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May 30 MLB DFS Early Slate: Can Of Karns
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May 30 MLB DFS Early Slate: Can Of Karns

01:30 Starting Pitchers
10:50 Catchers
12:16 First Base
14:53 Second Base
17:17 Shortstop
19:04 Third Base
21:41 Outfield
25:09 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



May 30 MLB DFS Early Slate Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jose Quintana (CHW)

2a) Nate Karns (SEA)

2b) Jeff Samardzija (SF)

Tier Two

4) Alex Wood (LAD)

5) Jason Hammel (CHC)

Tier Three

6a) Matt Harvey (NYM)

6b) Collin McHugh (HOU)

Tier Four

8) Steven Wright (BOS)

9) Carlos Martinez (STL)

The main pitcher value on this slate is Nate Karns (SEA), who is priced meaningfully lower than the other two options in tier one. Karns is a DFS friendly pitcher due to his ability to rack up Ks (23.9 K percentage, 10.2 SwStr rate). In particular, both off his off-speed pitches (the curve and the change) generate strong chase and swinging strike rates. The matchup should raise the K rate as the Padres have a 24.0 K percentage as a team, the fourth worst mark versus RHP. The issue with Karns is run prevention (wild, fly ball risky). However, he’s a -185 favorite against a Padres team with the second worst wRC+ against RHP and holding just a 3.5 implied run total.

On FanDuel, Jose Quintana (CWS) is an equally strong value ($600 more, our top ranked pitcher). Quintana has been lights out this year. While he’ll probably regress a bit towards career marks, the heightened K percentage and consistent run of dominance is encouraging. He also seems extremely safe against a Mets team that is worse versus LHP. With the game being held in an NL park, Quintana gets a big upgrade both in terms of park factor and rules (no DH).

On DraftKings, there are a couple of different routes to go. You can play it safe by complementing Karns with either Quintana or Jeff Samardzija (SF) (overpriced but seemingly a very high floor matchup against Atlanta), but more than likely you’ll risk Alex Wood (LAD) (scratched last start due to triceps tightness), who is in a very tough matchup but should gives you Ks (20+ K percentage in six straight starts, at least 31.8 in four of five) and cap relief to fit in some Coors Field bats.

Both Matt Harvey (NYM) (looks pretty broken but betting on a return to form in tournaments make sense) and Collin McHugh (HOU) (high risk, reward option) give you meaningful upside while providing enough cap relief to somewhat load up on bats. Carlos Martinez (STL) is in a weird spot. Based on relative price and our ranking, he doesn’t seem to make sense. However, if just focusing on ceiling he makes sense in tournaments as the Brewers strike out more than other team versus RHP, and Martinez has shown flashes of being a really good pitcher (definitely some issues the past several starts).

Catcher Rankings

1) Evan Gattis (HOU) (where eligible)

2) Buster Posey (SF)

3) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

4) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

5) Matt Wieters (BAL)

Both Evan Gattis (HOU) and Stephen Vogt (OAK) rank as similar values in our model. On FanDuel, if you’re okay not forcing too much Coors Field in, we like paying up for Gattis since the upside is much higher. They lose the DH playing in an NL park so you’ll have to make sure he’s in the lineup, but Gattis will have the platoon edge against LHP Edwin Escobar who is making his first ever MLB start and currently holds a 4.74 FIP in 5 AAA starts for the Diamondbacks. Vogt isn’t terribly exciting, but he’s the chalk cash play of the cheaper options since you get him against a below average pitcher, with the platoon edge, and likely hitting third.

First Base Rankings

1) Joey Votto (CIN)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) Carlos Santana (CLE)

5) Brandon Belt (SF)

Joey Votto (CIN) broke our hearts yesterday, but we’re going right back to him as he’s not terribly difficult to afford and in a phenomenal situation. He’ll hold the platoon edge against Chad Bettis in Coors Field, where the Reds are pegged with an implied run total of over 5 runs. If you want to pay up but diversify off of Votto, Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) makes the most sense on FD and Chris Davis (BAL) on DK. There’s not a lot to love or salary relief to be gained if going the mid-tier value route, which is why we’re high on paying up here.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

3) Brandon Phillips (CIN)

4) Robinson Cano (SEA)

5) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

The top options here are pretty fun as Jose Altuve (HOU) (.400+ wOBA against LHP three straight seasons; patience this year has turned him into a superstar) gets the platoon edge against Edwin Escobar in a good hitter’s park (always wonder about how well fresh pitchers will hold MLB running games). Jason Kipnis (CLE) faces Colby Lewis (1.41 HR/9) and the Texas bullpen (1.72 HR/9). However, it’s completely fine to save money here so you can spend up on Coors bats elsewhere. The clear cut cap relief option is Jurickson Profar (TEX) (decent blend of power/speed but has really struggled at MLB level thus far in his career…keep in mind just 23 YO), assuming he remains in the leadoff spot.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

4) Zack Cozart (CIN)

5) Trevor Story (COL)

The shortstop position is pretty flush for the early slate. Carlos Correa (HOU) trolled us by finally coming through with a three run homer….off of the bench. As we’ve been noting all along, though, there are some signs of regression from last year (lower ISO, higher K rate), but ultimately the production shouldn’t have dropped to this level. Projections systems are optimistic moving forward and as frustrating as he’s been from a DFS standpoint, he’s on pace for a 26-26 season over 162 games. The context for him tonight is great. Francisco Lindor (CLE) has a phenomenal matchup but is pretty much priced out of the cash game conversation. On DraftKings, Zack Cozart (CIN) wasn’t hit with much of a Coors Field bump and is a nice alternative since Correa is more expensive over there. Addition punts include Jurickson Profar (TEX) (where eligible) and Javier Baez (CHC) (if near min price).

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Matt Carpenter (STL)

4) Jake Lamb (ARI)

5) David Wright (NYM)

We haven’t hit on the Rockies side of Coors Field yet, but Nolan Arenado (COL) ranks as the top third baseman seeing as how he’s the team’s best hitter. They’ll face Dan Straily (4.33 xFIP, fly ball risky) and have an implied run total of nearly 6 runs (the ridiculously horrendous Reds bullpen behind Straily is contributing to that). We like paying up for him where possible (if you go cheap with your second SP on DraftKings, it’s pretty easy to fit). On FanDuel, Matt Carpenter (STL) is meaningfully cheaper. He’s a good way to get access to a Cardinals offense we like a lot given the park shift. Junior Guerra has pitched surprisingly well for the Brewers, but it’s worth noting the xFIP against LHBs is 4.71. Depending on lineup spots, Jose Ramirez (CLE) and Justin Turner (LAD) are cap relief options on DraftKings that could help you pay up at that second starting pitcher spot.

Outfield Rankings

1) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

2) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

3) Billy Hamilton (CIN) (if first or second)

4) Mookie Betts (BOS)

5) George Springer (HOU)

6) Jay Bruce (CIN)

7) Gerardo Parra (COL)

8) Denard Span (SF)

9) Matt Holliday (STL)

10) Miguel Sano (MIN)

11) Adam Jones (BAL)

12) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

13) Coco Crisp (OAK)

14) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

15) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

Ideally, we’d like to fit in two or three Coors Field outfielders into our lineups, regardless of site. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) seems to have put his cold streak behind him (homered in two of three, six game hitting streak with multiple hits in four contests). Back in the cleanup spot, he’s the top option against Dan Straily (.181 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2014). Charlie Blackmon (COL) is nearly as strong of a play though. On the Cincinnati side, Billy Hamilton (CIN) gives you the speed upside (if hitting first or second) while Jay Bruce (CIN) provides the power and has seen his DFS value increase sliding into the cleanup spot. To round out your rosters, you can generally find a top 15 outfielder with a good price on either FanDuel (Matt Holliday (STL)) or DraftKings (Adam Jones (BAL)).


Tier One

1) Colorado Rockies

2) Cincinnati Reds

Tier Two

3) Houston Astros

Tier Three

4) St. Louis Cardinals

5) San Francisco Giants

6) Baltimore Orioles

The tier one section goes without saying as the two Coors Field teams have far and away the two highest team totals on the slate. We want at least one piece of exposure to each team in cash games and will quite frankly take as much as we can get.

The Astros and Cardinals were covered in the positional analysis and make for fine complementary options in cash games and full stacks in tournaments.

We’re not looking to stack either the Giants or Orioles in cash games (some one off values exist per our cheat sheets). Both are contrarian options for tournaments however, particularly the Giants – a deep team that gets a plus park shift facing a bad combination of starting pitcher/bullpen.

Tournament Stack

-Cleveland Indians (You generally don’t have to dig deep for contrarian stacks on Coors Field days since ownership naturally flocks there, leaving all other teams pretty equally low owned. The one team with upside worth full stacking despite not cracking our top stack rankings is Cleveland given the HR issues the Rangers pitching staff has, mentioned above.)