MLB DFS Daily Fantasy Rundown – May 30th, 2015
Welcome to Saturday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem”, “dinkpiece” and “thenumbersguy”. Each day throughout the MLB season our daily MLB scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.
Weather: We’re keeping an eye on Texas and Chicago. Please see Meteorologist Mark Paquette’s game by game weather forecasts below the Analysis.
If any weather situations shift drastically, we will keep you updated with lineup alerts so make sure to check your email inbox up until roster lock.
Additional catcher notes: The top plays at the catcher position on this slate are Stephen Vogt (OAK) and Yan Gomes (CLE). Gomes ranks much better in our model (22nd) but I believe our model isn’t accounting for the changes that Vogt has made offensively (0.96 EYE, .324/.419/.606 triple slash line and a 1.024 OPS this season). He draws a favorable matchup against Nathan Eovaldi, who has historically had problems with LHBs (.346 wOBA, 24 percent LD rate and has only struck out 15 percent of LHBs since 2012). I’m upgrading Vogt to the top catcher option on this slate. Gomes has crushed LHP (.364 wOBA and .203 ISO against southpaws since 2012), which is why he ranks so well in our model. Despite Vogt being the top play, he ranks very closely to Gomes so I’m letting price dictate my decision here. Buster Posey (SF) has a good matchup against Williams Perez (doesn’t miss many bats) but the hitting environment is very poor (AT&T Park). Since Posey is priced fully around the industry, his value is better for tournaments.
David Ortiz (BOS) – We remain hopeful that David Ortiz is back in the starting lineup for the Red Sox this evening (has been given the last couple of games off to work on his swing). Ortiz is the top overall play on this slate and he’s not priced as such around the industry. His price tag on FanDuel ($2,600) is closing in to the bare minimum and that price offers immense value on your investment. Ortiz has historically been an elite hitter against RHP (.408 wOBA and .276 ISO since 2012) and he despite his “struggles” this season, he continues to hit RHP very well (.376 wOBA and .219 ISO against RHP this season). Chi Chi Gonzalez is making his season debut tonight and projection systems hate him this season (ZiPS projected 5.05 ERA this season). He didn’t miss many bats at triple-A this season (14 percent K rate). The Red Sox offense has a team total pushing five runs this evening and they’re the main offense to target in cash games. They’re probably still worth the investment in tournaments despite their projected high ownership. Ortiz will anchor my lineups as long as he plays tonight.
Next in line:
Miguel Cabrera (DET) – Ortiz and Cabrera are the only options I’m willing to pay for at first base this evening. Cabrera has an incredible skill set against RHP (.418 wOBA, 168 wRC+ and .261 ISO since 2012) and his price point is a bit discounted on DraftKings ($4,700). Any time you put discount and Miguel Cabrera in the same sentence, the reaction will be a positive one. Speaking of positives, Cabrera has a matchup against Jered Weaver and he’s not the same pitcher he once was. Weaver’s fastball velocity is all the way down to 84 MPH and he’s yielding a 29 percent Hard Hit rate this season. He continues to find a way to get RHBs out (.277 wOBA allowed to RHBs this season) but I’m not sure that will continue (13 percent K rate and ERA/FIP/xFIP and SIERA all agree that he’s around a sub 4.50 ERA pitcher now). The Tigers will have a team total of 3.5 runs so I’m not going to pick on Weaver much despite his struggles (Kinsler-Martinez and Cespedes are better hitters against LHP). Cabrera (10th ranked hitter in our model) belongs in all formats but be aware that he lags behind David Ortiz in our model.
Additional first base notes: Mark Reynolds (STL) is fine salary relief option to consider for cash games. He’s a boom (.203 ISO) or bust (31 percent K rate against RHP since 2012) option but he benefits from a good lineup spot (fifth). Carlos Frias has been tough on RHBs (.279 wOBA allowed to RHBs), which drags Reynold’s value in our model. His salary relief can be useful on tight pricing sites and even though he’s minimum priced on FanDuel, he’s not necessary in cash games (David Ortiz is a much better option and he’s $2,600). Freddie Freeman (ATL) has a depressed price point around the industry and he has a good matchup against Tim Lincecum. Based on those two factors alone, he’s a fine cash game option but the hitters around him and the tough hitting environment makes him more of a secondary value. Mike Napoli (BOS) is overpriced on DraftKings but he has a fair price on FanDuel. He represents another popular option from the Red Sox offense against Chi Chi Gonzalez (ZiPS projected 5.05 ERA).
