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September 2 MLB DFS: Cheap O-dubel in Philadelphia
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September 2 MLB DFS Show Outline:

00:43  Starting Pitchers
10:49  Catchers
12:26 First Base
15:27 Second Base
17:28  Shortstops
20:33  Third Base
25:22 Outfield
30:40  Stacks and Tournament approach

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September 2 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier 1

1) David Price (BOS)

2) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

3) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)

Tier 2

4) Julio Urias (LAD)

5) Jameson Taillon (PIT)

6) Marcus Stroman (TOR)

7) Alex Reyes (STL)

Tier 3

8) Dylan Bundy (BAL)

9) Carlos Rodon (CHW)

10) Danny Duffy (KC)

The starting pitcher position has strong depth this evening. Our first tier is made up of an ace in Noah Syndergaard (NYM) and two other pitchers in David Price (BOS) and Carlos Carrasco (CLE) that have ace-like qualities. These three pitchers rank closely in our model, so letting pricing and other contextual factors (like matchups) is the route we’re taking here. Syndergaard is facing a Nationals offense that’s just average vs. RHP (ranked 14th in wRC+ vs. RHP) but they can run (eight most stolen bases this season), and Syndergaard’s major weakness is the running game (has allowed a ridiculous 41 stolen bases this season – next highest on that list is Jimmy Nelson who’s allowed 26 stolen bases). We’re less inclined to pay for Syndergaard in cash games relative to the matchup and price (most expensive pitcher on the board around the industry), but he’s in our radar for tournaments due to his absurd strike out skills (29.4 percent K rate) and elite run prevention (2.55 ERA/2.62 xFIP). This leaves us with David Price (3.3 IRTA – implied run total against) and Carlos Carrasco (3.5 IRTA), and both are in very strong spots tonight. Price gets to pitch away from Fenway Park and in Oakland (one of the best pitcher environments in baseball), facing a below average offense (Oakland is ranked 23rd in wRC+ vs. LHP). Carrasco is also facing a below average Marlins offense (ranked 20th in wRC+ VS. RHP) that’s been really struggling lately (only two hitters have positive deltas over the last two weeks in our well-hit tool). Price and Carrasco are easy to fit on DraftKings, and you’re not sacrificing any offense by using them on that site, so we’re comfortable using one of these in cash games on DraftKings. Both of these pitchers are viable on FanDuel as well, but with hitter prices so tight on a slate that has a game in Coors Field, we’re inclined to go with a pitcher that offers more salary relief.

Jameson Taillon (PIT) is the pitcher we’re comfortable targeting on FanDuel. He’s cheap ($7,400 – around three thousand cheaper than Price and Carrasco) and gives you a solid foundation of points at the position relative to his skills and context. Taillon (20.5 percent K rate, 3.39 ERA/3.24 xFIP this season) gets to pitch in a great pitcher’s environment (PNC – his home park), has the best matchup possible for strikeouts (Brewers are striking out a league leading 25.8 percent of the time vs. RHP) and he’s one of the highest favorites in this slate (-187). He doesn’t carry the same upside as Price or Carrasco but we’re willing to forego that upside at the position and pursue it with bats in a slate that’s full of them. Taillon is a viable complement to one of Price or Carrasco on DraftKings, but our favorite route on that site is to go the cheaper route with the second starting pitcher. Alex Reyes (STL) has some risk since this is just his second major league start, but he can miss bats (32 percent K rate in the minors this season and ZiPS has him pegged with a 9.18 K/9) and the Reds aren’t threatening (ranked 23rd in wRC+ vs. RHP). If you’re not comfortable deploying Reyes in cash games, Dylan Bundy (BAL) is just $4,700 on DraftKings. Bundy’s IRTA is slightly over four runs and the Yankees offense has been better with Gary Sanchez around, but that’s still not enough to justify Bundy’s silly price tag. Bundy has a 22 percent K rate (10.7 SwStr rate) with an ERA under four, so he’s clearly underpriced from a skills perspective. We want to grab Coors Field exposure in this slate, and Bundy’s cheap price gives you the necessary salary relief to do so on DraftKings.

