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MLB DFS Slate Breakdown (5/3/21)

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Pitching

MLB DK Pitcher Table

Tyler Glasnow- Glasnow has been one of the best pitchers in baseball so far in 2021, and is the highest-priced pitcher on DraftKings tonight. I’ve written at length already this season about the addition of a new slider, which has elevated him to new levels. Since joining the Rays, he has featured elite strikeout ability due to his electric upper-90’s fastball and a sharp curveball. While he’s pitched every well since moving to the AL East, he was primarily a two-pitch pitcher prior to this season. He debuted a new slider in his first start, throwing it 26 times! Since then, it has been his second-most used pitch, throwing it over 28% of the time. This new pitch makes it even tougher for hitters to figure out what’s coming, and has resulted in over 16% swinging strikes — a 3% increase from 2020. On paper, this is a tough match-up vs the Los Angeles Angels. Since the start of 2020, the Angels strike out 21% of the time against RHP — the third-lowest rate over that span. All-in-all, Glasnow is one of the top options every time he toes the rubber.

Walker Buehler- Buehler doesn’t have the raw strikeout ability of someone like Glasnow, but make no mistake, this is one of the best young pitchers in baseball. Dating back to the start of the 2020 shortened season, Buehler’s 3.52 SIERA is fourth-best on this slate and it comes with over 27% strike outs. He draws a much more favorable spot than Glasnow, matchup with with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have started to pick things up offensively over the last few days, but they still have been awful for the majority of the season. They particularly struggle with right-handed pitching, striking out over 27% of the time as a team this season in the split. I’m interested in most righties vs this Cubs lineup, and love that Buehler is below the $10K mark on Monday night.

Shohei Ohtani- I will note that Ohtani was hit in the elbow by a pitch on Sunday, so it remains to be seen if he will officially start tonight. If he is confirmed, he is one of the highest-upside options in the mid-tier. His surface numbers over the last two seasons look awful, but when you isolate it to just this season it’s much more manageable. More importantly, he has struck out over 37% of the batters he’s faced. This also comes with an insanely-high 21% walk rate, but with that strikeout ability, it can be worth the risk in tournament formats. Tampa Bay is a boom/bust offense vs right-handed pitching, and there are certainly strikeouts to be had there. This is not the sort of play I make in cash games, but upside, and strikeouts, are worth chasing in GPPs. UPDATE: Ohtani has been scratched from tonight’s start. 

Daniel Lynch (DK Only)- The more I’ve dug in today, the more I think Lynch ends up really chalky on DK at the minimum price of $4,000. This is a big, tall kid that throws hard from the left side of the mound, with what appears to be a good slider. This is his MLB debut, but this is also the first time this season we have an actual pitcher, not an opener, at the minimum price. He was average in spring training, but this is a guy with strikeout ability and you don’t need many points at this price tag. The match-up is pretty tough against an Indians lineup that strikes out below 19% of the time vs. southpaws since the start of 2020. I am interested in any min-price pitcher, and it appears that Lynch is stretched out and will have the opportunity to throw well into the game if he is performing.

Other GPP Targets: Adam Wainwright, German Marquez, Frankie Montas

MLB Top Batters

Batters

C

Salvador Perez- Perez is expensive for a catcher, but he is one of the top projections at this position. He’s been seeing the ball extremely well to start this season, owning a 9.2% barrel rate which is 20th among qualified hitters. Over his last 200 PA, Aaron Civale is allowing .351 wOBA and a .206 ISO to right-handed hitters. Due to his power, Perez can be used as a one-off, or in a stack.

Dom Nunez- Coors Field will likely dominate the ownership on Monday night, as is usually the case. Nunez has actually been one of the Rockies best hitters this season, boasting a .375 wOBA. Aaron Sanchez has not been sharp for the Giants this season, and has been dealing with decreased velocity and questionable health. I stacked against Sanchez with the Rockies in his last start, and that wasn’t even in Coors Field!

1B

Max Muncy- Kyle Hendricks has been an absolute disaster this season, and I can say that the Dodgers will be my top offensive spot as long as he is slated to start. His SIERA is over half a run higher than last season, while his ground balls have fallen off a cliff. He’s also seen decreased velocity, which is a big red flag considering he usually only throws upper-80’s fastballs. When someone that throws that soft can’t get groundballs, it’s a recipe for disaster. I’ll be in on Muncy, and the rest of his Dodgers teammates tonight. NOTE: I’m writing this article very early and there is rain in the forecast, if this game ends up PPD or in danger of it I will update this article with other plays on Monday afternoon.

Paul Goldschmidt- Goldy is expensive tonight, but always a top target vs left-handed pitching. He owns a .267 ISO for his career vs southpaws, with 47% hard-hits. Since the start of 2020, Joey Lucchesi allows over 46% hard hits to right-handed batters. Similar to Perez, Goldy can comfortably be used as a one-off with this kind of pop.