Dustin Pedroia (BOS) – Pedroia hasn’t been a great hitter against RHP (.328 wOBA, .114 ISO since 2012) but as far as second base options go, he’s been fine. In tonight’s matchup, he has a few of the contextual factors we look for. He’s leading off for an offense with an implied run total approaching five runs (most on the slate) and he’s playing in an above average scoring environment against a weak starter. Price points will help guide Pedroia’s usage. On sites like DraftKings where he’s priced way up, we’ll opt for alternatives. However, on sites like FanDuel where the price point is reasonable he’s a fine selection.
Robinson Cano (SEA) – Cano has been awful this season (.251/.295/.332 triple slash line) but he’s hitting the ball hard (33 percent Hard Hit rate according to fangraphs) and he has historically hit RHP very well (.405 wOBA, .227 ISO since 2012). Even as a Mariner, he’s posted a .358 wOBA and .142 ISO against RHP (which includes this awful start to the season). His price is way down across the industry and the Mariners LHBs have an elite matchup against Shaun Marcum (.357 wOBA, 1.40 HR/9 allowed to LHBs since 2012). He’s a fine alternative to Pedroia if you’re in search of some salary relief.
Additonal second base notes: Delino DeShields (TEX) has second base eligibility on DraftKings and he’s my preferred value on that site. DeShields doesn’t project to be an average hitter at the major league level but he has huge SB upside (50 SB upside over a full season). He should be the leadoff hitter for a Rangers offense that has a team total pushing 4.5 runs this evening. Dustin Pedroia is overpriced on DraftKings so DeShields is the better value when taking price into consideration. Ben Zobrist (OAK) is a fine secondary choice in all formats. Nate Eovaldi struggles against LHBs and Zobrist is a switch hitter. Zobrist also receives a nice boost due to his lineup spot (third; best lineup spot for DFS production).
Additional shortstop notes: Hanley Ramirez (BOS) has shortstop eligibility on DraftKings and despite not having the platoon edge or any discount in price, he’s the best shortstop option by a very wide margin. Ramirez ranks inside our top five hitters tonight and the rest of the shortstop options rank poorly in our model. Chi Chi Gonzalez didn’t miss many bats at the tiple-A level and projections systems don’t like him much this season. We’re not really spending high dollars at the starting pitcher position so I’m turning some of that salary relief and investing in Ramirez on DraftKings. Secondary options at the shortstop position include (in order of preference): Jhonny Peralta (STL), Elvis Andrus (TEX), Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Brandon Crawford (SFG). Most of these secondary shortstop options are priced very differently around the industry so I’m letting price points dictate my decisions.
Adrian Beltre (TEX)/Pablo Sandoval (BOS) – Beltre and Sandoval represent the top options at third base tonight. Both of these hitters are ranked inside our top 10 and they have the contextual factors we’re looking for. Beltre will have the platoon edge against Wade Miley (.322 wOBA allowed to RHBs since 2012) at Globe Life Park in Arlington (elite hitting environment). Beltre maintains his elite skills when the game reaches the bullpen (he’s actually a better hitter against RHP) but the difficulty I’m having in deciphering his real value is the hitters around him. The Rangers will likely end up somewhere around league average against LHP since most of the hitters in this offense are LHBs (Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton). Miley is stingy against LHBs, which makes me question the total (pushing 4.5 runs) for this Rangers offense. Sandoval has always been a better hitter against RHP (.353 wOBA and .164 ISO since 2012) and we’ve already mentioned at length why we believe opposing pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez will struggle at the major league level (doesn’t miss many bats). Additionally, Sandoval obtains a boost due to his lineup spot (third; best lineup spot for DFS production). Ultimately, I’m letting price points dictate my decision here. Where priced similarly, I don’t mind choosing Beltre over Sandoval (Beltre is the better hitter). However, Sandoval is close to the bare minimum on FanDuel ($2,500) and therefore the better value on that site.
Additional third base notes: Kris Bryant (CHC) is the next in line option to the written plays above. The problem I find with Bryant is deciphering his value in such a poor hitting environment (30 MPH winds blowing in at Wrigley Field). He’s priced fully around the industry so I view him as a better tournament target. Kyle Seager (SEA) has that elite matchup we spoke about earlier (Shaun Marcum is awful against LHBs) and he’s a good hitter when he has the platoon edge (.354 wOBA and .185 ISO against RHBs since 2012). He’s priced closely to Beltre and Sandoval around the industry but he’s playing in an inferior hitting environment. He’s a good secondary value this evening. Matt Carpenter (STL) has an elite matchup against Carlos Frias (hasn’t figured out how to get LHBs out) but he’s priced fully around the industry. I love Carpenter’s skill set (line drive hitter and he has raised his loft rate by around five percent this season) but admittedly I’m struggling to pay his high price tag in cash games. His stock belongs in tournaments.