Catcher Rankings

1) Welington Castillo (ARI)

2) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

3) Nick Hundley (COL)

4) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

5) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

Welington Castillo (ARI) is in Coors Field and facing a below average southpaw, making him the top catcher option in this slate. Castillo has generated a .378 wOBA and .267 ISO vs. LHP since 2015, so while he’s expensive around the industry, he’s worth his cost in the best hitting environment in all of baseball. It might be a bit difficult to fit Castillo on DraftKings (over $5,000 on that site), but thankfully we have the other catcher in Coors Field at a reasonable cost ($3,700). Nick Hundley (COL) has the platoon edge against Robbie Ray, and while we’ve admired Ray’s resurgence in the second half, he’s not risk-free vs. RHBs (.335 wOBA, 1.36 HR/9 allowed to RHBs this season). If you want to grab a catcher with similar upside to Castillo’s at lower ownership, look no further than Gary Sanchez (NYY).

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

2) Chris Davis (BAL)

3) Brandon Moss (STL)

4) Carlos Santana (CLE)

5) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

6) Joey Votto (CIN)

7) David Ortiz (BOS)

8) Eric Hosmer (KC)

9) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

10) Albert Pujols (LAA)

We have ranked 10 first basemen in this slate, but in reality there’s only a few of them that really intrigue us in cash games. It all starts with Paul Goldschmidt (ARI), who’s our top ranked hitter as he gets a trip to Coors Field and will have the platoon edge against Jorge De La Rosa (.341 wOBA, .177 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015). Goldschmidt is an elite hitter no matter the opposite pitcher’s handedness, but he’s been rather absurd vs. LHP (.445 wOBA, .252 ISO vs. LHP since 2015). You get one of the most event-friendly players (20 home runs, 21 stolen bases for Goldy this season) in Coors Field with those sort of skills and it’s easy to see why Goldschmidt ranks well ahead of every hitter in this slate. Chris Davis (BAL) (.301 ISO vs. RHP since 2015) and Brandon Moss (STL) (.258 ISO vs. RHP since 2015) certainly have the power at a cheaper price tag than Goldschmidt, but we’re inclined to lock in Goldschmidt in cash since you’re not sacrificing pitching or bats to fit him. The exception would be on FanDuel, where prices are so efficient that you might have a decision to make between Goldy and another high-event player like teammate A.J. Pollock (though our preference still lies with Goldy).

Second Base Rankings

1) Matt Carpenter (STL)

2) Jose Altuve (HOU)

3) Jean Segura (ARI)

4) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

5) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

We don’t have a salary relief target to pursue at second base in this slate, and since you’re not sacrificing anything in order to pursue an expensive second baseman, we’re inclined to pay for one. Matt Carpenter (STL) has rebounded from a cold streak (now up to 4.7 rating over the last two weeks in our well-hit tool) and he now has a matchup (Anthony DeSclafani has allowed a .347 wOBA, .187 ISO to LHBs since 2015) and an environment (Great American Ball Park) that makes his price tag worth it in cash. Jose Altuve (HOU) and Jean Segura (ARI) are his alternatives, but if we had to choose one over the other in cash games, we’d likely side with Segura, who’s the inferior hitter but has the friendlier matchup in Coors Field as a leadoff hitter (strong chance he gets a sixth plate appearance in that context).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

3) Carlos Correa (HOU)

4) Marcus Semien (OAK)

5) Jose Reyes (NYM) – where eligible

The shortstop position is the lone position that doesn’t have an expensive hitter as a top value play for us, so we’re more comfortable finding salary relief here. It’s easy to find one on DraftKings because Marcus Semien (OAK) is just 3,000 and should leadoff. The matchup isn’t any good (David Price) but you’re not going to find a better value than Semien, a good hitter vs. LHP (.387 wOBA, .233 ISO vs. LHP since 2015), at that price point. It’s trickier to find a value we’re excited about on FanDuel, where Francisco Lindor (CLE) represents the top value at a mid-tier price. Lindor is an adequate cash game spend, but you might need to get away from paying top dollar at the corner infield position in order to fit him, and that’s a route we’re less excited about tonight. We’re likely paying less than $3,000 in cash games for a shortstop on FanDuel, and our targets at that price level are Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM), Eduardo Escobar (MIN) and Andrelton Simmons (LAA).

