encarnacion (SEA), Daniel Murphy (COL), Joey Votto (CIN), and Cody Bellinger (LAD).

Bell is only available on FanDuel but he gets a big park boost for a power profile that has been difficult to keep up with this season. Bell’s .371 ISO is more than 2x his ISO output from last year. Our baselines keep inching up but there’s arguably more room for optimism.

Of the large secondary tier, Joey Votto (CIN) remains affordable on FanDuel where the early slate lock has CIN-PIT included. Votto has shown some signs of life recently with multi hit games in four straight. At just $2,900, he’s a strong cash game target.  

Edwin Encarnacion (SEA) and Daniel Murphy (COL) are the best mid-tier alternatives to Goldschmidt but both project well below. Murphy has the platoon edge in Coors Field while Encarnacion gets a righty in Adrian Sampson who has really struggled getting righties out in his career (.416 wOBA, .250 ISO allowed since 2017).

On DraftKings, Jesus Aguilar (MIL), Niko Goodrum (DET), and Yuli Gurriel (HOU) are all intriguing sources of salary relief. All three have the platoon edge and solid lineup spots with price tags at or below $3,500.

Second Base

Second base is the position most impacted by differing eligibility either based on positional labels or based on slate differences among the two sites.

On both sites, Kiké Hernandez (LAD) would serve a nice value if leading off against Steven Matz. Hernandez has hit LHP very well in his career (.363 wOBA, .227 ISO) and his wide platoon splits keep the overall price tag down.

The big news at 2B we’ll be paying attention to is with the Astros lineup where injuries have thrust Jack Mayfield (HOU) into the lineup for the Astros and he comes at the minimum on DraftKings at $2,000. We have Mayfield projected as the leadoff hitter but it’s a complete guess given the Astros are without primary leadoff hitter George Springer, secondary leadoff hitter Jose Altuve, and then the last option they used Aledmys Diaz also got hurt and was replaced by Mayfield. If he hits leadoff, he’s an easy play in cash games. If he hits sixth, he’s probably still a pretty easy play simply due to the price tag ($2,000). 

On FanDuel, Adam Frazier (PIT) and Derek Dietrich (CIN) are salary relief options available with the platoon edge in a high scoring environment in CIN (10 total). Both hold the platoon edge but the two are wildly different types of hitters. Frazier doesn’t have Dietrich’s upside but a road leadoff hitter generates a higher plate appearance expectation.

DJ LeMahieu (NYY) is also available on FanDuel and makes sense as a part of Yankees stacks.

On DraftKings, Daniel Robertson (TB) is a secondary value behind Mayfield/Hernandez as he usually hits in the middle of the lineup against LHP. Similarly, Starlin Castro (MIA) has one of the weakest hitting environments on the slate but is a middle-of-the-order bat priced below $3,000.

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (COL) unsurprisingly leads the way in projection at third base but with a reasonable 6.1 implied total and without the platoon edge the projection isn’t lapping the field.

Alex Bregman (HOU) and Matt Carpenter (STL) aren’t too far behind and both come with far more affordable price tags. Bregman is the better hitter and draws a matchup with Jon Lester we’ve been attacking. Lester has allowed a career worst 43.4 hard hit rate this season. Carpenter and the Cardinals have a similar 5.1 implied total to the Astros and he’s a road leadoff hitter with a slight advantage in plate appearance expectation. Pivetta has been a bit better against LHBs (.325 wOBA, .144 ISO since 2017) but is very fly ball and power prone. Carpenter is the most affordable of the bunch and thus floods optimals.

Justin Turner (LAD) and Eugenio Suarez (CIN) are secondary values on this slate. Suarez is once again only available on FanDuel and won’t have the platoon edge but comes with a solid $3,600 price tag. Turner is a bit cheaper on FanDuel and gets the platoon edge but in a more difficult environment at home against Steven Matz.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) remains a fine one-off despite a terrible hitting environment in Tampa but we remain steadfast in the belief he’s underpriced.

Shortstop

Trevor Story (COL) has a bit stronger advantage over his peers than Arenado but also grades out as more of a secondary target because of the high price tag.

Eduardo Escobar (ARI), Paul DeJong (STL), Gleyber Torres (NYY), Carlos Correa (HOU), Trea Turner (WSH), Javier Baez (CHC), and Adalberto Mondesi (KC) all project a bit below Story. The best price tags are on DeJong/Correa/Turner who all come with upper mid-tier tags that are accessible in all formats. Projections have a slight preference for DeJong who has a power profile that matches up well against Pivetta.

Willy Adames (TB) is the one in-between option that offers a bit more salary relief but it’s dependent on him hitting cleanup against Clayton Richard.

Jack Mayfield (HOU) comes with 2B/SS eligibility on DraftKings and thus is one of the stronger values on the slate even if he doesn’t lead off as we hope.

Outfield

Bryce Harper (PHI) leads all outfield options in projections with strong hitting conditions in Philadelphia including winds blowing out to RF. Harper will face Adam Wainwright who has allowed a .345 wOBA and .160 ISO to LHBs since 2017. The price tag on DraftKings ($4,300) is silly and thus he’s a staple over there. On FanDuel, the price tag is a bit more appropriate but he remains a strong play.

There is a long list of secondary high end outfield options to consider. David Dahl (COL) is the one with the best price tag on both sites. Without Charlie Blackmon around Dahl has shifted into more premier lineup spots and the Rockies still have a 6.1 implied total at home. His teammate, Raimel Tapia (COL) is also affordably priced and meaningfully cheaper on FanDuel ($3,000) where he projects as our top value.

On FanDuel, Starling Marte (PIT), Yasiel Puig (CIN), Jesse Winker (CIN), and Gregory Polanco (PIT) are all available and strong mid-tier targets given the compelling offensive environment. Marte is our top projected of the group and the best value. Winker is the cheapest of the group if you’re looking for pure salary relief.

On DraftKings, Shohei Ohtani (LAA) remains one of the cheapest sources of power you can find. Ohtani has a .256 baseline ISO against RHP. The Angels have one of the weaker implied totals on the slate (3.7) but Ohtani is a fantastic one off given the cheap price tag and big power profile.

Niko Goodrum (DET) and Christin Stewart (DET) are affordable ways to attack the Orioles pitching staff in Camden Yards.

On both sites, Kyle Schwarber (CHC) remains underpriced for a road leadoff role. Corbin Martin has handled LHBs a bit better in the very small sample at the big league level but we don’t expect that to persist.

Mitch Haniger (SEA) is also a secondary value with a favorable home matchup against Adrian Sampson. Sampson has really struggled against RHBs and the Mariners have a 5.2 implied total despite their below average offensive environment.

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