Mike Trout (LAA) – (Arguably the second best hitter in baseball and he’s our second ranked hitter tonight; Shane Greene has been tough on RHBs and Trout is fully priced around the industry, which makes him a better target for tournaments)
Red Sox Outfield: If you’ve read the Daily Fantasy Rundown today, there’s a great chance that you’ve already seen our dislike for Chi Chi Gonzalez so I won’t bother to repeat it again. He might be an average starter at some point in his career (Fangraphs.com is giving him a solid value measure) but this is a terrible debut for a 23 year old that failed to dominate the minor league level. Hanley Ramirez (fifth) and Mookie Betts (8th) are great options in all formats, particularly on FanDuel. For some reason FanDuel has priced them as average hitters so there’s a great amount of value to extract from those price tags. The outfield position doesn’t carry much opportunity cost tonight and the starting pitcher position doesn’t have high priced starters (Tyson Ross isn’t that expensive), which allows us to invest in Ramirez and Betts pretty effortlessly. The Red Sox offense has an implied total pushing 5 runs (there’s a good chance that the run total climbs as high as 5.5 runs) so they represent the best offense to target this evening.
Josh Reddick (OAK) – The Oakland offense should settle with a team total of four runs but the hitting environment isn’t good (Oakland Coliseum). We want to pick on Nate Eovaldi (struggles against LHBs) but I believe we’re going to limit our exposure to two or three hitters from this offense in cash games (Reddick, Zobrist and Vogt). Reddick has been a good hitter against RHP (.347 wOBA and .209 ISO against RHP since 2012) but he’s been even better this season. Reddick has compiled a .294/.372/.503 triple slash line and even though he hasn’t had good plate discipline historically, he’s turned that around pretty well (1.05 EYE this season). We actually might have to adjust his baseline based on the awesome adjustments he has made (hitting more line drives, not pulling the ball as much and a remarkable improvement from a plate discipline standpoint). Reddick is a next in line option to the Red Sox outfield and someone I’m not shying away from in all formats.
Additional outfield notes: Kole Calhoun (LAA) ranks favorably in our model (29th) and he has a good matchup against Shane Greene (hasn’t figured out how to get LHBs out at the major league level). Calhoun has been a good hitter against RHP but I question his real value due to the hitters around him (Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Matt Joyce are the best hitters surrounding him but everyone else is below average). I view him as a fine target in cash games after the written value above (best price point is on FanDuel). If you’re looking for some salary relief on DraftKings at the position, Billy Burns (OAK) is a decent option. Burns has great stolen base upside and is leading off for an offense we’re comfortable investing in. If Seth Smith (SEA) obtains a good lineup spot, he’s a good cash game target. His matchup against Shaun Marcum (struggles mightily against LHBs) is one we would like to target. Add Matt Joyce (LAA) to the list of platoon players that are fine values if they obtain a good lineup spot (at least top six). Jason Heyward (STL) will have the platoon edge against Carlos Frias but he doesn’t benefit from a good lineup spot (usually hits seventh). He’s a good target for tournaments where the price is reasonable.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Tyson Ross (SD)
2) Yordano Ventura (KC) – weather risk
3) Michael Wacha (STL)
4) Roenis Elias (SEA)
5) Tim Lincecum (SF)
6) Jesse Hahn (OAK)
7) Charlie Morton (PIT)
7) Tsuyoshi Wada (CHC) – weather risk
Tyson Ross (SD) – if you’re playing cash games tonight, Ross will have to anchor your lineup. The starting pitcher position is a bit difficult to capture from a value perspective after Ross. Speaking of Ross, he’s posted a 13.5 SwStr supported by an elite 27 percent K rate this season and his run prevention has been solid (3.84 ERA/3.06 FIP/3.04 xFIP). The Pirates are around a league average offense against RHP and they’re striking out 20 percent of the time. Ross and the Padres aren’t huge favorites (-120) but the Pirates have a team total of 3.5 runs (pushing down to three). The only format that I would think about fading Ross tonight is a multi-entry tournament. Fading him in cash games results in a –EV decision.
Yordano Ventura (KC) – Ventura represents the best value option after Tyson Ross. Ventura has a matchup against the strikeout-prone Cubs (26 percent K rate against RHP this season) and the weather will play in his favor (50 degrees, wind blowing in at 30 MPH). Ventura has really good “stuff” but this is only his second season as a starter at the major league level and his peripherals have been average so far. I believe at some point he will turn that corner and his K rate will experience some growth. He has a league average K rate, BB rate and he’s posted a 3.75 SIERA this season. He’s the best complement to Tyson Ross on multiple starting pitcher sites and he’s affordable on most sites. The one risk with Ventura is some weather concerns, which we’ll monitor via our alerts.