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

3) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

4) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

5) Jose Ramirez (CLE)

6) Justin Turner (LAD)

7) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

8) Evan Longoria (TB)

9) Alex Bregman (BAL)

10) Maikel Franco (PHI)

Third base certainly has some depth to it (we’ve ranked 10 players at the position), but once again we’re thrilled to pay top of the shelf prices for Nolan Arenado (COL). Like Paul Goldschmidt, there’s a lot to like with Arenado. For starters, Arenado is the best middle of the order bat in a Rockies uniform, and the Rockies have an implied team total that’s hovering around 5.5 runs. Then there’s the skills component, which is important if you’re paying an expensive price tag for a bat, and that’s another box that Arenado checks for us (.358 wOBA, .231 ISO vs. LHP since 2014 – he’s also our second overall ranked hitter, trailing only Goldy). The best alternative to Arenado from a value perspective is the cheaper Maikel Franco (PHI) and Miguel Sano (MIN). Franco is dirt-cheap on both sites (minimum priced on DraftKings and just $2,500 on FanDuel), and while he hasn’t been getting results lately, it’s not really showing in our well-hit tool (+0.1 delta in our well-hit too over the last two weeks). Sano (.378 wOBA, .235 ISO vs. LHP) is even better than Franco from a skills perspective and our model has him pegged as a near top 15 hitter this evening (he’s just $3,200 on DraftKings). Instead of using a splits the difference hitter at this position, we’re siding with what our model is saying (dipping down to Franco-Sano as alternatives to Arenado makes the most sense on DraftKings).

Outfield Rankings

1) A.J. Pollock (ARI)

2) Mike Trout (LAA)

3) Bryce Harper (WSH)

4) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

5) Brandon Moss (STL) – where eligible

6) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

7) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

8) Starling Marte (PIT)

9) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

10) Jarrod Dyson (KC)

11) George Springer (HOU)

12) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

13) Nomar Mazara (TEX)

14) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

15) Odubel Herrera (PHI)

A.J. Pollock (ARI) is our third ranked hitter in this slate. He’s priced like a top hitter on FanDuel, and while we’re pursuing him in cash games on that site, Pollock is a free square on DraftKings. We’re not sure why he’s just $4,000 on that site, but Pollock is about to begin a Coors Field series and he’ll face a southpaw tonight (.376 wOBA, .182 ISO vs. LHP since 2015 and he’s one of our favorite event players in baseball – last season he generated 20 home runs and 39 stolen bases). After Pollock, we’re more inclined to use cheaper values at the position since there’s a good amount of these on both sites. Odubel Herrera (PHI) is basically free on both sites (minimum priced on DraftKings and $2,400 on FanDuel) and in a favorable matchup against Joel De La Cruz (12.2 percent K rate, 4.66 ERA/5.17 xFIP this season). Then there’s Nomar Mazara (TEX), who has been leading off for the Rangers lately and has a matchup against Doug Fister, who struggles with LHBs (.352 wOBA, .193 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015) and Miguel Sano (MIN), who we covered at third base (second best value in the outfield on FanDuel – third best on DraftKings). Jarrod Dyson (KC) is another outfielder that profiles as a good value on both sites (leadoff hitter with plenty of speed upside). Pricing is soft on DraftKings (particularly in the outfield), which has led to a bigger selection of values at the position. After Herrera, Pollock and Sano, the one value that caught our attention is Carlos Gonzalez (COL). Gonzalez won’t have the platoon edge but he’s just $3,500 on DraftKings and he’s ranked inside our top 15 hitters.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Arizona Diamondbacks

2) Colorado Rockies

Tier Two

3) Cleveland Indians

4) Texas Rangers

5) Baltimore Orioles

6) St. Louis Cardinals

7) Philadelphia Phillies

The Diamondbacks and Rockies will be in Coors Field this evening, and we’re not afraid to pick on the starting pitchers in that game. Even with elite starting pitching in this slate, it’s possible to have multiple pieces of this game on both sites and that’s the route we feel most comfortable with. Our second tier is a bit deeper (populated by five teams, and we left off a few other offenses that have team totals above 4.5 implied runs), and with Coors Field accessible in this slate, this second tier is one that has our attention in tournaments.

Tournament Stack

Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays have a negative park shift working against them, but that’s about the only negative for this offense tonight. Alex Cobb will be making his first start since 2014, and he hasn’t been sharp in the minors (6.60 ERA at AAA and he’s not missing bats). With the Blue Jays having a team total of just 4.5 implied runs outside of Rogers Centre, you’re likely going to see these bats carry low ownership in tournaments and this is an offense that can hurt you with power (third best ISO vs. RHP), which you’ll need in a slate that features a) Coors Field and b) other offenses that can generate events in good hitting environments.

MLB Daily Analysis

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