2B

Ryan McMahon- Coors Field will always be one of the highest-owned spots on a given slate, and McMahon has massive power. His .214 ISO jumps to almost .250 vs righties this season, and it comes with over 50% hard hits. He is one of the top spends on Monday.

Gavin Lux- Lux should crack the order vs a righty, and if the game is good to go I am all-in on every part of this lineup. I love stacking the bottom of teams orders in GPPs, and someone like Lux would be regularly at the top of most teams batting order. The Dodgers just happen to be so good that he hits down most of the time, but he is affordable and in my top-graded spot (barring weather) on Monday. 

3B

Manny Machado- The Padres have a ton of right-handed bats, and that could spell trouble for Tyler Anderson on Monday. Dating back to 2019, Machado has been tops on this roster with a massive .319 ISO vs left-handed pitching. Over that span, Anderson is allowing a near .350 wOBA to opposite-hand batters.

Kyle Seager- Dean Kremer has been a horrific for the Orioles this season, allowing 58% hard-contact. He does seem to have gotten pretty unlucky, but this still looks like an average pitcher at best. Seager is enjoying a nice start to 2021, ranking 12th among qualifiers with a 10.7% barrel rate.

SS

Corey Seager- Seager has become one of my favorite players in the MLB, and I truly think he is a top-five hitter in baseball right now. His numbers vs right-handed pitching are elite over the last few seasons, including a 45% hard-contact rate and 24% line drive rate. I always like him vs righties, especially a potentially broken Kyle Hendricks.

Fernando Tatis Jr- Like Machado, Tatis Jr is one of the best hitters in baseball, especially against lefty pitching. I have a feeling that I will be pivoting my Dodgers exposure to some Padres mini-stacks if the weather gets too sketchy, and Machado + Tatis Jr. is a great way to start.

OF

Mookie Betts- I expect Mookie to feature pretty low-ownership, priced at $6,000 on a Coors Field slate. Hendricks is serving up well over a .250 ISO to both sides of the plate so far this season, essentially throwing batting practice. DFS players like to lock in Betts vs lefties, but he is actually quite good in same-handed match-ups. Dating back to 2019, his .401 wOBA in the split is tops on this team.

Charlie Blackmon- I’ve already noted that I want to attack Sanchez, and it makes no sense that Blackmon is sub-4K on DraftKings. He got off to rough start this season, but he is second on the team in hard hit rate among qualifiers. He will be massively owned at this price tag, but I can’t argue the ownership on Monday night.

Jordan Luplow- Luplow is always a pinch-hit risk, but he simply has to be considered vs left-handed pithing. Since the start of 2019, his .355 ISO vs lefties is third-best in baseball, behind only Nelson Cruz and JD Martinez. Daniel Lynch is making his major league debut today, but is raw and hasn’t pitched above A ball.

Alex Kirilloff- I posted in Discord yesterday that Kirilloff was a cheat-code, and I will continue to play him as long as he is this cheap. Not only did he win me $10,000 on Friday night, but he has homered four times in his last three games! He is one of the Twins best prospects in recent years, and was getting super unlucky right when he was called-up. He hits the ball really hard, and his 20% barrel rate would be seventh in baseball if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

Stacks

“Team Batting Score” – A metric that quickly highlights overall team batting based on Runs Created (RC+) by team and comparing it to the average and standard deviation of all other MLB Teams
“Opp. Pitcher SP Score” – A weighted metric that evaluates today’s starting pitchers based on xFIP and Games Started (currently using partial end of 2020 data blended with the 2021 season)
“Opp. BP Score” – Similar to SP Score but weights the xFIP for the team’s bullpen

Team Batting vs. Opp. Pitch

DK MLB Stacks

“T2” (and T3/T4/T5) represents the Top 2 projected hitters for the team on the left (not necessarily the top 2 hitters in the batting order)

Stacking is an extremely important element to MLB DFS. In MLB, all of your players are correlated to each other. Outside of solo homeruns, they need each other to succeed. If you look at the top of all of the big GPPs every night you will see stacks dominating the leaderboard.

When using our stacks chart, we want to identify teams that are projecting well but the ownership does not reflect their chance of success.

We have a tricky slate tonight, with some big weather spots in Philly, Chicago and Colorado. If the Dodgers end up playing, which looks like it could happen, they are far and away my favorite spot on this slate.

DraftKings 5-Man Stack Ideas

LAD- Betts/Seager/Turner/Muncy/Lux

COL- Tapia/Story/McMahon/Blackmon/Nunez

SD- Grisham/Tatis Jr/Machado/Myers/Nola

MIN- Arraez/Buxton/Cruz/Kirilloff/Kepler

SEA- Haniger/Seager/France/Marmolejos/Lewis

DraftKings 3-Man Stack Ideas

LAD- Betts/Seager/Muncy

SD- Tatis/Machado/Myers

TEX- Lowe/Gallo/Garcia

MIN- Arraez/Kirilloff/Kepler

COL- McMahon/Story/Blackmon

Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)

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