Additional starting pitcher notes: The rest of the starting pitcher options are ranked so closely that I feel the best way to tackle them is in this section. Michael Wacha (STL) is the next in line option to Tyson Ross but he has a difficult matchup (Dodgers are the number one ranked offense in both wOBA and wRC+ against RHP). I view him as a fine cash game option but he wouldn’t have been considered as one if the starting pitcher options were stronger tonight. Roenis Elias (SEA) and Tim Lincecum (SFG) are decent cash game options but I prefer Elias. Lincecum’s fastball velocity has dropped to 87 MPH and consequently, his K rate has gone down while his BB rate has gone up (career low K rate and career high BB rate this season). He has a matchup against a Braves offense that doesn’t strikeout much but they’re not very good either (ranked 21st in wOBA against RHP). Elias has posted a league average K rate, BB rate and his run prevention has been good (2.56 ERA) but some correction is headed his way (4.20 FIP/4.00 xFIP). Carlos Santana will be out for the Indians tonight so the matchup is a bit better for Elias. Tsuyoshi Wada (CHC) and Jesse Hahn (OAK) should only be considered for tournaments due to their difficult matchups (Wada is my preferred option due to the favorable weather conditions for pitchers at Wrigley Field).
Macro Thinking, Stacks, and Tournament Notes:
This is a new section we’ve created to try and offer more dedicated macro thinking to our analysis and hopefully add more value to those playing tournaments. The format is a bit of a work in progress and we welcome feedback (email@example.com) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are the top offense to target in cash games and despite the high ownership in cash games, they still bring great upside to tournaments. Chi Chi Gonzalez doesn’t miss many bats and he was a bit underwhelming at the triple-A level (4.15 ERA/4.41 FIP). It’s a great matchup and hitting environment for a Red Sox offense that could have David Ortiz back in the lineup this evening.
1) Texas Rangers
2) Seattle Mariners
3) Oakland Athletics
4) San Francisco Giants
The Rangers are our top contrarian/secondary stack. They’re a much better hitting group against RHP due to the left-handed nature of their lineup (Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland are LH). Despite not having the platoon edge, Prince Fielder has hit LHP well this season. Adrian Beltre is a great hitter against all type of pitching so there are a few hitters in this lineup that I would mini-stack in tournaments.
The Mariners have a great matchup against Shaun Marcum. I remain hopeful that hitters like Seth Smith and Brad Miller have good lineup spots because if that’s the case, they’re good cash game targets. Kyle Seager is another option that comes to mind (hits RHP well) and if Robinson Cano is back in the Mariners lineup tonight, he’s a decent option despite his struggles this season. Nelson Cruz won’t have the platoon edge against Marcum but his power upside remains a target for me in tournaments.
The Athletics are playing in a bad offensive environments (Oakland Coliseum) but their matchup against Nate Eovaldi gives them good upside in tournaments. I would target Billy Burns (great speed upside), Josh Reddick (awesome improvements at the plate), Ben Zobrist (best lineup spot for DFS production and he’s a switch hitter) and Stephen Vogt (like Reddick, he’s made some nice improvements at the plate).
The Giants are the most contrarian offense I can think of on this slate. They will play in an awful environment for hitters (AT&T Park) but Williams Perez doesn’t miss many bats and he’s generally not a very good pitcher. I see tournament value in Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford so I don’t mind throwing a Giants mini-stack in multi-entry tournaments.
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
BOS at TEX 7:15: Showers and thunderstorms, some with very heavy rainfall. There is the chance that a thunderstorm cell can sit over them or move very slowly through the area causing major problems. On the other hand, the thunderstorm cell could be just miles away and they are fine. Basically, they should try and play this game but there is the risk of delays and even flooding because of all the rain the region has received. Will need to keep an eye on this one. Temps in the mid 70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7. Wind east-northeast 6-12 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
KC at CHC 7:15: A steady rain all day lasts until about 11 PM. This is a game that they may just cancel. Temps only in the low 50s and upper 40s. Air density is a 3 or 4. Wind north-northeast 15-25 mph which blows in from left-center. The wind is a 2
LAD at STL 7:15: Showers and thunderstorms. I think they play this game but there is a 30% chance of a delay at any time. Temps in the low 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7. Wind northwest 10-20 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
DET at LAA 10:05: Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 8-16 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6 or 7.
NYY at OAK 10:05: Dry. Temps in the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-southwest 8-16 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6 or 7.
ATL at SF 10:05: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind west-northwest 8-16 mph which blows out to right-center. The wind is a 6 or 7.
CLE at SEA 10:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the upper 60s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-southwest 4-8 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
PIT at SD 10:10: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 60s. Winds west-southwest 8-16 mph which blows out to right center. The wind is a 7